Red Vine Spirituality

Taylor K. Arthur balances Bipolar 1 Disorder, marriage, and motherhood with a nitty-gritty faith inspiring a twisted, blissful life.

For My Heart Warrior Son on Hard Days

For my dear, struggling, heart warrior-son:

Sometimes I don’t know how to help you but to put words down. God seems to talk to me through my fingers, charting a map through my fears, showing me the way home through this blog-tangle of words.

Did this start at your last doctor’s appointment? Or did it start several weeks into full-day school?

Your little mind, still sponge and light and weave of you and us, can’t quite tell yet. But somewhere, something finally sunk in, didn’t it? Somehow you finally saw the difference between you and the other kids. You realized in a long recess that there was no way to keep up. Or maybe you just found out, for the first time, that they invite you into games you cannot play.
I can’t tell most of the time when you’re being a stinker or if you just don’t know yet how to say “I can’t.” Or maybe you’re just a control freak who only plays what you want to play. But maybe that’s because you play what you CAN play for more than a burst of energy’s time. Either way, we’ve got to figure this out, son. Either way, we need to make sure you can play well with others.

I fight back tears and grip the steering wheel as I watch you play alone. I know something about myself that you might not know yet: Your mama is not good at “I can’t.”

She’s much better at “I’ll try harder.”

She’s much better at pushing harder. She’s still here because of that push. And you’re here because of it, too.

And the irony is that in disbelieving the “you can’ts” and “he won’ts”, trusting in the One who saves the “I’m too far gones” and raises the “dead-for-three-days,” I’ve come to know that He Can. And He Will.

But maybe He Can when I’ve come to the end of mine. Maybe He Reaches down when my push falls flat across the floor.

Maybe this Mama needs to stop willing, forging, fighting.

Maybe I, too, need a new way.

Your doctors say you’re an old soul. Most heart kids don’t start to wrestle limits for a couple more years. Most kids can’t even see what you’re now swallowing whole. But that doesn’t surprise any of us. You’ve always been Warrior. You kicked first, long before the trouble came.

Maybe we need new words, Son. Maybe we both need to voice our limits.

Maybe you can teach me when to stop before I’m chin-deep in cardiac arrest.

Maybe you can teach me your running-away trick, that fall-down-on-the-mat trick. Maybe you can show me how to get more oxygen when no one is listening. Maybe you can share some of that defiance when we’re both drowning just a bit.

You’re loud and you’re savage, and so often right.

But before you’re wild, you’re needy. And that’s where I want to meet you.
I don’t know how to meet you yet, but your dad and I are trying.

We’re praying, and we’re trusting in this God who makes you breathe ten hundred times a day.

We’re believing that this Father God of all who made you so special is going to fill your anger with understanding.

You, Warrior-son, Kicker, Defyer: you have purpose we won’t give up on.

You breathe meaning on that cold playground, and in the midst of this pain, I know: God foresaw all of this.

Where He sees, He provides.

. . . if I’m grateful to the Bridge Builder for the crossing of a million strong bridges, thankful for a million faithful moments, my life speaks my beliefs and I trust Him again. I fearlessly cross the next bridge.
-Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

 I will sit in my car, welling up this pain for you. And I will pray “Thank You.”

I will believe in this mighty God, and I will say thank you for the provision already coming to us.

We will cross this bridge, just like all the others.

And when I have crossed yet another, I will try to teach you how to follow me across.

I love you, Son.

Your pushy mama



  1. You keep pushing. I can attest pushy moms get results. Praying for your sweet son. Yes, I do believe us pushy moms could also learn a few things from your son. By the way we met at she speaks. I roomed right next to you. You are often in my thoughts and prayers. Maree

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