Sunday, August 11, 2013

JESUS LOVE

This kid.
He amazes me.
I want to be like him when I grow up.

I'm not suppose to Blog, Facebook, Tweet or Instagram about him.
Supposedly that's embarrassing.
But his heart is too sweet not to share.

The last three years haven't been easy for any of us.
Especially him.
Having a little brother with special needs is tough stuff.
Especially when he is as violent as Miles is.

But he takes it.
He loves him.

The love that Alex has for his little brother is a love that can only come from Christ.
It is selfless and unconditional.

When we told Alex about Miles' diagnosis and explained what that might look long term, his reply shocked me.

We let him ask questions and we tried our best to answer them.
He asked if Miles will be able to live on his own on day.
"I don't know," was about the only thing we knew to say.
I told him about the waivers that we are applying for that will help provide care when Miles is older and about the different things we will make sure are in place in case we aren't around to care for him.

Alex's reply...
"He's going to live with me."

His reply didn't just shock me, it left me speechless.

Obviously, Miles' future is uncertain.
Just like Alex's.
Just like mine.

But the fact that he would, without hesitation, decide that he is willing to share Miles' burden, completely and utterly blows my mind.

That is Jesus love.
Jesus love pouring out of my almost 14 year old and filling up this mama's heart.

"Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the laws of Christ."
{Galatians 6:2}

Monday, August 5, 2013

TURNING CARTWHEELS

Today has been a really long day.
We are tired, worn out and our brains hurt.
But, I cannot go to bed tonight with out telling you about our day.
Well, mostly, I want to tell you how good, faithful and amazing God is.

I was reading last night and came across this quote in Katherine Koonce's book Parenting the way God Parent's along with a verse in Habakkuk...

"We are devoted to the Giver, not to His gifts. We must never confuse the two."
{Katherine Koonce}


You see, that is the history with me and God.
He is gentle with me.
He almost always goes before me and prepares me for the hard stuff.
The messy stuff.
The heavy stuff.

He knew that today, I would need to be reminded that he is God.
He knew that today, I would need to be reminded to joyfully praise Him.

He is so, so good to me.

And it doesn't stop there.
As I was laying down tonight with Miles, God reminded me of the prayers I started praying for Miles 4 months before I ever saw his face.  4 months before I heard his story.

Only God!
Only God could have lead me to pray 'connect everything in his brain the way it's suppose to be' everyday for Miles before he was even born.


And that brings us to today.
The day God had been preparing me for.

Miles had an evaluation at the Schmeiding Center today from 8:45am-5:30pm.
It was a long day and Miles struggled to stay engaged (which is normal).

After hours of testing, playing and interviews, Miles was given 2 different diagnosis.  The official labels are long and complicated sounding and you need those fancy letters after your name to really understand them. So, to keep things as simple as possible, here is our easy to understand version...

#1  Autistic. His autism is moderate to severe and he is considered low functioning.
#2  Mild Intellectual Disability.

The diagnosis is heavy.
There are parts we totally expected and parts that were a bit of a shock.

But when I try and think about and process all the information, I can't help but just thank God for loving me enough go before me and prepare me.  He is so faithful!

Life on this earth will always be messy.
Always!
Which is why it blows my mind to think that last night, the God of the universe, loved me enough to make sure that I remembered who I was to be devoted to and what my response was suppose to be today.

"...yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;..."
{Habakkuk 18-19a}

Friday, August 2, 2013

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

When I was younger, I hated reading.
Reading for fun was never something I thought I would enjoy.
But, the older I get, the more I love a good book.

I was talking to a couple of 'self-proclaimed nerd' friends this past week at dinner about a few book series that I have read recently and when I hesitantly confessed my secret love for dystopian books and even have crossed into the sci-fi realm, I was informed that I had officially achieved nerd status.

So there's that.
I'm a nerd.
A nerd who really, really loves a good story.

What I've found is that a good story, fiction or non-fiction, can bring clarity and a deeper understanding to topics that are hard, or messy, or just plain weird.  A good story is one that is not easily forgotten and often, for me, causes me to self-evaluate and gives a different perspective.

My heart was heavy this morning as I was praying for Miles.  He has an all day evaluation on Monday that we pray will give clarity and direction.  As I started to feel a little overwhelmed, God brought a story to my mind that I read years ago.  It is a story that was written by Emily Perl Kingsley in the late eighties that I sure most of you have read or heard.

In the simple and beautiful story, "Welcome to Holland", Mrs. Kingsley did an outstanding job at describing the hurt and disappointment we feel when our dreams or plans are completely derailed.

WELCOME TO HOLLAND
by:  Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.  It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy.  You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans.
The Coliseum.  The Michelangelo David.  The gondolas in Venice.
You may learn some handy phrases in Italian.  It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.  You pack your bags and off you go.  Several hours later, the plane lands.  The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say.
"What do you mean Holland??  I signed up for Italy!  I'm supposed to be in Italy.  All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan.  They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.  The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease.

It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books.  And you must learn a whole new language.  And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place.

It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.  But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills.... and Holland has tulips.  Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.  And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go.  That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things... about Holland.

Is there an area of your life that has been derailed or taken an unexpected detour?
Are you mourning the loss of a dream?

Give it to the Lord.
Ask Him for His perspective.
You might be surprised what He will show you.


"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord.
"And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts."
{Isaiah 55:8-9}