Tag Archives: Christian

Labor Less!

“Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV

In my struggle to relinquish my control freak tendencies, I rely on this scripture time and time again. I learned that I don’t have to conquer my corner of the world in my power.

There was a time in my life where I was working very hard to give my children all my attention. I worked long hours. Then on my days off would I try to cram days of lessons in with Lan, never wanting him to fall behind his peers.

These efforts only brought forth fatigue on my part and frustration on his. When I was at a point when I could no longer do this, a funny thing happened. Lan’s grades improved.

I had no choice but to trust God. I didn’t have the time to prep Lan for those standardized tests. All those practice books went unused. I was at the mercy of his teachers to give him everything he would need.

I was tired. My job was wearing me out. I was trying to balance the needs of two kids who are polar opposites. I was attempting to be a real life
“wonder woman” meeting unrealistic expectations I had imposed on myself.

Finally at this point of burn out, I stopped stuggling so much and gave it a rest. I prayed more and worked less.  I found the more I trusted God, the more He did for me.

When I finally stopped running myself ragged and was still, I could hear Him.

I found comfort in the fact that I really don’t have to know it all.

When I don’t have an answer, I now trust God first. Whatever I need will find me.

It wasn’t the quickest transformation, but I don’t want to revert back to where I was.

Casting my cares has been liberating. I am sometimes amused, wondering just how God is going to work certain things out.

So, If you are tired, burned out, or at a loss, don’t wait years like I did.  You will accomplish more when you trust God and choose to labor less!

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Hang In There!

I had the luxury today of spending time in my garden. I didn’t have to do anything but enjoy a welcome visitor. As I enjoyed the pleasant breeze, my friend pictured above struggled to hold on!

Yet, he didn’t particularly seem to mind as he went about observing me as much as I observed him. He knew exactly what to do to keep stable, grounded and not subject himself to wavering in the wind.

I thought about that for a moment. This last couple of weeks left me feeling like I was just holding on. With standardized testing, finals and all the other stuff that comes along with two teenagers and the end of the school year, I felt at risk of losing my grip (and maybe my mind) at any moment!

Like the dragonfly, I should have been quick to hunker down and hold on to my support. God has proven faithful more times than I can count. Yet, sometimes I find myself in the scurry mode of trying to do, do, do when I should just cling to Him and rest instead.    DSC_7885 (2)

When we have done all we can, I think many of us find ourselves at a loss and look for more to do. Instead of looking to do more, I’m convinced there are times God doesn’t want us to do anything at all but cling to Him.  When we are mature enough to realize we have done all we can and allow Him to do all He can, situations we have no control over lose their control over us!

I’m finished with the hustle of the school year for ten glorious weeks. Many of you who read this blog have a couple more to go. Even if it isn’t the end of school you’re counting down, we all have something that we are waiting on or hoping for.

I urge you to hang in there with all that you have! Your strong winds will eventually pass. Peace will come once again. Often when things look grim up to the end, God is faithful! He makes possible those things many fear are impossible.

When it looks like the end, praise God for what He has done. When it does not look good, thank Him for what He is doing. Look back and remember where you were and thank Him for getting you where you are now. Sometimes there isn’t anything more to do but hang in there with a faith that refuses to fade.

 “But [as for] you, brethren, do not grow weary [in] doing good.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13 NKJV

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:9-11 NKJV

**A very special thanks for those of you who prayed for us and a good conclusion to this first year of high school. Lan passed ALL of his classes! With much prayer, hard work, the help of teachers who tutored him and lots of “tough love” he ended the semester with a 3.00 g.p.a. We’ve come a long way with many miles to go, but we hang in there!

Time and Transition

transition: “a change from one state or condition to another”   “movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another” Merriam Webster

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end,” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV

I birthed this blog the first of August when my youngest entered high school. Now with less than a month before school is out, first year jitters have been replaced with a spirit of perseverance, faith and gratitude.  transitions 1

Lan has evolved from nervous freshman to actively seeking out his friends. He has moved away from the kid sitting alone at lunch to having a steady rotation of friends to eat with and interact. Surprisingly, most of these kids aren’t even in his classes.

Friday, when my husband picked both boys up from the high school, Cam made a telling remark. He said once people saw him with Lan they kept asking, “are you Lan’s brother?” Apparently, Lan’s social vine extends farther than any of us realized.

It was quite the eye opener. For years, Lan has always been the other brother, often falling under the shadow of big brother Cam. Now, in high school, the tables are turning a bit and the light is now shining on Lan.

Lan surprised me today with news that he will receive an award at Thursday’s end of the year awards ceremony. We have no idea what he is receiving an award for. He has worked extremely hard on his school work but an A student he is not. However, Lan’s tenacity to put in the extra time and effort has endeared him to most of his teachers.

A school year fraught with uncertainties looks to be ending on a good note. We have traded Georgia CRCTs (criterion referenced competency tests) for EOCs (end of course exams) so test anxiety ever looms. Yet receiving this award, whatever it may be is progress. It is one more step in the right direction, one step forward in personal accountability, one acknowledgement of doing the best you can, no matter what that best might be.  transitions title

It’s has been quite a year of change. Insecurities vanquished. Challenges met head on. Bullies thwarted. Faith in people… restored.

There has been much personal growth and maturity from fragile bud to longer lasting leaf. Lan made out just fine.

I’m referring to me.

Jesus and mii

We have one of those Wii gaming systems that the kids have enjoyed for years. I was reluctant to get one at the time but soon learned that the Wii Fit activities actually helped improve Lan’s hand-eye coordination and balance. So in moderation, it has actually been quite beneficial in addition to entertaining.

I was playing with it today, trying to exercise my coordination and balance before I began my “real” exercise. One of the upsides to the Wii is that it allows Lan to create various characters to join us in this little universe as we play. These characters are called “miis” (rhymes with me).  Ever the artist, Lan has created “miis” to resemble everyone from classmates to historical figures.  And yes, he even created a mii to resemble Jesus.

Now some would think that is kind of blasphemous but when the child said “we want Jesus with us all the time, don’t we?” who was I to argue? Apparently Lan understands some Biblical concepts far better than many adults.

Well today as I was struggling with one exercise in particular, the only mii “companion” remaining with me on the screen was the mii of Jesus. I was struggling and struggling to accomplish one particular task on the screen and I just could not manage to do it before the timer went off. Time and time again it would be just the two of us left. I would love to tell you that I did finally manage to beat the buzzer with “Jesus” at my side but that was not the case.

However, my little exercise did reiterate to me that no matter what “trial” I am going through, even when I am unsuccessful in my endeavors as long as Jesus is with me, I’m okay.

I figure if God could speak through a donkey, gaining some spiritual enlightenment through a Nintendo game wasn’t that far of a stretch. You see, last week with all the snow and ice down here in the south I had a few cold and hard disappointments that really got to me. I had to pray continually not to let anger consume me and not to lash out at the offender. I knew I should let God handle it but I still wanted to do something and say what I was really thinking.  Thankfully, I did not and have since mentally walked away from that particular situation. But it was not easy.

My lesson today affirmed that I don’t need others to always treat me fairly. Sure it is nice and appreciated, but it isn’t a necessity in this particular situation. We will all run into circumstances where someone else will turn against us or disappoint. I was allowing this “situation” to dominate too much of my thoughts and the simple reminder that Jesus is all that I truly need really clarified my thinking.

My baby boy once again provided a venue for mommy to re-learn yet another lesson. It can easily be said that kids on the spectrum see things differently that the average person. However, I am learning that my child sees some things far more clearly than many “neuro-typicals.”  He doesn’t leave Jesus at church or just at prayer time. He wants to have fun with Jesus, talk to Jesus, run with Jesus, laugh with Jesus and allow Him into more than just compartmentalized times or venues that are deemed “proper.”

How liberating it is to love, laugh and trust like a child. With Jesus, we actually have the freedom to do this. Sometimes, as adults we forget this fact with all the “important” things we have running around in our minds. But thankfully, our children can often show us the way if only we expand our minds and open our eyes to see…

“But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” Matthew 13:16 NKJV

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” Matthew 18:4 NKJV

Baby Steps

In the midst of the snow-pocalypse down here in Atlanta my kids were out of school most of the week. That left Lan with lots of unstructured time. Anyone with a kid on the spectrum knows that isn’t always a good thing. One of the things we’ve been trying to work on continuously is maturity and age-appropriate behavior.

When the snow fell on the first day, Lan made mention of going outside and making snow angels. He is now fourteen. His older brother (by fifteen months) had no such inclinations. It was a far cry from the last snow three years ago when they both played gleefully outside. This time however, Cam in his teenage sarcastic voice exclaimed, “It looks pretty but snow is wet and cold. I’m not trying to get in it.” Lan held no such reservations. So, I simply waited for the time he would ask, “Can I go play in the snow?”

Interestingly enough, the request never came. Additionally, Lan was a trooper over four days studying biology on the computer test prep site (and making As), reading the James Patterson book assigned to him by his teacher and thoroughly practicing both his instruments without a peep of dissent.

Cam had biology he could read ahead on and math to preview as well. When Lan saw he was not alone in his studies, he appeared less ambivalent about them and did not at ask why?  He had a sincere desire not to get behind in school. Trust me; this is a huge step forward.

Lastly, as hubby and I headed out for date night last night, Lan was perched on the couch ready to enjoy some television time. When I asked what he was going to watch he said, Transformers.  I was intrigued because for once it was the live action movie and not the cartoon show. I’m sure I wasn’t overly confident that he wouldn’t soon turn the channel to Ninja Turtles or something else on the “kids” cable channel but when we returned several hours later he was still on the couch watching the third Transformers movie. The live action movies with real people were actually able to hold his attention.

So, what’s the point?

The point is the things we pray for in regards to our kids, their growth and development won’t necessarily come all at once. Sometimes they come in increments so small we would miss them if we aren’t careful. I certainly didn’t realize it until I was in church this morning and realized that God was slowly answering my prayer!

And to top it off, Lan walked up to one of my friends after church today and said “Hello.” He doesn’t know Keren that well at all. She said, “You have a really friendly child.” I just smiled. She has no idea of how miraculously far he’s come to reach the point of walking up to her, without me and politely speaking.

None of these minor changes seem like a lot to most people, yet I believe small changes in the right direction should be recognized, appreciated and celebrated.

On this Sunday it is one more thing to be grateful for. My “baby” is taking small steps away from childlike things. Now don’t get me wrong, we still have a house full of Legos, Ninja Turtles and other stuff. And I don’t mind that at all. But it’s wonderful to recognize movement toward our goals. Sometimes when it seems nothing at all is changing, things may actually be making a shift in the right direction.

Today I am grateful to God for “baby steps” no matter how small they may be. I am also grateful for revelation to recognize them and not just gloss over things as I am apt to do. Not only is God doing some wonderful things in my baby boy, it appears He is also doing a few good things in me as well. 

“The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way,” Psalms 37:23 NKJV

“A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps,” Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

[I would have lost heart], unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Psalms 27:13 NKJV

What next?

I am sitting here today pondering, “What’s next?” in regards to Lan and his future. Old habits would have me convinced I should be preoccupied doing something to facilitate an outcome.

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I met with Lan’s teachers and counselor to come up with strategies to help his academic success. So far, so good. However, the true outcome of our plan won’t be evident until progress reports come out… next month! At this point I can only wait patiently.

I’m sure there are things I could be doing but I am confident my efforts would be fruitless. I would just be busy. Having Lan’s best interests occupy my consciousness for so long, it seems odd to be at this standstill. Yet, God isn’t prodding me to do anything right now. It is both liberating and strange all at once.

I’ve prayed long ago for my “load” to be a bit lighter or to be able to manage it better. I’m not quite sure which or both have been answered. It is as if we’ve come to yet another rite of passage, probably more for me than for Lan, that I must cast my cares (once again and continually) and trust God for the very best.

I don’t know how his first year in high school will end. However, unlike before, the unknown no longer fills me with fear or dread. My priority now is to be ever aware when God does give me instruction and respond quickly.

Abraham didn’t know what was next for him when he headed out toward the unknown. Yet, Abraham was patient, obedient, maintained his faith, and was well rewarded for doing so. I only pray that I can do the same.

Abraham even made a few mistakes as he waited (Hagar) and I’ve made mine, but I am not letting momentary failings withdraw me from God’s faithfulness or the promises He has for me!

So if you are like me and have no idea of what’s next, don’t fret!

I am less concerned as I get older in understanding the how, what and why as I am in having faith for the final outcome.

Sometimes, the answers to our questions extend beyond our comprehension. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is my child diagnosed with autism? How is my child ever going to succeed?

I don’t know.

I’ve finally matured enough to trust God to equip me to do the best I can with what I’ve been given instead of wasting time pondering how or why?

The unknown isn’t as daunting a prospect when you know the God who is in control of it all. We may think we know what is next for our circumstances, our future and our lives. However, all any of us can really do is learn to live our lives as best we can.

Perfection is impossible, that’s why we need a Savior.

We can choose to believe in Him or what this world has to offer. We can choose to speak life or death. We can choose to follow Him or fall by the wayside. Whether we choose to live in faith or fear for the future can make a world of difference. I choose to wait patiently with hope and in faith.

I guess for me, that’s what’s next!

“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

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8 NKJV

 “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13 NKJV

Snow Day

Well… it didn’t actually snow.

The above picture was indeed taken on a rare snow day here in Georgia just not this year. But the result was just the same. School in our county was cancelled on Tuesday of last week due to the frigid cold. That added an extra day to my kids’ Winter Break.

There were shrieks of laughter, shouts of joy and happy dances of elation for the gift of an extra day off. As I lay on the couch convalescing, I thought to myself there’s a lesson in this.

My kid’s had just been given a day off and planned on taking full advantage. The party was on! They were making snacks, singing songs and playing games most gleefully together. They were not thinking about possible consequences to such good news such as having more work to do in less time or an extra day possibly added to their school schedule. They simply celebrated the time given to them.

I, however, when given a day off tend to quickly load it with things to do, lists to complete and obligations to fulfill. Even when I am “doing nothing” I am often haunted by the things I should be doing.

I will readily admit IEPs, the challenge of meeting objectives, setting goals, supervising homework and trying to prepare for (predict?) the future can leave my brain a jumbled mess even after the clock has long stopped. As a parent trying my best I often feel overwhelmed and under productive as a tinge of guilt tries to impart in me that I should be doing, more, more, more!

But I’m a little wiser now. I allowed myself to hear God as my children rejoiced at their good news.  You need a “snow day.” You need a day with Me without the guilt, the hurry or a list of “to dos” hanging over your head.  Let it all go and come to Me.

I have been able to put some things down from time to time and run to Him, but now I’m realizing that lately when I’ve turned to Him I’ve come with another set of petitions, prayers or concerns different from the ones I cast down. It isn’t that God doesn’t want us to come to Him. He actually invites us to bring our burdens to Him.

Yet, I am learning more and more it’s good to simply come to Him empty-handed and wanting nothing in return but His presence and the peace it offers. I can go to Him and allow my thoughts to stop racing, my head to stop spinning and simply be still.

I haven’t taken an entire snow day just yet but it is coming! In fact, I am making them a priority in the New Year! The peace I find in His presence will inevitably transfer over to my family and we will all be better for it.

My mental and spiritual health are just as vital as making sure homework gets done and helping Lan prepare for End of Course Tests that will culminate his school year. I just have to remember that and have enough discipline to seek my Father, often.

So if you are like me, probably stressing more than you should and finding more and more things you think you need to do…stop!

Turn to God and listen to Him. Take some time to be still. He will tell you what you need to do to succeed on the path He has allowed before you.

Sometimes the best success comes from doing less!

Snow days aren’t just for kids. Sometimes grown-ups need one too!

“Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 NKJV