faith · joy

Are you weary?

bible verse

Can I be honest here?  This has been a very intense season of weariness for me.  More and more, I am letting myself forget to find solace in the Holy Spirit, and instead, wallow in the never ending demands and stress that is our household.  It is almost as if I have two different sets of glasses with which I view my life.

Sometimes I have those rose colored glasses on.  The behaviors of children who need 24/7 eyes on them, suddenly become manageable.  I do not let the weight of what it means to always have to be “on”  ALL of the time, control my feelings, and thus life is more peaceful.  When I have these glasses on, I feel hopeful, I feel more rested, I feel okay, I feel fierce.

For the most part though, I allow myself to wear the ugly olive green glasses.  This makes my life look like crap, and feel like it as well. I allow myself to wallow.  I allow myself to focus a little to much on the fact that I spend a lot of my day wiping butts. The behaviors of my children who will forever behave in a challenging way, begins to lay heavy on my heart, and I let myself make that my idol. I let myself focus on the fact that, I can’t go on a date with my husband more than a few times a year.  I let myself focus on how hard it is to leave the house.  I let RAD rule my mind, emotions, home, everything and consume me so much that it is my idol.

There I said it.  I am allowing the burden to be the idol.

Well played satan.

If I am being really real, I will tell you that I spend hours and hours, trying to problem solve my life.  How can we reduce the overwhelmingly challenging behaviors of some kids, find a “solution,” get it ready, try it out, it works for a day, it fails miserably, and repeat.  This inevitably leads to a complete failure feeling, leading my focus away from God, and finding me once again obsessed with “fixing” the house so we can breathe and have peace.

Can there be peace in the chaos and can I have joy in the struggles?

The Bible says yes.

My depression, anxiety, fear, and constant focus on daily struggles tells me no.  I’m going to suffocate (if you’ve never had severe anxiety, that may not make sense but yes suffocate) right here under the weight of my own life. The sin that I have not guarded my mind against, tells me that I can’t pray and feel freedom in Jesus.  I have to fix this life first.  I am not worthy to worship right now under the guilt of failing yet again.

That is a lie.

The Bible verse above says to guard your HEARTS and your MIND. Guard your hearts and your mind.  To me, this means eat right, exercise, take the meds or supplements that will help, and be proactive towards guarding your mind.  The mind is very powerful.  It can make you think your life is a million times worse than it is;  that this life that we have now is the only thing that matters, that you are sick, that you are weak, that you cannot take any more, even that you do not like people that in fact, you love very much.  The mind controls everything about you, and the Bible tells us to guard it.

Guard your mind? Have you ever been in the thick of everything that hurts in life, and been to exhausted to open your bible? To exhausted to think or read? So you go a month, a year, all while allowing those negative things to take over residence in your mind.  They begin to manifest in your emotions, guiding your daily behaviors, possibly even manifesting physically (hello stress related disease), and you fall further away from any guidance by the Holy spirit.  You can’t focus.  You can’t pull away from the pain and misery, the struggles, the suffocation.  You haven’t been proactive at guarding your mind, and sin has taken hold.

And you are weary.

Ever been there?

The good news is that you get a new chance every day to start being proactive about guarding your heart and mind.  Will the stress of life just disappear? Uh…no. However, you can change the glasses with which you are looking at those stressors.  Put on your rose colored glasses and try not to make an idol out of things that stink.  Yes, it might take up your whole day, and it might make you cry, but you still have God.  He still loves you, and whatever is going on down here, doesn’t take away from the eternity up there.

Whew, that’s hard to focus on in the midst of struggle though isn’t it.

It’s not a sprint.  You aren’t going to wake up and say, “oh hello new glasses, life is fine and manageable now.” You can wake up, break a sweat, drink some water, break the addiction to sugar that is causing insulin fluctuations that also take a toll on how your mind perceives things, journal some thoughts, clear your mind, read your Bible, let it soak in, forgive yourself and those around you for making things suck, and keep practising on letting God carry your anxiety.

Keep moving forward with it.  Keep practising. Seek out ways to be proactive. Be on guard.  The enemy wants to take control of your mind, break your spirit, make you feel as though everything is coming down on you and there is no way to feel better or escape.

There is a way.  Even if you are feeling helpless….pray. Talk it out with God.  Prayer doesn’t have to be formal, if it did, I’ve probably not ever prayed much then.  I’m not a formal person, but I’m pretty sure that God hears me even when it is the pitiful “I am hurting please help me.” Pray then move.  Move something, do one thing towards helping yourself.  Listen, one thing builds to another, and all of a sudden you are strong and fierce in the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes we just have to make baby steps and build to fierceness over time.

joy

Just Something.

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“I find that my joy is enlarged by understanding as a child of God, even my pain has purpose.  That realization doesn’t eliminate my pain, but it makes it more manageable, allowing me other emotions in the midst of clamity, including shocking pink joy.”   Patsy Clairmont

Isn’t that so true. 

I want to live with shocking pink joy.  Joy isn’t necessarily happiness, but that feeling inside that rejoices for each day being a gift.  I find that I had lost sight of joy for a moment in the last few months.  It’s coming back though, in shocking waves of pink 🙂

joy · parenting

Rejoice and get a backbone.

Ephesians 4
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

It is definitely no secret that I’ve been searching for joy in my life. I’ve been held back by baggage from the past and nagging problems from the day to day. Satan has been trying to attack me in every way, and I had let him in.

For the past few years I’ve been having more and more panic attacks, anger in my thoughts, and just a lot of anxiety. The more I would try to fight it, the more I would lose, and then feel so sad about the rest of the day. Like I was fighting a losing battle.

I put the above passage in this post, because I think there is truth to this, and why I’ve been feeling like I can’t win over the emotions I have. You know we can be in control of our emotions, we just have to be strong enough to do so. That is NOT easy, but it is definitely worth it. I fell prey to the it’s hormones, and there is just no way of controlling it junk, because I do have a metabolic disorder. I can control it though, we can throw away negative thoughts. This is something that has to really be worked at though, especially if like me, you are just in a bad mood seemingly all of the time. The difference for me is that I wanted to be happy, wanted to be optimistic, and just kept falling short every single day.

Over the last five years, I have been trying to grow closer to the Lord. My convictions about how I am living my life have changed, and therefore brought much criticism. You see we are are also just plain different. Different in how we dress, how we parent the children, how we utilize our money, how we celebrate Christmas, and so much more. It has been hard for me, being different. It is hard to hear the criticism of everything we are doing, even though I know in my heart that this is what we should be doing, how we should be, etc. Many times I have slid backwards in my beliefs just to quiet things down, to be like everyone else. It caused me much grief, anger, and anxiety. While I didn’t have to fight those on the outside, I did have much inner turmoil. Isn’t that the thing about convictions, we can’t fight what the Lord wants for our lives, because in doing so we will never find peace and happiness.

I came to a breaking point. I wanted sin to not rule over me, anger to not take a foothold, no more bondage. I wanted joy. I began reading a book by Stormie Omartian, and really diving into my Bible. Things began to pop out at me. Things that I have never really payed attention to. There are right things and wrong things, and we to often allow the wrong things just because it’s the “norm.” That isn’t what we are taught to do, and by we I mean Christians. True Christians, those who do not judge, but who love like Christ. Those who do not just say the words, but actually live by them. I want to hold myself to a standard, and encourage my children to do the same. I cannot talk to them about Christ, and then live by the world’s standards.

I have found in myself this a new strength. I know that whatever criticism comes to me for how our family is, is given by those who are not perfect. They have not found the perfect way of doing things, and do not have the perfect lives. I do not have to allow satan into my life, just because the world deems it the right thing to do. My children will not suffer if they are taught to have character in a loving home by a mother who is finally at peace, and a father who is happy to have a wife at peace.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I am 26, have three children, and eight years of marriage behind me. I have been across the world in service to God’s leading. I am an adult, an adult in charge of three people who will one day be adults. People that the Lord gave to me and my husband to be in charge of, to train up in the ways that they should go. It’s time I set the example for them and just not really care what everyone else thinks. We are strict, sheltering, and off the wall…etc..etc..etc.. You know what else we are?….. involved, loving, caring, giving, and now JOYFUL parents who will never ask of our children what we are not willing to do ourselves. What a great week I am having, and it’s only Sunday!

joy

Joy

I am knee deep into some good readin about healin the soul. Be back next week to enlighten ya’ll 🙂

P.S. I know that all of the previously written wordage is grammatically incorrect 😉

asperger's · joy · parenting

Parenting is tough. Journey to joy.

First off this is not a self-pity post. This is more of an open ended struggle that we have in our house. Something that is probably not going to go away for a very long time, but that has much hope. What could this be?

Why the chaos of course.

Let’s start off with the obvious. Anna and Tanner are approaching their six month anniversary of being home with their forever family. This means that they are super comfortable here, and have established that they are in fact staying. This also means that they’ve had six months to observe and develop some ideas about the household.

Andy has Asperger’s. Not everyone can grasp this concept, but he does. It’s known, it’s evident every. single. day. One part of having Asperger’s is that the child has melt downs. These are not the same as tantrums. Although they seem like tantrums. These are lose your mind, lose your cool, so wrapped up in emotion that you have no idea what’s going on around you, screaming, raging, melt downs. We have NEVER given into a melt down, and thus a typical child would be over this by now. He’s going to be five soon. Now we enjoy the intelligent little humorous Andy that is present for a lot of our days. Those tantrums are hard to handle though, and can exhaust both of us. He also questions everything.

The clash. Both of us were raised to not back talk. That any disrespect is not to be tolerated, and that questioning anything the adult says is disrespect…hence not to be tolerated. This does not work with someone who has Asperger’s. No matter how much we try, it doesn’t work. In fact intercommunication is something that Andy struggles with so he speaks what comes into his head at all times. We’re working on that. It takes patience.

Most people do not understand Asperger’s. They say this is normal for a kid….it’s not. They say we aren’t consistent. Well, that may be true. We consistently never give in to Andy’s demands, but we do try to find what works. It’s a trial and error, because this is so new. It’s a struggle, and I don’t know what to do other than keep trying. They say he should go to school to learn social skills. Guess what, being in school doesn’t teach a child with Asperger’s social skills. Actually teaching him will, but just being around a bunch of kids does not, and I’ve seen Andy in a group of kids at church. He doesn’t know how to relate to them and talk to them, and attending school won’t make that part better. The kids will just ignore him (or him them) and he’ll be isolated just like he is everywhere else that kids are. That doesn’t mean we quit taking him around people, it just means that is not the answer to fix all. I’m scared for Andy to go to kindergarten next year. His rages are something that would get him treated poorly, and that’s not fair.

Now, what else is going on? We have a five and six year old in our house that do not speak English. How are they going to communicate and understand the boundaries, rules, etc when they can’t understand cause and effect. They don’t understand time out. Their understanding of those things is at the infant level while their capabilities are at the five and six year level. Also they’ve been watching their brother have these meltdowns for six months. So Tanner is wetting himself when he gets angry. Anna cries at every small level of exertion or effort she has to put into anything, because she would rather lay on the floor and do nothing all day.

Where is the joy? Well I’ll tell you. It’s in the knowledge that things will get better. Andy has a compassion in his heart. He is incredibly intelligent, determined, and he loves God. As he grows he’ll be able to understand more complex things like why you should interact with others a certain way, and the rules of social interaction. It won’t be natural to him, but he will be able to learn what is expected and that will make his life run more smoothly. His determination will provide him with good work ethic. His love for God at the age of five will only grow (I hope), and hopefully will help him later on. He has potential to be wonderful, because I know another grown aspie man who is wonderful.

Anna is tenderhearted, intelligent, and understanding. Once she can communicate, I really don’t think there will be many issues with her. When she understands that she must put her own shirt on because that is how we get to leave the house, I think things will be better. She misses talking and interacting.

Tanner is spirited and compassionate. He usually has a good time, but has a hard time controlling himself, and is acting out his anger right now. I think it’s due to his lack of communication. You know at the orphanage they told us he needed a firm hand, and that he couldn’t talk. Now he is realizing that yeah he can talk, but what he says we don’t understand most of it. So he’s frustrated about that. Once we break that gap, so many things will be better.

I’m sure we’ll always have struggles, but these are my kids. What I have learned is that I must always stay in control of my emotions, be more gentle with my response, have more understanding, and respond with a kind heart. That is the best way to bring Andy down from a melt down….I haven’t always been able to do this. It’s hard not to get angry myself sometimes, but it’s getting easier. So there’s hope and hope brings joy.

joy

Journey to Joy

Proverbs 15:13 – “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” (NIV)

How happy is your heart? I will admit that mine has been carrying around a foul stench for quite some time. Somehow I have let the joy slip away, or maybe I never fully developed a life of contentment and joy. It seems that I’ve always been in panic mode, anger mode, fear mode, or preparation mode. My whole life has been based around fear, anger, love, and discontent.

What does that mean?

I want to be a better person. However, for some reason I am always doing the wrong thing. Oh there are some right things in there, like helping people and such, but for the most part, I’ve let anger get me down. The problem is that I don’t know what I’m angry at exactly.

I feel like I’ve dealt with and forgiven the past. I think now I just want to know how to be free in Jesus. How can I let go of what the flesh wants (and mine wants to not have a cheerful heart), and just enjoy being this person I so desire to be.

I want joy. I want to be a usually smiling wife, an always gentle mother, less neurotic about every thing, more giving, and less heartache and more laughter. We do laugh a lot, and my kids are amazing. However, there is something on the inside still struggling, keeping me from fully enjoying this blessed life the Lord has given me.

The enemy is in attack mode. Why else would I be struggling so much, right when my husband is finally finding his way to salvation, and when my home is filled with sweet little feet. The things I wanted have been given to me. I am blessed to be able to stay at home and take care of my little ones. My husband is a very good man with integrity and love, who is so amazingly selfless that I stand in awe sometimes. We are not hungry, cold, or sick. For all of these things I am incredibly grateful for, and this is why I am starting my Journey to Joy.

I will overcome the attack of the enemy, and I will rejoice in what the Lord has given me. It seems so easy yet so far reaching and difficult to grasp the actual reality of being able to have complete joy, yet I know that by faith and work I will make it happen.

Psalm 97:11-12 – “Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.” (NIV)

It’s not okay any more to just read my Bible any ‘ol time. I know that in order to truly find joy and live this life to the fullest, I’m going to have to dig deep, and develop a diligence for the Lord. So, I’m going to share my plan in case there is any one out there struggling for joy and contentment.

I am going to:
* Get up early every morning before the house rises and read my Bible. Have devotionals for myself, and write in a prayer journal.
* I am going to commit to memorizing scripture. The best tool to have against the enemy is reinforcement from scripture.
*I am going to say no less often.
*I am going to work on letting go of my need to control all things from the laundry to where my husband can put his tools. I am not in control anyway, and struggling to be so fanatical about everything is wearing me down.
*I am going to make better use of my time.
*I will take more time to love and less time to fret.
*I am going to pray faithfully.
*I am going to smile more.

There is one more thing I’m going to do to give me a daily reminder to keep on my journey to joy, but it’s something I’ll have to take a picture of and show. It’s kind of drastic, but hey why not go big for the Lord 🙂