Not An Accident

The following was shared by a mom of a special needs child who is a friend of mine on Facebook. I love this. Made me think of Isaiah 40:11…He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

Your friend,

Tiffany

“We’ve got an issue here” the quality control angel called out.

“What’s the problem?” asked God, in a voice that already seemed to calm the concern.

“It looks like a lazy chromosome…one, two…yes, right here, a lazy one.”

Now smiling, God answered,
“That’s not a quality concern…it is…a distinction…the Manual addresses it.

You’re new on the line, aren’t you?”

“Why yes…this is my first day,” apologized the angel–searching through the manual for any reference to this.

“I’ll talk you through it…there are just a few assembly modifications.

First, locate the hug sensors. Do you see the dial?” “Yes, right here…oh, I think I tickled him.”
“Turn it up.”
“How much?”
“All the way.”
“Done.”

“Now locate the two smile triggers—
they are located on either side of that cute little button nose.”
“I found them.”
“Adjust them a little closer to the surface…closer…closer…perfect!”
“Is that it?” asked the obedient angel.
“Almost,” answered God. Now, very gently, open his heart.
That’s it.
“Measure two…no, make it three extra scoops of love.”
“Will it fit…it’s so tiny?”
“Oh, these little hearts stretch incredibly. It will fit.”
“Done…is that it?”

“One more thing…move him from the random distribution belt to the select premium belt.
These little ones aren’t just given to anyone.”

“There…he’s done and ready to go,” announced the angel.

God stepped over, as if to inspect the handiwork of this new angel on the line.
But that wasn’t His intent.
Instead, He picked up this little one and held him close to His heart…
holding him for so long the angel became concerned.

“Is he alright? Did I do everything as you instructed?”
Still holding him close, God said, “He’s perfect.
I just find it hard to let these special ones go, for they are Heaven to hold.”
And He gently kissed his cheek and sent him to our hearts.

Let the Ground Rest

Landon, my son with autism, loves to take rides in the van. His sensory system is soothed by movement and one of the easiest ways to calm him is to go for a ride.😊

Usually I drive him through scenic back roads and neighborhoods and we always listen to music as we go. Sometimes it’s rainy, sometimes it’s sunny. During these drives as we are listening to praise and worship music, 99% of the time we hear a new song that just speaks to my spirit. During today’s football game, I was driving Landon around and heard a new (to me) song that spoke to me.

The song is called  “Let the Ground Rest” (Chris Renzema). It talks about how during a waiting period- maybe for a prayer to be answered or a situation to be changed- we have to “let the ground rest” much as a farmer does after planting a seed. We can’t rush the process no matter how much we want to. The season we are in has a purpose. 

One of the lines says “Cause flowers only grow once they’ve tasted rain.” How true this is. It takes both rain and sunshine for flowers to grow much as takes both trials and blessings to cause growth in our lives.

Another line says

 “So don’t you find it strange?

That God, He made four seasons and only one spring,  So oh, just let the ground rest.” 

We can’t only have one season in our lives. As much as we want it to be springtime always when everything feels perfect and looks beautiful, seasons must change. We have to go through changing seasons and we continually learn and grow as we go through those seasons of good times and hard times. Hopefully we gain wisdom and understanding and our character is matured and refined as those seasons change.

Friend, if you are facing a rainy, difficult time in your life right now, I’m praying this song will encourage you. It’s okay to just “let the ground rest.” Those “flowers” will bloom in your life when the time is right. Trust the Lord’s timing. Trust His plan. I promise He hasn’t forgotten about you. There’s a harvest coming.

Your friend,

Tiffany 

Chris Renzema-Let The Ground Rest Lyrics

Been waiting on a moment

Waiting on a sign

Waiting for them to call your name

And you’re next in line

Waiting for your time to come

Your fifteen minutes in the sun

So don’t you find it strange?

That God, He made four seasons and only one spring

So oh, just let the ground rest

‘Cause if it’s not right now, it’s for the best

You’re gonna grow, I know this

But for now, just let the ground rest

Been waiting on a moment

Waiting on the sign

Waiting for the lights to change

When you won’t feel so stuck or so left behind

Been waiting for the day to come

When you can leave behind what you’ve become

Wash it all away

‘Cause flowers only grow once they’ve tasted rain

So oh, just let the ground rest

‘Cause if it’s not right now, it’s for the best

You’re gonna grow, I know this

But for now, just let the ground rest’Cause you’ll finish what you start

You started this, I know

And if you saw the plans

Maybe you wouldn’t go

I’ll watch Him plant a seed

And then let the ground rest

So child, oh believe

‘Cause I promise there’s a harvest

A Little Humor For Today

My kids are cracking me up. Robbie isn’t allowed to use technology this week (long story) and he just asked me how he was supposed to find the definition of the word “composition.” Before I could say anything, Katie says “Robbie, there’s this old-fashioned book you can use to look that up. It’s called a dictionary.” 😂😂😂

Loving Your Neighbor

I read the following devotion this morning from How To Love Your Neighbors (YouVersion Bible App.) There are such good thoughts here and I wanted to share them. Hope your day is blessed!

Your friend,

Tiffany

The People We Know

All of us have people in our lives that we’re close to. It may seem easy to love the people we know well, but in reality, sometimes it isn’t. Loving our neighbors means we love them on the easy days and on the hard days. We applaud their successes and comfort them when they fail. 

Here are some practical ways that we can love the people we’re close to:

Lighten their load. When we know someone well, we know when things are going well and when they’re not. When someone is  facing a struggle, we can be a part of the solution. It’s easy to say things like, “Let me know if you need anything,” but truthfully, most people won’t. You might phrase your assistance like this: “I’m bringing dinner over to your family tonight. What time works?”

Extend grace. One of the most important ways we can love our neighbors is to make allowances for their shortcomings. Choosing to extend grace means we forgive those who offend us. After all, God has forgiven each of us so much, it’s unwise to justify our unforgiveness toward others. Through the process of forgiving others, we’ll be free from harboring bitterness. 

Build others up. With our words and actions, we do one of two things—build up or tear down. Our world isn’t always a friendly one, so let’s be bringers of good news to the people in our lives. We never know how our kind word or act will change someone’s day—and potentially their future. 

For the people we know, we can find numerous ways to show them love. Perhaps we run an errand for someone who can’t get out, do chores around their house, or spend time truly listening and hearing them when things are difficult. Let’s learn to put others’ needs in front of our own on a more regular basis. When we do this, we are acting as Jesus did, for there is no greater love than when we set ourselves aside and do something for someone else.

Spiritual Warfare

Just wanted to share the following devotion from Warfare (Tony Evans, YouVersion Bible App). It is excellent information regarding spiritual warfare. The spiritual battle against the enemy most often takes place within our minds, however God has given us the tools to overcome and win that fight. 🙌🏻

In 2 Corinthians 10:4, Paul says our spiritual weapons can destroy Satan’s fortresses. Weapons such as prayer, reading the Word, obedience, meditation on Scripture, fasting, and service can blow up the devil’s strongholds. And that’s what we must do. These fortresses don’t need to be remodeled. God doesn’t tell us to capture them, change the locks, and use them for Him. Satan’s fortresses must be torn down. 

We also need to pull down those lofty partitions (v. 5). These include “speculations,” those rebel thoughts that take us far away from the knowledge of God. 

Friend, you are not responsible for every thought that flashes into your mind. Satan can plant thoughts in our minds. But you are responsible for what you do with them once they are there. Our job is to recognize and dismiss evil thoughts. That’s the idea behind Paul’s statement about “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). This is war language. When the enemy sends us one of his thoughts, we need to grab that thought and take it hostage. 

When we can do this successfully day in and day out, we are going to start winning some serious spiritual battles. Whoever controls the mind controls the war. When you take those roaming thoughts captive, Satan loses his control over you. 

And while not all anxiety people struggle with is purely a spiritual matter, for some it is based on imbalanced chemicals in the body or rooted in past traumas which produce triggers, this approach toward overcoming anxious thoughts can help to reduce it. It may not remove it entirely if a person struggles with physical-based symptoms, but it can provide a way to manage it. But in order to do so, you have to take each thought captive to Christ. 

No army can afford to have enemy troops running around loose behind its lines, wreaking havoc and sabotaging its weapons and defenses. 

You may be thinking, Tony, this sounds too easy. If you have been a spiritual POW for very long, you may think Satan’s strongholds are too hard to conquer. You may think the battle is hopeless, the problems too great. But this is one reason we have so many problems. We make the Christian life harder than God makes it. Yes, there are difficult problems. I don’t want to minimize that. But many of the problems we’re facing are not as difficult as we make them, because we approach them with a defeatist attitude. 

What is the difference between a person God delivers in twenty-four hours and one who takes twenty-four years? In most cases, I believe the difference is in the mind. When the thinking changes, the actions change. And then the fortresses come down. 

Let me give you an example of how this works. Joshua and the army of Israel came to the city of Jericho, which was surrounded by a high wall (Joshua 6). It looked impregnable. It was a fortress. God told Israel to march around the city for six days and then march around it seven times on the seventh day. Then the priests were to blow the trumpets, the people were to shout, and the wall would fall down. 

Imagine Joshua saying, “Excuse me, Lord, but this is a war. These people are the enemy. They are strong. Would You please give me my military instructions?”

Joshua didn’t do that, of course. He obeyed God, and when the priests blew the trumpets and the people shouted, that wall crashed down instantly. The wall fell because the people tore it down God’s way. If they had used human methods, they would have been defeated.

This is the question we always face: Are we going to use human or divine methods? It saves a lot of time and grief to use God’s method. Trust God for your battle plans, obey His Word, take your thoughts captive under His authority – and you will win victory after victory in spiritual warfare. 

Your friend,

Tiffany

Transparency

“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.”

– Mother Teresa

Sometimes one of the greatest gifts we can give to another is to be transparent and honest. I try to be this way even though it is not always easy.  So today I am going to be transparent with the hope that it will be an encouragement.

We have been struggling lately to get our son’s medication regulated. His severe autism causes aggression, insomnia, hyperactivity, attention problems, and sensory issues to name a few of the big issues. We have tried all sorts of different medicines and combinations of medicines. We get things leveled out for a while and then problems arise. It is very difficult and most people don’t understand what our family goes through on a daily basis. I am not saying that to garner sympathy or because I’m having a pity party, it is simply a truthful fact. 

Today as I was counting out his medicine, I thought about how thankful I was that there is healing and hope because of the promise of Heaven through Jesus. I was also prompted to share the following (which I shared on Facebook earlier this week) with those who follow my blog:

Landon had a dentist appointment today. It was pretty tough. I won’t elaborate on that. The positive takeaway was the dentist said “we were doing an amazing job with his teeth despite all the challenges.” When I was checking out, the following sign at the checkout desk caught my eye. I really felt strongly it was for someone else, not just me. Peace in your heart is only found in Jesus.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

~2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Whatever you may be facing today, remember that there is an end in sight. The difficulty/trial/trouble/storm does have an end because everything here on this earth is transient (lasting for a short time, impermanent.) Those things we cannot see or sometimes even fathom are eternal. And the eternal aspects of Heaven are wonderful and perfect, free from medication, autism, trouble, and difficulty. 

If you are struggling today, hold the promise of Heaven in your heart.  Think on Heaven’s pureness and loveliness. Think on the wonderful complexity, yet simplicity of that promise God has given to His children. If you don’t know Jesus, seek Him today. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. To know Him is to have the promise of Heaven and hope in your heart despite the difficulties in this life. The best is yet to come. If you are struggling and overwhelmed today, I am praying for God to lighten your heart and mind with His hope and promise to you.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Your friend,

Tiffany

Goldendoodles and God’s Love

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.

John 14:21

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit

Titus 3:4-5

Yesterday morning was beautiful and sunny so I decided to take a walk. Landon has had way more bad days than good lately and honestly the weight of that burden gets pretty heavy. His aggression is increasing at school towards his teachers and classmates. So I daily email and check in with his teacher, doctor, etc. to apologize for the behavior, to work on improving the behavior with medicine increases/decreases/different medicines. We try different techniques to help him, but nothing ends up working much or for very long. It is a very helpless and hopeless feeling to work with someone with severe autism for years. You know you are stuck on the roller coaster of autism and you can never get off. You are forever working, trying, praying, and crying. 

Anyway, like I was saying,  I decided to take a walk yesterday morning. I was walking down the sidewalk, talking on the phone to my Mom actually, and in the distance I could see a woman walking a dog and they were headed in my direction. As they got closer, I could see that the dog was a goldendoodle. 

If you aren’t familiar with this breed, it is a cross between a standard poodle and a golden retriever. To me, this breed is absolutely amazing. Nearly every time I see one of these dogs, I feel this immediate connection with them. I know some may roll their eyes and say whatever, that sounds cheesy and silly, but I’ve personally experienced it more than once. I’ve seen at least three of these dogs in person and every single time, when they look at me with those awesome loving, intelligent eyes, there is a connection. It’s as if they understand me somehow and love me and want to be near me. Yes, this happens to be one of my favorite breeds. 😊 I don’t own one, but maybe some day I will. 

So I’m talking to my mom and I tell her this lady is approaching with a goldendoodle. The dog and the the lady get closer and as they do, the dog starts wagging his tail and tries to come over to me. I greet the lady and tell her what a beautiful dog she has and as we pass the dog looks at me with those loving and knowing eyes and reaches out to lick my fingers. It was such a sweet moment. I kept walking and didn’t think much about it until later in the evening.

The day goes on, Landon gets home from school and I check his backpack. Another horrible day. He’s hitting and scratching himself and other people. If you know me well, you know I’m a pretty gentle, loving person. If anything, I love to a fault. Landon’s behavior is not the result of being in any kind of bad environment. Landon’s behavior is a result of his autism. And I’m helpless to change it. I cannot love the autism away. All the love I have to give and do give is not enough to change his autism. Landon’s autism is a forever reminder that this earth is not our home. 

So after reading all the bad reports and holding my head in my hands for awhile, I email the doctor, email the teacher, etc. to apologize, to work on medicine changes, to reassure that I’m working to “fix” or “improve” that which, aside from a miracle, is unfixable.

Side note, Murry took Landon to Robbie’s soccer practice Wednesday and so I got over an hour break to exercise and play the piano. It was wonderful and I thanked Murry profusely for making that sacrifice and taking Landon off my hands for a while. Self-care is important if you’re a full-time caregiver. 

Back to yesterday. After emailing, texting, apologizing, and crying, and after Landon was in bed, I went to take a long bath and pray. I told God “look I don’t know what to do. I can’t fix the autism. I can’t make him better.” Right away the image of the goldendoodle came back to mind along with a gentle reminder from God. 

The Lord reminded me that He loves Landon not because of his performance or how good he is…but because Landon exists, because he is an image bearer of God. When Landon misbehaves, Jesus doesn’t love him less. When he has good days, Jesus doesn’t love him more. God reminded me that He loves me completely, too, just because I exist. That love doesn’t change based on my actions or circumstances or how good I am or if I’m having a bad day. It is unwavering, steady, unchanging and abundantly overflowing.

We humans love people with conditions. If you think you don’t, ask yourself why you love your significant other? Is it because they do something for you? Do they provide financially? Do they give you affection, time, encouragement? If they didn’t do anything for you, would you still love them? Do you get upset with them if they don’t do what you expect? What about your friends? Do you love them based on their performance? Whether they make time for you or not? When you are honest with yourself and become aware of this, it might surprise you to learn that you sometimes love with conditions, too. 

I’m not saying we should beat ourselves up over this, but just to be aware of our humanity, and to ultimately realize God doesn’t love us like that! He loves us with no conditions. He simply loves us just because we are His children. His love won’t ever fluctuate. He just delights to have us near, no matter what kind of day we are having. His eyes meet ours with warmth and love and joy when He sees us. And when we see Him and look into His eyes we feel an amazing connection. We are understood and loved. We can just “be” in His presence and He is delighted with that.

My goldendoodle friend was a glimpse of that unconditional love today. Of course a dog’s love cannot compare with the love of Jesus, but the tangible reminder was what my heart needed. Maybe today you need that reminder too. You are totally loved just because you “are”. His love isn’t performance based or conditional. Rest in that today. Accept His unconditional love for you.

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Jeremiah 31:3

The LORD your God is in your midst,

    a mighty one who will save;

  he will rejoice over you with gladness;

    he will quiet you by his love;

  he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13


Your friend,

Tiffany

Some Random Observations

  1. The Keto diet really works…if you stay on it. 😂 (I’ve lost over 5 pounds in 3 days. 🙌🏻)
  2. Don’t give your autistic child Abilify. It is a horrible, horrible medicine. It caused awful aggression which is what it was supposed to treat!
  3. If you step on the scale, and it looks like you’ve lost 8 pounds in one day, don’t get excited. More than likely the scale is broken. I’m not saying you broke it because you’re overweight or anything , but I’m not convinced that isn’t what happened with mine. 🤣😂😬 #losingweight #ketoworks

Stay tuned for more observations from a mom who is clearly on a roller coaster ride provided by autism. Have a blessed day!

Your friend,

Tiffany