Thursday, August 6, 2009

Did you sell your kids and get a new car?

This is what our neighbors jokingly asked us when they saw us get out of our little Mini Cooper this weekend with no minvan and no children in sight! Freedom!!! (I think this car could fit inside our mini van!) Anyway, it was awesome! We brought the kids down to my sister's and brother-in-law's house for the weekend, left the van with them and rented this fun little car (another generous gift from family)!!! We came home and were without children for 2 nights and 2 days!!!!! This is the first time we've left all of the children to do something fun. We've left them for various hospital stays throughout the past 19m, but none of those were too fun or restorative. On Saturday we went to this awesome gluten free bakery and grabbed lunch and sandwiches for the road and headed up to Popham Beach, Maine. We have vacationed at Popham Beach with my family for the past 3 years and totally love it up there. We went to the State Park Beach and read, napped and walked without having to deal with kids crying about the wind, the sand, the waves, the cold water, they can't walk any more, "can we go back to the car", "the sand it too hot", etc. etc. It was awesome! Chad and I talked a lot about how to change our situation/life so that we don't stay in such a crappy place (emotionally) and don't ever get so low again. We have inserted mini get aways each quarter, a separate day off for Chad and I once each month, a date night together at least once a month and random other little things to take back our life from this constant pummeling we've been taking. We started having family meals today too and the kids responded really well to it! Hopefully it will get even better and meals won't be the crying/whining/fighting/food throwing/time out-ing event it usually is.

We are not in a better place yet, but we have found the trail marker to it and have started on the path, hopefully. Please keep praying for our bedraggled little family. The path to a better place starts out on a knife edge and feels very easy to fall off the path. I think as we force good rests into our lives amidst the hard things that keep coming, that the path to a better place will feel less precarious and will be a little easier to follow. If I stay on the mountain path analogy, I think Chad and I have been trying to sprint up this mountain of hardship and just get to the top where everything will be better. However, we keep coming to another steep stretch of the trail and there is no end in sight, or so it seems. So now we have to re-strategize because sprinters can's sprint through a marathon. They have to become long distance runners and pace themselves and in our case, rest alongside the trail, eat some yummies and maybe even set up camp for the night. So that is our new strategy. We are starting to accept that we are on this mountain and that we may have to climb for a long long time...we've got to start looking around at the path we are on, see if there is anything worthwhile to see, sing some good Deerfoot songs when moral gets low and occasionally ask passersby (ie our families/friends) to carry our packs for a little way. It's kind of embarrassing to have somebody carry your pack when they've got their own pack, but we have gotten to the point where we are freezing cold, soaked, tired, hungry, disoriented and need the help. It was kind of nice to have family give us provisions, carry our packs and let us rest this weekend. Thank you!

Now for some fun pictures! Here we are in driving our fun little car up to Maine

Here we are at the gluten free bakery.

We forgot to take any pictures at the beach, but that really was the best part of the day.

Here are the 5 boys (our 3 plus 2 of our nephews) eating breakfast and getting car racing quizzes and related physics lessons from uncle Tom. The kids were really loving this!


Lovesgarlic said...

Nice title! That made me laugh and laugh. You look really happy in the pictures, which is so great to see.

I like your mountain analogy. I think it is a good way to think about things - a marathon climb and not just a sprint. I am really proud of you Debby.

When we started out with autism, I "sprinted" everywhere I went. I was constantly reading articles on healing, managing various therapists coming into the home, working on physical/cognitive therapy after hours, caring for the new baby, talking to other special needs moms... on and on it went. Until I completely burnt out from the pace and the devastated emotions that were always right there. In a way, I think that pace was a coping mechanism for dealing with how upset I really was about things.

It is good to recognize that you need to pace yourself and give yourself room to feel things - even to feel happy and good about a weekend off. I think it is also a real turning point to find the acceptance you are finding. You know what I mean by that. Not accepting that things are just going to suck and that life will always be bad. But accepting that some things, like special needs, like twins, like three kids under the age of 3, are hard. Doing that frees you up to then take steps to make things better. Weird how that works.

Yay for you Debby! This is a big milestone. You are on the verge of being able to see the evidence, the results, of the deep work God has been doing in your life.

Isaiah 43:18-19. "Forget the things that happened in the past. Do not keep on thinking about them. I am about to do something new. It is beginning to happen even now. Don't you see it coming? I am going to make a way for you to go through the desert. I will make streams of water in the dry and empty land." said...

Oh Debby! You guys look so happy and carefree in your pictures. It does my heart good to hear that you were able to take some very much needed time off and that you and Chad could spend some quality time together being a couple once again. I can see that God is beginning to answer some of our corporate prayers because you are so wise and insightful in your new plan for the future. Your struggles and grace that God has given you to cope, to share, and to look to the future have been such a testimony to us all. Love you!

ShirleyNewLife said...

It's so awesome to see both of you smiling. Glad you had a great weekend.

What Heather wrote is so true.

Debby and Chad, I'm so thankful that you're seeing a glimpse of how God is working in you and His transformation. God has never abandoned you. He is carrying you and providing for you. He has promised that he'll never leave you or forsake you. And he hasn't.

God is also working in all of us to transform us. How are we responding to help you. What is our heart response?

We all want to think that sanctification is a process that we won't notice happening, but just reap the results. God uses the hard times in our lives as a means for changing us - transforming us to the image of Jesus. That's the whole deal for each of us: to be conformed to the image of Christ. We all sign on for that, but we don't really have a clue how that will happen. And we really don't like it much when it involves our leaving our comfort zones.

God's desire is that we would love Him just for himself and not for what he gives us or can give us. That is so incredibly hard for most people in the US. We have so much that we expect our abundance to be the norm. We do want God to give us things. We expect that our needs will be met.

We expect that our definition of "need" is what God will do. In truth it is God's definition of our "needs" that we must learn.

Our deepest need is for God and
his love. We need the salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life that is ours through Jesus' death on the cross and his resurrection.

As Christians, we nod our heads and say "yes I want those things." But we really don't have a grasp of the enormity of these gifts. When we reach the place where we finally grasp the greatness of God's love for us and his sacrifice for us, it makes such a huge difference.

OK, I've been a Christian for over 30 years. For many of those years I struggled with trying to understand God's love and God's comfort. I definitely wanted them to be the way I defined them --- especially in the most difficult times of suffering. In the early years of my Christian walk, God provided those things the way I expected them. Then, bit by bit the love and comfort weren't delivered in ways I defined, but in ways that God defined. Each time I grew and was transformed.

2 years ago was a huge "aha" moment for me. It was the time of the most suffering I had ever been through - and it lasted longer than I wanted. Through it all, I kept crying out to God "I need you to show me that you care. I need you to show me that you love me. I need you to feel your comfort. Yet you are so distant."

What I wanted most from God wasn't anything material. I wanted God. And I thorougly thought he was ignoring me. I had lost everything material that had mattered to me.
I grieved the loss of our building and ministry. I grieved the disabilities of our grandchildren. I grieved the loss of my best friend. This was the biggest: I grieved the illness that I saw affecting Dad - and the upcoming, slow loss of my husband. (Now we know it was gluten that was causing his confusion and not early alzheimers.)

In September 2007, one day I had had enough. I spent the day crying, reading my Bible, praying, and fasting. I had no where else to go. Around noon of that day, God opened my mind so I could understand God's great love for me. His caring. His closeness.

God's greatest expression of his love for me was Jesus Christ, His Son's death on the cross for me. Suddenly it all made sense to me in such a new way. I was overwhelmed by God's love.

I pray that as you work through your season of suffering, you will come to experience God for himself - know his immeasurable love, his great hope, and his power for you. You can't force it to happen. It's not by works. It's by relinquishing self to God.

ShirleyNewLife said...

This story applies to any kind of life struggle, suffering, climbing up a long steep mountain path.

From your comments it sounds like you're creating some Lean To's for your journey. Places to rest, stop and catch your breath, get strength, and look at the beauty around you. Good for you !!!

PS... I'm also going to post another story called "Holland Scmolland"..... :0

by Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

ShirleyNewLife said...

Holland Schmolland by Laura Krueger Crawford
Holland Schmolland

OK - the story is too long to post.
So you can read it at the link provided.