Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Day One - Heart Change
Happy Tuesday Morning!
This is a new journey for me. I don't usually volunteer to be a leader. I'm the quiet, shy type that prefers to let others take the reins. Why would anyone listen to what I have to say? Well, my son is precious to me. I worry about him. I wonder if he'll be able to lead a normal life. I'm passionate about my children. I hope and pray that that passion will show through in the next 3 weeks.
Heart Change. What is in the heart will eventually come out. If we have bad things in our heart, bad is going to come out. If we have good things in our heart, good will come out. When we get hit, when life gets hard, when something goes wrong, when patience seems to be wearing thin, when we get a diagnosis that knocks the wind out of us and turns our world upside down, and we're so tired we can hardly keep going, what is going to come out? Is it going to be good? Do we immediately turn to God? Or do we fret, worry, yell, scream, lose our temper, say things we'll regret as soon as they're said? I can't say for sure if we've all been there....we've been hit, and the bad comes out,... but I can honestly admit that I've been there. I've been so low that I wondered if I'd ever find my way out.
Consider this: What comes out of your heart when you get hit? Our response matters to God and it matters to the people watching and learning from us along the way.
Our sons are watching us. They watch how we react to everything. They're even more sensitive to our emotions. I know when I become agitated or upset, my son notices right away. It upsets him. He deals with enough on a daily basis without me, his mother, the one that should be making life easier for him, adding to his stress. Do we want our sons to see anger, stress and agitation when we get hit, get taken off guard? Does it matter, in the grand scheme of things, if someone cuts us off in traffic, or says something they shouldn't, or (I struggle with this one the most) comments on our sons behavior in public? Yes, I want to say something back, make a snippy remark, or yell at the car in front of me, but it's more important to stay calm. To react in a rational way. To smile and walk away. I used to get upset so easily while driving, and then one day, while waiting our turn to pull out into traffic, my son yelled from the back seat, "Come on people, MOVE!!". Yikes. I realized how familiar that phrase was. He was upset when we couldn't immediately go. I felt about 2 inches tall that day, and I learned my lesson there. Now, I find myself soothing my son, sometimes on a daily basis, when we're in traffic. He gets upset. I'm the reason why. OUR SONS ARE WATCHING US.
Autism, Aspergers, ADHD, ADD, ODD, VPD, Chronic illness, heart condition, delayed cognitive development, learning disabilities, overgrowth syndrome, a terminal illness... whatever it is that makes our special sons so special, is in God's hands. He gave us these precious angels, entrusted them to us. I feel so blessed that I have Spencer. Over the past 5 years, since he was diagnosed, I've watched him grow, change, struggle, triumph, melt down, and I've felt every emotion with him along the way. I may not always feel like I can, but God knew I could handle it. I believe that whole-heartedly.
"So many of you moms, right this very moment, are kneeling down or lying flat on your face before God, asking Him to help you. You're lost, overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed, heartbroken, and seconds away from waving the white flag in defeat. I know where you are. I've been there. I'm still there. I have no idea how to make this dream of mine come true. I have no idea how to raise men who will be different: respecters of women, lovers of God. I have no idea how to teach little men to work with their hands, take commitments seriously, and protect the least of these. And I certainly have no idea how to raise warriors, protectors, worshippers, peacemakers, and friends by myself.
But I do know how to get down on my knees and cry out to God on their behalf. I do know that God's Word is "living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12)."
I've been there, and I'm there quite often. Are you? Have you been there? I wonder sometimes, will my boy be able to have a relationship with God? Will he understand what it means? I don't know what goes on in that precious little mind of his most of the time, but I do know this. God knows him. God loves him more than I could ever imagine. God wants him. God made him the way he is, and my son has a purpose in this life that I can't see just yet. Your sons do as well. They are so precious to God. You know how much you love your sons. Multiply that by a million and we still won't be able to touch the mightiness of God's love for them.
I encourage you to go over the study questions. If you can find the time, keep a journal. Write down your thoughts, your worries, your prayers. Pray the Heart Change prayers for your sons today. I want to ask you to do this as well.... Write out a prayer, or 2 or 3, written specifically for your sons. Tailored to what they need. Pray it over them every day. Are they struggling in a specific area in school? Are they having trouble being social with friends? Are they struggling with behavior issues? Do the same thing for all your children. Maybe your daughter doesn't always know how to interact with her brother? My daughter, Laura (she's 4), adores Spencer, and is his little shadow. Sometimes Spencer can't handle the constant attention and needs his space and alone time. We deal with it as it comes each day. Some days she seems to understand his need to be alone, and other days she doesn't.
I am encouraging each of you, from a far, in this journey. I'm praying for you. I'm excited for you. I want to leave you with this. I think it will be great encouragement for the not so good days. It's a snippet about Overflowing Joy from a book called Parenting From The Overflow by Teri Lynne Underwood. I encourage you to read the whole book. It's directed towards daughters, but most of it can apply to our sons as well.
"Perhaps this scenario will be familiar to you: 5:15 pm. Dinner is cooking, house is a wreck, and everyone is hungry and frustrated - including mom. A simple question, "What time will we eat?" and Hurricane Crazy Woman rages through the room. Angry words, slammed cabinets, and the not-so-subtle huffing ensue.
Joy? Seriously? In those situations?
To be frank, I think for the most of us, it is easier to find reasons for joy in the midst of great tragedy than in the smaller moments of daily chaos...but what about the 5:15 craziness? Is there joy there too? As the long day's end becomes visible, is the picture we give our children and our husbands one of grumpiness and frustration? I know there are all sorts of practical tips out there for managing the evening madness...there is a better answer.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4"
It's not always easy, but let's try to find joy in the little things, in the daily ups and downs. When crying out to God, fighting for our son's hearts. Praying for them. Praying over them. Whispering prayers throughout the day. Keep Joy right there with you.
"Nothing is so small that we do not honor God by asking His guidance of it, or insult Him by taking it out of His hands."
Blessing to all of you, and I pray you have a wonderful, Heart Changing day!