A New Year and a New Thing!

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Do you dare to trust that God is going to do a new thing in 2018? Now is the time of year when everyone makes resolutions, new promises, and sets their expectations on the future. But what about us? What about the parents of a special needs child? Many times, we grow stagnant in our hope that God might have new and exciting things planned for our child with special needs. The world beats us down, and we find ourselves barely crawling into the new year. Our day-to-day life can be so tedious that somehow, we miss the reality that God wants to do a new thing in our lives and in the life of our special needs child as well. Dear parent, do not lose your hope. 

Trust that God Can Reveal a New Thing: Our God is a God who pursues a relationship with His people. He so desires a personal relationship with us and wants us to experience His power in our lives. He wants us to allow His Holy Spirit to fall fresh on us and for us to grow in our knowledge of Him. Our special needs children are not excluded from Gods desire to meet with His children. Let us pray and trust that God will pursue the heart of our child and will reveal Himself in ways that only He can. 

Trust that God Will Allow New Things: Sometimes, we grow weary in our never-ending attempt to help our special needs child achieve new things. The extremely exhausting road of fighting for your child’s needs and trying to find those who just might give your child a chance can leave you feeling very lonely. This year, let’s commit to not losing hope. Let’s keep pushing, keep trying, keep cheering, and keep believing that God will allow new strengths to be developed. 

Trust that God Wants a New Thing: Our God is not a past-tense God. He is ever present and always working. As you begin a new year, trust that God wants to use you and your special needs child in new ways. It’s time to be transparent—help others to understand this journey you’re on. It’s time to be daring—do not become so overwhelmed by the limitations the world has placed on your child that you give up. It’s time to press on—set new goals for yourself and your child. Many special needs parents feel so bogged down by the “can’t” that we lose sight of the “could.” Please don’t quit, let’s believe that God can do a new thing in the life of our children. 

As you look forward to this new year, I pray you find peace in knowing that God can make “a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” No situation is without hope. No child escapes His view. No disability is too great. He sees each of us in our struggles and declares that He can do a new thing! 

“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.” Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)

First Published by my partners at Joni and Friends and Irresistible Church http://irresistiblechurch.org/new-year-new-thing/

I Stopped for a While

The last few months have been a whirlwind for our family. Such a whirlwind, in fact, that I was ever so slightly swept away by all that October, November, and December had to offer.  God called, we acted. As the Lord quickly opened one door after the other with an almost audible “go”, we obeyed.  It was not what we had planned, but knowing that His ways are higher than our ways, we trusted and found ourselves in a new town, with new jobs, new schools, a new home, and a new adventure.

You, my blog reading friends, have not heard from me in a while because at first, I was just so busy.  Then, you did not hear from me because I felt it necessary to not be so busy.  Every once in a while we must stop. That is exactly what I did.

Certainly, life continued. There were classes to be taught, bills to be paid, clothes to be washed, homework to be done, and many other daily tasks to be attended to.  But besides the most necessary things, I stopped.

I needed some time to not only pour into others, but to be poured into. I needed some time to make sure I wasn’t just writing about life without living in it. I didn’t want to just capture moments with a camera or with my pen, but I wanted to bask in each second of the day.  I made sure to listen to my daughter’s hour long, amazingly detailed stories with full attentiveness and to watch my son play with even deeper wonder and amazement at the complexity and beauty of his life. I took in the cuteness of little freckles, tiny toes, and silly giggles. I wanted to soak in the gift of the mundane.  I wanted to not miss a moment of the extraordinary.  I needed to be sure that time was taken to incorporate praises of thanksgiving for each and every blessing that the Lord has so graciously bestowed upon my life.

There are times, I believe, that we must stop to shake off the things that might possibly be clouding our view of the “life to the fullest” that God promises us in John 10:10. I have been reminded that a “life to the fullest” may not be full of accolades, great accomplishments, or highly “notable” moments according to the world’s standards. A “life to the fullest” is not one of superficial relationships, haphazard conversations, or rushed routines.  Instead, a “life to the fullest” is lived with intention. God says that He came so that we could “have life and have it to the fullest!” He didn't come for our lives to be full of “good things”, but of “God things”.  I want to shake off the things that keep me from developing a deeper faith. I want to shake off the things that destroy my hope.  Most of all, I want to be so filled by the Holy Spirit that I am a reflection of Christ’s unconditional and unfathomable love.

So, I have been busy shaking things off. I've been busy about making sure that I do not allow life to just happen to me. I have been busy about living in each moment and soaking up the abundance of blessings hidden in the routine, mundane, extraordinary and even the busy moments that are unique to my life. I am thankful for our whirlwind and now, I am thankful to have shaken some things off, and to refocus for the New Year... It's good to see you all again! 

Ezra gave Grace kisses. She was so excited! He has allowed her to kiss him before, but this time he was the one looking for kisses!

Ezra gave Grace kisses. She was so excited! He has allowed her to kiss him before, but this time he was the one looking for kisses!

Treasuring this beautiful girl and hours spent building her castle.

Treasuring this beautiful girl and hours spent building her castle.

Ezra has "noticed" our puppy and loves to pet it. This is HUGE because he is learning to be "gentle" and have "soft hands." He does a great job!

Ezra has "noticed" our puppy and loves to pet it. This is HUGE because he is learning to be "gentle" and have "soft hands." He does a great job!

Grace and Ezra have begun to play together more. They have little games and jokes between the two of them. It fills this momma's heart with joy!

Grace and Ezra have begun to play together more. They have little games and jokes between the two of them. It fills this momma's heart with joy!

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fullest." John 10:10

A New Year

I wandered down the hallway this New Year’s Eve, to the bedroom of my sweet little boy who was snuggled up and sleeping soundly in his bed. I peered in and watched his little body rise and fall with each breath. So precious. Such a blessing. Such a little puzzle. So thankful.

As most people do when ringing in a new year, I began to think of all that this past year has held for us. I began to think of Ezra. There have been so many trials and so many triumphs.

There have been rock bottom moments such as the time I had to lay sprawled out in the middle of the store parking lot with cars honking at us while my Ezra had a complete meltdown or my coming unglued with a lady in the grocery store (See 1 in 50: My Supermarket Story). Oh yes, there have definitely been struggles this past year. There has been a struggle to connect, physical struggles, emotional struggles, coming-to-grips-with-our-new-reality struggles, and I’m sure I could go on.

But there have been triumphs, sweet victories, and precious moments. I never want the struggles to cloud out the good in my memory. I think that’s right where the enemy wants us- remembering only the darkness and forgetting the Lord’s mercies in our lives. This past year, I was able to hear Ezra (at 3 years of age) say my name for the very first time. There is no sweeter sound than hearing your Autistic son say “Momma”. This past year, Ezra began to go to school, he rode the school bus, he began singing, began to try self-feeding, has started walking holding hands, has started to communicate his wants and needs in his own special way, has begun to connect with his sister, and again, I’m sure I could go on.

There have been many tears shed this past year; tears of joy and tears of sorrow. I can honestly say without hesitation that I am thankful for each moment.  This journey of Autism has caused our family to dig deep, decide what’s most important, allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to reach out, to not be ashamed to cry, it has given us new perspective, and has taught us how to love in a different language. Without the struggles, the victories would not have been so sweet. I have found a way to be thankful for the storms and never want to take for granted this life that the Lord has blessed me with.

I have no idea what the Lord has in store for us this new year. I do not know what the future holds for Ezra. If I’m not careful, I can find myself feeling anxious for my sweet boy. That’s when I remember. I remember the Lord’s faithfulness. I remember that He does not ask us to walk this journey alone. I remember that He has a plan and a purpose for each of us.  I remember His unconditional love. I remember that His mercies are new each morning.

Dear friends, as you look back at 2013, do not let the trials overshadow the triumphs. Do not overlook the blessings to only focus on the blunders. As you look forward to 2014, do not let your heart be anxious.  We are not always guaranteed easy, but the Lord promises that we never walk alone. Hang on to His promises!

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share our story with you. I have so enjoyed your feedback, emails, comments, and prayers. I wasn’t sure about this whole blogging thing when I first started, but you have made it something very special. Thank you for reading and being a part of our lives this past year.

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”   Philippians 4:6

Enjoying New Year's fireworks with my Ezra man!   

Enjoying New Year's fireworks with my Ezra man!