Sometimes I cry

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Being a parent is hard. You worry about things you never thought you’d have to. The worries that come when a child is put in your care can be so overwhelming. Add special needs to the equation and the worries can make you feel like you are drowning. I came across this beautiful post from Scary Mommy. I feel like it was right on. Before you read, get some tissues.

Sometimes I cry for you, little one.

Sometimes I cry because the world is so big and you’re so small, and I worry—Oh, do I worry—about your smallness in this big world.

Sometimes I cry because you’re so big and I’m so small, and the bigger you get to me, the smaller I get to you, and I worry—Lord, how I worry—about my smallness in your big world.

Sometimes I cry because this love is too big and my heart is too small, and a bursting heart feels—strangely, painfully—an awful lot like a breaking one.

Sometimes I cry because I’m overwhelmed by the beauty of you.

Sometimes I cry because I’m overwhelmed by the weight of you.

Sometimes I cry because in the process of gaining you, I gave up a version of me, and though I wouldn’t change that even if I could, sometimes I miss me desperately.

Sometimes I cry because your skin is so soft, and your eyes are so bright, and your soul is so new, and your heart is so open, and I’m sad. I’m sad that your innocence will crumble from experiences brutal and necessary, because you are as painfully human as the rest of us.

Sometimes I cry because you need help in ways that I can’t help you, and helplessness as a parent feels—strangely, surprisingly—an awful lot like sheer terror.

Sometimes I cry because as a mother I have no choice but to put on my big-girl panties every day, and both of those things—having no choice and big-girl panties—can be really, really uncomfortable.

Sometimes I cry because I am so unbelievably tired—not sleepy, but tired—that I can’t do anything else.

Sometimes I cry because I hear God in your giggles.

Sometimes I cry because your very existence evokes a joy so profound that smiles and laughter can’t quite reach it.

Sometimes I cry because this blessing is so big and my cup is so small and the overflow has to go somewhere.

Sometimes I cry because all of these things—the love, the worry, the sadness, the beauty, the bursting, the big-girl panties, the blessing—it’s all too much to take. Just too, too much.

So sometimes I cry for you. And for me. And for this big world. And for a thousand other terrible, wonderful, desperate, beautiful reasons that you won’t understand until you’re a parent.

Sometimes I cry for you, little one. Big, cleansing tears.

-Post originally at Scary Mommy, check them out for more.

The Power in the Name of Jesus

Things have been difficult lately to say the least. I’ll write a post later with most recent updates on Sweet Baby. I came across this beautifully encouraging post by Kelly Langston at Not Alone. Post and photo courtesy of Not Alone. I hope you are encouraged today.

Being a special needs parent is like climbing a great mountain. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s downright overwhelming.

When the journey begins—and you received that unexpected diagnosis—you suddenly find yourself at the base of a great mountain. The scale of this mountain is enormous and the trail that leads to the summit is rocky at best. Standing at its base looking upward, thoughts of self-doubt begin to flood your mind.

Do I have the strength to make the journey?

When we are filled with disparaging thoughts— the ones that come frequently when we consider the weight of caring for a child with special needs—we can find strength in one name:

Jesus.

We can become so overwhelmed that we are paralyzed with dread. Times can be so hard that we don’t have the words to express the pain or call to someone for help. In times like that, remember that name.

Somewhere today, a doctor is giving parents news about their child … and their lives will never be the same.

Jesus.

In a home somewhere, there is a marriage under stress:

Jesus.

Right now, a mother longs for her little one to get an appropriate education … but doesn’t know where to go:

Jesus.

This evening, a dad is comforting a child who has been teased and ridiculed:

Jesus.

Somewhere a family has no idea how they will be able to pay for therapies this month:

Jesus.

Don’t doubt the power in this name: Jesus. He is our Advocate. Our Author and Finisher. He gives us a New Song. His name alone makes the darkness flee. He looses chains and sets us free. In that name is the power over death itself.

If you are feeling weary and overwhelmed, just remember that name. I promise you, it is so much more than enough.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

– Philippians 4:13

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Anger

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These past few weeks I’ve really struggled with anger & bitterness. It’s easy to be angry about our situation, as we long to understand why. But what I do not doubt, is God’s love or His majesty and power. I just doubt His methods. I can’t understand how this could be best for Sweet Baby or for our family. I know some have said this is a great witness, but at times I wish God would use someone else to witness. I just want to be normal. But obviously that isn’t part of His plan right now. I know God is here, but that doesn’t take away the pain, fear, loneliness and discouragement. That’s when I go (and sometimes force myself) to the Word of God. I always find encouragement and peace. And I cling to it as if it were my last breathe.

~Our Sweet Life~

” I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works.”
Psalm 145:5
~

I Will Bring You Back from Your Captivity

I’m so glad to have found an amazing Bible Study: Unlocking the Treasure; A Bible Study for Moms Entrusted with Special-Needs Children by Bev Roozeboom. This journey has been difficult and even more so feeling like my hubby and I are the only ones on the journey. There is no one at our church struggling as we are. None of my high school girl friends even have kids. And all my mommy friends, even though they are amazing and are a huge support system; have all typical children. I’ve been able to connect with a mom whose daughter has Angelmans syndrome, but we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like. Our struggles are hard-but we don’t have it any harder than anyone else. Our struggles are all unique.

One night I just needed some encouragement and I wanted a Bible study for moms in my situation. I’m so glad the Lord lead me to this book. It brings me to tears each entry. Bringing up thoughts and feelings I didn’t realize I struggled with. It brings up issues I thought I had dealt with, but truly I am still holding onto. Each entry is exactly what I need for that day. Even though this books says it’s from moms of special-needs children, I truly think any mom can read it. All may not pertain to them, but I feel being a mom is difficult and no matter typical child or not, it never goes the way we imagined it. Remember while being pregnant how we dreamed of what it’d be like. Is it going how you dreamed of it? Todays topic was A Hope and a Future. I didn’t realize how at times I feel like I’m living in captivity. Now since Sweet Baby has no diagnosis, we don’t know what his future looks like. As he gets older he may catch up, and only those close to us would know how hard we struggled. Or he may always be our Sweet Baby. The uncertainty can sometimes be too much to swallow. I’d like to share from today’s entry. Everything in italic is from the book, I’ll be mixing in a few of my own thoughts/feelings.

There are times when I feel as though our son is holding us hostage! His demands, at times, are so great and the burden is so exhausting. When we look ahead, we don’t see that its going to change anytime soon. Even though Sweet Baby seems so close to walking independently, someday’s I still feel like we will never get there. Because I feel like we’ve been ‘so close’ for so long now. My biggest fear right now, is he is approaching the age for preschool. When I think of it, I go into a massive panic attack. Will he be moving out of our home after highschool? I’m not sure if he’d be able to get a job. Will we always be supporting him (financially, emotionally and in other ways) well into his adulthoodToday, let’s look at a familiar passage of Scripture and allow God’s Word to break some chains!

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD and I will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29;11-14

If we back up a few verses and read the first part of Jeremiah 29 (Jeremiah 29:4-7) the Lord instructs His children to go on with their lives, even during difficult times of trials. Dear sister, God’s plans will most certainly prosper you. It’s just that His plans often look different from our plans, but God really knows what He’s doing! He has the power to take this difficult challenge and turn it into His calling for your life. 

I choose not to stop living! It’s important to keep Christ my center and seek Him with my whole heart; step into each day with the hope and confidence that God will use me in my current circumstances. Go buy this Bible study ASAP, it won’t disappoint, I promise.

~Our Sweet Life~

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Finding My Ministry in the Home

I listen a lot to gracefm, I love the pastors and they preach the Word of God! I always hear them talking about how we have to go out the preach the gospel with the people we see in day-to-day life. It always makes me feel guilty. When I worked I was able to be an example (I hope) of Christ. But now I’m home. Who am I supposed to witness to? Then I realized the Sweet Baby is my ministry. He is who I’m supposed to be an example of Christ to. Then I read These few sheep from I Take Joy. It was like confirmation. Check out this great page! Photo and story courtesy of I Take Joy.

~Our Sweet Life~ iStock_000004268946Small

In the midst of raising little ones, a mother may find herself at odds with the future. Often, dreams and gifts are shelved in preference of little people with constant needs.

Conflict ensues between the privileged nature of motherhood and the long pause in what was a productive, somewhat predictable life.

How does a mother measure success?

Some say life is made up of defining moments. A typical Sunday revealed itself as one of those moments for me. While the speaker expounded on the life of David, I did not expect to be singled out by the Lord. No one around me suspected the arresting that took place that Sunday morning – of my mind, will and emotions – held captive by a thought which transformed into a desire to take the Lord at His word – at home.

Mothers of young children can feel overlooked in the church setting. From the pulpit we hear of mission trips, service opportunities, small groups, worship bands and all sorts of public endeavors. But with a van full of car seats and nap times looming – I was in no place to serve in public. I knew it – but needed affirmation from above.

The speaker described in vivid detail the life of David. Not David the king, but David the shepherd. As the sermon unfolded – time stood still for me. I felt all alone – in a good way – personalizing the story.

David’s brothers mocked him for having such a small job – tending to his ‘few sheep’. They were fighting the big battles, had the upfront positions and represented little brother to the world. David had no voice for public ears. His thoughts were relegated to the mound of sheep off the beaten path of real life and no one expected more of him.

But David sought the Lord in his isolation. He used the years of serving and protecting his ‘few sheep’ as an opportunity to know God. He did have a voice – and an audience of ONE. On the backside of a mountain David learned to pray – not in the, ‘I’m asking for things’ kind of praying but in the, ‘Lord, I want to know your more ‘ fashion. He turned his thoughts into songs (Psalms) which soothed the sheep and brought heaven to earth.

David fought off lions and bears – archenemies poised to steal, kill and destroy his flock. His sheep knew his voice and he knew their limitations.

While David was being faithful in the little – God was training his hands for war and capturing the shepherd’s heart for His own. Culture would eventually be shaped and history rearranged by the actions of this unassuming sheep herder.

I remember the Sunday service, like it was yesterday. I left church with my mound of notes – and mulled over the facts, chewing on the hard truths of God’s ways.

Little becomes much – Up is down – The backside of the mountain is in the presence of the King.

My eyes were opened to the possibilities. What if?

What if I embraced this role of mom/shepherd tending to my ‘few sheep’ with everything I had? What if I learned to know God during these busy, quiet years? What if  I was all right with being misrepresented without a voice?

Fast forward a decade, or two, and this shepherd/mom is in a whole, new place. The little lambs are strapping men and lovely ladies. Some days I long for the season when life was simple, kids were little and God was so near.

I’m  thankful for a church leader who ministered the word of God in a timely fashion – fitly spoken for my hungry heart in need of a defining moment.

Young mom – use these tender days to watch over your little ones. Learn the dynamics of spiritual warfare by protecting them and get to know your God while in the quiet place on the backside of the world.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
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 overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

– See more at: http://www.itakejoy.com/these-few-sheep/#sthash.9YqJioKi.0rrvXZde.dpuf

Lighting a Candle for those Born into Heaven

For those who follow me know a dear friend of mine has had several babies born into heaven. Many women (probably more than we think) have had miscarriages or stillborn. My aunt had a stillborn at full term; the sweet baby got tangled in the cord. Last month I had a baby born into heaven. I didn’t know I was pregnant until it was too late and I was already losing the baby. I was maybe 4 weeks along, so I didn’t have time to really grow an attachment. But since today is national infant loss day, I find myself thinking about the baby that would be growing inside my belly. I do know my due date would’ve been June 8, 2014. I find peace in knowing that my little angel is in heaven being taken care of by Jesus. He or She is much better off there then in this broken world. But many woman’s experiences have been much more heart wrenching and for that I’m sorry. I offer you a cyber hug.  In honor of National Infant Loss Day I’m lighting a candle for my angel and to support all mommies who have lost their angels.

From The Humbled Homemaker I found a letter for the mom whose baby was born into heaven. Check out The Humbled Homemaker‘s site, this letter is part of a 31 Days of Dear Mom Letters series. I hope this post ministers to you. Letter and all photos courtesy of The Humbled Homemaker.

~Our Sweet LIfe~

Dear Mom Whose Baby Was Born Into Heaven (via Miscarriage or Stillbirth)

Dear Mom whose baby was born into Heaven {via miscarriage or stillbirth},

First of all, I want you to know: You are a mother. Do not let anyone try to convince you that you are not.

I have not experienced the pain of losing a baby. I have not even had a miscarriage.

And sometimes people like me don’t know how to talk to people like you.

Should we mention the baby? Should we pretend it didn’t happen? Should we ask how you (the mother) are doing?

And when you see people like me post pictures of our babies on Facebook or even lament the terrible 2s, you’re probably thinking: “If only, if only I had that opportunity. If only I had my baby back…I would take 100 years of terrible 2s.”

I’m sorry, dear Mama. I’m sorry those of us who haven’t experienced your pain just don’t get it.

It’s true. We absolutely, positively do not know the pain you have endured. We do not know, so we should not pretend that we do! Everyone has trials in this life, but yours…yours…to have held the hope of a child without actually getting to hold that child in your arms…

I can only imagine it must be excruciating.

I  remember it like it was yesterday even though it was almost 5 years ago. My husband and I were in missionary training with several other missionary families, and our dearest friends in our shared apartment were halfway through their pregnancy with their 4th baby.

The mama was glowing in eager expectation of the baby she thought may be her first son. As my firstborn was only about 7 months old, we gleefully discussed all things baby together. Diapering, feeding, baby clothes…it was all so exciting.

I remember the day she told me it was strange to her that she hadn’t felt the baby move. At this point in her other pregnancies her babies had been moving. She worried something might be wrong.

But naive as I was, I thought she was fine.

And then I received the phone call. She had gone for her prenatal visit alone while her husband attended classes. She couldn’t get in touch with him. So she called me.

The baby was gone.

The breath knocked out of her already was now knocked out of me. My friend–my dear, dear friend…My friend whose dear baby we had all touched on her belly…

Her grief was overwhelming. And all of us missionary families mourned with her. We just did not understand.

Why God, Why? It is all we could ask.

My husband and I cared for her three girls and wondered how we would answer the questions like: “Why did God want our baby in Heaven?”

We were asking the same questions ourselves.

We still do not know the answer. My friend went on to lose several more babies. And then she had a son. Three girls and a boy.

She lost six babies in all. I will never forget one day on the phone: “Erin,” she said, “as a little girl I always wanted 10 kids. 10. Now I have them.”

She continued: “I just never realized 6 of those 10 would be born into Heaven.”

Encouragement for Mothers who Experience Loss

Image by tiwi

Dear Mom whose baby was born into Heaven,

I don’t know why. I do not have to. I am so, so sorry. I wish I could hug you right now. You are strong. The hurt you have endured is much greater than the temporary pain of childbirth.

No matter how many children you have here on earth or in Heaven, know you are a mother–to each and every one of those babies.

 

Confessions of a special needs parent: the hard things

I  came across this confessions from a special needs parent. It brought tears to my eyes. I have struggled with every single one of these! Except Sweet 1381335_511812385580777_1575068220_nBaby doesn’t have siblings or he hasn’t been diagnosed. But we still had to go through a grieving process. We had to grieve for the child we thought we’d have. We wanted to be able to fully love our Sweet Baby for who he is-flaws and all. Just the way Christ loves us. We’ve been through that process-we still have rough days when I’m like-hey?! I thought I already dealt with this. I knew parenting would be a challenge, but I never realized I’d be a parent to a sweet baby with special needs. The challenges that come with that are like a strong tidal wave coming at times we least expect it. It endangers us to give up, to lose hope. But we never will. The Lord is our strength to get through the day. You don’t know how strong you are until you fully have to rely on Jesus to give you the strength.  Like my favorite verse says: “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31

Lord increase my strength today!  I found this confession on Ellen Stumbo‘s page. I just LOVE the tag line: finding beauty in brokenness. Below is all her thoughts but anything italicized is my thoughts & expanding into my personal confessions. Please check out her page!

Confessions of a special needs parent: the hard things 

The love for our children compels us to stand strong against the tide crashing against us: the stares, the school system, the medical billing, the ignorance from other people, or the lack of support. And although we stand strong, we get tired, sometimes we are barely keeping our feet planted and we fear the tide will finally defeat us and wash us away. So we reach out and hold each others hand. Because we know together we are stronger, and because we need someone to stand with us, we cannot do this alone.

We face challenges. There are hard things about parenting children with special needs.

Social isolation:

  • We don’t want to be isolated, yet sometimes because of our children’s needs we find ourselves alone. We want friends. We need friends.
  • It’s amazing how isolated I feel despite the fact I’m NEVER alone. Between his many therapy/doctor visits and needing to do everything for Sweet Baby, I’m never really alone. Even now as I type this, it’s supposed to be Sweet Baby’s alone time to play by himself, instead I’m typing one handed because he just needed his mama. It’s also isolated not knowing anyone in the same situation-somedays I feel so utterly alone in my experiences. Thats starting to change as I meet families through the vision center we visit weekly. 

We feel like we are not doing enough:

  •  Deep down we often wonder, could I do more? Could I try harder?  Am I really doing all I can do? Sometimes, we have an overwhelming feeling of failing at everything we do because we don’t have enough time or energy to do it all. We feel like we are failing with our kids, failing at our marriage, failing at keeping a neat home, failing at our jobs.
  • Oh my if you could be in my head when these struggles come on. I constantly batter myself that I’m not doing enough. I’m not doing all his exercises that help him. It’s my fault he isn’t walking. It’s my fault he doesn’t know how to transition. It’s my fault he doesn’t hold his own bottle. I’m too lazy. I feel sometimes I’m so wrapped up in his exercises I forget to take a deep breathe and enjoy Sweet Baby. Because even though at times I feel we are stuck in the same routine-this season will too pass.

Siblings:

  • At times, we feel like we are cheating our typical children from having a normal childhood experiences. We feel torn, and we fear that our typical children will feel less important or forgotten.

Comparing our child to typical peers:

  • We try not to compare, but sometimes it’s hard not to notice how different our children are to their typical peers.
  • This one is in my hardest. I call it my struggle with the jealousy monster. Me comparing Sweet Baby also causes me to isolate myself. When its just us-I don’t realize what I’m ‘missing out’ on. 

Lack of communication:

  • It is hard when you cannot understand your child because of a speech delay,  it can be frustrating when you cannot have a conversation with your own child. The lack of communication also affects other social interactions and the forming of friendships. It is especially hard when your child is non-verbal.
  • Right now Sweet Baby is non-verbal. it’s a daily struggle trying to figure out what he wants. You can see he wants so badly to be able to tell us. As a mother, not being able to help her baby is like a knife in my heart. It’s the hardest struggle. The jealousy monster comes out with this aspect too. Seeing other moms being able to have a ‘conversation’ with their little ones. Seeing the littles ones going up to their mommys and just plain out saying, “I want . . .” To heard words come out of their little mouths instead of grunts and screams of frustration. We are working on a picture schedule and sign to bridge the communication gap, but he still only does his 2 signs. He understand more signs but he only signs eat/drink and more, which are very important. 

Others:

  • It is tiresome when other people throw judgment at us.
  • It is insulting when people hint they could do better and that our children’s behaviors are a result of poor parenting.
  • The constant battle with schools, doctors, insurance companies, etc, is exhausting.
  • Some people don’t even give our kids a chance.

The future:

  • We worry about the unknown, what the future holds. What will happen to our kids when we are not around? And how do we let go?
  • I don’t even want to think about the future because I don’t know what the future holds and honestly I don’t need to know. I just know the Lord has Sweet Baby in His hands and He will take care of him. When fears of the future loom: fears of will we have more kids? What will happen if we have more? Fear of what if something happens to me or my husband. I take a deep breathe and remember: “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Dealing with the diagnosis:

  • When we fist received our child’s diagnosis, we had to grieve the loss of the child we thought we would have. Once we deal with the diagnosis, we still have to deal with the everyday realities of our children’s’ needs.

We want you to recognize the hard things about parenting a child with special needs, we hope that someday you will understand what it is like to walk in our shoes. Ultimately, we want you to stand with us, because when you do, you will see that we are courageous, funny, compassionate, resilient, brave, flexible, forgiving, generous, and so full of love. And we want to share that with you too.

~   ~

These thoughts come from the dark moments of doubt and fear. Those moments when I forget that I know the Creator of heaven and earth and He has a plan for me. I need to remind myself: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6  Soon I will make a list of the special things of being a special needs parent.  Because there is such a beauty and peace about Sweet Baby, I want you to know that about him as well.

~Our Sweet Life~

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The Virtuous Wife Series: 5 Ways to Exercise Purity

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I recently started following the Time-Warp-Wife’s blog series, “The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife.” I think it’s so important in this day and age to be aware of our thought life. It is so easy to let what we think is a little thought slide. Then it slowly re-enters our mind. We entertain, we feed & slowly it grows into something that we can’t control. We find ourselves saying & doing things that we never thought we would. It’s also important what we take in through our eyes & ears. If you keep watching movies/tv shows/reading books on say, affairs-what thoughts may you find yourself entertaining? That is why it’s important to be taking in things that nurture our spirits to be more Christ like. I was excited to see this 5 ways to exercise purity. Please, please check out her blog for previous parts to the series as well as future posts. She adds to the series every Monday & Thursdays.
Also find her on Facebook!

No married? I still think this can apply to you! Yes, you! Think of it as, The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Woman!
(Photo courtesy of Time Warp Wife
~Our Sweet Life~

This is week two/part two of our series, “The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife.” For previous posts, please see the links at the bottom of this article.

Another name for the virtue of purity is “pure in heart.” To be pure in heart means to have good intentions. The opposite of that would be doing things merely because we feel obligated to, or doing one thing while thinking another, otherwise labelled a hypocrite.

I remember driving in the car one evening with my oldest son when I said to him, “I’m not like that. I’d never been so rude to a person…”

As far as I was concerned, I was a good girl. I held my tongue. I didn’t shake things up like I could have. I never would. I’m too kind for that type of behavior.

At least I thought I was, until I heard Brendan’s response. He sharpened and challenged me with his wisdom when he said, “Not really. It’s not that you’re any kinder than them–you’re just too shy to really say what’s on your mind.”

Ouch. That comment stung, but his words rang true and I knew it.

I had just spent ten minutes ragging on about this person and saying how much they got on my nerves. I hadn’t stopped to consider that my thoughts were every bit as guilty as someone’s actions could be. I’m timid, and I’m shy, but I’m every bit as guilty as the next when it comes to my thoughts.

I was reminded of the Pharisees who Jesus often reprimanded in scripture. He compared them to a cup that is clean on the outside, but dirty on the inside (see Matt. 23:25), and white-washed tombs:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. – Matthew 23:27-28

God searches the heart, He sees the ugly parts that I tuck away from the world. This is why it’s important to consider my thoughts as much as I do my actions.

Are they reflecting the love of Christ? Or do they reflect a self-centered impatient heart? A pure heart is one that is centered on Christ.

It’s not always easy to do, but this virtue is certainly something that we can exercise. Let’s look at five ways to get started:

1. Consider your words. This includes swearing, lying, gossiping, yelling, and bragging. Are you seeking to edify others? Is your conduct in-line with God’s will? If it isn’t, practice stopping yourself the moment it comes out of your mouth and correct your behavior.

2. Consider your love. Do you love to get love? Is the love you have toward your husband and God conditional? In other words will you love them just as much tomorrow if things don’t go your way?

When love becomes just a matter of give and take we discover that some days we can’t give because we haven’t been given enough. Our love tank is empty. But if we love others simply because God loved us, we always have our love tanks full by His Spirit, overflowing and ready to pour out on others.

Timothy Keller writes, “Without the help of the Spirit, without a continual refilling of your soul’s tank with the glory and love of the Lord, such submission to the interests of the other is virtually impossible to accomplish for any length of time without becoming resentful.” The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment With the Wisdom of God.

3. Consider your actions. Are you serving others joyfully or grudgingly?
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7

When we give from the heart as unto the Lord, anything we do including laundry starts to makes sense. We can say, “Lord, this is the job You have given me. These are the people You’ve entrusted in my care. And I’m going to serve them the best way I know how.”

A virtuous woman understands that her final reward comes from the Lord.

4. Consider your sexual behavior, and yes–your thoughts. Is your desire to your own husband or toward another man?
But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. – Matthew 5:28

This pertains every bit as much to us as it does to the men. It might seem harmless to hoot and howl over Hollywood’s hottest hunk, but that kind of behavior isn’t becoming of virtuous women because it isn’t in step with God’s desire for us. Men are created in the image of God and should be treated as such.

5. Consider your intentions. For example, if you are involved in ministry are you doing it for the sake of the Lord or a selfish reason such as the approval and praise of your peers.

Also consider your small acts of ministry such as visiting a sick person in the hospital, bringing a meal to a family in need, babysitting for a friend in need, etc. The same question should be asked, “Why are you doing it? For the sake of the Lord or for your glory?”

This concludes our study on the virtue of purity. I hope that you encouraged and perhaps challenged in your walk with the Lord.

We’ll continue this series on Monday when we chat about the virtue of self-control.

Also see:
The schedule for this series
Week 1: Introduction
Week 2 – Purity Pt. 1

You are loved by an almighty God,

I’m really looking forward to this series. Not married? I think this can’t still pertain to you! Yes you! Just think of it as the virtuous life of a Christ-centered woman!

This is week two/part two of our series, “The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife.” For previous posts, please see the links at the bottom of this article.

Another name for the virtue of purity is “pure in heart.” To be pure in heart means to have good intentions. The opposite of that would be doing things merely because we feel obligated to, or doing one thing while thinking another, otherwise labelled a hypocrite.

I remember driving in the car one evening with my oldest son when I said to him, “I’m not like that. I’d never been so rude to a person…”

As far as I was concerned, I was a good girl. I held my tongue. I didn’t shake things up like I could have. I never would. I’m too kind for that type of behavior.

At least I thought I was, until I heard Brendan’s response. He sharpened and challenged me with his wisdom when he said, “Not really. It’s not that you’re any kinder than them–you’re just too shy to really say what’s on your mind.”

Ouch. That comment stung, but his words rang true and I knew it.

I had just spent ten minutes ragging on about this person and saying how much they got on my nerves. I hadn’t stopped to consider that my thoughts were every bit as guilty as someone’s actions could be. I’m timid, and I’m shy, but I’m every bit as guilty as the next when it comes to my thoughts.

I was reminded of the Pharisees who Jesus often reprimanded in scripture. He compared them to a cup that is clean on the outside, but dirty on the inside (see Matt. 23:25), and white-washed tombs:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. – Matthew 23:27-28

God searches the heart, He sees the ugly parts that I tuck away from the world. This is why it’s important to consider my thoughts as much as I do my actions.

Are they reflecting the love of Christ? Or do they reflect a self-centered impatient heart? A pure heart is one that is centered on Christ.

It’s not always easy to do, but this virtue is certainly something that we can exercise. Let’s look at five ways to get started:

1. Consider your words. This includes swearing, lying, gossiping, yelling, and bragging. Are you seeking to edify others? Is your conduct in-line with God’s will? If it isn’t, practice stopping yourself the moment it comes out of your mouth and correct your behavior.

2. Consider your love. Do you love to get love? Is the love you have toward your husband and God conditional? In other words will you love them just as much tomorrow if things don’t go your way?

When love becomes just a matter of give and take we discover that some days we can’t give because we haven’t been given enough. Our love tank is empty. But if we love others simply because God loved us, we always have our love tanks full by His Spirit, overflowing and ready to pour out on others.

Timothy Keller writes, “Without the help of the Spirit, without a continual refilling of your soul’s tank with the glory and love of the Lord, such submission to the interests of the other is virtually impossible to accomplish for any length of time without becoming resentful.” The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment With the Wisdom of God.

3. Consider your actions. Are you serving others joyfully or grudgingly?
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7

When we give from the heart as unto the Lord, anything we do including laundry starts to makes sense. We can say, “Lord, this is the job You have given me. These are the people You’ve entrusted in my care. And I’m going to serve them the best way I know how.”

A virtuous woman understands that her final reward comes from the Lord.

4. Consider your sexual behavior, and yes–your thoughts. Is your desire to your own husband or toward another man?
But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. – Matthew 5:28

This pertains every bit as much to us as it does to the men. It might seem harmless to hoot and howl over Hollywood’s hottest hunk, but that kind of behavior isn’t becoming of virtuous women because it isn’t in step with God’s desire for us. Men are created in the image of God and should be treated as such.

5. Consider your intentions. For example, if you are involved in ministry are you doing it for the sake of the Lord or a selfish reason such as the approval and praise of your peers.

Also consider your small acts of ministry such as visiting a sick person in the hospital, bringing a meal to a family in need, babysitting for a friend in need, etc. The same question should be asked, “Why are you doing it? For the sake of the Lord or for your glory?”

This concludes our study on the virtue of purity. I hope that you encouraged and perhaps challenged in your walk with the Lord.

What They Didn’t Tell Me

I’ve been following some great parent support groups on Facebook. A few of them are for Autistic families. Sweet Baby has not been diagnosed with Autism but their words of encouragement touch my heart. Below are some poems I’ve found on these pages and well as a sensory processing disorder support page. Each one brings tears to my eyes and I relate to each in a different way. I’ve changed them just a little bit to fit our situation. I hope if your a mama of a special needs child I hope these poems bring comfort to you the way they did me. I recently wrote a poem myself and will be posting it soon. 

“Here are some things you will not find in your research on autism special needs.

You will not learn how this diagnosis will affect your marriage or other members of your family. You will not be told how it may fundamentally 1234387_10201189676478637_1953455665_nalter your perceptions of what is “normal,” how it may change your view of human beings, how it can force you to question small talk and why we behave the way we do, how it will transform your outlook on life, how it will change you, how your life and everything you assumed to be true, is no longer what you thought.

Having a child with autism may cause you to feel things you never dreamed possible. You may know moments of joy and moments of despair you could not have imagined. You may find yourself going to untold lengths in the hope of helping your child. You may feel distracted, unable to concentrate. Your work and career may suffer. You may learn what it is to be sleep deprived. You will come to know what it means to feel desperation. You will know sorrow in a way no one can prepare you for. You will know happiness in a way no one can prepare you for. Sometimes you may feel both sorrow and happiness within the same day, within the same hour, within the same minute.

You may spend money you do not have on yet another treatment, yet another doctor, yet another specialist, yet another therapy, yet another intervention, all the while rationalizing that if it helps, it will all be worth it. You may contemplate doing things you would have scoffed at before your child was diagnosed. You may find yourself trying things that defy logic and have no medical basis. You may listen to implausible, anecdotal stories and think — we will try that next. You may dream your child is speaking to you in full, complex, beautifully self aware and revealing sentences. You may wake from those dreams believing for a few seconds they were real and not a dream. You will pray that you might dream again. You will welcome sleep, as you never believed possible. You may ache with sadness because your child is crying and in pain and your presence brings them no solace. That ache may become unbearable when your child hits themselves in the face, bites their own arm or hand, punches their own legs or stomach. You may question every maternal instinct you have.

You may feel ecstasy from being hugged, unprompted. You may feel the exquisite joy from having your child reach for you, ask for you or look at you. You may know the joy that comes from seeing your child work so hard at something that does not come easily to them. You may celebrate when they use the bathroom unaided, drink from a cup, sleep for more than a few hours without waking you, try a new food or simply acknowledge your presence. You may feel a gratitude you would not have believed possible. You may cry from happiness when they say a word, any word, even if you are the only person who can understand what the word is. You will know what it is to appreciate commonplace things — eye contact, the correct use of the word “me,” “you” and “I,” physical contact initiated by your child, a word, any word spoken or a smile.

You will feel a fierce love for your child that seems to come from a place that is not of this world. You will know what it is to love unconditionally and you will understand what that really means.”

~ Ariane Zurcher

 

“Dear Mommy, don’t you cry now and Daddy, don’t you weep.1175388_500893776672638_861680460_n
I want to whisper in your ear before I go to sleep.

I know that when I came here, I seemed perfect in every way
And you were so proud Daddy, when you held me on that day.

And Mommy when you kissed me and wrapped me up so tight,
I felt as if I belonged here, and everything was right

When things got really scary, and I began to slip away
I saw your face, dear Mommy as you knelt by me to pray.

And Daddy, I always notice when you wipe away a tear,
or watch the other little boys as they run and laugh and cheer.

I may not be able to tell you how much I love you so,
or even show you how I feel and what I really know.

But when you hold me Mommy, at night when all is still
I feel your dear heart beating, and I know that all is well.

And Daddy when you take me to the park, to run and play
I know that you still love me, though the word’s I cannot say.

So Daddy don’t you cry now, and Mommy don’t you weep,
I want to tell you something before I go to sleep.

I may be sort of different, and you may not understand
I know that I am not that child that you and Daddy planned

But I love you both so very much, and I know you love me too
And one day when this life is done, you will feel my love for you.

I know the future is unknown, and you will always have to be
The ones who love and listen and take good care of me.

The road we walk is rough sometimes, and you cry a lot of tears,
but one day we will turn and laugh as we look back over the years.

So Mommy don’t you cry, now and Daddy please don’t weep
I want to say, I love you before I go to sleep.”

~ Susan Meyer

“The world i once knew had changed forever,
For you my  girl son your extra clever,
Words so unclear you dont always speak,
Sometimes its to much mummy feels to weak.

All the hard work and effort your worth,
For you i’d move heaven and the earth,
I dont mean to get angry or even get mad,
But sometimes its hard and mummy gets sad.

Its hard to know they judge you and me,
Before they understand or even try to see, 
They dont see the struggle we go through each day,
Or the feelings you must have i want to take away.

Mummy gets scared when i dont know what to do,
But please Haylee Sweet Baby know that mummy loves you,
When your sad and angry even when you cry,
I only get sad and angry because i dont know why.

Haylee Sweet Baby I wish I could make it easier for you,
But its so dam hard mummy has no clue,
I try my best to help and understand,
Remember i love you and will always give you a hand.”

~Unknown

 

Less Judging More Love

Found this while scrolling through facebook. It works perfectly for how often we feel misunderstood with all of Sweet Baby’s special needs.  How can you judge less and love more? Tell me below in the comments. 

“I’ve been thinking about how easy it is to misunderstand and judge others. 1240093_10151717447846961_1213988082_n
Lately I’ve been aware of some of the unspoken yardsticks by which I measure others, like: A good mom doesn’t let her kids watch too much TV and doesn’t scream at her kids.

But then there’s Jesus who turns these notions upside down when He says, “The greatest of these is love.” What if, instead of self-righteousness, we offered love? It would sound like this: “Being a mom can be exhausting. Do you want me to come over and watch your kids so you can have a break?”

The Bible reminds me that I’m supposed to love, not judge and God’s challenging me to examine my thoughts of others. He wants us to come alongside others and help carry their burdens, rather than adding to them with criticism.

From Proverbs 31 Ministries “Everyday Life” Radio Program withLysa TerKeurst. For more, visit http://proverbs31.org/blog/loving-instead-of-judging/

~Our Sweet Life~