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Friday, April 27, 2012

The Mom of That Kid

You know “that kid” that always says hey to everyone and tries to be friends with everyone? You know the one… they remember names REALLY well and they try to talk to people when they sometimes just want to do their day and not talk? They ask a lot of questions and they don’t really mean any harm, but they sometimes don’t know when enough is enough. The can kind of make you feel a little awkward and you may even try to avoid them because they are just a little overwhelming. You know the ones?

Well, I am the mom of one of those kids.

She is so sweet and she’s really funny if people were to get to know her, but she sometimes overwhelms those people from the get-go. She asks questions that are not always relevant and so she sometimes makes her peers (and some adults) want to go in the other direction, and to be honest, who can blame them!?

Believe me! We talk and explain and encourage and try so hard to make her understand peer and personal boundaries. It’s just that in her mind she WILL be nice to you by talking to you (no matter if she has to make up a topic to discuss)! She WILL understand why you are carrying that book bag, have that bandage on your knee or need to go to the health room. She WILL say “hi” because that’s what friends do.

Honestly, as the mom of one of those kids it’s hard to watch.

We are REALLY realistic at our house. We call a spade a spade and we are not blind to the issues that our daughter has. We LOVE her so much and we try really hard to help her be all that God has intended her to be. We talk, talk, talk about the importance of personal space, both physically and conversationally. We really try, but in the end she is who God made her to be and we can’t change her. We pray for maturity and for growth in all areas just like any other parent. We give direction and we coach her all that we can, but she’s not with us 24/7 and so somehow there’s going to have to be a level of letting go.

When you have a kid with special needs your dreams for that kid change. Before we had her we were talking about saving for college and how she’d love to play softball or be a gymnast. We made plans for how life with a kid might be, and those things have not happened. Now, we pray that she’ll one day be able to be independent and possibly live in a group home or have room mates that can all help one another. We pray that she might have a skill and have a job that would help her feel a sense of accomplishment in this life. There’s just a more realistic plan that comes into view when you realize that the path that you are on is different than the one you thought you might travel and so it takes some adjusting along the way.

Let me be clear. WE are SOOO proud of our girl. She makes us laugh every single day. I am honored that God entrusted her to us!! I am proud of her abilities and the fact that she WILL be kind to you whether you are kind in return or not. We have learned so much from her and I would not trade our life for one minute.

It just hurts my heart to see the reaction of others because she doesn’t sense when she needs to stand back. She doesn’t have the ability to read when someone needs space. How I wish I could put a little sensor in her ear that said, “Not this time, honey. Just keep walking.”

It’s in these times that my mama heart hurts, but also has to trust that God made her the way that He did and He knows what He’s doing. He can and will be that still small voice that will lead her and use her to be an encouragement when maybe no one else will. He has a plan for this life… otherwise He would not have created it.. and so I have to trust that HIS plan is perfect and that the road we are traveling is the one that He intended us to travel. He does not make mistakes and so I am the mom of this kid and I am proud of it!

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

I’m a Complete and Utter Mess

You know, more and more I am all about just telling it like it is. Life is becoming something so different for me lately that I really don’t recognize myself anymore. And can I just say, “YAYYYYY GOD!”?

For a while I’ve wanted an EXTREME HOME Makeover with the “home” being me! You know, an Out of the Box life that does not look remotely like my old self? Something new and exciting. Something that isn’t complacent or satisfied with being on the sidelines.

So one night it happened. I was cleaning out some of my daughter’s clothes and I was kind of praying about it. “God, not Goodwill. I like them, but I want to really make a difference in someone’s life with these clothes. What do I do? Who could I help?” It was really a simple kind of prayer. Nothing real earth shattering. Just me and God kind of talking.  I love that.

I went to bed that night and was getting all settled for a good night’s sleep. I read my Bible and then got all cozy when it happened. It was the very night when God stood on my head. Yes. ON my head. Well, literally on the left side of my face. It was like, “You’ve asked me who you can help so now you are going to listen!”  And suddenly I heard it loud and clear… local missions, meeting the needs of clothing and food and the life giving gospel for others in my community, began to just flood my heart and mind.

Ok, hear me here. I don’t mean like a little still small voice. This was like drinking from a fire hydrant. When I say flood I mean a dam bursting, water gushing, overflowing with great destructive force, ruin your life, completely change who you are and what you look like in the mirror and in your heart FLOOD!

It has ruined me.

I am really not sure why I have never taken God at His Word before now. I guess in my little Christian life I have claimed the scripture that helped me and fit my little situations. You know? “I know the plans I have for you…” Jeremiah 29:11  and “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 because I NEEDED (and still need) those promises to help me make it through the day.

But what about “…look after orphans and widows in their time of distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27b?

Or “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith  but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister with without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” James 2:14-16?

Why haven’t I taken God at His Word?

Perhaps I wasn’t in a place where I could receive it. Or maybe I was so dang hard headed and hearted that I WOULD not receive it. Either way… it’s not an option anymore.

Sooo… there’s tons more to this story, but today my friends and I sang at a Walk-a-thon to benefit a local unwed mother’s home.

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Sorry my picture is a little small and blurry, but you get the idea.

I love EVERY single girl in this picture and every second of serving with them. They love Jesus and they love others and they want to see His Name honored and so do I.

I don’t have enough time to tell you how messed up I am. It’s all I think about and all I want to do. I want to meet needs and listen to stories and encourage and tell others that Christ died for them and that He has a plan for their lives… after I help them find clothing.

My husband and friends are sick of me. THEY didn’t sign up for this, but God is working in all of us and He’s up to something major! It didn’t just start with me…oh no! THEY love Jesus and THEY want to do what He calls them to, too. So we are all on this ride together! They are just sick of me talking about it, but that’s too bad! I’ll just tell God about them!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Things My Mama Did Right

Well, it has been a while since I have written a post. I know there’s lots to tell you but this hit me this morning as I was driving home from the gym.  Soon I will have to post some recent pictures of all that is going on around here, but for today I’ve been thinking about my mom.

There really isn’t a special reason other than recently we’ve sometimes disagreed on a few things. (Just keepin’ it real, people! And let me tell you… she keeps it real, too!) We are so much alike that we sometimes butt heads, but I seriously do not know where I’d be without her.

Growing up I guess I didn’t respect her like I always should have. Maybe you aren’t like me, but I went through a stage where I didn’t think she was very smart at all. She’d be glad to tell you about all of the ways that I let her know that, too. Just ask!

As I became an adult we’ve always talked but I am pretty independent so I ventured out on my own, started a teaching career and got married. Things were going along pretty smoothly until I had this  little girl. With mild special needs and being a first time mom, MAN did I need help!!?

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.. and suddenly she was BRILLIANT! I would have  (and would STILL) struggled much more without her on my team! That is FOR SURE!

She loves to dress up and be cute! She taught me to try to look my best at all times and to hold my head up high. She has always said, “Your family is proud of you. You be proud of yourself!”

She has always taught me to laugh… and she is hilarious!! I love that she cracks jokes, even in serious situations, and that she can crack you up with her dry sense of humor. She will say ANYTHING to anyone and it makes me and my brother just roll!

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She’s always taught me to laugh at myself…don’t take it all too seriously and “remember that everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time just like you do”. (One of her favorite quotes!)

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She works at the hospital in the women’s imaging area (breast cancer screening) and she is SO perfect to work with the doctors. They may be highly educated and highly paid, but they are people and she does not let those degrees or pedigrees intimidate her one bit! She treats everyone the same and she’s taught me to do the same.

She has also taught me to love unconditionally. While she has always worked outside the home to help take care of us she has ALWAYS been there through thick and thin. I have never wondered whether or not I could talk to her about anything! She is concerned and she cares about situations that our family faces, and she does not shy away when things are hard. Good or bad, she’s there.

She is there for her brother and sisters, too. When their mom died my mom has been diligent about calling to check on things back home. I love that she’d drop everything to help them if they needed her, just like she’d do for me and my family. Family is family no matter how far away and no matter how much time has passed.

Mom also taught me to love Jesus. She may not be a big evangelist or even read her Bible every day, but there is no doubt that she values her salvation and she’s quick to tell someone, “Well, you need to get your life right with the Lord! He can make it all so much better!” She prays for us and she tries to live a consistent life… one that isn’t wishy washy, but one that shows that she  trusts the Lord in all things. Not much seems to take her down.

I know things in this life will not always be perfect, but I truly do not know where I’d be without my mom.  She’s done a lot of things right and I don’t think that we always take the time to say it. We may not always agree on everything, but one thing we always agree on is that there’s enough love here to always overcome!

I love you Mom!