Envision that you have four small children. Imagine the littlest learned to climb out of his crib!
Pretend this was the picture your husband took of him at 4 am. Thank God right now that you are deaf in one ear and your husband almost away hears nighttime shenanigans first and therefore bears the brunt of nighttime parenting.
Moving on. You have a precious autistic preschooler that is missing the structure of school. There will be lots of screaming and gnashing of teeth. But he looks fabulous.
Fabulous, um.....or something. Go with fabulous because you are busy.
Now remember you have two six year olds. Notice that one is breathtaking and get concerned about her teenage years.
This one's love language is quality time. It's important to get on the floor and build Legos.
So, just stay sane and meet all those needs. Feed them, bathe them, and do all their therapies. Just handle it.
That's crazy, right? I would have this in the back of my mind constantly, then when something would explode, I kept thinking, "I can't handle this."
So I couldn't! I would lose my mind right along with them. I had NO IDEA I was talking myself into so much anxiety. This past year I've really started to latch onto Phil 4:8:
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."
However I hadn't embraced it as much as I thought because I was still telling myself that I couldn't handle things. Now, I tell myself that I am equipped for the good works God has called me to.
If you want to always be able to sing that scripture to yourself, here you go.
Christ in me can overcome these hectic circumstances, even when I cannot. This one thing has changed so much about how I feel during the day. I can't tell you I never get frustrated and regret the way I handled things but I can say it is so much better! The person leading our study described it as re-wallpapering your mind and I think that's a great visual. It's not so much the in your face situations that were taking me out so much as the undercurrent of negative self-talk that I didn't even realize was there. The wallpaper.
That was it. That's what is changing my days right now. I know it's not big but it has been powerful for me. As soon as one iota of 'I can't' creeps in I know to stop it right there and replace that with the truth that God can.
Someone also pointed out that the only offensive weapon in the armor of God is the sword of truth. Everything else is defensive, to protect, but by reading the Bible we are able to have a weapon of attack.
God is so faithful!! I am thankful to have had those truths revealed to me and I wanted to share a couple of other cool things that happened. We took a family vacation for the first time as a family of six and it was fabulous. I finally felt like this was our family and it was normal.
Not the new normal or the crazy normal, just normal. Caroline felt it too. On the heels of that, she and I had a few hours to spend together, for two days, while the boys did other things. That is next to impossible to find in our home and it was divinely orchestrated. I felt like it took our relationship a little deeper, just being able to indulge her and delight in her.
She wanted to get her ears pierced one day.
She took it like a champ.
The next day she wanted to bake cookies. This will go down as one of the most precious moments of parenting. She is drawn to music and is constantly singing. After the 4,000th time she told me that she loved mommy/daughter day and thanked me, I realized she was singing the song I'd listened to for miles of running, praying for our then non-existent adoption!
I will always melt a little when I see this picture. This whole experience was pivotal for our relationship, and Caroline's well-being, and our family as a whole, and all I can do is be in awe at what God did. And I just marvel at His sovereignty, to have orchestrated it all.
This time last summer, I was drowning and didn't even know it. This summer is so much better because of what God has done this past year. I wanted to write this down to remember to be thankful at these abundant provisions we've been given.
This time last year, we were just wrapping our heads around the idea that something was really going on with Walker. We had NO tools to equip him or our family. One year later, we have a diagnosis, tools coming out our ears, and more information and help is coming.
This time last year, we had NO idea what to do with this little girl that landed in our laps. Our lives got thrown in a blender and we were trying to pick up the pieces. We knew she was hurting but we didn't even know how to help her or move our family forward. One year later, we've got tools. We have been educated, supported, prayed over, and we are going in the right direction.
This time last year we weren't a family yet. We were all walking around, deer in the headlights, just putting one foot in front of the other. We are a family now. On paper, yes, but more importantly, in our hearts. Caroline talks about her brother and she means Harris. Hayes sings Jesus Loves Me to Caroline and kisses her hair when she goes to bed. I say I have four kids and don't offer explanation. I call her my daughter and don't think twice.
God did all that. And He promises we will see greater things than these.
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."