Tag Archives: special needs

The Old Me

Andy and I celebrated 13 years of marriage this week. IMG_7819 I was so excited to sit down with the kids to watch the VHS wedding video that hadn’t been played in years. But what I felt at the end was completely opposite of what I expected. I thought I would look back to that day and feel envious of the carefree, young person I once was, the young lady with my whole life lying ahead. But I wasn’t, instead I felt grateful for the battle wounds that have me in the here and now.

As I watched my friends and family speak beautiful words from their hearts and the sweet things Andy and I said to each on camera, I felt warm inside remembering such a special day. But as I watched myself I saw right through the old me. I couldn’t help but cringe a bit when my memory flashed back to where my mind was as I sat on the altar. I remember being way more worried about how I looked in my beautiful wedding dress and who was sitting in the pews in front of me, than the fact that an actual sacrament was taking place. IMG_7820 (1) I regret that I don’t even remember what the priest said to us that day. Don’t get me wrong, the day was perfect and the love between Andy and I was so very special. But I wish I fully understood then, that we were making a covenant with God and how very important that was.

After thinking about all of this for a little while I realized it is okay, and that life is about accepting each stage in life and learning from it. So if I could go back to that day I would do it the same because it was who I was at the time and that played a role in who I am today. God has a special way of loving us even when we don’t show Him the love and attention He deserves.

Andy and I joked this week saying, if our lives had flashed before our eyes the minute we first met, we probably both would have run far away from each other. But thankfully that is not how God works. We don’t get to see what the future holds because God saves each obstacle until we are ready, all the while preparing us.

I have a perfect example of this in my life. Before Katie was born God led me from a career in TV journalism to a public relations position at United Cerebral Palsy. When Andy and I got engaged my contract was ending so we decided it was best for me to move closer to him since we had been dating long distance. I considered a career change at that time and almost interviewed for a position that was available at UCP, but I ultimately decided to take another TV job instead. After only a few months I realized that it was indeed time for a change and by God’s planning that same position at UCP was still open, I interviewed and changed careers. I remember thinking this job was just meant for me, little did I know how that would play out in my life.

I had never been so exposed to the world of special needs. At this job I learned all about the different therapies we provided children with special needs. I wrote press releases, did interviews and helped plan fundraising events for these new precious people in my life. But I never even thought for one second that I would soon be one of them. When Katie was born I was exactly where I needed to be thanks to God putting me where He did.

So if God has prepared me and equipped me why have my last few blog posts been focused on how I am struggling so much? Haven’t I made it yet? With all we have been through shouldn’t I be sitting on easy street popping my troubles away like tennis balls with my very experienced racket? I wish it were that easy, but we never truly finish struggling until the day we die.

IMG_6489Katie’s impairments are truly my biggest struggle in life, but at the same time they are my greatest gifts from God. I get to experience a relationship with God that the “young wedding dress me” may have never found. Katie’s life has been my pathway to a richer and deeper existence. The “today me” still struggles, but I handle it differently. I have not mastered it, but with God as my guide my GPS is set in the right direction.

I Hope You Dance!!

My entire body filled with heat, my heart opened and the only thing that could fill it was God. It was October 2012, I was doing two faith based book studies. Both books changed me forever. It wasn’t so much the books, they were both really good, but it was simply the Holy Spirit using this moment to take over my life.

After this moment all I wanted to do was learn as much about God as I could. In my spare time I read, researched, prayed, wrote and simply learned how to give myself to the Lord. I no longer wanted to watch TV, or scroll down Facebook…I wanted more and more and more God. I really cannot explain the feeling, it was amazing and all consuming.

I was then blessed by a group of ladies that started meeting for a Bible study once a week, we still meet today. Before this study my knowledge of the Bible consisted of two phrases, Old Testament & New Testament. Our leader was sent to us by God, she goes through the books of the Bible sentence by sentence and explains what the Fathers of the Church say about that passage. If you’re not familiar with that term. The Fathers of the Church are the early Christians, like St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom, who were taught by the apostles. What better source? Jesus taught the apostles, the apostles taught the Church Fathers and they wrote it all down. If you have a question about what a certain passage or verse means, the Fathers of the Church hold the answers. We have finished the books of  John, Acts of the Apostles and are now studying Matthew. I finally feel like I know the stories of Jesus and what He wants from us.

“When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your hearth, you will find me with you, says the Lord, and I will change your lot…” Jeremiah 29:13-14

I can truly say this is when I began to feel true joy, joy that I had never known before. I finally knew my purpose on this earth was to do Gods will. Everything else was falling into place. Being a mommy to Katie, Lexi and Drew made more sense. photo shoot 2013 052My role as a wife took on new meaning. One struggle I’ve had writing this post is making sure that I don’t sound self righteous, I’m so far from perfect it’s not even funny, and I certainly don’t know it all, not even a quarter. I screw up every single day, but I’m just writing about what God has shown me and what I TRY to aspire to everyday.

image (17)God has revealed a beautiful message through Katie’s life. Katie was not blessed with legs that function, a brain that forms words to speak, hands that write or even eyes to see. But I got all that and more, so how dare I waste one single minute. A song that portrays my feelings is by Lee Ann Womack, I Hope You Dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance, Never settle for the path of least resistance, Living might mean taking chances but they’re worth taking, Loving might be a mistake but it’s worth making, Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter, When you come close to selling out reconsider, Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance, And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance. I HOPE YOU DANCE!!!! 

To me these lyrics mean to do everything you do with your whole heart and with all your effort. And since God is supposed to be the center of our lives. That means our relationship with God should have every ounce of our being. I am not going to even begin to say that I do this always. I struggle everyday because this world we live in has so much to take us away from God. Actually, I often feel this world is telling me God is not important. The world right now is so far from what God wants. I don’t think He wants us to modernize our values. He wants the single most important thing in our life, more important than our spouse, children, job, wardrobe, car and home; to be Him.

“Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

The special needs journey or any struggle for that matter can be long, lonely and isolating. It doesn’t always lead us down the right path. I’ve taken many a wrong turns. But what I know for sure is the wrong road, the one in which we try to escape our struggles, will only lead us in circles. It only leads to more disappointment. As I’ve re-routed my GPS many times I found the only path is the one God wants us on, doing His will everyday, following His commands as diligently as we can. To keep myself in check, I try to reflect on the 10 Commandments and ask, “am I doing what God wants?”.

image (16)Another lesson Katie has taught me is that nothing on this earth will fulfill the longing we have. Katie has true joy and does not know anything about the materialism of this world. Again, I’m no model Christian woman, but I know God is my only source of true joy. I love listening to Father Robert Barron, he gives weekly homilies on http://wordonfire.org/. He often talks about this and once he had a fabulous example. Think about some of the worlds greatest sports figures. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Alex Rodriguez, to name a few, were all the best of the best, they had home run records, world fame and all the money you can imagine, yet they chose to take steroids in hopes of getting more. When it comes to worldly things nothing is ever enough. Why?

photo (3)That longing that we try to fill, that yearning for more was given to us by God for one purpose, to bring us closer to Him. We try and try to fill it with success, money, friends, and so much more. I don’t know where you are on your faith walk, but if God is not on the tip of my tongue always, I ask, why am I not giving Him every single bit of me, making Him the leader in my life. Do I want to sit it out or DANCE??

In my next post I will talk about why I think we have to struggle while on this earth.