A Few Lines in a Journal

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The times, they are stressful.

 

Last week, my husband was out of town. Not a big deal, except that Kristen had constant pain from her dental visit. This worried me because she held her jaw, acted extremely grumpy (code for she screamed and yelled), and told me she felt fine (code for it really hurts a lot but I’m sure not telling you because you won’t let me do anything). Disseminating truth was difficult.

 

So, I’m glad this week is better (code for Hallelujah, thank you Jesus!).

 

Last week was one for the books – but we’re still around, and after a second visit to the dentist, Kristen is fine (code for great!).

 

Our motto has always been, “You do what you gotta do.” That’s a “true-grit Texan” kind of motto that’s inspired us to do the hard stuff that comes with special needs parenting.

 

But this week, I had to dig deeper. Mottos like that might get me headed in the right direction, but as far as keeping me going, I need Jesus.

 

So I remembered my prayer journal.

 

For the past few months, I’ve turned my prayer journal into something more. Instead of just prayers, I’ve been writing how thankful I am for God. My focus is on Him, not what He can do for me.

 

“Lord, you are faithful. You are loving and wise. You are just. You are righteous and perfect in all your ways. You are the comforter, the judge, the mediator, the listener, the righteous ruler. You are ever faithful, never abandoning us.” (excerpt from my 9/26 journal entry)

 

When I was too stressed to murmur Bible verses, I thanked God for His attributes. As I spoke them, I felt my shoulders relax. Kristen stopped yelling and started listening. It was as if God was spreading balm on our spirits by taking our eyes off our circumstances. Talking about the character of God was healing. It took our thoughts to a higher level.

 

Even though our situation hadn’t changed, our mindset had. We were calm.

 

Who would’ve thought a few lines in a journal could change the day.

 

 

—Teresa

 

 

Finding Common Ground in the Dentist Office

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When they came into the waiting room, I summed up our differences quicker than our likenesses. She was tall and willowy, a single mom, brunette, all business. Her son’s special need diagnosis was known to be “happy” and “sociable,” and sure enough, he sat in the chair right next to me, listening to his iPod through cool headphones. My own child sat as far away from me as possible, her posture tense, a pouty frown on her pretty face. She kept reminding me that she didn’t want to be here.

This dental visit wasn’t going to be fun.

A half hour later, in a different waiting area, the brunette mom slipped into a comfy chair next to mine. I noticed her out of the corner of my eye as I was speaking to the dental assistant about the plan for my daughter’s treatment. The brunette mom had the whole empty room to choose from, but she chose to sit in the seat next to me. Just like her son had earlier.

After the dental assistant left, I looked at the book in my lap. I’d looked forward to reading it, knowing I’d have about an hour to myself — no wifi, no excuse to plug in. Just read. But a little nagging voice inside me said Talk to her. Tell her what you’re thinking.

So I did. I turned, shook my head, and said, “It’s never easy, is it?”

She knew exactly what I meant. “It sure isn’t,” she said.

You see, both of our children — adults, really — were under general anesthesia in rooms closed off from our view. That alone is stressful. But after years of seeking dental care without anesthesia, and either the rare dentists enduring kicking, screaming, and biting, or in most cases, dentists turning Kristen away, saying “we just don’t have the resources to treat someone like her,” this is the only way to get treatment. It tears me up every time. I’m so thankful for this place, but it’s hard.

So this brunette woman and I have common ground, right here in this hard part of life.

My book remained closed, but my heart opened. Though her son had a different diagnosis initially, our kids shared many characteristics. She told me about her breast cancer. We traded special needs parent tips, chuckled about things our kids did and said, and talked about faith. When Kristen and I left, my soul was full.

I don’t know why I thought they were so different from us. We share the same heart.

–Teresa

 

Photo credit: Joey Sforza, Unsplash.com

 

 

How accessible is God?

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I read something the other day and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

Not because it was cute or witty. But because it was a contrast to the truth.

It went like this:

 “The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” 

Daniel 2:11

I know, it’s kind of random by itself. You can read the whole story here.

Here’s what bugged me: when these people needed their gods to show up, they weren’t around. They said their gods didn’t live “with flesh” (humans).

What a desperate situation. And what a contrast to reality.

The one true God shows up when we call. He’s never far away. He’s omnipresent.

I can’t imagine life without God. I can’t imagine the loneliness of not having a supreme being to call out to, knowing I’m not in charge of this world. I am humbled to be able to cry out to the God who is in charge of the world. Even though I don’t understand how He does things or decisions He makes, I’m thankful He listens when I pray. I’m awestruck to know He loves me.  The God of the Universe wants to be near me — and you.

And I’m thankful I don’t have to respond, EVER, by saying, “I’m sorry, my God isn’t available because he doesn’t live with humans.” My God — your God — takes pleasure in the people He created. He is all around us, always. He is near.

He is always available to us.

We have a living, caring God who is not like those false gods “whose dwelling is not with flesh.” Our God loved us so much He sent His Son, Jesus, to live among us, to dwell with flesh.  Our God listens and answers our prayers. How wonderful is that!

Think about that today. God is always available to you!

—Teresa

Photo credit: Finn Hackshaw, Unsplash.com