Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Homeschool & The Child With Special Needs

"And you shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. " -Deuteronomy 11:19 KJV2000

  I confess:  I am somewhat of a home school advocate.  I don't criticize people's choice to send their children to public school (God may ask you to do that!), however, I truly believe that many children--especially those with certain special needs--are far better off home schooled.
  I f you ask adults with Autism what the worst part of growing up with it was, most will tell you "public school."  It was too overwhelming from them with so many people, they had sensory overload, they were teased, bullied, rejected and misunderstood, they struggled to keep up in some areas and surpassed everyone else in others.
  Many mothers think there is no way they could home school their kids.  Perhaps they fell his or her needs are too great, or that they can't do it because they don't h ave a teaching or child psychology degree.  Most mothers think they don't have enough patience.
  I am not known for my patience.  In fact, quite the opposite.  However, God's using this to help me cultivate that fruit in my life.  I don't have any degrees.  I graduated high school, then did one semester at university before I dropped out.  But here's the edge I do have:  I know my child better than  any other human being on the face of the earth.  I know how he ticks.  I know how he learns, what frustrates him & what his interests are. I know his strengths & weaknesses.  
  I won't try to sedate him with drugs to make him sit still I don't want to suppress his uncontrollable urges to stim and with his echolia.  Most importantly, I will let my son be who he is meant to be.
  He obviously can't be bullied or picked on at home, and isn't as distracted as he would be in a crowded classroom.  It also keeps him innocent longer---and there's nothing wrong with that.
  So not only is it great for the child, but it's great for you, too!  It teaches you patience, but also you get to reap the rewards as you see your child learning and progressing.  Knowing you have had a hand in that is a very gratifying feeling.
  If God asks you to home school your child with special needs, fear not;  God will provide you with what you need to do it, and make what seems impossible, possible.  He did it for me, and continues to.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday, Josiah!

"For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, to the glory of God by us." -2 Corinthians 1:20 AKJV 

  Today, my precious son turns six, and as he does, I reflect on the promises God has given me concerning him.   I have kept a book where I have written down various Scriptures & quotes & different stories of God giving me words for my son.  They are words I can stand upon, and because they come from the Lord, I know they shall come to pass.
  Our son was a promised child from the start.  God Himself named him, even though we thought the name "Josiah" was our brilliant idea.  It was the only male name we had picked out.  
  Prior to trying to conceive, my husband, Mike was in prayer one day, & he came out of his prayer closet & said to me, "I think God may have told us to name our son Joshua instead of Josiah."  I, acting so spiritually (said tongue-in-cheek), reply, with great irritation, "Can't I even name my own kid??"  My husband soothed me & said, "It could have been my own mind or the devil as well, so let's ask God for a sign tomorrow, that this was from Him."  So I grudgingly bowed my head & agreed with my husband in prayer for God to give us a sign the following day, whether or not He wanted us to name our son Joshua instead of Josiah.
  The next day came, & we headed out to the grocery store at the Mall.  As we were heading in, we passed a couple with two children getting into a car with a Jesus fish on it.  My husband being my husband, made a comment about the fish.  Next thing we know, we find out they are fellow believers visiting from Alberta.  As I talked to the woman, I looked at her beautiful children and asked her what their names were.  She turns to her daughter and says, "Jada" and then she indicates her son and says, "Josiah."   Talk about a sign!!!
  So a month or two later, we conceived, and even though they didn't tell you the sex of the baby back then in that hospital, we told them we were having a son.  And we did.  And we named him "Josiah".
  My son was used mightily from the get go.  We've since found two other meanings, but the first meaning we found of Josiah was "whom God heals".  It was totally appropriate.  God used my son to heal me of an abortion I'd had when I was 20.  As I tracked the progress of the pregnancy, it made me realize just what I'd done, so that I could repent from the heart, & then God could heal me.  I remember a lady in church up front at the pulpit saying, "To every woman here who has had a miscarriage or abortion, your babies are in heaven with God & you'll see them again."  There I stood, with my big pregnant belly, bursting out crying in church, then running to the washroom for refuge.  Yes, God used my son to completely heal me of the guilt, pain & shame of the abortion I'd had.
  My son will be used more of the Lord as the years go by. I don't have to wonder how God would do such a thing with a child who can't even carry on a conversation, because God used him mightily before he'd even left the womb!
  Six years have gone by since he first entered my life, and I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful son! Happy Birthday to my sweet, precious Josiah.  I love you & look forward to seeing what else God has in store for you!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Your Ministry

" Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. " -Titus 2:3-5 NIV

  When I first gave my life to the Lord, I was in my mid-twenties, and I was on fire!  After living so many years in utter darkness, with depression & addictions, God turned the light switch on, and suddenly the world seemed so much more colorful, literally.  I had such dreams. I wanted to do so many things for the Lord.  I felt called to minister to the prostitutes & the "rejects" of society.  After getting a taste of prison ministry, I had a longing to do that on a regular basis, I loved it so much.  I had dreams of writing my dramatic life story, since the Lord had given me a writing gift.  I had so many dreams!  So many hopes.
  When I had the opportunity to do missions throughout Atlantic Canada, my appetite was whetted for that, as I saw people come to Christ, and as I had opportunity to share my testimony, as well as witness through songs & skits.  I was totally in my element, and thought, 'Now THIS is living!'  It was fantastic!  
  There is a time and a season for everything, and perhaps your biggest dream was to become a mother, but mine was not.  Although my son was planned, I always longed to get out on the street and get my hands dirty, so to speak.  I wanted to do something for the Kingdom---or should I say feel like I was doing something for the Kingdom.
  It was very hard, and has been hard to accept that those things can not be focused on at this point in my life.  God has made it clear that my ministry is firstly that of a wife, and secondly, that of a mother.  These ministries can often seem monotonous and thankless in many respects, if we're really honest with ourselves, and sometimes we feel like we are doing nothing for the Kingdom as we see other friends, who perhaps have no kids, or their kids are old enough to be independent, doing missions and the very things we dreamed of doing.  We feel useless.  We feel like we're a bump on the log.  At least that is how I have felt.
  However, the call of being a wife & a mother is a high calling.  Besides that, if we excel in that ministry, we may not realize it, but that does effect others and is a witness in itself.  When others see how solid your marriage is & how much you love your child & care for them, then this will point them to God.  Besides that, you could be raising the next Elijah or Moses or Esther.  You don't know what plans God has for your child.  

  Your job and ministry right now are to love your husband & to raise your children to love God and love their neighbor as themselves, and to walk into the calling God has placed upon their lives.  Our kids are the future.  Don't discredit or devalue the power of your ministry as a wife and mother!  Don't allow feelings of being cheated or of discontent creep in as I have done at times.  Remember how important being a homemaker is.  And remember that there are things you can do as such.  Perhaps you could visit that lonely neighbor with your child in tow, or bake a casserole for that person who just lost someone, or pray for someone in need. Prayer is crucial.  There are so many things that being a homemaker encompasses & so many ways to minister to a lost world. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Long Awaited God-Sent Friendships

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” – Philippians 1:3 NIV

  Something very exciting & encouraging happened to me yesterday, at a birthday party for a friend’s son:  I met another couple with a son with Autism who is very similar to my son & only a year apart in age.  I can’t even explain how amazing it was to just stand there and talk to the father, and then later, the mother about our children, and the things they struggle with and the things they excel in.  I have never, ever been able to do this, and it was such a blessing from God!  God knew that it couldn’t be just anyone, but that the people would have to have a great love for Him & trust in Him. 
  Talking to them, it also gave me peace about some decisions we had made with our child, and again I felt we were doing the right things for him.  Isn’t it nice just to meet someone who can empathize with what you go through?  They don’t have to give advice or anything else: Only listen, and understand because they’ve been there or are still there. 
  I have never been one to go to a support group, for my own personal reasons, so I’ve gone it alone for the most part; just God & I, through this journey with my son, and so it’s such a novelty to meet people who “get it”. 
  God always has perfect timing, and a few months ago, I didn’t even want to admit that my son had special needs.  It took a lot for me to even say that.  So God brought people into my life just at the right time, when He knew I would receive them as I should.
  So now I am excited at these new friendships.  Just to know there is someone else out there who understands…..it’s just amazing what that can do for a person.
  I encourage you, if you know any other mothers out there who have a child or children with special needs, reach out to them. Encourage them.  Pray for them.  Pray for their children.  Be God with skin on.  Perhaps they feel as alone as I did, and you will be the one to relieve that.

Friday, March 9, 2012

When the Well Has Dried up/When the Oil Has Run Low

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” –Isaiah 40:11 KJV

I am sitting here, and the well seems to have run dry….But then it makes me think of how our well can run dry---or our lamp can run low on oil.   Don’t we all have days of that; perhaps even weeks?  Dare I say months?  Yes, it’s not fun when we feel like we are running on fumes, but it can happen to most of us mothers, especially when we have children with special needs that require a bit more energy (both physically & mentally).  You feel like you just can’t take another one of your child’s tantrums.  You can’t handle another poopy Pull-up, dumped out glass of juice or box of cereal, another seizure, another judgemental look from people.  You can’t even seem to find the energy to pray.  All you can seem to manage is a weak plea of “help me!”   You’d love to go out and have a date with your spouse, but who can you leave your child with that can handle them? That you can trust?
  In those times where you feel like God is far away, and you just can’t seem to get time away with Him, He hears that cry of “help me”, & He will deliver you.  It isn’t usually our timing though; it’s His, but He is always right on time; never too early & never too late.
  I love the above Scripture, because it reminds me that God is not beating me over the head when I am unable to spend the same amount of time in prayer---specifically undivided time---as I did when I was single or before I had a child.  I believe that Scripture is saying how the Lord recognizes how hard it can be for us to find the time or opportunity, so He doesn’t expect us to be able to devote as much undivided time to Him as say, a single person.  I believe the key is to learn to practice His presence.  In other words, just being aware that He is always there, so that we talk to Him when we do the dishes, take a bath, wash our hands, sweep the floors & other things we do on a daily basis.  And although it is crucial to get that alone time with God at some point, He isn’t expecting us to climb in our prayer closet for several hours like we may have been able to do before.  Just to have even a moment.  If you get a spare 15 minutes, even!  Just to take that opportunity to be refreshed by Him, and let Him refill your lamp with oil.  You will find that you have that encouragement and strength again to face all of the things that are especially challenging. Yes, you will need to keep coming back for that refill, because you will get worn down again without that time with Him.  But He understands, and I don’t know about you, but that sure makes me feel a whole lot better!
  He leads us gently.  I like that.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Oh Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light” -Matthew 6:22 ESV

  With any child, we must be diligent as mothers to be very careful what we allow our child to read, watch on TV or listen to.  With a child with special needs, perhaps this is even more crucial.  Many of them are extra sensitive, and some are unable to distinguish between what is acceptable and what is not.  Where one child would watch a seemingly innocent cartoon with a mild fighting scene (what I call “vanilla violence”), and it wouldn’t make them violent, yet another child could watch that same thing, and not knowing better, could act it out.  One child can watch a movie where someone has called another person “stupid” or some other thing, and that child knows not to say that to anyone.  Another child watches the movie and then starts repeating that word over and over again.
  When it comes to our children, we must really take our cues from God.
  One day, a couple of years ago, I was watching my son play in the back yard, and seemingly out of the blue, God said to me, “Do not allow Josiah to watch things like Spiderman, Superman and Batman.”  God explained that Jesus is the true depiction of a superhero, setting an example as He walked the earth as a humble servant—not someone engaging in physical battles, but spiritual ones.  He will return as a warrior, but we were called to be peacemakers.  That’s a true superhero.  I’m certain there are other reasons that God commanded that, like perhaps my son would act out what he saw.  All I know is that it doesn’t matter why.  I just need to obey God because He knows why—and that’s all that matters.
  You may suffer criticism for some things you don’t allow your child exposure to, but as long as you don’t judge others for what they do allow, you can stand confidently in knowing you’re walking in obedience.
  Now, do I think other mothers who allow their children to watch Spiderman, Superman, Batman and the likes are wrong to do that? No!  I do not.  God doesn’t ask the same, I believe, of each mother, because our children are all so different.

  I can tell you what applies to all children:  Garbage in, garbage out.  We need to be careful what we allow them to see & hear, just as we ourselves need to do the same.
  If you feel conviction letting your child read certain books you know other Christian moms are letting their kids read, you stand in your conviction, not questioning God of why their kids are allowed to and yours shouldn’t.  God is able to make them stand as He is, you.  If in doubt over anything, pray about it, or simply don’t allow it.  God always has a reason for these things.  Always.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Honorable Mention-Jesus's Genealogy

“For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Luke 14:11

  In the Gospel of Matthew, it begins with the genealogy of Jesus. You might notice that only a few mothers are mentioned in it.  What was so special about these mothers---what was so noble and godly about these women that they received an “honorable mention”?
  Let’s begin with Tamar.  Who was Tamar?  What did she do that was so noble?  Tamar was Judah’s daughter-in-law who’d been married to two of his three sons (first one died, so she married the other, as was Jewish law & he died as well).  Judah, I believe, was almost superstitiously afraid to give his remaining son to Tamar as he was supposed to, to carry on the dead son’s name, so Tamar thought up a clever plan (sound familiar?  Think Jochebed & Naomi!), dressed as a prostitute & tricked Judah into sleeping with her.  She got pregnant (as she had planned) so she’d carry on Judah’s son’s name.  Yes, she did the righteous thing in God’s sight!  She was resourceful, but most importantly, she was obedient to God.
  Next is Rahab.  She was a prostitute and a foreigner, yet she hid the Israelite spies on her rooftop and she feared God, so she protected His people, and most importantly, feared God!
  Ruth we learned about from my blog on her mother-in-law, Naomi.  Ruth was a foreigner as well.  I believe God honored Ruth because she forsook her gods and land to seek the one true God, and she obeyed her mother-in-law without question, who was carrying out God’s plan.  So Ruth was humble and she turned form her idols to serve God.
  And of course, Mary is mentioned, which I spoke of yesterday, of her humility, her quite contemplative spirit and her wisdom.

  I pray for all of us mommies, that we would be worthy of an “honorable mention” because of our godly virtues we possess, and the greatest thing in all of this is to love & obey God…and the rest will follow.