Reflecting on Parenting…Our Journey Through Asperger’s Syndrome, Part Two

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The rain was coming down in sheets as I sat in my car and watched one of my kids’ teachers hold up a little stop sign so the passing cars wouldn’t plow through a gaggle of freshly released school students. He was wearing a bright yellow rain poncho and animated in his motions. I watched for a few minutes and then Devon coming bobbing down the steps toward the crosswalk.

The teacher started yelling something at him. He seemed to be straining as he discussed something of seemingly great importance with my son. Even from the distance of my vantage point, I could see veins popping out of the surface of his forehead.

My heart sank a little. I was hoping with great fervor that Devon hadn’t done anything wrong for which he was receiving a scolding, right there in the pouring rain.

He was fourteen and we had come a long way in those eleven years that passed since the journal entry I had talked about in the last post (Tuesday, January 26, 2016).  We’ve had years of occupational therapy, conversational speech therapy, social skills classes and abundant prayer!

Devon was surrounded by a family who loved and cared for him. We came to understand his condition better as we went through family counseling and read a copious amount of books on the subject. We homeschooled Devon and Lindsey through seventh grade and placed in a loving, encouraging, academically challenging Christian school for the past few years.

But most importantly we prayed! We prayed that Devon come to know God and Jesus Christ and that his relationship with the Lord transform his mind, body, and spirit into the person that he was created to be.

As Devon sat himself down in the car that rainy day, I held my breath and asked what his teacher was yelling to him. He responded to me with smile that lit up his entire face.  He said that he had written a word puzzle that this man, his logic teacher, could not figure out and it was driving him crazy!

I exhaled deeply with a prayer of thanksgiving on my breath.

God is so faithful!

“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”    Matthew 18:10

Do you have a child with emotional, learning or social issues?

Press into God in faith through prayer! Hear His voice and feel His love.

I’m praying for you!

Please share as you feel led.

Love,

DLF

Reflecting on Parenting…Our Journey Through Asperger’s Syndrome

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The tears flooded my cheeks. My heart swelled with emotion. It felt like the words were written only yesterday.

Monday, May 9, 2005

You have given me four beautiful children. Lord, I thank you for each and every one of them and ask that You give me the love and understanding I need to be a good mother to each of them. Help me to allow Nick and Michael to grow into manhood, to love them and accept them as they are and not as I want them to be.  Help me to nurture Lindsey as a young lady, setting a good example for her as a God loving woman. Help me to better understand Devon. Father, does he need a firmer hand, time to mature, or is something really wrong with him?  I beg of you, Father, in Your infinite wisdom and understanding as the ultimate parent help me to understand him and to know what to do to help him behave as he should. I am clueless. Is it me?  Am I doing something wrong?  Help me, Father, as I search for answers.  Grant me wisdom, understanding, and strength.

There was such a desperation in my words. I remember the helplessness of not knowing how best to handle my fourth child. I had three older children.  The older boys were lively and challenging at times. But, they always responded well to correction.  My youngest son, Devon, came with a different set of rules.  All the methods of training, correcting, guiding, and disciplining my three older children were useless with him.

He was super bright. Reading at three. Popping off math equations at four.  Memorizing square roots at five. But, he was insensitive to others and off in his own world, doing his own thing much of the time. We couldn’t get him to understand how to relate to others even though his heart was full of love toward everyone.

I prayed and prayed for help!

James says, “If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”   (James 1:5)

God answered my prayers just a few short months later when Devon was at the doctor’s office for a check-up.

We were referred to a specialist who diagnosed Devon with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Thursday we’ll talk more about how that impacted our family over the past eleven years and I’ll share some of the wisdom that God granted to us in His vast goodness along the way.

Hope to see you then!

Love,

DLF

Reflecting of Friendship-Part Two

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One of the most beautiful portraits of friendship in the Bible was that of David and Jonathon. First Samuel 18:1 tells us, “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.”

As you read the account of their friendship in First Samuel, you see over and over that their focus is not on each other but the LORD.

And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.” 1Samel 23:16

This has been a struggle for me. I’ve wanted to stay focused of God, pointing all things in my friendships to Him, through Him, and for Him.  But, I must admit I’ve fallen short from time to time.

Don’t get the wrong idea here. I’m not saying every friendship we have must be with a sister in Christ. But, our friendships do need to have Christ at the core, even if it’s only our core.  Loving an unbelieving friend with His love, in His power and strength for His glory is what Christianity is all about.

A friendship built on a Biblical blueprint has a greater purpose than just companionship. It builds, encourages and corrects us as we journey through life.

The examples of friendship found in the Word are plentiful.

Abraham and Lot (Genesis 14)

Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1)

David and Jonathon (1Samuel 18)

Elijah and Elisha(2Kings2)

Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel2)

Jesus, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus (John 11)

Paul, Priscilla, and Aquila (Romans 16)

Paul and Timothy (Phil. 2)

Just to name a few.

Each on has a unique setting and unique conditions. They were built in different times and places.

All of them were centered on love.

Jesus, Himself, defined true friendship when He said in John 15:12-15, “This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

There have been, and will be days when it’s hard to love like that.

Through His power and strength all things are possible. I resolve to be a better friend this year.

What about you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Please share in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you.

Love,

DLF

Reflecting on Friendship

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My pudgy little fingers took the M&M from the palm of April’s hand. I popped It in my mouth, trying not to giggle as we “raced” to see who could melt away the candy coating and get to the chocolate first without biting into it.

Friendship came easy to those two giggling four-year-old girls.

We had no expectations thrust upon the time we spent together. Our moms arranged playdates and we played. Simple.

As I looked back over years of journal entries, I realized that I struggled in friendships as an adult. It was one of three topics that reoccurred frequently in my journal. The first being my struggles with food (we talked about last week) and the third was parenting (our topic next week).

Friendships can be complicated. Actually, at times, they can be downright messy. Riddled with unmet needs and expectations, tattered with hurt feelings and unspoken offenses, friendship can be like walking on ice in high heel shoes.

On the other hand, friendship can be sweet and easy. I’ve walked through raising my children with a friend who has children the same age as mine. Our common walk has bonded us in a unique way. With schedules full and families growing we developed an easy friendship that ebbs and tides with the flow of life.

For quite some time, I struggled in a friendship with a friend who didn’t communicate well. I felt a conflict had wedged itself between us, maybe even an offense. But, she never spoke about it. She just pushed me away.  As I read entries dating back more than a decade, I could see tear stains on the pages. The words written were begging God for some type of resolution.  It broke my heart to think that I may have hurt her without realizing it. I never knew what happened.

Finally, in one of my journal entries, I wrote these words, “I resolve to no longer struggle or concern myself with it (the friendship). I shall trust You, God, to bring her to call as You see fit. If not, I will know for whatever reason, this is what is best.”

I didn’t see any more journal entries on the subject again.

I found comfort in the Word as I struggled with feelings of failure in this friendship.

“They (Paul and Barnabas) had such a sharp disagreement that the parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cypress, but Paul chose Sylas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.”   Acts 15:40 & 41

Even the great men of the Bible had some difficult relationship experiences.

We’ll talk more about friendship on Thursday.

See you then!

Love,

DLF

Reflecting on Deliverance- Part Two

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I’ve often wondered why people are so harsh in their reference to the Israelites in the story of the exodus and desert wanderings. Is it really hard to understand their grumblings (Exodus 16) when we consider the wondrous, miraculous things that God did to free them from the clutches of the Egyptians, only to plunk them in the heat of the desert with humble provisions for all those years?

I cherish their story. I can relate to their story. It is a constant reminder for me to not be focused on the deliverance but rather be focused on the Deliverer!

I’m sure the Israelites expected bigger and better things than a bare bone, nomadic desert existence. They had seen some amazing things (Exodus 4-11) and while they were focused on the miracles they missed the Miracle Worker.

My deliverance from food echoes their story in the sense that I initially thought that I would be dramatic thinner if I had food under control.

Let me be very up front and say that goal number ten is still a work in progress (see Tuesday January 12, 2016 post). I’ve lost ten of those thirty pounds so far.

Like the Israelites, I thought my deliverance would look different.

Dare I say, I thought it would look outwardly more impressive?

Several months ago a friend of mine had asked for prayers in her struggle with a newly diagnosed disease. Totally unfamiliar with her condition, I set out to do some research on the web.  I wanted to know how best to pray for her. As I was researching health and wellness resources, I had discovered that the rheumatoid arthritis that I was beginning to struggle with was largely affected by certain foods.

Desperate for relief that didn’t come from a bottle of pain relievers, I started tweaking my diet.

By tweaking I mean, eliminating wheat, sugar, and coffee.

Yes, I said…wheat, sugar, and coffee.

Yes, it was HORRIBLE to be around me for three days!

But, the funny thing is that not only did my arthritis begin to feel better, I found it easier to resist bingeing on sweets when this inflammation trifecta was removed from my daily diet. It turns out that nutritionists are beginning to suspect that these foods trigger something in our brains, something that increases our appetite, especially for sugar.

Even more important than changing my diet was the HUGE change that was made in my spiritual journey, by the grace of God.

I left the teachings of the “religious diet program” and joined a Christ centered, truly Biblically based church with strong fellowship and loving accountability.

No more back-sliding.

For the past six months it has felt like God has actually accelerated the growth in our relationship to make up for lost time.

The combination of setting things right physically (inflammation diet) and spiritually (right teaching, fellowship, Bible reading and prayer) has brought me into a place where I can be surrounded by sweets and not binge. A place where I truly mean “no thank you” when I say it.

Some days I look at the kids’ cookie jar on the counter and sing out loudly, I’M FREE!

A year ago I would have thought that thinness would have come with that freedom. But, it didn’t. Much like I’m sure the Israelites thought that a life of luxury would have come with their exodus from Egypt.

They were free.

They were no longer slaves.

But, they took their eyes off the Deliverer and became very unsatisfied.

I pray that I learn from their story. May we all learn from their story.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”                                         Galatians 5:1

 

Have you ever struggled with disordered eating?

Have you experienced deliverance?

Please share in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you.

Love,

DLF

Reflecting on Deliverance

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I chuckled as I read these words in the journal entry written on January 1, 2015; “I resolve to see my deliverance or die trying!!!”

I had written in big, bold capital letters that 2015 will be THE YEAR of DELIVERANCE.

Just under it I had listed ten goals for the year.

The first eight became incorporated into my daily to-do list. Writing everyday was on the list. I have met that goal with a few exceptions when life got crazy.

Numbers nine and ten were the real attention getters.

  1. Mortify indwelling sin-gluttony, greed, pride.
  2. Lose thirty pounds.

Hmmmm…those were lofty goals!!!

I had struggled with disordered eating most of my life. When I was sixteen, I lost fifty pounds and stepped into the world of bulimia. A horrible world of self-induced vomiting, daily laxative consumption, diuretic pills, obsessive exercise, and extreme self-loathing and fear.

As I aged, entered adulthood with all the responsibilities, and became a mother, my disordered eating shifted gears. I became an emotional overeater who never found satisfaction in food. I was driven to eat food, especially of the sugar laden variety, like an addict looking for a fix.

I swung like a pendulum from one diet to another thinking this new diet was the magic bullet, the one that would make all things click. I was entrenched in a cycle of failure.

My desperation led me to a place spiritually that I had never expected. Remember the two years of back -sliding that I mentioned in the post on Thursday, January 7, 2015?  That back-sliding was a direct result of becoming involved with a diet program that interlaced a religious faith that led me away from a life giving, lifesaving relationship with Christ.

In my desperation I did not see the dangerous teaching that permeated every thought and action. The diet portion of the teaching worked because it was simple calorie reduction.  However, there was no regard for nutrition. But in my desperation, I just wanted to lose weight and that was all that mattered.

Desperation is scary.

Desperation drove Sarai to hand Hagar to her husband to produce a child. (Gen. 16:2)

Desperation drove Esau to trade his birthright for stew. (Gen. 25:30)

Desperation drove Isaac to deceive his father for a blessing. (Gen 27)

I’m excited to say that the year 2015 did live up to the name I had given it. It was “The Year of Deliverance” in the area of my life long struggle with disordered eating.

I’m looking forward to sharing what that looks like in my life now and how it happened on Thursday.

See you then!

Love,

Denise

 

 

Reflection…The Rest of the Story

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I apologize a million times over for this being so late posting! I had thought that I published it Thursday! I’m not sure why it hadn’t posted and I was sick yesterday so I wasn’t on the site all day long!!! Please forgive me, dear friends!

 

As I sat reading the many words in my old journals, a tidal wave of emotions swept over me.

There were moments when I forgot that I was reading my own words.

At times, I found myself admiring the author.

Other times, I was disappointed in things I had written…wrong thinking that riddled the page.

 And yet other times, I wanted to climb into a silver DeLorean and head back in time. I’d put my arm around my thirty-something self and assure myself that everything would work out fine in a situation that tore at my heart.

There were certain entries that uncovered old hurts that were laying dormant in my soul.

It became crystal clear as I read that I had spent almost two years in a state of spiritual back-sliding. Throughout the month of January, I’ll share some of the things that God showed me as we walked through the pages of those journals. Things that I suspect you can relate to and possible share in the comment section.

The word remember appears in the Bible one hundred and sixty-one times. That doesn’t include the number of times that the words remembered, remembrance, do not forget, etc. appear.  I believe it is important for us to take time to reflect, to remember.

Hebrews 10:32 says, “Remember those earlier days after you received the light, when you stood your ground in great contest in the face of suffering.”

The poem, “By Your Grace” (see Tuesday, January 5, 2016 post), was such a surprise to me when I read it. I love reading poetry but, I struggle with writing poetry.  I’ve taken two poetry writing classes and was enrolled in one when I had written that poem. As I read it, I found myself remembering how unsatisfied I was with it.  Simply put, I thought it was horrible!

Now, after almost eleven years since I penned it, I actually like it.

Have you ever found yourself treating yourself much too harshly?

Let’s resolve in this new year to be kinder to ourselves.

Let’s step back away from critical words of self judgement.

Let’s love others as ourselves. Our unique, God breathed, molded by Holy hands self.

Can you relate?

Comment below and share your feelings.

Do you keep a journal?

Comment below and share your thoughts.

I’d love to hear from you!

Love,

DLF

 

 

 

Reflection

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Paper is everywhere in my house! With two high schoolers there has never been a shortage of paper.

You could not have convinced of this reality two weeks ago when I was searching high and low for an empty notebook in order to write down some information. I finally started pulling old journals off my bookshelf hoping to find some empty pages to use.

I found myself sitting in the corner of my bedroom two hours later with dozens of old journals strewn across the floor. I was surrounded by recorded thoughts, documented events, past struggles, and forgotten memories.

Like a fine pearl hidden in the belly of an oyster, one of the journals hid this little gem within its pages:

 

                                                                                                                                                         Tuesday, April 26, 2005

 

By Your Grace

 

There is a woman inside of me

That wants to be all she can be.

By Your grace I learn to walk in Your ways.

By Your grace I walk through all of my days.

 

The waves of life toss me about

“But, Your love is faithful,” I want to shout.

To all in my life, I want them to know,

Your love has sustained me through high and through low.

 

Within Your love there is power and strength.

You have reached out to me with the greatest of length.

I know in Your arms I will safely be kept,

As You wipe every tear that has ever been wept.

 

My heart; it wells with deep gratitude

So many times, I hadn’t a clue,

You, my Lord, were there with me,

Walking me through things I did not see.

 

All I have to give is petty and small.

You, O Lord, have given it all.

I humble myself at Your great majesty.

I ask that you worketh in and through me.

 

There will be a day when I will see

You coming to earth with a shout of victory.

Till then, my Lord, I will work, watch, and wait.

I will see You, O Lord, for you are the Gate

 

Through times in darkness, I may stumble and fall.

You teach me to triumph through it all!

By Your grace I learn to walk in Your ways.

By Your grace I walk through all of my days.

 

Dear friend, join me on Thursday and I will share why I was surprised to see this poem in my journal and what the month of January will look like on the blog.

I’m excited to share some things that were revealed to me through some time spent in reflection.

Love,

DLF