Because being terrified of losing something never really keeps it around…

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So I have always known Lauren’s apocalyptic meltdowns leave me feeling a bit, or a lot, woozy. But I haven’t been able to understand why. Once the meltdown subsides you would think a sense of relief would wash over, but it doesn’t. I usually feel downright awful. I thought I was alone in this experience until I read this post by a mom of a kid with autism. She describes what she calls a post meltdown hangover. And that’s it exactly!

The more I thought about it, I began to wonder if my child’s meltdowns are triggering my stress response? And of course they are!

In those moments my body is trying to decide if it should fight, flight, or freeze. And I tend to be a freezer, so that’s what I do. I can’t fight with her because that only makes things worse, I can’t run away-although I certainly want to, so I mentally escape. I leave the moment, at least cognitively and emotionally,because digesting all that is going on seems too threatening to my panicked brain.

Some meltdowns last longer than others, but when it’s over for Lauren, it’s over. She moves on and she is okay. I, on the other hand, feel like I just got stripped down to my underwear and hung out to dry on a flagpole. I want to cry, scream, and eat 1,000 chocolate donuts all at the same time. I have to come back to reality because life is moving forward regardless of if I want it to or not, but my brain is still trying to wrap itself around everything that just happened.

And when it all boils down it’s not the actual fit that has my stress response activated and soaring through the roof. What I am terrified of, absolutely vomit inducing afraid of, is the death of a dream.

A hope and a dream for my child that never involved fits like this. What if these fits of anxious sensory induced rage take her under and keep her from accomplishing all God has planned for her life? And I know God is bigger. But in those moments it seems like He is not. And so I run and hide, because that’s a thought I just cannot stand. It feels like I must escape.

But what if I had a different thought upon the initiation of a meltdown? What if you had a different thought the moment something threatens your hopes and dreams? Because being terrified of losing something never really kept it around. What keeps something around is caring for it. Nurturing it. Watering it, and expecting it to grow. That doesn’t mean it won’t ever get sick, or weak, or need help – it just means we stay present to it in the process.

When we abandon our dreams out of fear we allow them to wither away. And I’m not saying ALL dreams need to hang around. Some need to die. But the ones that are good things, things God would want for us and for our children, we don’t let hardship or crapstorms threaten their right to exist. God knows the plans He has for us, and for His children, and the plans are good. We know they are good. So instead of trying to fight, run away from the threat, or just act like a possum and play dead – maybe we just need to stay present. To let  the hardships come and go, let them be what they are in all their weird glory, and know they will pass – but the dream remains. God does not abandon the work of His hands.

So I can’t promise I won’t freeze the next time Lauren has a fit…because I might. But I can choose to come back to the present quicker, knowing that my hopes and dreams for her haven’t disappeared. They still very much exist. And if I water them by spending time engaging positively with her and praying for her, they will grow.

because you can and will get through this…

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This is how it went down this morning. New leggings for Lauren. Cute fleecy lined ones with reindeers. Adorable. But they had seams. And the seams bothered her. I reminded her of what her therapist tells her, “it’s a brain trick Lauren, nothing bad is going to happen, breathe…” And the screaming continued.

“I just want your to treat me like a normal kid,” she spouts.

“Then act like one and suck it up!” I retort.

And I am a therapist too, so the words “suck it up” are rarely in my vocabulary. I don’t like to use them. Because sometimes you can’t suck it up! It hurts too bad. But part of me wonders if after all the pain has been validated and worked through, if at some point we don’t need to just suck it up and move on.

And I get it. I’ve been a victim of some pretty crappy stuff. I parent 2 kids with unique needs. And it’s hard. And at times I want to curl up under the blankets and cry. Every now and then I do, but I also have to recognize there is a point where you have to put on your big girl panties (who knows what those are anyways, but we all have them) and move forward. Because there’s no use in staying here and wallowing. In the wallow spot things rarely – if ever – change.

And it seems to be what’s missing around here on earth. Everybody expecting everyone to accommodate their unique individual expectations. And I’m all about accommodations. I will advocate for them in my kids ARD like any other special needs parent – because sometimes they are needed. But sometimes they aren’t. Our expectations of life to be a big red bow wearing present aren’t always rational or reasonable.

Sometimes a good ole dose of distress tolerance needs to be swallowed. Sometimes we need to breathe through it, know it hurts now, but hurt will pass. We can address the need or injustice, if it’s truly an injustice or a need that needs to be addressed, and then keep walking forward!  A little distress is ok. It doesn’t have to paralyze us and it certainly doesn’t excuse us from doing the things we need to do to make our life feel worth living.

So ya, suck it up was a little harsh this morning. The girl has sensory processing issues and all sorts of other stuff swimming in her head. But she can wear leggings. And she will be ok!

And we can wear our proverbial seamed leggings! Because a little discomfort is ok! In fact, it may be what it takes to keep us running the race forward. Distress can be tolerated. It will pass. We can all move forward with and in Jesus name towards the life He has planned for us. A life for sure worth living.

down with the big red bow…

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Because it really has to go. (the big red bow, that is) Not only is it unrealistic, but incredibly difficult to maintain. It’s fragility begs us to tiptoe, and if we try something new, we must be incredibly careful not to smash it. It’s painfully tacky. And who really falls in love with the bow anyways? It’s what’s inside that matters. Right?

But we slap on the red bow every morning like life is ok. We put on a cute sweater and some sexy heals and say, “Hey world, I’m good. I’ve got this.”

Maybe we do it because it’s what we grew up doing. Protecting others from seeing our pain. Maybe we do it out of vanity. We just want to look good. Maybe we just like pretty things! Regardless of why, the bow remains cumbersome.

And we slap it on our circumstances. Problem is, our circumstances don’t always like to wear the bow. And well, some circumstances are so dang ugly, a bow isn’t going to dress them up anyways!

So what is the alternative? A good dose of reality? Are we doomed to go through life with a slimy bow that keeps getting drug through the mud? We dry it off and reshape it over and over again?

And I like bows. Really I do. But when the rubber meets the road, the bow is seldom what matters. We don’t want someone to pat us on the head, fluff our bow, and tell us everything is going to be okay. Because sometimes it’s not okay. Sometimes the crap hits the fan and we just need someone to sit in the crap with us! To see past the bow to what is inside and say, “Hey, I love you AND your crap!”

Because we are messed up too. We all have our own ugly that we try to hide. And it’s not the bow that matters. It’s what’s inside that is the gift.

So see past the bows people! Love the person!

Maybe then we could let our vulnerable show. Because that’s the sweet spot. The special stuff. What God made us of. Imperfect people serving a perfect God. And what servant heart has time for a bow anyways? It’s okay to let it go.

 

 

Love them anyways…

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I came home late tonight from working over 12 hours, and frankly, I’m exhausted. The last thing I want to do is sit down and write, but when God puts something on my heart I can rarely sleep until I put it on paper. And so here I am, tired, but with a message to share.

It’s been a weird day packed with variety.  I even did some public speaking today – and I only had to anxiously poop one time – which is progress people – PROGRESS! But at the end of the day, one single thing that mattered most. I walked in the back door at 10 pm to find my amazing adorable daughter halfway asleep, but out of bed to tell me she missed me and show me what she made at art lessons.

Hands down, best part of the day.

And it was a struggle with her this morning. I was frustrated. There were lots of tears and anguish over what she would wear and how it would feel against her skin. I wasn’t happy. All I could imagine were future visions of her choosing to live on a deserted island where they don’t require bras – or clothing of any kind for that matter.

Throughout my day I found myself drifting in and out of worry over her…

Will she be able to function as an adult? Will she choose a job where clothing is optional – because those are NOT GOOD jobs to have! And all joking aside, will she enjoy her life? Because that’s all any of us really want for our kids – for them to be healthy and happy – and know Jesus. We just want to the best for them.

And I worry and worry and worry….but at the end of the day…she is happy…and it’s me who freaked out.

She doesn’t care if she goes to school matching or not. And no one else really cares either. And if they do – well they need to find something else to be concerned about. Lauren is Lauren. She knows she doesn’t like the way certain clothes feel – and if it means not matching so that she can feel okay throughout her school day and not be bothered by elastic or itchiness – then she is good with that. And I can be good with that too.

The moral of all this is one thing.

Kids are weird sometimes – love them anyways.

They do crazy things – love them anyways.

Sometimes the make really awful decisions – and they really need us to love them anyways.

At times they make us want to rip our hair out. Go bald, and love them anyways.

Let them be who they are – even when you don’t understand – and love them anyways.

Because bottom line is, God loved us anyways. Even in the midst of our most crazy moments. He loves us anyways. Always – and anyways. And that will never change.

God, it’s a simple prayer, but please help us to be good parents to our kids. Help us to love them anyways, because you first loved us. Help us to be a living breathing example of what love is. And when we mess it up…thank you for loving us anyways.

if fear isn’t working…change your mind…

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sometimes change happens fast. like the weather this weekend. one day I was burning up in my short sleeve flowy tops. the next day I had to bust out the North Face and long sleeves. don’t get me wrong…I love Fall weather. it just came on strong and rapid. and I was surprised.

a warm chai tea latte, my cozy blanket, the fuzzy socks that make my feet happy – this transition feels like home. i’ll gladly stow away my flip flops and trade them for some ankle boots. but i wish all transitions came so easily.

sometimes God puts new things in our path. changes that are good. changes that may be expected or take us by surprise and we struggle to move forward. fearful of what lies ahead. or that we won’t be prepared. part of us knows we are, but we just don’t want to mess it up. do it wrong. step too deep. or too shallow.

change can be scary.

good. exciting. a breath of fresh air. and all at the same time scary.

i was listening to Graham Cooke this weekend and one thing he said stuck out. if your thinking isn’t serving you well, change your thinking. like it was that easy. and in many ways it is.

fear is a way of thinking. and a way of being. it’s a good thing to have around if a wolf is chasing us. not so much if there is nothing to be afraid of. and change, especially change we have sought and prayed about, is nothing to be afraid of. God desires good things for us and if His hand is on the change set before us, there is no reason to be afraid.

2 Timothy 1:7 has it right, For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

if fear is part of our thinking maybe we need to look it at, realize it doesn’t belong here, and move on. we’ve got power. we’ve got love. and we’ve certainly got self-discipline. maybe self-discipline is what got us to this point of change in the first place. and now all the power and love we can shake a stick at is going to come flowing down from Jesus to help us be successful in this next chapter. because He is in control. and He is most certainly trustworthy. and worthy of praise.

and so you may be afraid, but there is no power in the fear. change your thinking. run the race with excitement. transfer fear energy into passion and compassion. you’ve got this. God wouldn’t have given it to you if you didn’t. go out there are be amazing. take the change for all it’s worth. and run with it.