our work

Friday, June 29, 2012

FIT For Service

This is possibly going to be one of the most self-indulgent posts I've ever written.

I hope you'll hang with me and see the heart from which it springs.

I am out of shape. Physically. A mess. Jiggly and weak. Easily tired and a snacker to the Nth degree.

Something's gotta give.

With our family poised and ready to take on the mission field, I fear I will be the weak link when it comes to being able to fully serve the Lord and carry out our mission in The Philippines.

No, I'm not an obese person. I would like my jeans to fit more loosely and the washboard abs of my college days to resurface and I realize nobody at Wal Mart is going to look at me and say "now THERE'S a fat girl". But I have very little stamina for physical activity and minimal tolerance for yard work, grocery carrying and stair climbing. That HAS to change.

So I write this post as a plea to my bloggy world readers to pray for my sticktoitveness as I begin my plan for getting into better physical condition.

Today, I dowloaded the app "Couch to 5 K" onto my iphone, laced up my sparkly white neglected New Balance and hit the pavement. It is a 30 minute workout consisting of a 5 minute warm up, intervals of walking and running (wherein the 60 seconds of running felt like a year and the 90 seconds of walking evaporated at warp speed) and a 5 minute cool down walk at the end. AAAANNND . . . I DID IT!! It felt SO good dragging my behind up my steep driveway, jello legs wobbling at the end of this work out and knowing that I took the first step on a journey to better health.

I just want to honor God with this body and so I MUST follow through. Please pray that I will follow through. I am famous for great beginnings and fast burn out. Renown, in fact.

I have three partial sewing projects, one unfinished assignment for our Hadley School for the Blind training and four partially-read books on my nightstand to remind me that I struggle with finishing well.

I figured putting this out there in cyber world might hold me accountable. But if you check in with me a month from now, ask how the exercise is going and I get defensive, please show me some grace - ha ha . . .

Okay, I'm off to the Farmer's Market for some good eats.

Striking While the Iron Is Hot,
Nikki

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It Was The Best Daaayyy Everrrrrr (Best Day Everrrr)

Two "cool points" for anyone reading who recognized the title of this blog post as being from an episode of Spongebob Squarepants! TEN cool points for those who have never seen Spongebob and have no idea where that song comes from . . . ha ha . . .

Yesterday was possibly one of the best family days we have had in a long time. I am excluding the day my children were born, came home and/or committed their lives to Christ in my ranking of days but it was a great day nonetheless!

It was Saturday, a notoriously busy day for our family. We have a child who works, one who is acting in a movie being filmed by a Christian production company, two who play various sports and two who get invited to birthday parties (the "little kid" kind where 26 kids meet up at Chuck E. Cheese and take turns disappearing and being found again) but yesterday, nobody had a blessed thing on the calendar!

We decided, of course, to call a family work day (groan, eye roll, sigh). Much to our surprise, this work day decree was met with positive responses ranging from acquiescing to downright excitement at the mention of washing cars and trimming hedges!
Here are a few pics I snapped from the goings on:
Dad at the Weed Whacker


Oldest Son at the Hedge Clippers


Favorite Daughter Cleans the Kitchen (blurry pic - Mom's lack of skill)


Lem, Kyle and Zeke the Naked Wash the Van


If you squint and tilt your head, you'll see Francis on the mower


And ME on the ipad taking pictures and supervising . . . hey! someone has to keep these slackers in line!!!


As the work was winding up, Lem remembered a big, fat $20 gift card he received as a "thank you" for coaching soccer and he asked me out to dinner at Pei Wei (oh, yum . . . one of my favorite places . . . stir fried steak and fried rice!!!). I was touched that he asked just me and so, of course, we went. I got to drive hubby's cute little car instead of that honkin' large van so that made it extra sweet.

And Lem was such a gentleman. He opened doors. He let me choose the seat. He kept asking if I wanted anything else. The conversation was basic "kid stuff" (his school friends, sports, video games) but I just ate it up! It was all I could do to swallow that delicious food for the lump in my throat. THIS was the kind of interaction with him that was just a dream a year ago. I imagined him as thoughtful. I prayed he would be even a little interested in the welfare of others. I hoped for it but now it was HERE . . .

And this blog always seems to go back to Lemuel. Maybe I need to rename it.
But he has been our biggest challenge and is becoming our greatest triumph as we lean on Jesus to walk us through a brand of parenting completely unfamiliar to me.
For him, I have become a big "softie".

All that hard line, butt kicking, no excuses, no second chances type of parenting that is so popular among families without wounded children backfired miserably in this house.

What works? You might wonder. What works is PRAYER, total surrender to the plans of God whether you like them or not. What works is forgiving 70 x 7 and keeping the faith. Believing your child was created to be MORE than a "RADish". Knowing that he was entrusted to you and you don't have to have all the answers but you do have to stop doing what isn't working and try something new. Maturity works. Letting that child grow up slowly - as slowly as it takes. Not saying things like "you're twelve, you have no reason to be afraid of the dark." Because maybe he does. What the heck do YOU know? You weren't there from day one. What works is drawing a wounded child in CLOSER instead of pushing him away farther - which is what feels comfortable, natural and what we did too many times. What works is getting your head out of your own . . . um . . . "space" and realizing that how you FEEL as a parent needs to sit on the back burner. Yes, you're tired. Yes, you're emotionally exhausted. Yes, you would like to hide in the cargo hold of a 747 and end up in Aruba but so what??? I repeat . . . IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU. Not totally anyway.
You're a casualty of his pain. Fallout. Not the main event.

There's no pill. There's no treatment center. There's no book. There's no attachment therapist. There's no ONE magic bullet to "cure" RAD. That's the conclusion I've come to in my limited experience with one wounded boy.
There's prayer. There's never giving up. There's forgiving. There's "I love you even if you don't love me." There's "I wish I had been there to catch you the day you popped out of your birthmom and to shield you from the hurt. But I wasn't and we have to deal with what IS."

I wish there were more. But sometimes, I'm glad there wasn't. I would have taken the easy way a thousand times and missed the depth of this son of mine. If his heart came to me easily, maybe I would have appreciated it less? Leaned on Jesus less? Been more prideful as a parent? Only the Lord knows.

And He is good. Yes, altogether loving. The perfect parent and only wise God.

And He knows best . . .

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Attachment Revisited

It has been many months since I began to suspect the Lord was healing our sweet Lemuel of his symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder. It was with great reservation that I blogged about my suspicions of lasting healing because ....well...because I doubted. And because I have, at one time or another in my life, been convinced of something I felt the Lord was doing only to be mistaken.
I didn't want to make a fool of myself.

I no longer doubt this healing. I am not mistaken.

I see, in Lemuel, such a sweet portrait of redemption, healing, of the tender love of our Heavenly Father that I can not deny that our boy has been made whole!

Sometimes, in my mind's eye, I notice myself short changing this gift of healing.
I say to myself
"He probably only had a mild case of RAD. It may have been coincidental that he fit the profile so well."
or
"I don't want to give other parents false hope. God doesn't always choose to heal. Maybe I should keep this quiet."
or
"Maybe RAD really isn't real or is so over diagnosed that I simply saw a slow bonding process instead of a miracle."

But the Mother's heart in me wants to shout from the mountaintops that my son is a caring, loving, TRUSTING young man who is a positive part of this family and a joy to parent.

And he is!!

He still struggles with logic skills. He still needs resource class for math and will probably always have an Individualized Education Plan at school.
But he loves me. He says it now with absolute certainty and no ulterior motive.
He catches me alone in the kitchen every now and then and says "I'm so glad you adopted me and you never gave up."
And I believe him.
And I say "me,too." And I mean it.

He went with his youth group to volunteer at the Special Olympics on Saturday. Upon his return, I received such wonderful reports from the leadership (who also received stellar comments from the volunteer organizers) about Lemuel's care of the special needs adults he was charged with that I could not help but brag about him just a little. This is a child I literally did not trust to walk the dog just a year ago! He is now completely trustworthy in every aspect.
He has internalized the notion that even if nobody is watching, his Heavenly Father sees his actions.
He understands a little better the scripture about putting others before ourselves.
He lives them out.
Sure, he messes up from time to time but in a NORMAL way, with TRUTHFUL admission of guilt and HUMBLE receiving of consequences!
This is more than I would have hoped for a year ago. More than I thought possible.

I was exhausted and sadly resigned to parenting him the best we could until he was old enough to either join the military or become incarcerated. I figured the latter would eliminate the former.

Lord, help my unbelief!

I now see the fingerprints of God on this child in a way that was not evident when we were in the throes of the chaos. I see the sculpting and refining the Father is doing and, as the excess falls away, something so beautiful emerges.

Worth the pain. Worth the wait. More than we asked or imagined. That's our theme.