Category Archives: faith

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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Upperclassmen!

The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Proverbs 18:15 NKJV

My kids just left the house for their first day of school. It is the last year they will do so together. This year, there are no first day jitters (for them or me). The transition to upperclassman is quite welcome.

Lan’s head is up with confidence. In fact, I think he is relishing no longer being handled with “kid gloves.” I’ve finally learned I don’t have to micro manage every detail.

Upperclassman God autism and me 8-2015He will be in the same music class as his brother so that should be…interesting!

They have both done well “detaching” their identities from one another. Yet, I hope this year as they share their marching band experience it will leave them closer than before.

We’ve both come a long way from that first day of high school when I started this blog. We have stretched a bit and hopefully grown wiser.

So, for those of you anxious about your school year, here are a few things I learned along our walk along the spectrum.

God can provide exactly what you need. It may not come how you expect it but any void that is lacking God can surely fill. God put the people we needed in our lives years before we really needed them. If you have faith, God will direct your steps.

There are angels among us. We have received favor and help from the least likely of sources. The people you think will ignore your child will later go to bat for him. Teachers, support staff, janitorial and other students all helped us along the way.

Advocate for your child. No one is going the extra mile if you aren’t leading the way.

Your worse fears rarely materialize. I am ever prayerful. I am also ever watchful! We’ve had to navigate a few bullies, but we survived unharmed.

Be involved! If you can’t be involved then don’t be a stranger. If your first time at school is due to a problem, rarely will things go your way.

Cut yourself some slack. If your child falters in some area it isn’t the end of the world. Stressing out only makes it worse.

Be willing to change. What worked one year won’t necessarily work the next. Kids grow and change just like we do. Don’t waste time trying to reclaim yesterday.

Utilize your resources. Lan has been the only student in tutoring class many times. On the upside, it got him one on one instruction!

Learn to step back. You will never know what your child can do if you don’t allow him to succeed and fail. This was hard for me. Still, Lan learned to thrive and not just survive!

Lan learned to work smarter.

My faith stretched farther.

My youngest wasn’t the only one learning these past two years.

And for that, I am grateful.  

God, autism and me Upperclassman 2 8-2015If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
James 1:5 NKJV

March On!

Lan completed a daunting band camp last week. To say he was thrilled is an understatement. Last week’s practice involved twelve hour days that quite frankly I wasn’t sure he would endure.

However, older brother said Lan managed just fine and didn’t once complain about the scorching temperatures. I guess all those years of karate strengthened his body and God miraculously managed the rest. Lan was probably the only kid disappointed that the rigorous camp did not continue into the next week!

Years ago, camp with a hundred or more students would have been unthinkable. Now, many years later, it’s no big deal.

I think as we pray for the changes we desire that will help our kids succeed, we often feel disappointed because we don’t always see the changes.

Still, just has the calm surface of a lake hides the activity beneath, our loved ones can change mentally and emotional as we are none the wiser. When we don’t see the changes we seek, it doesn’t mean they aren’t taking place. Just as we don’t always “see” God, it doesn’t mean He is not in our midst.

MARCH ON 2 GOD AUTISM AND ME DEVOTIONAL 7-15Talents and interests we may be completely unaware of may actually become a catalyst for change. I probably didn’t realize just how much Lan enjoyed music until a few short years ago. Now his musical interest has given him the opportunity to become a participant in something larger than himself and to do so successfully.

Marching band is an enjoyable physical outlet that forces Lan to stay focused on the expectations of good grades and study skills required for his participation. More and more, he is beginning to realize just how capable he is.

I’m not sure if Lan will follow a “traditional” path of high school and then straight to college. Nevertheless, I hope his love for music and art will find him a place where he can not only develop his talents but even get paid for them.

Do I have concerns about his future?

Most certainly I do.

However, I am learning to step out of fear and look forward to whatever God would do with Lan and through him.

Could I have imagined his current success all those years ago when school left us both in tears?

Not even close.

Yet, prayer and faith have opened doors we never would have dared knocked on before.

As God has been faithful in so many things, I must trust Him with our future.

Prayerfully anticipating whatever lies ahead, Lan and I simply march on!

I returned and saw under the sun that—
The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and chance happen to them all.  Ecclesiastes 9:11 NKJV

Empty Nest!?

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to visit a college campus with my oldest son who is a rising senior. Lan, who will be a junior when school resumes in August also tagged along. To my surprise he didn’t get bored, asked pertinent questions and even dared to answer a few.

Lan is finally doing well enough with his classes that the idea of college is increasingly a part of his conversations as well.  Would I have imagined this even just a few years ago?

Not hardly.

However these past few years have taught me anything is indeed possible.

It was just two years ago, I practically swore Lan would never go away to summer camp. I didn’t trust him not to get distracted and wander someplace he shouldn’t. I also didn’t trust anyone else to keep tabs on him the way I would. We were dropping his brother off at a college campus and Lan asked when was he going to go away for a week.

“Not going to happen,” was the only response that popped to my mind though I was wise enough to keep that to myself.

Fast forward one year later and I was happily driving Landon to Clemson University for a week of summer camp.

Lesson learned. Never say never.

As I’m searching out options from my oldest child, my youngest is quite vocal about his own college plans. Lan is increasingly asking me and the hubby what he needs to do to prove he is mature enough for college. Thus far, he is doing a great job making his case.

My husband and I have always ironed Lan’s clothes for him, initially out of fear he would burn himself or ruin a fair number of the graphic tee shirts he loves. Only recently did I realize we’ve been doing it out of habit.

Lan finally asked when he would be allowed to do that for himself.

Shortly thereafter, Lan also asked me why he needs supervision using our gas stove. In truth, he is probably the only person in the house who has not left it on!  Another point for him.

Lan can manage the grill on the deck better than I can.

He hasn’t lost the cell phone he received for his birthday as we once feared he would years ago. In fact, he has used it responsively and appropriately. It certainly took him little time to begin texting us a grocery list of things to bring home from the store!

I’m realizing more and more my six foot tall “baby” isn’t so interested in being my “baby” but in trying to find his way in the world.

I once thought there was no way this kid could manage without me even though I prayed for just the opposite.

God has been faithful in so many things. I never doubted God was able. In watching and waiting for God to make Lan “ready” I’m beginning to realize the only person needing to get “ready” was me!  empty nest God autism and me devotional

I’ve got to move out of “protect” mode and into “prepare” mode.

Protecting Lan is something we have always done because we had to. It is an engrained habit. Some changes I couldn’t see because I was not looking for them. Every now and again it’s good to reexamine and reevaluate where our loved ones are and where they need us to be.

I need to mentally progress as Lan has, shifting from “once was” to the “here and now.” The final eye opener was when our oldest son recently chimed in and said “Mom, he’ll be just fine. Just let him be.”

“Let him be.”

Only time will tell the path Lan eventually takes. He is quite insistent in pursuing a career in graphic design. Lan may or may not follow a traditional path or leave for a distant college. Yet, I have faith that whatever the future holds, it will be the best possible path for him.

I’m not preparing for only one child to leave the nest, but possibly two.

How ‘bout that?

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 NKJV

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27 NKJV

 

Who Do You See?

A tiny bud precedes the bloom.

Kid’s are no different. On the spectrum, off the spectrum, I’ve seen kids time and time again who don’t outwardly exhibit the potential that lies deep within them.

Some people can’t see hidden potential because they believe others who tell them to “stop looking.”

As I celebrate the approaching Easter season I am reminded that few people acknowledged Jesus Christ for who He was until after His resurrection. He often spoke of His death and resurrection but even His disciplines did not fully understand the reality of His words.

After His resurrection, Jesus’ disciples did not readily recognize Him. They were looking for Who He was instead of seeing Him for Who He had become

I have been guilty of this with my child.  spriring bradford pear 2015 bloom devotional

We can see someone close to us for so long that we become blinded to the changes or potential within them.

I always thought of college in regards to my oldest son, Lan’s big brother. Yet over the course of this year Lan has spoken more and more of where he wants to go to college. If I had listened to naysayers, doubters and even my own dull thoughts I would not now have started vetting majors, schools, and financial aid for him.

I now see through Lan’s growth and the wisdom of others that Lan isn’t who he used to be!

Faith allows me to now glimpse with spiritual eyes the potential God has for him. Technology that exists today I never could have imagined when we received our first diagnosis. Back then, through prayer, I pushed and prodded for the best. Yet, I couldn’t “see” what God could do with our situation.

Now, I push and prod with faith for the new thing God will do next!

Is life along the spectrum perfect? Hardly.

But neither is it perfect on any path that I’ve ever been privy to.

I am willing to look a bit closer, think a bit broader and allow my mind to embrace whatever possibilities come our way! In doing so I not only celebrate the resurrection of my Savior but the resurrection of my spirit!

There was a time not many years ago that I felt dead. I went through the motions and “kept going” because I didn’t have a choice to stop.  People depended on me.

Now, I depend on God. Completely.

I once felt spiritually barren, dry and defeated. Maybe even killed. Yet, God in His grace stirred up a hope within me.

God’s faithfulness fueled my personal “resurrection” and allowed me to see His goodness instead of mourning “what is not.”

As spring breaks forth, I challenge you to look at your loved ones a bit differently. Don’t view them from the same unchanging perspective.

Dare to really see them as God sees them and perhaps dare to pray “Why not?”

“Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
Mark 9:23-24 NKJV

 

 

 

 

Anticipation!

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

In years past, now would be about the time of year my brain went into overdrive striving, trying and failing to prepare my youngest for the slew of standardized exams necessary to proceed to the next grade level. Despite all of my worry, there was absolutely nothing I could do to help Lan with those exams.

It was simply out of my control.

As I grow older (and hopefully wiser), I realize how very much in “life” is out of my control. When I was younger I was taught if you “do the right thing” you will end up with a “good result.”

That hasn’t always proven true.

Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to “bad” people.

There is seemingly no rhyme or reason as we all navigate very distinct paths in life.

Some “stuff” like autism, cancer, ALS and Alzheimer’s come upon us out of nowhere and debunk any illusion that we control our own lives.

The problem I had with this is that I expected to control my life. I sought to plan, plot and otherwise chart my destiny. And I expected to do so with minimal obstacles in my path to “success.”

Little did I know how years later my entire illusion of “life” would crash and burn. There was a small window in my life where I had to process two births, two deaths, two cross country moves, a new job and finally that pervasive non-developmental disorder diagnosis which was the equivalent of “wait and see.”

Wait and see!?

That’s what the psychiatrist said as we left his office with more questions than we arrived with.

Worry became second nature. What if this? What if that? What in the world are we going to do? I felt broken trying to hold together the fragments of my life that kept shifting away from me. Only when I gave up and surrendered to God could I breathe again and live.

Not exist, but live!

Now the uncertainties that would haunt me as Lan talks of college (college!) are where, how and at what cost? How is he ever going to survive the “real” world?

My answer now nearly fourteen years later is again, “wait and see.”

However, I now “wait and see,” with optimism. I anticipate a good result without the logistical nightmare of trying to “fix” everything that is imperfect in my life.

Just like in the old days with those exams, I couldn’t help Lan. Yet, God did place in our lives wonderful teachers, tutors and support staff that could!

anticipation 2015 atsm blog.jpg panzy 2I’ve seen God place the right people in the right positions to advocate for our child. God provided solutions for high-school years prior in elementary school!

I simply sit back in amazement over how far God has not brought us! Why would He remove His favor from us now? 

I am no longer constrained by fears for the future.  I trust Him and let go.

So I “fret not” and “fear not” over my lack of “control.” God does a far better job with “me” than I ever did.

Fear is anticipating the worst.

Faith is anticipating the best!

can control which one I allow to dictate my thoughts and actions.

Which do you choose?

Growth Spurt!

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I had to pull the boy hiding behind me into the grocery store. Lan would hide behind my legs and didn’t dare look forward or at the people inside.

Yet, Friday night at the last home game of the season, this same boy now tall and lanky talked with the other teenagers, danced on the side lines and mingled quite energetically with the marching band.

My baby boy isn’t quite so little any more.

It isn’t just his size I’m referring to as he teeters just a bit shy of six feet tall.  His confidence has grown immensely. He’s looking for people he knows in any crowd so he can wave or speak to them. He mingles enthusiastically at the football game not at all deterred by the people. Instead of hiding behind me he is more likely walking away as quickly as possible to keep me from cramping his style.

The small trembling kid once so easily startled, shy and afraid stands tall, asks questions and wants to have is voice heard.

Lan seeks the independence his brother enjoys and is finding a confidence all his own.

He challenged one of his classmates in band and is now third chair with his eye on the second. The young boy who once hated school now actually cares about his grades and takes pride in doing well.

I’m not quite sure what happened and when but my baby boy has grown.  DSC_6826 (3)

And he’s not the only one.

I’ve grown more trusting in God’s ability to handle whatever hiccups come our way. I’ve grown more confident in Lan’s abilities as he takes it upon himself to initiate more of his school work without prompting from me or my husband.

I’ve grown out of the need to have my hand on everything. I can trust others to get the job done and if it isn’t the way I would have done it that’s fine too.

I’ve become less anxious as I’ve seen that the worst case scenario rarely happens.

I’ve grown more thankful as God continues to answer prayers for good breaks, good friends and faithfully provides opportunities I could never have come up with on my own.

Sometimes the most growth occurs when it appears that nothing is happening at all.

A lot of times we pray for things and think that nothing is changing. Everything looks the same. We wait for the answers we have hoped and prayed for to manifest. Sometimes we wait so long it feels like God has forgotten us.

But God is faithful.

I have found the answers I’ve sought in unexpected people, places and things. God has allowed me to grow in my expectations of Him. I can now recognize the unconventional ways in which God has answered some of my prayers.

Lan has grown taller, stronger and more confident. I like to think something has “clicked” as he tackles more challenges with determination instead of fear.

I’ve grown mentally tougher and spiritually stronger as our walk along the spectrum has forced us to enlarge our vision and look for what “can be” instead of settling for “what is.”

We’ve still got a ways to grow both him and me, but thankfully, we are never alone in our journey.

God’s got us.

And for that, I am very, very grateful.

“But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen” 2 Peter 3:18 KJV