Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Welcome to Holland
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 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 have dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there has been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is 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 new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would have never met.
It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you have been there for a while and 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 coming and going from Italy...and they're all bragging about the wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you are going to 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 very, very significant loss.
But, if you spend the rest of your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, very lovely things...about Holland.
By Emily Pearl Kingsley 1987
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
A traveller was walking down the road laboring under the heavy burden he was carrying on his back. Along came a man with a horse-drawn cart. Pulling alongside the Traveller, the cart driver said, "Sir! I see you are carrying a heavy load and that it makes you weary. Wouldn't you rather ride in my cart than carry that heavy burden?"
"Yes," the Traveller said as he got into the cart, "Now I will no longer have to walk with this burden." A little farther down the road the cart driver looked behind him and was quite astonished to see the Traveller sitting in the cart still carrying his burden, held tightly on his back.
"Sir, why do you still bend under the weight of your burden when you could simply set it down?" he asked. "You have helped me so much already," said the Traveller, "I would not want to impose on you any further."
"But don't you see," replied the cart driver, "it would not be an imposition on me for you to put your burden down. Look at my horse; he is strong and willing. He was made to carry your heavy burdens. Besides, both of you are now carrying your load, yet my horse will carry your load whether you do or not! So please put your burden down or you will wear yourself out and make my horse feel unappreciated."
Isn't that a great story? So many times I place burdens in my bag and continue to carry it. Sometimes our burdens are great and big and serious like boulders in the sack. Those fill our bags quickly, but sometimes make it is easier to go to Him. Other times they are just little pebbles and rocks from everyday stresses like work, errands, lack of time, lack of sleep, cleaning, disciplining, trying to reconnect ect...ect...ect. He still wants us to go to Him all the time. With the big and little stuff God is there for us.
Monday, September 22, 2008
1) I totally did not give my kids a bath with baby wipes.
2) I would never have a skim milk sugar free vanilla Latte 4 times this week. Nope wouldn't even think about it.
3) I did not buy 2 brand new tubes of lipstick that cost $16.00 each. Not me.
4) I did not take care of someone that ate 3 lbs of gravel. Oh wait that was a couple weeks ago. If it happened, which it didn't, so not me.
5) I totally did not almost pee my pants when I saw how many people visisted my site as a guest writer for http://mandythompson.com/ blog on Sunday. Nope...Never
6) Well 5 is going to have to do for me this week. Anything you didn't do that you want to confess? Here's the chance...
Sunday, September 21, 2008
My story is simple compared to the other Do Something stories. But at least in my life, my families life, and those around me in my church and community my experience as described below has made a difference. So here it goes...
I am a DOer because I have been shaped...
Have you ever noticed, when driving down the road, the way the trees are shaped? It almost looks like an upside down L shape. It appears to be a notch out of the tree branches where the trucks drive along the road. I have seen this before and not given it much thought until my pastor shared a story recently. He shared about a women who also saw the way the branches were shaped. But she didn't stop there. She decided to investigate further these strange shaped trees along a boulevard one day. What she noticed was the branches actually shaped themselves away from those trucks that would damage it's branches. It needs those branches to hold the leaves that help the tree grow. The tree shaped itself to become bigger and stronger, but away from danger. I just assumed the reason of the strange shaped trees were trees were broken and damaged. (They may have been at one point... but the healing and the new growth is the cool part!.
It is the burdens in our life that will shape what our life will become.
Our burdens no doubt shape us. We do have choices to make. Will we become bitter or anxious, depressed or lost? Will we turn toward Him? Will we keep on the path of self harm and try to do it ourselves? What would it look like if we trusted in Him? What could it look like when we use our burdens to become better and stronger and sturdy?
After the birth of my second daughter our family was faced with our own burden. My life isn't perfect, but up until that point things were going pretty smooth. When my newborn was 6 days old her doctor called to inform us that her Newborn Screen was abnormal and she had a potentially life threatening genetic disorder. I was rocked to my core. Life had thrown me the biggest "curve ball" of my life. I had choices to make. I chose to let Jesus shape me. I chose to learn and grow. Another choice was to use our experiences with our daughter to encourage others. God was using the "burdens (ie..worry, stress, illnesses, time)" to glorify Him. I had more compassion for those dealing with a difficult diagnosis. I choose to trust Jesus. I choose to take each day at a time. So much of our burdens are worries for what may or may not even happen! Be alive today. Be shaped today. Allow God to transform your life. Don't wait for the perfect time to be used by God. So many times we use the excuse that we can't serve until...we have the training, or time, or money, or less stress, or discover our "gift" or what ever. But he may just want you to use those burdens to do something big....now. Don't just sit there...do something.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
I never asked those questions though. I think I was asking all the other questions to answer the big ones. At the time I felt relief when the dr. said she should be able to go. If she should be able to go to school then she can live with this disorder (VLCAD see side bar for more info) then right? That really was the question.
Since those early days after her birth I have seen how God has worked miracles in her life and our family. Her tumor on her eye is almost gone...totally. She may need minor plastic surgery later but it is so much better than the large Hemangioma she once had. She is strong and healthy and smart and funny. She returns to her specialists in a another month but we are expecting and trusting God for a good report and normal labs.
God has been so faithful during the last 3 years. We are thankful and give Him all the glory for allowing her to be strong and healthy. We do ask for your prayers to protect her from illness that would require any Hospital stays this year. We know how to treat Laine when she is sick which we are grateful for, but we would rather her not have any issues this fall and winter. Our God is good all the time. He knows what is best. While we can't always understand the pain and worry, how we deal with the "curve balls" is what can be pleasing to Him. Do I bring glory to Him? And hope and encouragement to others? Do I trust Him? Always? I'm trying...
To whom much is given much is expected.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008