What I Dreaded Has Happened To Me

I love it when God breaks into my existence and rescues me from myself.  I seem to need it a lot, and He gave me a much needed word in church this weekend.  It was Youth Sunday, and I enjoyed watching all the young people using their talents to bring glory to the Lord, and at the end, the youth pastor spoke to us parents about fear.  He told the story of Job, of how he was a great man, in wealth and integrity, and then of his demise and how he lost everything, including his children.  What hit me was when he quoted Job 3:25.

“For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me.” 

See, I’ve been living in fear again.  It happens a lot.  Despite the fact that God has provided for and encouraged me every step of the way along my children’s health journeys, it seems that all I need is to see Michael regress or hear a new diagnosis for Gabriel, and I’m there all over again, setting up house right in the middle of fear.  It’s one thing to have a concern, to let a negative possibility drive you to overcome and conquer a thing, but it’s another to let fear run amok in your mind, to take over your thoughts and bring you to paralysis.

The last few weeks have been difficult and taxing.  Michael has been sliding backwards again, and this time he’s becoming violent.  It’s hard to watch and hard to deal with, and it’s taking a physical and emotional toll.  I had always assumed that Gabriel would naturally grow out of his limitations, but I just had the talk with his therapist that there’s a chance his brain may not fully recover from the damage the scar tissue created.  I’ve been carrying these thoughts around in front of my face, and they’re blocking my vision and not letting me see beyond them.

It’s times like these that I allow myself to get sucked into a storm of all too familiar questions.

What if Michael doesn’t get better?  What if he continues to be violent when he’s older and bigger and I’m no longer stronger than him?  What if he’s never able to be an independent adult?  What if Gabriel’s brain doesn’t recover?  Will he always be slower than everyone else around him?  Will he be able to function on his own?  Will William have to care for his older brothers?  Will he resent having to care for his older brothers?  What’s going to happen to the boys when Nate and I are gone?

It doesn’t seem to matter that God has reassured me over and over that He’s going to take care of all this.  It’s physically in front of my face day after day, and sometimes my faith wanes and I can no longer see the future that I feel God has promised me.  That’s what I let fear do to me, and it happens more often than I’d like.  I always used to be amazed at how often the children of Israel would whine at Moses while they were in the desert, how often they would forget all that God had done for them, sometimes almost instantly.  And yet, I can see how I do the same, letting the reality of what’s in front of me dictate my level of faith and my attitude and causing me to forget the greatness of God.

Thank God, that’s not where the story ends.  Our youth pastor went on to redefine fear, a holy fear.


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  Proverbs 1:7

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.  Proverbs 14:26

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.  Proverbs 14:27

The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil.  Proverbs 19:23

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.  Proverbs 22:4


This is the fear God wants us to have.  A holy fear that acknowledges Him and His role in our lives.  The kind that brings life.  The fear of God and His holy awesome power has the ability to block out the things in front of me and let me say,

It does not matter what I see with me eyes.  My God is greater, and my God is good.

I know that I’m human, and I’m going to need to be reminded of this all over again, that’s why I’m writing it down.  But I am eternally grateful that our God has a limitless supply of forgiveness and love, and He’s not ever going to get tired of rescuing and redirecting me.  I know I can trust Him with my children because His plans for them are good and to give them a future and a hope.  And when things look bad all around me, I know I can say:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Not Again

I’m becoming that person that I don’t like again.  It happens every year around this time, and every year I vow to do better, and every year, I have to confess I blew it.  I love how the Eldredges translate in the book Captivating the 1 Peter 3 woman of a gentle and quiet spirit.  They say it means that a woman has a heart that is at rest, that is at peace in the Lord, and that is a place that brings refreshment and healing to those around her.  Thank goodness it has nothing to do with how loud her personality is!!

I’m like the opposite right now.  In addition to preparing for the holidays and the long list of birthdays that happen this month, I also have a couple of jobs I have to complete for our little side home business.  The kids don’t let me work during the day, and I’m too exhausted to work at night after they’ve gone to sleep (it’s like they know I want them to fall asleep and they just stay awake demanding attention).  It usually means I worry about it for a long time, and then panic and have to finish everything in a ridiculously short amount of time in a flurry of stress.  I’m not a kind person then, certainly not someone whose soul gives others room to breathe and be at peace.  I hate it, because that’s not the kind of wife and mom that I want to be for my family, and yet my own feeble attempts at being loving and patient are pretty much non-existent.

I can feel it starting to happen again, and I want to nip it in the bud.  I’m praying that God continues to show me how to live in His presence, how His joy can be my strength, and how He can be my peace that passes all understanding.  I’ve prayed that God would show me how to be loving and patient, and the last few weeks have been crazy.  Now I’m asking God to also show me how to be at peace, so I must just be a glutton for punishment, but it’s truly the desire of my heart to be the kind of person that nurtures a peaceful and patient atmosphere in my home instead of being a source of stress and tension.

I feel like I’m not getting any better at this yet, but I guess just being aware of what’s happening now instead of in hindsight is a first step in the right direction in the journey of a lifetime.  I’ve tried to cover my day in prayer now, at the beginning, as I’m slowly watching the laundry list of the day grow to an impossibly large size.  I know and trust that God is good and able to handle this for me, and I want to surrender this all now before I have a chance to mess it up myself.  I’m also going to have to give myself grace because I will fail at some point, but if God can forgive me, why shouldn’t I, right?

I would be grateful if you remember us in your prayers today.  We have planned to take Gabriel back to the Urgent Care to have his staples removed.  Putting them in was pretty traumatizing, and I know he’s not going to want to get back on the table again.  I’m praying that God would grant us both peace and help Gabriel (and me!) through this experience with a special touch of His presence and healing.

May your day be full of God’s love and peace in your own lives.

A Different Perspective

I try so hard not to get stressed around the holidays.  I’m really a low key person at heart, and I like simple things.  I like to be with family, eat some good food, and make a few memories.  That’s it, I’m good.  And we do a lot of that around this time of year.  In the last six weeks of each calendar year, our family celebrates five birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  Then of course we have special events at church, a few holiday parties here and there with friends, and mid-December I’m left breathless, wondering what happened.

This year, I had Thanksgiving all figured out.  I had two days to get everything planned and ready for my family’s arrival for Thanksgiving dinner, but of course, we spent one of those days tending to Gabriel’s head injury at Urgent Care.  I spent Wednesday worrying among other things about the fact that my family switched all of the food plans for Thursday (I get worked up about that stuff because of Michael’s food sensitivities).  It was like my brain couldn’t cope with all the changes going on, and for all my stressing, I just gave myself a head cold.

It was all for nothing as usual.  We had everything set up early enough that we were able to take the kids out to a diner for breakfast Thanksgiving morning (where they loudly reminded us every 30 seconds that they wanted french fries).  I hate it when I get like this, and I can feel that somewhere, God is determined to teach me this loving patience lesson.  What better time than in the pressure cooker of a crazy holiday schedule?

As I was praying for God to work change in my heart and in my character like I mentioned before, He showed me a verse in 2 Thessalonians.

2 Thessalonians 3:5 “Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.”

Doesn’t that bring peace just by reading it?  I’d never thought about it that way before.  That the love of God and the patience of Christ could be a state, place, or mindset that my heart could be ushered into.  It was sort of a different concept than when I usually think of these virtues being something that comes out of the heart.  It seems that God keeps reshaping my prayer in this department, and I’m OK with that.  I did ask Him to teach me what to pray for, and He’s answering.

May all our hearts be in peace, thankfulness, and joy as we celebrate so many wonderful things this time of year.

Here are some cute and calm pictures of the boys looking at the fish tank at the diner.  Michael loves it, and he really wanted William to have a good look.  Nate took the pictures and wanted to make sure I gave him photo credit. 🙂




Now I must dash, because it’s Michael’s birthday today, and he has a party tomorrow!

Acts of Grace

The last year has been a pretty tough one.  A few months ago I was finally able to put the word “depression” on what I felt.  I was having a hard time adjusting to three kids, and Gabriel’s needs and therapies had really ramped up in the months leading to William’s birth.  When Michael started homeschooling with a full time therapy schedule in the fall, I completely burned out.  I was so tired of spending entire days on the verge of tears or staring blankly at a wall.  A visit to the doctor confirmed my hormones were all over the stratosphere and making a rough time a whole lot darker.  It was getting hard to even take care of basic needs for my family, and I had to ask for help.

I was so blessed with what followed.  I seriously have the world’s best support system.  There is no way I could go through what I do without the network God has given me.  I have an amazing husband who runs an emotional buffer for me when he gets home in the evenings.  I have parents who babysit on a moment’s notice when Nate and I are starting to lose it and need to run out of the house.  I have literally the best in-laws in the whole entire world who learn everything the therapists teach and are totally involved with their grandchildren.  I have a church that embraces special needs kids, and women in my support group who will let me call them and pray any time I need it.  I have friends who still invite me to their houses, despite how much my kids’ struggle outside of their home environment.

This whole group kicked into action.  It was amazing.  People prayed for me, offered me help and babysitting.  No one minded that I slacked on extra duties.  A beautiful mom of a girl with Down’s Syndrome came to my house with hot food, let me cry, told me I was normal, and washed my dishes.  My mother-in-law sacrificed hours of time I knew she really didn’t have to help me get back on my feet with housework.  My dad started driving Michael to therapy, and my husband didn’t complain once that dinner was never ready when he got home.  I was so overwhelmed at how God provided when I really needed it, and boy, did I feel the love!

It’s been coming more and more often in little ways.  Strangers are gracious when we are out in public.  They don’t mind when my kids walk up to them and babble incoherently.  They smile and talk back.  They don’t stare when the boys start shrieking or acting bizarrely.  Cashiers are friendly and understanding when my kids struggle with boundaries in check out lines.  I didn’t get dirty looks when one of them peed on the floor in the middle of the craft store or broke down at church and flipped chairs for a half an hour.  One beautiful supermarket manager even distracted my kids once with little bottles of bubbles when a wrestling match broke out in a shopping cart that proved to be pretty deafening. 

I’m finding grace in so many places, and I just have to say thank you.  Thank you to my family, friends, and church who didn’t let me disappear through the cracks when I felt like I was sinking.  Thank you to all you strangers who give me random acts of kindness.  Thank you for holding doors open for me or helping me with a shopping cart when you see me juggling my rowdy crew.  I have no words; it means so much.  Thank you for giving me kindness when I probably wouldn’t have made it without.  I had prayed several months ago that God would really show me how much He loved me.  Life started to get awful soon after that prayer, but that’s when the grace and acts of love appeared. 

I’m getting help for my hormones, and I’m starting to have more good days than bad.  But I’m also grateful for the hard times because I have been able to see just how blessed I truly am.  It’s going to be a long road, but God has answered my prayers and poured on the love.  I only hope I can show how grateful I am one day and pay it forward.