Bunnies, chocolate, jelly beans, those darn delicious Cabury mini eggs…all things that spark recognition of the Easter holiday. But what about the “real” meaning of Easter? By real I mean seriously the real reason we celebrate. Jesus Christ was risen from the dead that Sunday morning and what a glorious day that must have been. I can only imagine how the apostles felt to see their Jesus again after a crucifixion fit for a criminal. How He was stripped of his clothing and beaten, given a literal crown of thorns. Jesus then took upon himself all the sins of the world. I love Romans 5:8, “You are loved more than you will ever know by someone who died to know you” So powerful.
It wasn’t too long ago that I brushed off the real meaning of Easter. It was just another “holiday” to get through. We (meaning my husband and kids and I) didn’t go to church. We didn’t really have a home church. I tried to go back to the Episcopalian church I grew up in but they offered nothing for my kids, no Sunday school, no bible study, no kids activities. And to be honest I finally left “the church” I was feeling frustrated and empty. I went back when I was pregnant with Samantha to the Episcopalian church but I felt empty when I arrived home afterwards. So after Samantha was baptized as a baby I stopped going. I did what I felt I had to do to ensure she would be “safe” if God forbid something happened to her, that she would go to heaven because she was baptized. I didn’t know that that was so far from enough.
I didn’t know we had to accept Christ as our Savior to be saved. I know all about Jesus I thought. Yes I knew of him but I didn’t have a relationship with Him I didn’t truly know him and wasn’t thankful for what He did for me. My kids didn’t know enough about Jesus to accept him as their Savior. It was only when we started going to our now home church about 8 years ago did my kids become exposed to the wonderful Gospel. The good news. That Jesus died for our sins and we were saved once we opened our hearts to Him and accepted the free gift of grace. I was baptized again this time by my choice on June 27, 2011. In front of the whole congregation I publicly let it be known that I am now a follower of Jesus Christ. It was wonderful and something I wholeheartedly recommend to any Christian; be baptized (again).
So Easter has come and gone. We celebrated our Lord’s resurrection with joy. And what a joyous reason to celebrate.
I’m on my way to Manhattan this morning. I’m on the ferry and I’m people watching. I love to people watch, usually the subway has more interesting people to watch mostly because it’s a more diverse population than the morning ferry. On the ferry are mainly people going to work with the occasional college student here and there. The afternoon ferry is interesting because of the number of tourists. I love to tourist watch too.
I was in the city yesterday for work and I still can’t believe the location I’m at. Literally right across from the Empire State Building. It’s amazing and you never grow tired of craning your neck to see the top. I love it. I’m in the city today for an appointment with my therapist. I’ve “graduated” to every two weeks as opposed to every week. I’m okay with the new arrangement. Honestly there are weeks that I go and I have literally nothing going on to talk about, I’m just not ready to let it go completely. We discuss my small group bible study and some challenges that have come up. It’s good to have Nancy’s perspective and insight. So I am glad that I still see her.
I received a phone call from Thomas’ social worker yesterday. It seems a couple of agencies are interested in Thomas for group home placement. When Thomas is 21 next year he’ll go to live in a group home, this is the plan. However these agencies represent group homes in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. Umm….No. We want him here where we live. And thank God his social worker feels the same way. She’s in complete agreement with us and already told me she will also advocate for Thomas to be placed here where we live. So I’m praying for there to be a space available when the time comes.
Tommy and I will pick up Thomas on Friday morning so he can spend Easter with us. I’m looking forward to seeing him. We speak often on the phone but it’s not the same. He’s really looking forward to coming home so I’m hoping it all goes smooth and anxiety free for him and us.
I went out with friends last night. We had a great time and caught up with people we haven’t seen in too long. It was nice, really nice to see friends whose lives are now completely different than yours. These were friends whose lives were intertwined with ours for many years. Friends from high school and a little beyond high school. Then we all chose our paths and find ourselves in different lives than we originally started out.
A very good friend of mine was asking questions about Thomas and our decision to have Thomas live at a residential school. It will be 5 years this summer that Thomas has lived away from home. My friend wasn’t being disrespectful in the least he was asking from a place of caring and love. He said he couldn’t fathom the life Tommy and I were living before Thomas went to residential. He also couldn’t imagine him in our shoes. That meant a lot to me. Honestly I can’t imagine anyone going through what we went through. Police cars pulling up with the ambulance I called to help me with my out of control son. The memories are still fresh and perhaps in time could become dull~maybe… I don’t know. Like I said it’s almost 5 years and I’ve only recently this past year come out of the depression I was thrown into as a result of living in that manner. I’m glad my friend feels comfortable enough with me to ask those questions and I’m glad I was able to have that honest conversation with him.
It wasn’t all deep serious conversation believe me there were plenty of laughs and remembering a lot of good times we all had together. Silly things we did when we were younger and the people who we hung out with. The jobs we have now and where we’re all working.
At some point late in the night I was sitting with one of my dear friends and he asked me when did I become so religious? I stammered in answering him. “I’m not religious” I answered. What I desperately wanted to say was “I’m not religious I have a relationship”. But perhaps because it was so late I couldn’t get the words out. I was pretty taken aback by that question and I can totally understand why he asked me that. I wasn’t saved back in high school. I mean I believed in our Lord Jesus Christ and I knew he died for me but I didn’t “get it”. I didn’t get that He was my Savior and I desperately needed a Savior. I’ve been saved for about 8 years now. It’s been 8 years since I’ve begun my walk with the Lord and accepted Him as my Savior. At that time in the night (or early morning) I didn’t know how to explain all that to my friend. I wish I could go back and answer him the way I *should* have. But God orchestrates everything and it’s no accident I was asked that question and in retrospect it’s also no accident that I answered the way that I did. Only God knows what is in my heart.
I’m so glad we went out last night and were able to get together with such great people. To reminisce and also see each other in the here and now. To see how some of us have changed in certain ways and how some of us haven’t changed at all; the way we talk and the way we don’t talk anymore. I look forward to getting together again.
I have a birthday quickly approaching in a little over 2 weeks. It’s not a momentous or milestone birthday, I’ll be 46. And for the record I’m okay with that. I say that now. I don’t know how I’ll feel staring at the big 5-0. I don’t feel 46 years old, although I’m not sure what 46 years old is supposed to feel like. I don’t know what any age is supposed to feel like I can only reflect on what I felt like at certain ages through the years.
Sometimes I’m amused when I’m making dinner thinking of how “adult” I am. Like here I am married, raising kids, running a household; how adult it all is. And when did that happen? Being an “adult”. Legally I know when I turned 18 I was an adult. The only thing I really remember being at 18 is feeling free. I was about to graduate high school, had a great boyfriend, a part time job and I was driving and had my own car. Life was sweet. No “adult” responsibilities in sight. So I can hardly say I personally was an adult at age 18. Nor did I act very adult, IMO anyway.
I think the defining moment in my life was when I was 24. I graduated college as a nurse and finally for the first time had a “real” job, making real money. However I was still living at home. When I did move out I remember feeling so grown up and responsible. Paying for our own wedding and getting married was another grown up step then quickly becoming parents to Thomas with all his issues was a great kick in the old adult pants.
So I guess for me being an adult was a process of steps, I was fortunate that I didn’t have adulthood thrust upon me at an early age. When I look back it was God’s plan for me to take all those steps to finally get to the point where I was prepared to be Thomas’ mother. I was never known to keep my opinion to myself, but advocating for my baby and being bold to respected medical professionals wasn’t something I was well versed in but I had to learn quick and I did.
I look at my oldest daughter about to legally become an adult this summer. Her 18th birthday is shortly after she graduates high school. I know I won’t see her as an adult even though she’s very responsible and like me at that age she is driving her own car, has a great boyfriend and a part time job. I’ll ask her if she feels like an adult. I look forward to her answer.
I was listening to the radio this morning (I listen to a local Christian station called THE STAR 99.1). One of the dj’s, a woman was talking about her husband watching a you-tube video of a dad with a son who has Down Syndrome. The dad was saying over and over how his son is not broken. The dj and her husband are parents of a young girl with Down Syndrome.
The statement of “He’s not broken” referring to that dad’s son really hit me hard and had me almost in tears. I thought of my Thomas and do I think he’s “broken”? It makes me pause here, writing this. My answer would be that right now knowing what we know about Thomas, that he does have brain damage caused either in-utero or during birth (we’ll never know); no he is not “broken”. I didn’t always think that though.
When he was younger I did think he was broken. I went from doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist, in search of someone who could “fix” him. Searching for the right person with the right combination of either therapy or medications or both to make Thomas “right”. Little did I know that there was no fixing him. He was never broken. Just different. But different in a way no doctor could put their finger on until Thomas was 12 years old. When this prestigious, very expensive neurologist at Cornell University interviewed me for Thomas’ history and then thoroughly examined him; told us what we never expected to hear; Thomas was brain damaged. He wouldn’t get any worse but he wouldn’t get any better either. Imagine being punched in the stomach. That’s what it felt like to hear that after all those years of searching and hoping.
I used to think I’d give anything for Thomas to be like a “typical” child. But who am I wanting that for? Me or him? He only knows what it’s like to be Thomas. And if I were able to change who he is, who’s to say he’d be as wonderful of a person as he is now?
That word,”broken” really challenged me today. Really
I’ve been trying since this morning to write this post. I started a couple of times on my phone while on the ferry but for whatever reason my phone won’t “save” the post, so that was a waste of time. Then I tried again on the way home on the ferry, then on the bus. Again with my phone not saving anything. What the heck man!
So now I’m home with freshly dyed hair waiting for dinner to be ready. Here I am. I’ve been thinking about life these days and how I’m so glad to be a part of it. I have my relationship with the Lord, a great husband and a job I really like and lest I forget my 4 kids that always keep me on my toes. Especially Samantha these days. If it’s not one it’s another. But that’s okay.
I think back to this time last year. I wasn’t doing too well depression wise and it was at this time my doctor tried one other medication. He hit the nail on the head and I’ve been feeling well ever since. I don’t ever want to go back to where I was. Last week during bible study we were discussing times when we’ve felt abandoned by God. I know when I was in the depths of my depression I felt like God had just left me there to flounder. I know now this isn’t true, He’s never left me, He hadn’t moved, I had. The depression makes you feel isolated and worthless. I kept praying for God to guide my doctor, to guide his decisions that God being the Great Physician and Healer could certainly guide anyone here on earth. And He did. He’s been orchestrating my recovery all this time. I’ll never know why it took the time and med trials it did, or who knows someday I could know and everything will make perfect sense. Until then I’ll keep trusting the Lord and know that He never wastes a hurt.
I remember growing up and attending church. I felt church and God was just for Sunday. I couldn’t imagine applying my faith in God to other areas of my life like school, hanging out with my friends, etc… When I was older and went back to church I again couldn’t fathom letting God in to other parts of my life such as work, friendships, relationships, etc… I mean I believed in God and Jesus but they were “separate”. They were only for Sunday.
It’s only since I’ve been saved do I really understand letting God in to all areas of my life. The Lord has permeated every aspect of my life from my marriage, raising my children, friendships, discussions, my job, you name it; and I am so grateful to have Him there. Yesterday at church Pastor John said, “You are where you are because God has put you there.” I love that. Because it’s so true. I’ve wondered often if I’m working where I’m supposed to be. I’m working as a nurse piercing ears in Manhattan. It’s definitely where I wanted to be geographically but I never imagined myself working in this capacity. Never. I’m exactly where God wants me to be for whatever reason and it’s okay. I don’t believe it’s any coincidence that my supervisor just happens to be a Christian. There are no coincidences just things that happen as orchestrated by The Lord.
Having God be a part of every aspect of my life certainly changes the way I think and approach circumstances. I know it’s the Lord’s presence that gives me the calm, patient demeanor I have with my clients. I know it’s the Holy Spirit that gives me words when my kids have questions about God or our Savior Jesus Christ. I know it’s also the Holy Spirit working through me when co-leading my small group/bible study.
I would encourage everyone to simply let God in to all areas of your life. He’s already there you just need to acknowledge Him.
Since I started co-leading this small group/bible study for Mom’s of special needs children, I’ve had the distinct pleasure and honor of watching the church move. Watching other members of the group support and help each other. It is truly the hands and feet of our Lord in motion. And I am blessed to be a witness to it. I didn’t know what to expect when we began meeting for this small group. I didn’t know if everyone would get along or if anyone would be judgmental. Thanks be to God we all do get along and empathize and pray for each other; and no judgement.
I worry I don’t have the “right” words to say, I’m pretty quiet and I’m an active listener during the meetings. I guess that is the role The Lord wants me in. But there are times where I want the Holy Spirit to come upon me and give me words that will make an impact. I’m thinking my presence is enough of an impact. At this time anyway. My co-leader is quite gifted in knowing what to say and how to say it. She was amazing last night and I’m so thankful the Lord put us together to lead this group.
I prayed this morning for God’s help and support and strength in being a part of this ministry. Apart from Him I am nothing and I need His strength to be able to minister to this group of wonderful women.