Monday, January 21, 2013

A Letter to My Boys

James 1:5
 If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. 

Acts 17:27
 So that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him, although He is not far from each one of us. 

Heb 11:6
 But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]. 

Luke 11:10
For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened. 

Sweet boys,
It is one of my deepest hopes that I will raise you to seek God for yourselves.  That I will never present Jesus to you simply as I have found Him, but that I will encourage you to seek and find Him on your own.  I pray that religion never grabs hold of you and squelches your questions.  God is not bothered or angered by your questions.  He created you with an innate desire to seek Him out and how can we seek or gain wisdom if we never ask questions?  Questioning and doubting are not synonymous. If you only ever accept what you are told by others, what you will be left with is a dead shell of religion.  You will know about God, but you will not know Him.  My desire is that you know Him, and His character personally.  You can be taught and learn from others and I can teach you what I have learned, but it won't be real to you when it matters.  For faith to manifest in your heart you must seek and question and prod and knock and ask with earnest expectation of being answered. It doesn't scare me to encourage you to do this, because I know that He is faithful to reveal Himself to everyone who looks for Him with a pure and genuine motive.  I don't want to push Christianity on you, I want to point you in the direction of the Christ, so you can see and hear with your own eyes and ears.  Never let me scold you for asking difficult questions, but remind me of this letter and that it is your spirit crying out to know and be known.  And most of all...

"May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! "
Ephesians 3:17-19 AMP

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Taking Notice

There is no way today is only Tuesday.  It should be Thursday, at least.  This past weekend was one where my children conspired against me in an attempt to test my mental strength.  I'm still recovering, and apparently, so are the days of the week, otherwise they wouldn't be dragging that moves very slowly.  See?  Still recovering.

Most of the time life moves on effortlessly.  Each day fades into the next until very few things seem extraordinary or worth writing about.  Life in general gets taken for granted and I wake up every morning and just go about our routine without taking much notice of what's happening.  And then there are days like today where something stops me and I look around and think, "When did this happen?"

When did I become a wife and mother of two small boys?  The sheer absurdity of it all hits me like I've never thought about it before.  I have been married for six entire years.  And I'm not even close to sick of him yet.  I actually grew not one, but two tiny humans in my own body. I then delivered them into the world in a way that leaves every woman who experiences it changed forever, and am now actually responsible for not only keeping them alive, but making sure they grow up into good men who treat women with respect, love God, and don't act like butt holes.  Me.  It's so silly it would almost make me want to laugh if I wasn't also painfully aware of the gravity of this job I've been given.

And that's where my sanity is truly tested.  This overwhelming task that seems like it was meant for someone else, some better equipped female, weighs heavier on my heart than anything else in my life at the moment.  I have this mom-guilt issue that plagues me.  There are very few days, if any, that I make it through without feeling guilty for something, even if it's just a little.  I have this feeling like some other Super Mom out there would have had Joshua recovered by now.  Someone else would have found the key already.  Someone else would split their time between the two boys better than I would.  Someone else would have more patience and be more fun and teach them more.

Then all of a sudden I'm reminded that these are my children for a reason.  And I haven't gotten this far with them on my own.  In addition to having had them with the best possible man for the job, it was God who formed them in the womb, and He is the one who will help shape them.  We aren't doing this alone.  And I couldn't be more thankful for that.

Also, that man I mentioned keeps me sane by simply still putting up with me and not leaving me to figure this out on my own.  I have so much respect for single parents because I cannot imagine doing this by myself.  But there is something about our journey specifically that has bonded Bobby and I more than even just having children did.  Autism has the opposite effect on many couples, but for us it really has made us stronger and galvanized our resolve to stay together for better or worse.

So whenever I glance around and take notice of this life that still sometimes seems above me, I am not only shocked that I've made it this far, but I am also extremely humbled by the plan that seems to be unfolding.  I am never more aware that there is a bigger picture at work than when I see these two boys growing before my very eyes.  And the hand of God has never been more evident in my life than it is right now.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Work it Out

The man is home for his day off today and I sent him out this morning to take Joshua to school.  Is that wrong?  I had planned on taking him myself and then going to the gym, but the same little boy woke up at four this morning and didn't go back to sleep until about six.  I really needed a wake-up-slow-with-a-cup-of-coffee morning to be of any use for the rest of the day.  And also Bobby really likes when he gets to be there to bring or pick him up.  I got a good one that way.

Caleb has been running a fever for a couple of days so he's been pretty sedate, mostly laying on the couch or playing with his iPad (Yes, my not-yet-three year old has an iPad, it's to keep him from fighting with Joshua over his...don't judge me).  And I have to be honest, the lack of whining and running around like a small crazy person has been pretty nice.  Not that I'm happy the kid has been sick...I'm just sayin', calm is a welcomed state in this house.

So maybe I lied about being able to post on here more often with Bobby being gone.  I have aspirations of posting a few times a week and eventually working my way up to every day.  Grandiose ideas and plans are my specialty.  Unfortunately, follow-through with said ideas and plans is not.  I've been writing down ideas for posts lately as I think of them throughout the day to help my motivation.  So far I have one.  And it's not what I'm writing about today.  Sometimes I feel like I need a brain organizer.

Today I'm thinking about working out my faith with small victories.  Stepping stones that will inevitably lead to the big victory.  This seems to be a theme for the state of my faith in the last few years.  For whatever the reason, God is intent on Bobby and I walking out every single path one baby step at a time.  The all at once, easy button kind of stuff just doesn't happen for us.  I'm convinced it's because we are being prepared and taught and blah blah blah.  Lately I am finding it difficult to be patient with the process.  Hence the return to celebrating small victories.  If it's not going to happen over night, I might as well appreciate each new step as it comes, since it is one more step in the right direction.  Even though it usually feels like a drop in the ocean.

Every day I pick Joshua up whatever therapist he had for the day tells me how awesome he is doing and how they're all so excited about the progress he is making.  This week one of them told me he can actually arrange the letters in his name to spell it correctly.  I called her a liar but she assured me she wasn't so I guess I should believe her.  One of these days I will be able to go and watch him do some of this stuff I've never seen but am told he can do.  I catch glimpses at home, but he is serious about home time being his time to do whatever he wants and who can blame him after following such a strict schedule for the majority of the week?  My point here is that while we are so focused on his speech (which we should be) sometimes I forget that the other things he is beginning to do like imitation are essential to his learning to talk.  And the more we learn what is locked inside him, the more excited I get about the day he finally begins to speak because I know all of the rest of his knowledge will just fall out of him.  I am very hopeful that he could quickly begin to catch up academically if we could just get him to start talking.

Another small victory: potty training.  And I hope you see that me calling that a "small victory" is sarcasm.  We are very close to him being totally potty trained and that is nothing short of miraculous, people.

I am also seeing Bobby being gone right now as just a step toward progress.  The next few months will be difficult, but they will also be invaluable to his future career.  Getting this job behind him means taking the next step in being where he wants to be.

And that seems to be life for the moment...always looking ahead to where the present is taking us, while at  the same time, trying to enjoy the present for what it is itself.  Faith has really began to feel like exercise.  The more I work it out, the stronger and more powerful it gets.  But sometimes, I just get plain lazy and it starts to atrophy like muscles would.  Laziness isn't just a physical thing, you know.  It's very much more likely to present itself mentally and spiritually, the secret is knowing and recognizing it.  You can't go on thinking every thought that falls into your head if you want to maintain or grow your faith.  Just like you can't lay around on the couch every day expecting to get six-pack abs.  If there is anything I've learned since becoming an adult (which I have a hard time believing has even happened yet), it's that nothing that is worth anything comes easily or without work and effort.

So that's where I am at the moment, getting back into working out my faith.  Anyone care to join me? (I've also been working out my body and totally intend on getting that six-pack.  Or at least a pair of abs.)

"Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are they who keep His testimonies, and who SEEK, INQUIRE for and of Him and CRAVE Him with the whole heart."
Psalm 119:2 AMP (emphasis mine...notice they are all action words)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Man Leaves and the New Year Begins

So...I didn't finish my month of thanks posts.  I missed the last one and now I feel like it's too late to write it. Let's just say I am very thankful for every single thing in my life I could possibly be thankful for.

The last month and a half has been a blur and this morning Bobby finally left for his turnaround at work.  I say finally not because I've been ready and waiting for it, but because the date was pushed back a couple of months and we've both been counting the days with dread ever since.  The good news is now that it's here, we can get through it and move on.

I'm feeling pretty upset, much more upset about it than I have ever been in the past when we've had to do this.  The combination of this being much longer than he's ever had to be gone, and me being over an hour away from anybody else, with two much more active children is a little overwhelming, to say the least.  At any rate, now my only option is to put on my big girl panties and deal with it (which, by the way, I really don't want to do).  What helps this is that there is some upside, no matter how small it is in comparison to having to sleep in that big bed by myself.

The first perk to Bobby being gone is that I will probably be posting much more often on here than I have recently.  Typically, evenings and nights are our only time to spend together so now I will have more free time to write or whatever else I don't get much extra time for like reading.  Something else I have to confess I always look forward to is not having the pressure to cook anything for dinner other than what I feel like eating or the pressure to cook anything at all if I don't want to.  Bobby is really good about letting me off the hook if I don't feel like cooking but our taste in food can be pretty different so now I plan on going through all of those Pinterest recipes of things that sound awesome to me, but I wouldn't be very sure he would like.

Those two things are basically it for the good things that happen while Bobby is gone.  Although I do look forward to having friends come and stay too.  So three things then.

Bottom line, the man is gone, and neither of us are very happy about it.

In other news, the rest of the Gregorian Calendar-following world is moving right along into the new year, complete with resolutions that are sure to be dropped by about February first.  I was thinking to myself the other day that I was glad I had started going to the gym back in November and not as a resolution, because with the expectation that resolutions usually fail being nearly a rule of human nature, I might not be sticking with it as well.  And now I've been told that the first couple months of the year are the worst because the people who made health resolutions decide to jump on the gym bandwagon, taking all the space and machines and whatnot.

In school they always made us write an essay about resolutions and I always hated that.  I mean, what kind of things do 12 year-olds resolve to do better in the upcoming year?  I was pretty convinced, and still am, that it was just busy work to ease the students, or more likely, the teacher, back into the school routine.  Today I am feeling the need to slowly fade back into our normal routine as well, so no judgment here.

So as I lounge here on the couch at 10:30 a.m., already thinking about a nap, I will consider the things I would like to work on throughout the coming year, without calling them "resolutions", because as I've already established, resolutions don't work.

What about all of you?  Resolutions or no resolutions?