Hope in the Dark

Hey beautiful friends, last week we began a new book study. It was just the introduction, so you can dig right in today with us and not feel like you missed anything at all. To continue preparing your heart – or to introduce you to this wonderful book – I’ll share a bit of the devotional that led me to Hope in the Dark. But first, here are some resources to help you get the most out of your special parenting or chronically wild path:

A short version of the study can be found on the YouVersion app.

I’m loving this awesome free bible journaling template

And to purchase the actual book – that I’m talking about each week, it’s right here. It’s been such a gift to my special mama heart!

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Okay – so let’s dig in.

In the Hope in the Dark YouVersion study, Craig Groeschel writes:

“I wrote this book and Bible Plan for the many people who are struggling to believe that God cares about them, especially when they find themselves in the middle of a crisis. When you’re stumbling through a valley, it’s difficult to see the light. You want to believe, but you’re having a hard time reconciling the hope-filled message of the Christian faith with what you’re seeing around you.

More than 2,600 years ago, Habakkuk asked many of the same questions people all over the world are still asking today. And in his grace, God relieved some of Habakkuk’s anguish, even as he left other questions unanswered. But on the other side of his doubts, Habakkuk grew into a person with a richer faith, a faith that may not have developed as fully had he not struggled through his doubts.”

Have you ever been there? Struggling with doubts – unsure of what to do or who to turn to because obviously God isn’t listening? Honestly, me too.

I’m a believer to my core. I say that I found Jesus before I knew he existed; a calming presence in the middle of storms that came upon me long before my path today. Yet, I too have struggled with doubts. My biggest came when I saw my business go up in smoke as chronic disease met special parenting. I didn’t quit on my business or my God. But let’s just say that fear took the reigns. I feared that I would never see my business prosper again. And I feared that my God’s plans for me weren’t all that good. That maybe my suffering was attached to His greater plan. That maybe staying faithful without my health or my child’s sanity was more than just a test – but my life’s work.

I have since regained stability in my health, yet had to experience cancer first.

And I have since seen my child’s sanity fluctuate more toward typical than not (though that varies from day-to-day with sensory processing disorder and OCD).

Best of all, I no longer believe that hardship is my life’s calling. It’s more-so a reminder that we’re not home.

What about you? Have you taken on hardship as your calling in life? Have you realized yet that we will all walk through trials because truly we’re just not Home?

For the next two weeks, we’ll be discussing Part 1 of Hope in the Dark. We’ll wade in the deep waters of big questions like “where are you, God?” together, and perhaps find some solid ground.

I’m ready to take this on with you, precious friend. And I can’t wait to see what the Lord has to offer each of us here.

xox J.

Worthy

Bless our tiny.

I hopped on facebook memories today and was met with a flashback from one of the first postpartum healing classes I taught with her when we moved to Arizona.

That morning she was absurdly naughty, from what I recall. We smiled anyhow.

Today, she wasn’t the least bit naughty. Her personality was bright and shiny and at times explosive in the BEST way.

(She has an incredible sense of humor.)

OCD tried to steal this baby girl at the beginning of the school year. But we are #TeamNoQuit. It’s now become our normal to smile through the storm. We’ve had to make drastic changes for her in every place and space of our life. And we are more than okay with that.

She’s worth it.

We’re ALL worth it.

Just a thought…

The next time someone does something for you – whether it’s big or small – I hope you’ll smile and say thanks.

And let that be it.

We don’t need to return every favor or apologize for taking up space.

We can accept goodness and favor and blessings abundant – and from this space pour out into the world.

This week we’ll have more appointments. Another 504 plan meeting. A checkup with psych regarding a medication change we had to make. And Bliss – not knowing anything other than how much God says she’s worth – will just accept the goodness.

Imagine what would happen if we all did the same.

I love you, sweet girl. I’m so thankful for the freedom of time to help you thrive. And I can’t wait for you to feel your very best. I think this weekend we were * this close * to you being there after just the longest few months.

Oh how our Papa provides.

Is There Hope in the Dark?

Hey beautiful friends, we’re about to dig into a new book study. To prepare your heart, I’ll share a bit of the devotional you can take part in too. It can be found on the YouVersion app. Craig writes:

“I wrote this book and Bible Plan for the many people who are struggling to believe that God cares about them, especially when they find themselves in the middle of a crisis. When you’re stumbling through a valley, it’s difficult to see the light. You want to believe, but you’re having a hard time reconciling the hope-filled message of the Christian faith with what you’re seeing around you.

More than 2,600 years ago, Habakkuk asked many of the same questions people all over the world are still asking today. And in his grace, God relieved some of Habakkuk’s anguish, even as he left other questions unanswered. But on the other side of his doubts, Habakkuk grew into a person with a richer faith, a faith that may not have developed as fully had he not struggled through his doubts.”

Hope in the Dark

There is a secret side of special parenting that not everyone sees. And it just so happens to be the really hard days in the middle of a season jam-packed with miracles. I mean, really, why would we share what’s not going well when so much is?

(Raises hand.)

To stay sane.

Hey friends, if you’re new here what I write about varies from week to week. Sometimes it’s lifestyle and wellness, sometimes special parenting, sometimes really real life with chronic fatigue syndrome and lots of big battles.

This week, I want to dig back into the special parenting path.

It was Wednesday morning. And day two of zero focus. With Wild climbing walls and talking about things that don’t even exist, I found my thoughts as scattered as hers.

I felt like I was in a pressure cooker as I contemplated how to best support a child – who doesn’t know what she needs some days – while desperately wanting our sweet son to arrive at school on time… or his version of on time (with enough minutes to run around before the bell).

Trapped in thought, still, even with Eastern and Western tools, our Wild has been secretly struggling. It’s in the open now. And we can decide our next steps.

But I thought we were okay.

Another week of roller coaster emotions led me to ponder if I was praising her enough in the storm. Which reminded me of a season (a short and long year) when I wondered if I praised our son enough, too…

The storms can blind us.

When Mild was three, we had a tough season. Literally, every chance he got to pinch me or Bliss, he would. He particularly loved to sneak up when I was sitting down to nurse her. There’s something about having to be on guard while feeding your child, oh, that isn’t particularly relaxing.

I’m not sure who gave us the idea that year, but we started a recognition notebook. I listed everything wonderful he did for weeks on end. I read it to him each night. Often his behavior didn’t change, but my heart did.

Day two of zero focus reminded me of his year three (the only year he’s ever been not-so-Mild!). And after an awful morning, I wasn’t sure if Bliss needed a praise-book, or if I did.

Bliss Feeding Ducks
A flashback to our Bliss at three. Oh, how I thought I would know how to handle this age after our sweet Mild turned wild for a year. But nothing can prepare you for life with a child who has challenges with her mental and behavioral health. Cheers to the differently wired, sweet girl. You’ve been inspiring me since birth!

Many of us question who am I after hard moments, hours, or days. It took me a while to drop this act of self-sabotage, let it be known! But I don’t question my worth when things get hard and my response isn’t perfect. I’m human and I am loved as I am by a God who “gets” me. All of me. I no longer shame myself for getting frustrated. Instead, I ask my child and my God for forgiveness, and then change my walk.

And this is why we are digging into Hope in the Dark, now.

Quite simply, it’s because even though I have joy, I also have wildness. I need reminders of who God is and who He says I am – whether or not I begin praise-books for myself and my sweet girl.

The book Hope in the Dark was tucked up on a shelf the moment that I thought life with SSRI’s on board (for Wild’s Harm OCD) would be more simple. I have now come to realize life is almost never simple. It’s always joyful. But rarely simple. So, the book is back in my hands and I’m working on sharing time with like hearts (perhaps your heart). Hearts that are in dark spaces – and hearts teetering on the edge.

It’s so easy to get lost here, precious friends.

It’s been the longest ride with our Warrior girl. And mornings like that morning alternately remind me of how far we’ve come, and yet also, make me greedy for more. So much more. I don’t love that she struggles. But I love that because of the life we’ve chosen – because we are intentional with our time; with our feelings; with our lifestyle; with our praise; with our Faith; and with our love – there is so much room to continue growing together.

On this note, I wish you the most beautiful day today. Stop drowning in the feelings that you could process. Say I’m sorry to the person you’ve hurt. Praise yourself or the one you love. Start over moment by moment, not day by day. Friend, we can do hard things, with Jesus.

And P.S. if anger, frustration, or dis-ease is rising up – check yourself before you wreck yourself. Your Heavenly Father is waiting with open arms to listen to whatever it is that’s on your heart. And He loves you as you are, where you are.

xox J.

Your Values

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It’s fascinating to me that once we begin writing about something – researching it – we see it in all different spaces.

Last week, I wrote a post called New Year, New Values?. And this morning, being a mother of a Wild, I found myself not acting upon my values. I felt harried. Two kids in two different schools need to both make it on time, but drop off numero uno (Wild) is delayed. She’s lost in thought. She is often lost in thought – and though we are on our knees praising so big that these thoughts are not intrusive or violent in nature (as was the case before we found the right course of treatment for harm OCD) – I get frustrated that even now, in healing there are struggles.

​Reminders that this is not our earthly home are abundant around here!

Back to values. I wasn’t acting on mine this morning. I found myself agitated on the inside, even as Wild cracked jokes. Rushed. Oh, and tired. It’s one thing to dress yourself. It’s another to fully bathe, brush, dress, and feed another human being with the attention span of a flea at a dog parade (I hope that’s a fun visual for you!). I believe I reigned her back into the bathroom no less than five times this morning.

So how funny is it that as I finish listening to my podcast after dropping off the Wild (only ten minutes late somehow!) and the Mild (right on time, thank you Jesus), Andy Stanley is talking about what we want – our desires – as being a source of conflict. Why is what we want a source of conflict? Because what we really want doesn’t align with what we want in this moment.

“You will never know what you really want until you know what you really value.” – Andy Stanley

(you can listen to the full podcast here; it was gold.)

What we really want matches with what we really value. If you’re not sure what your values are, by the way, you can click on that article above for some guidance. For me, I know what I value. At my core is peace and presence. What I wanted this morning was timeliness. But what I really want? Well, that’s an incredibly joyful, intentional relationship with my miracle kids. This matches up with what I really value.

While I didn’t “get” what I really wanted this morning, I do have this afternoon (and the rest of their precious lives) to change the game.

Thank you Lord for mercies anew every single day!

​And thank you friends for being here. It’s an honor to share real life.

xox J.