Two hour delay…

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A face worth fighting for…

When I was a young girl, I was prone to the most ridiculous and often selfish prayers.  My Dad’s favorite actor has always been John Wayne.  Watching those movies year after year? YUP you guessed it.. I wished with all my heart that I had been born in the Wild West.  Of course I KNEW that was a ridiculous thing to pray for, so I prayed for something much more “practical”.  “Dear Father in Heaven, please send someone to give me a horse.  It can be ANY horse.. old, young, fast or slow.  Any horse will do,” and I always added, “Your will be done,” at the end just like my Dad always did.

Now in a family with 7 children and 2 adults? YUP.. not really all that practical.  In fact, it was a really selfish prayer.  Children’s prayers often are.  I never intended to be selfish.  I simply wanted to hold out hope that for some reason it WOULD be part of God’s Will for us.  Over the years, I prayed many such prayers.  “Lord, please let there be a Cabbage Patch Kid under the tree tomorrow morning.” OR “Please let this teacher move to New Mexico.” OR “PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE… Can I have a horse?”  Many years passed before I realized that God is much smarter than we are.  A horse would have strapped our family in a way to make our simple life style miserable.  So God said, “No”.  A Cabbage Patch Kid was an overpriced doll.  So God said, “No, but your Mom and Grandma made you a similar doll with love and care.. accept this instead.”  And as for the teacher?  Well God knew that sometimes having unpleasant people in my life was the best way to keep me from ever becoming unpleasant myself.. So instead God said, “I want you to have this unpleasant teacher, but next year I will send an especially wonderful one.”

As I grew older, I sometimes slipped back into ridiculous prayers.  “Lord, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let my awesome friend ask me to the school dance.”  Now that I am a happily married adult, I realize that God was so loving by telling me “NO”.  You see God knew that He had someone special in mind for me all along.  By not giving into my requests (ok.. begging), God steered me in the direction He intended me to go.

Some of my prayers, God did grant.  Some were practical.  I prayed for a WHOLE day (that’s pretty long for a teenager) before I went to the principal and asked if we could keep the yearbook committee if we held it after school.  It was granted immediately.  I always had enough babysitting jobs to afford dresses for dances.  I always had enough strength to do the hard things in life.  Every presentation, every performance, every apology.. I could feel God’s presence just as I had asked for.

Throughout my life, I became more and more aware that God doesn’t just answer “Yes” or “No”.  Quite often God answered me with a “Not Yet”.   “Dear Father in Heaven, I would really like a new car, if it’s in Your Will..”, Not Yet … “Dear Father in Heaven, I would really like to move closer home to family.. if it’s in Your Will..,” Not Yet.. be patient.  “Dear Father in Heaven, I would LOVE to have my daughter grow out of this phase.. quickly.. OH, if it’s in Your Will, of course??”  (I think I heard Him chuckle on that one) Not yet.. your daughter needs to learn something first.

I have come to think of these “Not Yet” answers as a kind of Two Hour Delay.  When schools have a Two Hour Delay, they aren’t saying they aren’t going to take your kids.  They are simply saying “Not Yet!  We want to make sure it is the perfect time.”  In the same way, God wasn’t telling me No.. just that the timing was not quite right.. not just yet.

Recently, I felt the full impact of one such Two Hour Delays.. or in this case it was a 14 Year Delay.  Almost from birth, my son has had tummy and digestive issues.. He would scream in pain, he would projectile vomit.. and he was never comfortable.  I would rock him, sing to him… my husband even tried his miracle football hold (that had saved us with our daughter).  Nothing helped.  I started praying that God would show me what was wrong and how to help.  We did test after test.. Nothing.  Still we prayed for a solution.  We found home remedies and over the counter meds that helped some.  Still we prayed.  Eventually, the doctors gave us medicine for him.  But for every solution that medicine seemed to give our son, more symptoms would pop up.  So STILL we prayed for wisdom on what was wrong.  Eventually we received a diagnoses of Autism.  With a diagnosis, my son received therapies.  But we noticed his behavior kept slipping.  I was told by other mothers of children with Autism that I needed to accept his limitations.  The doctors said I needed to accept his medical issues and just make him comfortable.  After MANY tears, I prayed, “Lord, if THIS is your answer.  If this is the life you intended for my son, please give me the peace to accept this answer.  But IF it is in Your Will, I would like to keep fighting for a solution.  I would like to find a way for my son to do ALL of the things that he WANTS to do.  So IF it’s in Your Will.. please help me find a way.”

I did have peace for years.. He was growing and seemed less uncomfortable.  His behavior equalized and he seemed to be maturing.  And then one day all that progress.. it stopped.  He seemed to grow “worse” by the day.  He would focus less, quote more, listen less, yell more.  Our peace was gone.  So once again, I prayed for answers.  I researched for hours for solutions.  And Still I prayed for guidance.

Then one day, God decided it was the perfect time.  He sent someone to tell me about food sensitivities and related behaviors.  I immediately went home and researched.. and it was all there.  EVERY answer to EVERY issue.  I found links between digestive health and vitamin deficiencies.  I found links between vitamin deficiencies and learning disorders.  I found links between learning disorders and diagnoses.. And I found links that showed me the link between Autism and digestive health.. and that digestive health can lead to the worsening of Autism.  And I cried… I cried because it was all there!  I cried because God hadn’t said “Accept this!”.. He had actually said, “Not just Yet.. Our timing needs to be perfect.”

I do not know why God thought THIS time was the perfect time.  But I do know that after I scheduled an appointment with a Diet and Nutrition doctor, it was a short time until we had a few simple tests done.  And a short time until all the results gave us the rest of the answers we needed.  I don’t really need to know why this is God’s perfect time.  But you can bet that I am Accepting that THIS is God’s plan.  I am accepting that my son is improving everyday.  He smiles more, yells less, he works more, quotes less, draws more and cries less.

So as I battled the roads this morning to take my kids to school after a Two Hour Delay,  I couldn’t find it in my heart to be frustrated with the school.  Because some of the most Glorious things happen when it is on God’s schedule and who am I to question that schedule?

Instruction Manual…

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Curves ahead… 2006

On a particularly taxing summer day, I remember laughing with a family member about how I have often wished God had sent an instruction manual along with my youngest child.  Almost from his first day, I had encountered dilemmas I had never heard of.  He never slept, never stopped crying, never let me put him down, NEVER slept, hated the car, was always hungry, hated the swing, hated sunshine, .. and did I mention that he NEVER slept?  I knew that there were stories of people having fussy babies, but that happened to OTHER people.. not my family.  We KNEW how to care for babies.  So I will admit that after the 47th night of no sleep, I decided that God was giving me a dose of humility.  So I humbly prayed, “Lord, please forgive me for always assuming that harassed and tired looking mothers just weren’t used to caring for children.  Please Bless ALL of the sleepless mothers in the world with a good nights sleep.  Including me.. if it’s in Your will.  Amen.”  I don’t know about all the other sleepless mothers in the world, but God woke my husband… who took my crying baby from me .. so I could sleep.

As I journeyed down the road of Special needs, I have prayed many midnight prayers like this one.  But the prayer I have prayed the most often could actually be classified as a PLEA.  My heartfelt begging of God for the Wisdom to choose the correct path.  I have always felt that there were ways to solve every dilemma.. an answer to every issue.. a happiness at the end of every teary-eyed day.  Unfortunately, I am a very slow learner.  I would trudge along on the path I chose.. knowing I would find the answer.  Then on the 47th day.. I would put my son on the bus with a smile forced past my quivering lip.. and as soon as the bus disappeared from site, I would sink (in surrender) down on the steps in front of my house and pray.  I can’t even count how many times I cried out to God that I couldn’t do it on my own anymore.  (Like He didn’t already know that..?)  And I would pray that familiar prayer.. “Lord.. forgive me for assuming that every harassed and tired looking Mother.. didn’t know what she was doing.  Please Bless every Mother of a Special Needs child with the knowledge she needs, the strength to carry it out.. and a good night’s sleep.  Including me.. if it is in Your Will.. Amen.”  I don’t know about all the other Mothers of children with Special Needs.. but at that moment I was filled to the brim with Peace. Then God would send someone with a sign for which path I needed to follow.  Whether it was a call from a teacher with a new intervention, a dear “sister” stopping by for a cup of tea reminding me that my child WAS IN FACT just a child, or a call reminding me I needed to set up an appointment.. or my favorite, a phone call from a friend telling me she was taking my kids for the night.  After way too many years of trying it on my own?  I finally learned to start my day with, “Lord please lend me the wisdom, the strength, and the love I will need for this day.  If it is in Your Will. Amen.”

I have spent the majority of my life caring for children.  My own children, plus the ones that people have shared with me.  My preschool classes, my nursery class at church, and my daycare kiddos.  There really is no way to count the number of children that have touched my heart and effected my life.  But during those years of care, I have come to realize that every child has Special Needs.  I had students with high IQ’s, who would melt down with every transition.  I had highly organized and efficient students, who had speech delays.  Artist students who don’t like to be touched.  Students with the best personalities, who could not learn personal space boundaries.  I began to see that every student had a special ability or “super power”, and that every one of them struggled with something.  Some of those struggles are huge neon signs, but some of them aren’t.  Some of the struggles are actually a small “handle with care” tag tucked in their shirt collar.  God Blessed me with one of each of these children.  My son carries his Special Needs around with a blinking Neon sign.. My daughter tucks hers in her collar on a tiny tag, hidden from the rest of the world.  On a particular taxing day, watching my daughter struggle with her “special needs” hidden from the world, I prayed a new prayer.  “Lord, I can see that every child struggles with their own needs.  Forgive me for assuming that us Mothers of children with Diagnoses deserve more of your time and understanding than any other Mother.  Please Bless EVERY Mother in the world with the wisdom of how to help her children, the strength to follow through with that wisdom and a good night’s sleep… including me, if it is in Your Will, Lord. Amen.”  I can’t speak for all the Mothers in the world, but I was filled with a peace in that moment.

I still have days that I try things my own way.  When I have beat my head against the wall for the 47th time, I remember to take a step back and look for what God is trying to show me.  There are days that I yell down the hall for my daughter to come see me immediately.  There are days that I can’t handle my son’s behavior and send him to his room.  And there are days that I drop my kids off at school, forcing a smile past my quivering lips, then cry all the way home.  But for as many sad, stressful moments I have had in my life as a mother of children with Special Needs, I have had so many more filled with joy.  That moment when your child laughs with real joy.  The smile that is filled with contentment.  The pride you feel in their EVERY success.  Those moments out weigh the moments of stress.  And I have realized that if you LOOK for them.. the moments of joy greatly outnumber the moments of tears.

But the moment I most felt like a good mother?  It was the moment that my daughter burst into tears while slamming soapy dirty dishes around, yelling of injustice.. and in that moment I recognized it NOT as a moment of insolence or rebellion.. but as a moment of need.  Laughing, as my eyes filled with tears, I wrapped that beautiful, struggling child in my arms (dirty soap suds and all) and gave her a hug until she laughed with me.  That is my best Mom moment.

That still small voice…

reflectionsI have always believed that the “still small whisper” in your mind is God trying to guide you along the path he has chosen for you. I try to listen for it, I do… When I hear more than 1 reference to a topic, I research it.. When I get a strong feeling to call someone I do.. When I meet with obstacle after obstacle on a self-chosen path in my life, I start to wonder if God means for me to go in a different direction. My whole life could be described as “Looking for the Signs”… But I like to say I listen for God all around me.

Sometimes, my head is so full of thinking or worrying.. even while praying.. that I forget to empty my thoughts and listen. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10)… I am really good at knowing who my God is.. the Being Still part I get rusty on. So God sends Megaphones into my life.

For example.. I’ve had 3 separate people this week tell me to get out of my warm house and warm car, to GET a library card. NOW, my family LOVES the library. But both times we went to get a card, there were obstacles.. so it got shuffled to the end of my to-do list.. But after 3 distinct messages? I call that a Megaphone. So Simon and I went to the Library yesterday. He was so happy. I didn’t realize how much he missed it.

I have a few friends that are regularly used for Megaphones in my life. God uses one particular friend the most often.. why this one in particular you ask? Because God KNOWS that I love to hit the snooze button. What is a snooze button in life you ask? You know, “I am busy right now, I will think about that later.” SNOOZE “That is going to take some time to accomplish, I will schedule time next week.” SNOOZE… or my favorite, “I think you have the wrong number.” SNOOZE

My favorite Megaphone? Well let’s just say God let her in on my “snooze” life style.. so she is very persistent. “I think you should blog,” she says. “Here is a blog on why you should blog,” she says. “Here is a blog on HOW to get started with blogging,” she says. So I FINALLY get it. I hear God’s voice through the Megaphone of my sweet friend’s persistent voice. But still I say.. I don’t have time today.. maybe next week.. So what does GOD say?? “Have a snow day! Will that give you enough time?” (SILENCE) Should be plenty God, thanks..

So I need to make “Being still” more of a priority in my life. I need to spend a portion of my time, not just reading my daily devotional, that is zapped to my phone for my convenience.. but being still. Letting my body be still. Letting my tongue be still. Letting my thoughts be still.

I think I will start tomorrow. Because today God used a Megaphone, and I will be setting up my blog..