Friday, October 30, 2015

Don't Give Up - Blessings are Coming!

"So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up."
Galatians 6:9 NLT


"Blessings come to those who persevere in doing good."
#parents #specialneeds #blessings"

 
My husband, Jeff and I grew up in a small farming community.  Harvest time was an especially exciting time of year as we watched the farmers bring in the crops. I still remember having a special church service after the last crops in our community had been harvested. We sang and gave thanks for God's provision and bounty.

Autumn is the  appointed "time" to reap what we've sown.
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We sow.    HE  BLESSES.    We reap.

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This principal works in the natural world and the spiritual dimension. Just as God blesses "natural" seeds, God rewards those who faithfully sow seeds of time and love into others. 


As Thanksgiving is approaching, I've been contemplating how parents are the farmers of their family.  There's a long season of sowing and working the fields, but the fruits of the harvest will surely come!

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Most parents sow good seed into their kids lives. But special needs parents?  Why they're sowers extraordinaire!  They won't quit sowing and working the field- even if they wonder if their crop- their results will ever be realized.
  

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Dear amazing parent who doesn't give up: guess what your diligent, sometimes mundane, sowing means?

It means your due season of blessing is coming!
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In God's economy- He takes what we sow, He blesses, and we reap those blessings!  When I really get hold of that truth, I get my second wind! 

We are not doing this for nothing.  There is a purpose in our labors! We are destined to reap. definition - Reap- to receive (a reward or benefit) as a consequence of one's own or other people's actions.

 As I was writing this, God surprised me by showing me I focus too much on the tedious job of sowing, thinking that this process is all up to me somehow.  No wonder I get so tired!  I tend to forget I have a Partner who never grows weary! His Name is Lord of the Harvest!
  
He said, "Cindy, instead of focusing on all your hard work, open your eyes. Start celebrating the bountiful harvest I've been giving you and the harvest blessings yet to come!

Do you remember when you worried Bethany wouldn't walk? Rejoice! She dances on a dance team!
 
Do you remember when you worried she wouldn't talk or that people wouldn't be able to understand her? Rejoice! Didn't she just give a speech to her 8th grade class? 


Remember when you worried that she might not be able to read or learn? Remember how much time you've invested?  Rejoice!  She not only reads but reads her Bible and hides My Word in her heart!


Remember when you worried she wouldn't have any friends, except for family?  Rejoice! Can you believe how many friends of all ages I've interwoven into her life?


Cindy! Don't get tired- keep on sowing - but Rejoice! Open your eyes! Your harvest is plentiful, and I want you to celebrate the amazing things I've done with all your little seeds!




Dear, precious, parents.  Let's keep on doing good. We aren't alone in our labors! We may sow but our Great God blesses and guarantees our harvest.


His promise- if we sow- He will bless- we will reap.

aT Today, tomorrow and most assuredly in eternity.


Dear Father,
We thank you for your bounty, your mercy and grace!  Thank you for encouraging us to sow but most of all thank you for promising a harvest!  We plant one seed and you multiply the blessing!You fill our hearts with joy!
In Jesus' Name
Amen

Cindy Barclay

Thursday, October 29, 2015

What is YOUR Quest?


Pondering my Purpose
What is more, I consider everything a loss 
because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.   
I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, 
but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  
 Phil 3: 8-9 NIV

I'm not sure if you've ever watched the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but one of my favorite parts is when they are trying to cross a bridge and there is a man drilling them with questions before they are allowed to pass.  The man standing guard always asks the person who is attempting to cross the bridge, "What is your quest?"

As parents of children with special needs, we may find ourselves engaged in a daily battle to determine our QUEST, or our PURPOSE in life.  I know that I do!  


I look at ALL there is to do around me…all of the “causes” for which I need to fight; the IEP meetings to attend, the support groups to connect with, the doctors appointments to schedule AND keep, the family and friends who need me and I them! 

  • My daughter’s a cancer survivor, so for 6 years we had a Relay for Life team! 
  • She was granted a wish from Make-a-Wish, so for years we participated in fundraisers for Make-a-Wish Wisconsin.  
  • She has a rare disease, so both my husband and I serve on the leadership team for the nonprofit organization for her syndrome (www.wagr.org).
  • Our daughter is also legally blind, so I have participated in events with the National Federation of the Blind. 
  • I’m trying to encourage schools here in our district to rally to End the R-word, and have more inclusive school environments.   
  • Last year I was the person who got the Nevada governor sign the proclamation recognizing Rare Disease Day in Nevada, and I hosted the State Event at the Capitol. 

My Cat is Certain of My Purpose in Life

Yet, I try to find my PURPOSE.  I try to figure out what exactly God wants me to do, because there is SO much to do that I can’t imagine he intends for me to do it ALL!!!


This past weekend at our church, the sermon was “What is God’s Purpose for my Life?”  I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the message because not only did Pastor Justin talk about ways to help identify if the “purposes” that God might intend for you to follow…but he also narrowed our focus down to the ONE overall purpose for our existence. 




We EXIST to have a relationship with God.  


He created us to DELIGHT in us. 


So, when Paul wrote to the Philippians that everything else was GARBAGE in comparison to his relationship with God, he meant it!  That whole list of things I just wrote above as my "quests" or "accomplishments" mean nothing in regards to my salvation; because God’s OVERALL purpose for our lives is to accept Christ’s redeeming blood-which makes us righteous-so that we may live with God forever.  


Now, that might be the ULTIMATE goal, (and let me tell you, that takes a LOT of pressure off my daily life, because when I feel overwhelmed by my obligations I can step back and say, “Do you know God, are you delighting in Him?  How is your relationship with Jesus?  This is what really matters.”);  BUT, we do still want to be disciples while we are here on earth, and that means being active in our communities and REFLECTING Jesus to others. 
 

So, how do we KNOW if God intends for us to:  take that new job, volunteer for that committee, move across country, buy that house?


Pastor Justin gave us four simple questions to ask:


  • Is there anything about this that would be contrary to God’s character?
    For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galations 5:17 NIV  God will never ask you to do something that is in conflict with His commandments...He will never ask you to sin.
    How Do We Know Our Purposes Here on Earth?

  • Do I have an internal desire for this?
    Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 NIV  We will have a desire, sent by the Holy Spirit to DO this work that God has purposed for us.
  • Is there external confirmation for this? 
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.  Proverbs 15:22 NIV That doesn't mean just surrounding yourself with "yes-men," that means asking people who KNOW you and KNOW God.  
  • Is there opportunity for this to happen?  Well...that's pretty much what it means.
For example...

I'd been bothered by the amount of times that I hear people use the R-word since we moved to the Reno area.  We just didn't hear it in our small town in Wisconsin.  Our schools were against it, and celebrated End the R-Word Day every year.  People wore t-shirts advocating to end the word, and they signed pledges not to say it.  Hearing it around here just grated on me.  So, I sent an e-mail asking the school district to participate in End the R-Word day next year.  I said  that I would be happy to help.  I thought it would benefit the schools on so many levels, most of which by creating a culture of respect.

As a result of my e-mail, I was asked to join a committee of people who are working to re-write the district policy for students with disabilities. Well, hot-diggity!  Sign me up!!!

  • Is it contrary to God?  No!  God wants us to love ALL people...respect them, cherish them, and celebrate them.
  • Is there a desire within me?  Aaaahhh...YEAH!  Clearly!
  • Do others think it is wise for me to do this?  That's a resounding "yes."  
  • Is there an opportunity?  If I were still working in a an office full-time...it might be more challenging.  But, my husband is supportive of me going to these meetings, and he will take our daughter to school on the mornings when I have to meet with the committee.  I'm a substitute teacher, so I don't have to take days off, I just don't take a job that day.  YES!  There is opportunity!
I think this is a lovely template for making big decisions.  I look at our decision to move to Nevada and realize how it fits so perfectly into this template in hindsight.  This template will help me when I'm choosing when to volunteer for something...when to invest in something...when to advocate for something...

So...
What is YOUR quest?  

But, ultimately...don't let all your QUESTS stress you out!  Your ultimate QUEST is to live in HEAVEN with God, the father~and Christ, the son.  So, in the end...it's all garbage compared to where we are heading.  Our temporary quests here on earth are just to shape us and make us more like Jesus. 

Pray:  Heavenly Father, thank you that this world is temporary, and my final destination is in Heaven with you.  But, while I'm here, help me to seek your will and to see your desires for me.  In your Holy name I pray.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

When Your "What If" Becomes Reality

Photo Credit, David Niblack, Imagebase.net.

For the thing I feared has overtaken me,
and what I dreaded has happened to me.
Job 3:25 HCSB

I spent years running from my fears. There are worst-case scenarios I was certain I would never survive, and I have done everything in my power to avoid them. But I find myself facing the very "what if" situations that have caused me countless hours of anxiety and worrying. They are constant companions, and I have learned:

They're not as bad as I thought they would be.

The circumstances are terrible. It's a stressful time, and I'm still not sure how this chapter of my life is going to end. But God. . . .

God is in the middle of my mess. He's walking through it with me, and I have peace that He will see me to the other side, regardless of the outcome. There's grace for these hard days, grace that you don't get when you're fretting. You only get it when you need it, when you're going through it.

I have wasted so much of my life, not enjoying the moment right before me, worrying about things that might never happen. Now that I'm facing some of my nightmares, I'm trying not to make the same mistake. I'm finding that God's love and grace are enough. I can enjoy the present, even while I live in the midst of uncertainty about my future. And while these situations have nothing to do with my child, seeing how closely God is walking with me here gives me hope for the future.

No matter what comes, God will be with us. He will walk us through the hard times that lie ahead, and we'll realize as we cling to Him, basking in His love and goodness, that they're not as hard as we imagined they might be.

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."
~ Corrie ten Boom

Pray: Father, thank You for walking through this valley with me. Thank you for teaching me things about Yourself that I never understood before. Thank you for allowing me to know You better and to grow in faith and trust. Thank You for the peace You give me that sees me safely through each day. Thank You for meeting every need, for hearing every prayer, and for saving every tear. Thank You for seeing my children and me through whatever we may face. Amen.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Trying To Do It All

looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 NKJV

Sometimes, I try to do it all.

I like to do it all.

Sometimes, most of the time, I fail at doing it all.

I want to be June Cleaver, Carol Brady, Erma Bombeck and Lorelai Gilmore all rolled into one. The reality, I am probably more like Edith Bunker.

You know, running about, often frazzled...always trying to stay positive and hoping for the best, but a little disorganized. I never manage to perfectly pull it all together.

That's just me.

I so want to do it all, and do it well.

I want to be a good Christ follower, mother my children, and be a good wife. I strive to love my neighbor, to cook, clean, work, and have a hot well balanced meal on the table every night.

I want to be the one playing with the dog and refinishing furniture.

I need to be the best advocate for my son, and I need to write, read, and spend time with family. And you must also know that I really, really want to have sparkling clean toilets...I do.

But I don't.
 

I can't.

I won't. 

I probably never will...

at least not the way I see it done on television.

I just have to learn to accept that fact and be ok with it, even embrace it. Because that's not real, and I am.  My story is real. You see, the thing I have to remember is, this is my story, the one I was created for.

But sometimes, it's hard to stay positive and hopeful.

I can do many of these things and yes sometimes I can even feel like I can do all of these things fairly well.

But when I feel like I don't, that is when I have to guard my heart, that is when the doubt creeps in.

Maybe that happens to you too?

I think, as parents of children who have extra challenges, we are especially vulnerable in the heart area. Because, we are not just guarding our hearts but often we are guarding theirs as well.

Part of what we do is teach our children. We give them the tools they need and the instruction to learn to guard their own hearts...and oh how difficult it can be to let them go, to let them take over that task themselves as they grow.

But some of us have children that we will simply never let go of. We will stand guard over their hearts, for as long as we are entrusted with that incredible task.

A task that occasionally keeps us scurrying around like Edith Bunker, a little frazzled but ever present and hopeful.

We may not be perfectly pressed and presenting ourselves with lustrous pearls and perfectly done hair. We may not have a maid, or the wit and wisdom of some of the most envied mothers in print and on television.

But...

We do what we were created to do, we embrace the part written just for us. And we do it with the grace and provision of a God that is stronger than any stain, and more forgiving than any script.

Oh dear Heavenly Father, You are "the author and finisher of our faith." You have written a story for us that could never be seen or comprehended by those who put their trust and faith in the words of the world. Quiet our scurrying minds and still our frazzled bodies so that we my find our rest and strength in You. Wrap Your everlasting peace and comfort around our hearts and the hearts of our children. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

~Beth Clay



Monday, October 26, 2015

Caregivers Aren't Superheroes

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
(John 15:13, NLT)


For years I have proclaimed and written that special needs moms are superheroes. I have often proclaimed my awe, amazement, and admiration for the special needs mom and for caregivers. I have shared my thoughts on my own wife and her days as a caregiver to our own son with profound special needs.
I’ve even referred to my own wife as Wonder Woman.
But I was wrong.

Caregivers are not superheroes.

You see something happened earlier this year that changed my whole perspective on caregivers.

My wife became my caregiver.

A few months ago I was abruptly diagnosed with chronic end-stage renal disease. Simply put, my kidneys have failed me.
My wife and I had just led a marriage workshop for special needs couples in Atlanta. Two days later I was in the emergency room signing a form allowing for the possible amputation of my foot and being informed I was in renal failure.
Thirty days in the hospital. Five months in a cast. Multiple surgeries. Myriads of doctor’s appointments, test, and evaluations as I try to get on the kidney transplant list.
Oh yea, she also works full time in ministry and cares for our own son’s special needs, and his around the clock care.
That’s how I discovered I have been wrong all these years. Completely missed the mark on this one.

Caregivers are not superheroes. Superheroes don’t get weary beyond their breaking point. Superheroes don’t hurt, cry, tremble, and struggle to hold it all together. Superheroes don’t cry themselves to sleep at night with a mixture of worry and exhaustion.

But caregivers do. Compassion fatigue is not just real, it’s devastating- emotionally, physically, and relationally.
Caregivers are ordinary people who have been thrust into situations requiring extraordinary strength, courage, faith, and resiliency. Super heroes don’t rely on the grace of God. Caregivers can’t get by without it.
Caregivers walk with a rare grace, dignity, resolve, and determination that separates them from the rest of us.
Calling a caregiver, a superhero is a misnomer and mistake. Superheroes should be so strong. Superheroes should admire, respect, and look up to caregivers.
And so should you.
And me.
They don’t just deserve our appreciation and admiration, but it’s about time we show them how much we respect them and the roles they play.
You have no idea how much a little acknowledgment and encouragement can mean to the struggling caregiver. It may be the one thing that gets them through the day.
Caregivers struggle and are often uncomfortable asking for help. They don’t know how to ask. So why make them ask? Take the initiative and ask them what they need from you. Be engaged.
Not a day should go by without you affirming the caregivers in your life. Not one day. The caregiver in your family should be the most respected member of your family.
There is a really popular advertising campaign going on right now centered around the phrase, “I am second.” The implication is to put Christ first in your life. Great idea. Great concept. I love the ads.
But you’re not second.
You’re last.
Serve those who sere others as caregivers. Let your own strength be measured by the depths of your sacrificial service to the caregivers in your life.
If they are laying down their lives for your loved ones, how about laying your own life down for them every once in a while?
Because they’re hurting. They’re struggling. They fight battles every day in their own minds before even getting out of bed.  They have rope burns from pulling themselves out of the pit so often.
When you are the one laying in the bed, knowing that you are responsible for their pain, you realize just how broken they are indeed.
They are broken. But they are beautifully broken.
No one gives unconditional love like a caregiver.

And now that I am the one receiving the care, I realize no one understands unconditional love like the one being cared for.

Every time my non-verbal son sees his mom for the first time in the morning, he breaks into the biggest grin.
I get it now.
Superhero, no.
Don’t insult the caregiver.
PRAY: "Father, we lift up the caregivers to you today and ask you to give them strength, perseverance, and mercy. We pray you reveal your presence to them daily and encourage them in this walk."

Friday, October 23, 2015

When Birthdays Don’t Feel so Happy


A group of moms can sure go through the tissues when talking about birthday parties. We gathered on a sweltering Houston day talking about unexpected grief. Parent after parent shared the heartache of birthdays. Wondering if a child will still be here next year. Hoping for developmental milestones that still go unfulfilled as the calendar marches along. Expected party guests who never arrive.

That last one is really tough.  Birthdays are about who shows up to celebrate with us.

Two thousand years ago a couple traveled to a faraway city for a Roman census.  It was home to the relatives of the man, but no one welcomed them. How can that be when it is his ancestral land? Surely some close kin must have had some way to squeeze in their relative and pregnant fiancĂ©, but sometimes even relatives don’t show up when we need them.  Perhaps the scandal of the pregnancy kept folks at bay? Perhaps the couple was so used to rejection they did not even ask? We don’t know why, but we do know they felt their only option was a room for rent and none were available.

Tradition is clear about who is expected to celebrate the birth of a baby. Family and friends ought to be there. Those people weren’t present that day, but there were others, unexpected guests who celebrated the good news. 

"Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us."
 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
 (Luke 2:15-19 NRS)

Then later there were other unexpected guests who traveled a long way.

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." (Matthew 2:1-2 NRS)

And there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
 (Matthew 2:9-11 NRS)

There were plenty of things about that birthday that must have been disappointing to Mary. Giving birth to her child in the midst of the chaos of no housing certainly wasn’t in her plan, nor when she was so far away from home. The friends and family she pictured in her mind’s eye weren’t there for her that day.

But others were. Even in the midst of what must have been painful disappointments, there were blessings and support from unexpected places. These were the things that Mary treasured.

Loving God, Birthdays can be such a bittersweet mix. They are cause for celebration, and yet can be painful reminders of differences. Help us to celebrate with joy the blessings we have in our children. Open our eyes to the true gifts, those unexpected ones mixed in among wrapping paper, cake and balloons. We give thanks to you for the shepherds and angels you send to us each day who see beyond this world to be the people of your kingdom that you call us to be for each other. Help us to follow Mary’s example, treasuring the best and letting go of the rest. Amen



"Two Year Old Birthday Party" by Stuart Miles Courtesy of FreeDigitalDownloads.net

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Special Needs: A Gospel Litmus Test for Churches




“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.” 
Revelation 3:1-2 (NIV)

"Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." 
Matthew 7:21 (NIV)

"He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’" 
Matthew 25:45 (NIV)

/////



I’m known for being vocal about it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

In fact, I’ll stand on my soapbox and shout it until I’m blue in the face.

If I die tomorrow, somebody please carve it out in big letters on my tombstone.


If the gospel isn’t good news for all, then it’s not good news at all.

And when I say “for all,” I mean even the ones who don’t fit into the nice little churchy categories we’ve created. You know, the people who look like us, act like us, speak like us. 

I’ve written about my own negative church experience, about how my son was rejected, but what is staggering is the number of comments I receive on my blog from people all over the world who have experienced the same or worse.

Why are so many churches rejecting the disabled? 

Why are pastors, ministers, lay leaders and church members ignoring an entire population of people as if they are not also human beings created in the very image of God? 

Why are faith congregations throwing their hands in the air, saying “we’re just volunteers,” and then washing their hands of a people group in as much need of the gospel as anyone else?

We may never know the answers to these questions. But we can speculate. 

Here’s my best guess. (You might want to sit down.)

Churches aren’t ministering to people with special needs because it’s hard.

Yes, you heard me right. It’s hard. 

As if those of us who are living with special needs ourselves don’t already know that.

And yet time and again, this is what the issue boils down to. If push came to shove and you demanded an answer from all the churches who have turned the disabled away, they would have to admit their reasoning: 

It's. Too. Hard.

Therein lies the problem. 

If we truly are gospel-preaching, good-news-believing churches, then why would we expect things to be easy? Jesus specifically told us to expect trials and hardship and not to be surprised by it. 
  • The first century church did not have it easy. Far from it. Just being alive and being a Christian was hard. 
  • Faith is hard. 
  • Non-conformity is hard. 
  • Spiritual discipline is hard.
  • Denying yourself and taking up your cross to follow Christ daily is downright hard.


And yet for some reason, too many of our churches are willing to sacrifice the disabled community upon the altar of “it’s too hard.”

It’s a whiny excuse and a flimsy one.

I’m going to make a bold statement here, but it’s one I support with every fiber of my being:

I don’t care how much a church preaches and teaches the Gospel; if they are turning people away from Jesus Christ, then they are not a gospel church. They are, like the Revelation church of Sardis, spiritually dead and in need of a dire wakeup call.

Because turning real human hearts away from Jesus, refusing to make room, accept them, and let them in. . . well, that’s about as far from the gospel as you can get. 

And if you’re not a gospel church, then you’re a dead church.

In fact, if you want to know if a church is truly alive in Christ, I suggest this simple litmus test: look at how they minister to those with special needs. The false positives will be exposed every time.

How we treat the disabled is a gospel issue. 


Therefore as a believer in the Good News of Jesus Christ, I would be remiss if I let it slide by and never said anything.

So I will proclaim it here in this forum and out into the blogosphere for everyone to hear: If the gospel isn’t good news for all then it isn’t good news at all.


Churches, put that in your pipe and smoke it. It’s time to wake up.

/////

Father, how I pray for our churches. I pray you would open our eyes and the eyes of our pastors and leaders to see just how much of a gospel issue disability really is. Give us the mind of Christ, a spirit of humility and eyes to see every human being as worthy of love, grace, and inclusion. Help us to remember that all are welcome at the Lord’s table, and that to deny entry to the least of these is to the Lord Jesus Himself. Empower us to be people and churches who are not just hearers of the Word, but doers. Strengthen us to be your hands and feet to people everywhere.

photo credit: The Chemistry Of Inversion via photopin (license)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Stuck in Life? Ask God for Re-Direction

In all your ways acknowledge Him- and He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:6 NIV


“Mommy!  I SAY…… I want to work at the hospital. I want to deliver all babies. And I want to have my own baby.”

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"God - Me again! I need some help here.  Bethany's stuck and I need to get her thinking Re-Directed."


Bethany gets “fixated,” “stuck,” “embedded” -  Focused on what she wants in a constant loop that plays in her mind. Her thoughts are like a pin ball machine that just can't help but pinging back to her. I wonder if she thinks if she says it long enough, someone will help her make it come true?


redirect
 I'm learning patience and the wonderful skill of Re-Direction!


Re-direction is not simply distracting her, but finding the key to unlock her brain to quit obsessing. And in this case, modifying her thinking from fantastical thinking to truth and reality!

For example:  
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The most current “EVENT” Bethany is totally obsessing about????   Our son and daughter-in-love, Adrienne and Micah are expecting again . Yay! Woohoo! Beautiful Blessing!


Warning! Warning!  Pregnancy and Babies are a Triggered Fixation for Bethany!
Bethany puts balls or pillows under her shirts or pushes out her stomach as far as she can - “This is MY baby – she’s growing bigger every day.  I’m gonna be a great mom!” she declares with pride as she rubs her belly with affection!
a
She loves holding her back and waddling as she imitates walking like a pregnant mama.  Diligently, she practices her breathing for the big event - hee hee, whoooo, hee hee, whoo.

She even made our guest bedroom a home birth center - complete with an Enter Sign, a stack of towels, and a blood pressure kit from my Dad.
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It’s also time for more creative parental controls - Moriah “caught” her on YouTube after she Googled LIVE home births. That's taking obsession to a whole new level!

Maybe this was cute when she was 7 or 8, but she is 15! I want to help re-direct her imagination to remain rooted in reality.  This is our 11th grandchild - her 11th time at becoming an AUNT!  This time, she’s decided if she can just work at the hospital, she’ll be able to be there with Adrienne to help her when its time to push. Shoot, she even thinks she can help if Adrienne needs a C-Section!

Each time someone in our family has gotten pregnant, she begins to fixate on pregnancy. I try to RE-Direct with these thoughts to reality without destroying her beautiful dreams.

1) Babies are wonderful, but she isn't going to be able to be a mommy. 

2) God has blessed her with many nieces and nephews to enjoy!

3) If she keeps learning about children, her future job could be working with children.   

4) God knows how much she loves babies and has wonderful plans in her future that includes loving babies.

5) It's fun to pretend but we have to know when to "let it go!"

beth baby collage
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Why does God always show me a hidden, surprising lesson when I’m dealing with Bethany?

Because I'm more alike than different from Bethany.  

Like Bethany, I get fixated, embedded, stuck.

My thoughts are limited and my understanding is incomplete. 

I also have trouble letting go certain dreams or ideas. 

I need to remember God knows the best steps forward for my life!
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If I will stop……..


If I will acknowledge His ways and plans are better than my musings and obsessions

If I will listen to His voice………
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If I will take His cue and follow His lead……..
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He will re-direct my path (and hopefully my neural pathways),
and I will finally move forward! 

(By the way, Bethany is getting closer to having this obsession in proper perspective!  Redirection, patience, and a sense of humor is moving us forward.)s


Wonderful Father,
Help us allow You to direct our steps, our actions, our thoughts. When we get "stuck" or can't let go of something, please re-direct us so we can move forward. Thank you for your patience and gentle leading in our lives!  
In Jesus' Name 
Amen. 

Cindy Barclay

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Prayer I Didn't Know I Needed

They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
Luke 6:48 NIV

My son Cooper is now sixteen years old, but I can remember when he was very small, wondering what he would be like at this age. I can remember thinking that about all of my children at some point.

"What will they be like when they are teenagers?"


I am sure most of you have or have had similar thoughts about your children.

Having a child with unique and occasionally overwhelming challenges, makes these types of ponderings... especially...soul stirring.

As I watched my son, six foot tall and 270 pounds, galloping through our home today...I suddenly wondered, "What will he be like when he is my age, because I am sure I could not pull off those moves he just displayed without injuring myself?"

I proceeded to pause and wonder what he would be like as an adult...I remembered an early prayer. I also remembered an early blog post I had written about that prayer and the very beginning...


A Pleading Prayer For Our Son.

Lord...I pray that you will open his mind...that he will be able to communicate...to participate and be involved in the world around him...

These are, I realize, strange words.

They are words that are easily explained, simple and fairly straight forward. This prayer was the light, during a very dark time. that I didn't know I needed, . While the words are clear, the emotions that necessitated them; the avalanche of despair, sadness, fear, and anxiety of the unknown, can leave you, like it left me, disoriented.

I felt buried and unsure of which way or how to dig myself out.

I just knew I had to dig...

So what was seen by others, on the outside? The digging...the work.

What was going on inside? I was desperately searching for the tools to dig with. The tools you need for the kind of digging that your very survival, the survival of your child depends on.

I needed to know that my child would be ok.

I needed comfort.

I needed reassurance.

I needed Jesus.

During that time we lived in a house that had, what I called, a laundry closet. It was in our hallway and when you opened the two doors up, it was sort of like a little laundry room. This is where I did my thinking, my praying, my talking to Jesus.

It is where I began to remember and think back on the things that I had learned as a child, and what I had heard all those years growing up in Church.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 KJV

When I dug down deep, what I found was a life saving foundation of faith. A foundation that does not give way even in the most turbulent of storms.

They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. Luke 6:48 NIV


One thing I knew, the truth and knowledge I clung to, we all have a purpose.

The other thing, bringing great peace and comfort...God hears our prayers.

However, my heart was so broken I don't even remember what I prayed, or even how I prayed. I think I just cried and let my heart spill out, in that little laundry room when no one was around to see except Jesus.

Slowly, over time a peace settled in and I knew if this was our path...God had a plan for us and a purpose. I also knew I needed to pray more specifically for our son...

I remember walking into his room one night and standing by his bed and I prayed...

"Lord...I pray that you will open his mind...that he will be able to communicate...to participate and be involved in the world around him...these things in Jesus name I pray...amen"


I can not tell you how many times I have prayed that prayer...when I had no words, God supplied them...the words of my heart that I could not form on my own...the words from an all knowing God who is ever patient and never surprised. He knows my heart...He knows my son.

I read back over this post now and reflect over the life of my child so far and those words, that prayer...

Those words were not what I was "asking for", they were the words of what was and what will be, God was planting and weaving them into my heart from the very beginning. So when I look at my son now and I begin to wonder...I smile. I smile because I know that we rest on a solid foundation that will withstand any storm. I see it everyday as my son communicates, participates and is involved in the world around him.



Dear Heavenly Father I pray for my child, for all of our children. I pray for their comfort. Lord please wrap them in the comforting feeling that we experience in knowing that Your sovereignty has laid a foundation that can not be shaken by any storm. Surround them with Your peace, the peace we feel in knowing that You are concerned with the smallest of details, like supplying the words when we are so broken we don't even know what or how to pray. God we are grateful for Your provision and Your purposes, may we continue to walk where You lead us...in grace for Your glory...Amen.


~Beth Clay