Pastor John is our new pastor. Today was the second time he preached, last week they cancelled church due to the snow storm we were clobbered with. I’m really enjoying him He’s just so good to put it plain and simple. Pastor John is preaching from the book of Phillipians. We’re just at the beginning and its already been enlightening.
Pastor spoke of 3 things we shouldn’t forget: To never forget who helped you on your journey, to never forget who controls your journey and to remember the ultimate purpose of our journey. He packed so much into one sermon it’s difficult to summarize.
In never forgetting who helped you on your journey Pastor John spoke of the Apostle Paul never forgetting those who helped him and supported him, especially when he was in prison in Rome.
When he spoke of never forgetting the one who controls your journey, Pastor said something so profound. The God is omnipotent, nothing is beyond Him and the next thing which resonated with me so strong: “The proof of God’s goodness in not in our circumstances”. It reminded me of when I wrote my blog post titled “Blame” where I’m quick to blame God for my circumstances. Pastor John also said that God didn’t save you to make you happy-He saved you to His glory through you, as you serve his body which is the local church.
The 3rd thing we aren’t to forget is to remember the ultimate purpose of our journey. That love is a choice not an event. Love is an action and pastor spoke of the many times in the bible we are commanded to love. He stressed that love is a choice.
Another phrase that resonated with me that pastor John said is, “When God is through with you he will either kill you or come get you”. I loved that. It means if we’re still here, living that God still has a purpose for you, He’s not done with you yet. That hit me as I often wonder what is God’s purpose for me? What is his purpose for giving me a special needs son? What is his purpose for allowing me to go through clinical depression? As I stand on the edge of starting this small group/bible study I’m starting to see that maybe I’m here to encourage? I don’t know yet for sure~but since I’m still here God isn’t finished with me yet and for that I’m glad and I look forward to Him using me for His glory.
I’ve been thinking about Thomas lately. He ended up in the ER/Urgent Care the other night for an infection on his leg. He’s fine but did have to have a dose of IV antibiotics. That got me worried a little being that I’m not there nearby but I know he’s in good hands with the nursing staff and residential staff. I have to trust them.
I’ve been thinking of the road we’ve traveled with this son of ours. It hasn’t been an easy one. Many doctors, psych hospitalizations, many med trials and finally residential placement not once but twice. Residential the second time was “easier” because the situation was so dire and my safety was becoming more and more at risk. The school district cooperated with no need to hire a lawyer like the first time. But that didn’t make it a walk in the park. He’s still my son. And my ideal life for him wasn’t for Thomas to live somewhere other than his home, with people other than his family.
My ideal scenario was for Thomas to stay home until he graduated school at age 21 (special Ed students are educated and receive services until they are 21 yrs old). I then envisioned the perfect group home placement close by to where we live. This is not the reality obviously. Our reality is that we are unable to meet Thomas’ needs here at home, he lives an hour away and I pray for group home placement on Staten Island and not an hour away when he turns 21.
In as little as a few years ago I felt like a failure to Thomas. I’ve written about this in the past. I had distinct visions of me one day meeting our Father in heaven and him being disappointed in me, shaking His head saying, “I gave Thomas to you, what have you done??” I no longer feel this way. I know Tommy and I did the best we could with the situation we were given. I know I haven’t failed him as a mother. To quote Maya Angelou “We do the best we could with what we knew, when we knew more we did better”. I’ve had people ask me if that quote was an excuse for doing a bad job. My answer is no and the quote is quite simple and true. It puts my mind at ease as Thomas’ mother because the more I knew about my son and his diagnosis’ the better I did at getting help for him.
My other favorite quote is a bible verse from Romans 5: “3Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” My suffering has produced endurance, I have character. I certainly have hope and I know I have God’s love.
The new small group/Bible study I’m co-leading starts the first week of February. A week from yesterday to be exact. Providing child care was an issue as well as needing a room to provide the child care. Was it permissible to use the Bible study book for special needs Moms that I discovered? What if no one is interested?
These were the issues that we were facing up until today. The small group leader got in touch with me, there was a room available for that night to provide child care and I have a young lady willing to provide the child care. The leaders also approved us using the Bible study book and just this morning I spoke with a woman from church who has a neighbor interested in attending. This brings the women attending up to 8. I think that is great.
I love watching God at work. It’s not like He works with big stomping feet and a “viola! I’m done, here’s what you asked for!” It’s been my experience that God works in the quiet. I wasn’t totally surprised that things worked out the way they did. From day one of the idea of this Bible study group, things have been coming together in a way that can only be from God. The quiet, perfect manner that only God has. I’m thrilled that He chose to answer the prayers I’ve had for this group with a resounding “yes” and time will tell how the group gets on. I’m eager to see what God has in store next.
When I’m in a good mood I just love the Lord and want to sing! I sing along to the Christian radio I always have on in the car and I want everyone else to sing with me. To know that He is God and He is in charge, it’s all going to be alright after all Jesus died for us… Then the mood shifts. And I start to question Him. Why have I gained all this weight? If God loved me I wouldn’t be struggling so much with this. Why am I in such a bad mood? Why is my daughter having such a difficult time at school? Why is my son the way he is? I know some of these examples seem silly but this is what runs through my head.
This time the mood was different than the others. I at once felt guilty to be so quick to blame God. It literally stopped me in my tracks and it got me thinking about my faith. I’m so quick to praise when life is going good, I need to be just as quick to praise when I’m in “a mood” and things aren’t looking so rosy. I remember when Thomas was home for Christmas. Thomas was very high maintenance during that visit and I was having a hard time with him. Was I praising God? Nope, I was annoyed that my son is the way he is. I realized that I wasn’t in prayer and worshiping the Lord and I felt odd about it. Fake. I did however pray for patience with Thomas. And I do feel He heard my prayer. I still listened to my Christian music in the car and sang alone and went to church the Sunday after Christmas. But I should have been in prayer a few days earlier when I was having a difficult time. Instead I was annoyed and anxious.
This mood of mine was an eye opener. More praise, prayer and worship in tougher times, not only when all is right with my world.
I missed going to church this morning. For everyone’s safety the church decided to cancel services, it was just as well. My car wasn’t cleared off until late this morning and our street was barely plowed, totally not worth it to go out anywhere by car.
I daydreamed a little about going out though. I could have gone for a walk to Starbucks but after the shoveling and being out in the cold, a walk didn’t seem that attractive. Tommy was home for the storm. It’s the first time in about 9 years he wasn’t at work when it snowed. The facility where he works now has their own snow crew so he wasn’t needed. That was cool. To have him home when we’re so used to him not being home. There was a lot of neighbor helping neighbor and that was really nice. It’s one of the main reasons I love living here. Our neighbors are close with each other but we’re not in and out of each other’s houses. Yes we invite each other in if we ring each other’s bell but we don’t just enter without being invited. It’s a really nice block. When I had to call an ambulance for Thomas being out of control everyone wanted to help me and I was so, so grateful for good neighbors.
I was thinking back to how snow days used to be when Thomas was out of control. Tommy would be at work and I would be stuck home with then all 3 kids (this would be pre-Samantha). It was NOT fun. Thomas would be having fit after fit or just being generally uncontrollable. Going out to play in the snow was a joke because it wouldn’t be long before Thomas was throwing snow at the girls in their face. So we would all end up back inside again anyway. On the upside NYC rarely closes school so if the snow day was a week day I was saved because Thomas took the school bus and the bus always made it’s way here. I would then walk Alyssa to school and it would be just Lelly and me for the rest of the day. Lelly was a fun kid to be with, very low maintenance and nice to be around. I miss Lelly when she was little. We called her the “feel good baby” as she always had a smile for you and just made you feel good to be around her. She’s like that now at age 14. She’ll just come up to you for a hug and ask me to kiss her forehead. How can that not make you feel good?
I may have said I miss Lelly when she was little but don’t be mistaken I don’t miss my kids being small at all. I really enjoy the people they’ve grown into and are still growing. I love the freedom of having one watch another so I can just run to the post office or the supermarket without dragging everyone and having it be a huge deal of a trip. I enjoy listening to their stories or taking a trip to the city with me. Or more recently Alyssa and I visiting Long Island University/Brooklyn campus to find out if she were admitted or not. It was nice to take the ferry with her and then the train and then walk around Brooklyn. It was a nice day that day. No I don’t miss them being little. Yes they were adorable but the first time around was enough. I look forward to the next chapters.
Like most of the country on most of the East coast we’re snowed in. It’s not so bad the kid are older so there’s less fighting, note I said “less” fighting, not “no fighting”. Somehow a 14 year old will find a way to annoy the crap out of a 9 year old and vice versa. But all in all it’s been a quiet day.
I’ve been reflecting on my blog. When I started, my intent was to talk about being a personal shopper and write about all my wonderful thrift finds. Well, I’m no longer a personal shopper, it didn’t take off as I’d hoped but that’s okay, God had other plans. My first entries are all about my thrift finds and trying to sell said finds. I wrote about my husband and then finally Thomas and and all we went through when he was a baby up to his life now. In fact Thomas’ whole life story is here in this blog. (See July 2013 and scroll through, I don’t know how to link, sorry :))
I’m still thrifting. The thrift store is my happy place. No one bothers me there and it’s where I go to escape for a little while. I have my phone on me so it’s not like I’m unreachable. I have a thrifting face as my daughter once told me. We were thrift shopping together and Alyssa stopped me to ask a question, I said, “What??” and she said, “Mom! You should see your face!” Some people have a resting bixch face, I have a thrift face.
I still write about Thomas, I’ll probably always write about him. I wouldn’t be who I am now if it weren’t for him. I had certain ideas and opinions of what it was like to be a mother as we all do *before* we have kids. Being Thomas’ mother humbled me in a way I still find difficult to describe. His many diagnosis’ opened up new worlds and new people into those worlds. People I never would have met and appreciated and loved had he not been special needs. If Thomas were born a typical child I would have grown to be a different person and I’m not so sure I would have liked her. This is not to say I wouldn’t give anything for Thomas to be typical. I just wouldn’t want to give up who I became as a result of him not being typical if that makes sense.
I still write about God and my Savior Jesus Christ. I absolutely wouldn’t be where I am without the Lord in my life. His love and direction keep me focused and have shaped me and brought me to spiritual places I’d never have reached without Him. My love of the Lord spills into my writing when I least expect it or intend it to. I guess that’s what happens when the Spirit takes over. My fingers start flying on the keyboard or on my phone and I can’t find the words fast enough to tell people how much God loves them. I wish for so many people I know to realize that God is real. Jesus died for them. And all they have to do is ask Jesus into their heart.
It’s still snowing.
I’ve mentioned before that I have been praying for direction. I want The Lord to guide my steps and lead me. So far it’s produced a feeling of calmness. Not serenity but just calm because I know that He is in charge and I have faith in God.
I’ve also been praying for more hours at work. So far that prayer had been answered, praise God! My boss is opening her own office in Manhattan so she’ll no longer be leasing space from another doctor. I’m excited for her and for me 😀. The plan is to gradually increase the hours and/or days as long as there are customers. So I could potentially be looking at another day or two in the future and I’m totally okay with that. It really is an answered prayer. For years I prayed for the “right” job to come along and here I was presented with this one which was extremely part time only a few hours a week. When I would get discouraged my husband would be encouraging saying its ok you haven’t worked in a while this is good to get your feet wet. And he was right. I know I wasn’t ready to commit to more. Now after praying about it; time has passed and things have changed and more hours have been offered. God is good.
On the bible study front things are moving along. I’ll be glad when arraignments are done and set in stone and we are ready to get started. This isn’t to rush anything I’m just eager to feel more settled and begin.
God is so good.
Our new Pastor began preaching today. He was awesome! He’s from the South and just spoke the message loud and clear with bits of humor scattered here and there. I truly enjoyed hearing him preach.
Pastor John spoke with such a passion for the Gospel it was wonderful. He also spoke of our finding happiness and joy in things or places outside of Jesus. That nothing but Jesus will bring us joy. Such powerful true words. Lately I feel such peace when I pray that it can only be described as joy. Knowing I can talk to my God, my Savior and knowing that He loves me…How do you describe that feeling other that it is joy? How do you tell other people that that is how close they are to finding joy? To shut out the noise and be still and know that He is God.
Our Pastor also spoke of wrong thoughts we have. Such as, ” Suffering is avoided by a lot of faith; God is mad at you; we deserve or earn suffering to gain favor from God; and that suffering is not part of the good plan of God.” Pastor John also said our suffering is not always oppositional to the work of God. This hit home to me personally in regard to my battle with depression and the trauma of living with my son when he was aggressive towards me. I was did think God was mad at me and for the life of me I could not figure out how this was part of God’s plan, that someone (meaning God) has made a big mistake.
In the middle of a storm it’s so very difficult to imagine anything good arising from what you’re going through. I know I have to always remember that even when things are tough, God is with me. He has not forsaken me and never will and that God will be glorified.
I’m already looking forward to next Sunday.
I had my meeting with the Pastors at church concerning the new small group/bible study for Moms of special needs children. The meeting went well, I had to tell Thomas’ story to one pastor who wasn’t aware that I even have a special needs child. I gave him the extreme abridged version of the past 19 years of my life. With each breath I took I noticed the pastor’s eyes getting bigger and bigger. Thomas’ story is a lot to digest in one sitting. They asked me why I wanted to do this group. I answered that it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while but I haven’t been in a place where I could do this. Now I am in that place and it feels good. If I can help anyone with my experience with Thomas I’ll experience the truth of the statement that “God doesn’t waste a hurt”. For years I’ve wondered when he’ll use what I’ve been through. Now seems to be the time and I’m so grateful to Him.
I reached out to a few moms tonight and have two solid “yes” answers. Tomorrow I approach more moms. I swear it’s the Holy Spirit giving me the gift of being bold. I’m hoping one Mom’s childcare situation gets sorted out so she can attend.
I’m excited to see how God is working and will continue to work as I pray for direction; for Him to guide my steps.
- Prayer. It feels like the answer to everything. Feeling stressed? Pray and give it to God. Scared? Pray and give it to God. Feeling lost? Pray and give it to God. It seems simple yet it’s not. We routinely give things over to God then take them back to worry and obsess over. I’ve learned to lean on God and truly give things over to Him. Right now I’m concerned with the future of my job. Specifically if I’ll be given more hours to work which is what I want. I’m also concerned about the new bible study I’m supposed to be co leading this February. Will I be able to do this? Will o be successful? For all circumstances I’ve prayed and will continue to pray. Specifically asking for direction and guidance; for Him to lead my steps. The last time I prayed for guidance was for my son. And you know what, God answered my prayers. It wasn’t an answer that came down from the heavens in this miraculous show. But rather in a round about way that can only be explained by knowing Gods hand was at work.
Its not easy to pray in the middle of a storm. I remember when I was depressed I felt so, so alone and so very far from God. I had a dream that I was inside a glass dome and my prayers were stopped by the glass “ceiling” I was under. I would listen to my favorite Christian radio and feel nothing but sorrow. It was a terrible time. But still I prayed. I prayed for my doctor to have wisdom in treating me and prescribing the right medications. I prayed for God to take the depression away. I even went to a prayer meeting and asked for prayers when the depression was flaring. The pastor annoited me with oil and they all prayed over me. It was amazing. And powerful.
I still pray for my doctor to be led by God’s powerful direction. God is the great physician and it’s only by his hand are we healed or not.
- I will continue to pray and enjoy the peace I feel afterwards knowing my future is in the hands of the great Almighty.