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Wounds hurt, but they don’t define

Been dealing with a lot lately that has been bringing on the pressure and opening a well of old memories I would rather just never come back. Been up most of the night due to a migraine and a 9 year old who just can’t sleep no matter how hard we tried. That means I have had time to think. Watched a couple movies to keep the thinking at bay as long as I could, but decided at some point I just got to let the thoughts flow so I can process and work through them.
 
One of the things that came up strongest was my disabilities and the way life has been forced to change because of them. On the outside, I may look to some like I’ve got this living with disabilities thing down. I may look strong, resilient, tough, full of faith, and ready to laugh off anything this life can throw at me. Sometimes I am those things. Sometimes I am merely attempting to convince myself that I am capable of those things.
 
Reality is that it’s a deep fight within me to keep pushing forward. A lot of prayer, a lot of suppressed tears and anger, and even fear. I refuse to give up, but there are times when I can’t run from reality… where reality instead smacks me a good one in the face. It hurts, but it’s real, and I have a great and loving Father in Heaven that holds me up, or pulls me back up off the ground if need be. He never gives up on me and helps me to not give up on myself. I will be forever grateful for that. Especially after moments like what I faced yesterday. To the outside looking in it was small, probably insignificant. Nothing I haven’t had to say or admit before; no new news to swallow. It still stung though and I fought hard to avoid facing the moment I could see coming from a mile off.
 
Without revealing the personal surrounding details, I basically found myself being faced with someone who was questioning and borderline challenging my commitment to do what needed to be done. My independence, my “work ethic” vs laziness so to speak. She went after my disabled status and finally forced the moment I was trying to avoid when she tried to push once more that I just wasn’t wanting to try and included a comment along the lines of “Why won’t you work? You can’t be disabled 24/7”.
 
It was in that moment that she ripped open one of my most painful wounds. One that has resulted in a lot of trauma, a lot of loss, a lot of change. One that I still can’t look at straight on without tears in my eyes and fire in my heart as the memories flood back to that first time waking up in a foreign hospital in Germany; the last thing I remembered being trying to walk down the hall to greet my husband who was returning home from work. That day was the start of a life changing nightmare of questions, mysterious illness, my body betraying me one system after another with no understandable reason as to why at the time.
 
After a couple of years of fighting, finding answers I didn’t like, trying to pretend I was ok even though we all knew I was only getting worse, and trying to force life to go back to “normal”, I found myself sitting in front of a judge. Sitting there, fighting back the tears and attempting to keep a straight face as I felt my back dislocate and my hip fall out of place, knowing that meant I would not be able to stand up when it was time to do so. Reading the judgement that came in the mail not long after… effectively forcing me out of the workforce for my own good and banning me from returning.
 
All of this and more came flooding into my mind and heart as I heard that woman utter those words… “you can’t be disabled 24/7″… Unfortunately… yes you can. My response to her was that I was forced out of the workforce by a court judge because I am THAT disabled. For her, that was end of that. Conversation took a different turn and she backed off in that area. For me though, the wound of the past is sitting here staring me in the face once again. I need to learn to quit being so fearful of facing it. Like it or not, it’s a part of me now. It doesn’t need to define me though. Thank God in Heaven that it doesn’t need to define me.
 
The world sees me as broken, past my prime, cast off. Being disabled is the end of the line for general society; they don’t tend to look past it well. Once you can’t fit their mold, or do all they think you should, what you still can do doesn’t amount to much in their eyes.   God however tells me I am beautiful, his daughter, a masterpiece in the making, and that I have a future worth being here for. Best of all he promises that He’s got a plan and will not let anything go to waste. Even an old wound that has caused so much damage and changed so much, can be used to help make a beautiful future if it is handed over to God. ❤

New Year, New Hope

Our devotions started with a classic hymn entitled, “It Is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford. (click here to hear it sung by Chris Rice).

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well with my soul.”

Though Satan should buffet,
tho’ trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed His own blood for my soul.

horatio_spafford

picture credit Wikipedia

Those are the first two (of a total of four) verses written by a man who truly understood grief as well as the Lord’s ability to bring peace in the midst of suffering.  Horatio, an American lawyer and Presbyterian church elder in the mid to late 1800’s, wrote these words when the boat he was traveling on, in a trip to meet up with his wife Anna, reached the spot where his daughters lost their lives in the boat trip before him.  Two years after having lost their son, Horatio Jr, to scarlet fever at the tender age of 4 years, Horatio and Anna decided to take a trip to Great Britain with their 4 daughters; Annie (11 ), Maggie (9), Bessie (5), and Tanetta (2).  At the last minute, Horatio was called away to deal with business that couldn’t wait so he sent his family on ahead of him.

The trip was going well for his family until the boat carrying his wife and children collided with another boat off the coast of Ireland.  As the waters started to rise and the boat started to sink, his wife took their daughters to the deck, offered a prayer of trust to God, and then loaded the four precious girls onto a lifeboat.  The mom eventually made it back to land safely only to learn that the lifeboat her daughters were on ran into trouble and sank… She sent word to Horatio who still hadn’t been able to take the trip by way of a simple telegram that read, “Saved alone.”  Overwhelmed with grief he took the next boat available to go meet up with his wife and it was on that trip he penned the words to what would become such a classic and moving hymn.

“Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.”
– Matthew 5:4

After the tragedy, Horatio and Anna lived to have more children, another loss, more travel, and what turned into a life mission to help others in Jerusalem resulting in a God honoring legacy for the family.  (Go here and here to learn more about his story).  God didn’t leave Horatio and his wife drowning in grief; He didn’t let their story end in tragedy.  The beautiful part?  He will do the same for you as well.  God has promised that in all things He will work for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28) and that he will fill us with a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

peace-i-leave-with-you

pic credit Bing search

No matter what you may be struggling with, whether it be stress, loss, heartache, failed dreams, feeling stuck in a rut, death of a cherished family member, death of a friend, painful memories of a loved one lost in the past… God invites us through His son Jesus to rest in Him (Matthew 11:28), and to cast all our cares on His strong and loving shoulders (1 Peter 5:7).  Jesus’s promise to us in John 14:27 states, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  When we claim that peace and let Christ fill our hearts to overflowing, we then are able to find the courage to join Paul in saying,

“…we also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces
perseverance; perseverance character; and
character, hope. And hope does not disappoint
us, because God has poured out his love into
our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Whom He has given us.”
(Romans 5:3-5)

Let us move forward into this new year with the strength, confidence, and hope that comes from knowing and trusting in Christ.  Let us not allow the pain and trials we have endured to chain us to state of perpetual sadness but instead cling to Christ as we move forward, trusting Him Who can do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20,21) and keep our eyes and hearts open to how God will bless us as we use the comfort we have received to bless and comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3,4).

New Year, New Start

Wow, so much has happened since I last let my fingers run free on the keyboard for this blog.  There have been both struggles and joys, trials and triumphs.  It has definitely been chaotic, but still good overall.  I let my writing take a back seat during all this and I have found that I miss it so I am back.  My goal is to pick back up my writing and to try and share something new everyday on at least one of my blogs.  Health may interfere with that goal but I am going to still do my best to reach it.

For the latest on my boys, check out my post on our sister blog here.  That is where I will most likely post updates on them, especially if it involves updates that reference their Autism.  There may be a few (or more) posts of them on here though; time will tell. 🙂

Since my faith is such a huge part of me and my life, one of the things I am going to be starting too is sharing some of my thoughts and lessons from my devotions time.  That may or may not be everyday, as sometimes it’s a bit too personal for me to write out.  The family devotion I shared with my kids today turned into a personal devotion as I continued to dig deeper.  I found it to be especially fitting and encouraging with all that has happened in the last year both personally and in the lives of those around me.  My hope is that sharing today’s devotion (found here) will help us all step forward into this new year with refreshed strength and hope. ❤

Idaho Blessings

Have to admit, I can’t sleep and here I am up on my own and I don’t know what to do with myself. lol Yep, the boys actually went down for me a couple hours ago. Had to keep putting them back in bed over and over and over… (you get the idea lol ) but I got them down. And here I am… still wide awake! Go figure right? haha

Life has really been changing a LOT for me lately. So many new things, so many mind blowing blessings. I have my struggles still too of course, but they truly seem like nothing when held up against all the blessings that have been coming through for me and my family in these last few months.

A compassionate and knowledgeable doctor and medical team that is able to help us with all our health needs.

A local community of Autism families, where the boys and I can go and just be ourselves, quirks and all, without judgement.

The local library even welcomed my kids with open arms. Even with David getting into the books on hold section, running off repeatedly, and repeatedly forgetting to keep quiet. THAT’s something pretty special right there. lol

And now we even have a church that welcomes us. I have longed for that for so very long. And the children’s minister proved yesterday that my boys really were welcome, wanted, and understood. She had asked me if there was anything David really liked so I mentioned his obsession with trains. When we showed up for church, she showed up with a box of trains and tracks, brought in specifically for David to play with. And she didn’t even bat an eye when he lost control with excitement and started flapping and spinning and shouting his happiness. ^_^

There is so much more than even what I’ve listed here, and I couldn’t be more grateful to the One behind it all. As my sons learned in church yesterday, “Being rich is not about money or possessions. To be truly rich is to be rich in the blessings that are less tangible: love, family, friendship, and most of all Jesus.” I wholeheartedly agree with that. To the world I may look poor and broken, but in His eyes I am precious and priceless and my life is truly richly blessed. ❤

Snakes and Fences

A friend of mine recently pointed me to a site where I could listen and watch church services on-line from a trusted church. With my memory and distractibility and everything going on, I ended up putting it off at first and then accidentally forgetting about it until I came across my note last night. I’ve watched a couple of the sermons through the night, and they both resonated deeply with me. One was simply encouraging. Powerful encouragement paired with helpful and wise advice. The second was encouraging and helpful too, but in a way that I feel requires more of a committed response out of me than just a prayer of thanks and a simple share telling others to watch. It really hit home on an issue that is so broad yet so personal at the same time; and so important for me and all of us.

One of my favorite parts comes towards the end. To get the full weight of it, you need the whole talk, but it really hit home for me when he chose to wrap it up by talking about Christ on the cross. Especially when he started talking about looking at Christ on the cross and remembering it was our sins that put him there. Not so we would feel guilty or ashamed, but so that we would be reminded that Christ was on that cross, with all our sins, so that He could pay the price for them and offer us freedom and forgiveness. But in order to see, remember, and embrace that message… we first have to admit it applies to us because we’ve screwed up. We have to admit we’re not perfect, that we don’t have it all under control, that we have messed up and have done so often.

We are fence breakers. We have poison in our life from all the snake bites. We even have poison from snake bites that were caused by someone else breaking a fence. But we also have hope and forgiveness. We have grace and healing and a fresh start in Christ. Let us never forget that part. Let us also never take advantage of it.

Please take the time to watch and listen to this sermon, “Snakes and Fences”. It’s pretty powerful truth. ❤

Late Night Thoughts

Life doesn’t come easy for me,
but I still believe in my dreams.
Some people may call it crazy
but I like to stretch beyond my means.

For it’s only when I am spent and done
that God can truly show His strength.
And when He shows up, I know I’ve won
and for that I would go to any length.

Things might not always turn out right,
but they always turn out best.
There are times I feel like giving up the fight,
but then He gives me rest.

Of course His ways are higher than mine,
so I don’t always understand Him.
Sometimes I wish He could send me a sign,
then I realize He’s just waiting for me to read them.

His Word is here right in front of me,
It’s value truly worth more than gold.
When I humble myself and read,
His words help make me whole.

He is drawing me closer year by year
while training my heart to listen.
Day by day He helps melt my fear;
as He teaches me how to trust Him.

Life doesn’t come easy for me,
but I still believe in my dreams.
Some people may call it crazy
but I like to stretch beyond my means.

For it’s only when I am spent and done
that God can truly show His strength.
And when He shows up, I know I’ve won
and for that I would go to any length.

.

.

Christmas Blessings

DSCF1552_taggedHe did it again. Every year God does something way beyond anything I could ever hope for or expect to help me remember He still has me and my boys wrapped tightly in His arms. And every year, He brings me to tears when He does it. The blessings always have an intensely personal touch on them too which just blows me away and floods me with a peace and gratefulness that no words could explain.

Christmas blessings specifically have been happening ever since David was just a little guy, barely over 1 year old.  Gifts showing up for the boys, regardless of my financial means at the time or whether or not anyone else knew of my struggles.  Random strangers anonymously being used to fulfill secret needs and answer my hearts deepest prayers.  Friendships and company coming from the least expected sources just when I needed it most, and more.  So much more. ❤

This year has proven to be another chapter in this history of blessings that God is graciously choosing to build in my life.  I have been crippled all year from the injury I sustained back in December of 2013. I have been wheelchair bound since August when a doctor finally did surgery to repair the injury. God has blessed me left and right all year long, keeping me encouraged and helping me keep my head above the stormy waters that seem insistent on surrounding me. This Christmas season He has blessed me many times too through friends and family in ways I understandably counted as the yearly blessing/encouragement He has been providing me.  Then today happened.

DSCF1556-taggedAs most of you know, the boys are rowdy, energetic, and all over the place on an almost constant basis and as a result have been ripping their pants to shreds left and right and at a much quicker pace than I could ever possibly replace them. I have had many ask me how they could help my family and boys this year due to my injury making my needy state painfully obvious to anyone that looks our way. The thing I have requested most, outside of a present or two for the boys and help with putting up decorations, was for “pants without holes”. I even have been praying repeatedly for God to provide for my boys somehow in this area specifically.

I seriously needed help providing this for my boys and didn’t have the means to do so on my own with the rate the boys were destroying them (never on purpose by the way). I have had a couple people step up and help me which I was, and still am, beyond grateful for. Then today, while at my PT session, my therapist told me she had a surprise waiting for me before I left. She said it was from another client of hers and she wasn’t allowed to say who but was instructed to make sure I got the gift. The person behind it had seen me and my boys many times, and wanted to do something special for us. When I got home, the boys and I opened the gift to find two kids baking sets.

DSCF1565-tagged1) A gingerbread men kit which happen to be something the boys were begging for, but I couldn’t afford.
2) A sugar cookie set with a “Frozen” theme that I saw before and quietly wished I could provide for my boys.

Baking is one of my most favorite Christmas traditions and my health and mobilization issues have been a barrier this year to trying to keep it. These kits were a pretty cherished surprise for me. ^_^

That wasn’t all though. The boys then found a handful of gift card boxes in the bottom of the bag.

$50 gas card
6 coupons for free haircuts
$25 Wal-mart card
and…
$200 Burlington Coat Factory card with a $5 bonus card specifically written out with the intended use to be for the boys’ clothing needs.

Yep. I started crying.

Thank-you Father. ❤ For everything.