in the shadows…

January 24, 2011

I usually know exactly what I am going to say.  I’ve got a title for a post and most of it finished up in my head before I ever get the opportunity to actually sit down for an hour and be able to write it out.  this time I don’t.  I’m speechless… almost thought-less.  I’m overwhelmed. all because of a short book called, ‘wrestling with an angel’ by greg lucas.  it’s a father’s story of raising a boy with disabilities, severe disabilities.  it is a quick read.  you can get through it in a couple of hours.  but it is the last two paragraphs that have left me… silent.  here they are:

But perhaps the sweetest discovery of all was learning more about the character of my heavenly Father through the struggles of my disabled son.  It is one thing to read about His faithfulness, to talk about His mercy, and to write about His grace.  But to experience these things face to face requires a heavenly vision that can only be obtained by walking through the suffering of His providence and coming to the realization that the darkness I have experienced is actually the shadowing shelter of my ever-present Father.

It is in this shadow that I have wrestled with an angel until the breaking of today.  And even though I now feel beaten and broken from the battle, the limp that carries me away from the sacred place forever reminds me that I have been touched by the hand of the Almighty.  And by grace, I have prevailed.”

to consider this ‘darkness’ the shadow of God… how amazing… he’s precisely right.  feeling beaten and broken… yes.  that too.  the limp is proof that I have been touched by God… absolutely.  “and by grace, I have prevailed.”  … I unconditionally, wholeheartedly agree. 

now, if I can just keep this perspective at the forefront of my mind as I too, clean poop off of an ever-growing boy that doesn’t want to be cleaned… as I am bitten on the shoulder, arms, hands and face… as I am hit, scratched, pinched… my hair is pulled… and I am hollered at.  could I just remember that it is when I am weak, that I am strong… that this ‘thorn’ is what  keeps me from becoming conceited… that His grace is sufficient… that I can boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses and afflictions so that Christ’s power will rest on me… (2 corinthians 12)because, like greg lucas said, “and by grace, I have prevailed.”  there is no other way.

please check out the book  “Wrestling with an Angel” by Greg Lucas.  he also has a blog.

thank you so much for writing this book Mr. Lucas.  it has been truly inspiring.



a thousand things…

January 17, 2011

a friend shared a blog with me recently and I thought I’d share it with you.  at the moment she has a post about listing all the gifts of thanks that you receive at any given time and she has asked others to list theirs too.  there is a link at the bottom of this post, so that you can check it out. 

here’s what I’m thankful for so far today.  there is an endless list from days before and I’m sure there are more things to come then I can even imagine. 

I woke up with breath in my lungs and joy in my heart.

my legs worked just like I expected them to when I rolled out of bed and landed on the floor.

a heated house

sleeping children

a puppy who thinks the world of me and shows it every time he trots toward me with tail wagging

an incredible husband who gets up early, even though he’d rather be under the cozy down comforter with me, and heads of to work

running vehicles

food in the cupboard

the way cole sings along to all  the intro songs to all  the cartoons

a beautiful young helper who shows up with a smile on and steps right in to help cole finish his eggo while I go start laundry

clothes to wash and something to wash them in

when the garage door shuts on the first try

grocery stores so overwhelming stocked with food and produce that I hardly know where to begin

a free country where I can go to the overwhelming packed grocery store without fear of suicide bombers or child trafficking or drug lords

the man on the corner on a cold day in january with a sign around his neck that reads, ‘desperate.. help please’ to remind me of all that I have and to remember Jesus’ words…  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ .. Matt 25:40 and “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2

another beautiful young helper that comes along to help finish out the day with cole, pulling on her hat nad gloves and pulling up her boots, because cole wants to drive his powerchair around on the ice

power wheelchairs

gabrielle’s insatiable desire to do craft projects and the way she says, ‘let’s try that!’  with such enthusiasm, over glue and yarn, again and again and again

watching dawson shovel snow side by side with his daddy dad for the hundredth time this winter.  watching him grow and grow and become strong and smart

brian… who loves me… everyday… who hugs me and kisses me and laughs with me and holds me together when I fall apart

the mixed pain and joy of hearing gabrielle say, ‘if luke was alive, there would be 3 kid boys, plus max and daddy… so 5 boys and only 2 girls’


bedtime for silly, crazy, wound-up, wiped-out kids

bath time for me

an outlet for all the ups and downs and ins and outs of this broken yet beautiful life I’m in


a holy experience

I was looking for a special poem to thank the paras and teachers in cole’s classroom and I came across this one by erma bombeck.  ( I really like her writing)  it brought me to tears pretty quickly.  it’s nice to have a different perspective every once and awhile.  I get so busy just going through the motions and doing what needs to be done, I forget the bigger picture.  to even think   be reminded that God is not only aware of me, but that He is on my side and considers me worthy of the testing is so very humbling.  I hope you like this poem.  pass it on to other parents of special needs kids.

The Special Mother  

by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice,
a few by social pressure and a couple by habit.
This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of disabled children.
Did you ever wonder how these mothers are chosen?
Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth
Selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.
As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.
“Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew.”
“Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia.”
“Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”
Finally he passes a name to an angel and smiles. “Give her a disabled child.”
The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”
“Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a disabled child a mother who knows no laughter?
That would be cruel.”
“But does she have the patience?” asks the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she’ll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair.
Once the shock and resentment wear off she’ll handle it.”
“I watched her today.
She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother.
You see, the child I’m going to give her has a world of its own.
She has to make it live in her world, and that’s not going to be easy.”
“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”
God smiles. “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness.”
The angel gasps, “Selfishness? Is that a virtue?”
God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive.
Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect.
She doesn’t know it yet, but she is to be envied.
She will never take for granted a spoken word.
She will never consider a step ordinary.
When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it.
I will permit her to see clearly the things I see–ignorance, cruelty,
prejudice–and allow her to rise above them.
She will never be alone.
I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life
Because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”
“And what about her Patron Saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in the air. God smiles.
“A mirror will suffice.”


so much of this poem rings true for me personally…  happy, selfish, unbelieving.  and other aspects too… I’ve seen cruelty, ignorance.. I’ve heard the miracle of ‘mama’ ( at age… 4.  4 years-old that is) I take no physical activity for granted.  I don’t know about the ‘give her a mirror’ part, but otherwise I feel this poem to be pretty accurate. 

it’s hard to think of character development as a blessing most of the time.  usually because that path lies through a valley of pain… physical, mental, spiritual.  but, now that I am well acquainted with this path, I can appreciate the growth a little more.  I’m thankful that God said, ‘give her a disabled child’.  I can’t imagine the person I would be if I was choosing my own way.


January 4, 2011

I started seeing a therapist.  my regular MD has been recommending it for at least a year.  I finally went.  the whole baby luke in my BSF class, born in late december was the final straw… the last push.  I need a way to handle all these things that seem to follow me, taunt me.  the therapist agreed.  she too, confirms I have PTSD. (post traumatic stress disorder)  and then add PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) to it and a 13 year-old with CP (cerebral palsy) and I’m bound to have some pretty tough days.  still, this is who I am… this is my life… I have to be able to function.  I want to function well.

my first assignment from her was to keep a list of everything that is a trigger, things that send my mind to where I was 2 years ago.  startlingly enough, I all ready have quite a list.  so far, more visual things, like the mcdonalds drive thru and the baby row at target and the newborn at panera and the ‘luke’ that took our order at taco bell.  I’m realizing that there are an awful lot of audio triggers too, like anything about death, family size, snowflakes, references to how small something is…  with my brain trying to hold all of this info, trying to protect me from so many things that are being interpreted as potential ‘hurts’, rather than being able to understand that I am not in danger of being hurt by the pregnant lady, understanding that season has passed … there leaves little wonder that other functions like short-term memory are being dropped off.  hence, the overflowing kitchen sink, keys locked in the van and purse left at the grocery store… to name a few.

I’m happy to be in this place.  I think this is where I need to be… this is where the healing begins.  kind of sad it has taken this long for me to get here…  always pride in the way… thinking I can handle it all on my own, I’ll deal with it,  I’ll be fine, I can figure it out, telling my self, ‘rub some dirt on it.  walk it off.’  I feel better saying… I can’t do this, I need help, I’m tired.  here I am, weak and wounded… show me the way, lead me by the hand.  no more triggers…  only sweet reminders.