Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dear Mom/Dad of a Special Needs Child

I have three major inspirations for this post.

The other day I was grocery shopping with Ethan and we came across a beautiful mom and her beautiful son.  I would guess he was 11 but his behavior appeared to be more like someone who was 4.  I was in complete awe of her patience with him, her joyful nature and her ability to genuinely be in the moment with her son while he was making friends with Ethan and observing the colorful fish in the fish tanks.

There is a young man at my church who has captivated my attention over the last few Sundays.  I sing on the worship team and at the end of the last service he always comes and stands right in front of us just below the stage and dances and lifts his hands in praise as if no one is watching.  If only we could all have this kind of faith. (Luke 18:17) 

I have a good friend who is a mother of three precious girls.  One of her daughters, whose smile will light up a room, has special needs.  This woman's grace, honesty, unconditional love and faith in God's plan have been an incredible inspiration to me.  Check out her blog here.

Dear Mom/Dad of a Special Needs Child,

I used to watch you with your child and feel so sorry for you.  I would think about the overflowing patience you surely had to muster up every day.  I would wonder how you kept a smile on your face knowing that your child might have many difficult days ahead of them.  I would wonder if you were mad at God and felt alone or far away from him.

I could not have been more wrong.  I now see you in a completely different light.  I find myself envying your ability to be completely present in every moment with your child.  Just watching you fully enjoy your child, this gift from God, fills my heart and soul with so much joy I can barely contain it.  It is truly contagious.  You make me want to be a better mom.  You make me want to be more present, more patient, more kind, more loving, more Christ-like.  

I want you to know that I see you as one of Christ's strongest soldiers.  I see you as someone God has specifically chosen for this incredible responsibility and privilege of raising a child to show the world God's love.  And I want you to know that I see your child as a beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made creation of God.  I see your child as the epitome of agape.  My prayer is that my boys see your children the same way and learn lessons from them that I could never teach them on my own.  

Thank you.  Thank you for all you have taught me and all you are teaching this world.  On the days where you feel you are lacking patience or strength or courage know that you are still an inspiration to someone, even in those most difficult moments.

Just Another Mom

Here is a verse I wanted to share.

"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.  And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"  Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." ~John 9:1-3

My friend's blog I shared above is appropriately titled Psalm 139 (one of my favorites).  I wanted to share part of that with you now:

 For you formed my inward parts;
  you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
  my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
  intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
  the days that were formed for me,
  when as yet there was none of them.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Boy Moms...Can I Get an Amen?!

I have always wanted boys.  I definitely have a guy's sense of humor.  I'm sure growing up around my dad's seven brothers had something to do with that.  I may have a bit of a crude mouth at times and I may or may not think farts are hilarious.  Call me unladylike (although I do know when to act like a lady).  Or call me a great boy mom!

There are many times where I am standing in the midst of a situation that I feel like only other boy moms can completely relate to.  Like...

When Garrison brought a frog into the car on our way to school one morning.  I turned around to find it jumping frantically all over my backseat.

When Garrison pulled the removable cup out of his baseball underwear in a restaurant and handed it to me like I asked him to pass the salt.

When Garrison had a sleepover and all of a sudden my house was full of ninjas and wrestlers.

When Ethan peed all over the bathroom and in my face while learning to potty train.

Or just last night when I walked in the bathroom to find Ethan in this position.

I thought he was just playing on his potty until he said, "I poo poo Mommy!"  Yep, he sure did! 

Apparently he wasn't finished because I walked in on him in this awkward position a couple hours later.

I let him have his privacy to finish his pooping, downward dog style.  When I went to check on him a couple minutes later he held up his finger which had an awesome surprise for me on it.  Thanks, E!

Nope, life is never boring with boys!

I'll take the dirt...

The crazy stunts... 

The mohawks...

The broken arms...

And the messy faces...

I really have no idea where they get it from though.

Here's to all you boy moms.  The ones who live in a world of farts, burps, dirt, sword fighting, couch jumping and constant chaos...and who love every single minute of it!  And a word of advice for those of you just starting to raise these crazy creatures we call boys - it's okay to laugh!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Daily Struggle - Let Them See You

I have learned that one of my daily struggles, particularly on work/school days, is being rushed.  It doesn't matter if I wake up an hour earlier or sleep in 10 minutes late... being rushed is a much too common occurrence.  Take yesterday morning for example.  I got up early to work out, got Garrison up in time to make him eggs for breakfast (pat on the back for me) and was feeling pretty accomplished about being ahead of schedule when I went to wake up Ethan.  I was shocked to find him wet from having an accident.  (Since we did the three day potty training he has not had one accident at night.)  I had to give him a bath which put him in a not so great mood and everything seemed off after that.  I started spouting off instructions to Garrison so we could leave the house in time.  I didn't spend time giving Ethan extra hugs and kisses like I sometimes do in the mornings.

I like to think I am an extremely patient wife and mom.  But what I have realized about myself lately is that my demeanor completely changes when I am rushed.  I halfway listen to what Garrison is telling me.  I may not yell but I become very short with my husband and kids when I am "in a hurry".  I pretty much abandon my normal self and turn into somewhat of a crazy person running around like a chicken with my head cut off. 

I know it's important to get Garrison to school on time and get myself to work on time...but at what cost?  Do I really want to drop Garrison off at school without enjoying a real conversation with him?  Do I really want to drive Ethan all the way to his sitter's house while listening to the radio to "decompress" from the crazy morning I just had?  Do I want to be snapping at my husband because I don't have time to answer his questions in the morning...even if that question is to ask if I want coffee?

The simple answer is no.  I heard this song on my way to work this morning and I really, really, really love it.  And I can totally relate. 

I want everyone, in particular my husband and children, to see Jesus in me.  Always.  Even when I'm rushing around in the morning.  Even when I'm stressed about something.  Even when I'm trying to tend to all of their needs.  God gave me these people that I am so incredibly grateful for and I want to show them nothing but love, joy, goodness, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control at all times.  I am not na├»ve enough to think that I will be perfect from here on out or that I will never lose my patience with my husband or children. 

But I will try my hardest to let them see Jesus in me.

Like last night when I put Ethan down and he said, "Song, Mommy.  Long one."  So I sang him "Amazing Grace" and soaked up the look he gave me while he watched me sing.

Like when I told Garrison how proud I was of him last night for the incredibly awesome play he made at his baseball game - tagging a kid out at home plate.  I told him how proud I am that he has worked so hard to finish this season strong and be there for his team after being out most of the season with a broken arm.  When that crooked smile I love so much spread across his face and he looked at me with a sense of pride and accomplishment I realized how much my words meant to him.

Please God, let them see YOU in me. 

"No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. " ~1 John 4:12