Sunday, September 29, 2013

When Worse Makes You Thankful for the Bad

In the past few months our little guy has changed a lot. He went from playing with toys to not wanting anything but a hand in front of his face. He thrives on the way the light looks as it comes through his fingers. He likes the feeling of his feet hitting the floor as he bobs around on it. He is a picture of constant movement. If you did not know that he had special needs, you might think it was really cute, and it is. If you watched him daily for several weeks, you would obviously realize that they are habitual stim behaviors. So far, they have not really been negative behaviors. They are still different. At times I have found myself disliking the behavior. I doubt I'm the only mom of someone with special needs who wished the outward signs were not obvious, but I have wished that.

Last week made me thankful for our bobbing little broncho with the waving hand and rocking feet. He caught an awful virus of some kind. All he did most of the day for about five days was lay there. If he started his normal behavior it lasted for only a few minutes before he wore himself out. When he didn't have tylenol, he just moaned in pain. He was a sad sight. He didn't even have the strength to bring his hand up to look at it. I noticed this change, and part of me was happy that he was not doing that behavior. Then one morning he woke up and was his old self!

It's amazing how thankful I now was for his stim behaviors. Of course I will still take the ideas the the physical therapist give and try to stop the behaviors, but I think my attitude is a little better about them. They are who he is. If you watch him and look past the behaviors being "special" you can see personality and joy. I'm thankful for the help for my attitude, although I know I still have a long way to go.

It's a fine line you have to take as a parent of a child with special needs. You want them to be better, but you have to realize that many of their issues are built into that mutated gene. You can never change that. All you can do is study up on new techniques, try to add exercises, but all the while accept them for who they are. Your child may never love your touch, because their senses will not allow it. It might hurt them to be touched in a way that you would never want. You may have to learn to love them the way that they need. It might mean a tight squeeze of the hand or it might just be their sweet smile, but it is their way, and as parents you learn to accept it.

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5
 
In our journey, no matter how rough or different, we must be content knowing that He is with us every step of the way, and as the old Footprints poem said, when we couldn't see two sets of footprints on the sands of life, He was carrying us.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

For Such a Time as This

I don't think my life has been "typical." Maybe everyone feels the same way. I know the Lord has been preparing the way for me to deal with every circumstance that will cross my path.
 
My life has been one of twists and turns, jobs that worked for a time, and for a purpose, and jobs that continue to provide. Interests that were never meant to be degrees but were only meant to lead me to be more of a researcher or inquisitive. All of these things preparing me for the here and now, and the here and now is preparing me for the future.
 
I know people who would not believe a word of this. The verse stating that all things work for our ultimate good is likely passed off as a lie to them, since so many bad things happen to people who really are pretty good. If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, then you know differently. You know that bad things do happen to the good and the bad, because in God's eyes, none of us are really good except for through Christ. Children are born with rare disorders. Parents lose sleep. People die of cancer. Bad things do happen to Christians, and perhaps they happen especially to Christians. It is those of us who have trusted Christ who have a purpose in our trials. God's purpose is to make us pure and able to glorify Him.
 
This poem is one that I started back when I moved to Greenville, SC to finish my Bachelor's degree. I was fairly alone except for a few people that I knew. I came without a job with the hope of getting one that I had looked into. I got the job as a nanny for a girl with cerebral palsy and her sister. I lived off campus, so I didn't really have friends. I made some, but I was older than average having sat out for two years. I had to depend on the Lord, and He brought me out stronger. I began writing this back then, and last night I finished it, because now I see that time was for a purpose-
For such a time as this
 
 
For Such a Time as This 
Sometimes life seems to turn like pages -changing every other day
But knowing it is God's hand that does the turning -
Allows me to say...
"For such a time as this, I'm here.
Change me, make me a vessel for you. "

Sometimes this life's vessel seems so frail
Weaknesses and cracks show through,
So thankful that in his plan...
He knows how to make all things new

In those days of frail contempt or sinful discontent,
His strong hands pick me up -
His care is evident.
With His help, I'm soon renewed
Life's vessel fit once more...

For such a time as this,
To be filled, poured out, and used
to glorify my Lord.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Different Journey

The culture we live in causes us to think about life in certain ways. It is our worldview. It is easy to focus on the so-called successes in life. To some, success is getting married in your twenties, having three children that are healthy, of average intelligence, and perhaps good at sports, landing a job that is close to six figures by the time you are in your 30's with the goal of retiring early with a solid pension. That is what is often construed as success today. That is even the way many Christians view success.

But what if life does not happen that way? Are you not successful?

What if your story is different? Maybe you are not married by 30. Maybe you were, but now you are a widow or widower. Maybe you have children, but perhaps they had a difficult start or continue to have special needs. Maybe you are unable to have your own child. Maybe you have not found a job that seems to work. Perhaps you have worked in several areas where the Lord has directed, but they have not been places in which you could stay. Maybe your family thought you should have a secular job but you are in ministry. Or perhaps your family pushed you toward ministry, but you knew that your talents led in a different direction. Are you successful even when your life does not fit what others call success?

It is not easy to be different. Sometimes people will judge you for the different life that you have led. Some might suggest that you were never in God's will in the past because things did not work out as planned or that your problems are a sign of judgment from God. Judgments like this could be hurtful, but they are not founded in truth. Although we can make poor choices, whatever happens is God's will. Our choices impact our lives to be sure, and God's moral will must be followed by us obeying His Word, but what happens in our lives is always His will. He is sovereign. His plan was written before our birth. We can never comprehend how that works.

How should we handle our lives when the way we live is different than others? We should handle life like anyone else really should be handling it. Micah 6:8 says it well, "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

Whoever we are, wherever our journey takes us, we should humbly walk with God realizing that it is not about whether our journey has many stops or one long road. It is not about whether others look at our journey and admire the appearance of it. It is not about whether our journey ends with our bank accounts full. In the end of our journey none of that will matter. What matters is how we have handled our journey whether in good times or bad and where we will be when our journey ends.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rejoice

I realize the other day that it has been almost a month since I have written a blog post. My writing is a lot like my art, I seem to have to be "inspired" unless it is for my job. So many times my posts have taken shape because of the difficulties of raising a child with special needs or situations surrounding our lives. The negatives seem to give me the most to write about, because that is where the lessons so often are. Lately, however, I want to praise the Lord for the blessings. His mercies have been on us, and I'm so thankful for it.

I think we are so often told to rejoice in the times of difficulty, that we forget to rejoice in the times when life is easier. There will always be little things. Things that need prayer, and the Lord has so richly answered lately. When the days do go well and fear and worry do not overwhelm, rejoice.

I praise the Lord for the recent change in Trenton due to the prayers of my facebook friends and family. I requested prayer for him to begin to better interact with us, and he is. In fact, right after requesting this, we had a session with the physical therapist, and Trenton worked so hard. The hard work seemed to do something to him that nothing else does. It woke him up mentally. I had read of a study about exercise helping the symptoms of CHARGE, but now I saw it in action. The Lord did it, but He used something earthly to do it.

I also praise the Lord for giving me a new job. I will probably need to be a stay at home mom for many years due to Trenton's difficulties. I'm so thankful that around 4 years ago, my sister sent me a job listing for writing. I never would have thought I would be a writer, but I tried it. Not everyone has the ability to write nothing about anything, but that's what I learned to do. It might sound strange, but the Lord was preparing me to be able to work from home, and now, the Lord has provide a way for me to work less time and make more money because of a job where my father in law works. That is a wonderful blessing. God is always sovereignly working things out for our good.

Finally, I cannot imagine raising our sons without my  husband. He is such a blessing as he does so much to care for both of them. I'm so thankful that we can be a team in raising our boys. It cannot be easy for those who do it alone, but God graciously gave us each other.