Our Newest Adventure

(Photo of Richard in his new contacts. The expression just works)

We decided after pair of glasses number 3,489,087,568, or so it would seem to be that many, that it was time. It was time to go on the quest of contacts. The small lenses that stick directly onto the eyeball, and force you to properly see. I use the word force because, well, Richard would frequently lower his glasses to the tip of his nose and look over them. That’s right, over them. Not through these mystical pieces of glass or plastic or transparent magical augmenters. You know, the portion that actually helps you see not through a blurry haze of unfocused world. Because it just made that sensory input easier to navigate.

Isaiah 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

So, we as parents, for years have had the debate of contact lenses. It would be a conversation that we would have every time our, multidimensionally affected superhero, would in anger twist and break his glasses. We would each time eventually land on the decision of, it just wasn’t worth the argument and, what happens when he rips out one of those and tosses them. We would picture all of us at the zoo, or in the center of the local mall on our hands and knees, a wide circle clearing around us, searching desperately for the clear contact on the floor. So, truthfully, we would decide to get another pair of glasses out of possible personal inconvenience. I admit, many times I make decisions this way, how human of me. And, yet again we would inevitably have a broken pair of glasses to contend with. A vicious cycle we were doomed to repeat because of our own trepidation of a routine that would change.

This time around, I decided to talk with someone else about this great debate. No, not Donald Trump, though I admit that would be quite entertaining. I decided to pray.

Philippians4:6-7  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Before now I may have said to myself, God has enough to worry about in this world. My trivial issue of contacts over glasses for our son is not worth his precious time. I actually find myself saying that about many things in life, that my small problems are just that, small. That I should not give them to Jesus in our time together because, Jesus wants me to think of others. The truth is, Jesus wants to think of us too. Even our small problems. Which yes, includes whether or not it is time to try contacts for our amazing superhero. So I sat alone in my room, giving myself fully over to God for a few moments, much like I do everyday. Only this time I included my personal prayer, leaving all self doubt aside and giving Jesus what He desires, rather than following my own desire to keep it to myself. Jesus, answered with a relieved breath, letting me know Richard is ready to take on this responsibility. I also felt as though He was proud of me for giving it over, finally.

So, here we are. The adventure begins and let me tell you, the fight of taking them out is one for the record books. Especially being the stimming he uses is jumping and bouncing. The accompanying yell that comes along with it is also something new. The sound is horrendous but, one we must endure. If I could let you hear it I would but think, pterodactyl mixed with cow and a little what does the fox say mixed right in there.

The fight went like this last night, our first try at taking them out.

Richard: “I quit!”

Me and Dad: “well then we still have to get them out”

Richard: “No! I just don’t want them in anymore! I quit!”

Me and Dad: “Then let us help you get them out buddy”

Richard: “But they help me see I need them in, but I hate them in, I quit!”

And so on and so forth. We finally did discover a way to make it work. Dad holding his eye open while he used his left hand to remove his right contact, and of course visa versa. We did it all while he made an animalistic sound and bounced in his seat to get through it. It only took 35 minutes at that.

And what’s more, he wanted them back in this morning. Asked nicely, and asked once again for our help. Thank you Jesus.

Lamentations 3:21-23 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness

#LemonLovingLifestyle #ThisLemonLove #RaisedInFaith #Mentalillnessisnotless #ASDwomtstopme #MTS #OurSuperhero #GodIsAlwaysTheAnswer #OurNewAdventure

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This Daily Life: Discipline Through Faith

Some days are just worse than others. Starting with one routine change after another, one meltdown, one mishap, one string of bad luck after the other. And, unfortunately you get no warning when these days are going to happen. I mean the day prior could have been the BEST DAY EVER… and then balance must be found and it must all happen now. Thanks for that Lemons.

When digging your hands deep into the throws of Autism life, it can seem even more dreadful. Because we all know the routine must remain the same or, the day could be hard to recover. Add in other mental illness and neurological difficulties and you have a recipe for sour grape pie. So, how do you recover? How do you see your way into the light?

Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet anda light unto my path

How can you possibly find a way through it when, you know with 99% accuracy the start of this leads into speedy metal slide that’s been baking in the sun on a day when you wear your cute lace short shorts, type of day? It can truly be hard to see your way out of it, let alone be able to help them out of it. I’ll be honest we’ve been having one of those days here in our house today. All three of my children left the house angry with me, mad that our “friend” like bond was severed with my valiant mommy shield. Be it routine mishaps, homework/schoolwork debacles, or just angry because they’re mad because I’m not giving in to their sibling’s tantrums. It was a morning where I knew I was going to be public enemy number one. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind being the enemy here. But, dang it, I don’t like it either. I hate having to put on the hard mom hat. Especially before the caffeine has had a chance to enter my bloodstream. No matter what I did to try and make peace before they all left to school, there was no hope of making it to smiling happy children holding hands time. And because of that, there was no way I was going to be able to pull my son out of the jumping and pacing, flapping and clapping, stimming of pre-meltdown behavior in the short, 30 minutes I had before the arrival of his School van. The recovery for even my day, was looking virtually hopeless.

In these times I feel my own sanity falter, my own mental illnesses surface to tap incessantly at the forefront reminding me that they are there and days like today are when they thrive best. But, I’m Mom and they must be pushed back. Be gone personal problems! Your negativity just isn’t needed right now.

In these times I see my kids and really wonder how the heck I’m going to fix this and, how many days that’s going to take. Even with only wanting to fix them being angry and upset with me, not change what needed to be said and done to learn a lesson. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Or in this case between a lesson and stubborn children who take after their dear mother. Yes, when I find this stubborn version of myself I plan to have extensive and probably heated words with her, but I don’t have time to look for her right now. In times like these I turn to the scripture:

Proverbs 13:24Whoever spares the rod hates their children; but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

This scripture can sound very harsh. Like, the Bible wants me to beat my children with a stick?! What kind of advice is that God?! I can’t beat my child! But when we step back from our initial and basic human interpretation of it, we can see God is not guiding us to beat our children but, to simply discipline and guide them on the righteous path. The word discipline is actually right there.

Now, I will point out that I do not believe those who do not discipline their kids don’t love them. Not at all. But, that also is a knee jerk interpretation that our human mind puts to words. Almost like when you use sarcasm with your autistic child and, they take your words for exactly what they say, not how they’re said or what they mean in that tone. Instead what that part of the scripture means to me is; you are not fully loving your child if you do not discipline them. Or, you can’t truly be loving them if you’re letting them act foolish and do bad things. To love them is to guide them in the right direction and teach them to do the right things.

We can’t guide them properly without giving them consequences for their actions. That even applies to our special needs superheroes as well. Yes, the discipline is different and, the guidance may take different turns but, it is still needed to raise a good human. To raise them to be the best version of themselves. And, if we allow their wrong actions, even the actions they don’t understand as wrong, to be overlooked we are essentially leading them into self destructive behaviors and along, paths of deprivation. Now when we look at the interpretation this way, are we really giving full love if we sit back and allow these things to happen?

Us as special needs parents love on a completely different level as well so, that just isn’t possible for us. We have to give a love even more encompassing and unconditional. Because, we face things mainstream, neurotypical parents never will have to. Among these things could be what I face, a child telling me he hates me, lashes out violently toward me, and has even had homicidal and suicidal ideations that deeply and in detail involve me. We face things that many parents will never have to come up against, forcing us to have to show our love stronger and our depth of unconditional to be tested on a much deeper level sometimes daily.

I can say this because I am the mother to a special needs superhero and to two beautiful neurotypical, mainstream girls. I love all three unconditionally and with all my heart but, I love my son in a forced stronger manner. My backbone has to withstand more and my heart has to hold it all together through the moments when discipline and love can be hard. There are many times I want to take the easy route and, spare the rod, saying words like “he doesn’t understand what he’s doing because he has autism, has epilepsy, has a scar in his brain, has GAD, is possibly schizophrenic”. But, how will he ever understand through these disorders, unless I show him through consequences, through showing love by being careful to discipline him.

So, though the day starts off hard and my heart hangs heavy. I will love them all through discipline and stand strong against their resentment and anger. Because if I spare that rod, I’m not showing all of the love I have for all of them.

How Our Lemons Roll

So I have another post to add to the puberty series, I promise. Life got in the way this week and things just didn’t get to be posted. It will come up after this one. You know, because procrastination is pretty much my main coping mechanism. Perfect moms cringe, because I put aside my priorities to make myself my priority.

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(photo of me sticking it to the day and all my perfect mom priorities)

Today I just felt the need to discuss another important subject. Ourselves and how we get through all of the things we have to get through, in the midst of what seem to be our personal worst days. You know those days where you wake up and, in the instant you open your eyes, you want to press skip on the DVD player of life. Or the ones where, you’re on your tenth cup of coffee and still, the magic beans of life have yet to miraculously make things go the right way. I know you’ve had those days too, even if we don’t want to admit it. All of us have. You may not be able to recall them exactly right now but, just like all the other times, you’ll recall each detail when that one friend says to you, “you’ve always got everything so together, your schedules, your kids, how do you do it all when I can’t even manage my child without special needs?” Bet you can think of one now, can’t ya?

1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (if only we could always remember this in the midst of magic bean malfunction)

I had to bring this up because I had one of these days not too long ago. Every little thing was going wrong for me. My arthritis was acting up, the humidity had my asthma parking a Mac truck full of bricks on my chest, I was bloated, I was in the midst of having a teenage breakout of epic proportions on my middle aged face, and I just couldn’t get out of my own head. Not to mention all the law Murphy was throwing in my direction, it was really a day from Satan’s playground. So of course, that was the day when my ASD, epilepsy, MTS, acronyms never ending, teenage superhero would have a horrible, no good, very bad day of his own.

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(Me again yup, migraine got to my hair day, yeah that kind of vibe)

He woke up in a mood, oh you know the mood, the one where the feet are stomped immediately and it only gets more awesome from there. The stomping, screaming, growling, grumbling, swinging, kicking, flapping, pacing, siren making, type mood that steps out of the shower you hope magically cured, but rather seems to have only been soaked in steaming anger. He went on to have a bad day in school, escaping grounds, meltdowns, and seclusions included. Then arrived home to barrel through the door, tossing demands, and continuing the downward spiral of the morning, of course only amplified by the oncoming migraine that insisted on pounding its way into my brain. How was I supposed to be expected to be patient and kind, understanding and compassionate, under these conditions? I couldn’t even manage to be patient and kind to myself.

Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.

I couldn’t see far enough ahead of anything to even think about how to help my boy get through what he was going through. And let us not forget the two amazing girls I have also taking this roller coaster ride with us. The bad day got them too, they were in full sass mode, the things happening all around them being absorbed into their angelic hearts and turning what could have been another amazing day for them, into shouts and tears. I was lost in what to do to help them but, most of all I was feeling lost in what to do for myself. Because it’s time we face it, one of the hardest things as a mom is realizing that, we are no good for them if we are a straight mess. That goes straight across the board in mommyhood but, especially when you are the mommy of a special needs superhero. So I had to do something and do something fast, before the day came to an end and I sent them all to bed stewing in the emotions of the day. Only to make tomorrow be a second verse same as the first type of situation.

Psalm 76:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Proverbs 3:21-24 Do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

I had to take a moment for me to find a moment in Him. See throughout the day I went on, even while the kids were all away in school, trying to find a magic cure in the physical form. Be that cure coffee, Advil, more coffee, a book, tea, food, chocolate, you name it I probably tried it. But the one place I wasn’t looking was the ONLY place I was going to find my peace. So, I looked to the amazing love of my life and said no words, my face at that moment being enough communication and took my momentary leave. I’m sure when I looked at him my face said, Mayday mayday hot mess about to explode help me now or face self destruction in seconds. He just looked back at me with absolute love and said, “go, I got this.” Can we stop to recognize how much of a hero he is? Because yeah, without him I would be sitting at the bottom of my train wreck trash heap to this day.

D11FEA47-3F6F-4D2A-896E-82273342CDF1(Marjory the trash heap from Fraggle Rock looking better than I do on my train wreck trash heap days)

All hail my husband the hero of my life. Now back to the real nitty gritty here (sorry honey). I sighed with relief and walked into my bedroom, closing the door to the chaos of still screaming girls, and a boy who was in the midst of a destructive meltdown, kicking walls and breaking chairs. Leaving this wonderfully amazing ninja man out there to deal with the mess I completely contributed to. Leaving the dishes piled up, the house a poltergeist war zone, and escaping the nuclear reaction that was surely brewing. Leaving all of this out there to steal 5 minutes of breathing in the gospel of the Lord. I knelt by my bed, looking up to God and begged for help only he could give. Not help for my kids, which is always a prayer I put forth beginning everyday, but help for myself to be able to guide them into peace before bed and before it was too late to salvage any positivity in more day. God help me toss these Lemons at those blessings because I am not strong enough to lift my throwing arm. I opened my bible and just started reading Proverbs chapter 3 and took my rest in Him. Allowing Him to be the miracle I needed in those moments so, I could go save the day for them.

You see, you have to make time to heal yourself before you will ever be any good at healing them. The days will come where you feel like screaming, “REALLY GOD I NEED THAT ONE MORE STICK ON MY PILE? THERE WASNT ALREADY ENOUGH TOPPLING OVER?” Days where you even think, I give up, I don’t want this anymore, I can’t do this and I refuse to take another second of it. Days where you feel like you just aren’t strong enough to make it to the end where your head hits your pillow and you can just put it all behind you. And that’s okay! I’ve said it before, it’s okay to not always be okay. It’s okay to have your own issues and feel like you just want to focus on you sometimes. And when you feel that way it is okay too, to turn the focus on you. To take time for you in whatever way that is. Go take a bath, go meditate, go for a walk, go pour cup of coffee number 15 of the day and drink it in peace; you can even go have that glass of wine that has been calling your name since 9am. Heck you were a good girl and didn’t day drink! Have 2 glassss of wine! Make the time, take the time, and cherish the time. It is important not only for you, but for your family as well.

That’s my post for the today. If you find you can relate, share it with your friends. Because they probably can too but, like you are just waiting for someone else to start the conversation. God bless you all and Love your lemons!

#LemonLovingLifestyle #HowOurLemonsRoll #ThisLemonLove #TakeRestInHim #GodIsYourAnswer #TakeTime

Puberty and this thing called ASD: not to mention all the other acronyms PART 1

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So here is a subject we as parents of any child dread having to face. I mean, the little our brain has allowed us to remember about puberty, down right sucked. Breakouts. Body odors. Things coming up in places we do not want them. Things coming out of places we do not want them too. The list could go on, and there are different challenges for not only boys vs. girls, but also me vs. you. So why would we ever want to watch our child go through this? Let alone, ever have the desire to walk through it all, all over again with our child, or children as it may be. (children plural here, yay me)

Then you add in yet another complication on top of the hormones, pimples, attitude, and body odors straight out of the pits (I’m so puny, I know) of Hell. Autism. Today I am only really going to focus on the ASD portion of my teenage boy monster’s superpowers. But, I assure you, that is not the only thing we deal with. I will get to those other components of his super human abilities in a later post.

Now we get to what I feel we as parents and family members of a child with ASD fear. Yes, fear seems like a strong word especially because on our journeys up to now, we have survived so much, gotten through every obstacle, even if by the skin of our ground down teeth. But let’s face it the word fear means; noun. An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Is puberty in essence not all of those things in one, when we are already dealing with children who in many cases do not understand the simple (I use that word very loosely) emotions and happenings of their own lives? Now the universe wants to throw a whole new set of hormones and emotions, all wrapped up in a pretty package called right of passage, with them… it makes me daily hold my fist in the air and want to scream at the top of my lungs, “screw you universe, I don’t need your kind of negativity in my life.” So I can’t imagine what my boy feels. Then again maybe he really can’t either.

Now before going further I want to stress that ASD is a spectrum disorder as we all well know. So my experiences with my teen, may be completely different than what you are seeing in your home/life, and honestly that’s okay. Our experiences may also line up in some areas and, in others be completely off base. But, in this battle against losing our hair or it all going gray, we fight the same enemy. We stand in solidarity arm in arm, sweating and crying rivers, up against the immortal demon Pubertose! Otherwise known in its more common form, PUBERTY! And, though our battle fields may be different, our terrain bumpy and curvy in opposite ways, our hopeful outcome is always going to be similar. That our children come out of it unscathed, happy, healthy, good, faithful and yes, alive.

I will fully admit I am lucky enough to have my son in a specialized school run by our local children’s hospital. A school that is a therapeutic day school which focuses on children with behavioral, social, and emotional difficulties including but not limited to, autism and mental/neurological disorders and disabilities. So, they helped with preparing him (our son) and us for what was to come; what we happen to be going through now. Because honestly, I thought because my son had multiple developmental delays, I would have more time as puberty would also be delayed. In my mind that was all logical. One milestone is delayed so heck, why wouldn’t this one be as well. Or maybe, I was just holding out hope that I had a little more time before I had to join the fight. But, the therapists at school and even those we have had in our home kindly (another word used loosely) informed us that, no matter the development delays in his brain we have faced, puberty will come when his body wants it too. For my son, that started at age 11. It started with the usual symptoms, acne, increased body odor, and even more mood swings.

The school helped him to prepare intellectually for the physical signs and symptoms and he would come home daily to report verbatim what he had learned. They also did their best to warn him that there may be an onslaught of new and confusing emotions and physical feelings (even thinking about going over this with my son now leaves me verklempt) he wouldn’t understand, assuring him it was all “normal” (a word I have grown to hate) and wouldn’t last forever. And, on some level, I think he at least retained that information or, at least he is to this day still able to script what he was told so, hey, we will take what we can get. But I don’t think we are ever fully prepared for what is to come. Because there is no way of knowing (universe you can give me that crystal ball I ordered anytime now) all that will come with this beast, I mean puberty.

Here are the first 3 tips for surviving puberty and ASD that I can give you. These tips are universal, or so I think they can be, so no matter what you see with your monster, I mean child, you can call upon these 3 things. Also important to note, I feel these particular tips as I like to refer to them, are most important even when not talking about puberty, and just talking about raising good humans. On or off the spectrum as well. They also happen to be the most obvious. My next blog in this little series will give more tips and, will also go in depth further into our personal observations and experiences with and through this roller coaster in our son’s development.

Tip 1: Have a never ending supply of patience. I don’t only mean patience with your child (which holy wow you will need a lot), I mean patience with yourself. You’re mutually embarking on this journey through the unknown from different perspectives, and you’re all going to stumble and fall. It’s All Going To Be Okay. You Will Get Back Up and Continue On. Even on the worst of days, YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT!!! Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Tip 2: Though we may all be clueless in many ways as to what it is like in our special children’s world, Keep Understanding. Understand that even though our children are in so many ways vastly different than their mainstream, neurotypical peers, this puberty thing they face is the same one their peers are experiencing. The same one that yes, even we went through at one time. So in this they are only different in their own understanding of it. Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. 

Tip 3: Final tip for now. Most obvious and, most important. Remember how much LOVE you have for them and always, even in the midst of frustration and the sometimes overwhelming urge to lash out with a mighty roar, to SHOW THEM your love. Show them no matter what they are facing, you are facing it together in UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemy before you saying, “Destroy him!” 

#ThisLemonLove #PubertyandASD #BlogSeries #GodHelpMe #LemonLovingLifestyle #Phillipians #Matthew #Deuteronomy #PubertyWontDefeatMe #ItsAllGood #WeGotThis #Faith

When It All Becomes Calm

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(Photo of my girls eating ice cream on our way back from one of the many visits we took to the hospital and they had to sit in a cafeteria waiting for us to be done)

There is this moment when we can look at one another and just exhale. Our eyes meet and it just happens. That long held breath, the one we didn’t know we were holding, releases itself in an audible expelling moment of relief. Where we as parents look around and see the everyday messes getting scattered, the usual sibling arguments getting shouted, and the routines we have all become accustomed to getting back on track. You know all those things that get on the nerves of every parent in the history of ever, and yes that includes us in most other cases, that right then seem like blissful peace. We refer to this amazingly peaceful moment as, our God hug.

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present not the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

That moment hasn’t quite happen for us yet, but I see it on the horizon like a piece of heaven right at the tips of my fingers. It’s there and in a matter of moments we will be too.

It’s in this blissful time to come that I find myself regretful in our peace. I know what you’re thinking, you’ve just been hugged by God and you’re regretting it? You’re talking of things finally coming together and now you’re saying you regret feeling at peace? Are you truly and absolutely crazy? My answer, No. No I’m not crazy, I definitely don’t regret God giving us this beautiful reminder that he is always holding us up with His love and light, and no I don’t regret that I feel finally like I can breathe without fear of it all falling apart again. But there is a mother’s regret that I feel wholeheartedly. You see, in the lull of our troubles and on the wake of our triumph, I remember I have two other amazing children.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m aware always that I have two girls that are also swirling through the toilet bowl of emotions my son can leave us spinning in. Yet, as siblings of a special needs child, they can somewhat get left behind as the needs of their brother become more urgent than the needs of themselves. Not to say that their needs aren’t important and relevant. They are and we as parents do our best to meet them in spite of our situation. But, lets face it here, most of their needs right now as neuro typical children, are not life and death. Where as, at the time, their brother is usually presenting a life or death need, quite literally. So, here I go through the guilt of regret, knowing that my girls got left in the wake of my mother’s instinct to rise and protect the cub that has put himself in the rapidly churning white waters of salmon river. Diving in body, mind, and spirit after him, all while leaving my other two equally important cubs to fend for themselves on shore. Almost as if saying to them, your livelihood isn’t as important as his right now. And, they stand there watching the Struggle take place, feeling their own emotions of fear for their sibling and fear for themselves. But, every time the cycle is the same, I as mom have no choice but to dive in and save the one I could lose indefinitely; all while trying desperately to look back at the my other cubs hoping that I won’t lose sight of their vulnerable silhouettes.

Now here we are, when I have my footing and can pull in this waterlogged child, and tend to the other two, checking all three to see if we made it out in one piece. Finally able to truly look in their eyes and see more than the surface strength they show as to lessen the burdens we may be carrying as parents, faced with the raw truth that I had to ignore their pains and fears and emotions. Pulling them in and hoping that my words telling them that I love them just as much, care for their lives just as much, are enough to start the repair work they will never admit needs to be done. And here they are, telling me how wrong I am, that they are fine, that they will always understand my love for them is great and strong. Words from them that I would be lying if I told you didn’t make me feel even more guilty.

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(Photo of me and my girls this past spring)

Every time our girls prove over and over again how resilient, understanding, and loving they are. Every time they forgive me for having to leave them crouching in tall grasses or, behind locked doors. Every time, my girls prove to me how much God is at work in their lives and, just how much He holds them safely to Him throughout the turmoil and upheaval.

Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.”

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

So, just as God has shown me that He is with my boy in every moment. That He loves my boy stronger than even I could. He has too, shown me that He loves my daughters the same way. Shown me by their resilience and by giving me a clear view of the strength He has gifted them.

Proverbs 31:25 “She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.”

Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield.”

Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

My girls might temporarily be left behind by me, in the midst of the storm of my son but, they will forever be in the arms of our God. And though my guilt is a burden as a human and a mother I must bear, I do not bare it alone or bear it indefinitely. For God is always there to show me that, He gave them faith and love when He knew I would be stretched just a little thin. He showed them throughout that mommy is still always there protecting and loving them by, leaving them in the care of God.

#ThisLemonLove #LemonLovingLifestyle #WhenItAllBecomesCalm #SheIsClothedInStrength #Proverbs #Psalms #Joshua #Isaiah #Romans #ASDmom #Specialneedsparenting #blogmom #blogging #Love #Mentalillnessisntless #raisingmentalillness

 

The Struggle Is Real

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(Something Richard made me for Mother’s Day in school 2016)

With the first week of school underway comes all the struggles of getting back into routine. Putting our lists back up on the walls, refrigerator and, anywhere we can fit one. Trying desperately to bring some semblance of structure into our everyday as to not disrupt the axis of the rotation of the world too much. Because, you know, throw it off one millimeter and you will send Earth tumbling through space on a crash course with the sun. Or in this case, send your boy who lives with multidimensional neurological and mental disabilities/illnesses spiraling rapidly into that place that leads to total self destruction. Something our family tries and even sometimes succeeds in avoiding at all costs, even costs that may prevent our lives from moving in the direction we wish it could. Love comes with sacrifice just as, something good comes always comes from something bad; if you’re willing to look for it.

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(a small sampling of the many lists around our house)

With a new year comes the start of our in school family therapy sessions, IEP meetings, provider meetings, and regular psychiatry appointments with his in school psych team. Scheduling and planning, listing, and lots of driving. And, after our eventful summer, having been mostly consumed with a stay at the hospital for Richard, we had an appointment scheduled with the psychiatrist on the second day of school. A time where I drive the 20 (there’s that number again, I think I see a pattern here; refer to my previous post Twenty lemons on our journey) minutes to his school (thank you Grammy for always driving me out there), sit in an office and talk for 20 minutes to impossibly summarize all of the events that we faced from the time school ended to the time he returned. Inevitably going over the allotted 20 minutes because, lets face it, I’m a wordy person and, how do you possibly summarize a 30 day eternity chunk of your life? Then, try to find a therapy and medication that could possibly help Richard partially integrate into our world from his own, or at least be able to function parallel to in a comfortable way that also equates to safety and happiness. When Richard finally enters the room it is another length of time just trying to get him to talk about how he is feeling currently and, some of the things he expressed while hospitalized twice over summer vacation. Something, let me tell you, he never wants to talk about and, causes breakdowns and rapid mood swings. Of course breaking my mama heart to watch. But, it has to be done to best make decisions for Richard, even if those decisions are things I have NEVER wanted to consider. Richard leaves the room and we all sit with a reality hanging in the air. A reality that I will open up more about in a later post. As for right now, I’m still not mentally ready to go into detail because well, I’m mom and I’m not ready to allow any of it to be truth. God has a plan and I will adhere to it when He says it’s time.

This week is only half over and, we have already faced struggles and obstacles. From first day anxiety turning into anger and, eventually violent outbursts. To emotional breakdowns that cause every emotion to cycle through him like an out of control roller coaster that’s gone flying off track and tumbling on a crash course with the ground below. In these times, as a family and most of all as a mom, it can be hard to see that God is with us, with me. It can be easy to question, if God is truly a merciful God then how can he continue to allow our family to go through hardship after hardship? It even can make someone question their faith all together. But, our family holds true to our faith because we allow ourselves to see those good things beyond, through, and dwelling within our bad times. We allow our lemons (bad times) to always highlight our blessings (good times/moments). You like how I threw that in there I know, seems I may actually be getting the hang of this. But, back to my point. God is visible always, especially in our times of sorrow, in our struggles, our bad times. He even tells us this in the Bible.

 

Psalm 46:1-4; 1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.

Isaiah 41:10; 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

Psalm 36: 5-7; 5 Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD . 7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.

With all that is happening, all the negativity and sorrow in our family, I take refuge in the fact that, no matter what God will always love us. Even when we doubt Him, even though we question Him, He is ever faithful and unfailing in His love for us. As a family raising and growing in one member’s neurological differences and mental illnesses, even we question. As a mom, I question God more often than I like. But, each time we do, I do, I turn to my Bible and hold faithful to Him. Because He has always remained unfailing in me.

#blogmom #blogger #Godisgood #ThisLemonLove #lemonlovinglifestyle #Psalm461through4 #isaiah4110 #Psalm36 #FaithHopeLove #raisingmentalillness #mentalillnessawareness #asdadvocate #asdwontstopme #inspirationalblogger #inspirationalblog

Twenty Lemons On Our Journey

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Twenty days. Twenty wonderful days at home with my whole family there in my grasp. Twenty days where I meant to post about the journey to the wait, but life of course stood in the way. The happiest parts of life though. The parts when the blessings are so numerous and bright that you don’t need a highlighter to find where they are. I was going to post it tonight determinedly but, instead my post will be shorter and of a less happy nature.

Twenty days have passed and we find ourselves sitting in the same place we were moved a month ago. In a cold, sterile room, painted with muted greens and blues; lit by unforgiving fluorescent bulbs. The sounds of nurses and other patients outside the door and, large wooden doors clicking open and closed. I sit here in the room having not changed from my VBS clothes as this week in church we learned all about God’s impact and love that is so prevelent in our everyday lives. I sit here on the edge of tears as I watch my boy once again go through something I just can not make better. Lost within his own world, his emotions shut off and, talking only to himself.

Twenty days ago we left a specialized facility that is equipped to handle children with his mental neurological disabilities, walked through the doors into a bright sunny day and drove the twenty plus miles home and, brought him back exactly where he belonged.

Twenty minutes into a new inhome therapy session, with new therapists who of course have new ideas and bright outlooks, he started to shutdown. He started his steady ascent into full escalation and, we knew he would once again need desperately to be here where his safety was the number one priority.

Twenty steps down out the back door into the ambulance to transport, twenty or so miles to the children’s hospital. Twenty pages that are prepared for the EMT personnel handed off to help with their paperwork and, twenty minutes again to get to the hospital where we now sit. In a cold sterile room, with muted greens and blues to trick our minds into calm placidity.

Twenty lemons that lead up to us being here. Twenty lemons on our journey that will light the path and highlight the small blessings we had throughout our day. Twenty is a number that I see so often today that I feel I need to buy a lottery ticket, but that huge jackpot was already won. So, I guess that isn’t the blessing this plot twist is leading us toward. Wishful thinking I suppose, but wouldn’t we all like that big moment.

God tells us: “I know the plans I have for you”; says the Lord. Jeremiah 29:12. He tells us this because even through our toughest times, there is a reason. A reason for our struggles and our happiness. I know that in the end of this He will make those reasons clear. And, even though right now my human eyes find it hard to see it in times like these, I know God will always love us. Through it all He will suffer at our side, shedding the same tears for our son, His son, that we will shed. He will guide us through once again and give me the strength that we need to carry the weight.

#LemonLovingLifestyle #ThisLemonLove #Jeremiah2912 #GodsPlan #TwentyLemonsOnOurJourney #TwentyMinutes #TwentyDays #Twentywords #Twenty

A Village of Heroes

I hear over and over again ‘I don’t know how you do it’ or, ‘I am sure I would never be able to survive the things you have’… the list of similar meaning phrases I hear could go on in a post all of its own. I’m pretty sure all parents of special needs children have heard them and, we all respond with different variations of, “If you were in my shoes you would do it because you have no other choice” or, “I do it because he/she is my child and I love them.” We use those go to adages because, honestly, they are a lot easier for others to take, without passing some sort of judgement or quickly changing their minds on our strength or parenting. We use these go to’s because let’s face it, people really don’t want to hear the longer version and it’s just easier than answering the inevitable side questions. Our life truly does crave “ease of use”, is fragile, and can be described as ‘hardcore’.

2 Corinthians 5:7 “Indeed, our lives are guided by faith, not by sight.”

People who don’t live our lives everyday who are either, not raising a special needs child or, aren’t raising a child at all, really could never understand anyway. I don’t know about you, but that at times can make it hard for me to want to tell anyone the whole truth. Then again, I’m writing a blog that gives everyone a very intimate look into the whole truth. It’s evolution of self I suppose.

Psalm 107:9 “For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Matthew 6:31-32 “Don’t worry and say ‘what will we do for food?’ Or ‘what will we drink? Or ‘what will we wear?’ The people who don’t know God keep trying to get those things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them.”

But let us get back to the beginning of the post. I could wander all day down the path of how we feel our responses should be tailored to neurotypical families and parents but, that is a post for another time. So back to, the comments and questions about my strength, endurance, and magical superhero abilities to handle all life’s lemon zesty problems and obstacles.

How I do it is probably the most obvious of ways. I mean it goes directly back to an old adage that I use constantly. It takes a village to raise a child. In this particular case (my case) to raise an entire family. Because we as parents are learning along with our kids, and each day comes with a new hard lesson to learn the hardest way possible. I mean, why should anything be easy right? Then what would I have to blame my fine lines and gray hairs on?

I do, do a lot more than your average supermom, who is raising neurotypical angels in disguise, no doubt. And if that offends you it only is because as a mother of neurotypical, developmentally typical little girls and, the mother to a non-neurotypical child, I have the amazing ability to make what are truly difficult tasks look easy. Why do I do that though? Because again it is just easier than constantly hearing about how strong I am, how much less strong you are and so on. Chin up, head high neurotypical mommas, all of us have different struggles trials and tribulations we face and hide from the world everyday. It’s one of our many mommy flaws. My average day consists of an exponential amount of stressors that I have to push back, just too get through to the next task that inevitably will only lead to more stress. (My other superpower just so happens to be the ability to be the most stressed out, smiling, optimistic, happy person in the room) Some people might say this is because of the twists and obstacles of Autism Spectrum Disorder; I like to refer to it as the exciting spontaneity of ASD super powers that know I’m a girl who loves a surprise. Just another reason why my son is my superhero. I mean who couldn’t use to be a little more spontaneous, right? My reality is just different than most.

But there is a reason I am able to keep life on the side of annoyingly positive optimist. Shoot, my blog is named after a fruit that is the color of the sun! You just can’t get much brighter and cheerier than that. I can continue to fight away the negative thoughts that surface all the time for one reason that happens to spread out among what seems like a hundred reasons.

I have an amazing support system. A group of absolutely fierce friends, family, and friends who are more like family that rallies and circles the proverbial wagons when times are at their toughest. A strong, willing, and caring community, who are there whether it is to watch my girls when I need to visit my son in the hospital, or I just need to be hugged but never verbalized my need, because they just know I need to let it out; and they aren’t afraid for me to let it out all over their shoulder. A resilient bunch of villagers who come knocking on my door and won’t take no for an answer. A bunch of people sent to me from God because He provides us exactly what we need. At exactly the time that we are in need of it. Even if we are too stubborn or emotional to ask Him for it.

Luke 12:31 “Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and He will give you everything you need.”

God has given me a husband that accepts my son as his own, who supports us, and holds me up when I physically and emotionally just crack. He has provided me a church to call home, that gives me spiritual renewal and Christian guidance. He has gifted me a family of brothers and sisters within that church who all have giving hearts, open minds, and listening ears. God has put that church family on my path with acceptance not only of me but, of my family and my special needs son regardless of his mental illnesses, behavioral challenges, developmental delays, or neurological disorders. He has given me friends all over the world who check on me daily and are willing and ready to let me poor my soul out without judgement or persecution. He has given me the gift of friends that are more family than just blood in my veins, who are willing to uproot an entire day just to drive 4 hours to give me a hug and a little distraction. (Thank you Liz and Lara you are my sisters) God put me in a family that even if they can’t be here physically have provided me mental and emotional support. (Melanie, Kaitlin you are two of my biggest warriors and supporters)

Jeremiah 31:25 “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

So when people wonder how I do it, I have to be honest, I’m not the only one who does it. I have a village provided for me by, God who sustains me. I have an army of unnamed people standing around me, protecting me from being shattered or taken down. An army of warriors that make each and every lemon tossed at me turn into lemonade long before impact. I have refreshment for my soul that ensures my hope and faith stay strong.

#LemonLovingLifestyle #ThisLemonLove #GodProvides #Godgivesuswhatweneed #Matthew63132 #Psalm1079 #Luke1231 #2Corinthians57 #Jeremiah3125 #VillageOfHeroes

*photo is of South United Methodist Church in Manchester, CT. The church I attend with my family both relation and through Christ*

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When God Knocks, Answer

Sunday was a day like most days. We went to church as a family. Something we do ritualistically every Sunday. We got up from our sleepy beds and went through our usual routines of getting ready and headed out the door. We arrived at church and proceeded with out day, splitting off to our separate areas so Nick and I could joyfully give our time to where it is needed. I go of course to Sunday School to add my voice to teaching young minds the journey of Christ and his disciples. Nick off to work on the sound which will deliver the message of our pastor to everyone attending. The two girls splitting off with us, Branna off with daddy and Kenna with mommy.

To most people it would sound like the typical Christian family Sunday. But nothing about it is or was typical for our family. For us there was a key component missing. One cog in the intricate clock workings that wasn’t there to keep spinning the gears in the right direction. Richard. So in reality we were only still moving along by the true grace of God.

Every step in my day lead me to thinking about him. Every step in everyday makes me think about him but, Sunday just seemed to be echoed. The thoughts so loud they bounced off the deep caverns of my mind only to be thought again and again. From getting ready in the morning, to sitting in church listening to the sermon which seemed completely tailored for him, to walking out the doors to complete our Sunday errands. I could just feel the missing link of him not being there in everything we did. It was like someone had carved a hole in my core and no matter what we did, that hole was just going to remain there. No filler needed here people, she has to feel every bit of this emptiness.

We as parents have been trying so desperately to fill this same hole in the girls the entire weekend, really since the moment we knew that he would be staying for far longer than we would ever want him too. Don’t get me wrong, him there for a day is longer than we want him to be there. But, I’m sure you get the idea. We have been doing all we can to keep them active and moving, just to keep their minds from going to the sadness. Because, even though our minds are so focused on Richard, we have these two other children. Two children who are going through all this with us, processing it all in their unique ways.

So no matter how much I want to retreat within myself and get lost in this empty dark pit, that is a luxury I can’t afford to have. The lemons just don’t revolve around Nichole’s grief. They are divided equally around our family’s emotions. And, let me tell you, having two girls going through their own stages of pre-pubescent hormones, there are a lot of emotions. Those lemons are there all the time, no matter how we try to fill the time with distraction and activities.

I sat Sunday evening up on our small back porch, watching the girls from a distance romp around the backyard, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how this all was effecting them. It was as if I were playing a spy game, watching all their moves and eavesdropping on their conversations. I could see the moments when it struck them that Richard wasn’t there, could hear when they said, “you know Richard would do…” or, “we can’t play that it’s Richard’s favorite…”. I was watching them go through everything I go through inside myself. These beautiful little girls were breaking in little moments. What I realized most was, I was lost as to how to fix their cracks. I, in that moment, couldn’t think of the proper type of plaster to fill them in. It’s not like I could grab a tube of caulk, or JB weld from the local hardware store and just squeeze it on there. Though it might be entertaining to try, it was destined to only make more of a mess. It could solve the talking back issues though… but that’s a story for another time.

When I finally figured out what I needed to do to help them get through this, it was like a big hammer to my head. The answer so obvious that I’m sure there were other forces keeping me from seeing it. Forces that wanted me to stay lost in this new darkness, wallowing in the sad reality that there was more I couldn’t fix just by wielding my magic mommy wand and sending pixie dust over the problems making them run in fear. Those forces we know that want us all to stay stuck in these times of stress because the negativity is what they feed upon. Those forces were working for Satan and wanted me to remain oblivious so I would be lost from the obvious.

The magical cement that would fill those little cracks in their heart is, Jesus. Only He could possibly know what it is that they need to start a path to healing. The only magic I had to use wouldn’t come from my amazing sparkling wand, it would and does come from God. I only needed to find the words to tell Branna and Mackenna in a way that their hearts would hear and their spirits listen to, to help them understand. So as Nick grilled our dinner, I prayed. Something I have found myself doing more and more. It was like comet crashing into Earth when God joyously answered. I almost heard Him saying, finally child you got through that dark, I was with you the whole time I hope you know. I only needed be sure you were still with me. So I once again handed to Him my worries and asked Him for His help. I once again held my hands up to Him admitting I couldn’t do it alone. As if He were waiting for this surrender (which we all know He was), He smiled taking hold of my hands and promised the answer would come in time. I handed my faith to Him and, when I started this blog post still didn’t have the answer to start repairing my girls, beyond telling them to talk to God, continue to pray, and for them to have faith that Jesus was with Richard now. That’s when God, knocked on my back door. In the moment when I thought I was just not reaching where he wanted me to.

Okay, we know it wasn’t really God at my backdoor. Thankfully because I’m sitting here dressed in my biggest sweat pants, my house isn’t clean enough, and I haven’t even gotten in the shower yet. That isn’t exactly how I would want to be welcoming God into my home. Even if He has seen me in my worst before and, this state is not anywhere near where that was. It was our pastor’s wife Terry and she wasn’t expecting to come in, as a matter of fact she couldn’t do more than pass along the message God was leading her to give. She smiled as she handed me a book of devotions with a small hand written note inside, written quickly on a napkin in sure as she was on her way to my door. She didn’t say much and was quickly on her way before I could really look down at the book and take in the message it was literally shouting at me.

As she descended the stairs, I looked down at what was in my hands and felt a tear welling in my eye. The book that now sits on my lap has a small picture on the cover, depicting the reaching hand of Jesus glowing in the center of a small oval. That picture being the visual I needed to see we already had the answers, having been handed to our children at the end of the Sunday school year. The devotional book Terry had decided was the perfect thing to hand to all the kids to help them through the summer, continue their journey with Jesus in the months that we would not be there to guide them each Sunday. Each devotional based on the book written by Sarah Young, geared toward the specific stages in life our children happen to be in. I’m sure you’re wondering the title to possibly add to your list of must haves, right?

The book God told Terry to gift to me is, Jesus Calling. A devotional that gives focuses for everyday of the year. I don’t know if Terry knows God was in that moment using her to speak to me, but boy was He ever. He used her in the best possible way. He used her to be, or maybe just give me, the answer to a prayer I prayed in absolute desperation. He used her to help me, help my girls through.

I looked closer at the book, carrying it back to my chair as I wiped tears from my eyes. I read the little napkin note inside, and smiled. And then I opened the book, just wanting to touch the pages and feel closer to Him in some spiritual way. The ribbon marked a page that was showing a devotional for May 1st, but the very first sentence was one I needed now to share with my girls, and maybe even myself.

*You are on the path of My choosing. There is no randomness about your life.* That first paragraph goes on to say exactly what the girls have been doing. *They avoid the present by worrying about the future or longing for a better time and place. They forget that they are creatures who are subject to the limitations of time and space.* But really maybe the girls just don’t yet understand that they are subject to limitations. Because we tell them they can do anything they set their minds to, maybe they don’t understand that there are things that truly are out of their control. This concept we get as adults but, we as adults tell our children that they are only limited to as far as they can dream, we forget to tell them that only God can see and do all and see them to all those dreams.  The last line of the devotion states further how I can make them see that, no matter how much they dream it, reach for it, plan it, or pray for it, they just can’t fix Richard and make it so he can come home. *This, you are freed to LET My Spirit direct your steps, enabling you to walk along the path of peace.*

The devotional gives bible verses as every devotional in the book does and, those verses are the ones I have now read to my daughters. Breaking down the meanings found in each one. I won’t share those verses right now, but if you go buy the book you can find them for yourself. Right now I’m leaving them as a personal message I have shared with my girls and God.

It may have taken a couple days to see it but, I think the girls and I can now see the blessings those lemons were highlighting Sunday. The blessings that came through the God knock on our backdoor. Thank you, Terry, for allowing God to use you to help them.

* These words are not written by me and are pulled from the devotional Jesus Calling written by Sarah Young.

{photo is of the book handed to me with the blessing of a napkin note, and of course my sloppy sweatpants just because it’s meant to be}

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Facing A New Forever 

I finally got to see him. I finally had the prospect of an actual visit with him. I didn’t know what that visit would entail but, I was going to see my boy and that was all that mattered in that moment. I just had to get through this meeting with the inpatient psychologist and, it was the magic key to sitting with my boy. 

It’s the first day I was allowed to really see him in nearly a week. I found out while explaining our family tree, again, that our visit couldn’t be more than 10 minutes, that reality was hard to swallow. An even harder reality, I couldn’t sit with him alone. We would have the psychologist watching our entire visit. Could I even still call this a visit at this point? I mean, we aren’t going to be guided in what to say but, wasn’t this only yet another family therapy session? 

I walked the long hall from the psychologist’s small office to the imposing locked door of the autism unit, my eyes scanning the walls and watching the enclosed courtyards where patients and nursing staff sat to enjoy the sun or a light lunch. The psychologist saying, “please wait here while I go prepare Richard for your visit and ensure that the ward is ready for you.” The ward. Ward. That word alone enough to make me want to wince. When you think of a ward you usually go directly to an asylum in your mind’s eye, where patients walk aimlessly in their heavily medicated hazes. But, I took a measured breath and shook off that feeling and thought. I bowed my head there alone outside this heavy wood looking door and said a soft prayer, asking God for the help to have just a moment with this beautiful child He gifted me 13 years ago. 

Getting on to the unit (I much prefer this word and you will hear/read me use it much more) I was greeted by bland colored walls, cold floors and the murmurs of staff who were wheeling the dinner cart down to the small dining room. There you have it, I was getting to visit with Richard during one of his favorite times of the day, dinner. His other favorites being breakfast, lunch, and every meal in between. See, he is just a typical teenager, I told you. I walked the short hall seeing the back of his head as we approached the doorway, it turning just seconds before I entered the room. His expression was that of a little boy who was told, “now remember to smile”, but the brightness didn’t quite reach his eyes. I’ve seen this look before on the many previous times he has been hospitalized. I just smile back and say our typical greeting, trying desperately to stick with our script, even though I want nothing more than to scoop him up and squeeze him. I ask to sit with him, hear his monotone response and pull back the 50 lb weighted chair, not an exaggeration I actually asked, and settle into the cool resin of its primary color. 

I watched as he ate his food and had barely any conversation at all. Each question I asked bringing frustration and nearly immediate irritation out of him. I think  seeing him this way was possibly harder than not seeing him at all. The constant eyes staring at our interaction waiting for things to go wrong, only making it that much more difficult to stand. I wanted to scream, he’s my son I think I know how to talk with him, sit with him, be with him, go away I’ll call for you if you’re needed. 

I know most will say, well at least you got to see him, right? And, I guess in a sense that is true. At least I got to see his face and get the blank forced hug. At least I got to sit at a table with him, and watch as he went through the routine of rapidly stuffing food into his mouth so full he almost chokes. But, in what way is that actually seeing him? Really it has me questioning in what way have I ever actually seen him? 

I’ve heard that forever can live within the passing of a single moment. Is this the forever that we are going to be left with? Once a week visits sitting at a table while I watch him eat and, a group of eyes watch our lack luster interaction. Visits lasting only 10 minutes, that start with a forced hug and smile which have no meaning for him and end with irritated words or, a kind verbal discontinuance of words mumbled around food as I walk away. I once again had to walk out of this building and leave him behind. 

But the Bible reassures me that God’s presence is with me to help me, even when I don’t realize it. Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Jonah 2:2 In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me… I called for help, and you listened to me cry. Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 32:7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 62:1-2 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 68:19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. 

I knew that in Him I would find my comfort and ability to walk out those doors. In Him I would find my faith that Richard was being cared for by someone that I could trust beyond all else. I was again leaving him with God. In trust and faith that it would all be okay. 

I sat outside of a hospital disguised as a friendly welcoming campus. Sat there looking around as the sun shined down on manicured sections of grass and well paved parking areas. Watching as the trees swayed gently in the humid summer breeze. Listening as the birds sang their end of day songs, somewhere settling into their hidden nests or flying somewhere high above my head. I wondered how a day could seem so happy, how lives could just continue to go on. When I felt like I was frozen in place afraid to once again walk away. Not afraid because he is alone, because I know he is not alone he has Jesus there sitting with him. But, afraid because the reality is, that this could be my foreseeable Forever with him. Scheduled 10 minute visits with a boy that doesn’t even recognize I am there with him. A reality that I know is just to hard for me to face. But, I suppose this reality wasn’t meant to be easy. Nothing that matters, truly matters, ever is. 

There will be moments of darkness in our lives. Be it loss of a loved one, loss of a job or a home, loss of a pet, loss of a life you have become accustomed to or, loss of the ability to sit with your son alone and have a conversation. But there is always greater darkness: the darkness found in the eyes of someone who has not felt God’s love, grace, and reassurance of His hope. There is hope for all of us, no matter how dark it may be. There is always light. The light of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Ephesians 5:8 For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light. 

#LemonLovingLifestyle #FacingANewForever #GodIsTheLight #ThisLemonLove #BibleAnswers #GodsPlan