The Cloud is Moving – Courage in the Midst of Change.

It oftentimes takes courage to say that something isn’t working anymore, and truthfully, it hasn’t worked for some time for us.

A little over five years ago our family left Michigan for a dream that included a simple life in rural Tennessee. This is how Ryan and I operate – we hear “GO!”, and we go. We married quickly, Ryan moved to Michigan within months of proposing, and we moved to Tennessee after seeing our current house once. We are decisive, informed, and not prone to obsessing much about how our decisions will be perceived by others outside of our immediate family. To reference a Biblical metaphor, we move with the cloud. Continue reading “The Cloud is Moving – Courage in the Midst of Change.”

Why You Should Care About Special Needs Children

 

It can be difficult to understand the complexities of raising a special needs child if this calling is not part of your daily reality. I get it. I never gave these children nor their caretakers a second thought before I had a handicapped child. It’s hard to empathize with a situation without experience.

 

My goal in writing – in books, on the blog, and on social media – is to tell stories that portray all of the aspects of raising a special needs child – the demanding, the taxing, the beautiful, and the joy.

 

There is undoubtedly a blessing. These kids are closer to Heaven than we will ever be with their innocence and child-like faith. They teach us invaluable lessons about the nature of our heavenly father’s love and care for his children. They model joy, perseverance, and faith in quantities us “normal” folk can only dream about BUT –

 

Raising a special needs child is a massively exhausting undertaking as well.

 

A few weeks ago a friend’s 8 year old daughter unexpectedly passed away. This little girl was never supposed to survive; however, these kids often have a way of proving the experts wrong. I recently asked her mama if the new ease of life was haunting because when you live in special needs world, there are rarely moments of ease. It’s like being in a combat zone. You’re always mentally anticipating your child’s next basic needs – hunger, pain, angst, smell, what, where, when, why – all the time. These kids often don’t grow up and become independent so there is no end in sight which can feel overwhelming.

 

One of my greatest goals with The Lucas Project – a non-profit organization to assist special needs families in rural Tennessee – is to educate people on why they should care – even if it’s not a part of their daily reality.

 

“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.’ Matthew 25:40

 

These children are the least of the least of the least of these. They often have the mental and emotional capacity of an infant. They are usually physically unable to care for themselves without continual assistance, and without the loving intervention of caretakers, these children could not survive.

 

I would admonish you to care about these kids and their families because you don’t have to care, and that’s a blessing.

 

Special needs may not be a part of your daily reality, but it is a reality for 6.7 million children (nces.ed.gov) and often includes:

 

Bathing a grown child

Feeding – either by utensil or tube feeding – often restrained in a special chair.

Diapering a thirteen year old

Wondering at times if one day you’ll be diapering a thirty year old.

Restraining a teenager who has become aggressive due to puberty.

Entering the local ER in the middle of the night to play a guessing game for the next 24 hours as you try to determine the cause of angst in your non-verbal child.

Declining an invitation for a fun event because there is no one to watch your child, and he or she would cause disruptions and outbursts.

Attempting to distract a child who is frustrated and banging his head against his crib.

Sleeping with a baby monitor beside your head for 18 + years

Getting up multiple times in the middle of the night to administer meds, tubes or breathing equipment or to make sure your child is still alive.

Spending the majority of your free time in a doctor or therapist’s office.

Not being alone with your spouse in years because there is no one you trust to care for your child in your absence.

Suffering extreme pain and popping Advil like it’s candy because your child has grown too large for you to comfortably handle, and the strain is taking a toll on your aging body.

 

You should care about caretakers who experience stress, anxiety, exhaustion, and depression on a regular basis but don’t have the funds nor the time to address the problem, and in rural environments, lacking in professionals to even help address the problem!

 

You should care if you live where resources are plentiful because there are people who live in rural communities where resources are sorely lacking.

 

You should care if your children are healthy because there are parents who manage a child’s chronic illness every day of their lives.

 

You should care because we are all a part of this grand body known as humanity, and we have a moral obligation to care for one another, especially the least of these, like our lives depend upon it – because they do.

 

Please consider a donation to The Lucas Project so that we can all begin caring or check out TheLucasProject.org to learn more.

 

Just keep livin.

How to be Obedient to the Call God Places on Your Life

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“This is holy work,” I begrudgingly reminded myself a day after returning home from a much needed couple’s vacation; a week of relaxation, sun, and reconnecting, and here I was now, again, changing my 13 year old’s diaper, my handicapped boy Lucas who was currently on his third bout of diarrhea in a month; so many wipes, diapers, hand washes, and missed school days – #buttwiperforever.
Continue reading “How to be Obedient to the Call God Places on Your Life”

A Story for an Unborn Child

I didn’t figure my first post back from having a baby would be about this topic. I assumed it would be something about the baby or how our family has changed or is coping, but a horrifying scandal quickly rattled social media over the past 24 hours. A video (disclaimer, it is brutal) caught my attention yesterday with the title, “Planned Parenthood Uses Partial Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts, and as I watched my blood boiled and my heart ached. 

 

I realized this is a post that must take precedence above any other because this is for all the Annabelle’s who will never see the light of day and for all the Luke’s who will be decimated by sundown.  These words are for all of the unwanted and forgotten souls who will never see the sun this side of Eternity.  This is for all babies – born or unborn.  

This scandal is personal because I was repeatedly admonished in 2004 to abort my second child Lucas because he wasn’t “perfect” in the estimation of the medical professionals. For more of his story see Miracle Boy, Lucas, or Worst Travel Companion Ever…. This is also an issue I don’t easily stay silent on especially since having Luke has enriched my life and opened my eyes in so many ways to the beauty of life, the reality of what healing means, and the unconditional love the Father bestows upon each and every one of us.  I have no idea how we have become a nation of people who not only kill our babies but then we also turn around and sell their limbs and appendages as products. I look at my sweet baby girl Annabelle, five weeks old, and cannot fathom how I could have legally killed her only a few weeks ago –how her limbs could have been ripped from her body and her heart or lungs gutted and sold to the highest bidder.   

anna
In the midst of the Planned Parenthood video going viral yesterday, I despairingly said to a friend “What do we do? What can we do?”  Not even as Christians but as human beings?  Americans? Living in the land of the free, the home of the brave?  The exception, of course, if you’re an unborn baby then you’re not so free. Or a mother facing an unplanned pregnancy or a father threatening to break up with a woman unless she aborts her baby – then, not so brave.  As a culture, if we have a shred of morality left in our souls, how do we right the wrong of millions of babies being killed?  How do we reverse such a sickening mindset which says it’s okay to rip our children apart and sell their body parts?  Where do we even begin?

We begin by finally opening our mouths and calling out the truth for what it really is – it is wrong.  We have a hard time calling anything wrong in our day and age, but it is wrong to rip babies apart and slaughter them in such a way as to preserve certain body parts to be able to sell as a product.  

IT IS WRONG.  

We begin with brave men and women telling their stories.  

Stories of regret, stories of shame, stories of rising above the shame, stories of hope and stories of pain.  

All these stories must be told and circulated so that the shame lessens, the healing begins, and the voices rise to a loud cacophony that screams hope to the masses, hope for a different way, and hope for life.  Mothers who have chosen to go against the advice of the medical professions and carry these “defective” children to term and then commit to raising these children also need to tell our stories.  We have a different story, but it is still a story of pain, of heartache; hope, redemption, and joy in the midst of a difficult situation.  Our stories can change the culture.  Not acts of violence or social media rants but our honest, individual experiences woven together will begin to make a difference in our society and in the world at large.  These stories must be told and retold for they will change lives. These brave words will, one by one, save lives.

All I have to offer these unborn babies is my story.  I started this post with a gruesome video, and I will end with a hopeful one. A video which tells a tale of how any abortion story could end differently – a video of beauty rising from the ashes.
Tell your story.  Or listen to someone who has a story to tell.    

Just keep livin!!