Thursday, July 22, 2010

"big waves!"

Today is National Fragile X Awareness I thought I would post an update to make a marker of sorts as to where we are at in our personal journey. To begin with, I must say this summer has been going exceptionally well for Landen. He has had two summer school sessions and has really enjoyed it. We see him growing up a lot. He is talking really well, and loves to sing along to every show he watches. It is really funny to hear his voice!

We are really proud of him...we went again this year to Austin to our friends' house (The Low's) and we noticed that his anxiety was much better overall, and he of course loved being on the lake. It is such a joy to see him able to float out there in his life jacket, splashing around to his heart's content. It is a great time for our family to be able to do something together as a mini-vacation. And there were no incidents of "Landen-mischief" stories to post about (as I did last year..=) He got to ride in the golf cart with "Mr Tom" again. He likes to look at the "reindeer" (the deer that wander through their backyard in the hill country). He calls the hills "mountains".

Last weekend we went to my mom's house in Kemah. Landen gets to ride his 3 wheeled bike out there. We also took the ferry to Bolivar Peninsula and hung out on the beach for a while. We had a great time. Lanny played in the water with his Spongebob buggy board, played in the sand, and got stung by a jellyfish (along with the rest of us! yuck!) He handled it quite well and got back in the water within minutes. I don't know if that makes us bad parents to let him go back out, but we were just so proud to see him so brave and having such a grand time. There were no more creepy creatures after that! He perched himself on his board, yelling "big wave!" and gleefully anticipating each one to send him tossing about.

This summer so far has been quite interesting...we find ourselves feeling some relief and renewed hope as we watch Landen learning more and settling himself in new ways. At the same time, there are many peripheral struggles, fears, and dreams that we feel God walking us through- giving us new perspectives and waves of peace that keep us tethered to Him. We are seeking the Lord about many decisions right now. Sometimes the waiting for answers is gut-wrenching, testing our resolve and hope to the limits. Each day, I find such encouragement from the words in Streams in the Desert, a wonderful devotional book written by a great woman of faith from the early 1900's, L. B. Cowman. The writings come from a period of time in which she cared for her dying husband after they had journeyed the world together as missionaries. Talk of summer and beaches and waves reminds me of a particularly great entry in her book. She spoke of how Pebble Beach in California has become such a tourist attraction because of all the beautiful pebbles and rocks that are found there....

"The raging white surf continually roars, thundering and pounding against the rocks on the shore. These stones are trapped in the arms of the merciless waves. They are tossed, rolled, rubbed together, and ground against the sharp edges of the cliffs. Both day and night, this process of grinding continues relentlessly. And what is the result? Tourists from around the world flock there to collect the beautiful round stones." She contrasts that with the area just around the cove, a quiet one that is "protected from the face of the ocean, sheltered from the storms, and always in the sun, the sands are covered with an abundance of pebbles never sought by the travelers." She goes on to say these other rocks have been left as "they have always been-rough, unpolished, and devoid of beauty-for polish is the result of difficulties."

How great is the challenge to entrust our sharp edges to the All-Knowing chisel of our God. But we can be assured that the waves and storms of life are shaping us into something more refined when we submit ourselves to the process. I think the greatest challenge is keeping our hearts longing for that polished and crafted piece of work that He will create in us, and not escape the throws of the pain it takes to get there.

"His way is in the whirlwind and the storm" Nahum 1:3.

"He made me into a polished arrow." Isaiah 49:2

Thursday, June 3, 2010

pray. trust. repeat.

I cannot believe it has been so long since I have written anything. There seems to always be so much swirling around in my head that I just can't stop and focus on parts of it to share. But I want to put what I can in writing, knowing that one day it will hopefully serve as a journal of how God moved us through it all.

First of all, to update you on what's happening with Landen these days, he just finished his 5th grade year. I can't believe it. I am happy to report that he had a wonderful year at school. He had a great teacher, Mrs. Jenkins. She and her aids really followed the structure that the therapists gave us. She has a wonderful, upbeat spirit that fostered much growth in him. Though he is still very much a pre-schooler mentally and academically, we are pleased to see him reading more sight words, identifying coins, and growing in his conversational skills. On the heels of such a great year, we actually considered holding him another year at the elementary school. (Also because the thought of sending my sweet little 60 pound boy to the junior high just makes me tremble.) But the school officials lovingly talked me down off the ledge, and so off to jr high he will go. ( With much prayer!) I have been keeping my emotions at bay about this new change for months now, knowing that I had to face the fact that my overgrown toddler is getting older, and it is time to transition him into more life-skill centered work and exposure. This morning when his bus came for the last time to pick him up, we could not physically get him to go. He perched himself on top of his bunk bed in hysterics and would not come down. So I went out to meet the bus and tell those two lovely ladies goodbye for the last time. They have been so wonderful to Landen and to our family. All of my emotions came to a head at that moment, and I balled my head off when they drove away..also in disappointment that Landen would miss his last day at Metzler. I think he got confused as to when the "last day" of school actually was, and so had mentally moved on. Two hours later, he said "I sorry mommy. The bus coming, I go to school?" Uh...yeah. Little too late buddy. Dad had already gone to work, so I had no way of getting him there. Joy....

Lanny still makes us laugh every day with his little personality...whenever Bethany leaves the house, he asks if he can "go to Sissy's room"...if we say yes, he says, "Yay!!" and runs in there to watch her TV. Not sure what is so appealing about watching TV in a messy teenager's room, but apparently it is to him.

His other favorite thing lately is to wake up at 4 am, turn on the TV in his room really loud, then the TV in the living room, and he will sing along to certain shows' theme songs at the TOP OF HIS LUNGS. I cannot figure out why he is so wired at that hour-his medication is supposed to keep him asleep. We wake up irritated by it for sure, but can't help but laugh sometimes when we hear him singing like that.

One day a friend and I were in deep discussion in the kitchen about the hardships of life, and then we felt a presence behind us. We turned around and saw Landen standing there staring at us with a Bob the Builder hat on his head..we both broke into laughter cause it was just so unexpected at that particular moment. Hard to explain without being there, but it was just one of those little moments with him that make it all ok. =)

A couple days ago our good friend Mike said that when he thinks of Landen, he thinks about how the Bible says "the last shall be first" in heaven. He said he imagines in heaven that Landen will be giving all of us orders! I said, "are you kiddin' me? He gives us orders now!" Goodnight, we are at this child's beckoned call! He is definitely in charge of this house most of the time...even though we don't like to admit it.

As for Bethany, well she is very relieved that, as she puts it, she "survived her freshman year." She did great, and actually got exempt from all of her finals, so she finished the year on a high note and with minimal anxiety. We are proud of her too. This year had its' share of trouble, though, as we have had to keep a tight reign on her influences and choice of friends. It is such a tough battle to teach kids to be missional in their hearts but cautious with the things and people that impact them in return. She will turn 16 on June that's just insane! Now if we can just figure out how to keep her entertained all summer....

Mark and I find ourselves in an interesting time. God has really got us in what feels like a crash course spiritually. He is revealing such new things to us by opening spiritual doors we thought we had opened and understood, but I suppose He is taking us further in, where the treasures are more distinct, more tested by fire, more unique. As Mark reminds me, that's why it's called "The Living Word". This juncture of our spiritual journey is probably best summarized by this thought by Frances Frangipane:

"..the purpose of all aspects of spirituality, warfare included, is to bring us into the image of Christ. Nothing, not worship nor warfare, neither love nor deliverance, is truly attainable if we miss the singular objective of our faith: Christ-likeness."

I have consumed his book, The Three Battlegrounds, twice now. It is packed with Truth. Another great one is Secrets to Spiritual Power by Watchman Nee. Every line is so deep, you can only sort of digest a section at a time. But the spiritual food is so satisfying. The more we learn, the more questions we have, and so we are led to seek even more. I feel the Lord teaching us to not pray for seasons of peace or relief from hardship if the goal in our flesh is for anything other than conforming us to the image of Christ. If the result would be complacency and missing out on what would truly constitute as His sufficiency, then we don't need it. And even as I write that, I pray that God would keep me in the cleft of His rock, clinging to Him so that my wayward heart won't stray too far on any given day that I feel like losing it! I have such a tendency to pray, wait, trust, start to get worried, pray, then when I feel like we've met the 11th hour, I begin to panic and think God must be wanting me/us to find some different way out of the situation. But He is clearly showing us that faith goes all the way...keeps trusting, and focuses on His character impressing upon our hearts..more than on a tangible "answer". I have come to believe that it is an easy temptation to focus on Scripture in a way that causes us to quote passages like Jeremiah 29:11 because we seek the hand of God more than we do His face. It helps me to remember that Christ wants us to know His character by Scripture, and knowing His character will provide a way for us to truly trust Him in a manner that accepts His will and His answers with more peace.

So I pray, trust, pray some more...pray for my own fear for even writing these thoughts because it's so much easier said than done. But I must, and I must keep giving it over to the Lord. I face so many fears as I write being a summer of trying to keep Landen occupied- knowing that he doesn't have the greatest track record in summertime due to a lack of routine and an onset of restlessness. So I would ask for your prayers for our family for this season.

Thanks to all of you who encourage me to write. It is amazing to me that our crazy life is interesting to others! I also thank God for our family and friends who choose to roll around in the trenches of life with us. A friend once said, "a burden shared is half as heavy". For that I am grateful. And alive.