I started this post over a week ago, then suddenly after almost completing it the Lord said, “stop.” It has remained an open tab on my laptop since then. It wasn’t until this past Saturday that I knew why He delayed the post. He has had me to add some things through the old post that I wasn’t prepared to share as well as remove some things as well. In this post I am sharing four books I received over the last several weeks and then remembered a fifth one I received a couple months ago. I had very little down town over the summer so look forward to completing all these books in the coming weeks.
Many mom’s joke about summer and not being able to wait until school begins so they can get a break. I can understand that mindset because I have felt that way in the past as well but my heart sure is missing my kiddos today as they begin 5th and 6th grade today. I will say this though, I have had more interruptions, phone calls, and animal mishaps in one morning of solitude while trying to complete this post and do some reading (you’ll see why in a bit lol) than I have with two children running under foot. I find myself questioning if I am hearing from the Lord, but based on the experience I share I can’t help but believe this is not just for me. Being a mom with two children thirteen months apart that are so close in age but so very distant in extreme behaviors, and both facing their own personal challenges that lead to melt down, misunderstandings, hurt words, painful actions, and usually much regret, leads this mom to be more and more thankful for the role teachers play in our family. Living on a tight budget and undependable vehicles leaves us home most days so cabin fever sets in and sets in big. I know my failures as a mother begins with not being and maintaining a structured atmosphere that both my children need. I try. I try a lot, but I fail every single time. Because of that we often have chaos and frustration. I can put in to play all the guidelines, rules, and natural consequences but without structure . . . forget it. Put on top of the children’s chaos a mom who is frazzled, battling depression, has very little energy for outside adventures, and being spiritually dehydrated and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Last week I saw a fb post that disturbed me. I was dealing with some other hard issues and as satan usually does, he goes right for the jugular . . . and in this case . . . my heart. What I had read was a person interpreting scripture, and while my spirit knew it wasn’t right, I still questioned myself (and isn’t that EXACTLY what satan does too? Look at how he confused Eve, “is that REALLY what he (God) meant?”) . . . but I was so hurt by the scripture referencing ones faithfulness as the prize for a brand new car that I immediately saw myself as a failure and that I had actually blown it, I even questioned others to make sure I wasn’t crazy.
Nonetheless I still doubted . . .
“Is the reason YOU don’t have a brand new car because YOU aren’t faithful, Stacey?”
“Is the reason YOU struggle is because YOU aren’t faithful, Stacey?”
“Is the reason “XYZ” is happening is because YOU aren’t faithful, Stacey?”
And once I worked through that stinkin’ thinkin’ I was able to put life’s challenges back in to perspective.
And then God moves . . .
And He wows.
And He gives goosebumps through a series of events that only He could orchestrate
This time last year I went with my family and saw, “The War Room.” This time last year I left the theater more angry and bitter than when I entered the room. The more people talked about how wonderful the movie was the madder I got. I kid you not. Now, when I make this statement please don’t jump to conclusions. It takes TWO people and one God to make a marriage work and I had allowed anger and bitterness to separate myself from my husband for many years. When a friend asked me how I liked the movie, I said through gut wrenching weeping tears of pain, “Its been ‘this many years’ and I still don’t have my happily ever after and she got hers in two hours. Real life doesn’t work that way.”
Yes. I REALLY said that.
And then my friend, my loyal friend who has encouraged me, chastened me, called the bull when she smelled it . . . and as I type these words I can hear the pause in her voice and the whisper as she said, “But Stacey (pause) neither did Ms. Clara.”
And the world stood still.
Since that day a lot has changed.
I realized the importance my role plays in this, “happily ever after.”
I realized I had no right to be hateful to my husband.
I realized how poorly I treated him.
I realized just how much he did and still does for me.
I realized . . . I . . . was as much of the problem as he was.
And while I didn’t get my happily ever after in just two hours, I do have a happily ever ever that will last a lifetime . . . Now.
In the last year I have watched that movie several times. It is the most powerful, rejuvenating movie that I, personally, have ever seen. Just watching the clip a few minutes ago got my soul stirred.
Prayer is powerful. I have always said and believed, “If you can’t do anything, you can pray.” I believe that with all my heart.
During the last six months the Lord has been dealing with me to take my prayer life to a deeper level. I’ve been resistant because quite frankly I don’t like change and what I had was getting me through (just keeping it real) and when God starts growing it usually brings satan coming hard and I didn’t want to fight.
But God . . .
It started several months ago when a friend gave me this book.
I am no where near through with it but the booked is packed with scriptures defining God and find Christ in everything. Highly recommend.
Then, a few weeks after the Lord sent me that book, the Lord used my sister to send me this book!
I have only read a few chapters and that’s only because I’m not a reader . . . and would rather paint (love!) or fold laundry (ew so you know I
hate struggle with reading if I’d rather be folding laundry, come on! lol) but I have tried to be more intentional on my reading. I have some questions I am trying to find answers to about some stories in this book but just in the first few chapters I’ve read (and some I’ve read twice cause they are that good) my prayer life has already been challenged. Now I don’t believe in the name it claim it crap stuff. . . sorry. (And at first that is what I was afraid I was reading, so when you read, as you should, as you should with ANY book, ask the Lord for discernment on what HE wants you to take from a book.( I believe in praying, “Lord Jesus, this is my desire, but if this is not your desire for my life, then I don’t want it either.” After all, that’s how Christ prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane when He prayed as referenced in Matthew 26:39, “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” I believe in petitioning the Father for any and everything . . . according to His will. I’ve prayed that same prayer for many people. I haven’t always like the outcome of the prayers I have prayed but I trust Jesus’ answers far more than I trust my own judgement so that’s all I can say about that.
But then . . . and here is where the misinterpreted scriptures and then the War Room come to play in this long drawn out post . . .
After War Room became my favorite movie I went in to a local Christian book store and saw a book called, “Fervent,” written by one of the women in the movie, Priscilla Shirer. I wanted the book soooo bad. I tried to justify every which way I could to get that book but the Lord clearly said, “No.” Each time I would return to the book store I would see it . . .sitting on that shelf . . . taunting me. But each time, God said, “No.” I reasoned with logic that it was not in the budget but still, I wanted that book. I wanted the power. The passion. The dedication. The heart. The DRIVE to drive satan from my home that I had hoped the book would bring . . . . But . . . God. Said. “No.” He knew it would be a candy store fix and as soon as I got the book I would lay it wayside and forget the purpose behind it.
Instead, He said, “No,” for another appointed time , and IF . . . IF I had been disobedient and self-absorbed because ‘I knew better’ I would have missed the linking of a heart desire to God’s perfect timing as he takes me to a deeper walk with Him.
The gut wrenching truth is, and I share this only to share the divine timing about how a misquoted post about scripture on fb and a book I’ve wanted for a year and how God brought the two together began the upward journey from a very low place . . . I’ve tried several segues in to this and there honestly is no easy way to put it in to words or even try and sugar coat or make it less serious than the situation was . . . so here goes . . . several weeks ago I wanted to die. I don’t mean as in a flippant thought, I mean, “I. Wanted. Death.” Before now only my brother really knew the extent of it because it is my brother I called to meet me when my thoughts turned to the pistol that was kept hidden in my bedroom closet for protection. There were many events that had taken place that took me to that point of desperation. I allowed satan to deceive my thought pattern in believing that death would be the only way out . . . but God . . . He gave me the ability to recognize that THAT thought was a lie from the pit of hell. He kept me close and gave me clear enough head to reach out for help. I asked God for a person in my area to help me. To hold me accountable. He put someone on my heart and she accepted the challenge. I have been brutally honest through our journey the last few weeks. She challenges me to be better every day and holds me accountable for checking off those boxes until the boxes no longer have to be checked and the yearning and desire for better takes over. After confiding with her my thoughts I then found out she is a part of a ministry at Living Truth Church called Fresh Hope (an accident the Lord put her on my heart for the accountability, I. Think. Not!). One day during our daily fb chats she sent me several pages of a book to read. Well I couldn’t read them. A few days later you will never guess what was delivered in my mailbox . . . or as my Kaitlyn would say, “or would you? ”
The very book I had wanted sooooo badly almost a year ago . . . wanna talk about a hearts desire . . . this is what Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” If I truly delight in the Lord I will want what the Lord wants for me. It’s not a measure of faithfulness reward. It’s not a consequence reward/discipline . . . that’s not what that scripture says. It’s yearning for what He wants. Period. I have already started this book and I can hear her reading it in my head. She is so rejuvenating and I look forward to seeing how the Lord is going to tie all these books together.
But wait. There is more because this is where I was going to wind down my post when it was put on hold last week. I chuckle because Saturday I received an unexpected delivery in the mail. Yeap. You guessed it.
Another book. God is definitely seeing that I use my time reading and growing while the kids are in school this year. I believe He has something on His mind that He wants me to learn and I am so thankful He has kept me close. I am sure there are a lot of typos and grammar errors in this post but there have been so many interruptions at this point I don’t care. I’ve walked away from this a dozen times because I don’t want those inner secrets out and would really rather not post some of this information but I believe the Lord keeps bringing me back for a reason.
I truly believe the Lord allows us to each hit different levels of lows throughout our lives to take us to new levels of spiritual growth. I don’t know if I said that correctly so I hope and pray it is interpreted the way it is intended. I have said it before and I am sure I will say it again, I don’t know why the Lord chose me to be the mom of two special needs kids. And this post sure didn’t start out about this but that’s where the Lord keeps taking me . . . I fail them miserably day to day and I pray a lot that God would not allow them to remember the mistakes and that the curses that bind generation after generation would be broken and that they would be broken through me. I don’t think I ever realized the depth of responsibility nor the ignorance I had coming in to parenthood with my oldest daughter . . . . but age and Spiritual growth sure has taught me the value of consequences . . . . good consequences and bad consequences through this thing called parenting. What I do know is I am thankful for grace more and more every day that He gives me breath. I am thankful that one person’s interpretation of scripture doesn’t make it factual and am more sensitive to using scripture in the text in which it is intended now more than ever. I am thankful for the wisdom and discernment I have been given to recognize satan and his deceitful ways and in those times of weakness He still keeps me close. I am thankful for second chances.
Before I close I need to share some statistics I found. There are so many articles and may can counter the other but do your own research on this because the numbers are astounding and if you are a Christian attending a local church more likely than not someone sitting on the pew next to you or close to you is the mom or dad of a special needs child. They need a hug. They need to be embraced and encouraged and loved on. Raising children is hard. Raising special needs children is not for the weak. If your church doesn’t have an outreach and doesn’t accept special needs and your children are frowned upon because they don’t behave in church or squirm or make noises (tics) then speak up for them and be there voice. If the people in the church still don’t listen, go find another. And keep going until you find the one that accepts and embraces you. They are out there. I promise.
I started researching this information after my thoughts of suicide and believe I have a responsibility to educate others; however, I can give you all the information, but what you do with it is on you.
~Families.com reports that divorce rate is highest among families with special needs children (80% to 90% higher)
~Depression is high for families of special needs children. Here are some websites that share some insight. Read them. There are people all around screaming for help but no one is listening.
~Negative Effects on family (make sure you read the specifics towards the bottom of this article and by all means, PLEASE do not take this as only bad things about special needs families. I would not trade my family for the world. God gave me these two with all their problems . . . they make me laugh, they make me cry, the teach me new things every day. Good days are great and bad days are hard but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I have tried researching the suicide rate for parents of special needs children but have had zero luck on finding any information on a study like that. This has been a very hard post to share. If you are reading this, and maybe you are right now where I was several weeks ago, I have learned is that as long as there is breath, there is hope. It’s okay to cry. The scripture that keeps coming to mind, and I know you are probably rolling your eyes right now because when you are in that dark place that’s the last thing you want to hear, but I promise you it is the right thing to hear . . . “Joy comes in the morning,” and each day after that day got a little bit better. The circumstances did not change. The pain was still there. The overwhelming was still there. There will still be consequences . . . Pick up your phone right now and call 1-800-273-8255. Please. With over 47,000 people dying at their own hands every year we must talk more about this. It’s uncomfortable. And it’s embarrassing to have to deal with at times (especially when you are supposed to be the strong one), but I’d rather deal with some embarrassment now than deal with a death later. It is important to also know that you are loved with an everlasting love. God created you for a purpose. He has a plan for your life. He knows the number of hairs on your head. You are the apple of His eye. If you are reading this and struggling, there is hope. He will never leave you nor forsake you. And I’m praying!
I leave you with this song . . . as you get Stronger.