A blocked path

I really hate it when what I want doesn’t happen. I have things all planned out just the way I think they should be and then the unexpected happens. Honestly, I don’t know why this surprises me, things rarely go just as I plan them. But it still surprises me and disappoints me. When I expect something and get something else entirely that leads to disappointment. This past year has been full of that. We planned to get pregnant with another child and we did, but then at 21 weeks we lost the baby. Not what I planned, for sure. We finally got the courage to think about getting pregnant again this past spring and it didn’t happen as we expected, we went through some testing and the doctor gave us news we were not expecting, we most likely will not ever have any more children. Not what we expected. I know that for some people they might look at our situation and think, “they have 6 kids, why are they even trying to have another much less disappointed if they cannot?”. And ultimately you are right. We know now how incredibly blessed we are to have the four biological kids we have had and the two adopted ones we have as well. We love kids and choose to be open to adding more to our family, but that seems to not be in God’s plans for the moment. Regardless of the circumstances we all experience disappointment at multiple times in our lives. It’s what we do with that disappointment that matters.

This news that we cannot have any more kids is a recent development in our lives. We are trying to process it, and we aren’t there yet but I wanted to share our process, as we are going through it, because I know we aren’t alone in this journey. There are many other people who find themselves in similar circumstances as ours. That comforts me. This news from our doctor was not what we wanted to hear, not what we ever expected, but here we are. As I have gone through many emotions about it all, I have come to realize it’s going to take time to find our new normal. Just as it did right after we lost Andrew and honestly, we are still finding that normal. I have mixed feelings about it all, depending on the moment. On the one hand, we now have two teenagers and moving away from the baby stage helps with the demands of raising teenagers who need so much more attention sometimes than kids do. It’s a whole shift in our family. We also still have a two year old, a seven year old who is developmentally 3 and a 14 year old who is developmentally 1, so I have three toddlers, basically. That’s a lot, on a daily basis. I am relived to not add a baby to that mix. But then there are those moments when you miss what you don’t have and will never have again. The first moments and all that. What is difficult is that we didn’t choose this. It was chosen for us. That is hard to process at times.

Disappointment means my reality doesn’t match my expectations. So there are two ways you can move forward with disappointment. Either you can dig your heels in and pout about what didn’t happen, be angry, sad, fight against it all, or you can adjust your expectations. If every month, despite the doctor telling us we have a very very small chance if every having a baby, I sit around expecting we will get pregnant, I will set myself up for more disappointment. I have decided to live in a place of adjusting my expectations. I don’t expect it to happen. I am not shutting the door entirely, if it did happen I would be thrilled, but I don’t expect it. It’s a complicated place to be. I have to live my life and not sit here stuck in one place of disappointment. Maybe at some point God will choose to intervene and we will have another child, He can do that, but will He? I don’t know. I still have hope that He might but I don’t expect it. I have to be okay with things as they are. I have to live in this moment, not some alternate reality I wish existed. This is the pep talk I am giving myself every day right now. Not easy. It’s a process.

If you are living with disappointment, give it to God. Adjust your expectations. It doesn’t mean you don’t have hope, but you don’t live in this land of disappointment all the time because you adjust your expectations to match reality. Whether what you desire happens on this side of heaven or not, you always have the hope of heaven, where all things will be made new and whole.

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Doing what’s in front of you

How do you know what God wants you to do for Him? It’s a question I think all Christians ask at some point. You might have dreams for your life or things you would like to do for God but are you “called” to do those things? My pastor says that if you have an idea that you would like to do for God then you should, because Satan is not in the business of giving you ideas of things to do for God, so it must be from God. I agree, but there is the other question of timing. I have dreamed since I was a child about doing Christian counseling and ministering to people in that way. I know that is not something Satan put in my head, but the timing has not yet been right for me to do that. When will I do it? I don’t know yet, someday. I think I will know when it’s time and that time is not yet. I have a number of things that I would like to do for God but the timing is not yet come. When I was a teenager I felt I was called to be a Pastor’s wife. When I married Glenn he wanted to be a missionary, so I assumed I had misheard God and missionary’s wife was what I was meant to be. That was not what God had for us, at least not in the traditional sense, but I do believe we do our own sort of mission work by adopting kids, but that’s another blog post. Anyway, a year ago Glenn and I became Youth Pastors and he began preaching at church. We are just beginning this whole being a Pastor thing and we really find meaning and purpose in it. We hope maybe to someday do full time ministry of some sort or another, but again the timing for that dream is not yet.

So, when do you know the timing is right for something? I might be called to do this thing or that, but how do I know when it’s the right time? Prayer and watching. Pray about it, and not just once, like all the time. Then watch for open doors. Watch for unexpected doors. We never thought we would be youth pastors. It’s not something I ever felt called to honestly, but here we are. Last summer we were praying about our kids. Our oldest is in 7th grade and he was in youth at our church, except there was no youth pastor at the moment. We saw that need and prayed about it and decided this was the door we were to go through. With a little hesitation I might add, because as I said we never saw ourselves as youth pastors. God does that, I have found. He gives you these dreams and then you begin to build in your mind how that thing is going to happen. I never saw being a pastor through the lense of being a youth pastor, but it has been very rewarding and just what we needed to do. It has allowed us to be pastors to our own kids and their cousins. What a better way to invest time. It’s like a two for one.

We would like to start a small group outreach to adoptive and special needs families. It’s such a HUGE need in the post adoptive world and special needs world. These families like ours don’t feel like they can attend church because no one understands and can meet their unique needs. So, most of them don’t. When we had just adopted our daughter, who was older and had severe special needs, we felt alone. Not because those around us were no supportive but because we knew no other families like us. We asked our adoptive social worker for names of other families like us and there were none. Now there are so many families who have adopted and churches have to see that there is a real need to reach out to these families, many of whom are in crisis as we have found ourselves at times over the last 7 years of post adoption. 1 in 4 adoptions will fail now due to the family finding itself in crisis and not knowing who to turn to for help. We cannot ask the church to adopt and then not give the unique support those families need after they obey the call and bring home their child. So, we would like to do that at some point in the future, and we are praying about when. But just because we see this need and want to do this, does not mean it’s God’s time for it to happen. We pray He will make it clear to us when to step out. On the other hand we can get so complacent in waiting that we never hear God telling us when it’s time to act. It’s a balance and so we have to listen closely. Usually, I have found he asks us to step out and act at the most inconvenient of times. Like last summer, when I was newly pregnant, and sick, and he asked us to be youth pastors. Not ideal timing, we thought, but it is one of the things that has sustained us as we have walked the difficult road of loosing that baby. God knows the exact right timing even if doesn’t seem like it.

Hold on to those things God has placed in your heart to do, and keep praying and listening for the right time to act. Meanwhile, in the waiting, God may put something in front of you to do that you never expected.

It’s not fair!

“It’s not fair!” he shouted. Joshua and Luke were outside playing. Josh said he wanted chalk and so I got it for him, then Luke wanted bubbles, so I got those too. Josh saw the bubbles Luke had to demanded he get some too. I told him he couldn’t have the bubbles right now, he needed to play with the chalk he asked for and then maybe later he could play with bubbles if he had a better attitude. He didn’t like that answer. He was so focused on what he didn’t have that he couldn’t appreciate what he did have.

I remember times like that as a kid. I wanted this one toy so badly, and then once I got it, I saw another toy my friend had and instantly wanted that toy instead of the nice new toy I had just gotten.

It doesn’t stop with kids either. As an adult I find myself wanting what others have that I don’t have even if I have just gotten something I asked for. It’s never enough, it’s called envy. With kids it’s toys and little stuff, but with adults it’s bigger and better. Houses, cars, money and also opportunities. Why does so and so get this job promotion and I don’t? Why does so and so have a this ministry opportunity and I don’t? Why does so and so have a baby and I am dealing with infertility? Why does so and so have a good marriage and I don’t? Why does so and so have great kids and mine are not so great? Why does so and so have a seemingly easy life and all I have is hard difficult things? Have you ever asked yourself these questions? I sure have. And if you keep following that logic you start to go down the road of what I deserve. Don’t I deserve this thing I want because of all I have done for God? Yikes! Ever thought that? Guilty. We are human after all and we have these thoughts. It’s what we do with them that matters.

I encouraged Joshua to be content with what he had before I would give him something else. It’s something you have to practice. You have to practice being content because it certainly doesn’t come naturally. How do you do that?

Count your blessings. The remedy for being ungrateful is being thankfulness. Listing out all the things I have to be thankful for instantly changes my focus. I focus on myself instead of other people. I am always saying to my kids, “worry about yourself and not other people”. Now normally we should think of others, but in this context where we are so focused on what others are doing or what they have, it’s good to focus on ourselves and what we do have. We have to work hard not to compare ourselves to others.

Understand where you belong. Sometimes we are envious of what other people have because we doubt that God has a plan that is good for our lives. We assume maybe he forgot us, that our neighbor got all the good stuff and we are left with whatever else. If we really believe God is good, that he is a good Father who gives good gifts to his children we will never be envious of others. If we really believe he is giving us the best for us, individually, then we won’t want what our neighbor has because we will realize it won’t be God’s best for us. Let that sink in for a minute. That’s a hard concept to grasp, but if you do, it will change you.

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30

 

To have a friend….

Last night I went to my church’s fellowship night. Every couple of months our church has a meal together on a Sunday night, it gives everyone a chance to hang out together and eat. I have to admit to you if I am honest, I really don’t particularly look forward to these events. Why? It seems like a perfectly wonderful thing to do, right? Well, it reminds me of the junior high lunch room. See we are all just our junior high selves sometimes in adult bodies. Thank goodness we aren’t doing the acne and braces thing anymore, but I still feel like that awkward nerd of a preteen I was 20 years ago sometimes in social situations. You know that feeling when you walk into a room of people and have to find someplace to sit. It’s just an awkward moment. I think it’s even more awkward if your family it’s quite “normal”. I don’t think people avoid us intentionally but it can be alot to handle, our six kids two of which have special needs. I don’t think people know how to approach us. I felt upset about this fact for a while and then I remembered an old adage I heard growing up, “to have a friend you have to be a friend”. It’s still true. I can feel sorry for myself or I can get up and do something about it. I can reach out to those around me and try to make connections with people. I don’t think we are very good at this in our modern culture. Social media and cell phones have made our people skills face to face suffer. So I started thinking about ways I can change this.

1.Make Time- having friends takes time. I cannot be busy all the time and then expect to be able to maintain friendships, you have to spend time with someone to be their friend. So many people nowadays are so busy. Just going here and there and everywhere. Glenn and I have tried to keep this to a minimum and allow space in our lives for spontaneous get togethers with other people. If someone calls and asks if we have plans that day, most of the time we don’t. We try to make having extra time in our schedules a priority.

2. Be There- I have a friend who I have known since we were kids. She has a wonderful way of just showing up when I need her. She doesn’t ask me if she can come or if there is anything I need, she just comes. She was there when I met Kaki at the airport for the first time when she came home from Hong Kong. She was there when we all had the flu with chicken soup in hand. She was the first face I saw when I arrived at the hospital to give birth to Andrew, our son who had passed away. She just shows up. I want to be like that. I want to be someone who just shows up in people’s lives when they need someone most. In order to do that I have to be someone people can count on and I have to listen and read between the lines to see what people need.

3. Don’t be selfish. You know those friends you have who are always keeping score on who did what in the friendship? You always feel like you owe them something or they expect something. Or those people who are always talking about themselves and never ask how you are? We all have friends like that. One thing I am trying to really work on is not being selfish. I don’t want to keep tabs on whether I had this person over last or not, I just want to call them up and spend time with them. I don’t want to just talk about myself or my problems but ask more questions about the other person. Jesus calls us to be selfless in our relationships, that is not an easy thing to do, but people will want to be around someone who is selfless much more than they will someone is thinks only about themselves.

If you find yourself lonely, in need a friends, remember these three things. I am trying to practice them in my own life and I know in time they will pay off in my relationships.

Hope

But now, God’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
    the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you. Isaiah 42

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life. Psalm 42

Hope is a word that keeps coming up in my life lately. We all have something we are going through, no one’s life is not touched with some sort of pain or hardship. Life is not easy, the older I get the more I know that. But recently as I have pondered the hardships in my own life a message keeps coming up, one of hope. We may not be the place we want to be yet, but there is hope. There is always hope. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” If you don’t have hope, your heart is sick. I don’t want a sick heart, but I have had one a time or two. When I choose to look at my circumstances instead of the hope I have in Christ, my heart becomes sick with worry and dread. There is a song that is playing on the radio lately that I just love, it’s called I have this Hope by Tenth Avenue North. Here and some of the lyrics.

As I walk this great unknown
Questions come and questions go
Was there purpose for the pain?
Did I cry these tears in vain?

I don’t want to live in fear
I want to trust that You are near
Trust Your grace can be seen
In both triumph and tragedy

I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go

But sometimes my faith feels thin
Like the night will never end
Will You catch every tear
Or will You just leave me here?

But I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire

So, whatever happens I will not be afraid
Cause You are closer than this breath that I take
You calm the storm when I hear You call my name
I still believe that one day I’ll see Your face

I have this hope. I have hope, if I believe in Jesus, someday I will see His face and all the tears and tragedy of this life will wash away. I have this hope. I have to cling to this hope in order to get through the trials of this life. There are times when things are going well and I forget. But when things aren’t going as I planned or tragedy strikes, I must remember I have hope. Remember today, whatever you are going through right now, it may seem dark, like the morning will never come and there is no hope, but there is hope. God is our HOPE and we must hold to him knowing the situation may not be good but He is good. We have hope. 

 

Waiting for change

But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you.
    He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you.
God takes the time to do everything right—everything.
    Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.  Isaiah 30:18

There are a few things in our lives right now we are waiting for change in. We want change right now! We want it yesterday. This waiting is not fun. I don’t know if things will ever change in these situations, but I am praying they do. I am believing for change but clearly God’s timing is not mine.

I sat down to read my Bible this morning, actually I had been trying to get a quiet moment to sit and read for a few hours now, but moms know that doesn’t always happen when we want it to. We have to be patient and wait for just the right moment when everyone is occupied and slip away quietly and hope no one notices to come find us. So, I finally got two minutes of quiet and I sat down to read. God had been calling me all morning. Just that still quiet knowing that you need to have a moment with Him but you just can’t seem to find the time. So, I sat down expecting He had something he wanted to say. I read my devotional and it feel flat, honestly. It was good stuff just not anything I really needed right this minute. So I opened my Bible and was headed to Proverbs or Psalms, I can usually find something meaningful there. I got stuck in Isaiah though. God stopped me on this passage I shared above. Israel has been walking their own way, trying to do their own thing apart from God. They are running ahead of God and making a royal mess of it, but he still says he will have mercy on them and do great things among them if they just wait on Him.

Waiting is hard! It is not what I want to do. I want change, I want answered prayers, I want things now. I can’t understand why God waits so long for things sometimes. I do know His timing is perfect, I have seen that in my life before, but I just forget and want things my own way. But God is there to remind me that He isn’t deaf. He has heard my prayers about these situations in my life and He has a plan. He will bring answers in His time. I just have to be patient and wait. So, I will wait. And I will try to have a good attitude and remember good things are coming, because I am waiting for Him to do them and not trying to do something on my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow

Tomorrow, March 18th, Joshua turns 7 years old. To be honest, this makes me a little sad. Birthdays are supposed to be happy, but birthdays with kids with special needs can be complicated. Last weekend we had a party for Joshua along with his two other brothers who have birthdays this month. He did not handle it well. He ended up getting very upset and throwing a fit because he was convinced he got a new blanket for his bed, something he wanted but we didn’t get for reasons I will get into later. He screamed for an hour and I could not convince him that he didn’t get a new blanket, but lots of other great things. It didn’t matter to him, he just wanted that one thing and was convinced he had gotten it and we were hiding it from him. He had gotten some new pajamas which turns out he thought was a blanket. I suspected that is what he was thinking and I tried to explain and show him they were pajamas but he was convinced I was lying to him. It was really frustrating. He had gotten lots of things he liked but he was too fixated on this one thing he didn’t get that nothing else mattered. (A life lesson we can all learn really.)  It was at that point we decided that would be his only birthday celebration this year. Typically, the kids will have a party together and then on their actual birthday we will give them a present from us and have a family dinner. We will not do that for Joshua this year though because he doesn’t know his actual birthday is tomorrow and he just can’t handle the disruption and excitement of birthday right now. That makes me sad. Christmas was equally difficult. Kids with developmental challenges just struggle with change, so when you do something like a holiday that comes with change and over stimulation it just doesn’t go well sometimes, most of the time.

This birthday is hard for me. There is a grieving that comes with raising special kids. You daily are faced with the grief of what they might have been and what they actual are. I have said for me it is more difficult to deal with this grief than it is to deal with the loss of our son last year. That was extremely difficult but it is over now and we can deal with our feelings which will always be there, but we can move forward. With our two special kids we daily face the loss of skills and dreams and must grieve but not move forward. You are stuck in grief all the time. It’s like our loss of Andrew was a grief like Niagara Falls. Big rushing and all consuming, but it was an event. A one time thing. Now we are faced with dates and triggers that bring the grief and pain back to us and that is difficult, but it becomes easier with time, it never goes away but it does get easier. With Joshua and Kaki, its like a dripping faucet. Always there, always dripping. Difficult to deal with because you cannot move forward, you have to find a way to deal with daily life and continual grief. I know that sounds horrible, but I have found that acknowledging that is helpful for me to accept where we are and deal with that reality. But just like any loss, birthdays are hard. Birthdays are a time to celebrate all that the child has accomplished that year and be excited for all that will happen the coming year. For Joshua he has made small gains this year, he is talking better and can identify all his numbers and letters. However, the difficult part is he has also digressed in some areas like his destructive behavior that is just taking over our lives right now. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t destroy something and that is just heartbreaking and frustrating. And having a child a year younger than Josh it’s hard to see the things he should be doing but isn’t, like reading. Elijah read his first book yesterday, and that was wonderful, but it reminded me that Joshua is not even close to that and that is hard.

I don’t know what the next year will hold. We are hoping that we can get Josh into a self contained class for kids like him. I know it’s the best place for him but it’s hard to give up on him getting a regular education with regular kids, it’s another grieving and letting go. We are finding our new normal with him and that takes time. If you have a special kid with challenges you didn’t expect, I feel like it is so important to recognize the feelings of grief and loss you may not even know you are experiencing. Recognizing those feelings will help you better deal with them and be a better parent to your child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

Today this sweet little boy turns 13! Where has the time gone! He just can’t be 13, he was just this small like yesterday. Oh well, Happy Birthday Sam!

Toshiba Digital Camera

Dear Sam,

Today you are turning 13. I just can’t believe it. Just yesterday you were born and I was holding you in my arms. I’m going to try to not to get all sappy about this, but man it’s hard to watch your oldest become a teenager. I wanted to remind you of some things on your birthday.

First, we love you more than you will ever know. You are named Samuel because it took a while for us to get pregnant with you and I read the story of Hannah in the Bible and promised God if he would give me a baby and it was a boy I would name him Samuel, and the very next month we found out we were expecting you. I knew you would be a boy and we would name you Samuel. Samuel is a great man of God in the Bible, he listened to God and lead his people in the right way of God. You have those gifts of leadership and uprightness. You are a leader, don’t forget that. People are watching your life, not just your little siblings, but those around you. You stand out among your friends and even though you are quiet, people follow you. That is a great responsibility, so always remember people are watching and following, lead well.

You have always been a perfectionist. It’s a good trait to have. You like order and cleanliness. I am thankful I don’t have to remind you to keep things clean or take a shower. You always give 100% on everything you do. You do well in school and at work. I’m so proud of you. You are so responsible and always doing the right thing. I want you to remember though to cut yourself some slack every now and then. Sometimes things don’t go as we plan and sometimes we can’t control our circumstances, it’s okay. God is in control and He has got this. Depend on him. Be careful not to expect too much of those around you. People are just human and can’t live up to the highest standards sometimes. They will fail you, but you have to forgive and move on.

God has blessed you with a great mind. School comes easily for you especially math. Follow your dreams, you can be anything you want to. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail sometimes, it’s okay. Just get back up and try again. I know you will be successful in life.

Be kind. Love others. I love to see you love your little brothers and take care of your sister. You have a kind heart. Don’t let life steal that from you. You have endured some loss and difficult times this year and tender hearted people tend to shell up and not want to love again after loss. Don’t do that. Have an open heart always, even if it gets broken now and then. You will be a better person for having loved.

Keep your moral center and integrity. You have done so well at living a Godly life, I am thankful for that. You found Jesus at an early age and were baptized, don’t forget that as you grow up. There are some trying years ahead. High school and college can really test your faith. You will have to step and out from under dad and I and figure out what you believe for yourself. I pray you hold on to Jesus as you do that.

Look around you for Godly examples. God has given you so many people around you who are wonderful examples of what being a Godly man looks like. Watch them, and be like them, but most of all let them point you to Jesus. Be like Him and you will be a success.

We are always here for you, no matter what you do in life. Whether you succeed or fail, we are always here loving you and cheering you on. We are so proud of you and can’t wait to see the man you will become.

Love, Mom

 

When life is hard….

There are times in our lives that are just difficult. We go through seasons of sorrow when everything seems to go against us and troubles come at every turn. Have you ever felt like that? I have. Job has too. I was reading in Job this morning because of a comment someone made on a friends facebook post. My friend has recently had a miscarriage after going to great lengths to get pregnant. It was heartbreaking for her and of course everyone around her. We were all praying God would bless her with this child on this earth. She is a believer so she will see the child in heaven someday but that does not undo the pain of loss right now. As my friend was talking about her sorrow on facebook, someone commented that they would pray that God would restore to her all that was lost just as he did for Job. That got me thinking. So, I went to some commentaries on the last chapter of Job. In case you don’t know Job’s story, he had a lot of wealth and children and he lost it all, but then it was restored to him double what he lost. So, if he originally had 200 oxen, he then was restored 400 oxen. The exception to that was children. He lost his 7 children but God restored him just 7 children. Why is that? I have heard and I believe it is because those original children were in heaven and he would see them again one day. What I find interesting is what Job had to do to have everything he lost restored.

Job has three friends who were giving him terrible advice all through his trial of loosing everything. They were saying he must have sinned, or to curse God and die. Lots of really helpful stuff. So, at the end after Job refuses to listen to these friends and instead talks with God about it all, God tells the friends he is tired of listening to their horrible advice. He says they must go and ask Job to pray for them and then God will not punish them. So, they did, then we see what happened.

“After Job had interceded for his friends, God restored his fortune—and then doubled it!” Job 42:10

I found it very interesting that God asked Job to pray for his friends before He restored all Job had lost. At this point Job is not in a good place. He has lost everything and even is in poor health. I would imagine the last thing he wanted to do was pray for these so called friends of his who were saying awful stuff to him while he was in the midst of loosing everything. If you have been through a difficult time, have you ever had people around you say insensitive and horrible stuff to you during it? Most of the time they intend to be helpful, but it comes across as hurtful. It can really pierce your hurting heart. I have been in that place. And at that time I wanted to get as far away from that person as possible, I did not want to pray for them. But that is what God requires of Job.

I have found that when I am in a low place the best thing I can do to feel better is to help those around me who need something. That gets my mind off myself and my troubles and puts it on the things that really matter. I think this is one thing that God was trying to accomplish with Job. I’m sure Job just wanted to feel sorry for himself at this point, but God asking him to pray for his friends got him in a better mindset. It also helped him to forgive them for the terrible things they had said to him. You cannot pray for someone genuinely when you are holding a grudge against them. After Job prayed for his friends God restored everything he had lost.

Have you lost something dear to you? Is there someone who said or did something unkind to you in the midst of loss that you cannot forgive? Is there someone who is in need around you that you can help to get your mind off yourself? I am not saying that if we do these things God will always restore everything we have lost, but what will be restored is the relationships that have been severed and our emotional well being. And then we will be in a better place to accept the blessings God does bestow on us with a restored heart.

 

Joshua

For about a year now Joshua has really been struggling. This time last year he refused to go to school because he was so terrified of a fire drill they had at school. We ended up pulling him out of school for the rest of the year and beginning therapy and medication for anxiety. The summer brought other unwanted behaviors of intentionally soiling his bed and room, and also destruction of everything around him. He began tearing up his clothing and possessions. This fall we were able to go back to public school and repeat Kindergarten. We have known since he was born that he was behind in his milestones. We hoped he would catch up and did hours and hours of physical, speech and occupational therapy to help him. When he began school last year, the school did a psychological evaluation and we had one done just shortly before that over the summer. The school psychologist said his IQ was borderline, between normal and disabled. The private psychologist painted a more serious picture. He estimated his IQ at moderately disabled. We weren’t sure which was more accurate. They have a hard time getting an accurate IQ on a child until they are around age 8. So, again we hoped he would catch up, but we knew something just wasn’t right. This year as he began school he was given lots of help with a special teacher in hopes that he would catch up. He hasn’t. He has made progress but very slowly and all the while the tantrums and destructive behavior have been getting worse.

Yesterday we had an appointment with his developmental pediatrician. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a pediatrician that deals exclusively with kids with special needs or behavioral issues. We have been seeing him with Joshua for about 5 years. I decided I needed to have the hard conversation about Joshua’s future. We have danced around this issue for far too long and we needed answers to be able to move forward. So, I asked the doctor where he thought Joshua would be long term and where we should place him next year for school. He felt that Joshua has mild to moderate intellectual disability and that he should be placed in a self contained class next year. That is a special class just for kids with intellectual disability or autism. We knew in our hearts this was what he would say, but we’d never really asked straight out. Honestly, it’s a relief to hear. We can now accept the reality of our situation and move forward. You cannot deal with what you don’t acknowledge. So, we will move forward with trying to get him placed in a special class for next year and accept that his future may not be what we had hoped for, but we will make it the best we can be.

As for the destructive behaviors which have become a huge issue at our house. The doctor did a special DNA test on Joshua which will tell him what medications will best work with his unique DNA. It is fascinating that they can do such a test. We have tried lots of different medications on Joshua to help with his ADHD and anxiety but haven’t found one that really helps. So this will tell us. Meanwhile, we will continue on as we are. We will accept that he has a need to destroy things and give him things that are appropriate to destroy. The doctor said he is on the level of a two year old right now, which is what we had been seeing at home. Again, not really what we wanted to hear, but at the same time we will have more peace in our house if we adjust our expectations of Josh to what he is capable of. We were fighting this destructiveness and it was causing lots of conflict. Now we will just try to manage it in a healthy way and give him constructive outlets for his destructiveness. And along the way we may be changing his medications as a result of this DNA test and hopefully that might help as well.

Overall, we are at peace about it. We knew this was coming for years now, just didn’t know where exactly we would end up. We will move forward and accept where we are. We will grieve for what might have been but then pick ourselves up and live in what is. That is all we can do.