Our new Pastor began preaching today. He was awesome! He’s from the South and just spoke the message loud and clear with bits of humor scattered here and there. I truly enjoyed hearing him preach.
Pastor John spoke with such a passion for the Gospel it was wonderful. He also spoke of our finding happiness and joy in things or places outside of Jesus. That nothing but Jesus will bring us joy. Such powerful true words. Lately I feel such peace when I pray that it can only be described as joy. Knowing I can talk to my God, my Savior and knowing that He loves me…How do you describe that feeling other that it is joy? How do you tell other people that that is how close they are to finding joy? To shut out the noise and be still and know that He is God.
Our Pastor also spoke of wrong thoughts we have. Such as, ” Suffering is avoided by a lot of faith; God is mad at you; we deserve or earn suffering to gain favor from God; and that suffering is not part of the good plan of God.” Pastor John also said our suffering is not always oppositional to the work of God. This hit home to me personally in regard to my battle with depression and the trauma of living with my son when he was aggressive towards me. I was did think God was mad at me and for the life of me I could not figure out how this was part of God’s plan, that someone (meaning God) has made a big mistake.
In the middle of a storm it’s so very difficult to imagine anything good arising from what you’re going through. I know I have to always remember that even when things are tough, God is with me. He has not forsaken me and never will and that God will be glorified.
I’m already looking forward to next Sunday.
Before Thomas went to residential school he used to attend church with us. There was even a class for special needs kids during the service, sort of a Sunday school type. That was awesome as Tommy and I could attend church worry free and I felt assured that he was getting some sort of lesson about the Gospel in a way he could understand. Back then I would often ask him if he knew that Jesus loved him and Thomas would answer, “Yes”.
This past Christmas when Thomas was home he told me that some of the staff pray with him and he kept saying “Jesus” over and over. I asked him if the particular staff members pray to Jesus with him and Thomas said yes. This really touched me because its a rare occurrence for Thomas to attend church with us anymore. If he’s home for the weekend Tommy takes him back early Sunday morning to avoid the traffic.
It makes my heart sing that the staff at his school will pray with him. Not only do they take care of his physical and emotional needs in a way that I could not they are also taking care of his spiritual needs. I still ask Thomas is he knows that Jesus loves him and he still answers yes. That makes me smile. My son with his limited capabilities knows our Lord loves him.
Before I was saved I used to worry that because Thomas is special needs and he wouldn’t be able to be confirmed and receive communion (in the Episcopal church I grew up in and used to attend you were confirmed and received first communion at the same time at age 12).
I don’t doubt that my son is saved. I know our Lord and Savior love him and have placed staff members in his path that love the Lord and are willing to share that love.
So the Christmas tree is up and shopping is underway. I’ve gotten more shopping done than I usually do at this time of year and I’m glad to be a little ahead of schedule. I’m due to start a bible study/small group for mothers of children with special needs with another mom in January. I’ve already identified a book; a bible study for Mom’s of special needs children; I think would be a good fit. I still have to finish it myself so I’m not entirely sure yet. Plus I don’t have input from my co-leader yet. In due time I’m sure it will all fall into place. Or rather in the Lord’s time it will fall into place.
I’m excited to about to be a small group co-leader. To be able to share my experience of raising Thomas and how God has been there through the good the bad and the ugly. Yes God was there when times were horrible as well as when times were good. And it was only through His strength did I gain strength. I was even angry at God on more than one occasion. I know He was still there and never left us. I know that’s why I was so angry. To know God was there and things were still so crappy. I only got over the anger when I actually met the Lord. And it was then that I really knew in my soul that He was there did my anger dissipate.
I’m excited to have fellowship with other Moms and talk about the Gospel. And how Jesus is still working miracles in our lives and will continue to always be there working and interceding for us. I know I sound optimistic. I am optimistic. We have a wonderful mentor in place who will be there for us in person and in prayer. That makes me feel more secure and confidant in this new role. I have this month to prepare and pray and prepare some more and then of course pray even more. I’m honored to be used by God in this way. To God be the glory.
I reread a book recently that I had read a few years ago. The name of the book is “Wrestling With an Angel” by Greg Lucas. It’s written by a father who’s son is special needs/disabled and how God’s grace is shown to him through his son, Jake. The book touched me in a profound way. And through it I’ve recognized God’s grace in my own special needs child.
Greg Lucas’ examples taught me to see God’s grace where you least expect it. There is one instance where Greg is giving his son a bath and for a few minutes his son completely relaxes in the water with his eyes closed, no anxiety or stress and he’s given a glimpse of what his son would look like if he were a typical young man. That is grace, a gift from God. I’ve had a similar experience with Thomas. I had a dream that Alyssa and Thomas and I were talking together in the front sun porch of our house. Thomas was a completely “normal” or typical teenager. I woke up from that dream feeling odd and I wasn’t sure how to process it. I remembered what I had read in “Wrestling With an Angel” and I realized the dream was a gift. That one day when we’re all in heaven together Thomas will speak to me as a typical child, one with no disabilities such as speech impairment or mental retardation. He’ll be able to tell me everything he isn’t able to tell me on a regular day.
Greg Lucas also tells of his testimony of being led to the Lord by his son. Jake was 2 years old and suffered from terrible, constant seizures. One evening Greg completely surrenders to the Lord. He cried out to God and begged Him to take over, not just Jake’s illness but his entire life. That touched me because my son led me to the Lord.
When I returned to church and was saved, when I gave my life to Jesus; my life was “fine”. Thomas was living home and doing well. We had many supports in place and Thomas had recreation programs that he thoroughly enjoyed. The girls were also doing well. I met the Lord however because of my son. Thomas was in and out of the psychiatric hospital. I was so angry with God. Why? Why? I would ask and I didn’t receive an answer that was suitable. It was only when a friend (thank you Toni!) suggested I listen to “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns did I finally break down and realize Jesus was for me not against me. That He did indeed hold every tear I cried. It was at that moment God showed me His grace and my anger dissipated.
There are many more ways that God has shown Himself to me through my son. People who have come into my life who otherwise would not. Situations that would never have come about if not for the Lord. And I owe Greg Lucas’ book for showing me how God’s grace is manifested in my son.
Being used, but in a good way. Being used by God. I want an itinerary of when God will use me. Of course that isn’t going to happen but it would be nice to know ahead of time when you’re to be a blessing to someone. I remember fervently praying a couple of years ago asking God to use me. I wanted so badly to do something “great” in His name. I didn’t realize at the time I was being used for my own family. Encouraging my older girls to be involved in youth group, driving them to and from, having discussions about God and Jesus and the bible. He was using me and I didn’t recognize it. Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. God uses us for his glory but in ways only he knows since he’s the one orchestrating the whole thing anyway. I’m realizing lately just how much He is in control and it’s striking and comforting. When I look at my life and the way things have fallen into place there is no other answer except “It’s God”. There are no coincidences and “oh isn’t that funny”. Nope, it’s The Lord.
One such example is Thomas’ school. They were the only school who called and I wasn’t even going to answer the phone. Thanks be to God that I did or The Holy spirit prompting me to pick up the phone. If I never had that conversation which led to visiting the school and eventually Thomas’ attendance I honestly don’t know what we would have done at that time. It was a desperate time for us and God hand picked this school for Thomas. I truly believe that with all I am. I’m wondering if this new job was handpicked for me for whatever reason. I wanted part time office work in Manhattan. I wanted to work as a nurse. Those criteria were met in that exact fashion. I’m almost afraid to believe this job is a direction that could only be guided by The Lord. But who else knew exactly what I wanted. No one. Why is it so hard to convince myself that I am deserving of being directed and controlled and the recipient of gifts by God? I consider God controlling my life almost too good to be true. I don’t see myself as being deserved of such attentive direction. Yet I will strongly proclaim His handiwork in the lives of just about everyone around me.
I do believe He is in control and I praise him. I seriously need to let go and let God.
What does it take to learn patience? Because I obviously have none. I’m applying to jobs and first I had to wait out labor day weekend. Then the week after labor day because most people are still in vacation mode with it being a short week and all. I want things yesterday. I took my CPR for health providers class today and that was nice and a relief all at once. Nice because I was able to be around other grown ups and relief because I passed. I was unnecessarily worried that I would fail the class. I need a self confidence kick.
So getting back to my lack of patience. It seriously stinks. Actually I want more than patience I want whom ever reads my submitted resume to get back to me with a “Yes we want you and please come in for an interview” or “No…we’re not interested”. I don’t think I’m asking too much, haha! I’m sure me and the thousands of other job hunters out there would really appreciate one or the other reply.
So here’s the part when I need to trust God. To trust that He has already picked out the job for me and I simply need to wait on Him and His time table. A time table that does NOT resemble mine at all. I want things asap, God will provide when His time is perfect. Not necessarily when He is ready but when the time is literally perfect for Him to move.
I noticed I haven’t been praying as much as I had been before summer started and everyone was home and my routine was disturbed. I’ve begun praying again and I notice a peace that surrounds me when I pray. I not only pray for direction but also to worship. Worship Him who will finish what He has started. Worship the one and only true God. I’ve missed that feeling of peace when I was pre-occupied with “summer”. School has begun and I can get back to regular prayer and I also need to incorporate prayer when things get so busy. A way to make prayer a part of who I am and not just what I do when I think of it.
With yesterday being the last full day of school for Samantha, Alyssa and I decided to take advantage and we headed to Manhattan to thrift shop. The thrift scene around here has dried up with me personally not finding the former awesome finds I’d become accustomed to. Just a bunch of department store clothing. Not thrilling, IMO anyway.
So we took the ferry across to the city and promptly caught the uptown 1 train. On the subway we were then serenaded by 2 older gentlemen, one was a former member of The Drifters we were told. After the singing we transferred to the number 2 express train which got us uptown in no time! Alyssa being a typical 15yr old talked my ear off the whole time. I’m not complaining I enjoyed it, I loved hearing her unfiltered point of view regarding just about everything important in her life. We got off at 96th St. and Broadway to hit the Salvation Army there. Yes we went that far uptown :). I love this store, you seriously never know what you’re going to find. Sometimes you hit it big other times…not so big. Like I’ve walked out of there empty handed with a heavy heart but that’s the thrill of the thrift, the hunt!
This time both Alyssa and I both scored. She found the coolest pair of “genie pants” (think more attractive MC Hammer pants) that are apparently very in style right now. The pants looked brands new and were from TopShop which can be quite spendy in price. Alyssa also found the cutest sundress perfect for summer. But then again she is 15 and what wouldn’t look cute on her? I scored with True Religion denim that fit perfectly (squeal!), a zip around Kate Spade wallet and awesome cotton/linen J Crew pants. I heart J Crew when I score it at the thrift.
After about an hour or so we called it quits to get home early as Alyssa was getting together with friends and I wanted to have lunch before picking up Samantha. We caught the express train downtown and were all set to transfer to the 1 to the ferry terminal when the conductor made an announcement that the service to the ferry via the 1 train was interrupted and gave instructions to catch another train. Alyssa and I exited on Fulton street and oh my goodness we had NO idea where to go which way was the ferry?? After a couple of false starts I spied 2 building security guards on a corner and asked them how to get to the ferry. They were nice enough to give us directions and off we went! I’d say we walked about 10 blocks, far enough IMO.
I’d say our day was a fun thrifting success and more importantly I had a great time with my daughter.
I’ve not hidden the fact that I am a Christian, that I pray, and that I have been diagnosed with depression. Sometimes I feel like all three of those things are what define me lately. I think about our Lord constantly wondering what His plans are, every day praying for direction and guidance. I pray for Him to take away the depression, just literally take it away and since that’s not happening soon enough for me, I also thank The Lord for placing me in the hands of wonderful professionals who know how to treat me. I thank Him for the knowledgeable and warm doctor and therapist I am in the care of. I heard on the radio today, “pray hardest when it’s hardest to pray”. Wow. What a statement. I felt like this was directly talking to me because when the depression rears its ugly head I find it hardest to pray. I find it hardest to believe He is with me. I know in my heart He has not left me and God never will leave me but in those times of “grayness” and confusion I do pray when it’s hardest to pray and sure enough the fog lifts and I again feel secure in the love of my Lord. And I’m so glad I did pray. Sometimes all I do is praise Him and thank Him for the many blessings He has given me. Many times just doing that; thanking and praising is enough to kick start some serious prayer session and I’m so glad I did that.
I saw my doctor yesterday. I let the depression carry on while I tried to fight it while refusing to call my doctor. Finally I just grew tired. Tired of feeling as if life is just passing me by while I mark off time. God placed this warm, extremely competent and caring physician in my path, I am a fool to not take advantage of that. I learned recently it can take a somewhat long time to recover from depression and trauma. Interesting, in my opinion anyway. I seriously thought I would take some meds, get some therapy and be on my happy way. Wrong. I never in a million years thought I’d still be in this battle. It is a battle and I’m fortunate that God is with me. I pray when it’s hardest to pray and He hears me.
Yes I feel like writing but I don’t have a specific topic I’d like to cover. I notice I get more inspiration when I write about God. Why is that? I think I’m still on a spiritual high from singing with the choir yesterday, nervousness aside. I notice Mondays after we sing are usually quite sweet. I’m still singing the songs from the day before in my head. Singing His praises. What could be better than that? I’m no longer doubting if I am “enough”, it seem once I get things off my chest by writing this blog, the issue seems to resolve itself. Coincidence? No, since I don’t believe in coincidences only God’s plan.
I’m really looking forward to Easter service this year. It’s the first year I’ll be singing with the choir on Easter Sunday. In the past few years it was too complicated with the kids and/or Thomas. The songs that were chosen are just perfect and glorify our Lord in such a wonderful way.
What else do I have to say? I’m not sure. I know I’m in a good place today and the sun is shining and my family is healthy and God loves me. Jesus died for me. Today I read Romans 5:8 “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Powerful.
Isaiah 55:9 spoke volumes to me today. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher that your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
I have on my phone for a screensaver 2Samuel 22:33 (KJV) “God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect” Isn’t that just the truth.
Today (Sunday) was choir day. I usually love choir days (at our church we typically sing 2 Sunday/month). But today I was so nervous. I have no idea where this nervousness stemmed from. I am not usually nervous to sing with our choir, I love singing with the choir. But during these past rehearsals I began wondering if I were good enough. I loathe this anxiety of mine. Loathe it. That is where this nervousness stems from. Once we started singing in front of the church the nervousness went away and I truly enjoyed singing His praises. Singing to our Lord. Singing with my choir family. And I remembered how blessed I feel to be a part of this ministry and to be able to worship Him, like this.
Recently I’ve been wondering why I doubt myself so. There are times that I wonder if I’m Christian “enough”, but I don’t have an answer for what would make me *more* Christian. Reading the Bible more? Praying more? Witnessing to strangers? Believing more (if that is possible)? No, I don’t think those are the answers either. But regardless I feel like there is more I should be doing and I pray consistently for guidance and discernment to know that the path I will be set on will be His path and not any other’s.
These are my thoughts. I’m not looking for advice or to be analyzed. I’m putting this out there as perhaps I’m not alone in my thoughts. I can’t be the only one wondering if there’s more I should be doing for our God. And what exactly might that be? What if I suddenly get an epiphany of direction, will I follow it? I like to think that yes I will follow His lead because after all His plan is the only one that would be perfect regardless of my or anyone’s thoughts on the matter. There are days I feel on the precipice of change. And I get nervous. Yes, that nervousness again. However nervous I may feel I do trust him and I know His way will be the perfect way.