Love is Patient B is for Blessed God autism and me devotional 2-2016

Love Is Patient…

Patience is one of those things I used to pray for.

My journey along the autism spectrum definitely tried my patience.

That first diagnosis of pervasive non-developmental disorder exacerbated my lack of patience. When my two-year-old wasn’t developing quite as he should, the psychiatrist’s verdict was wait and see.

Wait and see!?

I didn’t handle that very well.

My compulsion and desperation to “fix” things left me frustrated and anxious.

Trying to juggle our autism purgatory in the midst of everything else going on at the time stripped me of what little patience I did have.

I loved my family, yet my ever growing impatience shortchanged my efforts to show the love choked inside of me.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” I Corinthians 13:4 NIV

Love is Patient B is for Blessed God autism and me devotional 2 2-2016I was neither patient nor kind.

I envied those who didn’t have my particular menagerie of issues, issues that sprang up rather suddenly and without warning.

Yet, God in His mercy made me stronger by forcing me through my fires and leaving me little choice but to learn patience.

Lesson after lesson.

I slowly stopped allowing circumstances to hold me hostage. I eventually learned to stop working toward happiness and to instead relax a little and receive God’s joy.

Time spent waiting for my miracles taught me every situation can be viewed any number of ways. I also learned there are always circumstances we are oblivious of when we are oh so quick to judge others.

Eventually, empathy and compassion grew in me as well.

It was not easy getting to this point.

Neither was it quick.

As our Father is patient with me, I know I should exhibit this trait toward others.

I am not always successful.

But, at least now, I try.

I am learning to recognize my own limitations and allow room for God to do the rest.

In His timing.

Patience keeps us from allowing the unexpected to knock us down and out.

Patience allows us to praise God for the smallest of blessings despite the bigger picture…

My journey along this autism adventure forces me to take a hard look at myself.

I don’t always like what I see.

Love is Patient B is for Blessed God autism and me devotional 3 2-2016Love is patient. Love is kind.

Hopefully, I can become these things as well…

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4 NKJV

rbn blg 2015

God’s Eye…

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:26-27   

  1. Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
    Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
    When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

    • Refrain:
      I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
      For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. 
  2. “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,  rbn blg 2015
    And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
    Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.  

Lyrics by Civilla. Martin, 1905

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One Little Drummer Boy…

When I was a kid one of my favorite television Christmas specials was “The Little Drummer Boy.” Even then, I always pulled for the underdog. The gist of the story is about a poor orphan obsessed with playing his drum. This same boy was distrustful of people. To say he was anti-social would be an understatement. He found contentment only in playing his drum and spending time with his animal friends.  Sound familiar?

However, when his lamb is hit by a chariot the desperate orphan finds his way into the caravan of the Wise Men and seeks to go before the new Savior to find healing for his lamb. This orphan was considered one of the “least” in society. He wasn’t regarded highly at all. Comparing himself to these Wise Men the drummer boy felt small. He had no title or status; he certainly wasn’t wealthy and really didn’t feel worthy to come in the presence of the King.

The three kings who traveled to see the Savior presented expensive gifts such as gold and myrrh. The orphan in contrast had nothing material to give. However this child does give the only thing he has, which is his talent. He plays his drum for baby Jesus. What appears to be the least compared to expensive gifts of the Wise Men is actually the most. The Savior “smiles at him.”

I tried at times to develop my child to become one of the “Wise Men.” Yet this story prods me to remember that my child doesn’t need to be nurtured into becoming a “king” or someone different from who God created him to be. His own inherent talents, just like those of the little drummer boy are more than enough.

ORNAMENT 1 CHRISTMAS DEOVTIONALSometimes our children have talents (or obsessions) that seem minor to us because we don’t understand them or appreciate them as we should. Their gifts aren’t highly regarded. They may be thought of as “less than” by others.

Yet, when we allow them the freedom to pursue some of these avenues, we may find that their “gifts” just like those of the little drummer boy are blessings and indeed pleasing to God. The little drummer boy was a peasant. He was shunned by society but had a gift and honored God with it. When we do the same and not compare ourselves (or our kids) to others (or their expectations) we allow opportunites for their talents or gifts, no matter how quirky or odd, to become a blessing.

When we come before God nurturing the gifts He has placed within us, there is no need to look and compare ourselves to others. When we search for God and choose to come before Him, we are free to fulfill the purposes and the plans He intended all along. The peasant drummer boy never imagined he would play before the King.

Sometimes children on the spectrum do things “professionals” never imagine. These kids even surprise themselves. We must have faith that God has a purpose and a plan even when we can’t see it or understand.

We need only to come before God sincerely or even desperately, with all that we have. I believe when we do this, we too can say and then He smiled at me

Merry Christmas!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope,” Jeremiah 29:11  NKJV

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Christmas Past!

When I received this ornament, I had two kids under the age of two.  My husband’s job kept him gone constantly. I had just started a new job. We had moved cross-country for the second time in less than a year. I was a mental mess!

Worse of all, my father was terminally ill. Daddy would pass away two days before Christmas. My life was out of control.

DSC_0559When I opened the box and saw this ornament, I laughed. It was a very accurate reflection of my life. The kids and I were barely hanging on! This ornament mirrored the haphazard chaos I could not control.

Yet at that same time I had no idea of how many people were praying for me. Many of them I barely knew. God placed it on their hearts to help me in ways I would have never imagined. New co-workers were tremendously kind. Childhood friends provided for me while I was immersed in my grief.

I now view this ornament not as a reminder of when I was barely hanging on but as a symbol of God’s grace. God kept us from falling even as we dangled precariously. It reminds me how God is ever present even when we feel like we can’t hang on.

What I received as a simple gift evolved into a wonderful friendship. Sharon, who gave me the ornament, would become an example for parenting my child. You see, she had already raised a son with special needs. I’m not even sure I was aware of that at the time. Yet, her faith and wonderful attitude would inspire me when I felt drained, lost and thought I couldn’t go on.

God knew who I would need in my time of crisis. My child wouldn’t be diagnosed ASD for another year. Yet, Sharon’s silent fortitude and cheerful smile would later encourage me to keep it together.

God knows who we need and how to connect us to them.

Trust Him.

Christmas could be bittersweet. However I choose not to revisit my grief. Instead, I celebrate the birth in Bethlehem that saves us from the sting of death!

I now look back on Christmas past grateful for what God did then and faith filled for what He will do in the future.

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated, “God with us.”  Matthew 1:23 NKJV

Merry Christmas!!

RCHS BAND 2015 2 TOY SOILDERS GAAME

Toy Soldiers!

RCHS BAND 2015 LANDON GODAUTISMANDME 12-2015When I first saw the kids in their band uniforms the first thing that came to mind was toy soldiers. I’ve always been fascinated with them, ever mesmerized by all the Nut Crackers scattered about this time of year. The march of the toy soldiers from the old Disney Classic Babes in Toyland must have really made an impression on me. Somehow toys and life in general seemed a lot simpler then.

Now that I’m a grown up, my “Toy Soldiers” require a lot more than a few turns of a key to keep them going. People always say how parenthood changes you. As a new parent, you nod your head and think defiantly, yeah that’s what you say but none of that will ever apply to me.

Fast forward seventeen years. The children I once thought would never take over my life have inevitably taken over my life. Nearly every decision is made based on its impact on them. My “babes” that were so easily shuttled around and slung on my hip are now at least a foot taller than me and have schedules of their own. Winding them up and letting them go would be easy but life is not like that.

We can’t control our kids. We like to think we can but we really can’t.

Their thoughts are their own. We contribute to their development, but never control it. They are their own unique little beings individually and purposefully made.

Kids can be moody. They have good days and bad just like us. Pleasing their parents isn’t always priority. Children have agendas and interests of their own.  Imagine that!

My children have taught me how to bend without breaking. They have pulled me so far out of my comfort zone I no longer know what that is.  They have shown me how to laugh instead of cry. They have forced me to learn how strong I can be and that my weaknesses don’t weigh me down. They love me with all my imperfections and have taught me how to do the same.

RCHS BAND 2015-16 CamI’ve heard it said God sent His Son to earth not only to save us but to experience every imaginable emotion and pain. I think to some extent our children do that for us. Our kids make us love like we’ve never loved before. They also cause us to pray like we’ve never prayed before.

It would be easier if I could wind them up and they would obey my every command. But what growth would come out of that? For them or me?

In this season of giving, give thanks for the gift of children. Parenting is not easy. At times, it is brutally hard. However, we never have to go it alone. Even when it didn’t feel like it, God was there every step of the way.

God can do the same for you.

Merry Christmas!

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. Psalm 127:3 NIV

college serach God autism and me blog 11-2015

College Search!

We have been busy in our household helping our senior with his college applications. Lan has been quite interested himself in the application process. He stated, “When you’re done with him then we can get started on me.”

I easily recall wondering if this kid would be able to graduate high school. Now, these many years later, he is thinking about college.

Lan has always struggled in school. Though very bright, he can’t always verbalize what he knows. Years ago, when people would ask about possible plans for the future, a wave of dread would come over me. Now, I’m just waiting to see what happens next.

I learned from a close friend who happens to be a college professor that more and more colleges are incorporating transition programs and assistance for people with learning and developmental disabilities. I did a bit of research and actually found a few. Yet, many of the programs were in the Northeast part of the country. We live in the southeast. The idea of just sending my “baby” twelve or more hours away doesn’t sit well.

I eventually stopped worrying about it and decided God will make a way.

STAND TALL blessed devotional 10-2015Well, last night I came upon this article, “Students with special needs get own program at University of Georgia.” 

Now UGA is only about forty-five minutes from me. The article also mentions another school with a similar program that is only an hour away. It looks like there is a realistic pathway for Lan to “go off to college,” after all.

Years ago I never imagined the programs now available in higher education for kids like mine.

But God knew.

Sometimes when we are overwhelmed and it looks like situations are hopeless we must trust God for the answer.

I’m learning this more and more as Lan tackles things that were once impossible. The leaps and gains he has made have been miraculous. I suspect the progress made would never have come about if we held on to every negative word spoken over us.

I stopped looking at the statistics and looked for God to make a way.

A poor progress report can no longer push me into a state of panic. I keep telling Lan he is smart and can do whatever is required.  I truly believe Lan does better because we expect better.

What if that same principle applies to God?

I’m not sure what the future holds but I’m holding fast to God and expecting great things.

How about you?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 NKJV

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 NKJV

Marie and me blessed devotional 10-2015

Homecoming!

Unlike Marie who quickly made herself at home in my yard, many of us have a hard time “fitting in.” You don’t have to be on the spectrum to experience this.

I am habitually wary of most new surroundings or people until I eventually “settle in.” It doesn’t usually take that long, but it is long enough for those who don’t know me to find me a bit aloof until I compose myself.

Last week was Homecoming at the boys’ high school. Lan has casually mentioned the dances the last two years but this time he was intent on going.

Freshman year took all of our collective energy to survive.  Slowly, Lan began to thrive sophomore year. He made great gains, yet for those two years Lan was more of a spectator than a participant.

This year Lan’s participation in marching band has upped his confidence. He is no longer afraid of the upperclassmen since he now one of them. He wants to mingle and socialize more.

Our question for him was, “Are you mature enough to go to the dance?”

He quickly assured us he was.

The hubby and I had to think on it for a bit.

Bullying is no longer a worry, nonetheless, I’m remiss to put my child and his enthusiasm into any situation where he can be taken advantage of or become someone else’s entertainment.

Thankfully, big brother was also going. It was now or never. I’m sure Lan was forced to listen to fifteen minutes of dos and don’ts as my oldest drove them the short ride there.

I was nervous but Lan won’t learn how to interact in various social situations if we never give him the chance.

The older the kids become, the more I realize I can’t keep them in a safe bubble, as tempting as that may be. It would only do them a disservice and keep them from becoming all they can be.

Anxiously waiting, I finally heard the garage door go up and both boys came rushing in. I asked Lan if he was mature while he was there.

He gave me a sly grin and nodded. Then added, “Most of the time. I kinda of got a little crazy at the end.”

The oldest child/third parent quickly chimed in, “probably something to do with the dance circles he instigated.”

Dance circles? Do I even want to know?

Lan behaved himself well enough to satisfy big brother.

And I was very happy for him.

Lan has progressed beyond looking in from the outside to becoming an active participant in high school. He has overcome his fears and gained confidence in what he can do.

This year Lan feels like he belongs.

Isn’t that what most of us want? To belong somewhere?

Anyplace that is safe, familiar and you can take pride in evokes feelings of home.

Marie homecoming Godautismandme devotionalIt may not happen for us as quickly as it did for Marie, but it can happen.

When we allow faith to fill us instead of fear, we can be “home” no matter where we are.

The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the home of the just. Proverbs 3:33 NKJV