He has brought me back

The last 16 months have been the saddest of my life. I entered a lostness that felt all consuming.

It was hard for me to understand, because it felt very bratty to be so sad. When we left Maine, God’s provision was clear – our Houston rental property sold and provided money to live without jobs, a coworker at my Houston job resigned and I was able to return to a job I love, we found a great rent house in the school district we wanted for the kids to be with their cousins.

But the darkness was still very complete for me.

Around Memorial Day, I found a church home at First Baptist Friendswood, and started to feel the light reentering. Once again, I could see so much provision by God – amazing, inclusive ministry to Darin and Arabella, church camp for Holden, people in the community who I would connect with and then see at church (I’m talking about you, Mollie!), and many more things.

But I was still in some darkness, maybe just the shadows.

I distinctly remember the first moment it felt like the sun was peaking through the clouds. I was in Sunday worship, and looking at the student ministry section where the junior high & high school students sit together, and I thought, “I would love to minister to them.” This was wonderful, since I felt like I would never be part of God’s work again, like He was done with me, and I was without purpose in His kingdom.

Little by little, the hope that I can be a part of His glory is returning.

He is making me whole.

(But I still miss Maine so much.)

Things change

I usually think of a blog post FIRST, then write it…

But today, I’m just writing, as I think.

Life is so different in this season. Some differences I like, some I don’t.

I like:

  • that I spend alot of time in my house right now. For many years, I drove Arabella to Friendswood everyday to go to The Horizon School – so I would spend the rest of the day in a coffice like Starbucks, or at client’s home for case management. But my new case load is close to home… and my kids are in local public schools, and going to local pediatricians, barbers, dance studios, and soccer fields. I like this alot.
  • that my mom is going to Precepts with me. I’ve always done Precepts bible study with friends… and I had little one-on-one interaction with my mom that isn’t centered on my kids. I’m glad to see her at Precepts.

I don’t like:

  • that I’m only good a juggling a certain number of things, and exercise is always the 1st to go. When I didn’t work in Maine, my list of things could be bible study, exercise, maintaining the house, feeding the family, and all the kids stuff… But adding case management bumps out something.
  • that I’m back to too many friendships I’d like to have, too much driving to have them. In Maine, everyone was close by, and the number of people I knew was limited to a year of time… In Houston, I have 36 years of friendships spread over this enormous “city” encompassing Friendswood, Pasadena, Pearland, Katy, Cypress, Spring…

I’m still processing this past year, the joys & the disappointments. They have changed me more than anything in 15 years… not sure if I like all the changes.

Until we meet again…

Getting crafty: modifying t-shirts

For the GCLFEDS Step Up for Down Syndrome walk today, all the individuals with DS had bright blue shirts to stand out for the green for their team. I accidentally ordered an adult XL for Arabella, so I had to modify it.
Using a few YouTube videos as samples, I made her shirt shorter, narrow, with cap sleeves.

At 7am, I tried on my Step Up walk shirt… Ughh. Boxy & shapeless. And the collar was touching my neck!
So I made mine shorter, narrower, with cap sleeves like Arabella’s… but I also added a v-neck.

It came out so great I came home & did the same thing to my Beautiful beyond the Pain shirt that I where to remember my cousin Alex, who went to heaven in May.

Here’s the progression:

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Before

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With v-neck

Feeling stupid not generalizing

So this week, I had 2 typical experiences in new settings in close enough time, that they shined light on each other….

  1. Darin went to day camp and got in lots of trouble the 1st day. Then I figured out he didn’t have 1-on-1 support, that was added, and he was able to continue with daycamp.
  2. We tried putting Darin in a class at church, so we could listen to the sermon, and he lasted 10 mins… and Joel missed the rest of the service sitting in the hall with him.

And it clicked for me:
Church is the only setting where we try to put him in a class without 1-on-1 support, pretending in that setting he is typical.
We don’t do it at school, or day camp, or VBS.
But week after week, we are shocked it goes terrible at church.

Unfortunately, this realization was not accompanied by a solution.

Interestingly, the sermon at the church we visited today was about Act 6:1-13, where the 1st church had to address unmet needs within the church.

I wish this didn’t feel like a unique need that not everyone shares. I don’t want to be the one with the need.

What are other special needs kids doing within small churches?

Coming back to Texas, identity, and hurt

I’ve been keeping quiet over the past few weeks. I’m not a big fan of public whining… and whining has been most of what I’ve been feeling.

While I was wrapping up life in Maine, deciding to move back to Texas, I still felt a strong sense of understanding. We went to Maine in response to a call from God, and that call felt stronger than the risk of pain involved. At the end of this year, I felt a peace in the storm of what transpired at New Life Community Church.

But returning to Houston without a specific calling has been an emotional valley. I have daily struggled with God over what my purpose is.

But I’m beginning to think this is good healthy questioning…
Because I need my identity to be secure in Him, even when everything else is chaotic.

I remember hearing Heather Mercer at World Mandate declaring if the Gospel you believe & preach doesn’t provide salvation for the imprisoned, rejected Afgani wife in prison, then it’s not the Gospel.

For me, I am challenged to believe that the Gospel of my Lord is true, even as we are homeless, jobless, and not living in Vacationland.

A year in Maine

Have you ever been on a vacation & wished you could stay longer?

This year has been like an extended vacation for me. It’s my first year not to work full-time since Holden was 1 yr old.

It has truly been the best way to see Maine – river swimming in the summer, fire-building outside as the leaves change, hibernating for the winter in ‘Narnia’, and now watching the green & pink explode.
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But the best part has been getting to know the people here. They live and think distinctly different than I’ve ever lived. They value things I have never known.

While moving back and forth across the country was an expensive way to experience this, I am so thankful for this year.

Church

As I approach the 1 yr mark of moving, I’m reflecting on lots of things & the way my perspective on them changes…

Today it’s on church.

I’ve “church shopped” several times in my life – upon moving home from college, after getting married, etc, always evaluating the preaching, the worship music style, the kids stuff, friend potential, etc.

But moving to Maine was different. We moved here to be a part of a church I spent one Sunday at & 6 days among the members. And I moved here to join them regardless of the music (not my style) & kids stuff (no kids stuff, but tons of nice kids).

What I’ve found is the lack of the option to CHOOSE a church had forced me to choose to make my church better over and over.

  • Choosing to connect with people of different ages, interests, & styles than me.
  • Choosing to be a leader when I was to be a consumer.
  • I often remember that these people are why I was not lonely when I arrived 2000 miles from home.

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