September: Times Are Changing

September 27, 2011

Ahhh…Despite everything that Bob Dylan *did*, he still made some really excellent music – very iconic.

September – Things have definitely changed this month.  It has been a whirlwind.

Our daycare provider quit on us, w ithout notice. I resigned from my position at St. Vincent Health.  And our bank rejected our paychecks.

That was just this week.  *laughs*

Yet, here are the truly memorable things from this month:

  • Tessa was furiously upset after taking a tumble. Evan went up and hugged her!  Precious.
  • Evan started hippotherapy (horse therapy). On his first day, he rode backwards and galloped.  The therapists were amazed at his natural ‘prowess’.
  • ‘Mommy’ will be home with Evan everyday starting October 16th.  The first time in his life!

I honestly can’t think of much else to say about this month.  I think the song summed up my sentiments exactly.  This month made me feel old!

‘The slow one now, will later be fast…The order is rapidly fading…The times they are a changin’.

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What He Wants to Write

September 16, 2011

Its pretty incredible that in February I started out to write a blog about the things going on with Evan. I wanted our friends and family to keep up-to-date and understand how we were feeling.  Since then, I have posted over 25,000 words up here!

In July, something really shifted though. People that I hadn’t talked to in years started sending me facebook messages about how touched they were. Literally, everyday people were encouraging me with their responses. Driving home from work one night, I was praying for a girl that graduated with my brother, who is seven years older than me. She had reached out to say that  she had ‘gotten just what she needed’ that morning from my blog!  And then, I prayed this widly adventurous prayer…

“God, I would just really like to write a book for You.  You could say whatever You want to, especially about Autism, and it would just give You so much glory.”

Two weeks later, I sat talking with a fabulous guitar player at our church and his wife.  After raising their children, his wife had returned to college as a freshman. Today, she is a physician.  He started telling me about their home and that they were renovating it. Then, he said, “Be careful what you pray for you, because He’ll give it you. No, seriously, I look back at the things we prayed for and – WOW, its all come true!”

Seven chapters or 152 pages later, I’m staring at my book and trying to decide what to put on my blog and what to put in the book. 

What He Wants to Write…

Power of Three

September 10, 2011

After Evan was diagnosed with Autism in February, I talked with a representative from ASK (AboutSpecialKids ). We discussed everything from insurance, therapies, raising kids with and without autism and marriage. At the end of our conversation, she advised me that my husband and I should go to some counseling sessions – even if we did not feel like it or want to – we should do it.

So we did.

It was good. At the time, I was overwhelmed by everything and Jesse was feeling that Evan would be fine as time went on. I remember the counselor looking at me and saying ‘how does that make you feel’? 

No, really, that is what she said! 

It was a good moment though, because I felt like I could say to him that I was freaked out. We both knew it, of course. Saying it made it real. In turn, we learned that his optimistic attitude was a good thing, but that it could also make me feel isolated – as if I was the only one concerned about Evan.

About six months have passed. Each of our perspectives have changed since then. I think it is starting to set in that Evan is a special needs child. We certainly knew this months ago. Yet, as he starts school and moves up in the nursery, we find ourselves facing decisions and handling situations that tell us he is different than other kids.

Last Saturday, Evan was running a fever most of the day. He just seemed out of it and took a long nap. Then, on Sunday, he was sick to his stomach once and took two, three-hour naps. By the evening, he was in much better spirits. The doctor checked him out and there was no sore throat or earache.

However, for several days he was easily frustrated. It was kind of a long 3-4 days for all of us.  The last evening, he was so angry and throwing a fit right before bed. Honestly, I had reached my limit. I tucked him in bed and was prepared to hear him cry for awhile.

And then Jesse came.

Jesse went in and rubbed his head and said, “I know, buddy. Its been a rough day, but things will get better.” Evan stopped crying and looked him.  You could see it in his eyes that he understood. After a few minutes, Jesse came and joined me on the couch. All was quiet in Evan’s room.

We talked about Evan a lot that night. As I shared how Evan could not tell us his tummy ached or that he felt sick, tears rolled down my husband’s face.  And he, in turn, remarked that Evan must feel so isolated much of the time.  He probably doesn’t know what he is feeling, but the emotion is there.  We see it in the outbursts of anger and grinding his teeth.  We see it in the running and laughing.  He feels.  Just as much as you or I.

It struck me while we were talking that Jesse is the heart of our family.  For months, I have worried about Evan, prayed about Evan, lobbied for Evan, worked on things for Evan. In truth, very few times, I have ever thought about how Evan must feel. 

I definitely could feel guilty about this.  Yet, I don’t.  I do my part for Evan.  Jesse does his.  We have different parts to play in this journey.  We connect each other with those different parts.  In doing so, we make each other better contenders in the fight.

In the end, neither Jesse or I are in this alone.

“Though one may be overpowered in the fight by another,

two can withstand it. 

And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

(Ecclesiastes 4:12)

We keep fighting the fight together. And with God, we will not be conquered. 

No Plan B

September 2, 2011

This morning I listened to my co-worker describe her daughter’s decision to transfer to another college.  Apparently, she has disliked her current school and is wanting to come back to Indiana and attend IU.  Knowing that this would be a large shock to her parents, she prepared a Power Point presentation to explain her rationale.

Of course, most of us found this quite comical. A Power Point presentation? Really? That’s a little overkill! As we joked, her mom shared that the title was ‘Plan B’.

It struck me later on that there is a large group of people in the world who believe they are living ‘Plan B’ or ‘Plan C’.  In that same moment, I thought that I am likely living ‘Plan EEE”.  I have had so many plans which have ‘failed’, I am likely looping through the alphabet for the third time.

Yet, something in me says that is not true.

My last post was about being appointed and having an appointment. I shared verses from Romans 8 and I find myself there, again, tonight.

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”

When I first accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for me, I felt overwhelming gratitude all of the time.  I just wanted to offer my life my back to Him (I still do). I worked for years to root-out my sinful nature.  I studied the Bible and prayed. I worked hard to be honest and kind.  One day, I finally began to feel like a new creation.

And then, one Easter morning, I woke up and the day didn’t feel special anymore.  I knew Christ had died for me. I had seen him change me. 

Yet, I was missing something. 

For years, I went on feeling this way. I just figured that I was ‘maturing’. Then, I thought I needed ‘solid milk’.  In many ways, these things were very true.

Yet, I was missing something.

I read the verses from Romans and always assumed that I just needed to be more ‘spirit-minded’. And I worked harder at it.

Yet, I was missing something.

After ten years of this, I woke up one morning and I felt peace-less.

I was missing something.

I looked back on my life and felt that I had made all of the wrong decisions. I had lived a fairly upright life, yet it seemed there was nothing to show for it.

“There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ.”

I was missing something.

Even though I had lived ‘well’, so-to-speak, I felt condemned. 

In the process of being a ‘living sacrifice’, I had mistakenly come to the conclusion that I needed to do it myself. 

“God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.”

All these years, I had been trying to live a ‘good life’ for Christ.  I had tried to ‘root-out’ sin and live well. But God had already done that for me. I didn’t need to try so hard.  Even though Christ’s sacrifice had cleansed me, I was still dominated by sinful nature.  Letting my sinful nature dominate me, led me down a path of death. I stood looking back on things with regret.  I felt anything, but life and peace.

I was missing something.

I needed to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.  I needed to think about  the things that please the Holy Spirit.

“And now, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true…”  Philippians 4:8

For the last year, I have been watching for the feelings of condemnation in my life.  I need to focus on what’s true.  There is no condemnation for me, because of Christ. 

From sins to bad decisions, there is no condemnation.

Which brings me to Plan B or, as I referred to it earlier, Plan EEE.

As I thought about my life this morning, I began to feel the weight of past failures and disappointments – condemnations.

And then, I then I invited the Holy Spirit to show me the truth of my situation.

And I come back to those verses in Romans 8. 

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?  Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

Do you get the sense that God doesn’t have a Plan B for you? Do you get the sense that nothing can separate you from Plan A? 

Do you get the sense that God is Plan A?