Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Daughter, Joan Rivers

Image courtesy of num_skyman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word.  
Luke 10:39 NIV

Do you remember the "line" for which talk-show-host and pop culture guru, Joan Rivers, was best known?  
Can we talk?

Well, some days I feel like my daughter IS Joan Rivers.

Many of our mornings start with, "Can we chat?"

Now, let me preface this by explaining that "chatting" isn't your normal idea of chatting.  What our daughter wants us to do is talk through a schedule.  It might be her daily schedule for school, it might be our calendar of upcoming events over the next few months, it might even be the lineup for a Christian music festival like Lifest, which we just returned to Nevada after attending last weekend in Oshkosh, WI.
WE do ALL the talking, and she listens.
And let me tell you...it.IS.draining.
How many parents of children with anxiety, OCD, ASD, SPD (etc.) can relate to this?

I don't know!  Somedays it feels like we are the only people who have to "chat" with our daughter to keep her level, but, at least we know it works!

The reason I'm writing about this TODAY is because, for the past 2 1/2 weeks, I haven't had to chat because we were on "vacation" and visiting a lot of family and friends in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  But, today?  Yes, today and yesterday we had to do some chatting.

Now, as much as I like to start my morning with my shower, coffee, and an episode of Fixer Upper, I had to stop my frustration from welling up and say a quick prayer.

God, please help me to have the right heart about this.  Help me to be loving and patient.  God, help me to do what YOU want me to do, not what I want to do.

Here's how God answered:

Tammie, "chatting" is a form of occupational therapy for your daughter.  And, by the way, it's FREE therapy.  You might find it tedious, monotonous, and frustrating, but, it calms her and gives her the balance she needs to start her day off right. 
Tammie, "chatting" is also SPEECH therapy for her.  Remember how your speech therapists had you doing "auditory bombardment" when she was not yet speaking?  You are teaching her words to use in the appropriate context and settings.  You are teaching her how things are to be pronounced.  You are teaching her to put her daily experiences into words so she can tell you about her day when she comes home from school.  
Tammie, "chatting" is a form of prayer and worship.  I love to hear YOUR voice honoring your daughter and thereby honoring me.  She wants to hear your voice, just like I WANT YOU to hear my voice.  If people listened to ME the way our daughter listens to YOU, they would never be deceived by Satan because they would never get confused whose voice they are hearing.
Parents, and caregivers...if there are days that you are at the end of your rope with the rituals and routines brought about by your loved-ones diagnosis or special needs, please remember to take the time to pray for God to show you His glory in it all.  My energy soared when I heard God speaking in my heart and I suddenly realized that my time with my daughter was precious, even the random routines she has developed.  I thought of the mothers and fathers who have lost children with the same syndrome as my daughter, and realized that they would give ANYTHING to hear the words, "Can we chat?" again.

Do we all have days where we just can't handle the "special needs"?  Absolutely.  But, God knows that, and He is waiting for us to call on Him in our times of weakness such as these.  He can make ALL THINGS new...and that includes our passion for helping our kids, even when the days are long and our energy is low.

Pray:  Heavenly Father, thank you for the wonderful uniqueness of each human being.  Thank you for loving ALL of us.  I pray, Father, that you help me to see the situations that arise in our lives as blessings; that my first response to frustration is to pray for your guidance.  Help me to love like you do.  Amen.  

~ Tammie Hefty

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