Home Again, Home Again!

Hello!  Remember me?  I really haven’t dropped off the edge of the earth, though I have felt like I’ve done just that at times.  Seems like forever since I have had anything resembling a normal routine!

My husband and I just returned from a wonderful week in Texas with our daughter and son-in-law.  Aaron stayed at home with a caregiver.  All the preparation for our trip, our usual busy days, and then being gone surely made it hard for me to blog or to read the blogs I follow.  Am I ever behind!!

But it was so worth it to be away for a WHOLE week…to have time with Gary, and with Andrea and Kyle.  We had hoped that our son, Andrew, could join us from Indiana but racing is getting ready to start again and the team has more work to do than seems possible to accomplish.

Gary and I truly relaxed while in Texas.  No sight seeing trips since many venues were still closed, so we spent tons of time together talking, cooking and eating, watching various shows and sermons, shopping, and so forth.

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And let’s not forget the fun of seeing our Grand Dogs, including meeting Siggy for the first time.

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Aries
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Darcy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oakley
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Siggy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also got to see Siggy climbing his favorite tree!

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And the patio table!

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Andrea and I had lunch one day by the bay near their house.

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We celebrated my birthday there on the 18th.

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And Andrea’s as well since hers happens on the 27th.

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We celebrated Father’s Day with Kyle’s parents who came over for the day on Saturday.  How fun to see Kent and Marie, and to have both dads together!

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Gary and I don’t typically get to share our special days with our kids, so this time was really extra special and wonderful!

Aaron stayed at home with Karlea, our excellent caregiver.  Aaron really loves it when Gary and I are gone, and he doesn’t hide it one bit.  He loves all the one-on-one attention…loves going fun places…loves not having bossy parents around…and REALLY loves eating out at restaurants or getting take-out every day.  Aaron was having his own version of a vacation while we were having ours!

But yet, as he always does, Aaron called multiple times every day.  I didn’t answer each time but when I did I would hear Aaron usually say, “HEEEEYYYY!!”  Or say no greeting at all but instead launch into whatever he had stored up to tell me about.

“Hi, Aaron,” I would say as I answered the phone.

“Mom!  We went to Olive Garden today and we got a salad!!  What’s that juice that’s on it???” he immediately asked one day.

Karlea had plenty of laughs, too, like the day they ate at Cracker Barrel.  Aaron saw the deer mounted on the wall, rolled his eyes, and said, “I just can’t believe they took a real deer and put it in a restaurant!!”

I answered the phone for one of his calls on Saturday.

“Hi, Aaron,” I said as usual.

“GUESS WHAT???!!!” he blurted out.  “You’ll be home DAY AFTER TOMORROW!!”

Then he added:  “Karlea said we need to get the house stick and span!!”  😊  😊

So, we are home and life is returning to our version of normal.  Shortly before our trip, Aaron and I went shopping.  He had a seizure that morning, and I wasn’t sure he would feel up to going out.  But he did, and we had a nice time, which made me extra happy because of how his seizures sometimes ruin his days

When we got home and sat down to eat lunch, I asked Aaron to pray.

“Dear Lord,” he began, “thank You for this food and thank You for having us a good time while we were shopping.”

There went my heart.

“Dear Lord,” I will add, “thank You for our trip to Texas and thank You for having us a good time while we were there!”

And thank You for bringing us safely home again to Aaron.

Reasons for Riots

Like all of you, I have been dismayed by the state of our country in recent days…even years, to be honest.  I feel compelled to share this sermon that my husband and I listened to.  Never have I heard a better scriptural explanation for what is occurring in our cities, our homes, our hearts.  I pray that you who read this will take the time, open your Bibles, and listen with an open heart to this very powerful and sobering sermon.

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/81-80/whos-to-blame-for-the-riots

 

 

 

To Ignore Aaron

Anyone who has been exposed to Aaron will no doubt agree on this:  Aaron is very hard to ignore!

Aaron is going to do what Aaron is going to do.  He is mostly unaware and uncaring of the reactions he generates from others.

Whether he is sitting in our front yard relaxing as he breaks apart the mulch:

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Or dressing in this hilarious “fashion” for all to see:

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Or deciding to pet Moe, our neighbor’s cat, on Moe’s level:

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There is generally no stopping Aaron from forging ahead with his version of living life to the fullest!

Aaron struggles with waiting on me to do an activity with him.  I often don’t tell him that we’re going somewhere, for instance, until shortly before we leave.  If I tell him that we’re going out, then he hovers and gets very impatient with me.  Best to just dash out the door quickly than to endure the anger that his impatience causes.

But some activities are set in stone, for the most part, and Aaron will begin his hovering when HE is ready for whatever that event is.  Every night we watch a program together.  Most often it’s a series that we are going through.  Right now we’re watching Little House on The Prairie.  Nearly every night Aaron will begin his impatient waiting for me to be ready to watch our next episode.  He will stand outside my bedroom or bathroom door, talking and questioning and getting angry if I don’t hurry.  One recent evening, I told him to NOT wait outside my door.  I was pleased that he obeyed, and I could get ready in peace and quiet.

But when I rounded the corner to go downstairs, here is what I saw:

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Oh Aaron!!  😊  😊

“I’m waiting on you to get ready!!!” he informed me.

And once again, Aaron was impossible to ignore.

When Aaron has crossed the line with his behaviors, though, one way to get my point across to him about his disobedience is to ignore him.  I become quiet and I barely answer his questions, if at all.  It’s hard for me to do that but I have learned that being ignored by me speaks more profoundly to Aaron than all the words in the world that I could use.  He knows he has really done wrong and that he must make it right.

Last week Aaron and I were in a store.  We were checking ourselves out when I ran into a problem and needed help.  When the attendant stepped around the corner to help me, I saw that it was someone I have come to know there.  Aaron knows her, as well.  This person has a hard life, and sometimes she is very down.  She doesn’t hide it, and when she approached me, I knew that she was having a bad day.  She didn’t engage me at all when I spoke to her.  I can handle that – no problem.

But Aaron doesn’t get those cues from people that you and I see.  He noticed that her hair was different and so when she walked away from me, he followed her.  When she stopped a short distance away, with Aaron at her back, he rubbed his hands together as he happily spoke to her.

“Your hair is short!!” he declared.

No response from her as she kept her back to Aaron.

“Your hair is short!!” he tried again.

Still no response.

I called Aaron back to me, telling him that she was busy, and he didn’t need to bother her today.  I knew he was confused, though, because typically she engages him with interest and kindness.

As for me…I was so angry.  For someone to dismiss and ignore Aaron has always been a very hard thing for me to handle.

I stayed pretty riled up about it for the rest of that day.  I talked to my husband and to my daughter about it later.  I stewed and brewed for quite some time.

But God, as He always does if I but listen, told me that I should not only pray about my reaction but that I should definitely pray for this sad person.

And that I should remember a verse from Psalm 37 that I had recently studied:

Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it only leads to evildoing.”  (Psalm 37:8)

Do you know what the word “fret” means?  It means “to get burned up.”

And that’s exactly how I felt!  It burned me up to see Aaron being so blatantly ignored!

Yet what I needed to carry away from this situation wasn’t my load of anger, or my justification for it.  I needed to release my feelings to God and just put a stop to my desire to get even…to report her…to make a point.

Getting steamed about our hurts often leads to evildoing, as that verse says.  We certainly are seeing that in our country today!

How much better it is to talk to God about it, and to follow the example of Jesus…who, though reviled, did not strike back.

It’s a choice I am allowed by God to make.

Do I choose peace?  Or do I choose conflict?

It’s best to follow Aaron’s example, too.  He does bounce back quickly from his anger and hurt, most of the time, settling in to the next thing that captures his attention.

So, like Aaron, I’ll find and choose the joy…in whatever shape it takes.

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Who Did Gary Ask to Dinner?!

I was a senior at Piedmont Bible College in January of 1978 when this tall, handsome student came walking across the parking lot on a Wednesday evening.  We had a tradition at PBC on Wednesday evenings.  The guys would wear suits and it was a night for asking a girl to dinner.  Girls would sit in the windows watching to see who would walk over to Lee Hall, and if the guy didn’t usually accompany a girl to dinner then the tongues would fly as the girls tried to guess each new young man’s date.

 

On that night the new male student who walked into the sight of all those wondering girls was Gary Moore.  And walking back across the parking lot with Gary was me!  I would say lucky me, but I don’t believe in luck so in keeping with this being Bible college I’ll say that I was blessed!  HaHa!  But I was and I still am today, blessed to be walking with this wonderful man, Gary Moore.

 

My eye had been on Gary ever since I walked into the student center on our small North Carolina campus in January a year earlier and had instantly noticed this new second semester student.  He fit several of my very serious future husband requirements.  He was tall, and he was handsome.  Very spiritual, huh?

 

It was also convenient that I was the student council secretary/treasurer and that I had access to the student mail boxes…in which I inserted special announcements…and in which I also took a look at Gary’s mail to see if he was getting letters from girls.  Yes, I did that.  And yes, he was getting such letters.  So I gave up hope on ever attracting Gary’s attention.  I decided that it would be friendship that we would share.  But I sure did still notice him.

 

Things happened…I dated another guy during the fall of my senior year.  And Gary kept going home to Bryson City on the weekends…to see girls, I thought, but he was actually helping out in his home church.  He attended a mission’s retreat that Piedmont held at Groundhog Mountain that fall because I encouraged him to come.  I didn’t know that he thought I was wanting him to come so I could spend time with him, so when I drove up with the other guy that I was starting to date, Gary nearly decided that he had already had enough of me.

 

My boyfriend and I broke up before Christmas.  And just before I left to go home for the holidays, Gary came in the dining hall and gave me a Christmas stocking!  Except he also gave one to my best friend Janet!!  Now I was confused!  But when I returned from Christmas break, Gary finally asked me to dinner on that Wednesday night…and all the girls sitting in the windows were surprised that it was me walking to dinner with Gary.

 

We never looked back from that point forward.  Love was blossoming for both of us.  But soon there was a big bump in the road.   A huge bump for me, and could have been for us…except for the integrity of this man I was getting to know so well.

 

I noticed that something weird was going on with my neck.  I couldn’t quite define it but things weren’t feeling right in there at all.  Before long I noticed that my neck was wanting to pull uncontrollably to the right.  I tried to hide it but eventually it became noticeable to everyone.  And the pain became severe.  My dear friend Janet talked to my parents, and I ended up going to different doctors in order to find out what was going on with my muscles.  It was a challenge to finish my last semester of college, especially writing my senior thesis, with my neck pulling and the pain being so bad.  Plus the drugs the doctors put me on were strong…things like valium and other calming drugs in an effort to quieten those muscle spasms.

 

Doctors didn’t have any idea about what was happening to me.  Several blamed stress, so they put me on some pretty strong drugs for that.  Nothing was helping at all.  I walked around most of the time with my right hand raised up to my neck.  Holding the back of my neck helped relieve the spasms a little.  I hung on for as long as I could, finishing my course work and knowing that I could graduate.  But the pain was so strong and the pulling so severe that just before I was to march in our graduation ceremonies I ended up in the hospital.

 

That was a tough time for me, but it was also a relief to be able to rest.  It was so sad that I didn’t get to march with my class.  I’ll never forget Dr. Drake, Piedmont’s president, coming to my hospital room along with Dean Reinert to present my diploma to me as I lay there in bed.  I think that was a first for them!

 

 

Mom and Dad were there as well, worried about me and wondering what was wrong with their girl.  And also there by my side was the man that had come to pick me up for dinner on that Wednesday night four months earlier.  He wore a suit on my graduation day, much like the suit he had worn on our first date, except now he sat on the side of my bed and we both smiled broadly, just as if I was standing in that auditorium along with the rest of my graduating class to receive my degree.

 

 

On a fairly superficial level, my illness was exceptionally hard for me as a young woman.  It changed my appearance, making me look weird as my neck pulled and as I held my right hand around my neck a large part of the time.  I didn’t feel pretty at all.  And pain took a huge toll as well.  It’s hard to be your best or look your best when you’re absorbed in pain.  So, on that level alone, I wondered if Gary would stick by me or if he would be turned off.

 

And what about the future?  We didn’t even have a diagnosis and had no idea what the long term would hold for me, for my body and my health.  What man would want to venture into that arena?  Gary and I were not engaged.  He wasn’t bound to me in any way like that.  Yet there he was, faithful to me with his support and his love and his attention.  He never made me feel weird or ugly or a risk too great to take.

 

I moved home to West Virginia to live with my parents, and tried to get well.  Doctors still didn’t know what was wrong.  Gary still wanted to be with me when he could travel from college to visit.  He saw the pain and the awful reactions to drugs and the huge unknown, but he stayed by my side.  And one day he even asked me to marry him!!  I didn’t waste a second before saying yes.  Time and rest helped me get better, but the effects of my illness were still somewhat visible, and I could definitely feel them.

 

We had a beautiful wedding, where I even sang a surprise song to Gary.

 

“God has given you to me, as my loving friend.

From beginnings love has grown, may its growing never end.

From beginnings love has grown, may it never end.

God is joining here today, families and friends.

Yours are mine and mine are yours, how the richness blends!

Yours are mine and mine are yours, how the richness blends!

You are handsome in my eyes, I treasure and adore.

But my heart determines this, I must love God more.

Though I love you oh so well, I must love God more.

I love you where you’re stongest, your strength can help me stand.

I love you where you’re weakest.

There I’ll care, I’ll help you there, and give your heart a helping hand.

God has given you to me, as my loving friend.

From beginnings love has grown, may it never end.”

 

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So we began our life together.  Today we celebrate 41 years of sharing this journey together and with God.  We have three beautiful children, and a wonderful son-in-law.  We have tons of memories.  We have each other still.

 

Doctors know now that I have something called Dystonia.  I will always feel the effects of this muscle disease in my neck, but I am so much better than I was back in 1978.  Gary didn’t know this would be the outcome, though.  Yet he loved me regardless, and he showed his strength and integrity when I needed it most.  He’s still doing that today, and I am forever grateful.

 

42 years ago, I walked across that parking lot with that tall, handsome man.  41 years ago, I walked down the aisle to say, “I do.”  And I am so thankful that I did!

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Aaron’s Talking Points #7

Here are more of Aaron’s comments that I have collected over the years.  Enjoy!

 

Aaron told me that the other night he had one of Andrea’s hairs on his toothbrush. “Mom, some of Andrea’s hair leaked onto the counter and got on my toothbrush!”

It’s a good thing he doesn’t keep his toothbrush in my bathroom because my head leaks lots of hairs!

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Aaron: Mom! Did you know there’s an OLD Robocop movie that was around when Dad was around?!

I didn’t tell Aaron, but I think Gary is still around. I’m running down now to check, though, just in case he knows something I don’t know.

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Aaron got a little choked during supper. His observation:

“I swallowed it down the wrong throat!”

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Aaron saw the news and pictures of the nuclear reactor fires in Japan. So he asked, “Mom, what are those ball buildings?”

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Aaron also saw a nuclear physicist being interviewed. This man had some wild gray hair, much like Einstein, so Aaron got excited and asked, “Mom!! Isn’t that the guy that invented…….oh, what was it?………H2O?”

Ummm….No, Aaron. Different formula. Same hair, though.

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Aaron and I were just watching the news. A special segment came on about Michael Jackson. Aaron said, “Hey, I know some of Michael’s dance moves. Want me to show you?”

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Aaron is almost as concerned with the weather as he is with keeping correct times. When time and weather collide…well, hold on!!

Aaron asked me on Thursday night when it was going to rain, as he does nearly every night. I told him that we might get some storms over the weekend. Silly me.

Aaron: When will it storm?

Me: Maybe Sunday evening.

Aaron: When is evening?

And before I could form a reasonable answer:

Aaron: What time is evening?

And again before I could answer:

Aaron: Is evening lunch time?

Me: No, not lunch time. It’s…

Aaron: Is it supper time?

Me: YES!!!! It’s around supper time.

Aaron: So it will storm at 5:00?

AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!

My plan is to keep a close eye on The Weather Channel, Weather Bug, MyRadar app, AccuWeather, KAKE Weather, KWCH Weather, and 101.3 storm chasers. At the first inkling of a storm here, we are eating supper. I don’t care what time it is, we will eat supper, people!!!!!! 🤣😬💦💨🌩️⛈️⚡

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Last night Aaron wasn’t sure that he wanted to wear green today. “I don’t want to look like a vegetable!” he said. Well, he had four seizures last night so he didn’t get to go to his day group today. I have been counting my blessings today, and one is for Aaron…..that he didn’t have to go out today looking like a vegetable!

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Aaron told me that today he was walking downtown with his group and saw a German restaurant. He looked in the window (poor patrons!) and said that he saw bottles of wine. “So Mom, is that what Germans like for food? Wine?!! Is that all they eat?”

Maybe we should go and check it out!!

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Every time Aaron and I go to Dillon’s he must, if possible, stop by the fresh fish and seafood display. He loves seeing the shrimp, the lobster, the crab legs, and anything else that’s there. Today there was a surprise! Two whole fish!! Aaron was so thrilled that he pushed himself in front of a little family as he exclaimed loudly:

“MOM!! LOOK!! He’s all fish!!!” 😂😂🐟

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Aaron: Mom! If I had a clone, it would be the same of me.

Me: That’s a great way to put it, Aaron!

Aaron: Would you want a clone of me?

Me: NO!! I mean, no.

Aaron: Why not?

Me: Because ONE OF YOU IS ENOUGH!!!

Aaron: OK.

He just walked off with no reaction. Oh, the tragedy of so much wasted sarcasm in this house!! 😆😆💙💙

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And we’ll have more of the same of these Aaron Talking Points!

Trust me!  😊  😊

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Biscuits and Blessings

Aaron was very happy last Thursday when I asked him if he wanted to come with me to Aldi.  I needed a few things, which with Aaron involved would turn into more than just a few things.  Shopping, even for groceries, is Aaron’s second favorite thing to do.  First on the list, most definitely, is eating out.

But shopping ranks a close second.  Aaron sees a store as a huge area of nearly limitless possibilities.  When we enter, he is instantly on the prowl for his catch.  Will it be gum?  A canister of peanuts?  Pringles?  Croissants?  Thick grated cheese…not that thin stuff!!  Or will he find an unusual item that he holds up for me…and all within earshot…to see?  Like an artichoke or an eggplant or a star fruit!

Stores are just awesome!!

When we exited Aldi, Aaron had captured a large container of mixed nuts and THREE cans of biscuits!!

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The biscuit discussion ensued.  When would we eat them?  For which meal?  How many would we fix?  Would I eat any?  Would Dad eat any?  And even when the questions were answered, they must be asked again…and again…and again.

Expected with Aaron, but exhausting.

I told Aaron that we would eat some biscuits on the next day, Friday.  Then he plotted and planned at which meal we would eat them, and how many cans would we fix.

“Can we have TWO ?” he asked.

But I assured him that the three of us did not need more than 8 biscuits, so he resigned himself to that reality as Thursday ended and the promise of Biscuit Friday lay ahead.

Before he finally decided to stay IN bed and go to sleep, he had to verify it one more time.

“Mom? Did you say that tomorrow you’re only fixing ONE barrel of biscuits?”

How I love his phrasing of common names!  Only Aaron can make a can of biscuits take on a whole new meaning.

“Yes, Aaron,” I answered with a smile.  “We only need one barrel of biscuits.”

During that night, Aaron had two seizures while he slept.  But he really perked up when he got out of the bed later that morning.  In fact, he talked and talked and talked as he followed me around the house.  I was so saturated with his chatter and endless questions that I was in need of some relief.

I agreed when he asked if we could have some biscuits for lunch instead of waiting for supper.  He put three biscuits on his plate when they were ready.

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He was SO happy! Look at his face as we settled in to watch a Little House on The Prairie episode, and he had his plate full of biscuits.  Pure delight!

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Later, I was very thankful for that moment. Aaron had another seizure that evening around the time we would have been eating supper. After awhile, when he was alert, he didn’t feel like eating any more biscuits. His appetite is usually ruined right after seizures. It always makes me sad when his seizures mess up his happy moments. But it was like God gave me that sweet gift of watching the joy of Aaron and his barrel of biscuits earlier in the day, knowing that if we had waited until supper then he would have been sad about missing his biscuits…and so would I.

God’s gifts may seem small sometimes but they’re really not at all. They sure do fill my heart and make me happy. ❤️❤️

And God’s gifts are all around us, every day, if we take the time to look.

Who would have thought that our barrels of biscuits would turn into barrels of blessings?

 

AARON’S Mother’s Day

The above title is not a mistake.  You see, every special day for Aaron has one bottom line.  That bottom line, simply put, is food.  Aaron knows that special days usually call for special food.  To Aaron, special food is what makes the world go round.  Forget all that love stuff.  It’s FOOD, baby!!

This memory from 10 years ago popped up on my Facebook news feed recently:

Aaron: “So are you getting something special since it’s your Mother’s Day?” I walked over to him, put my arm around him and said, “Well, a hug is special.” Aaron: “I was talking about food!!” Ah, if Mom gets special food then Aaron might get special food. Smart boy!

This past Saturday, while I was planting my porch flowers in various pots, Gary took Aaron out to buy me a Mother’s Day card and flowers.  Aaron walked up on the front porch when they got home and awkwardly thrust the flowers out for me to take.  He immediately turned to walk away, hoping to avoid the hug that he knew was coming.  But before he got very far, he turned and said these priceless words:  “Mom, now that I got you flowers, can we get something special to eat?!”

HaHaHaHaHa!!!!

He enjoyed watching me put the flowers in a vase.

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He was happy when I finished the porch flowers.

He was VERY happy when he hopped in the truck with me and Gary as we went to Lowe’s.  A shopping trip might…just might…mean a stop for special food.

So he was beyond happy when he heard the words “Burger King” come out of our mouths.  Yay!!  Later, as we sat around our table and ate our simple but special food, Aaron was enjoying every bite.

Mission accomplished!!

The next day, Aaron ran into the bathroom as I finished drying my hair.  He told me to hurry because he had something for me.  I didn’t hurry fast enough, however, and Aaron couldn’t contain his excitement.

“Mom!!  I got you a card!!  Hurry!!”

No matter how many times I tell him not to divulge the secret, Aaron cannot keep secrets very well when it comes to the gifts he gives.

With unfixed hair, we ran downstairs to where Gary sat.  Aaron grabbed the card from Gary’s hand and happily handed it to me.

I opened it, and my laughter delighted Aaron no end!

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Later that evening, we feasted on great food – grilled ribs and yummy sides.

And I was once again reminded that, despite the issues we sometimes face with Aaron, he provides us with many special moments.

Happy Mother’s Day to me, from Aaron!

Every day, if I take the time to look.

 

 

 

Who Are These Special Moms?

As the mother of a son with special needs, I have often had people tell me that they think God gives special children to special moms.  While I realize that this sentiment is meant to be encouraging and kind, I also must say that I think it’s misguided.  A big reason I think this is because I know me.  I know me better than anyone else knows me, except God.  I know that I’m no more special than any other mom out there.  This isn’t fake humility, either.  It’s just the truth.

All moms need God’s grace for each day.  We who are His children need His grace for our own children in so many different ways.  How amazing is God’s grace, too!  He promises this undeserved favor to us over and over, greater grace for greater needs, along with His mercies that are new every morning.  He has all that I need.  He has all that any mom needs.  I asked God many times to give me grace for the challenges that I faced as a mom of all three of our children.

Having said all this, let me also say that I have a great respect for the moms that I know who are walking this life alongside their child or children with special needs.  My heart goes out to them, ones I know and ones I don’t know, as they face demands that they never dreamed they would encounter as a mother.

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So as Mother’s Day approaches, and we see the beautiful cards…….heart tugging commercials…….perfect mother and children photos…….and all the lovely images of motherhood through the years – let me give a “special” shout-out to all the “special” moms of special children.

Those dear Moms:

  • Who spend hours researching your child’s diagnosis rather than hours researching what sport for him to play.
  • Who pray for your child’s teacher to be understanding of meltdowns, bluntness, and a zillion other things that have nothing to do with her grasping of educational facts, and yet have everything to do with her ability to learn.
  • Who dread with a passion those IEP meetings.
  • Who dread having to once again explain your child in every new setting.
  • Who dread high school graduation because……then what?
  • Who try to ignore the stares from others in public places instead of basking in admiring glances.
  • Who are learning how to use your child’s feeding tube rather than planning his fun pizza party.
  • Who are searching for the best wheelchair rather than the best bicycle.
  • Who watch their child being marked for radiation rather than getting a cool tattoo.
  • Who are shopping with their daughter for a wig to cover her bald head due to chemo instead of shopping for the perfect new hair products.
  • Who are driving their older child everywhere because he can’t have a driver’s license due to seizures or other medical issues.
  • Who hurt because their child doesn’t have many, or any, friends.
  • Who are signing guardianship papers instead of college admittance papers.
  • Who are scouring the internet for the latest medical treatments instead of scouring for the best college scholarships.
  • Who know more drug names and side effects than they ever wanted to know.
  • Who spend far more time finding caregivers than finding cool vacation spots.
  • Who are adept at rearranging schedules due to unexpected medical issues.
  • Who lay in bed at night with the sound of your husband sleeping on one side, and your adult child breathing heavily in the baby monitor on the other side as you listen for seizures.
  • Who read your adult child the same book every single night of his life.
  • Who keep waterproof mattress pads on your child’s bed – your adult child.
  • Who have a hard time finishing a conversation with your husband without being interrupted over and over.
  • And who, for some, will find themselves looking at a gravestone on Mother’s Day instead of looking into the eyes of their child.

 

So to all of you amazing mothers of special needs children, I give you a huge high five!!  I hope you know that you are loved and that God does have special grace for you every day.

And may you, as my friend Atha would say, be established in your purpose……this God-given purpose……of raising one of His very special children.

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Keeps Me Singing

My mother passed into heaven five years ago today.  I wanted to re-post this blog I wrote at that time about the sweet gift that God gave us shortly before she died.

It was probably over 55 years ago that a soloist with a beautiful voice went to sing in a revival service in the little town of Oakvale, West Virginia.  She sang the hymn “I’d Rather Have Jesus,” and then she sat down to listen to the sermon preached by Jimmie Jones.  Her heart was disturbed as she listened to the gospel being preached that night.  She thought of the song she had just sung, and of the words that came out of her mouth in such a perfect performance…..words that she knew she didn’t really mean.  For it was just that – a performance.  She sang beautifully, but she sang a lie.  She knew that she didn’t really know Jesus, and that she didn’t really mean it when she sang about wanting Jesus more than anything this world affords.

 

This woman was my mother, and that night changed her life and the life of our family.  She went home and urged my dad to go with her to listen to Jimmie Jones preach.  Mom didn’t know that my dad had already trusted Christ as his Savior.  It wasn’t long before my mother made the same decision.  She bowed her head and confessed her sin, and asked Jesus to be Lord of her life.  God changed my parents tremendously.  They raised their five children to know and serve the Lord, and they left us a spiritual heritage that has more value than anything this world affords.  And “I’d Rather Have Jesus” became my mother’s signature song…..one we heard her sing many, many times over the years.  One she sang with honesty for the rest of her life because of the work that God had done in her heart.

 

Last week we said goodbye to my mother for the final time on this earth.  We had really lost her a long time ago to the horrible ravages of Alzheimer’s.  She no longer had her memories, her personality, or any of her other faculties.  But even Alzheimer’s cannot take the Lord away.  He has promised to always be with us, and He always keeps His promises.  We saw evidences of His presence with Mom as she struggled in various ways.  What sweet comfort it brought to know that deep in her heart and her mind, God was ministering to her in ways that we could not.

 

Two weeks ago, on the day before the call went out to family that mother was dying, we saw a profound picture of God’s grace in her little body and in her heart.  Jan and her daughter, Bethany, had gone to spend some time with Mom in the care home where she lived.  Mom was sitting in the commons area, her head down and her eyes closed, unresponsive to the voices and the noises around her.  Suddenly, on the television that was playing, a man started singing “Amazing Grace.”  Bethany looked down at her grandmother and saw that her lips were moving.  Surprised at this, she and Jan leaned down and put their ears to Mom’s moving lips.  Here is what they heard coming from my unresponsive mother:

 

          Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,

 

          Sweetest Name I know.

 

          Fills my every longing,

 

          Keeps me singing as I go.

 

My mother was singing!  Jan and Bethany wouldn’t have believed it had they not heard it for themselves.  She was clearly singing this beautiful old hymn.  She was singing about Jesus, whom she was soon to meet.  God’s prompting, God’s presence, was there with Mom in that room.  Jan and Bethany joined her in singing, and then Bethany said, “I love you.”  Mom clearly said, “I love you” to Bethany, her eyes still closed.  Then Jan said, “I love you, Mom.”  And Mom said, “I love you” to Jan as well.

 

Those were the last words that my mother spoke.  The next day the family got the call that she was dying, and on Monday, May 4, my mother met Jesus.  Jesus, the sweetest name she knew.  Jesus, who filled her every longing.  Jesus, who kept her “singing as I go.”  Singing as she got ready to go to heaven.

 

Like my brother, John, said at her funeral…..how appropriate that Mom’s walk with the Lord began with a song many years ago.  And her life with the Lord ended with a song…..a song that surprised us all, but was such a gift of grace and hope from God.

 

A gift and an example that we will always, always cherish.