Sunday, September 09, 2012

Celebrating Unrecognized Blessings

It is easy to take blessings for granted, especially when you don't realize what those blessings are in the first place. And it can be easy, in the midst of challenges, for blessings to go unrecognized, because they aren't the blessings you expect or hope for. But, somehow, God in His grace helps us see His gifts, if we are willing to look.

Lately, I've been noticing small gifts and recognizing here-to-for unrecognized blessings. My little man is walking, quite well, and looking like a little boy. He is investigating things little boys should investigate, he is getting into things little boys should be getting into, and it is very fun. The funny thing is, even though I've had seven other children, I didn't realize what "little boy" things he hadn't been doing until he started doing them. It has been incredibly sweet to see this little man, who has struggled with so many things, just being a kid. I love it.

And, as I've been enjoying the little things my baby boy  young son is finally able to do, I've come to recognize what my other children did, and with so little effort. I'm also celebrating the fact that though he needs extra help, my son is learning and meeting his developmental milestones.

Not everyone enjoys the simple blessing of watching their child develop and meet those famous milestones. Not every parent will celebrate their child's first step, or hear that precious first word, or marvel as the wheels of understanding begin to turn. Not every parent will battle the "Terrible Twos" because their child will never get there.

It is a sobering realization, and one that I hope I don't lose sight of. I want to enjoy treasure all of my children, completely. The parenting process is messy, with lots of fits and starts and mistakes along the way. It is painful emotionally, stretching mentally, and draining physically. But, if we are drained, stretched, or hurting, it is because we have been so greatly blessed. And that is a reason to celebrate.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Celebration and Praise

Eighteen months ago today, we welcomed a baby boy into our family, unable to imagine the challenges and struggles his arrival would bring. The first night should have been an indicator; fussy, restless, unable to settle and sleep. But I didn't really think about it. Hindsight is always 20/20 and I can see now so clearly what I didn't recognize then.

If someone had told me what the next eighteen months would entail, I wouldn't have been able to comprehend the craziness, chaos, and brokenness headed my way. Looking back, I'm thankful God spared me that insight. And I'm really thankful God made my baby boy so cute (yes, that is a mother's bias talking) because some days, it was the only thing going for him.

Today, though, I want to sing and dance and stand on a mountain top to proclaim how very good God is!! We've survived. The fog and exhaustion of months without enough sleep are fading, I'm beginning to function again, and it feels SO good!! I can say with greater conviction than ever before in my life, God is good! God isn't good because life feels good (it doesn't always) or because He has protected me from difficulty or pain (He hasn't), but because in the midst of my pain, in the midst of exhaustion, disappointment, frustration, anger, in spite of making the wrong choice (again) or  doing the wrong thing (again), God has carried me through some of the most painful, difficult, agonizing, lonely times of my life. He has met me in my despair, carried me through my pain, and whispered of His love in the midst of  my tantrums and doubt.

God is good!!!!!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

How Sweet It Is

If JJ wasn't crying...
Today, as I was driving, it struck me; life is getting easier!! I wasn't exhausted, no one was sick, and we were going to be on time somewhere without too much effort or anxiety. It was a miraculous realization. And, my life suddenly became much sweeter, not because it is problem-free or without challenge (it isn't), but because of where we have been.

Sleep helps; getting a good night's sleep has definitely made a difference in my life. Answers also really help; we have understanding and diagnoses, treatments and plans. Mostly, though, God has carried me through some of the darkest, most difficult days I have ever experienced. He gave me was the strength I needed to take just one more step, just one more.
He was really sick.
But mostly, he was crying.

Isn't he cute?!
And now that steps are not nearly so difficult, I find that the effort and investment in taking those agonizingly difficult ones paying off. Though this journey has been lonely, though few have walked beside me through the dark, God has never left my side. As I face an uncertain future (with more doctors to see, understanding to seek, diagnoses to get, and plans to put together), the confidence I've gained in God's grace and love is priceless.