Tag Archives: gardening

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!

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Special Mothers for Special Kids

Last week over at Devotions by Chris,  Chris wrote about several mothers in the Bible who allowed their faith to push them to do extraordinary things.  I believe there is no mother more significant than Mary, the mother of our Savior Jesus Christ. First of all she was a regular girl who found herself in a situation she never imagined.

Just… like… us.

Can you imagine being an unmarried virgin receiving the news “you are going to conceive the Messiah?!” No pressure there!

I’m confident at some point Mary struggled with her responsibility. I’ve struggled with mine.  I thought there was no room for missteps.  

Mary and Joseph lost their twelve-year-old son and found him three days later! Three days! Can you imagine you are responsible for raising the Messiah and you lose Him!? God did not open up the heavens and rebuke Mary and Joseph for their carelessness. Likewise, we should cut ourselves some slack when we fail in things far less significant.

Another lesson is that Mary saw the potential within her child. It is up to us to do the same. John 2:9 describes one of the first miracles Jesus performed. He turned water into wine. In verse four Jesus says “my hour has not yet come.” However, Mary had other ideas. She told the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.” Upon His mother’s insistence, Jesus had the servants fill pots with water which He later turned into wine.

As parents it is our responsibility to speak to the potential in our kids. This may mean IEPs, tutors, therapy, doctor’s visits and whatever it takes to pull out the potential we know is there. Many doubted Mary and we will doubt us as well, however we must stand firm on what God says. Following her example, we must insist and persist.

We can also follow Mary’s example of receiving God’s grace for her assignment. Mary was forced to witness her child tortured and vilified for the sake of the world. The problems our children face are upsetting to us as well. But we are available for our children. Mary could not help her child; the crucifixion was something Jesus had to do alone. We are available and able through Christ to meet the needs of our kids.

Mary was there for her child until the end. A mother’s love will do that…follow through until the end. God allows us the same grace. Always remember, the third day. Mary endured witnessing her son’s death only to find joy in the Resurrection. Sometimes we may feel like our path is overwhelming, unbeatable or even insurmountable. Many people get stuck on the “first day” or the death of their dream when faced with the realities of parenting and the challenges their children face.

On the “second day,” grief for what could have been keeps some parents from looking forward to what could be. Things often look dark. There are often reports and diagnosis that confuse and condemn. Dreams for the future seem impossible.

Yet thank God, He makes the impossible, possible. If Mary’s story teaches us anything, it is to stick in there until the end. What looks like the end isn’t necessarily so. Hang in there with your child, hang on to what God has promised you.

Every child has some special need. Some needs are more obvious than others. Some are revealed early in life. Some won’t manifest for years later. God equips us to do what we have been called to do. Mary was chosen to be the mother of Jesus.

We were chosen by God to parent the children He has blessed us with as well.

“Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.” Mark 9:37 NKJV

Beauty in the Muck

There have been times in life that I was so busy anticipating potential dangers, that I failed to see the beauty right around me. Last week while working in my garden I was keeping such a keen eye out for snakes (I loathe snakes) that I almost missed the beautiful butterfly in my midst. Sometimes when we are so focused on one negative, it blinds us to the greater number of positives right in front of us.

As the parent of a kid on the spectrum, I have on occasion caught myself anticipating what “could happen” all the while oblivious to what is happening.

Lan will complete his first year of high school in just a few weeks. We are now in the midst of “test anxiety” though trying hard to keep it at a minimum. Failure to pass these exams will mean a summer of trying to restore these credits. “Credit restoration” would play havoc with summer travel plans let alone the struggle of shuttling him back and forth to school.

Lan’s teachers are proud of his work in class. He does better than many of the neuro-typicals in his classes. Yet, Lan has never excelled at standardized testing. Challenging for most, to a kid with attention deficits these exams are a very steep uphill battle.

As an ever recovering control freak, I fight my fears realizing his exams and other things lie well beyond my control. Instead of focusing on the pessimistic what ifs, I am ever searching and sometimes struggling to count my blessings now.

I am grateful this first year of high school has been a success. We had no traumatic events as I’d feared the beginning of the year. Lan’s teachers have been receptive and accommodating. Many students are quite kind to him and often act on his behalf. Lan has made a few friends. He has thrived under the direction of his band teacher. Lan is no longer nervous about the huge crowds and even learned to maneuver them well. As of last week, he no longer meets the requirements for speech therapy services.

In the muck of IEPs, core curriculum and teenage angst, I can appreciate how far we’ve come when I take time to look for the beauty.

I was once so accustomed to looking for potential snakes (bullies, indifferent teachers, additional diagnoses) that I failed to see let alone appreciate the beauty that God poured before me. Now, I am ever grateful and continually search out the beauty in life.

If you feel mired down in your muck, I challenge you to look up from where comes my help. We don’t have to walk this journey alone. We don’t even have to orchestrate every step along the way.

God is willing, available and more than able.

“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 is light.” Matthew 11:29-30 NKJV

“To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3 NKJV

 

He is Faithful!

I planted the azalea pictured above nearly fourteen years ago. I was all excited as we had moved into a new home and my love for all things green made landscaping a priority. I planted three azaleas and looked forward to the beauty they would bring through the years.

Well the bounty of blooms promised twice yearly from the “encore” variety didn’t come to fruition. In fact, the plants did very little to expand beyond their original borders. No amount of water, fertilizer, sun or shade seemed enough to make these plants thrive. In fact, one actually died. My dreams for replicating the beauty of the azaleas that grace my mother’s yard quickly faded away. Out of options and ideas, I finally resolved to put my efforts elsewhere.

Well, last year, my azaleas bloomed. Nothing spectacular yet the surviving plants actually showed some signs of life. After a decade! I didn’t know what to think. These plants appeared lifeless for so long I’d forgotten what color blooms they originally promised. I’m sure I contemplated on more than one occasion to dig them up! Surprisingly, the deep magenta color is a perfect match for some phlox I’d planted nearby. The color scheme on that side of the yard looks very well orchestrated. Little do the neighbors know!

Well, a couple of days ago I walked outside to see the shrubs have tripled in width and doubled in height! What were once small dwarf sized shrubs are alive and thriving. At some point along the way, I’m pretty sure I’d prayed that these plants would live and bloom (yes, I even pray over my plants and grass). The funny thing is I’d made that petition to God so long ago, over a decade ago, that I’d completely forgotten all about it.  DSC_0043

However, God does not forget! His timing and our timing aren’t always the same, yet He is always faithful!

I like to think that if His faithfulness can apply to something as “minimal” as my landscaping, what more can God have in store for larger matters? And what prayers I have dared to pray in regard to my children!

So, if you are feeling that God hasn’t heard your prayers, He has. He hears them all large and small.

God is larger than my doubts and fears. God is greater than ASD. Through once forgotten magenta blooms, He cares and shows His love for me.

“Let us hold fast the confession of [our] hope without wavering, for He who promised [is] faithful,” Hebrews 10:23 NKJV