Saturday, August 27, 2016

Testing for Whom???

Is it that I am a slow learner...

or is it that I just have old age memory issues...

cause the Lord continually shows up...

and I seem to continually forget...

I can't seem to make it from one miracle to the next without lapsing back into that place of fear and doubt, clinging to my daily portion of manna as if He would not provide again tomorrow.

It is a place where we know we should not live from, but a place where our flesh tends to want to take us.

This fleshy place was where I found myself three mornings ago...

this place of fear and doubt...

questioning the Lord's plan for us, for our family... fear-full of earthly concerns and doubting that He would continue to reveal Himself to us through the worldliness I found myself operating from yet again!

Would that I would show the same patience, mercy and grace with my children as the Lord has with me.

I cried out to Him that morning and by that afternoon...

He had answered and no one in that room was dry eyed...

but let me back up a bit here.

At the beginning of the summer, Hubby and I made the decision to hire an independent tester for Maggie to better help us to understand exactly what our sweet girl could understand, exactly what she might be capable of - or not.

It truly did not matter to us at all what the results were but it would better help us to help her.

We have fought very hard to get the girls in the general education classroom as much as possible but they were struggling, especially Maggie, and we needed to know how best she learned and how best to help her to learn.

Imagine - cerebral palsy, motion disorder, speech disorder no prior schooling and learning a new language...  all at the same time!

yeah...

During Hubby's time as a teacher at the boys' school, he was present at several IEP meetings where he became friends with "C", the special education teacher there, and was introduced to "T", an independent tester, whose testing results and recommendations made an impression.  

It was this tester that we turned to, when at the end of the school year, we were frustrated and frightened for our girls and their futures.

We knew in our hearts that Maggie was capable of so much more...


that there was so much more understanding and learning going on that was just unable to be tapped into because of the herculean effort that it takes my baby girl to speak or to write or just to control her body.

After several testing sessions over the summer, we were scheduled to hear the results Thursday afternoon.

Of course, it was Thursday morning that I found myself consumed in that fleshy place of doubt and fear, crying out to the Lord for answers...

Why Lord, did you call Hubby to teach at the boys' school for 2 years?

Why would You put him there Lord, knowing a teacher's salary would never sustain a family of 9!

Why would he have to stay there Lord, while we depleted so much more of our savings?

Why?

Yes, Thursday morning I was in this world and of this world...

*not pretty y'all*

but by Thursday afternoon, the Lord had so beautifully answered each question that the world melted away!

As we sat in that room and listened to the results and learned about the connections that the Lord had provided...

we, the three of us, Hubby, "T" the tester and I, had to just stop and let it all soak in.

Not only did we learn that Miss Maggie is more than able to learn and given the right tools and measurements, more than able to keep up with her peers...


but we also learned that "T" the tester is a believer and that she had cried out to the Lord as well, only it was over testing our Maggie!  She struggled with the fact that she had to throw out all the rules, that she had to research and develop other methods of testing for our girlie, that she had to sit and be incredibly patient as Maggie worked so hard to read 100 1st grade words and then 100 2nd grade words and then 100 3rd grade words, that she could feel the exhaustion after that session and could understand Maggie's level of output each and every day.  Yes, at one point she wanted to give up and cried out to the Lord asking why?  Why had He given her this difficult case, why?

Then we learned that "T" the tester just happened to be good friends with "C" the special ed teacher at the boys' school - you know the school that the Lord kept Hubby at for 2 years...

and that "T" began to understand the Lord's answers to her questions when she thought to ask "C" the special ed teacher to help us by attending Maggie's next IEP at school to help the school to better understand why we needed to fight so hard for Maggie because you see...

C's hubby also has cerebral palsy...

WOW

C's hubby is in a wheel chair and has movement and speech struggles...

just like Maggie...

but he is a hubby and a dad and an employee who supports his family!

WOW

C's hubby was Maggie as a kid y'all!

What we will be asking for to help Maggie is extreme and "out of the box" so the fact that the Lord brought us together with this amazing tester and this amazing special ed teacher and her amazing hubby...

well, I had my answers and I knew the Lord was once again reassuring me and getting me ready for the next step out of the boat...

cause it may be a biggie y'all and it may not be just about Maggie and her diploma...

but the road before us with Maggie and possibly Lucy as well, will not be easy.


Easy would be to just let them continue on and rest in the inertia of doing nothing but we know that the easy road is not what He has called us to, prepared us for.

So we stop at these heavenly reveals and just soak in the presence of the Lord and all of His goodness.

 I know there will be other moments of doubt and fear as this journey continues but with each reveal, each soaking in, the doubts and the fears grow weaker and have less and less control over our hearts.

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 hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you Lord for giving Maggie and Lucy a hope and a future and for gifting me a purpose!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Puppy Love

Yes, it was love at first sight...


only we were in denial...


we tried to be strong...


to strengthen our resolve...


to look away from the come hither glances...


I mean we are old hats at this foster gig...


we know the deal...


they come - we love on them - and then they go...


right???


Yes, yes, yes...


I am well aware of the ones who have, um, not gone...


the ones we affectionately call...


foster failures...


but we were past all of that...


we had our three...

the last one being - ahem...


a definite foster failure.


So, we were done.

We would just foster puppies from now on!

Safe right?

Easy in, easy out...

done...

I mean they are cute and all but after a few weeks of cleaning up potty accidents and chewed up magazines and toilet paper and toys and pencils and paper and furniture and carpets and and and...

we would be ready for them to move on to their furever families.

Right??

only not so much...


not this time...


one look at that face...


those faces....


and we were done alright!


Her name is Beth... not exactly a doggie name but a name that was meant for her...

after being told that she was named after the police woman who rescued her, we were still unsure as the naming war process had already begun with Dixie and Daisy neck in neck... but after speaking to this police woman and hearing her heart...

I knew there could be no other name!

Very special thank you to Michelle and Gimme Shelter Animal Rescue and all of the wonderful work that they do!


Welcome to the family little Beth!

Never saw that coming, did ya!

*wink*

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Joy Filled Hard

We live very close to the beach...


I grew up going to the beach...


It is a part of who I am...


We don't go as much as I would like to these days as it has become harder.

Days are filled with the tasks of raising a larger family and our mobility issues don't mix well with beach sand.

There are those sweet times, however, that we do get to go and I am reminded of the joy that it brought me as a child.

While Em and Lizzie are out perfecting their Boogie Board techniques...



Maggie and Lucy just have fun playing in the surf, finding shells and building sand castles.


It is so hard for Lucy to walk on the beach...


she falls almost as much as she walks...


but that does not stop her from trying...


or from loving the beach...


I see that smile...


and I am reminded of the joy that He brought me as a child and now, as the parent of a very special child.

This is hard but this is blessed and all a part of the journey the Lord placed on my heart as a child,  growing up with joy.

So we will go to the beach beautiful Lucy...


and the blessings are the memories and they are joy!


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Those In Between Moments

It's that moment in between trusting You with all our hearts or falling back on the fear of the uncertain. 

We have been in this moment before, Hubby and I, this moment in between trust and fear. 

We have lived this moment out over and over again and yet each time, the memories of past moments seem to fade as the realities of the present moment take us further away from trust and closer to fear. 

However with each moment the distance from trust and the nearness to fear is less. 

It's funny how the Lord pours into these moments and our hearts lap up his sweetness until we are full to overflowing and yet our fullness only seems to last until that next moment in between trust and fear.... 

but the fullness leaves an impression on our hearts making every next step out of boat easier, each moment more anticipated and prepared for...

and now, here we are again...

life has moved us back into this moment but it is familiar and the lasting impression on our hearts makes us eager...

eager to once again move that much closer to trust and that much farther away from fear.

We are eager because we know how He works within these moments and while we don't expect easy...

we do expect glory cause oh how He is glorified through this exercise of trusting Him beyond our fear.

Recently, Hubby and I took a quick trip to Texas...


a big step toward what we feel is the Lord's provision for our family.

Tentative steps toward trust and away from fear...

and we are eager and we are anticipating how this will glorify Him while, prayerfully, relieving some of the financial burden we have been growing under for the past few years...

growing to where He takes us and He has taken us here...


Christian Brothers Automotive is a faith based, service oriented automotive repair facility. 

Hubby has always loved cars... 

tinkering with cars, driving cars, reading about cars, etc...

and because the Lord is so good at preparing us for the journey ahead...

Hubby has gotten very good at fixing cars, particularly old-er cars...

not necessarily classic cars...

just old...

which is all we have been able to afford lately!

Ha!

But He is in the details and He is always working, even when we don't see, even when we don't understand, even when we challenge...

He is working and working out all those earthly details.

It is through this preparation, His preparation, that our hearts have been changed...

from moment to moment, transformed, closer to trust and farther away from fear...

 and it is this transformation that taught us about service...

not just car service

*grin*

but about serving others and this was/is the key 

Love your neighbor as yourself - Matthew 22:39

It is right there, on their website and it felt just right...

serving others while providing for our family.

Being able to work with fellow believers who have challenged me to continue to grow and to reach out to others has been such a blessing for me at Lifeline Children's Services and now God has prepared and provided Hubby the same blessing at Christian Brothers Automotive, cause He is just so good that way!

So as we enter into this next moment between trust and fear...

we trust more and we fear less because of all those other "moments" and we again say "yes Lord" as He brings us to this place of interwoven faith and service and provision and we say "yes" to Christian Brothers Automotive which Hubby will be opening in our area around the end of the year!

Yes!  

It is that moment in between trusting You with all our hearts or falling back on the fear of the uncertain...

and You are always there whether we trust or whether we fall...

thank you Lord for bandaging our skinned knees so the trust continues to grow, so our faith continues to grow so those in between moments can continue to grow so that we can reach outside of ourselves and serve!



Thursday, June 16, 2016

Happy Birthday Lizzie

My dearest Lizzie, ten years ago, you were born…

and oh how I rejoice.

Eight years ago we brought you home…


and oh how I am thankful.


Your life did not begin with the comfort, the security and the love that it was meant to but I am thankful to the brave woman who chose to give you life and I am thankful to the One who chose to give you to me!


I look at your beautiful face now and yearn, with an intense, breath-taking type of yearning, to have been able to look into that precious face 10 years ago…


but I trust, with an intense, breath-taking type of trust, the One who was there with you, holding you, loving you and gazing into that beautiful face when I could not…


I am thankful for the heart glimpses that He gave me as I waited and the heart glimpses that He still gifts to me as we struggle to make up for the 2 years that we missed with you, as we understand the enormity of that missing and as we begin to understand our inability to “make up” for anything...

but from all of this we also begin to understand the Lord’s ability to heal and the Lord’s ability to use the hurt and the broken-ness to connect us as we are all broken and we all have hurts…

and we are connected my darling, you and I, we are connected in a way that only the Lord could orchestrate.


I remain in a state of awe and wonder as the Lord bridges that gap, that chasm that grew from circumstances and distance and deep heart hurts.

Most days, I have to remind myself that your beginning was not with me…


as the chasm continues to be filled, I have to stop and step into a consciousness that my heart does not want to enter, that enormity of missing that formed your hurts that first 2 years.

I have to remind myself as the Lord so beautifully weaves you into my heart…


I have to remind myself…

but you don’t…

you remember and those conscious steps into your reality become vital.

Sweet baby girl, as we celebrate your birth, your beginning and your beginning with us…


I remind myself…

I give my grief to the Lord...

and I rejoice…

I rejoice in the gift that we were given so many years ago…

on that day when our hurts collided and we became mother and daughter, forever minus two years... but forever all the same.

Sweet girl, the Lord breathed you into my heart, just as my heart began to be defined.

Trust in His plans for you my darling as it was that intense, breath-taking trust that opened my heart to the beautiful journey that lay ahead, the journey that began with you!


Happy birthday to my precious Lizzie!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Graduate

The day has come and gone...


tears were shed and congratulations were given...


and my eldest is now an official high school graduate!


Today, I am doing OK...


I am so proud of the incredible young man Christian has grown into...


I am so excited to see what path the Lord lays out before him...


and I am thankful that he will not be too far away next year...


so today...  I am doing ok...

ask me again in late August...

sniff sniff...

As I was getting ready for the day, getting ready to let my heart go, I found my thoughts drifting back to the beginning with him...


and as I drifted, I found myself on a heart journey through the past 18 years of memories...


pictures and videos and then remembrances and conversations that were birthed out of 18 years of loving and laughing and sharing life together.


As the Lord led me down this memory laden, thanksgiving worthy journey...


He kept bringing me back to one night with Christian...

one night before I truly knew His voice but one night that I truly heard Him...

this flowed from that memory...

Dearest Christian. Over the past 18 years, I have watched as you have grown from an adorable curly haired little boy who needed me to rock him to sleep every night, into a handsome, strong, independent 18 year old who really doesn’t need me for much anymore... 

except maybe for spreading cream cheese on your bagels. 

*inside joke* 

I remember all those nights that I rocked you to sleep (there were many) but one night, when you were around 2 years old, stands out as you had cried out for me multiple times and I was tired. 

 I remember though, holding you and rocking you and reminding myself to soak it all in as it had seemed as if you had only just been born yesterday and here you were 2 years old already! 

 I remember feeling a strange yearning and longing for this time with you that had not even passed yet, that we were still in the midst of and still I knew so well in my heart how I would eventually miss that time with you and that in the very next moment, you would be a handsome, strong, independent young man...

and not really need me for much anymore. 

 And now, here we are and you are getting ready to start the adventure that will be your life and I am so excited to see what the Lord has planned for you my darling...

but there is a part of my heart that will forever be in that rocking chair, in that room on 1185 Plantation Lane, holding that adorable curly haired little boy... 

who just needed me to rock him to sleep.

Know that wherever your life takes you, you’ll be in my heart – always.




Thank you Lord for showing me how to give my heart all while preparing me to release it.

Do not be conformed to this world, (dearest Christian) but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Love you always...  Mom

P.S. All of this was made into a Christian Graduation Movie so if there is anyone (other than grands) who would like to sit through a 15 min montage of Christian's first 18 years (hehe), just let me know and I can send you the link.