Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What if December Looked Different This Year?

This Christmas our family is learning to give, and, well, I’m a bit embarrassed to confess,  it's not as easy as I thought it would be. I’m a little more OCD than I'd like to admit, I’m a bit more impatience than I thought I was, and I actually like all my worldly American comforts.

You see, this Christmas, my husband and I decided we are not giving each other gifts, and our kids are each getting 1 gift and 1 adventure date coupon. Instead, we are opening our home to a teenager who is an Eastern European orphan, “N” (her name and location are being withheld for privacy & safety reasons).  We are partnering with Project 143 to give orphans hope.

In the past we've gone to other parts of the world, this time we are bringing the world to us.  We've come to recognize even though our hearts stir us to go into all the world and share the good news of Jesus, our family dynamic is such that we just can't. We already have a child who has a disability requiring adult supervision at all times. Taking him into places with unfamiliar smells, where he is on sensory overload, and can't find a quiet room full of Legos, is too much for him (and me!).

Here’s the thing: my excited, motherly heart tells me to splurge on N this Christmas. I want there to be stacks of presents for her under the tree; I want to take N on a shopping spree at Nordstrom; I want to give her a Pottery Barn bedroom; I want to have a day away at Spa W being pampered from head to toe; I want her to spend a day wandering Powell's Books and buying everything that takes her fancy; I want her to go to school to have friends; I want to teach her to ski, to bike, to ride a horse, and I want her to put her toes in the ocean.

Then I stop myself and remember…all she really needs for Christmas is a family.

What she really needs is hugs every morning, prayers every night, grace throughout the day, boundaries and unconditional love. To know she is loved, and she is accepted. To know the Messiah came 2016 years ago and she can receive the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ who loves her.  So we are going to do our best to meet those needs from Dec 20th to Jan 15th, and plant seeds of hope we know will continue throughout her life.

This song by Matthew West truly expresses what we hope to do this year: Give This Christmas Away.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Hope that does not Disappoint

Often, living life in a home where there is a child with “high needs” can be exhausting.  It can easily be discouraging when we see our children failing to meet the milestones that typical children are soon passing.  If I'm not careful, that discouragement so quickly crawls into the crevices of my mind and I must remember that I am learning to live a different dream for my child.  
There is sometimes a grey cloud cover on this journey, hovering ominously on the horizon, as if Eyeore has taken up residence in my home. And I don’t want him here, gloomy and mopey, always certain that the next step on the journey will bring disaster and more disappointment.  I want my home to be one where Christopher Robin would love to live: full of anticipation, adventure, laughter, and hope.

Hope, in my mind, is a key word for parents, for caretakers and for children living with developmental delays. Actually, especially for children with special needs. 

Hope. Not as in I want something to happen or be the case,  not referring to the lucky feeling when we hope to win the lottery, nor focused on the wanting when we hope to get a bike for Christmas.

I’m referring to lasting hope.  
Hope that does not disappoint
Hope that is bigger and deeper and surer than any diagnosis. 
Hope that looks beyond the possibilities of cures and medications.  
Hope, the desire of some good with the expectation of obtaining it. 
This is my hope that does not disappoint: Christ my Savior, with the promise of heaven to come.

Hope which reminds me even though we had major behavioral set-backs today, I know that tomorrow is a new day filled with grace. Hope that reassures me in-spite of my shortcomings as a parent, my child can set his sights on One who is greater than me. It is the object of my hope: the sure and steady anchor in the storms of disability, Christ alone.

And in light of that hope, on hard days, I can choose to take a deep breath, to offer an embracing hug and kneel in quiet prayer and say the words “I love you, I forgive you”.  It is because of a future hope, secure and true, that I know that I know, that my child has a purpose and plan in life. It is this hope that gives me confidence that even when I fail and we have to try again tomorrow, one day there will be no failures, there will be no more disability.  And I exalt in the hope of that glory! For THAT hope, that anchor for my soul, does not disappoint.