Summer fun and Summer challenges

This morning marks the first time ever (for our “new Anne”) that she has gotten out of her bed all by herself! She was bored and impatient waiting for me to come up to get her – so she got out of bed, scooted herself over to her bookshelf and started to play. This is what I found when I came upstairs this morning!

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I was THRILLED! This mess represents desire, determination, motor planning, independent thinking, and courage with a bit of mischievousness. These are new qualities that we are seeing in Anne this summer. She seems to be restless – like her brain is craving new challenges and stimuli. This is a good sign of growth and progress – but it is also challenging for the whole family! We feel like we’re cleaning up after Anne ALL. THE. TIME.

Fifteen minutes later, Anne’s room looked like this:

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I’m happy to clean up after Anne if it means she’s making progress… But she does keep us busy!

Next week, Anne begins three weeks of intensive TheraSuit therapy. This could not come at a better time as she is ready to be challenged! If you think of us, please pray for energy for both me and Anne as we tackle the taxing schedule of intensive therapy. Thank you for your support and prayers and for sharing in the joy of Anne’s long-term recovery!

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One of those days

Why? Out of all days to come home early from work…why did my husband decide to come home early today!?

It’s been one of those days. The kind where I started a dozen different projects and didn’t have time to finish any of them – and the evidence of my incompetence is strewn all over the house…homeschool books, toys, groceries that haven’t been put away (at least I made it to the store, right?).

The House. Is. A. Disaster. And just when I think I might have enough time to clean up the mess before my sweet hubby gets home, I hear the garage door open. My hair is in a ponytail and I’m sporting my favorite 20-year-old sweatshirt. Oh well. It’s just been one of those days.

In the midst of this chaos I keep myself from freaking out by remembering my purpose.

My purpose comes from this passage of Scripture:

And they came to Capernaum. And when [Jesus] was in the house he asked [the disciples], “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me” (Mark 9:33-37).

My purpose is based on the rules of God’s Kingdom rather than the principles of this world. Jesus teaches in this passage that the Kingdom is paradoxical – what seems meaningless in this world has great value in His eyes. And then he holds a child…an insignificant child, and makes the most extraordinary claim that if you care for those with little status in this world – you will receive fellowship with God Himself! Whoa.

The house may be a mess. My to-do list may be half-done, but I cared for my children today. I can go to bed satisfied with my work…and I will tackle the rest tomorrow :)

 

A hope deferred

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12).

Lately my heart has felt sick. Not necessarily sad or mad…just “sick.” It hit me today that I’ve been placing my hope in the wrong things…

Now before I continue, I need to clarify the word “hope.” Hope means to expect with confidence. It’s not just wishful thinking – or dreaming of what you want to come true. It’s expecting it to happen. The book of Hebrews calls hope, “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Heb. 6:19).

So… when I place my hope in things that aren’t sure and steadfast, my heart becomes sick…

I’ve been hoping for Anne to improve. I’ve been hoping for Anne to break through that invisible barrier and start reading. I’ve been hoping for Anne to walk. Now those are wonderful desires and worthy goals to work toward, but I can’t place my hope in Anne walking! Anne walking is not a sure and steadfast anchor of my soul!!! And when I make it so, my heart gets pulled under by the counterfeit anchor.

What should be the only sure and steadfast anchor of my soul??? (I shouldn’t even have to write this, but I will) … Jesus. His life, His death, His resurrection, His promises, His forgiveness, His grace, His mercy, His, His, His!

Anne is in His hands. And He has His purposes for her life. I need to hope in Him, not in Anne’s improvement.

Not that we won’t keep working toward the goals of reading and walking!! We will most definitely persevere!!! But it’s much easier to work toward those goals when I take my hope off of the 9-year-old-disabled-girl and put my hope on The God of the Universe!

Yes, I think God is the safer bet. Don’t you? ;)

Silly musings about flying

Sometimes I just want to fly – but I’m grounded. I’m grounded by responsibility. I’m grounded by disability. I’m grounded by lack of vision, purpose. I’m grounded by a small heart closed up in my small world of caring for my small children.

But Anne’s not small. Her heart is large. She loves. She laughs. And she longs. She’s grounded too. Yet she flies. How does she do that?

In my years of being a Christian, all I’ve ever wanted is for my life to count for something larger than myself. To multiply my small efforts and make a difference in this world. I’ve longed for purpose. I want to matter.

I look back at my life – and I’ve tried to fly. I’ve pursued things that seemed to matter. But God always pushes me back down to earth – back to my home – back to my family – back to sitting with Anne. The Anne who can’t walk – who is absolutely dependent for every significant movement. This Anne. This life. Does it matter? I think God wants to show me that it does. I think He’s trying to teach me. I think I’m a slow learner.

Somehow, I need to learn to fly while grounded. For now, I’ll ask for help to obey in the moment. And maybe one day, I’ll look back and see that each step of obedience was a slow ascent to flight. And I’ll laugh. And so will Anne. And we will fly together.

Long Way Home

My new favorite song:

Sometimes messages of hope can seem trite to a heavy heart. But this song manages to hold hope in the midst of sorrow. Steven Curtis Chapman knows grief, and it shows in this song. Hope is the rope that pulls the grief-stricken out of the dark well. It is what I have been lacking. This song helps.

The Crippled Lamb

I pulled a book off the shelf the other day to read to Kate and Anne. We hadn’t read it in a while…

The Crippled Lamb is a story about a lamb named, Joshua. He was born with a crippled leg, so when the shepherds prepare the herd to travel to the next field, he is left behind as he is unable to make the long journey. The shepherds leave Joshua with his only friend, Abigail the cow. Abigail is old – and wise – and as they make their way to the barn, she gently reminds Joshua, “God has a special place for those who feel left out.”

And then Anne started crying. My sweet Anne, my crippled Anne, identified with Joshua, the lamb.

The story continues as Joshua and Abigail are in the barn asleep and are awakened by a baby’s cry in the night. The baby is cold, and there is no blanket. Joshua offers to lie close to the baby to keep him warm… and then the shepherds appear, excited and proclaiming that this is the Savior, the new born King. And Joshua looks at the baby snuggled against his wool and realizes that this was his special purpose. If he hadn’t been born crippled, he would have missed the Savior.

And Anne cried. and cried. and cried. And I held her close and prayed… thanking God that He has a special place… for Anne.