Wednesday, July 22, 2009

more beautiful, less chaos...

Today is National Fragile X Awareness Day. And that has gotten me thinking about how different our lives are this summer from where we were a year ago. This last year has been filled with a whirlwind of changes, pain, laughter, and growing. But to really appreciate it, I have to go back to the painful beginning last summer.

Mark and I have been talking a lot about how utterly awful last summer was for us as a family. Pretty much everything that could be in shambles... was... save for our marriage- (praise be to God!) We were remembering the other night how one particular evening we both hit the bed, exhausted and emotionally drained...but i mean the kind that feels like despair from your very gut and no light of hope. We had been thrust into a season of unexpected job change, which led to a long job search for both of us, financial turmoil, and all amid behavioral problems from Landen that were the most damaging we had ever endured with him. We were devastated by the seven plus episodes a day of Landen hitting me, kicking me, pulling my hair, freaking out about even putting clothes on, pooping in his pants several times a day, throwing things, and he had begun to lash out at Mark for the first time too. There was no evidence of the joyful little boy we had known anymore. This particular night burns deeply in our minds as a snapshot of that time, as it had been one of the worst days ever. I remember laying down on the bed in the darkness, Landen laying between us asleep. I started to cry, and after a few minutes I realized the bed was shaking. I looked over and realized Mark was crying, too. I reached over Landen and we just layed there, sobbing together, holding onto Landen between us, and each other. There are hardly words to even describe the pain. After a few minutes, we began to cry out to God together....basically, "we can't do this anymore God, we're gonna lose our home, we can't pay our bills, our son is turning into a monster we don't recognize....surely this isn't the plan you have for us, for his life....we are losing hope, we are at the end of ourselves, and we know that only You know the answer...we beg You to help us....we're done."

As the days following went on, God gave us the hope and grace to choose to believe in His goodness, and that He was going to find a way out of that hell. Mark even worked at Starbucks for a few months just to get us health insurance to cover the $1000 a month of medical expenses, while he continued the job search. I watched him not only swallow his pride in doing so, but he embraced the opportunity by loving on the people he worked with and pouring into their lives. I respect him so much for that.

At one point that summer, Mark met one of the most interesting people we had ever encountered. His name was Jessie....a Puerto Rican dude...vivacious, full of boundless energy and crazy, reckless-abandon-kind of love for the Lord...he was also a martial arts instructor who came over and taught me how to hold Lanny down when he had fits so that his movements couldn't hurt me anymore, and would aid in calming him down. I had no idea how much confidence in other apsects of my life the lessons he taught me would bring.

In the fall, many friends came together to raise money for us to hire special therapists to come in from Colorado and help us get Landen's home and school life under control. The routines they taught us to keep his anxiety and sensory issues manageable made a big difference. Finally, we had answers! They were like our very own "Landen Whisperers!"

Mark eventually found a job with MetLife, and opened an insurance agency at Panther Creek in The Woodlands. I took the Worship Pastor position at HopePointe- a job that gives me the flexibility I need for my kids and allows me to do music- the most healing outlet and lifeline I have.

In the spring we took Landen to a special needs baseball program. We were amazed from day one at how well he did...he loved it! Every single game I cried....not only for the joy of seeing him actually participating, but for the determination of the other kids with challenges. There are more stories from that, but that will have to be another blog post!

At the end of the school year, I had Landen's annual ARD meeting. All of his teachers, therapists, and school principal were there. They were all not only so pleased with the progress he had made, but were actually tearing up, (all of them, even the principal!) saying how much he had blessed their life with his smile and personality. That was the most unbelievable moment I had ever had in his school experience! I have lived in a world where all you hear is how far behind and different your child is, and how low the expectations had to become to teach him anything. But God was using Landen anyway, and was growing him in a way that made others notice His work. Every single person around the table told me that they felt they had witnessed a miracle.

When we took him to his psychiatrist appointment in early June, the Dr asked us how the end of the school year had turned out...i told him, and he started tearing up, and said, "I asked God to show me today...that He was at work in my patients' lives, that someone was seeing success, and that my help was not in vain....and this is His answer for me today..."

So, here we are. ...God is good. He hears. He answers. He rescues. He makes all things new. He is teaching me to trust His refining fire, and that the process itself is the answer....ever unfolding, ever revealing beautiful parts of Himself that a less dependant life in me would never see. This recent picture of Landen reminds me of that truth.

This picture is of him playing with a wind sock he made at summer school, trying to get it to "fly" over the A/C unit in the backyard....he went on with this forever; I couldn't get him to come in till after dark....

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thrill Ride

Ok, I have finally done it! Started a blog...something I have wanted to do for a couple of years now! I know it will be a nice place for me to release my thoughts, joys, fears, and stories. There are many in my life! I know that God has placed Mark and I on a very unique path. We have struggled in many things, but have, by grace, managed to strap on our seat belts, clutch on for dear life, screaming the whole way, but feeling the wind on our face and the thrill of the ride....even when we feel as though we are the only ones on it, and thinking, ".....but we didn't know we were getting on this ride...we wanna be on that one over there!" But, alas, here we are, on this one, made for us with custom seats, and trying our best to view the horizon through God's eyes.

For my first post...there's something you should know about me....I am obsessed, basically. I am obsessed with finding the meaning in everything. I know that God has called me, called Mark, called us to our situation, to somehow point to Him and to the grace and life only He can deliver in the midst of it. And believe me, this is not an attempt on my part to make myself feel better because life is hard. I can also be quite the cynic. But that obsession I have comes from a deep place that has known for many years that we are here for a short time, and that life should be full of passion, of shared love, of embracing moments. My sanity depends on it! Otherwise, my heart will darken in a shroud of cynicism, envy, and despair. So, many of my thoughts and stories will reflect that contradiction in me. But hopefully, I will make a record of the adventures we experience, many of which are crazy at the time, but we find ourselves laughing later. We have endured many unbelievable moments due to Landen's antics! I will try soon to post some of the highlights that I can remember so far! Thanks for walking this journey with me. Enter at your own risk!! =)