RSS

Tag Archives: when i am weak

10 Strength Training Exercises of Faith

10 Strength Training Exercises of Faith“You’re getting stronger. I can see that about you. I can tell that you realize what isn’t in your control, and there is a peace about you.”

That was her assessment of me as I sat across from this professional who walked me through an emotionally difficult time.

Stronger? Really? You can see that?

See, the thing is: I feel stronger. I didn’t realize, however, that it was evident to anyone else.

But where does my strength come from?

Sure, the squats, lunges, and planks (one of my warrior princesses told me to add a “dead bug”) I do a few times a week are toning my physical body, but what about my spirit? How do I exercise that?

How did I build my spiritual muscles during a time when staying in bed, perseverating on what was out of my control, and escaping through other means were tempting alternatives?

Sometimes it was a minute-by-minute battle, but the choices were critical in determining if I ended up character-toned and feet planted more firmly in God’s amazing grace.

God’s Word offers me solutions and truth in every circumstance.

1. “Work out” according to His Word Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Taking the Word “Limitation” out of Our Vocabulary

IMG_6547

The other day the sweet mother of one of my son’s friends told me after a playdate that my son has a real “calming/mellowing effect” on her son.

Um, what now?

This is my Hyper Tigger—the one with ADHD. “Calming,” did you say? Most days I do not feel calm in his presence. He bounces around and brings endless joy, but he isn’t exactly what I’d call

still

or

calm.

Surely she’s confusing which parent I am.

But that was my first mistake: thinking that my son couldn’t be strong in an area of weakness.

What looks like a limitation from one angle is usually a blessing from another. Why couldn’t he be soothing to someone else? Why does hyper have to define him 24/7?

Does it?

My second mistake was not believing her the first time. This is the second time she has told me that. I doubted my own son because of my own limited experience and the label put on him.

You know what I see in that? God working through our weaknesses. They don’t have to be limitations when we are willing to see the labels of man as just that: “labels.” I had new appreciation for my limited view into the future when really I have no clue what weaknesses will be used for good or become strengths over time.

Who is to say a socially awkward child doesn’t turn out to be an amazing therapist, minister, salesperson?

Do fine motor strength issues rule out a future in surgery or art?

Does a struggle to read in early intervention years mean someone can’t end up a teacher—or a writer?

What about a speech delay or impediment? Does that mean no public speaking?

My poor spelling child works harder than either of my other two kids. A love of reading would have helped, but this child didn’t read as easily. Because of hard work in this area, this one may surpass us all.

So it made me ask myself: Why do we stop ourselves in the middle of the road (where labels weigh us down), accept what is given, and not consider getting across it?

If my father had accepted the first prognosis from the first medical professional 34 years ago with his first cancer, he would have welcomed a death sentence: terminal. Um, he’s still here.

He decided to cross the road.

I am socially anxious and very inward. Some days I have to talk myself into leaving the house, and yet, when I am where God wants me to be, with the people He wants me to either learn from, receive from, or minister to, He makes it easy. Suddenly, I’m not such a buffoon. I have some right words to say. And I walk away knowing something more about Him and about what amazing paths I can travel down when I don’t stop right where someone told me I had to because I wasn’t “strong” in that area.

I challenge us all to find where we have believed a label as a permanent mark on our lives, where we have sat in the middle of the road accepting our plot.

I’d like to suggest that permanent mark should be considered more of a washable marker. It’s movable, sometimes—but not always removable. It doesn’t have to stay there. Sometimes we can push it further. Sometimes we can push it entirely off.

Does that mean we will change every diagnosis? Every handicap? Every disease?

Not necessarily, but it does mean we look beyond it and see where we can act in spite of what was spoken to us. I have a dear friend fighting to raise money and awareness for her Type 1 Diabetic child. Do you think as a mother she is accepting that diagnosis and just rolling over and taking it? No. No, she is not. Another friend was told her child would not likely walk. She didn’t accept that. Friends beating up cancer with everything in them. Friends hoping and praying their “on the spectrum” children become functional adults, able to hold jobs and maybe even have families someday. A severely autistic child who writes amazing poetry. Folks climbing out of addiction and hoping their day count of sobriety continues to climb.

For me, because of my faith, I call in the impossible because I’ve seen too many very real, modern day miracles to think God can’t and doesn’t still move in our lives when we ask.

For me, limitations are just invitations to ask Him to wow the world with what He can do.

I realize I’m not the first to write on this. I also know some of us are sitting in the middle of the road still, heavy and weighted down, not sure how to get up and move on. I also know not everyone reading this shares my faith in Christ.

But can we agree to get out of the road where circumstances, prognoses, medical professionals, special education staff, teachers, family members, tests, etc., dropped some kind of definitive statement on us, and can we start walking to the other side?

Because when we stay stuck in those labels, those definitions, we end up getting hit by everything else coming down that road. We get beat up, discouraged, worn down, until hope is roadkill flattened in front of us, and we’re left to peel it off the pavement just to get some of it back.

When I am in that place, I want people to hold my hand and remind me to finish crossing, to be bold, to hold on, to pray for promise and hope. And I want to be the warm hand helping others look beyond these things.

Why can’t my Tigger nurture, calm, and settle another little soul his age? Why is it so hard to believe he is defined by far more than ADHD, and why wouldn’t God want to show the world His glory by working through how we see Little Man and showing us what is possible if only we’d believe?

I don’t know, but this one innocent, yet powerful statement from this sweet mother taught me everything I need to know to get out of the road right now. Will you come with me? It’s much better on the other side, where hope and possibility reside.

Luke 1:36-37, an angel of the Lord talking to Mary, telling her she would have a son, ESV
“And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Luke 18:27, Jesus speaking, ESV
But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Apostle Paul speaking, ESV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 4, 2014 in ADHD, Renewing Our Minds

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Five-Pounder in the NICU: God’s Plans Partially Revealed

26768_1441069629375_3600037_n

There’s a small section in my book, Not Just on Sundays, where I talk about how God loves making weakness strong. It is based on this verse:

2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Apostle Paul speaking, ESV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This verse always takes me back to the first few weeks with my newborn Chickie more than a decade ago when we were living far from family (we always are), residing in student housing at Stanford University, and counting each dollar as we went through the checkout line, sometimes turning some food away and not putting it into our carts. We had gone from a military income and housing to poor* students again. I had entirely stopped working, and Salad Boy (my affectionate name for the hubby) was trying to hammer out the Ph.D. Needless to say, with an almost-three year old and one just having arrived, there wasn’t a lot of margin or wiggle room in our lives.

Just about everything was stress-infused and tight. The one thing that brought sweet relief every week was the prayer group we ran out of our home for graduate students on a Wednesday night through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. I would put my toddler to bed, and we would listen to concerns and seek God together for at least an hour every week. I loved (at the time) to decorate, and I would often make a yummy treat, but mostly our gathering was to nourish our souls. Sweet, sweet times were had as we looked up together, not knowing when and where answers would come, but we knew this:

They would come. He listens. Always.

So, at that time, my daughter’s birth was mostly uneventful. Like all of my other kids, she was early-ish but not premature. She came at 38 weeks. The only part that more or less stunned us at the time was the fact that after I birthed Mr. Nine Pound Four Ounces in 2000, she came out, same gestation time: five pounds, two ounces.

The usual jaundice issues kept her there longer than our stay should have been. I became good at pumping milk and visiting her, aiming to have at least half her day’s nourishment be breastmilk. It was hard to let that go, but there was a toddler at home also needing my time and attention.

Soon after she was released, we began the almost-daily process of taking her to have her bilirubin checked, which meant pricking her heel. This is what led to the return to the hospital, where a small part of hell broke loose in our lives and hearts.

While my in-laws were visiting us in our campus housing when Chickie was just over a week old, my mother-in-law noticed the baby’s rise in temperature. I wasn’t overly concerned at first until it spiked a bit more. I was already a bit stressed by the constant pressure to get this baby’s weight from five pounds (dipping at one point to four pounds, twelve ounces) to a less-premie weight. We certainly could have had it worse. I know babies born significantly earlier and smaller who survived amazing odds. I wasn’t worried about her being healthy, or in survival mode—not initially—but I was worried where development might be slow with such a tiny start. We all wondered how the doctor could keep telling us, prenatally, that she was at least 7 pounds. And we all were concerned at what point the placenta stopped doing its job. I was so grateful she didn’t try to wait a few more weeks to arrive.

Getting back to that night. We gathered up, Salad Boy and I, and took her to the ER. I think my mother-in-law was there at some point as well, or maybe she went the next day. Either way, the response was serious, and before I knew what was going on, they were talking about infection—not sure of which antibiotics to rush into her—and a spinal tap.

Dear God, Where ARE You?

It became clear, they needed to make sure there wasn’t something worse going on, so the spinal tap was performed, and next thing I know, my baby girl had a central line put into the side of her shaved head. Within a few days, the infection was determined to be Staphylococcus aureus. It took almost a week, but they ruled out the infection traveling into or affecting any organs. I don’t even know if I’m medically describing this well. My sister is the medical professional. I’m just bumbling along describing the journey the best that I can.

During that time a few things were true:

People were praying.

God sent so many people to tell us they were praying for us….people we didn’t even know had a shred of faith. It was incredible.

People were showing up.

Besides my in-laws extending their stay, my other set of in-laws volunteered to come as well. A sweet friend of the family flew out quickly to take care of my son while I tried to spend almost all waking hours with my baby in the hospital, sometimes sleeping overnight in a cold feeding/family room. Other people offered to come out, but it was okay and not necessary beyond a certain point. Their sincerity meant a lot to us. One of my (to this day) dearest friends came into the NICU with me while I fed and held my tiny fighter. That memory has etched itself forever in my treasure chest of her loving Chickie and me as the arms and feet of Jesus.

–My tiny nugget (which is what we called her at the time) screamed her little head off while she fought for her life. I mean: She SCREAMED!

We would be two floors down at the complete opposite end of the hospital, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, but when we approached the elevators, Little Girlfriend could be heard protesting vigorously. I remember her being the tiniest in the NICU at that particular time, but all of the nurses remarked how incredibly loud she was! (She also had brown hair with blonde-tipped highlights, as if she had stopped, in the middle of all of this, to get her hair done. That was almost prophetic as she cares a lot about hairstyle and style in general all these years later.)

God used every single second of that time—none of it wasted.

I could go on and on, but that’s not what this particular blog is about. As one example, my almost-three year old had a savant-like map ability. He directed the friend of the family who stayed with him in Tiny Kid Voice how to get to places on campus and in the surrounding community. Thank You, God, I took the time out to answer all of those monotonous, intense questions while we would be out driving. What if I hadn’t?

All five pounds of the nugget version of Chickie fought and screamed her way back to health. There were years of hoping for better growth, ruling out scary chromosomal disorder possibilities, and waiting to see if anything slowed her down. She was a peanut for a very long time. My oldest still reminds her of her nugget days.

What has remained consistent is not only that she is the healthiest person in my house since all of this happened, but she continues to have a warrior spirit. God gave it to her—so I hesitate to mess with it, except to offer disciplinary correction and to soften it with grace. But Chickie wages her personal wars quietly, with grace, but with strong conviction about justice. I have no idea how God will take a penchant for fashion and mix it with the loud and big heart Chickie has. She is ridiculously quiet around adults and some others, but as one Sunday School teacher once said: “She is like a stealth bomber. You don’t know what’s there until it’s suddenly upon you.” It was said with love.

Her story isn’t finished being written yet. I have no idea what God will do. I also still have to redirect her sometimes. She still has some growing and maturing to do. But, what I do know is:

God took this tiny, weak, very sick little nugget, and He gave her a voice…one that survives, endures, and hopefully is used for Him someday, somehow. He loves to bring strength out of weakness

We all have stories like this one. I have plenty for my other kids as well. Where can you trust Him more today for making the impossible possible? He wants to wow and delight you, to bring the miraculous and His purposes to the ordinary. We just have to ask and invite Him into our lives.

Why settle for just “getting by” when we can be part of an amazing journey with the Father?

——————————————

*I use the term “poor” very relatively and loosely, as our economic situation even at that time did not compare to much of the world.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A New Stitch Nurse at Plush Toy Med Center

IMG_6373

Lately, I feel like God is on a campaign to break me free from parts of the control freak, Type A, personality in me while simultaneously delighting me with new ways my children can shoulder some more responsibilities. Delegation and letting go of control can be hard at times. I’m grateful for what He is teaching me. First and foremost, He is teaching me I can’t possibly—and don’t have to—do everything that needs to be done. Can any of us?

Particularly in the past few months, as we grow ever closer to publication of Not Just on Sundays, I look around and cry out: “God, please help me! Who is going to do that part of it, because You and I both know that isn’t my skill set.” And then I looked over, and one of my kids was smiling at me. “That’s Your provision, God? Can we both laugh right now?” But the last laugh was really on me. He makes us strong where we are weak, but only when we give Him the reins. The decision part is all us, consequence and all.

So I was sitting next to a pile of stuffed animals that needed mending, but I really needed to make my writing deadline, and yet that pile (and my 8 year old waiting on repaired toys) was quietly causing me guilt. And my 11 year old daughter (affectionately named Chickie—but just in our house) came and sat next to me.

She then quietly asked: “Can I do it?”

“Do what?” was my response, as I wondered what on earth she was referring to? Write my blog for me? Answer emails? Sit next to me and guilt me that I wasn’t offering amazing quality parenting time right then? What? What? Whaaaattttt?!

And she replied: “Sew the toys.”

And my heart melted because she didn’t come to suck up more of my resources (don’t we parents feel that way some days—do they really have to eat three meals a day?). She came to be with me. To offer help.

Wow! Jesus does that. He sits with us and waits for us to notice Him and ask for help.

I was so humbled by my daughter that I quickly encouraged her: “Yes, yes, yes, yes! You want to take over stitch nurse duty? I have waited 14 parenting years for this! I don’t have to sew another plush toy? Yes, yes, yes!”

And I was so filled with gratitude not only for her but for God Who sent someone so obvious to help me. That He cared enough to send her to me when my face was still locked in a screen. She found every torn stuffed toy and clothing item she could find, and she sewed her heart out that night. I didn’t even know she could do that. She didn’t even know she could do that. I never taught her. She just sat down and did it. By my side. We were able to be together, and she felt like a grown-up sewing for me.

I hate sewing but deeply admire, and am in permanent awe of, those who love it, so in that one moment, every cub scout and martial arts badge I had to ever sew was winking at me.

Every ripped-open plush howler monkey,
mouth-stitch-drooping Pooh bear,
tail-hanging-by-literally-one-thread puppy,
hat-tearing Smurf in retirement, and
overdressed Build-a-Bear reopening its back contents all over the floor

—in that one instant—

changed primary care providers!

Turns out Ugly Smurf (my name for him) wasn’t alone! I was in retirement too!

There was a new stitch nurse at Plush Toy Med Center, and I wasn’t it!

And I still have a lot to learn about His provision, about my personal control issues, about my often wrong assumptions, and about a growing young lady’s heart to come alongside me and help. I’m fully convinced He sewed using her hands because He loves us both that much. And if we’re listening, He has a beautiful thing to teach us both.

Where can we each learn to let someone do something for us, delegate, let go? I bet there would be more room in our lives for sweet moments and that we’d learn a lot in the surrendering.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Apostle Paul speaking

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Psalm 46:1, Sons of Korah speaking (singing)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: