Bright and early last Friday, my friends dropped me off at the airport so that I could surprise my daughter on her Birthday. As a mother with a disability, life has been full of twists and turns, and ups and downs. This trip was full of surprises in and of itself. I was on my way to Atlanta, and my connecting flight was in Phoenix. When I got off the plane I misunderstood the directions, there was an agent willing to walk me to my next gate. But independent Lyla asked them what the gate number was and said “Oh I can get there”. It seemed like a piece of cake but it turned into somewhat of a nightmare. Because after I waited several hours, I knew something was wrong. When I asked an attendant what was going on, she said “You were supposed to be at gate 28, not gate 8, you missed your flight and the next one leaves at midnight”. I thought Oh that’s gonna cost me a lot of money, but they waived it for me.I went directly to negative self-talk after realizing what happened but after I calmed down I began to see some positive aspects of my ordeal.
Then she took me to the clubhouse, a place I didn’t even know existed, it’s a place where the frequent flyers go to rest and relax between flights. The people were extremely helpful and friendly. This was a blessed surprise since many times as a person with Cerebral Palsy it’s often difficult for people to understand me and they assume I can’t understand them either. But they didn’t talk down to me. At the end of my long wait they escorted me to the plane and told me I was upgraded to first class.
It reminded me that we might think we know how to get where we’re going, and then we get ourselves in a big mess, but God is rich in mercy. Even if we wind up in a big mess he uses it to show us his faithfulness.
I’ve felt a little bit pressed for time lately, with lots of projects that are due really soon. Today when I woke up I realized I wasn’t as far behind as I thought I was. I’ve been taking a class called Beyond Suffering through Joni and Friends and have some projects that are due soon. Late in June I’m going to be teaching at a seminar called, “Riding the Tiger” and I haven’t even started working on my presentation. I remember feeling that way a lot at college at George Fox, always behind and in a panic. Because of these few things, I’ve felt rushed and I guess I haven’t really been paying attention to details. Last Saturday I invited my daughter to brunch, when we got there, we knew something was off, because nobody was there. It was scheduled for the next Saturday! Fortunately I wasn’t stranded.
Apparently I’m not the only person that rushes around because last week someone was here to inspect my house. I thought he would zip right through it and be on his merry way. NO! I was wrong, he found several repairs that needed to happen. The funny thing is that the things that he was concerned about have been in the same condition for about 3 years. He explained that when he was here before he was in too much of a hurry to notice them. One of the repairs needed is a hole in my closet that has been there for 4 years. It was leftover from when the repair man was fixing a leak in the upstairs apartment, but they forgot to fix my closet!
Sometimes it seems like our walk with God is a lot like that. God frequently uses today’s circumstances to pinpoint areas where we need a little bit of repair work in the areas that are battered and bruised through life experiences. Would you like to share areas in your life that God is restoring?
“Search me O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”-Psalm 139: 23-24
I used to read this verse for years and read the word wicked and think bad, but now I realize that God doesn’t just mean “wicked” or “bad” but he wants to take stuff out that will keep us from flourishing.
There are many moms that have had their dreams interrupted by having children who need special care. I am one of them. Born in the 50’s, moms and dads didn’t have the support systems that are available today both online and in-person. Julie Keon was totally surprised after the birth of her baby girl to find out that her daughter was severely disabled and that she required almost 24 hour care. Despite the difficulty, the mother-daughter relationship taught Julie lessons that she needed to learn. Though the road is difficult, she has been able to encourage other parents and has written a book called “What I Would Tell You”.
When I was growing up, I had fun playing with dolls, but I think I remember asking my mom how I would diaper a baby. I think she said “we’ll figure it out” but I don’t think she thought I ever would.
Many people think people with disabilities cannot have children, so I surprised a lot of them, including myself! At this stage in my life I look back and think, “how did this happen?” How did my daughter actually get to be 28? How did my mom survive motherhood and how did I?
There were a lot of things that I couldn’t do as a mom, but my mom was one of my cheerleaders. She put Velcro on Rachael’s baby clothes and helped me ride the waves of new motherhood. Friends from Good Samaritan Ministries and my friend Colleen were instrumental in helping us survive. Colleen drove us places, planned birthday parties, everything I wanted to do as a mother but couldn’t. Rather than having my disability limit me, my world was expanded because I formed a network of people that were willing to join me on this journey.
One of the most amazing events happened 10 months ago, when I became a Grandma. My granddaughter is truly a reward for persevering the challenges of motherhood.
So on this Mother’s Day I want to thank my Mother for all she’s done for me and encourage other Mothers of children with special needs because I know that the road can be hard but there are rewards ahead. I would encourage any families that are going through this process to find good support systems through family, friends or community organizations such as Joni and Friends.
Happy Mother’s Day to my Mother and Daughter!