My boy is coming back here to live in the group home we’ve looked at that is 15 minutes from our house! Last week the agency sent two workers to Thomas’ school to screen him to make sure he is a good match with the other residents of the group home. I spoke to Thomas’ social worker and she raved about him and his fantastic manners. I was so proud; I then spoke with the owner of the agency (who owns the group home) and his exact words were, “They met Thomas, they fell in love…he’s in” I would love to say I wasn’t surprised but I was. Not surprised that they would fall in love with my son, he has a great personality and is in fact quite likable, but surprised that all in all this process went very smooth.
In fact this whole scenario has God’s fingerprints all over it. If I hadn’t started the bible study group for Mom’s of special needs children and hadn’t asked Trish to be my co-leader; if I hadn’t mentioned to Trish the pressure I was under to submit to Thomas living in a group home in Brooklyn; if Trish never gave me the phone number of the owner of the agency; if I never called the owner and found out he indeed had an opening at a group home here in this borough…Thomas wouldn’t be going where he’s going.
It all starts with the bible study. A way for mom’s of special needs children to get together and glorify God while having camaraderie with other women going through similar life circumstances. It all starts with God. The way it should be. He is first. It didn’t hurt at all that I had people from my church family praying for us, praying for Thomas to be placed in that group home. Prayer is so powerful. Praying to the God that loves us.
I have to say that I’ve seen God move so plainly and openly when it came to Thomas. I do believe that every prayer I’ve had for Thomas has been answered, not always in the way I wanted but in the way that was best for him and best for my family. His ways are higher than ours and God’s timing is always perfect. This group home placement is an answer to prayer. The timing is perfect and I know God will make way for a place for Thomas in whatever program that will be great for him after he leaves the residential school.
You have to have faith.
I’ve been trying since this morning to write this post. I started a couple of times on my phone while on the ferry but for whatever reason my phone won’t “save” the post, so that was a waste of time. Then I tried again on the way home on the ferry, then on the bus. Again with my phone not saving anything. What the heck man!
So now I’m home with freshly dyed hair waiting for dinner to be ready. Here I am. I’ve been thinking about life these days and how I’m so glad to be a part of it. I have my relationship with the Lord, a great husband and a job I really like and lest I forget my 4 kids that always keep me on my toes. Especially Samantha these days. If it’s not one it’s another. But that’s okay.
I think back to this time last year. I wasn’t doing too well depression wise and it was at this time my doctor tried one other medication. He hit the nail on the head and I’ve been feeling well ever since. I don’t ever want to go back to where I was. Last week during bible study we were discussing times when we’ve felt abandoned by God. I know when I was in the depths of my depression I felt like God had just left me there to flounder. I know now this isn’t true, He’s never left me, He hadn’t moved, I had. The depression makes you feel isolated and worthless. I kept praying for God to guide my doctor, to guide his decisions that God being the Great Physician and Healer could certainly guide anyone here on earth. And He did. He’s been orchestrating my recovery all this time. I’ll never know why it took the time and med trials it did, or who knows someday I could know and everything will make perfect sense. Until then I’ll keep trusting the Lord and know that He never wastes a hurt.
I remember growing up and attending church. I felt church and God was just for Sunday. I couldn’t imagine applying my faith in God to other areas of my life like school, hanging out with my friends, etc… When I was older and went back to church I again couldn’t fathom letting God in to other parts of my life such as work, friendships, relationships, etc… I mean I believed in God and Jesus but they were “separate”. They were only for Sunday.
It’s only since I’ve been saved do I really understand letting God in to all areas of my life. The Lord has permeated every aspect of my life from my marriage, raising my children, friendships, discussions, my job, you name it; and I am so grateful to have Him there. Yesterday at church Pastor John said, “You are where you are because God has put you there.” I love that. Because it’s so true. I’ve wondered often if I’m working where I’m supposed to be. I’m working as a nurse piercing ears in Manhattan. It’s definitely where I wanted to be geographically but I never imagined myself working in this capacity. Never. I’m exactly where God wants me to be for whatever reason and it’s okay. I don’t believe it’s any coincidence that my supervisor just happens to be a Christian. There are no coincidences just things that happen as orchestrated by The Lord.
Having God be a part of every aspect of my life certainly changes the way I think and approach circumstances. I know it’s the Lord’s presence that gives me the calm, patient demeanor I have with my clients. I know it’s the Holy Spirit that gives me words when my kids have questions about God or our Savior Jesus Christ. I know it’s also the Holy Spirit working through me when co-leading my small group/bible study.
I would encourage everyone to simply let God in to all areas of your life. He’s already there you just need to acknowledge Him.
Since I started co-leading this small group/bible study for Mom’s of special needs children, I’ve had the distinct pleasure and honor of watching the church move. Watching other members of the group support and help each other. It is truly the hands and feet of our Lord in motion. And I am blessed to be a witness to it. I didn’t know what to expect when we began meeting for this small group. I didn’t know if everyone would get along or if anyone would be judgmental. Thanks be to God we all do get along and empathize and pray for each other; and no judgement.
I worry I don’t have the “right” words to say, I’m pretty quiet and I’m an active listener during the meetings. I guess that is the role The Lord wants me in. But there are times where I want the Holy Spirit to come upon me and give me words that will make an impact. I’m thinking my presence is enough of an impact. At this time anyway. My co-leader is quite gifted in knowing what to say and how to say it. She was amazing last night and I’m so thankful the Lord put us together to lead this group.
I prayed this morning for God’s help and support and strength in being a part of this ministry. Apart from Him I am nothing and I need His strength to be able to minister to this group of wonderful women.
At small group/bible study last night we discussed being discipled or mentored. Were you ever a mentor or the mentee? I was fortunate that I did have a mentor and her name is Louise.
When I started going to small group, Louise was a co-leader of the group. I didn’t think I needed anything. I mean I believed in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. But I did need something, I needed that relationship The Lord and I needed a Savior. Louise met with me when I asked her to. She answered my questions and kept reminding me of the Gospel, that we are saved by grace through faith. I remember crying feeling unworthy of such a gift. Louise listened to me and reassured me that I am worthy.
When my world fell apart due to Thomas needing a medication change. It was then that I met the Lord. In the middle of Thomas being hospitalized and him being so very unstable at home, the Lord took that time to meet me where I was. He truly does meet you where you are, you don’t have to clean yourself up or wait for a special time. He picks the time and the place and it was right there in my car during the song, “Praise you in this storm” by Casting Crowns that I met Him. It was amazing and I called Louise to tell her what happened to me.
When my world was in shambles during the depression and after the trauma of having Thomas be so aggressive towards me it was Louise who would after church tell me she saw God’s fingerprints all over me. I needed that so bad at that time.
I finally thanked Louise last night for discipling me, for being my mentor.
I’ve written quite a bit about my son. And that being a co-leader for a bible study group for Mom’s of special needs children brings me back to a time when things were off the hook for our family. Last week’s meeting was as awesome as the first. Three women couldn’t make it but instead we had 3 new members so I was able to hear their stories and be taken back yet again. It’s not painful to go back but rather retrospective at this point in my life. I can even recall the aggression without tears. A point I never thought I’d get to.
We discussed fears of our children being made fun of by other children because of their special needs. I shared that even when Thomas was the lowest functioning student in the entire school, no one made fun of him or bullied him. It was quite amazing when I look back. The social worker at that time explained to me that Thomas was a “nice kid” and all the other students wanted to be friends with him, “… you see, Thomas is a nice boy. These kids know who’s a nice kid and who isn’t …” My heart hurt for the other mom’s because I know that fear but God graced Thomas with a kind heart and the opened eyes of the other students. God also graced Thomas was a resilience to adapt to just about every situation he’s been faced with.
When Thomas was 8 years old we made the decision to have him attend a residential school an hour away from home. It was a gut wrenching but necessary decision. Thomas adapted and adapted well. God blessed this boy with the ability to be able to live away from us. Fast forward 8 years and again we were faced with this same decision. Again the Lord blessed Thomas with the resiliency to be able to adapt to a new environment and staff and other kids and to be away from us. To be perfectly honest I don’t think my girls would be able to adapt as well as Thomas has. I don’t believe they are as resilient as their brother or can adapt to change as well as he can. In all fairness they haven’t *had* to adapt to any kind of change that was beyond the realm of traditional transitioning to new classes, new schools, etc…
We started our small group/bible study the other night. It was a great turnout, around 5-6 woman not including myself and my co-leader. The women were amazing, caring and very open. I told my story of Thomas first. Because he’s 19 and and so much has happened in those 19 years I felt like I glossed over a lot of our journey and didn’t go into great detail. How deep in detail do you go when your head spins to just give the basic no frills version?
The members of the group did go into great detail about the lives of themselves and their children. I’m grateful and feel honored that they were comfortable enough to be so open. Their stories and raw emotion brought me back. Back to times that were really tough with Thomas. Emotions that were buried were brought back to the surface but not in a bad way. More of a “yes, I remember feeling that way… but it’s okay now…” And I was quick to get past the memory. I did a lot of nodding and “uh-huh’ing” in agreement of knowing how these women felt. It’s nice to know I was never alone in my feelings. Even now so many years later the feelings I had are the same feelings these women are having now. It’s amazing. We’re all keeping in touch via email and text messaging; sharing doctor recommendations and keeping each other in prayer.
I left that night feeling incredibly fortunate that God has chosen to use me in this way. Fortunate and privileged to hear these experiences and be a part of their lives.
The office where I work has moved. I’m no longer working on the relatively quiet street of East 30th Street, I’ll now be working right on 5th avenue close to the Empire State Building. I helped my boss and her family move into the new place Saturday evening after I was done for the day. I liked where the old office was, nice and quiet kind of tucked away…but now things have changed. My boss is no longer leasing office space from another physician; she has her own office and I’m happy for her. I’ll be happy in the new space once I get acclimated. One thing I’ll have to get used to is the busy-ness of 5th Ave. I felt overwhelmed by the whole New York-ness of the area. And to top it off I didn’t know where the subway station was so I looked like a tourist trying to find my way after we were finished setting up. I had to ask a street vendor for directions and walk 2 blocks to get the 1 train. Two long city blocks. The next time I’ll take a different train, one closer to the office. I’ve already mapped it out.
The new office has 3 rooms, one my boss will be renting out shortly and 2 for her own use. One is almost set up ready for me to begin, we’re just waiting for a sink to be installed which will be nice for me to be able to wash my hands without running down the hall every 15 minutes between clients. I’ll no longer be close to a thrift store I found that was close to the old office. I’ll just have to find another one…I know I will.
The other change is my small group/bible study begins in 2 days. I will admit I’m excited and nervous. I’ve never undertaken anything like this. Any other group I was involved in I was never a “leader” but one who attended. I’m praying this works out well. That I’ll be able to bring God glory through my experiences with Thomas and my family and the depression from the trauma of living with him the last 6 months or so that he was home. I’m praying the book I chose speaks to the other women the way it spoke to me. I’m just praying…
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.
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.