sharing my heart

 

November 2012

November 2012

The Christmas tree is up, the house is decorated and I have started my Christmas baking. This is a beautiful time of year. Ryan’s seizures seem to be increasing which breaks my heart, but the ups and downs of his disease have become pretty normal around here. He’s also on his second ear infection in three weeks, opposite ear this time. Otherwise he is as loved and doted on as always. The older kids are wonderful and doing very well. They are normal kids who eat a lot and don’t like to pick up their rooms but they are a joy. Travis and I are doing well and trying to get everything accomplished and planned for the next month, trying to enjoy every moment of the holidays. And I might say, both thinking about the face we turn forty within three weeks of each other, Travis at the end of the month and me in January. I remember thinking how old my parents were in their mid-thirties and how old forty sounded. And now we are here. I saw this poem and loved how it ended so I thought I would share… 

The Twelve Days Of Christmas Special Needs

 On the first day of Christmas, the good Lord gave to me: a child with special needs.

On the second day of Christmas, the good Lord gave to me: a heart full of love for my child with special needs.

On the third day of Christmas, the good Lord gave to me: an ache in my heart and a heart full of love for my child with special needs. On the fourth day of Christmas, the good Lord gave to me: a tear in my eyes, an ache in my heart and a heart full of love for my child with special needs. On the fifth day of Christmas, the good Lord gave to me: an unsuspected strength for the tear in my eyes and the ache in my heart and my heart full of love for my child with special needs. On the sixth day of Christmas, the good Lord gave to me: a ray of hope, an unsuspected strength for the tear in my eyes and the ache in my heart and my heart full of love for my child with special needs.

On the seventh day of Christmas, the good Lord gave to me: a sense of humor, a ray of hope, an unsuspected strength for the tear in my eyes and the ache in my heart and my heart full of love for my child with special needs.

On the eighth day of Christmas, the good Lord gave to me: supportive friends, a sense of humor, a ray of hope, an unsuspected strength for the tear in my eyes and the ache in my heart and my heart full of love for my child with special needs.

On the ninth day of Christmas, the good Lord gave to me: remarkable doctors & therapists, supportive friends, a sense of humor, a ray of hope, an unsuspected strength for the tear in my eyes and the ache in heart and my heart full of love for my child with a special needs.

On the tenth day of Christmas, the good Lord gave to me: an appreciation of small accomplishments, remarkable doctors & therapists, supportive friends, a sense of humor, a ray of hope, an unsuspected strength for the tear in my eyes and the ache in my heart and my heart full of love for my child with special needs.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, the good Lord gave to me: a sense of pride and courage, an appreciation of small accomplishments, remarkable doctors & therapists, supportive friends, a sense of humor, a ray of hope, an unsuspected strength for the tear in my eyes and the ache in my heart and my heart full of love for my child with special needs.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the good Lord said to me: Reach out and share your sense of pride and courage, your appreciation of small accomplishments, your remarkable doctors & therapists, your supportive friends, your sense of humor, your ray of hope, your unsuspected strength for the tear in your eyes and the ache in your heart and your heart full of love for your child with special needs.

 And that’s exactly what I did Thursday night at our church’s women’s Christmas event. There were three of us who shared our stories, and it was an honor to be one of them. I’ve always believed God gives each of us a story to share, and I am happy to share mine. If one life is changed because of Ryan and the rest of our family, we’ve done our job. And if my journey can encourage someone, then it’s definitely worth telling. This isn’t about me, but about allowing the Holy Spirit to work through me to reach others. One of the things I shared is something I realize I’ve never spoken of before, and I want to share it with you also.

In September 2010, Travis was an elder at the church we were attending at that time. We had a pastoral candidate and his wife in town for the weekend, and before they left we had a big dinner with them that included the rest of the leadership of the church. At some point, the pastoral candidate’s wife, Melissa, came up to me and said she had something to tell me. Now you need to understand I’d never spoken to Melissa, we had no idea who each other was, had never had any contact of any sort. She went on to tell me that while they were flying to Nebraska she was praying for their visit, meeting everyone at church, for peace about the visit and for God’s will would be done with them getting a job offer or not. She said while she was praying, God spoke to her, and this is what he said that she wrote down and told me at the dinner.

While you are there look for Kim. Embrace her tightly. Encourage her with my love. Let her know I see her. Her hopes, her longings, her disappointments, her hurts, her struggles. I will lift her up. I will lift her up.

To this day, more than two years later, it still makes me tear up realizing how much God loves me that he would use a godly woman whom I had never met to speak so personally and directly to me. You have to realize too that this was less than two months before we took Ryan in for his three brain surgeries in eight days at UNMC. Most of you walked that road with us. The emotions I was facing at the time can’t even be put into words. So to hear the voice of God so directly through a woman who became a dear friend when she and her husband moved to Lincoln has remained very precious and dear to my heart. And this is what I talked about during the women’s event. Those moments when God so softly speaks to us, sometimes in the darkness when we are crying out to Him as he did when he told me years ago about Ryan, “He is as I intended him to be”. And four years ago when I kept seeing Travis kneeling at our bed with his Bible open. One day he came to me and said through tears, God keeps telling me “quit and don’t look back”. He then went on to leave the one job he loved, that he had dreamed of doing since he was in seventh grade. Those were tough times as we struggled with understanding what and where God was calling us. He was the only one working full-time to support a family of six, and we had no idea how we would pay our bills. And in the end , He was calling us to simply to be faithful and obedient. I can’t say the last several years have made any sense to me in the direction God has called us to go, but I’m confident He isn’t done. That He is moving and preparing us for something bigger than our dreams, something He will take delight in as He trusts us to do His perfect will with the gifts, abilities and dreams we have, which through our brokenness God is using somehow. As I shared a quote from Sheila Walsh that night, it reminded me again that my job is not to make sense of the events of my life but instead to find joy in the midst of every single day no matter how good or bad that day may be, no matter how much grief and fear I may be experiencing, no matter how high the highs or low the lows. And she said ~

All I have to offer anyone is a life surrendered to Christ so that his beauty and grace shine through my brokenness.

And as I was praying about what to share Thursday night, as I planned and kept practicing my talk, I once again was filled with that beautiful sense that God was again speaking to my heart. And this time he said this ~

You are doing what I’ve asked you to do. You’ve been faithful and trusted me. I’ve showered you with grace because I love you.

I don’t know about you, but I am convinced that nothing can separate me from the love of God. What a sense of security that brings knowing this life, with all its failures, fears and changes, is simply just that. A life.  A short time when we can either  focus on ourselves or spend our time loving others, giving of ourselves, doing what God has called us to do in spite of our own dreams, ambitions and plans. I can’t live this life without my salvation and knowing God has a bigger, better plan than I could ever dream. He never promised it would be easy but He continues to promise He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is a loving God and I’m thankful for the opportunities I’m given to share my story which is simply His story of forgiveness, grace and joy.

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3 thoughts on “sharing my heart

  1. So wish I could have been there to hear you speak. Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your heart. I never fail to read your words and find strength through what you share. Love ya!
    Lisa

  2. Thank you for sharing what you did. You nailed it on the head. God is using you in so many ways and your family, that I don’t think you thought would happen. I pray for Ryan daily. God Bless you all and a very Blessed Christmas for you all.
    Love & Prayers,
    Delores

  3. Kim, Thank you so much for writing this out and sharing pieces of your story once again. I am again encouraged and spurred on to surrender and brokeness. What power is displayed through words, God’s power in you.
    I see my dear friend Lisa up above 🙂 Makes me miss her 😦 Would love to have lunch or coffee sometime, Kim, we can sob together at how much we miss our friend.
    Thank you again for your openness and vulnerablility in sharing the hard and the good things so that Christ is glorified!
    Lorri

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