Tag Archives: scriptures

Pray Without Ceasing

prayerforyouth1I often hear the scripture from 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “pray without ceasing” and wonder….do I? Ever? I say the blessing before I eat and when I put my head on the pillow at night but is that it? As I grow as a Christian, I recognize that I sincerely do pray a lot more than on the formal occasions such as meals and bedtimes & I try to instill these habits in my children as well. Today, it occurred to me when I was putting a load of delicates in the washing machine.  I probably shouldn’t have put them all in the same load, but I did.  As I closed the door, my involuntary statement was, “Please don’t allow the hooks to snag the sweaters.” Who was I talking to? I was alone in the room, so I guess it was God.  Is He okay with my silly request?  I believe He is…especially as I acknowledge Him and give Him the glory.  Will my clothes get snagged? I will know when the rinse cycle is complete and I pull them out, but, even if they are snagged, it doesn’t mean God didn’t hear my prayer, it just means He had a different plan for me.   Maybe that plan will include a new sweater.  Wouldn’t it be great, if I could remember that response to my “bigger” prayers as I do my smaller ones?  It would be wonderful if I prayed about something and when things didn’t turn out the way I hoped, I would recognize that God may have a better plan in mind? Maybe with a little more practice, I will.  So, as I attempt to pray without ceasing, I will also attempt to remember that He already knows the plans he has for me….and maybe it is even better than a new sweater!

“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.”  –Jeremiah 29:11

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Fear of the Unknown

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Fear of the unknown is something well known to the parents of a kid with Reactive Attachment Disorder.  I know something is going to happen, I just don’t know what or when.  Today my son left for school with a look in his eye.  A distant, far away, completely detached look.  My son who usually has an adorable cuteness, beautiful brown eyes and a warm smile, had a blank stare.  My talkative child who would argue any point, didn’t argue and really didn’t speak at all.  He made one sarcastic remark about restoring our relationship and went out the door.

I sent an email to the school saying that I feared that a bad decision was in his future.  Now, I sit with butterflies in my stomach and dread the phone ringing.  Will he actually do something?  How bad will it be?  Or will he be wise enough to seek out a trusted friend or teacher to talk about what’s on his mind?

The fact of parenting a RAD kid is that you will never be the one he will confide in.  You will never have the honor of being the one to teach her right from wrong.  You will never be the one who can give advice or guide him.  Oh, you can try….and you will.  You will spend years and years trying to guide and instruct.  You will spend years and years trying to comfort and nurture.  You will spend years and years trying to welcome her into a deep relationship with you.  But, you will fail.  Oh you may get a glimmer of a bond, but it is probably just superficial.  You may even believe you are making a difference…for a moment.  But you will never make the difference that you hope to.  You will never get out of this relationship what you put into it.  I know, I know, never say, “never.”

OK, so you won’t get the relationship with your child that you desire, but does that mean you get gypped out in the relationship department?  Absolutely not.  You will get to know many people that you would’ve never gotten to meet without your special needs child.  You will develop friendships with strangers that adore your child and bail him out at every chance. You will get to make deep, sincere friendships with other RAD parents. You will get to have deep respect for all those people who take the extra time to make a difference in your child’s life. You will revere coaches, teammates, therapists,classmates, bus drivers and even janitors who are called to bring joy into your child’s day.  Your relationship with your spouse and your other children will deepen as you all work through the pain, grief and bewilderment of having a child with RAD living in your home.

And, ultimately, it is my hope that you have a relationship with God and that it will deepen because of your ultimate reliance on Him to get through a single day.  It is during those times when you see that look, the empty, bone chilling evil look in your child’s eyes that the fear will make you run to the Lord and pray for the best.  You will pray that a smile from the lunch lady or school secretary will change the course of a day.  You will ask God to help your child make a good decision.  You will pray that God will foil any plan that your child may have that will cause him further pain.  You will ask God to comfort the pain your child suffers from his past trauma that now also causes you pain.  You will ask God to comfort you.  Your child’s determination to not have a relationship with you will cause you to deepen your relationship with the One who created you…and created your child…and knows exactly what the day will bring.

The fear of the unknown? There is no “unknown” to fear, even if it may be unknown to you.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.    –Isaiah 41:10

 

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Abeyance?

Isaiah-55-8

Really?  Where did that word come from?  Have I ever seen it before? What does it mean? Who knows? If I learn it will I ever be able to use it in a sentence? I am fascinated sometimes by words.  Words I didn’t know, words that I might use again in a crossword puzzle or a game of Words with Friends.  Czarina.  Another good word that might aid you in competition sometime.  Wouldn’t that one be fun to add to someone else’s Czar in a game?  But, I digress.  Today I want to talk about Abeyance.

This morning was a typical rainy morning in Western PA and I was at my dining room table doing my morning devotions. I read from the book of James in the Bible and was meditating on taming my tongue, familiar but something that is always worth repeating. I went on to read from a couple of other sources and ready from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young a devotion that started with, “Come to me with your plans held in abeyance.” Abeyance?  Is that a typo?  What does that mean?  I visited my Webster’s New Young American Dictionary because it usually presents information in an easier version for me, but Abeyance didn’t make the cut in this 1995 edition.  I then had to go to Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary where I learned that Abeyance means temporary inactivity or suspension.  Hmmmm. Interesting.  But, as far as  a devotional, I wonder what that means to me.  Sarah goes on to explain that we aren’t to make plans, but we are to ask God to guide us through our day, doing what He wants us to do in his time.  OK, I get that.  I will try to do that.  As I pondered, meditated and studied more, I heard an odd noise, but didn’t really pay much attention to it.  It wasn’t that odd, I was just aware of it.  The coffee maker brewing? The bathtub draining? Just not sure.

My son came downstairs, grabbed his breakfast and before heading out, said, “Funny thing.  I fell asleep in the tub and the water ran over. See you later. I love you!”  Out the door he went.  I shrugged my shoulders and kept reading.  I even texted a friend about his parting words.  Just another day in the life!  After she replied that what I see as normal, others see as panic, I thought I should at least investigate a bit.  So, I headed to the kitchen where I could see the evidence of water upstairs on the ceiling.  I rushed upstairs to dry up the mess knowing full well that my son wouldn’t have done a good enough job when I was greeted with a dry bathroom.  No wet towels on the floor, no water, no mess.  He had done a good job mopping up the water.  He had done as much as I could’ve done.

What a gift that I hadn’t responded to the odd noise.  Had I been privy to this information earlier, the clean up would’ve entailed a lot of yelling, bickering and harsh words.  No doubt.  The abeyance I was granted to the situation helped me tame my tongue.  Both testimonies to why my morning routine is vital to myself and to my family.

Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours.

That simple truth saved me a lot of grief this morning.  Thank You God!

 

 

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Change of Plans

journal

I just have to share my journal entry for today.

March 30.  Good Morning Lord.  It’s still dark out this morning and the house is quiet.  Another start to a new day.  What a gift.  A gift waiting to be opened.  A day so filled with options.  What should I do?  Go and get my nails done? Go shopping? Furniture shopping? Clothes Shopping? Grocery Shopping? Stay home and clean? Read? I need to read. Write? I need to write.  Prepare a lesson for Godly Girls on prayer? Prepare an opening lesson for Sunday School? So many things I might do.  Let me start here….with you….and maybe you can hep me decide.

I looked up from writing and on my table I see a hot pink post-it note with some scrawled notes: “Don’t hit send.” “Don’t react.” “Journal Entries.” “Phil 2:3-4.”  Not having any idea what those notes meant, I decided to look up the scripture before tossing the note in the garbage.

Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

OK – so to look to the above list again.  Through the eyes of selfless ambition?  Wow.

The Lord spoke to me and as much as I hate to say it, I don’t think I’ll be heading to the nail salon today.  However, it did prompt me to check one thing off the list.  Write. Done.

I hope you’ll join me each morning in pausing before you make out your plans for the day to ask the Lord what He wants you to do.  You may be surprised when he actually answers.

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Proverbs

stock-photo-the-word-proverbs-one-of-the-books-of-the-holy-bible-in-cut-out-magazine-letters-pinned-to-a-cork-167707772Many of us are not Bible scholars and we even struggle with what to read in the Bible when we do get the notion that we should.  Where do we start?  Many people suggest reading the gospel of John where you’ll find the message of salvation. Others suggest Genesis.  It’s at the beginning which is usually a really good place to start & many of the beloved Bible Stories from your childhood are there.  Very interesting.  So, no matter what else you may want to start to read, I’d like to suggest the book of Proverbs as a way to get yourself into the Bible.  This book is unique in that it has 21 chapters of useful information.  One chapter for each day.  So, simply put, you can read Chapter 1 on the first day of each month.  If you skip your Bible reading for a few days, just pick up on the chapter that corresponds with the date.  Easy.

These wise sayings that help us in everyday life, offering us advice on how to behave in various situations.

  • A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. 17:22
  • There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking. 29:20
  • Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife. 21:19
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 3:5
  • As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. 26:11
  • Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. 22:6
  • A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day; 27:15
  • He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. 28:27

Solomon gave us these proverbs and many wise suggestions for our daily living.  May I suggest we read them and heed them?  Let me know how you make out.

 

Proverbs 27:15-16 (New Living Translation)
A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.

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Nowhere To Go !

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No.  There sincerely is nowhere to go.  We have a son with Reactive Attachment Disorder.  What does that mean?  That he appears healthy and well on the outside and his inside is filled with rage and distrust of his parents.  To others, he’s a sweet, charming, polite kid.  To his adoptive parents, he’s a thief, a liar, a menace.  And we took an oath and adopted him.  Because of his early care…or lack thereof, he has decided he doesn’t want to love, so anytime, he finds himself getting closer to us, he does something off the wall to push us away.  And, each time, the push needs to be harder.

As a toddler, it was little sneaky things, an extra cookie, a stolen video game.  Now, as he approaches adulthood, it’s a stolen gun, a broken TV, and stolen car keys. No matter how much instruction he receives, it appears he will self-destruct in his own poor choices.

I’d like to say that this morning was a shocker,  but this traumatizing event was just another day.  Another day of lies, violence, screaming and a home ruled by mental illness.  I’d like to say this is rare, but quite the opposite.  This is how we live.

The aftermath leaves us bruised physically and scarred emotionally.  He rages, goes to school and I receive a message that says, “Paul has arrived safely at school.”  I reply, “Mom and Dad are traumatized at home.”

So, after a morning like this, what are we going to do?  Should we heed the advice of many caring concerned people?  “He should go somewhere.  You can’t live like this anymore.”  I agree 100%!  He should go somewhere.  Where might that be?  There is no special place for kids with RAD.  There is no known therapy that cures, there is no group home, there is no residential treatment facility with an open bed waiting for me in this moment.  In this moment, there are text messages to friends who may or may not be able to help me today.  A wait for a psychiatric bed in a hospital could be months, a call to the police would have them responding to a situation that would diffuse on their arrival.  He needs to go somewhere. There is nowhere to go!

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a RAD support group meeting where I met 8 other families with kids just like mine.  Amazing.  We are not alone though society would think we were.  We live in an isolated existence where no one knows what to say or how to help.  We laughed, we shared war stories, we understood.  Today I texted a few of those families and received cyber hugs & support.  Today’s pain is raw and feels huge….however, when I am once again in the comfort of these special people in a few weeks, we will have a laugh over my husband burning my son’s mattress.  We will joke about us finding the hidden cigarette lighters and stolen cheese. We will laugh on the outside and cry on the inside as we each lose a little more hope each day.  Oh, how I wish that didn’t have to happen.  That we could have hope.

A statement my 9-year-old reminds me of at times like these: “Mom, remember you always say, ‘You can steal my money, but you can’t steal my joy!'” Maybe I need to apply it to hope.  “You can steal my cell phone, but you can’t steal my hope.”

This morning I screamed, I cried, I raged.  Today I will post scriptures and messages about patience and will strive to look at things above.  I will try to turn the events around so that I can survive another day, another evening…even another moment.  I will search deeply for hope.  It is my HOPE that we will all make it through.  That we will somehow heal, somehow cope.  There is no place to go.  We have to figure out how to live and have hope here. “Be patient, then brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming.” Someday we will be able to go there.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.  –James 5:7-8

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Are You Plugged In?

power cords

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.               2 Timothy 3: 16-17

During some rough play in my family room, tiny items fell off of a shelf and landed behind the TV stand. They remained there for quite a while as I dreaded the task of looking for them among the cords and dust bunnies. Finally a friend offered to take on the task for me and her findings were great.  In the tangled web of cords and dust she found the little glass teddy bear drinking a cup of tea and also 4 cords that were either not plugged in at all or were plugged in at one end only.  They were actually power cords that were providing power to nothing.

This reminded me of our scripture reading. Sometimes our Bibles are like those power cords, powerful, yet not plugged in to anything.  Timothy explained that all scripture is God-breathed and useful.  However, just like power cords, it is only useful if it is used as it was intended.  We will grow in our faith and our relationship with God as we read and allow His word to teach, rebuke, correct and train us in righteousness.  The Bible is our powerful connection to the One in charge.  To leave it buried in a stack of books collecting dust would be as effective as those worthless cords behind my TV.  I challenge you to find your Bible and plug in to your power source.

 

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Love Dare #10

What did you do today?  Well, many things, but the thing that I’m most proud of is what I did for my husband.  A friend and I are working through The Love Dare, a 40 day Love Journey (Based on the book The Love Dare by Alex Kendrick.)  It is an intentional journey where each day you do one thing different for your spouse (without pointing it out to them.)  So, the goal is that you change….even if your spouse doesn’t.  It definitely puts things in a different perspective.

I originally did this dare in 2009, a year after the book came out.  It amazed me that I had been married 21 years and hadn’t thought of some of these things!  The premise is that each day you read a scripture, and then do a dare. In the book there is an actual box that you can check off once you’ve completed the task (dare.)  I used to joke that I wondered how many people had to drop out of the Love Dare Challenge.  Day #1 was difficult for me.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. –Ephesians 4:2.  The dare is what the book calls, “fairly simple,” but demonstrating patience by “saying nothing negative to your spouse at all” was extremely difficult for me to accomplish.  What?!  Not say anything negative? So, how am I supposed to report that someone left the milk out, the garbage disposal is broken again AND that I had to pick up a kid at soccer because he was late coming home?!  So, that particular challenge took me more than one day, but I did get by it.  I’m pleased to say that 6 years later, I have been able to tame my tongue and completed that dare in a single day.  However, along comes #10 – Love is unconditional. God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us — Romans 5:8; Today’s Dare? Do something out of the ordinary for your spouse –something that proves (to you and to them) that your love is based on your choice and nothing else.

The first time through, I decided to make my spouse’s coffee in the morning.  I’m a tea drinker, so i never bothered preparing his pot.  In 27 years of marriage I can honestly say that this single act has had the greatest positive reward for the least amount of effort.  It begins the day on a good note and is one simple act that shows I care.  I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before.  So, round two, what should I do?  I read this dare two days ago and thought of something, but it took until today for me to muster up the inner strength to accomplish it.

What did I do today?  I cleaned up dried chicken poop off of the garage floor.  Yes, our chickens came into our garage when the door was left open and they pooped.  They pooped on the floor, but the lace to my husband’s work boot was right in the midst of the puddle.  I have learned from experience that wet chicken poop may be even harder to clean up than dried chicken poop (after the chickens got into my family room in the basement and were left unattended for several hours but that’s a subject of another blog some day!)  So I waited.  I walked past that mess more than once as I entered the house and thought I should clean it up.  But, the garage is husband territory, so I walked by….more than once….more than several times…you get the idea.  Do something that proves my love? I cleaned the poop AND scrubbed it off his laces for him.  True love for sure!  But, wait.  I didn’t stop there.  While in the garage I saw a mousetrap that had been triggered but no mouse was visible. (No matter how much I love that man, there is no way I would touch a mousetrap if a mouse were in it!) I made the decision to bait the trap again for him.  I have never set a mousetrap before.  This is not my domain, that is his job!  But, it’s a dare and I chose to take it.  I reset the mousetrap and topped it off with a dollop of Peanut Butter.  Done. Hands washed (more than once) and I’ve completed the dare.  YAY!

Does this prove my love is unconditional?  Did I demonstrate the sheer joy of being his partner in marriage?  I am certain that I did something that proved my love is based on my choice and nothing else.  I’m not sure if he will even notice (unless of course, my trap catches a mouse and I will definitely let him know!)  I do love my spouse and I am excited to have done a dare to attempt to prove my love. Though it took days to resolve to do it, it really only took a few minutes and a couple of pitches on the finger to accomplish it.

I dare you to give the Love Dare a try!

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The Lord Spoke To Me

I wanted to share an “ah-ha” moment with Paul.  We were sitting at the dinner table sharing about our day and I said, “Today while I was doing laundry, the Lord spoke to me.  He said in a loud, deep, booming voice, ‘ Lii…inn……da….”  No. No He didn’t, but I did get Paul’s attention and I do believe I had a “moment.”  Maybe it was God speaking to me though I’m not one of those people who says the Lord speaks to them in an audible voice.  I have never had that experience, but yesterday, my “moment” felt like it was God sent.

My family has been battling illness for 17 days (but who’s counting?)  In an attempt to keep from sharing germs I have been diligent with changing hand towels, sanitizing door knobs, and doing mountains of laundry!  Piles of sheets, throw pillows, and afghans have been a laundry room floor covering. Laundry has been non-stop.  Yesterday, I had my head inside my front loading washing machine to get that last dingy white tube sock that was stuck to the top of the drum, when I recognized how blessed I was.  (The “moment.”) I was doing laundry.  I was well enough to complete this job.  I was doing a mundane task that I typically dread, but I was aware…very aware of what I wasn’t doing.  I wasn’t frustrated with my husband’s choices like a friend of mine was.  I wasn’t struggling with how to support an unemployed child.  I wasn’t choosing a casket for my parent or spouse.  I wasn’t rushing to the emergency room.  I wasn’t in crisis yet many people I know were.  I was not & I was grateful.  As aware as I was of the fact that I wasn’t doing any of those things, I also recognized that some day I will probably have to.  Today my prayers are with those who are not doing laundry.  I wish you strength during this time and I pray that someday, you, too, will be doing laundry again.

A Time for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 New International Version (NIV)

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

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Types of Tea & Reading

If I asked any of you who know me, what I love you might guess Tea &/or Reading and you would be right.  I enjoy both daily…& often… throughout the day.

Since many people know this about me, I am often given gifts related to those two subjects.  I have books, books & more books, and I have all sorts of teapots, teacups, tea accessories and various types of tea.  I often invite people over for tea. If you visit me, you will be offered a variety of specialty teas.  All sorts of flavors.  Almond Dessert Tea, Sleepy time tea, herbal teas, tea from my English friends, Blackberry and Apricot tea have been two of the most recent favorites.  And, of course, I have my daily favorite, British Blend Tetley Tea.  Continue reading

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