Back on the ferry…

I’m on my way to an appointment in Manhattan so I’m on the ferry today. I’ve missed riding it to and from Manhattan. I’ve missed the people watching opportunities. I don’t really have that option at my current job not that it stops me from people watching anyway. Even if it’s mostly the  same people everyday; they don’t act the same everyday.

I’ve been giving a lot of though about giving my concerns and anxiety over to God they way he tells us to in the Bible. 1Peter 5:7 (NIV) “7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  So easy to read; so difficult to do. It was difficult I should say. The more I put this verse into practice the easier it becomes. I have to say it out loud to The Lord, my worries and anxieties that is.

I’ve readily handed over to The Lord the issue of Thomas and his group home placement. I no longer worry about The when/how/why/etc…  It’s in Gods hands. It’s always been in His hands. I finally chose to accept it and hand over my worry to Him. I no longer get upset at how long this process has been taking. It’s ok, Gods timing hasn’t occurred yet for Thomas to move on.

The same goes for my Dad and his cancer. I’ve recently handed over to The Lord my dad and his chemotherapy  treatments to The Great Physician. Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. This was a tough one but made easier with repetition. I’m now at the point where I fully believe my Dad and his medical treatments are in the hands of the great I Am.

Thy will be done. His will is not always what you or I would  want but what God’s will is and what He deems best. His ways are higher than ours and I know if I pray continuously and with passion I do feel his embrace and I’m able to lean on my Lord and Savior. He will not leave you and absolutely meets you where you are. Even on the ferry .

Upside Down

My dad is still in the hospital recovering from his surgery. From there he’ll go to a rehab facility to receive physical therapy as it’s been so long since he’s walked even a single step. But for now the concern is feeding him. He hasn’t eaten in 12 days according to my mom. Everything is in small steps and that’s ok. I wouldn’t expect things to suddenly be back on course so soon after such a surgery.

I feel as though someone took my world and turned it upside down. Like there we were going along just fine and there it is…cancer. And the worry that comes along with the word “cancer”. Because it’s not just a single word; it’s what “stage?”, are lymph nodes involved? and what does that mean? Google is not your friend. Pathology reports seem to take forever. And when the reports are ready do you really want to know what they say?  Of course you do. But there’s that part of you that doesn’t.

This song by Casting Crowns sums up how I feel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being ok

Since my dad has been diagnosed with cancer. I keep going between being “okay” and not being ok, like holding back tears not being ok. I find myself in prayer quite often. Praying for my dad, praying for more time, praying for God’s holy hand of healing to gather the cancer cells and whisk them away as only God can do. I ask The Father to give my mother strength and to keep her healthy. I pray for God to give my dads doctors the wisdom to treat him with the best possible medical treatments and therapies that exists. I pray for wise and compassionate nurses to care for him.

I have plenty of prayer warriors from church and outside church praying for my dad and my family and that touches my heart is such a special way. Because I know people mean it when they say they will pray for us.

I was able to spend most of my afternoon yesterday with my dad and mom in the hospital. As long as I was with my dad I felt fine and I felt like he was “fine” It’s when I’m not with him that my mind wanders and the worry and anxiety start to take over. Those are the times I need God the most. To lay the worry at His feet.

Today my dad is out of the ICU and in a regular room. I’m happy for the progress he’s made. I’m also glad I’ll be able to call him on his cell phone this way I can hear him being. “fine”

Still waiting on the group home…

I’m told things are “In the hands of the state ” which is mildly amusing. The same hands of the state who were pressuring me to take a placement in Brooklyn this past spring. The same hands told me “things could take a while” when I questioned them why they were moving so fast when Thomas was only 20 years old and still had a year to go of education from the New York State Bd of special education. I now know why they were pressuring me to take the placement at that time. It seems “The State” moves rather slowly.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not looking to move Thomas any quicker than he has to be moved. He’s in a great place getting great care and in a wonderful school with an awesome teacher. The staff all love him. I’m just curious as to when this transition will take place. Will it be a month from now? Two months? Six months?

The other thing that is almost amusing is that my contact from the state, the coordinator who pressured me to take the Brooklyn placement who called me on a regular basis has been silent. My phone has not rung from him in months since it’s been decided that Thomas would be placed here in our borough. I called him yesterday and left a voice mail asking him what if anything was going on. Since it was a Friday I didn’t expect a phone call back. We’ll see if I receive a return call come Monday. If not I’ll simply have to call again.

I’ve also come to the realization that even though I say Thomas’ future is in the hands of the “State”, it’s really in the hands of our Lord. God has the ultimate control over when and where Thomas goes. I’ve submitted my control of this to the Lord and it feels right to acknowledge that he’s had the reigns the whole time anyway. There have been no coincidences in the actions that have taken place to secure Thomas’ placement in this group home. Every action was planned by our God and carried out by Him. It all seems so perfect and as if the universe came together at just the right time… it did just as God planned it to be.

Thats merely a blessing that I can see and talk about now.  There are so many other blessings we know nothing about that are just as carefully planned and executed so perfectly with the perfect outcome. Praise God! His works aren’t always so obvious or in plain sight. Many times we see His works years after. His blessings in disguise.

Praise him.

 

Thomas and the Group Home and God.

Thomas called last night. He’s super excited and nervous about moving to the group home. The progress of which is at a stand still while we wait for the State to make its next move. I’m ok with the wait. Thomas is in a great place with people who genuinely care for him. It’s not like we have to move him now or else…

While on the phone with him I couldn’t help but feel guilty. It’s the same guilt that has plagued me since he went to live at the residential school he’s at now. That I couldn’t serve all Thomas’ needs. I actually though this morning as I reminisced about his life, “Why did God give him to me knowing I couldn’t provide everything he needs?” As usual God’s ways are higher than ours and one day I’ll know His way regarding my son. Until then I wonder. I wonder if He gave me Thomas because He knew I’d try so hard to help him? Did He know I would go beyond our scope as a family to get Thomas what he needed even if it disrupted Tommy and my vision of what an intact family looked like? That we would allow Thomas to learn from people while living somewhere else?  These are questions I ask rhetorically. I know with all my being that The Lord knows everything. As difficult as it was raising Thomas, God was there every step of the way. Orchestrating and overseeing it all. Nothing was a surprise to Him as it was to us.

I wish I didn’t feel the guilt. I supposed I’ll always feel some measure of guilt that Thomas’ needs go beyond what I can reasonably provide. I think back to all the doctors and specialists. Those who helped and those who were less than helpful (understatement). The Lord orchestrated every move; every appointment. He was faithful. And He’ll orchestrate my son’s future of this I am certain.

Earlier I said we are waiting for the State to make its next move but in reality God is in charge and it is His love and mercy that will decide what the next move is for Thomas. It always has been God.

What I Need

I was driving and listening to one of the Christian radio stations we have here and the dj played an intro to a song. The intro was from one of the artists who’s song was about needing Jesus. And it hit me. I need Him. I really do. I was thinking of all the times in my life I thought I could do it on my own or thought I was doing things in my own strength and how very wrong I was/am.

I started thinking of how many times I didn’t thank God for his goodness and mercy. I repented for transgressions that happened a long time ago. He knows. I’m sitting here at the ferry terminal waiting to go to work and I realize He is here. Right here in this building full of people waiting to get to work, school, tourists… Our Lord and Savior is alive and well and He is with us wherever we go even in times or trial, especially in times of trial. I never before thought of The Lord as being so… so tangible. His love is amazing and all anyone has to do to receive it is accept Him as your Savior; the Lord of your life.

I also thought of The Gospel. The truth that God sent his only son who lived a sinless life to die a horrible death for us all of us. It’s so very humbling and unreal and so very real at the same time.  The Gospel is indeed good news!

I thought of all this while driving home from bringing my daughter to my Mom’s for a sleepover. It’s amazing how God will meet you where you are when you’re least expecting it. He meets you where you are… You don’t need to be “perfect” or cleaned up or have your act together to meet Him. The Lord takes you as you are and loves you as you are.

By the Grace of God

John 9: 2-7

And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud …

When my son was younger I often thought I was being punished by God because of the way Thomas was. The horrible tantrums, aggression towards me, the multiple doctors, MRI’s, not being believed by specialists, having a pediatrician who was less than helpful…it was not a good scene. However, I was blessed with a supportive husband, parents and friends. And I can’t forget my wonderfully typical Alyssa who was so young at the time. Nonetheless I though I did something  to anger God and that’s why Thomas was the way he was.

Since then I’ve definitely changed my mind, I was not punished by God. Thomas, we later learned was brain damaged and it wasn’t my fault. I’ve also seen God work to His glory through my son. I’ve seen a change in me, Thomas absolutely changed me and the way I see others parent their children. He’s made me less judgemental.

I’ve seen God’s glory and mercy when Thomas was placed in the top residential school why he was just 8 years old. He was under the care of wonderful professionals who were more than happy to communicate with us. That placement in that school was definitely orchestrated by The Lord.

Thomas’ placement in his current school has God’s fingerprints all over it. The school, the staff and their timing are a true example of professionalism and caring all rolled in one. I never had to worry about Thomas’ safety or whether they were following his IEP.

Now as we wait for Thomas to finalize being transferred to the group home I have no one by The Lord to thank. Again and again He’s showed how His timing is perfect. His way is right and just. His glory has shown so brightly through my son. There is no other way to describe the works I’ve seen. There are no coincidences that work out so perfectly and wonderfully. His will be done.

 

 

Surrendering

I’ve been thinking a lot about surrendering to God. Giving over to him my worries and anxieties. It’s wonderful in theory but difficult in real life. I correct myself, it’s sometimes difficult in real life. I had no problem handing over Thomas’ situation with the group home. Handing that over to The Lord was a relief. I no longer fretted over whether or not he would get in to that particular group home; my view was that if he did not get in then it wasn’t in God’s plan for Thomas and there would be another group home on the horizon.

I’ve recently handed over my new job search to The Lord. I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now. If another job does not present itself well then I guess I’m supposed to stay where I am for a little longer. And that’s okay. I do like where I am and enjoy what I’m doing for the most part. More hours would be nice… So we shall see.

I do have one area of my life that I have a difficult time surrendering to God. It’s part of my duties/job description as a nurse at my job. I keep praying about it and I do surrender but then I take it back. Pretty typical. My friend Louise would say, “We put it on the table and then we take it back…” I want to be able to lay my anxieties on the table to The Lord and leave them there and not look back. I know it’s possible I’ve done it before. Surrendering and submission are the hardest things to do. But they are the best actions to take before God. To acknowledge that He is in charge, He holds all the cards and He is above all. I remind myself over and over that His ways are higher than ours and He does indeed have a plan.

I’ll keep praying and surrendering and worshiping the one true God. There is none higher and I’m honored to serve him.

 

It’s a done deal…so far

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.

Worship night

Last night I had the privilege of seeing Worship Night in America presented by Chris Tomlin at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Oh. My. Gosh. It was amazing. Truly amazing. I get goose bumps talking about it and reliving it all over again. All the artist he had lined up were so, so talented and so very dedicated to serving our great God. The special guests were Louie Giglio who preached a very moving session on traveling “the 20 inches” between our knees and the floor to pray for our nation. This man had all of Madison Square Garden on our knees and praying, very moving and oh so powerful. Max Lucado was another speaker he was so wonderful reinforcing how much we are loved by our God that we should let Him love us; we can call our Heavenly Father just that “Father, Abba, Papa” because He loves us so.

The musical artists were, Matt Redman, Matt Maher, Phil Wickham, Kim Walker-Smith (whose voice was incredible with all the jumping and dancing she did and never once faltered), Bryan and Katie Torwalk, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Tasha Cobbs and the very talented DJ Promote. When Tasha Cobbs took the stage to sing “There is Power in the Name of Jesus” she had the whole Garden mesmerized and singing and worshiping with her, I wish I could describe the feelings she provoked in her performance. The only thing I can do is link her performance of the song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pD2zIuiC2g  She sings from her soul.

Chris Tomlin performed his hit “Good Good Father” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqybaIesbuA. He had everyone singing and worshiping. Honestly all the performers had us worshiping the one true God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I haven’t been this moved at a concert since I can’t tell you when. I felt filled with the love of Christ, something I feel is desperately needed in our country. To feel that love and to know it is finished, we’ve been ransomed and paid for by the blood of our beloved Savior.Another song was “How Great is Our God” also by Chris Tomlin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBD18rsVJHk. Matt Redman did not dissapoint with “10,000 Reasons” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtwIT8JjddM

I can’t recall every song that was sung last night but they all prompted you to jump up from your seat, raise your hands in worship and surrender your heart to our great God. f anyone reading this has the chance to see this awesome concert I urge you to go and be prepared to be moved by the power of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.