I can handle anything, God, just not a child with mental challenges. A child with no legs, no problem. A deaf child, ok, so that would be harder. But a child who is developmentally delayed, I just don’t think I could handle that.

Strangely enough,one of my favorite elementary school memories is tied to one of my “slower” classmates. As a star student myself, I was assigned to help him with his work after I had finished mine. Once the last addition problem was completed, we would scramble under his desk, giggling as we scoured the floor for tiny pencils, most likely tossed aside for a brand new one.

In high school I made it a point to spend every other lunch day with the kids everyone else considered too weird, and not a cool weird. I did it because that’s what Jesus would do. But looking back, those are the lunches I remember the best, with the biggest smile. They were so uproariously fun, so real – those kids really knew how to just let their joy shine or their sorrow flow. When they saw me in the lunch line, arms would go flailing and voices would beckon me to please join them. If they weren’t happy with me, they flat out told me I was being a jerk. There was no hiding behind a wall of, “I’m cool.”

But when my oldest child was diagnosed with autism, it was still a huge, heart-breaking shock. The world stopped, my dreams of visiting grandkids, of ever having an empty nest, there was nothing but endless parenting for the rest of my life. The future became like a blackboard smeared of its grand plans, not wiped clean, just a swirling sadness.

I still have no idea what the future actually holds. There will be more parenting than I really want, but the joy of seeing my autistic child finally learn how to brush his teeth by himself is so much more intense. My normal kid cooks a pizza, and I feel like, great, but of course you can do that. An entire angel choir breaks out when my autistic son cooks supper for the entire family.

Do I like the pain? No, I really don’t. But is it worth the gain? You better believe your bippy!

Am I shiny and perfect, no. I have huge flaws. But I am prettier than I used to be.

Let’s all be really selfish, girls!

Curl up with a good book…to help your child with his homework.

Binge-watch Netflix…when you have loads of laundry to fold.

Talk for hours on the phone..while you are dusting.

Get out of the house…to pray for your kids’ school (check out Mom’s in Prayer for a group near you).

Make a lunch date with a friend…to cook meals for your families.

Shop ’til you drop…looking for jeans for your son who keeps outgrowing his clothes!

Tune into YouTube…to spend time watching Jimmy Fallon clips with your husband.

Bake a decadent dessert…for your daughter’s slumber party.

Go to the movies…to watch something your tween daughter is dying to see.

Surf the net…for the treatment of a mild concussion and good church youth groups in the area.

Hang out on Facebook…to laugh with those who laugh, weep with those who weep and hopefully spread a little joy.

27She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

28Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her.

Proverbs 31

Finally, go out for seafood…with a friend who will laugh, cry and pray with you, so that you have the strength to do it all over again.

He was perishing

Ornery, no reason to behave. We had just gotten back from a vacation in Arizona that my husband and I loved, my daughter thought was pretty good, and my son wished had included Wii, rollercoasters and mini golf.

Facing nothing but school one morning, he looked at me over his bowl of cereal. “Mom, I can’t wait until Grandma takes us to the indoor waterpark this summer.”

“Grandma is not going to take you to an indoor waterpark over the summer when you can swim in the lake at her house. Maybe she will take you to the waterpark in December like she did last year. But I am sure she is not going to take you this summer.”

Grump, mumble, fuss. He was fading fast. December was much too far away for a ten-year-old. Do I tell him about what my husband and I discussed the night before as possibilities for fun this summer? But we hadn’t settled on anything yet. Would my husband be frustrated for setting things in stone by mentioning them to our young man? As anyone with an Aspie knows, a mention of something is tantamount to an iron-clad promise that it will happen.

As the morning went from bad to worse, I realized that my poor boy needed vision. “Hey, do you know what Dad and I thought would be fun to do this summer on the way to Milwaukee?”

He is no longer perishing. He is now planning his every move at one of the Wisconsin Dells waterparks.

Someday he will realize that following God’s vision for his life is the only way to stay fulfilled, not a trip to a waterpark. But God meets us where we are at, and a waterpark is what inspires my son right now to keep fighting the good fight.

Where there is no vision, the people perish, but whoever obeys the law is joyful. Proverbs 29:18a

It’s like it doesn’t exist

Several months ago I was having lunch with some friends, one of whom has ADHD, so has many similar issues to myself. As the four of us were talking, somehow we got onto the subject of disabilities, God, and His ability to heal.

I shared how when I am doing exactly what God wants me to, the disability seems to disappear, but when I am not trusting God, and trying things my own way, my ASD is very apparent.

My ADHD friend’s eyes lit up. “Yes! That is exactly how it is!”

May we all experience our limitations being lifted by God, especially as we celebrate the ultimate lifting of our lives through Christ’s death and resurrection!

Blessed Easter, everyone:)

Love always trusts and hopes

I Corinthians 13:7 [Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Those of you who know me really well know that I am not a very trusting or hopeful person by nature. It is only God in me that allows me to even appear trusting or hopeful!

I used to live in fear of the Russians attacking us when I was a child during the Cold War. Now I quickly relate the tensions in the Middle East to endtime prophecies. In other words, it easy for me to connect with, and communicate to my children the law and wrath of God.

But when I was doubting God a over a decade ago, it wasn’t God’s laws and promise of destruction for unbelievers that brought me back to Him. It was His never failing trust and hope in me that brought me back, most often shown through my Christian parents, husband and friends. The love, acceptance and belief in me was something that I just couldn’t resist, that I didn’t want to live without.

I can see my husband and mom just shaking their heads and saying, “It’s about time!” But I think I am finally understanding how to share the joy of God’s love with my kids more often than God’s wrath.

I am getting better at saying, “Yeah, you messed up, and there will be some consequences for that. But I believe in you, so don’t give up. Now what’s something fun we can talk about or do?” I am getting better at focusing on the positives, rather than the negatives.

I am getting better at always trusting and hoping.

After all, isn’t that what God does for us?