This is my last post of 2013. I can’t say 2013 was the best year of my life but it certainly wasn’t the worst. 2012 was way rough compared to 2013. This past year I’ve struggled with depression and made it through med adjustments, therapy sessions that were at times intense and at other times full of relief. There isn’t a time that I think of both my doctor and my therapist that I don’t thank God above for placing them both in my life. Without that combo I honestly don’t know where I’d be right now.
I was reading over past blog entries specifically dealing with depression and I’m so thankful I’m not in that dark place anymore. I’m thankful to feel more like “me”. Good moods are not taken for granted anymore but are recognized and enjoyed to the fullest. I’m incredibly grateful for my friends and family (both online and in person). Words fail to describe how I feel about my choir family. I love our fellowship and the friends I’ve made through the choir. They are all very strong people who pray for me without me even asking.
I also don’t know where I’d be without my husband. He’s received quite the education in dealing with a wife fighting depression. And he’s been wonderful, I’m not just saying that he really has been.
I didn’t set out to make this a “thankful” post but it looks like it’s heading in that direction and that’s ok. These and many more blessing have followed me this past year through the laughter and the tears. “Silly” questions I’ve asked and wonderful friends who have an answer. I am looking forward to 2014 beginning; I think 2013 has had enough and is tired but I hope she goes off quietly and without a huge bang to anyone.
I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions at all. But there is one I would really, really like to keep and that is to spread the Gospel and be more bold in my faith. We are called to make disciples and I’m am ridiculously intimidated by that command. I know the Holy Spirit will be with me when the opportunity arises and will give me the “right” things to say. I need to trust and submit. Maybe those 2 actions should also be part of my “Resolution”. Yes I think they shall be.
We are ringing in the new year with a small party, a gathering of friends and family and friends that are more like family than anything else. I love it. I love that people want to come to our house and celebrate with us, I love that we have such people to get together with and be comfortable, laugh, have fellowship, talk and laugh some more and usher in a New Year.
Good bye 2013.
Happy New Year!
Today Thomas went back to school. I wonder when the visits and saying goodbye will be “easy”. They’re not full of tears and heart wrenching goodbyes but the emotions involved are hard to digest once he actually does leave. “I need to have more patience, I wish I didn’t get annoyed when…, Why does he still target me?” I ask these questions rhetorically. This is a sampling of the questions and guilt I still carry a year and half after admitting Thomas to residential school. I know logically he is in a more structured environment with staff who have back up thus probably have more patience and they don’t have the emotional investment I have as Thomas’ mother. Logic and emotions don’t usually co exist with me.
I’m glad I was able to go to church this morning. I love our Lord and I’m so glad I get to worship him freely. Our Pastor read from Philippians today talking about how Paul wants us to “press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (Philippians 3:12). This strikes me as so comforting to know that Jesus has made me his own. Pastor also spoke about forgiveness and, “…forgetting what lies behind”(Philippians 3:13). I have a difficult time with this concerning Thomas and all the events leading up to him requiring residential school. Have I forgiven him? Have I forgiven myself for not being enough? Again rhetorical questions that I must work through.
I love the lyrics to the song “You Loved Me Anyway” by the Sidewalk Prophets. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=y8BBCYFAYRI. That song has ministered to me in ways I can’t even describe.
All the things we are to Him yet He loves us anyway. Thorn in His crown, nail in His wrist, shouting from the crowd for His blood to be spilled, etc… This song reminds me of how great His love for us is. That love is amazing.
Its over, Christmas that is. By my personal calendar at least, as I know some religions still celebrate or hold holy days/weeks past the 25th of December. All the running around, the stress, the angst over choosing that perfect gift for that perfect (or not so perfect) someone. It’s over. Until next year, haha. I love the whole build up to Christmas personally. The reverence of knowing we are about to celebrate the birth of our Saviour and how wonderful our Saviour is. I love that part. I love knowing He came down to us to save us. Yes I know this. That our Lord took on human form and arrived without bells, whistles, trumpets blaring; it’s amazing and humbling.
The shopping, meh…I could take or leave it most times. Yes it’s me talking saying I can take or leave “shopping”. Its not the kind of shopping I enjoy, it’s too stressful man! And I KNOW I’m not the only one who feels this way. Sometimes it’s fun especially when your know what you’re buying is the “one” for that special someone.
We’re having a nice time with Thomas home. He’s been rather pleasant and wants to be helpful most times. Both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day he did an awesome job of helping to clear the table. It’s funny as sometimes he is clearly does not act his chronological age of 17 yrs and other times he comes out with some doozy comments that stop you dead in your tracks and you KNOW he’s in there and so very far from “not smart”.
I’m looking forward to taking my tree down, I realize we’re only 2 days past the big event but I want my house back and I’m tired of sweeping up needles. That said, I loved having a real tree for the first time. The smell was awesome and just having a living tree was just the coolest for once. I would do it again next year (I say this now before taking it down, haha).
I’m also having thrift withdrawal. I haven’t been thrifting in a couple of week due to the Holiday and all my kids home from school. My oldest daughter is in Manhattan today thrifting with her friends and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t envious. She called me with an authenticity question about a pair of premium denim IMO they sound good to me and the price was right so I said to go for them! I can’t wait for her to get home and show me her finds.
So yes, just like that Christmas is over. The fact that our Lord came to earth is still truth but the stress and running around is done for another 350 or so days.
And the boy is home! Over the years I’ve had many emotions while being Thomas’ mother. When Thomas was born my dad told me, “You no longer have a name, from now on you’ll be ‘Thomas’ Mom”. I laughed then, 17 years ago but it really is true. I know I’m also “Alyssa, Daniella and Samantha’s Mom”, but being Thomas’ Mom broke me in, inducted me into motherhood, shattered (in a good/realistic way) whatever false/perfect beliefs I had about motherhood. Introduced me to the person I would become; a tenacious mother who would search over and over for help for her son. I look at this young man who is bigger and taller than me. This young man who will bend down when he hugs me so that his head will rest on my shoulder. He’s so handsome and so big. I wish I knew when all this growing up happened.
He is left handed, like me but has green eyes like his Dad. I’ve never been brought to tears as much as I have for this child of mine. Tears of joy and happiness as well as tears from pain and fear. I’m able to sit and write this because Thomas is engaged in coloring Christmas pages. Gingerbread houses to be exact. This is when I’m able to sit and stare at him and swell with pride that he is mine. Thomas is my only child that I’ve had to express to other people that he is indeed MINE. The girls have always been with me, lived with me there was never any moments of insecurities. Thomas is once again in residential school. This time around I haven’t felt the need to remind the staff that he has a mother…that he is mine. The first time in residential there were many times I wanted to shout from the rooftops, “He has a mother, he is still MINE”. Will I still do this say in 10 years when Thomas will be 27 years old? I want to say, “no” but I’m sure I will. Will I do that to the girls in 10 years? Most likely no.
I’m so glad he’s here, home for Christmas.
So here it is we’re 2 days away from celebrating our Saviour’s birth. It’s wonderful isn’t it? I’m no longer in that crabby mood thank God. Instead I’m adjusting to a med change and my head is a bit fuzzy. Not debilitating but enough to make me slow down a bit. However I firmly believe The Lord has me exactly where he wants me and I’m ok with that.
My son should be arriving home today if all goes as scheduled and I want to see him. I want to see his face, I miss him. He was supposed to come home yesterday but things were a bit screwy with his meds and the school not having enough to send home with him. That wouldn’t work out well in the long run so we made plans to pick him up today in order for the med situation to be worked out.
I’m finally excited for Christmas. Excited to see our children’s faces when they open their gifts, excited to get together with family and looking forward to attend church on Christmas Eve, usually the 11pm service. Its a candlelight service and it is beautiful. I heart our church.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what our Pastor was stressing during yesterday’s service. He stressed that “God sees you” even though you may feel forgotten or not cared about, He still sees you. That message brought incredible comfort to me. I know we’ve all had times where we doubt that God is even involved with our life, but our Pastor said, “In your dark hour think biblically and trust God.” Have I mentioned how much I admire our Pastor? I enjoy and find so much comfort in the way he preaches to us. So anyway… it is difficult to trust God in the dark hours. IMO anyway. But the more I search for Him and try to live for Him the easier it becomes to trust Him. Don’t get me wrong I haven’t reached a place of total submission and trust, that is quite honestly my goal. But lately I find comfort in knowing I am exactly where God wants me to be which also extends to my family in my belief and now I will reinforce to myself that God does see me and I *must* trust him. He has his own plan. And He sees me. He sees us all.
Yes I braved the mall today. It was already crowded by 11 a.m. Thank goodness I was able to get done what I needed to and hightail it put of there. I’m sure I’m not the only one who faced this or will face the mall within the next few days. I’m almost done. Almost. That stinks in my book. I just want to be finished and relax and try to enjoy the season.
My mood hasn’t been the greatest. I’m crabby and the depression seems to be rearing it’s ugly head. I’m getting tired of this depression business to be honest. I don’t want to write a depressing post but I need to say a couple of things. That I’m tired of meds that stop working effectively and I’m tired of side effects.
I’m trying to look at the “little” things that make me smile. Watching my youngest write out a Christmas card to her teacher, my son’s face when he arrives home and overhearing my older girls say they, “Can’t wait until Christmas”.
Is it bad that I can’t think of more? I feel like I’m supposed to be overflowing with peace, love and joy when in reality I’m crabby and irritable trying to figure out when everything will get “done”.
This mood shall pass and I’ll soon be happy with the joy of Christmas and remembering that He came to save us. That we are celebrating the birth of our Saviour and Lord. I want to shine for Him, not be the crabby person I am right now. I wish my heart were lighter while shopping to allow the glory of God to shine through. I wish for the Holy Spirit to move me in such a way I trip over myself in enthusiasm to serve. I Praise Him, Praise the Lord, the Great I Am.
This past Sunday the youth groups in our church put on an amazing service filled with music, dancing and preaching. The preaching was done by young man in his early twenties. It was amazing, simply amazing.
The main theme is that there is power in the name of Jesus. Powerful stuff man. There is power in His name. For a long time I felt like God and/or Jesus weren’t listening to me pray for help with my depression. Maybe I wasn’t getting better because I wasn’t praying hard enough? It wasn’t until I realized He had placed my therapist and doctor exactly in my life at the exact moments I needed them. I’m not saying God couldn’t have performed a miracle and simply healed me, He could have but it was his plan for me to receive help and guidance from the people he chose. And for that I’m amazed and incredibly thankful.
When I started attending church and bible study regularly about 3 ish years ago, my life was “ok”. Thomas was stable, life was stable and no pressing issues had come up. We even had a woman coming to the house for “residential habilitation” for Thomas. Life was good.
Fast forward a year or so and the crap hits the fan. Thomas is going through med changes and hospitalizations, I quit smoking somehow through that, and all the recreation programs I had Thomas involved in he refused to attend.
God placed me in church and I accepted Christ as my as my Saviour when things were “good”. I didn’t start attending church because my life was difficult or falling apart. But, He knew what was coming up on the horizon and how much we would need the church. He is glorious.
I struggle with completely handing my life over to Jesus and following Him as I’m sure many Christians do. I want to know why the struggle? When our Lord has done so many incredible things that show His faithfulness. He is faithful and worthy to be worshipped. I want to follow without question and that requires complete trust. I just need to keep remembering how faithful He is. He will never leave us and there is power in the name of Jesus. Praise God.
In addition to Thomas, my husband and I also have three girls. They are each amazing in their own way. They are also typical children meaning not special needs. The oldest is Alyssa then Daniella and finally Samantha.
Alyssa was the child who introduced us to what it was like to have a typical child. She met every developmental milestone by the book. Honestly it was as if she read the book. I thanked God for her every day and marveled at her doing what she was supposed to do developmentally. It wasn’t like that with Thomas. I was a nervous wreck with him as he met his milestones either on the very late end of “normal” or just plain late. Alyssa was also a relatively easy going baby/toddler.
Daniella was incredibly sweet. She was always smiling and you couldn’t help but laugh when you held her. I was less nervous about when who did what at what age by this time. I do remember Daniella walking earlier than Alyssa. We just moved into our current home when I was literally 9 months pregnant with Daniella. Everyone kept telling me to “not do this/not do that” when we were moving, but I had to pack and unpack man! Not to mention the nesting at that time. Please. Daniella was my easiest delivery, I credit all the time I did cleaning on my hands and knees. Thomas was almost 5 yrs old when Daniella was born.
Samantha. Ahhh Samantha. Samantha is our last but definitely not the least. She is the one God gave me after 2 miscarriages; one after another. The time of our losses was definitely one of mourning and stress. I remember after the 2nd loss I woke up the next day and just carried on like nothing happened. Not good. I didn’t mourn until 2 weeks past the actual loss. But getting back to Samantha. She was our biggest at birth and I would say she is our biggest challenge personality wise of our 3 girls. She definitely has a stubborn streak and is probably the stereotype of the “youngest child”.
In some ways when Thomas was stable (IE: before med change) he could be easier than the girls. He was more fun to shop with as he wouldn’t be all that picky with his clothes. He would give simple “yes” or “no” answers when asked if he wanted say a shirt/pants. He is also sweet and kind. If you have girls who are into clothes you know the pain of shopping with them and being looked at as if you are the most fashion challenged person on this planet. That may sound like a complaint of my girls but it’s really not. What they do or did to me while shopping is wonderfully typical. Things like that keep me grounded as a mother and do provide a laugh or two when it’s over.
It’s funny as I always felt like I was living in 2 worlds when our kids were all young. I had Thomas and I was the mother of a special needs child. I adored the “Welcome to Holland story/poem (http://www.our-kids.org/Archives/Holland.html). The girls allowed me to “visit” the world of being a mother of typical children. I used to feel I was straddling two worlds. Not fitting completely into either. I remember going to every single parent teacher conference of Alyssa and Daniella. It was a new world to me at first and I loved it. With Thomas I had IEP meetings, speech, PT and OT eval’s and meetings. Parent teacher meetings were about IEP goals. It was different than the girls. Neither one was “better”. I learned so much being Thomas’ mother and I learned just as much being the girls’ mother. I say “learned” in the past tense because I’m referring to grade school years of the older three. I’m still learning and probably always will be.
These days I’m not worried about where I fit in. I have my Thomas and I have my girls. Sometimes they’re separate groups of children. All the time they are simply mine.
While talking with Nancy my therapist we somehow got on the topic of pity. I brought it up when I was talking about how tough the early years were with Thomas. It was a time when Thomas was in and out if the psych hospital, then residential school, then I had a miscarriage.
For whatever reason I decided to reconnect with a friend I had been close with in high school. We hadn’t talked in years and we were “catching up”. Tommy and I had attended her wedding and now she had a young child. I mistakenly thought that because we were so close years ago that I could tell her what my life had been like the past year. I think I got to the point of admitting Thomas to residential school when I heard it. Pity. There it was and I couldn’t believe it. I felt punched in the stomach to hear it in this person’s voice.
Nancy asked me how that felt and I replied, “Less than. That my life was that far from normal, we were less than.” At that time I was so taken aback by the pity I quickly made small talk to get off the phone, but of course not without my own jab about a new friend she had made. I wasn’t nice.
Nancy discussed pity with me that people who pity others build themselves up and look down on others. That was kind of the feeling I had. I mean in retrospect I didn’t have to dump my life on her like that but I really considered her a “friend” and friends don’t pity other friends. Right after I hung up with the pity friend I called my best friend. I was crying and telling her about the other phone call. Then I said, “My life isn’t that bad is it Jenn?” She answers, “well actually it is but I’ve been walking along side you so it’s not so bad to me”. My best friend was honest with me. Honest. I can handle honesty.
I’ve been feeling discouraged that things are not moving fast enough or in the right direction concerning my business. For those not in the know I shop either for a client or myself and I specialize in the thrift. I find designer items and sell them. I love the thrift, I love the thrill of the hunt. Www.nayaudo.com is my website that is not updated, I know I’ve posted it here before.
Anyway, I’m convinced God hasn’t divulged his plan as of yet, meanwhile I keep telling myself right now I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. It’s funny because when I was waiting on a residential school for Thomas I knew one would come along but on God’s timing not mine. I was so certain and I was right, God and the Holy Spirit made sure Thomas arrived at where he’s supposed to be.
I need to find that same confidence in knowing that I am right at this time in my life. God has put me exactly where he wants me to be for now and he will decide when things are to move. Sounds confident doesn’t it? I need to instill those words in my soul and let it be my answer when I begin to have feelings of doubt and frustration and discouragement. He is faithful.
In other news, our church is performing a Live Nativity. Actors with costumes act out Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the manger and the shepherds arriving and then the wise men. It’s so moving and just beautiful. The choir (which I am a member of) sings carols and songs about His birth. It’s all so amazing when you really think about it. The birth of the man who will become a Savior and die a horrible death to pay for our sins. Christmas is about His birth. The ultimate gift of salvation. It’s miraculous.