Well, he came downstairs this morning with his Bible, and read me the riot act about how no man knows the hour or the day when the end of the world will be...not even Jesus...only God. I was trying so hard to concentrate on what he was saying, but as soon as he left the room, I fell out laughing. He is so sweet.
And then he preached to me the entire way to Little Rock...which is about a 35 minute drive.
Sheesh! You try to help and honor a person...HAHAHA!
I've been thinking lately about blessings...how they really aren't always what you think. You know, only the good stuff.
Speaking of that, I just read something that said Christians shouldn't say things like, "I've been so blessed," or "God has blessed me so much," because it makes non-Believers think that God is like Santa...doling out the good stuff if we're good enough.
Nothing could be farther from the truth, because we are NEVER GOOD ENOUGH.
Part of me thinks that, as Christians, we spend so much time standing on our soap-boxes telling others what we should and should not say...and there's no doubt that we should inspect our conduct to be sure we are living a life that is pleasing to God. But, people around us are suffering and lonely and going to Hell while we debate on the best way to deconstruct a word.
What we all write on our blogs...whether it's about family or faith or random topics...unless it's from the Bible, then it's just one person's opinion. And we may find great advice and a new point of view...or it may be something that stirs up controversy and takes our focus away from what is important.
There are some really great and awesome things that I consider God's blessings in my life: my family, friends, health.
But even in my family, there have been hard and difficult circumstances...health issues, life-long challenges, cancer...even loss. And with my friends? I've lost some of those, too. Not lost as in they died, altho I did have a sweet and precious friend named Laura who died 3 years ago. She was a light and a breath of joy in the midst of her hard and painful health issues. Every.single.day.
But I'm talking about how I've lost friendships...even some I had for upwards of 15 years or so. Sometimes you go a different way from your friends with every day things in life...goals change and you get busy and it just takes you away from some people. Sometimes you move away from them. Like, physically move away. And sometimes, there are words that are spoken and you can't ever take them back, even if you wanted to. And sometimes you don't want to. And, there are times, even when you are doing what God has prompted you to do, the other person will not see it that way...and so they walk away. And you let them.
Or you fight for them.
Whoa. How did I go there? That was totally not the point of this post.
I was thinking about Joshua, who is one of the BIGGEST BLESSINGS God has ever given to me and to our family. I just love him so much, but gotta be honest...before I ever had him, if I had THOUGHT about having him...you know, the fact that he would have Down Syndrome...I don't know that I would have the same feeling about it that I do now.
Which, as much as I wish I could know the future, this is why I should not.
But I've stated before that as soon as he was born...as soon as I heard the words, "your son has Down Syndrome," I knew:
*that my life would be different
*that I had no clue what to do/say/think next
*that God had a plan and this was part of it
*what my mission and purpose in life would be
And I prayed that God would use us, Jim and I, as we parented Joshua...and that He would use Joshua in a way that others would see JESUS in him.
What started me thinking on this post was that, earlier in the month, I saw a post on Facebook from someone that took me back. Wayyyyy back.
When we first moved to that town, we were a family of 5. Joshua was school-aged, Holly was nearly 3...and Logan was a baby. First on the agenda, after finding a church home and a pediatrician...was getting Joshua enrolled in school. Not a task for the faint-of-heart, we found out.
We went to the public school, and were immediately shuttled to a school for "special" students. We weren't opposed to that, necessarily, we just wanted to know our options. Turns out...we had none.
OR THAT'S WHAT WE WERE TOLD.
The lady we talked to...she was adamant. Joshua would not be attending public school in that town. It just wasn't done. It wasn't going to be done.
Well, after much prayer and research and meetings, we felt strongly that Joshua would benefit from public school. He could get all of his therapy during the school day, AND he would be exposed to other "non-labeled" children every day. Joshua was still very impressionable, and when he was younger, he always tried to mimic others and adapt to his surroundings. One of the reasons I pulled him out of his "special" pre-school, was because, even though he could talk, he had started mimicking the "sounds" and "language" of the non-verbal kids in his class. We wanted Joshua to learn to speak in the best and most clear way humanly possible. We felt like being in a more integrated classroom would be the best option for him.
The lady we had to deal with...she was older...and she was SO UGLY. Ugly acting. We became familiar with our rights as Joshua's parents, and even though Jim and I are not confrontational people in any way, shape or form...we were firm with our convictions in this instance and stood our ground. And she set us up to fail...and expected that we would. She told us some things that we later found out were not true. Basically, she was a bully about it...that's what it would be called today. And I
Actually, I started by praying for ME to be able to deal with HER without 1) crying, 2) throwing up, 3) crying, 4) using bad words, 5) throwing up, and 6) crying some more.
But it turned into me developing...not an affection...not a like...but maybe care and concern for this lady. An affinity for her. Sort of.
And I tried to not do anything that would negatively affect my witness to her, because, as a Christian, that was very important to me.
Imagine my surprise when, one Sunday morning, this lady...and she was OLDER...walked the aisle of our church and made a profession of faith. I nearly fell over. I poked Jim and got the *crickets chirping* look. Even after I reminded him who she was, he barely remembered what I counted as a very traumatic experience.
I gotta say that, as I watched her follow the Lord in baptism...I was filled with love for her...my sister in Christ. She never was a BAD person. She was just old-school and gruff, and she had years under her belt of doing things HER WAY. And I believe that she saw Jesus in Joshua, maybe in Jim and I...but she also may have had seeds planted in her for years and years by some who may not have seen the end result of her coming to Christ.
At this point, I have to say that I'm no saint. Not a martyr. I don't do it right all of the time...or even most of the time.
It's all HIM...none of me. Any good in me, any kindness I'm able to show, that I'm able to forgive, and receive...and LOVE...it's all Him.
And I wrote a post already about Mr. Rollo...how he said Joshua touched and affected his life...and how he, Mr. Rollo, blessed OUR lives.
Lives we touch.
Like the Laura Story songs says, "What if my greatest disappointments and the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy. What if trials of this life...the rain, the storms, the hardest nights...are Your mercies in disguise."
In the worst and darkest times of my life, I have felt the presence of God...
"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30