Tag Archives: inspiration

Why do bad things happen?

Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do people suffer? Why is this happening to me?

The age old questions. We have heard them all our lives. Maybe you’ve asked them yourself at one time or another.

I know I have.

But then, I found the answer.

When our son was 5, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. In some ways, his diagnosis answered our many questions about why our boy struggled so. In other ways, it brought on more questions about what we should do next, how could we help him, what his future would be like.

Occasionally I would find myself having a moment of wondering why this would happen to our son, to our family. Why?

Please know that I do not want to change him, because part of what makes him such an incredible kid is his Asperger’s. But there have been times when I’ve watched him struggle and wished he did not have to, like, for example, one of the many times we have been in a restaurant having a perfectly wonderful time and a ridiculously loud woman two tables over guffaws incessantly and assaults my boy’s sensitive ears until he runs screaming out of the restaurant.

Now, with Jesus, lots of work, counseling, practice and medication, that has not happened in, well, right now I cannot recall the last time that happened. In the last 3 years, Jacob, now 17, has grown by leaps and bounds. To God be the glory! But I am not so far removed from those “bolting moments” that I have forgotten the pain and the embarrassment—both for him and for us.

And then, one day a few years ago, I found this passage of scripture from John 9:1-7.

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

9 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi,who sinned,this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in himAs long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him,“wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

Here it was! The answer to why these things happen, from the mouth of Jesus himself. The words leaped off the page. There was such relief in my heart as I read those words.

“This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

He wants to display His works in my son! In me! In the life of our family!

God wants to give you a story.

He wants to display His works in you, in your children and loved ones, in your deepest, darkest, most hurt places, so that as you walk through those trials you can come out the other side with a testimony to God’s love, mercy and faithfulness.

This does not mean he will make the suffering go away, as he did for the blind man, but it does not mean He won’t. It means He will work in you so that you can walk through it, depend on Him, learn and grow. And share your story.

Your story will not look like everyone else’s. But rest assured, you will have a story.

A story of victory, what He taught you in that trial and how you grew in your faith. How He sustained you in a time when you were at the very end of it all. A story that you can share with those who come after you.

To give God the glory He deserves.

To encourage others.

To tell them that they are not alone in their pain and suffering.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” ~Deuteronomy 31:8

What’s your story?


Filed under Autism Days, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Lessons

A letter to my younger self

I was inspired to write a letter to Little Joell by this recent post by Tiffany Noth at A Bloggy Mom.


Haven’t we all said, “I wish I knew then what I know now?”

12 year old Joell - 1982

Well, here is what I would share with little me if I could:

Dear Little Joell,

Here are a few tidbits that may help you get through the next few years:

  1. Worry less about your outsides and more about your insides. First of all, you are not fat. Yes, I know this may come as a shock to you. But you are just right just the way you are. And even if you were heavy, you would still be beautiful. And all those skinny girls, they are not going to be skinny at your 20th reunion. Trust me. And it really doesn’t matter anyway. So get busy cultivating your self-esteem based on who you are in Christ and spend less time perfecting your mullet.
  2. That thing Daddy said when you were in college, about how in 20 years that D you made in Religion won’t matter? Guess what? He was right. Because in 20 years, you will have been married to your high school sweetheart for a long time already and you’ll be a stay at home mom, so your degree? Pretty much not used, at least for your life’s work anyway. But that’s okay, you are not going to be a kindergarten teacher or a school social worker like you planned. You are going to be a wife and a mom and you love it. And by the way, the dude who taught that Religion class was clueless, it’s just that Daddy was too good to say that. And P.S. Your hubby? He’s pretty great.
  3. Your Mom is not an idiot. In fact, she is pretty amazing. She gets on your case (not nearly as much as you perceive in your adolescent mind) because she loves you so much. She wants to know where you are because she is worried about your safety, not because she loves nagging you or because she thinks you are a bad kid. She and Dad sacrificed so much so she could be a stay at home mom. She doesn’t ask much of you at all, so give her a break, okay? And maybe offer to help her with stuff around the house.
  4. Those things you are scared to do? Do them. That pageant you thought about entering but didn’t because you were afraid to sing in front of a crowd? Do it anyway. That time you thought about going to a foreign country to teach little kids English? Go. You want to be a writer? Do it. (May I suggest a major in English instead of Social Work?). Don’t be so worried about what others think about you. Stop thinking you aren’t good enough. Don’t be afraid to look foolish. If you feel God tugging at your heart, OBEY!
  5. Things don’t always go like you plan and that is okay. You know that romantic dream world you live in where your future is always happy, filled with flowers and rainbows and life is always easy? Sorry. But please know, you will have so many moments of incredible joy and happiness. You will be so blessed. You will also learn that marriage is work, mothering is wonderful, yet heartbreaking, and even though all of it is tough at times, all that hard work is so worth it.
  6. The things that seem so urgent right now and like they may very well be the end of the world? Nope. Not so much. Your teen years are a blip on the screen of your life. Keep the drama to a minimum. It is all going to be okay. Just wait a few years. You’ll see.
  7. Hey, you know what? You are a good kid. Yeah, you will make a few questionable choices, but that is part of learning. It’s okay to be the goodie-two-shoes. When your parents tell you how much they love you and how awesome they think you are, they mean it. You should believe it, because it is actually true.

But that story your brother told you about how when you were 4 you broke the window in the back of the station wagon? NOT true! It was always him.

Now go love God, love people and love life…you have such a beautiful life.

Don’t forget how much you are loved,

Your much older and wiser self.


Filed under Back in the Day, Lessons

Back To Life

I have wanted to get back to writing for a while now. I go through spells when I feel like I have lots to say…spells when I feel overwhelmed so that I feel like I have no time to say anything…spells when I feel like nothing I would have to say would be worth reading…spells when I desperately want to sit down and write, but simply feel too exhausted to do so. Suffice it to say, I have missed the blog and would think of it  often and fondly, as “something I will get back to…eventually.” The last 5 months of my life have fallen into all those categories at one time or another and one description does not do it total justice. I think I’m back…for now.

It has been 5 months since Emma’s injury.  May 5, 2011. The snap heard round the world, as I like to say. It has been 4 months since her surgery to repair her broken tibia and fibula. It has been 3 weeks since she started physical therapy to help her regain the strength and range of motion in her leg. It has been 4 days now that she has been “crutch-free”.  May I add here a hearty PRAISE THE LORD!! And a WOOT WOOT!!

The hilarious Emma having fun at physical therapy.You might hear me refer to Emma as my screwed up child, now that she carries with her 2 plates and 17 screws in her left leg. <har har> You might hear me call it her bionic leg. <snort snort>Emma prefers that I do not refer to it at all as she tries to come to terms with the permanent reminder of her ordeal that comes in the form of 2 still-healing scars on her leg;  not exactly a 13 year old’s idea of “I feel pretty…oh, so pretty” as Maria sang in Westside Story.

We have seen summer blend into fall as Emma has pressed on through her healing process. We have pressed on through with the highs and lows of humor and pity parties. But we have pressed on by the Grace of God. To say I am proud of her would be a gross understatement.  To say she has shown me perseverance in its truest sense would be closer to the truth. She is a remarkable young woman…and I have seen her mature in ways that have impressed me a great deal. Now, don’t be thinking she is some perfect angel, though she is pretty awesome…she has had her not-so-great moments, but heck!, haven’t we all? <points to self> But the way she has managed these last months has been nothing short of remarkable.

A few things I have learned and experienced over the last few months and would like to share:

  1. I got a new understanding of the often thrown around, yet always true, statement “God is in control.” It is no cliché, my friends! The old Steven Curtis Chapman song which says, “God is God and I am not” comes to mind here. There is an excellent reason why God is God and I am not; basically, I do not know what in the heck I am doing here on this earth, so I am glad He does.
  2. If your doctor and the DMV approve you for a handicapped parking placard, by all means, USE that sucker! Do not feel guilty about it!
  3. Watching medical people wheel your baby away from you, knowing that they are taking her to cut her open is an indescribably scary thing.  (See number 1 for how I managed to get through that one.)
  4. Having the operating room staff call you 3 times while they are cutting on your baby to say she is doing fine, is a soothing balm.
  5. My people (all those my family and I love, and who love us) are SO awesome and supportive and I love you all.
  6. Those who live every day in a wheelchair, on crutches or other assistive devices, in chronic pain or in any other sort of permanently disabled condition, have our utmost compassion and respect. We will never look at them the same way…which leads me to number 7…
  7. Every doorway in every home or hotel,  every parking space, every aisle in every store, every  hallway everywhere, should be extra-wide.  I am just sayin’. <stepping gingerly off soapbox so as not to break my own leg>
  8. God IS good.  Even in the midst of the dark, stressful, painful and seemingly never ending times of life.

First day back to school with no crutches! 10/10/11When I dropped Emma off at school on Monday of this week, and I watched her walking under her own steam, on her own two legs, carrying her own backpack, I could not hold back the tears as I drove away…the tears of joy I felt to finally see her as she should be…the relief I felt, knowing that we are finally…finally… nearing the end of this journey.

We are on the way now, back to life as we once knew it.  Although, I don’t think it can ever truly be the same as it ever was.  Not that I would want it to be. Though this experience has been incredibly difficult and stressful at times, I would not trade the time I have been able to share with Emma. Caring for her. Talking with her. The precious time that is so quickly fleeting. Emma would probably trade it in a heartbeat for a chance to finish her softball season, to fully enjoy that trip to Disneyworld last spring, to go to the beach or pool last summer or hang out with her friends. But maybe not.

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Filed under Emma, Inspiration, Lessons, Parenting