I haven’t been to church in about 4 weeks. And I won’t be able to attend my church this Sunday due to a family obligation. I miss my church. I miss hearing the preaching of the Gospel. It’s funny because years ago I never gave it a second thought that I didn’t go to church. I used to look at people sideways who made church a priority in their lives. Now I am one of “those” people.
I’ve been enjoying the small group I’m co-leading. Although I have to admit the way the bible study book we’ve been using “Unlocking the Treasure: A Bible Study for Moms Entrusted With Special Needs Children” by Bev Rooseboom, sometimes brings me back to a time in my life with Thomas that wasn’t all that rosy. When I was looked at like there was something wrong with me and not him. Not that I wanted anything wrong with Thomas I just wanted someone to see what I saw and get him and us the help we so desperately needed. The book also makes me realize just how loved I am by God and how awesome that love is.
The women in the group have truly blessed me with their presence and experiences. We have one woman who attends accompanied by her neighbor. The neighbor is an active member of my church. She doesn’t have a special needs child but her perspective of the Lord and surrendering to Him and trusting Him is something that I thoroughly enjoy. We are blessed to have her attend the study even though she doesn’t have experience with special needs children, she has valuable experience walking with the Lord and we’re fortunate that she loves to share that part of her life with us and she does so with such joy that it’s infectious. Everyone should have a “Jan” in their life or at least in their bible study group.
Missing church makes me realize how grounded I feel when I’m there. How I’m reminded of what my Savior has done for me and every sinner in the world. How good our God is, how perfect and just He is. How He is a part of every single moment in our lives. And there isn’t anything that happens, “good” or “bad” without His finger prints all over it. I remember when I was going though a bad time depression wise and a woman I consider my Mentor put her hand on my shoulder and said she sees God’s fingerprints all over me. I can’t tell you the comfort that statement gave me. I wasn’t in control at that time but God was. He was there every step of the way even when I convinced myself he wasn’t. God is so good.
Things are moving along albeit slowly but that’s okay. Slow and steady is fine for both Tommy and me. I’ve learned that an agency here had requested Thomas’ “packet” from his current school and it was quickly emailed off. I still have phone calls to make, Thomas is in need of a “Medicaid service coordinator” or MSC for short. This person will help greatly in setting up services for him when he comes to live in a group home. Thomas has had MSC’s in the past when he lived at home. So we’re familiar with their role. Tommy and I are also meeting with the group home’s nurse and psychologist this week. I’m looking forward to this meeting.
I have something amusing to write about. The person from the state who was previously pressuring me to accept group home placement in other boroughs *except* for the one we live on is now totally on board for Thomas to live here. On this borough. Really? The other day this person said to me, “You’ve been away from your son long enough, you need him to live near you now…” It was all I could do to not reply in a sarcastic manner but I knew I just couldn’t. Instead I exclaimed my agreement with them, “Oh yes, exactly!”
I’m so grateful to my church family for praying with us for the group home placement to happen. People I didn’t even realize were praying for us are doing so. The power of prayer is real and I’m honored with this wonderful group of people. It’s amazing how the Lord works, He is worthy to be praised! When I look back at my journey with Thomas it’s the times I know that God was with me that mean the most. He is always with me but the distinct times I know God was blatantly, no argument, hands down, definitely answering my prayers mean so much; how do you put it into words or explain it to someone? You can’t. You have to believe.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10) is one of my favorite Bible verses. In looking up this verse I learned that “Be still” is to stop frantic activity, to cease and to look to the Lord for help.In this life I lead now, I can see no other way to face a problem. Acknowledging that God is all knowing, everywhere and all powerful; trusting Him and His plan; that we understand who He is. When I am still and surrender to God I know I can find peace.
It’s been over a week since we visited the group home. We are now waiting, praying and hoping Thomas gets in. I haven’t heard anything from anybody. Nothing from the agency director and nothing from the pushy guy from the state. I guess no news is good news. I know for certain we won’t hear anything until God feels it’s time for us to know. I’m a firm believer in God’s timing. His timing is perfect and always *right*. This isn’t to say I’m not worried or anxious, I am but not in a frantic way. If Thomas doesn’t get in to this group home there will be another one out there that will fit him and us perfectly.
I’ve been reintroduced to Twitter. I started an account a while ago when I was selling at flea markets and such but then stopped. I have a handful of followers and that’s fine. I started following my daughters and their friends…haha! Should be interesting. I’ve also reintroduced myself to Instagram. I’m “Nayaudo” on Instagram if you’re so inclined to follow me. All this social media, whew! I finally feel caught up, a little.
Life is good. Still full of bumps and bruises here and there but overall good and I’m glad to be here. Scored some awesome finds at the thrift, that’s always a good thing. I’ve finally discovered my happy place, well one of them anyway. You guessed it the Thrift store. I don’t worry about anything when I’m there. I know I’ve written about this before. I just concentrate on the thrill of the hunt, what am I going to find? OHMYGOSH is that my size?! Just a sampling of what goes on in my head when I’m there. Every now and then I’ll text my daughters asking them if they want something I’ve found. Today I sent my Alyssa a picture of these awesome red jeans. Lucky brand no less and in my size! But…I had no idea how to style/wear them. Alyssa sends me back a pic of a woman wearing a black and white striped shirt and a black sweater over the top with you guessed it red denim. Low and behold I was able to copy the exact look at the thrift store. I’m thrilled and Alyssa got a good laugh and tweeted about me. One of her friends called me a queen. Love them, lol!
So here’s to hearing more about the group home and more awesome thrift finds!
Before I had my son I used to think kids who weren’t talking were never read to or talked to by their care givers, I used to think people who yelled at their kids were monsters and didn’t deserve their kids. I used to think having a child in a special ed class was a terrible “label” and it would follow that child where ever he/she may go and not with good consequences.
I used to think having a son who was labeled mentally retarded was the worst thing ever. So much so that I badgered a developmental pediatrician who wrote that in an evaluation report to also add an addendum that I as the child’s mother vehemently disagreed with his findings.
I used to think a lot of things. Used to. Then life hit with an impact. I had a son who was speech impaired for seemingly no reason when he was a toddler. I tried to read to him as well as you could read to a busy and disinterested toddler. I am a “yeller” or I was anyway. And I know I’m in good company because a lot if not most of my mom friends were yellers too. My son started receiving special education services when he was 3 years old. I swallowed my pride and accepted their “label”, little did I know that such a label is not a bad thing but a ticket to other services he was entitled to such as Physical therapy and occupational therapy. Today I encourage any labels “they” want to put on my son as it doesn’t change who he is to me, because with those labels now comes placement beyond the board of education. My son’s time being educated and cared for by the board of ed is coming to an end as of next year when he turns 21. New labels may be more appropriate for him as an adult.
I used to think depression was a state of mind and that one should just snap out of it or look around at all they have that is good in their life. I now know depression is a real chemical imbalance in one’s brain and there is no “snapping out” of it. You simply can not. Depression clouds all your thinking and makes you feel worthless no matter what riches you possess whether it be a terrific family or terrific wealth.
I used to think God was a mystical father figure only interested in us on Sunday mornings. I used to think Jesus was the son of God who died upon a cross; period. I now know with all my being that God is real; period. He is with us all the time and not just on Sundays. And that Jesus died for my sins and yours. I know now that His grace is sufficient. Jesus’ life and death and resurrection is the best example of love that I know. And I humble myself to follow him the best that I can.
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…
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…