Letting God In

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.

Are You Where You Though yet You’d Be?

If someone were to ask you if you are where you’d thought you would be say 5 years ago would you say yes? What about 3 years or even 1 year ago? My answer would be no. I always pictured myself with Tommy but to tell you the truth I rarely think of the future, I’m not one for planning ahead. We make plans and God laughs is what my husband says. I remember the exact time I stopped making plans. It was after I had the second miscarriage. I kept making these grand plans to have another baby but God had different plans at that time. I did end up pregnant again and giving birth but it was at God’s timing, not mine.

I do think of the future and have hopes. I hope Thomas will be living at a group home in this town where we live when he turns 21. I hope Alyssa gets into her college of choice and is able to dorm in Manhattan the way she wants to without putting herself in a crap load of debt.

If someone had told me 3 years ago I’d be happy and not constantly fighting the depression I don’t think I would have believed them. Three years ago I was still trialing medications and having good times and bad times. I desperately wanted a job, any job. I have no idea what I thought I’d be doing. I was adamant that I not be working in any way as a nurse.

Turns out God did have plans. He wanted me in a better place than I was 3 years ago because a job did materialize. But like everything else it was on His timing. I don’t think I would have been able to keep and do well at a job three years ago. Heck, even 2 years ago I wasn’t doing as well as I am now depression wise. Two years ago I decided I didn’t want any job, I wanted a job in Manhattan; part time.

I’ve been employed now, part time in Manhattan for 17 months. I know this was all in God’s plan for me. I’m working as a nurse but not in a capacity I ever dreamed of. Every day that I work I pray on the way there while on the ferry, sometimes on the subway. I pray for wisdom and discernment and for God to be with me while I’m working. On the way home I pray again and thank Him for being with me. If it were not for Him I wouldn’t be where I am today. Everything I wanted on my terms did not come to be. It was all on God’s timing. And His timing is nothing less than perfect.

Thomas This Week

I’ve been thinking about Thomas lately. He ended up in the ER/Urgent Care the other night for an infection on his leg. He’s fine but did have to have a dose of IV antibiotics. That got me worried a little being that I’m not there nearby but I know he’s in good hands with the nursing staff and residential staff. I have to trust them.

I’ve been thinking of the road we’ve traveled with this son of ours. It hasn’t been an easy one. Many doctors, psych hospitalizations, many med trials and finally residential placement not once but twice. Residential the second time was “easier” because the situation was so dire and my safety was becoming more and more at risk. The school district cooperated with no need to hire a lawyer like the first time. But that didn’t make it a walk in the park. He’s still my son. And my ideal life for him wasn’t for Thomas to live somewhere other than his home, with people other than his family.

My ideal scenario was for Thomas  to stay home until he graduated school at age 21 (special Ed students are educated and receive services until they are 21 yrs old). I then envisioned the perfect group home placement close by to where we live. This is not the reality obviously. Our reality is that we are unable to meet Thomas’ needs here at home, he lives an hour away and I pray for group home placement on Staten Island and not an hour away when he turns 21.

In as little as a few years ago I felt like a failure to Thomas. I’ve written about this in the past. I had distinct visions of me one day meeting our Father in heaven and him being disappointed in me, shaking His head saying, “I gave Thomas to you, what have you done??” I no longer feel this way.  I know Tommy and I did the best we could with the situation we were given. I know I haven’t failed him as a mother. To quote Maya Angelou “We do the best we could with what we knew, when we knew more we did better”. I’ve had people ask me if that quote was an excuse for doing a bad job. My answer is no and the quote is quite simple and true. It puts my mind at ease as Thomas’ mother because the more I knew about my son and his diagnosis’ the better I did at getting help for him.

My other favorite quote is a bible verse from Romans 5: “3Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” My suffering has produced endurance, I have character. I certainly have hope and I know I have God’s love.

Watching God work

The new small group/Bible study I’m co-leading starts the first week of February. A week from yesterday to be exact. Providing child care was an issue as well as needing a room to provide the child care. Was it permissible to use the Bible study book for special needs Moms that I discovered? What if no one is interested?

These were the issues that we were facing up until today. The small group leader got in touch with me, there was a room available for that night to provide child care and I have a young lady willing to provide the child care. The leaders also approved us using the Bible study book and just this morning I spoke with a woman from church who has a neighbor  interested in attending. This brings the women attending up to 8. I think that is great.

I love watching God at work. It’s not like He works with big stomping feet and a “viola! I’m done, here’s what you asked for!” It’s been my experience that God works in the quiet. I wasn’t totally surprised that things worked out the way they did. From day one of the idea of this Bible study group, things have been coming together in a way that can only be from God. The quiet, perfect manner that only God has. I’m thrilled that He chose to answer the prayers I’ve had for this group with a resounding “yes” and time will tell how the group gets on. I’m eager to see what God has in store next.

 

Blame

When I’m in a good mood I just love the Lord and want to sing! I sing along to the Christian radio I always have on in the car and I want everyone else to sing with me. To know that He is God and He is in charge, it’s all going to be alright after all Jesus died for us… Then the mood shifts. And I start to question Him. Why have I gained all this weight? If God loved me I wouldn’t be struggling so much with this. Why am I in such a bad mood? Why is my daughter having such a difficult time at school?  Why is my son the way he is? I know some of these examples seem silly but this is what runs through my head. 

This time the mood was different than the others.  I at once felt guilty to be so quick to blame God. It literally stopped me in my tracks and it got me thinking about my faith. I’m so quick to praise when life is going good, I need to be just as quick to praise when I’m in “a mood” and things aren’t looking so rosy. I remember when Thomas was home for Christmas. Thomas was very high maintenance during that visit and I was having a hard time with him. Was I praising God? Nope, I was annoyed that my son is the way he is. I realized that I wasn’t in prayer and worshiping the Lord and I felt odd about it. Fake.  I did however pray for patience with Thomas. And I do feel He heard my prayer. I still listened to my Christian music in the car and sang alone and went to church the Sunday after Christmas. But I should have been in prayer a few days earlier when I was having a difficult time.  Instead I was annoyed and anxious.

This mood of mine was an eye opener. More praise, prayer and worship in tougher times, not only when all is right with my world.
 

Snowed In

Like most of the country on most of the East coast we’re snowed in. It’s not so bad the kid are older so there’s less fighting, note I said “less” fighting, not “no fighting”. Somehow a 14 year old will find a way to annoy the crap out of a 9 year old and vice versa. But all in all it’s been a quiet day.

I’ve been reflecting on my blog. When I started, my intent was to talk about being a personal shopper and write about all my wonderful thrift finds.  Well, I’m no longer a personal shopper, it didn’t take off as I’d hoped but that’s okay, God had other plans. My first entries are all about my thrift finds and trying to sell said finds. I wrote about my husband and then finally Thomas and and all we went through when he was a baby up to his life now.  In fact Thomas’ whole life story is here in this blog. (See July 2013 and scroll through, I don’t know how to link, sorry :))

I’m still thrifting. The thrift store is my happy place. No one bothers me there and it’s where I go to escape for a little while. I have my phone on me so it’s not like I’m unreachable.  I have a thrifting face as my daughter once told me. We were thrift shopping together and Alyssa stopped me to ask a question, I said, “What??” and she said, “Mom! You should see your face!” Some people have a resting bixch face, I have a thrift face.

I still write about Thomas, I’ll probably always write about him. I wouldn’t be who I am now if it weren’t for him. I had certain ideas and opinions of what it was like to be a mother as we all do *before* we have kids. Being Thomas’ mother humbled me in a way I still find difficult to describe. His many diagnosis’ opened up new worlds and new people into those worlds. People I never would have met and appreciated and loved had he not been special needs. If Thomas were born a typical child I would have grown to be a different person and I’m not so sure I would have liked her. This is not to say I wouldn’t give anything for Thomas to be typical. I just wouldn’t want to give up who I became as a result of him not being typical if that makes sense.

I still write about God and my Savior Jesus Christ. I absolutely wouldn’t be where I am without the Lord in my life. His love and direction keep me focused and have shaped me and brought me to spiritual places I’d never have reached without Him. My love of the Lord spills into my writing when I least expect it or intend it to. I guess that’s what happens when the Spirit takes over. My fingers start flying on the keyboard or on my phone and I can’t find the words fast enough to tell people how much God loves them. I wish for so many people I know to realize that God is real. Jesus died for them. And all they have to do is ask Jesus into their heart.

It’s still snowing.

 

 

 

Direction

I’ve mentioned before that I have been praying for direction. I want The Lord to guide my steps and lead me. So far it’s produced a feeling of calmness. Not serenity but just calm because I know that He is in charge and I have faith in God.

I’ve also been praying for more hours at work. So far that prayer had been answered, praise God! My boss is opening her own office in Manhattan so she’ll no longer be leasing space from another doctor. I’m excited for her and for me 😀. The plan is to gradually increase the hours and/or days as long as there are customers. So I could potentially be looking at another day or two in the future and I’m totally okay with that. It really is an answered prayer. For years I prayed for the “right” job to come along and here I was presented with this one which was extremely part time only a few hours a week. When I would get discouraged my husband would be encouraging saying its ok you haven’t worked in a while this is good to get your feet wet. And he was right. I know I wasn’t ready to commit to more.  Now after praying about it; time has passed and things have changed and more hours have been offered. God is good.

On the bible study front things are moving along. I’ll be glad when arraignments are done and set in stone and we are ready to get started. This isn’t to rush anything I’m just eager to feel more settled and begin.

God is so good.

 

Church today

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.

Looking Back

I’ve been doing this bible study specifically for moms of special needs children (the name of the book is a Unlocking the Treasure by Bev Roozeboom  ). It’s really got me digging deep in my faith which I guess is what it’s supposed to do.  It also asks a lot of questions some meant to be shared wth a group, others not to be shared. And I tell you a lot of what this woman writes really brings me back. Back to when Thomas was very young and many things were new. Like the first time I ever heard the word “retarded” pertaining to my son who was 3 yrs old at the time. The doctor who told me was so very cold and blunt. No bedside manner at all.  I refused to accept it and insisted this cold hearted man write an addendum in his report of how much I vehemently disagreed with him. I knew there was something wrong with Thomas but to tell me he was mentally retarded told me nothing but an IQ score. It didn’t tell me why he hit all the time and threw terrible tantrums or why was speech impaired.

In the bible study Unlocking the Treasure the author asks if anyone showed you compassion when you realized your child was special needs. The day I was told l that my son was “retarded” one of my husbands best friends brought me flowers and took me to a movie; a comedy.  When I look back it was exactly what I needed at that time and an act  full of compassion.

This study is also full of how much The Lord loves us. It’s mind blowing and humbling all at the same time. That the God of our universe loves us and wants us to seek him…I think of how much I love my children, how much I love Thomas after all he’s put me through.  God loves me more than that. It’s hard to grasp His love for us and wrap my brain around it.

 

Signing papers

I received a packet of papers from Thomas’ school via the US mail today. There were various consents forms I have to sign every year giving my permission for Thomas to receive various medications and treatments as needed. It struck me today that I’ll always have to sign for him. Tommy and I are his official legal guardians. (Side note: no one bat an eye when we took that baby home from the hospital without any sort of training or guidebook, but good gravy we were finger printed and background checked to be his guardians after the age of 18…) Tommy or I will always have to give consent for Thomas for one thing or another, or…will have to advocate against a situation or two hopefully not in the near future.

Alyssa is looking at colleges. She’s 17 years old and by the time she goes away to the college of her choice she’ll be a legal adult. The cord will be cut and it will be final. I’ll have no legal leg to stand on if I disagree with her decisions. It’s such an odd comparison between Thomas and Alyssa. When they were small the chasm between them was not that wide. I mean we knew Thomas had issues and that there was something wrong with him we just didn’t know what and had little to no help in finding out what that was at that time in our life.  To go from remembering them both as young preschooler and toddler to now acknowledging the adulthood of both of them. One on one end of adulthood and the other on another end of adulthood is a little hard to digest some days.

It started this afternoon when the mail arrived and I realized what Thomas’ school had sent me. I filled out the blanks and signed where I was supposed to sign. I called the nurses to question a medication change but all in all it was pretty uneventful except for the tug on my emotions that this is something Tommy or I will always have to do. Approve or disapprove decisions for Thomas.

Not soon after dinner Alyssa was talking to me about colleges and dorming (she is determined to dorm and that’s ok). I enjoyed our conversation. She’s worried about the financial aspects of certain colleges and we discussed that and other fears she has surrounding getting accepted to certain schools. I wanted to tell her to keep praying on it but I was interrupted by Samantha.  I will tell her tonight to keep praying to God about the colleges. To give it to Him. He will make a way when there is no other.

I have an interesting spectrum and definitions of adulthood here in my little family.