Monday, April 30, 2012

The Choice...No Matter What!

I have a love hate relationship with yo-yos. I think they are super cool! Especially since seeing some incredible tricks involving yo-yos on America's Got Talent. But I cannot seem to get the hang of them and so they frustrate me. A part of our lives the last 5 months has seemed a bit like a yo-yo and there have not been any cool tricks involved!

Our oldest son, Isaiah who is 6, has Tourette's. We began to suspect this Thanksgiving weekend. He saw a Neurologist 3 days before Christmas and our suspicions were confirmed. The one criteria that could have ruled out the diagnosis was that the tics must occur over more than 1 year, during which time there must not have been a tic-free period of more than 3 consecutive months. We past the 1 year mark sometime during the last couple of weeks. And so it is official. 

I am not sure how much you know about Tourette's, I knew very little until recent months. My limited experience with it had been what you see on T.V. Sudden outbursts of socially unacceptable words or strange noises. It is not always so extreme. And though this can be a part of it, there is so much more to this disorder. 

Most of Isaiah's tics you wouldn't notice unless you just sat and watched him for a while. He had one during the holidays that would turn heads at the grocery store. But the rest have been less obvious and he controls them well in public. His vocal tics he mostly does under his breath... you'd hardly know he was even tic-ing if you were not paying attention. 

The frustrating part for us is that Tourette's waxes and wanes. He may go weeks with hardly any symptoms and then it all starts back up again. It is like reliving the onset over and over again. You think you are prepared but there is a small part of you that is thinking. "Maybe that's it, maybe God healed him or maybe this has all just been some strange fluke. Perhaps we all got it wrong and Isaiah does not really have this." And then... here we go again...

Beyond the tics there are a number of other things that go along with Tourette's. OCD, which Isaiah seems to possibly struggle with as well. But most discouraging for us has been his emotional well being. Isaiah has always been our most compliant child, always easy going and even tempered. He kind of just goes with the flow. He is quiet and has, for the most part, been a happy little guy. Now he is like a different kid. He is now suddenly a perfectionist and if things are not "just so" he cannot handle it. I could give you many examples of this. Like the tics his emotions and perfectionism seems to come and go in bouts. A situation will arise that I think is going to cause an emotional break down and he handles it without a problem. The next thing you know a page he is coloring wrinkles and it is as if his whole world has fallen apart. And thus this part of our lives is a constant up and down... a yo-yo effect. We have prayed over him, rebuked Satan and done all we know to do. But Jarrod and I both believe, without any wavering, in God's sovereignty and his perfect plan. I admit my faith is not always where it should be. But if I stop for even a moment to consider whether or not I believe God has his hand right in the very midst of all of this I can say with complete confidence HE DOES!

This past weekend was a particularly bad one with Isaiah. It did not take much to upset him and trying to find a balance between showing him grace and requiring the same amount of self control that we expect of our other kids is difficult. I also love him to ity-bity pieces and seeing him deal with something I do not understand chips off a little piece of my heart every time. Jarrod and I both have said over the months that, at times, we feel like we have lost our Isaiah. He comes back. And then,  just like that, without warning... he's gone again. 

Sunday morning I was standing next to Isaiah  at church. I love me some good Praise and Worship and I was just singing away...

"Blessed be the name of the Lord
 Blessed be Your name
 Blessed be the name of the Lord
 Blessed be Your glorious name..."

 Suddenly, I was singing the words my heart was so not ready for.

"You give and take away
 You give and take away
 My heart will choose to say
 Lord, blessed be Your name."

It was so literally where we are. We experience, sometimes daily, what seems like this giving and then taking away. As I posted last week,  God has been working on my faith... no doubt he has used Isaiah's Tourette's to do this. I know that I fully believe God can heal him. I also believe God can and will use this to glorify Himself whether He heals Isaiah or not. I  suppose now He is working on the choice, and it truly is mine, to say "Blessed Be Your Name. Thank You when I have my Isaiah back and things are 'easy'.  But thank you also sweet Jesus when you 'take him away' again. You are still worthy of my praise. You have not changed just because I do not understand you." Is He a good God? Is He a God who changes? Then tomorrow when I do not like my circumstances is He still indeed a good God? Then Blessed Be His Name! 

We use to play a game in the car when we were kids. We would put our heads in our laps close our eyes and chant. "We're not there yet, we're not there yet..." Occasionally my dad, who has a great sense of humor (and is a little obnoxious with it from time to time), would stop somewhere that was not our destination and we would excitedly throw our heads up and exclaim, "We're there!" Only to find out we were somewhere in the middle of a street! I feel like that sometimes with whatever God is trying to teach me.  "I'm not there yet, I'm not there yet..." I do not believe God is quite the prankster that my daddy is but I do prematurely proclaim "I'm there" sometimes and then I have to bury my head again and start over. In regards to always without fail in the midst of my personal heartache saying to God "Blessed Be Your Name". I can say right now with conviction "I'm not there yet!" But by golly, I AM going to get there eventually. 

Blessed Be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name
Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name
Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering

Blessed be Your name
Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Surviving the Little People

This weeks theme is... CONTROL!

I took back control of my house today... sounds funny but I am serious! I find myself so often telling people, "I am in survival mode." I am surviving until next week... surviving the day.... "if I can just survive until Jarrod gets home..." I realized somewhere along the way I quit being in charge in my own home.

While Jarrod has spent the the last 5 years in some form of ministry I have felt sorry for myself. While I LOVE getting to be a stay at home mom I feel like I am "missing out on serving God". Imagine if I had the opportunity to reach just 4 people... to minister to their lives and then send them out to change the world! Oh wait... I DO HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY! This is an amazing calling! And I have been letting it pass me by. Concerned my kids will think I am no fun if I require too much responsibility out of them. Avoiding confrontation because it is just not worth their tears. Doing it myself because it is SO much faster!

Jarrod and I started out this journey determined that we were not raising children we were raising future adults! (Don't get me wrong, they need to get to let loose and have fun and enjoy their childhood) But wouldn't it be awesome if, during their short time here with me I could teach them to be respectful and responsible. So I took back control. Instead of Surviving my children I want to Sustain them. Instead of Seeking other ministry opportunities I want to Seize the ones right under my nose. And maybe from time to time instead of just Laying down the Law I can Let Loose with them and enjoy the journey!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Out of Control Faith


Hey, remember when I had a blog? I had almost forgotten. It's been over a year and a half since I have posted here. I have really been in a writing mood lately so I may pop over here from time to time. 

God has really been going out of his way to "test my faith". Not necessarily in a bad way. In the loving way a father who adores you would gently prod. To say, "trust me". And then when I say, "I do". He says, "let's see". I proclaim that I trust him, I am adamant  in my unwavering faith in his sovereignty and his plan. I wear a gracelet with Hebrews 11:6 on it (And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.) as a reminder to pray for my son and as a boast in my faith in HIM. But an incident this weekend reminded me of what my faith really looks like sometimes. 

I got to spend the weekend at my parent's house scrapbooking with my mom. (because I have the coolest husband ever, who sends me away every 3 months or so while he takes on all the responsibilities at home). I get a text on Saturday with this cute little picture 


Then I get the following picture




And then...




Hannah had fallen down some stairs face first. 

Now with 4 kids and 7 years under our belts (and let's face it one of those kids is Elijah) we have survived many tumbles, scrapes, and gashes. But I was there for every one of the major ones. Now let me just say, when our kids have hurt themselves I always defer to my husband for the decision making as he is truly the brains of this operation. I have been known to make a few obsessive phone calls to him in the past because a child was injured and I had lost my wits. He says "let's go to the ER." I start loading up the car. "He says I think they are fine". I take a deep breath and start playing nurse at home. I have faith in my husband's wisdom... Or so it would seem. In the past I was always there to keep a close eye on things. I could weigh in my assessment of the situation, analyze what my husband thought we should do and then say okay, sounds good to me. I still felt somewhat in control. 

Jarrod will tell you there were many texts and a few phone calls after Hannah took this particular spill that went something like this: 

Me: "Does she need to go to the ER just to make sure she does not have a concussion?"

Jarrod: "I really don't think so. I will keep an eye on her." 

Me: (because I was not satisfied with that answer and he clearly was not thinking through all the  possibilities) "Did she fall hard enough to break any bones in her cheek?"

Jarrod: "No"

Me: "Check her eyes. Are they dilated, or undilated or whichever one they are not supposed to be?"

Jarrod: "Her eyes look fine". 

That did not stop a very similar line of questioning a few minutes later, this time over the phone.  Followed by reminders throughout the evening to wake her up to make sure there was really no concussion. 

Two days later I am back home. I have given Hannah a hug, kissed every one of her scrapes and seen first hand that her eyes truly are undilated... I think. I am confident Jarrod got it right. I am able to laugh at myself and then I am able to reflect on what my faith in God really looks like. It is all well and good to say, "Whatever you think God, I trust your judgement." It is honorable even to think, "I am done trying to figure this one out. You take over LORD". But how often am I really doing that and then removing myself from the picture. I am still here. I can still weigh in, analyze and hold on to that control and then boast. "I have faith. God's really leading this one." Is he? Or is it just that I haven't truly "taken a break" and let him be in charge? I have got to learn to have OUT OF CONTROL FAITH. Both in my husband and in my GOD. 

In case you are wondering Hannah is healing up quite nice