Our Life Right Now

It’s 11am on a Sunday morning and we should be sitting in church. I want to be in church. Instead, we are home. It has been a rough weekend. It began Friday evening when Luke couldn’t fall asleep. We stayed up late because we were at someone’s house enjoying ourselves. We were doing what “normal” people do. The kids were playing and the adults were talking. Time passed quickly. Looking back, I feel like I should have known better. Luke’s tics become almost violent in nature when he’s too tired. But then, it feels good to have moments to feel “normal”…and so it didn’t cross my mind until I was lying in bed with Luke trying to help him relax in between his tics.

Yesterday was just hard because he didn’t get enough sleep. It carried on all day and even into the night. We tried to get him to bed at 8pm, his regular bedtime, but it didn’t work. We ended up playing cards so he could get his mind off the tics. This morning, we allowed him to get the sleep he needed and so it was too late to make it to church.

A couple years ago, I don’t think we missed one day of Sunday school or church (unless we were sick or out of town). Our church life looks much different now and it makes me sad…yet this is our life. All of it has me thinking of how different life and church is for families with kids who have struggles. I don’t have the energy to say anything else right now except that it is hard and I can’t beat myself up over missing a couple weeks.

The Love For Your Family

I was weary for quite some time. I was a heartbroken momma wanting to know how to help my boy. I was impatiently waiting for God to answer my prayers, not wanting to trust what He was doing behind the scenes to prepare us. 

Last Sunday evening as I was lying in bed, I prayed we were making the right decision. I mean, I already knew we made the right decision. God clearly revealed it to us. It’s just, sometimes my humanness makes me second-guess things. Through all my humanness, all my weakness, there’s one thing I never second-guess: the peace only He can give. In my moment of questioning, that lovely peace enveloped me and has carried me through this entire week.

Over Christmas break, Luke was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. Another diagnosis added to his list. It doesn’t seem right. It definitely isn’t fair. We weren’t surprised by it though. The symptoms described everything we had been noticing.

This year, school became hard. We realized he was spending so much energy trying to suppress his tics that he was unraveling at home. Add that to the energy it takes with his eye disorder and just the normal energy it takes to learn and so on. Plus through all of that, his grades were great. No wonder he was unraveling. On weekends, Luke was worn and anxious thinking about the coming school week. Kids were noticing his tics and were asking him questions. Most were not being mean, but it was pushing him further and further into a shell. He was sad and frustrated at the world. We were trying everything we could and nothing seemed to help him. I was losing my fun-loving bold kid. We had to do something different.

It’s crazy what the love for your family gives you strength to do. Never did I ever think I would homeschool. Yet, here I am. Our first week passed and went great. It felt so natural and right that there is no doubt God’s blessing on all of this. I feel strong and at peace. Thanks to God.

We do have a long road ahead. Luke will be starting a therapy that is known to be the most effective for Tourette’s. Please pray that it is for Luke. I want my boy back.

 

 

Voices

C847A552-22B8-4EB4-B816-75161DD88C47Certain people’s voices have a way of calming and carrying away my troubles. It is as though I can feel it on a cellular level. I mean, maybe not that much…or maybe so? Hmm. Yesterday it was my dad’s voice. Somedays it is the last voicemail from my grandma that I cannot seem to erase. I have one of my other grandma from her old work voicemail greeting as well that I cherish. My mom’s voice, my husband’s voice, and my kids voice ignite the same. Last week, my son had to call me from school. The sound of his voice, although I had just seen him a couple hours before, pulled me out of my worries and into a feeling of something I can’t quite describe.

A feeling of something I can’t quite describe. I bet as you read those words, you knew exactly what I meant. I bet you pictured one or more people in your life, past or present, whose voice does the same.

There are many times I have wished to pick up my phone to hear God’s voice in the same manner. I wonder what it would sound like? Strong but yet gentle and soothing, I imagine. What would I say to Him? Better yet, what would He say to me?  I would hope to hear Him simply say, “I love you and keep up the good work.” Yes, that would be enough for me. Those are the words I long to hear from people close to me. (Can you guess one of my love languages?) God designed me as such––to be the type who feels most at peace when I try to keep doing better at whatever it is I am doing in life. Yep, that pretty much sums me up.

So, what simple words would you like to hear from God?

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

~Matthew 25:23

Never Alone

72A13AF1-A5BF-4F7E-AA64-12407847BA92I felt God as I watched Luke, tired and worn, with his head down walking up to me after school. His arm jerked up to his chest and his opposite leg jerked up immediately after. He glanced around with fear in his eyes. The tics growing ever worse and his anxiety over the fear of people noticing sent a twinge of sadness through every part of me. God was still there though. His loving presence reminded me of the hope we carry in the trials of life.

I heard God through Luke as his fingers danced along the piano keys. Joy traveled from his heart to his fingers to the keys and then to the hearts of all who heard. God was unmistakably there.

I saw God as Oliver listened intently as I explained why Luke struggles with life due to his vision problems, his ADHD, his tics, his anxiety, and all the ripple effects they cause. He nodded, he understood, he cared, and then we prayed. I saw God ever more clearly as I witnessed Oliver caring for his brother the days after our conversation. God stood in the midst of Oliver’s patience, his love, and his words.

Life, our life, is not an easy one…especially as of late. Some days I feel as though I alone carry Luke’s, Oliver’s, Matt’s, and my own weight. I feel alone and unsupported as though I may topple over at any given moment. Then, I cry out. I pick up the phone and hear my mom or dad’s voice. I receive a text from a caring friend. My husband embraces me. My kids smile. I remember that God is there, He is always there. He’s always been there. Through the pain and the joys of our simple little life God alone carries us through. It isn’t me. It never has been. It is God through me and with me. I am never alone. Praise God (insert happy dance)!

The Feet Washers of the World

The old familiar feeling under my fingertips as I type these words has brought with it the peace I have been longing for this past two months since my last post. My apologies ahead of time. I’m sure this one will be full of rambling as my writing brain is a bit rusty. Oh well…

Two months ago, our renovations began in our home and I decided to put my blog on hold as well. It isn’t easy to focus on much of anything other than the chaos that surrounds me. As I look around at the beautiful progress, I know it is all worth it.

I remember the first time I stepped foot in this house. At first glance we saw the 1990’s glaring us in the face with all the beige carpet and brass galore. I walked around the house. Then we walked outside and the beautiful trees pulled me in. I thought of the other houses we had walked through, the other neighborhoods that were bare of any character. It was different here. Every house had its own personality. We stepped back inside and I looked around again. The layout of this house was different than most in this area. I also remembered my childhood and our old wooden boats. The joy of watching them transform into whatever we wanted to make them swept over me. I then pictured what the house could be.

Right now, it is finally becoming what I pictured. It is becoming more than what I pictured. (Insert giddy dance.) We could have sold our home and built a new one. We almost did a year ago. Boy, I’m glad we didn’t. There’s nothing better than taking what you already have and renewing it…

It is funny how the pounding of hammers, the buzz of power tools, and loud talking has become all too familiar. So familiar, I imagine I may feel my house is too quiet once it is all gone. We are nearing the end of the long list of to-dos on the remodeling. Eight weeks have passed without a kitchen. One of our bathrooms has been out-of-order as well. There are random lights without power and I cannot for the life of me remember there is no power in my usual plug-in spot for the central vacuum.

There have been stressful and disappointing moments. We’ve not exactly been pleased with the entire process and have had to speak up on a few different occasions. This has led to an unease in both me and my husband. Neither of us like conflict, nor do we feel it necessary to complain or pick apart a person or his/her work. We like to trust people and we like to trust that they are doing the best they can. What we have learned is that sometimes people cross the line and you have to stand up––and that’s okay.

With that being said, what we have also learned is that behind the people who cross the line are others who are well aware and work hard to make up for it. They are the fixers. They are the ones who assure you the work will be done right. They clean up messes. They go above and beyond what is expected of them. Those are, of course, the type of people who don’t get the credit they deserve. Those are also the type of people I try to point out to my kids as an example of what they should become.

I could care less about my kids being highly educated or wealthy. I try to teach them to aim for more love and the opportunity to serve others. Be the cleaner uppers and fixers. You know, like Jesus, who led by serving others. Yep, I want my boys to want to be feet washers. That is what this world really needs.

Steady Arms

There was a situation with one of my boys that left him feeling insecure, hurt, and a bit angry. The words he used, the expressions on his face, and his slumped shoulders unsettled some past dust in my own life. Feeling his pain and my own, I embraced him and prayed for guidance before I spoke. The first thing I could think to say was that I knew exactly how he felt. He straightened up and looked me in the eyes. I nodded and repeated my sentence. I spoke about not feeling like your enough for some people. His head plopped down and rested on my shoulder. We talked a little bit more, but it was one of those moments where I felt he needed my quiet presence more than my words. It was one of those moments where I felt my husband, his dad, needed to do the guiding. Boy, that’s not easy to do as a mom.  It worked though. Dad to the rescue!

The feeling of not being enough for someone hurts. It hurts more than I like to admit out loud. No matter how far I’ve come in my life, no matter how much I’ve come to accept my weaknesses and limits I struggle with this still. I know with full confidence that I cannot be enough for everyone all the time and yet I wish I could be.

Maybe it is natural to feel this way, maybe we all feel this from time to time. I know it is okay to be hurt and embrace hurt feelings. I think it leads to becoming more sensitive in the treatment of others. I just don’t want it to paralyze my kids like it has me in the past. I guess this can be where I try to shift their thinking or at least teach them to be aware of the instability of self-confidence.

Our weaknesses will inevitably come to the surface at times. Trying to rely on our fickle feelings or the opinions of others can lead to more pain. Learning to lean into pure confidence in Christ, into His steady arms, is what I want for my kids. Heck, it is what I want for myself as well. You know, no matter how far I’ve come in my faith journey there’s always moments that remind me of how much further I can still go. Hmm…thank God for that.

 

 

This World Will Tell You

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This world will tell you strength lies in control and power.

I say real strength lies in submission and humility.

This world will tell you to put your needs first.

I say you should put others’ needs first.

This world will tell you to do whatever makes you happy.

I say you should use self-control and do what pleases God.

This world will tell you there is no God–just look at the science.

I say it’s ridiculous to think chance could create such detail, beauty, and intellect in its design.

This world will tell you to do and think many things,

but I’m telling you this world is wrong.

Towards the Living Water

48CAFEDC-7FF8-4F2B-8EBF-9344D283AFD4Slowly, ever so slowly, I lift my foot then quickly place it back down. I try again. I succeed. I then lift my other foot to follow. It is heavier than the first. I wait. I pray. I pick up my bible. I listen. My foot lifts and moves forward. The process repeats.

Why does God sometimes allow us to stand still not knowing when the next step will come? Why do some steps have to hurt, while others feel as though you’re gliding?

Last week, I had two dreams. I’m not saying they were prophetic in nature, but they certainly reflected inner turmoil over a decision I have been struggling with. The first dream my youngest and I arrived somewhere. It felt familiar as a home would feel. Someone approached us and said, “Welcome home.” Then this person looked at me with distant eyes and walked away. We sat. Uneasiness coursed through me as I watched everyone around us. Nothing felt right.

The second dream occurred the very next evening. I was in a different place. I was brought to a medical chair. Someone approached me and began examining my arms. She tapped on my veins and then gently looked into my eyes and said, “You’ve been trying to do this all on your own, haven’t you?” She then started an IV and hooked me up to some fluids. “Just sit here for a couple hours and you’ll be better,” she said. When it was over I was guided to an unfamiliar auditorium and sat next to my family and peace washed over me.

Sometimes the familiar and easy is not what we’re supposed to choose. Sometimes we are called to do what doesn’t make sense to ourselves or to others. Although scary, we must close our eyes and cling to the One who is always there patiently and lovingly guiding toward the living water.

The Beautiful Mundane

We moved into our house about 4 years ago. Four years! It struck me quite hard a while back when we began planning the remodeling of our home. I started to think of the time and in many ways my mind went blank. That really resonated with me because I love memories and I love thinking––so rarely do I draw a blank. It led to an anxiety and an itching to just pack up and move again. Was this not the right place for us to put down roots? Because as far as my past goes, there have been moments and vivid memories that I can almost physically relive in every single house that I have ever lived in. I’ve lived in a lot of houses. So that speaks volumes!

The vagueness of the time passed pulled me into a deep evaluation of my life. The moments, events, and just other things I thought would end up being significant or at least lead to a sort of compelling conclusion ended or passed rather dim. The odd thing is the vagueness itself became quite profound. It led to a deeper understanding and love of life as I know.

My parents were in town last month. My dad had a couple VHS tapes from my uncle that we decided to watch. There was no sound to the movies. The smiles told more than any sound could have told anyhow. It was just my family doing what families do. Most were in my great-grandma’s old kitchen filled with many people who are no longer with us. Some of them passed old and a couple too young.

There was one clip with my grandma sitting at the table. At the time she was a wife and mom of three kids visiting her parents and other family. She was happy. I felt it through the screen. Since I too was visiting with my parents who live out of state, I connected to her in that moment even more. Being a mom when your mom lives out of state is sometimes hard. When you get a chance to visit, there’s a sense of relief and weight that temporarily lifts from your shoulders. At least that is how it is for me. I imagine it was the same for my grandma. I imagine there were many things the same for her at that time. She was in the same stage of life as I am. She was a wife and a mom living an ordinary life. She very well could have thought back at the last four years of her life and had only vague memories of the time passed in her home, just like me.

Those vague memories, my vague memories of the mundane are what create a beautiful life. To think, all it takes is a table filled with loved ones. If only we all could have those moments recorded to be seen years later. We’d realize how simple it all can be.

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Luke

 

My oldest turns nine tomorrow. How is that even possible?

Earlier today we were at the park with some friends. We were catching crayfish and Luke wanted help over a rock. We somehow ended up with me carrying him like a baby. We joked about how I never get to hold him anymore. As I held him, I almost dropped him because he was so heavy. It was a moment of laughing on the outside and weeping a bit on the inside.

There was another moment. He climbed inside the Gaga Ball pit. The other kids were talking to each other, not Luke. A friend of mine asked if I wanted her to go over there to make sure the others would include Luke. I smiled and said she didn’t need to and told her to watch how Luke wiggles his way in with ease. He did. A minute later they were playing. I don’t think he realizes how brave he is.

And, one more moment. His brother had a rough start to the day. Nothing was going the way he wanted. (Don’t we all have those days?) Luke looked at him and gently said, “Listen, Oliver. I would say about three-quarters of life will not go your way and that’s normal and okay. Nothing is supposed to be perfect. We just have to learn to be okay with it.”

The mother in me wanted to step in and lighten it a bit. Three-quarters? That may a bit of a stretch. Then I thought of Luke’s life. He has Ocular Albinism and knows he may never drive. Seeing is hard for him which makes everything harder for him. He has ADHD as well. So, thinking is hard, learning is hard, regulating his emotions is hard, and on and on. So yea, maybe three-quarters isn’t a stretch.

Like I said, I don’t think he realizes how brave he is. Nothing stops him from living life full of love, fun, and spunk. Did I mention that he does great in school too? I’m thankful God chose me as his mom.

The end.