Dear Anonymous Caller

I’m struggling as a parent, it’s true. I’ve made some terrible mistakes.

I have mental health issues. I’m broken. I’m tired. I’m a 24/7 caregiver to everyone in our home.

But I’m still approachable.

My heart is aching. You make phone calls to authorities without knowing the truth. You don’t take the time to knock on my door and talk to me. Maybe you don’t realize the circumstances or maybe you don’t care. You seem to know a lot of our situation, enough that we’ve spoken but not enough to know everything.

I am doing the very best I can to raise my children. Nobody could have shown me what life was going to be like, to raise this motley crew of a family that we have. The stress of raising kids with special needs, to have the stresses that we do. You have seen first hand what our son is like, you must have. We can be loud and ugly. It’s a hard load to carry.

I do not claim to be perfect, nor do I claim not to make mistakes. This road is rough terrain. I’ve been bumped around and have lost my cool a number times. I’m not making excuses, I readily admit that I’ve done things I shouldn’t have. I said as much to the people who came to ask me about it. I did not hide, I told the truth.

Our life is difficult enough right now. If you’re that concerned about our kids, knock and offer help. We need it. Respite time is few and far between. Now that we have no full time income, we can’t afford it anyway. I promise we won’t turn away help. If you really want to make a difference, be a part of our lives. Please don’t hide behind the phone anonymously anymore, you’re doing more damage and making life more stressful for us.

I know that you are only doing what you think is best. But I promise you, a knock on the door will suffice. In the future I hope you remember that. If you need more information on what we deal with please look up RAD, ADD, Destructive Behaviour Disorder to name just a few. Again, I’m not making excuses, but I want you to understand what we deal with on a regular day to day basis.

It hurts, I won’t lie. I’m ashamed of myself for the mistakes that I make, for the ways I let my children down. I’m embarrassed. But more than your judgement, I need a helping hand.

Sincerely,

A Broken Mom.

Timely Series- My reflections

 

James 1:2-8 (CEV)

My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything.

 If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won’t correct you for asking. But when you ask for something, you must have faith and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm. If you are that kind of person, you can’t make up your mind, and you surely can’t be trusted. So don’t expect the Lord to give you anything at all.

At my church right now, my pastor Deane Proctor, is going through the book of James. To say that his sermon series is timely would be an accurate attestation of the truth. It’s so timely that it stings a little.

Spiritually mature? I don’t know what that looks like, I’m still on the journey of having my faith tested. What I do know that God is our provider, He is the great gift giver and He gives me the portion I need to get through each and every day. It’s not easy, it does not come easy. It is only through the years of being tossed about that I learn to put my eyes on Jesus.

As I read through the last few sentences about the waves and being tossed about, to have faith and no doubt, I’m reminded of Peter. Peter is a passionate person, he is valiant and has such a good heart, but he’s also very human and plagued by  many things that we are.  We promise things, we make vows “God if you just do this, I’ll do” or “I’ll never betray you”. The fact is we are human, and we are fallen.  We make mistakes and we stumble.

As we read through Matthew 14, an amazing miracle has just happened. The feeding of the 5,000. What an amazing moment to be able to witness. Peter is right there in the midst of this and seeing the power of God first hand. Afterwards the disciples go out into the boat and a storm comes. They are up on deck, likely soaking wet, being tossed about and they look out over the water. There’s a man, it’s a ghost. No, it’s Jesus! Peter is the first one there, he’s like “I’m in! Let me walk on water too!! if you’re son of God, let me walk with you.” I think he was feeling bold from watching Jesus feed the 5,000.

He’s stepping out in faith out of the boat, then the fear hits. The waves seem to get higher.  His faith is shaken, his doubt is creeping in. A few steps in and he starts to sink. Terrified he’s crying out “God save me!!” Jesus reaches out in love and takes his hand. He rescues him again. He had knowledge to know that Jesus was the Son of God, but his wisdom was lacking in that he didn’t keep his focus on Jesus.

“Where is your faith, Peter? Why do you doubt?”

God is our provider, the gift giver, the creator of all things. Each day we witness miracles, through the birth of life, through the science of the act of involuntary breathing and the way our complex bodies are formed. There we see God’s work, his miracles. We have all this knowledge around us but as my pastor pointed out on Sunday, knowledge is not wisdom. Knowledge does not make us spiritually mature.

God’s wisdom makes us spiritually mature. God’s wisdom helps to grow our faith and diminish our doubt. God the creator of all, wants to help us. He will always help us, if we focus and put our faith in Him. Our knowledge can undermine what Godly wisdom and spiritual maturity say, we need to keep our focus and our eyes on God alone.

Rollercoasters

See that picture? That’s life for us.

Trust. Fear. Thrills. Scary. Fun. Awful. Laughter. Screams. Anticipation. Anxiety.

For some a roller coaster may represent something that is exciting and fun. Our eldest son Logan LOVES roller coasters. He’s the kid that will stay at the park until it closes and be there first thing the next morning if he could. The bigger the ride the more fun he has.  It thrills him. He laughs. For me? It’s not so exciting or fun. Roller coasters cause me great anxiety. I will ride them but reluctantly. The bigger the ride, the worse I feel. We do not get the same reaction.

Now if you put me on a ride WITH Logan, something entirely different happens. I laugh. I have fun. I enjoy it because I’m experiencing it with him, seeing it through his eyes, experiencing his joy as he laughs hysterically. When we do something together, its almost magical. We become interconnected in our emotional feelings.

If you follow me at all on Facebook, you know that the past few days have held a lot of trepidation for us. Sarcoidosis, the auto immune disease that my husband has, has been in full flare. It is now in his eyes, he lost vision one morning for about 10 minutes in one eye. Saturday was full of fear and anxiety as we went from one doctor to another doctor, a specialist, on the same day. What you don’t know is that while we were at the hospital we laughed more than we ever have. We were scared together, we were together, experiencing it side by side.

Whether you are a patient or a caregiver, when illness strikes, you are interconnected to one another. You both are experiencing the circumstance from very different point of views. The same emotional connection is made. Together Steve and I were able to support one another because we both got on the ride.

Over the past few days Sarcoidosis has reared its head in other ways as well. One that will connect and change our family in a way that is exponentially more challenging. Choices have to be weighed and decisions have to be made, applications filled out and mailed. We need to all get in the same car on the roller coaster and take the ride.

We have to trust in God, that He’s got everything in control, that He will keep us safe. There is fear and anxiety, but we also have to allow ourselves to let go of that and enjoy the ride that we are on. Sometimes the drops on our ride have made my stomach turn, the spirals make me scream, the growing anticipation as we rise all together and crest the hill. But together as a family, we are interconnected emotionally: in the same car, on the same ride, experiencing this life as one unit.

We covet your prayers. We appreciate kind words and listening ears. We love that many of you have chosen to ride along and follow our lives as we ride this crazy roller coaster.

You can read along with Steve here.

New Year, New Post,

We were 11 months into 2014 before I actually wrote the year with ease. How has the year already changed? Being at home, not working is sometimes a struggle to know where time elapses to.

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This year, as I do every year, I have made some goals for myself. A few personal ones, a few predictable ones and one that I wasn’t really expecting to make. Goal setting is important for me, it gives me something to work towards. It’s a double edged sword though, for a perfectionist, you miss the goal and suddenly you feel like you’ve somehow failed. I lose sight of all the things I’ve accomplished and focus only on the one or two things that I didn’t.

So this year one of my goals, is to give myself the permission to change the goals, alter them if needed, or delete them altogether. I give myself the gift of forgiveness; forgiveness of myself. I’m my worst critic, as we all are.  So my goal this year, is to go easy on the expectations of myself. I’m enough, just the way I am.

The changes I want to make this year could make me better or they could become a stumbling block for my mental health should I not realize those goals. If my goals become more important than who I am, it’s not a goal, it’s a knife. One that can kill from the inside out, maybe not physically but mentally and emotionally it can be dangerous.

So as I embark on 2015, I’m going to be a better me.  Whether I stay the same or change, whether in debt or not. I’m going to be me and I’m enough.

Bravo Silverheights Community

Tonight was our school’s winter concert.  The kids all took part, each with their own classes. We were the proud parents, with the silly grins on our face, taking pictures and waving like lunatics. It was fun and the kids really enjoyed themselves.  Tonight though, that’s not what my post is about.  My post is about how thankful I am for a school community who values all peoples.

My highlight tonight wasn’t watching our kids perform (bear with me), it was watching and listening to the developmental class “air band” to their Christmas song.  Air guitar, air drums, lip syncing, dancing, smiles, off beat clapping, kids running off the stage…it was absolutely perfect.  They were themselves.  But even better than that? The crowd. There was clapping and dancing, the smaller children were enjoying themselves and at the end of their performance, the crowd whooped and hollered and gave those kids what they deserve.

People recognized their worth.  It wasn’t a pity thing, at least I don’t believe it was. It was genuine appreciation for all the kids who were up on stage, who were giving it their all. It was the loudest cheer of all the routines. The kids beamed, and as a mom with a child with special needs? I beamed along with them. I recognized the importance of this moment, of their moment to shine. And shine they did.

Well done Silverheights Community, well done.

Christ-Mess

Holidays are typically a time where we all walk around with smiles on our faces, acting like this is the best time of our lives. In reality many of us struggle; with unmet expectations, reeling from the death of a loved one or the loss of a job or anything else for that matter.  The truth is, life goes on despite the Christmas season and it is a painful time for many, myself included.

Christmas holds many wonderful memories for me growing up.  It was a time when we would visit with family, my aunt would sparkle everyone who came into her house with glitter, including my Uncle Lee who was a gigantic teddy bear, the last person you’d expect to see glitter on.  We had a house full of family for dinners, or would travel to other family to enjoy it with them.  Unwrapping presents before my parents woke up and trying desperately to re-wrap them in the same manner.  Christmas stockings with candy canes and clementines.

Christmas in my adult life is very different from that.  Our first Christmas was a difficult one, as we had lost our first child in a miscarriage who was due right around the holiday season.  I was pregnant again but still felt the loss as church services reflected on Mary and the birth of Jesus.I felt very keenly aware of the loss and I was missing a piece of my heart.

As the years passed, Logan and Abby arrived. With that, the diagnosis of autism and the dreams of my Christmas as a child faded away and we adopted new traditions as a family.  They are traditions that I have grown to love and appreciate, but the truth is there is still a part of me that feels a sense of loss each year; for them, for myself, for the rest of the family.

Having the three younger children has been a blessing to my dreams of Christmas morning chaos as they too open and try to re-wrap presents, they enjoy their candy canes and clementines. I enjoy the wonder in their eyes as they look at the tree and this year play with our kitten Pekoe and shooing her out of the tree. Their questions as they process the advent season and what it means for Jesus to be born.

I have a difficult time each Christmas, to maintain good mental and physical health. With parties and drop ins, my diet is less than ideal. The sugar does a number on me, as does all the social interaction, the fake smiling. I struggle with dealing with the kids home for the two weeks over Christmas, being out of routine and full of sugar too. To try and make them conform to some unrealistic expectations to sit, be still and quiet in certain places, which leaves us all with a feeling of frustration.

For the past few Christmas’, it’s been a financial nightmare for us. Out of work, insane bills, glasses, dentists, car accidents, aka murphy’s law….it all happens around Christmas. This year is no different unfortunately.  We have been incredibly blessed though, through church and community. It is a good boost in humanity and one that does not go unappreciated. Our children will be blessed this Christmas through the generosity of others.  This mothers heart cannot find all the words to say thank you appropriately.

This Christmas I will do what I always do, seek to find The Beauty in Chaos.

Prayer and Fasting

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This Monday, December 8th, I will be doing something I’ve never actually done before. I will be unplugged from the internet. I will be spending the day writing in my journal, praying for God’s guidance and fasting. I feel in this current struggle, in order to find some solace, I must seek God. I’m choosing to turn my eyes upward when all I want to do is throw my hands up in defeat.

Almost 3 years ago Steve and I made a very difficult but needed decision, we moved from our comfort, from a beautiful house on the water, a comfortable income, a comfortable neighbourhood. We took the step of faith that we believed God was asking us to take, one I still have no regret making. But in stepping out in faith, we’ve encountered many obstacles, dead ends and trials.  A pretty good sign you’ve made the right decision, but not without challenges.

So on Monday I will spend the day while the kids are at school doing these three things:

Reflection: to remember and reflect on what God has done for us over the past 3 years since we stepped out in faith, to journal the things that I have learned, experienced, felt. Times of closeness, times of seeming distant, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Confession: to admit to my mistakes, to confess and ask forgiveness. This may be areas in which I have turned my back on God or it may be in how I’ve treated someone else. I will seek out the forgiveness both of my creator and those who I’ve offended.

Proclamation: to spend time in prayer, reading and professing scriptures of promises and blessings. Recommitting myself to the tasks at hand, to God, to family, to friends, to church.

I’d like to invite you to join with me on Monday. Either to participate in prayer and fasting for your own family, or to join me in prayer for my family as you remember us. If you do choose to pray for us, here are a few areas in which we could use your prayer.

Relationships: healing, bonding, patience.
Finances: job for Steve or I, Gods continued to provision
Direction: Hope’s Reason Ministries
Perseverance: for the road ahead with autism, adhd, and a new diagnosis to learn about and work through.https://i1.wp.com/year27.com/wp-content/uploads/121204_2Chronicles7_14.jpg