Connection

Soul to Soul

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it.” (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV)

“What is she thinking?”

That’s the question I ask myself hundreds of times each day.

She is our twelve-year-old daughter, who happens to have Down syndrome.

She is significantly delayed cognitively and physically, more than even most children with Down syndrome.

She is also a spit-fire strawberry blond who loves to run, laugh, listen to music, and give us a tween “stink eye” when she doesn’t get her way.

She is a gift from God who checks our “pride monsters” at the door.

She reminds us to slow our pace to God’s “unforced rhythms of grace” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).

She is so many things, just as we all are.

We are each a unique life bundle. Our lives are canvases of characteristics painted by our actions, choices, and thoughts.

And this is where my throat lumps. What are our daughter’s thoughts? Specifically, her deepest thoughts? Selfishly, I want to hear them because that’s how I connect on a soul level with others. I want to touch her soul with my words, but it’s like a wisp in the wind. I can see it – almost grab it sometimes when she peers into my eyes – but then it dances away on gusts beyond my reach…

Our daughter with Down syndrome does speak a few words, but oftentimes they’re out of context. That said, her immediate physical needs motivate her to speak in context…  like “want to eat,” “cookie,” or “please.” Her spoken word bank tops out around 10 to 20.

She has never used words to express how she feels, however. For feelings, she employs physical-behavioral means, which come in the form of a broad smile after that cookie, a hoe-down-worthy stomping after being told “no,” or her go-to for “mad:” a sit-down-and-won’t-budge.

Since she isn’t able to express her feelings with words, I feel distance between us. I’m a verbal processor. Words, language, and conversation are like oxygen to me. Our other two children adeptly express themselves with words – sometimes too well! Why can’t I have that with our twelve-year-old daughter?

This is when I plaintively pray for a device to plug into her brain that reports her thoughts!

Where is technology when I truly need it? I want to know whether she knows God. I want to know whether she loves me. I want to know whether she is happy living in our home.

God then tenderly taps me on the shoulder, interrupting my reverie. He reminds me of His truth about our girl: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

And I melt. Our girl, in all her meekness, is set for a beautiful inheritance.

Perhaps she has already moved to a higher plane and has a direct line to the deepest One of all? Maybe her unique-to-Down-syndrome Brushfield spots – tiny stars in her deep blue irises – were placed there by God to remind me of the mysteries and the majesties of His vast universe? Maybe He is just reminding me that my meager human understanding will always be just that? (Proverbs 3:5)

Maybe I’m the one with the shallow connection to God?

Maybe I’m not meant to connect with her the way I want to now – at least not on this earth? Maybe I’m to wait until we reunite in eternity? If so, I can’t wait to plug into her beautiful soul on that glorious day! I long to collect all her hopes, dreams, and deepest desires…

And this is when gratitude creeps in.

God knows me so well. He knows how to draw me close. With a sheepish side-grin and a wink upward, I clasp my hands together and close my eyes. I begin to pray, thanking Him for the gift that He has given us in our girl. The lessons that she teaches us. That God loves us enough to entrust us with her care. But mostly that our girl keeps me plugged into God, the ultimate source of soul connection and renewal!

Reflect:
1. With whom do you struggle to communicate? (Maybe they don’t have a cognitive or physical disability, but they have personality traits or habits that rub you the wrong way or prevent a healthy relationship.)
2. Write a prayer asking God to help sort out your struggle in His will.

Dive Deeper:
“Why Your Brand of Unique is Perfect” by Amy Carroll

Giveaway!
Leave a comment below to be entered to win a Target gift card!

rest

Too Busy!

 

Most of the things we need in order to be most fully alive never come from busyness. They grow out of rest. – MARK BUCHANAN

I can’t keep up!

The laundry, dishes, errands, extracurriculars, doctors appointments, homework, lunches, backpacks, school activities… it all comes at me like a freight train on a treadmilling loop.

It has all become so overwhelming that I’ve instituted something I call “rest checking.” Each week, I scroll through my calendar until I find an “opening” for rest. Until I find it, I feel my throat closing up a little with each passing busy, congested, over-productive day. Once I’ve found it, I find release… physically, mentally, spiritually.

But isn’t it sad that we have to search for rest? Shouldn’t it be a given?

Apparently, not in Western culture. We’re expected to Continue reading “Too Busy!”

Introduction

Blog Coming Soon!

Welcome to my shiny NEW blog!

So thrilled you’re here!

I’m a mom of three who loves to encourage women, study the Bible, make meaningful connections, and have deep conversations! I’m a lover of all things fuzzy (especially blankets), long walks on a warm summer afternoon, and great reads. And… I struggle with early morning bus schedules, housekeeping, and managing tween angst… among other things!

Like many of you, I have also survived life-altering experiences that have rocked me to the core. These experiences have forged the cornerstone of an exciting and deepening faith. And that burgeoning faith is the genesis of this blog!

Although I’ve only lived a little over four decades, Continue reading “Blog Coming Soon!”

Uncategorized

Too Busy!

 

Most of the things we need in order to be most fully alive never come from busyness. They grow out of rest. – MARK BUCHANAN

I can’t keep up!

The laundry, dishes, errands, extracurriculars, doctor’s appointments, homework, lunches, backpacks, school activities… it all comes at me like a freight train on a treadmilling loop.

It has all become so overwhelming that I’ve instituted something I call “rest checking.” Each week, I scroll through my calendar until I find an “opening” for rest. Until I find it, I feel my throat closing up a little with each passing busy, congested, over-productive day. Once I’ve found it, I find release… physically, mentally, spiritually.

But isn’t it sad that we have to search for rest? Shouldn’t it be a given?

Apparently, not in Western culture. We’re expected to bake cookies for our kiddos’ benefit while conference-calling and cooking dinner for our family… and squeezing in a folded piece of laundry while dinner’s in the oven.

I contend that we were made for rest – literally. Aren’t we made in God’s image? And didn’t God, the creator of the universe and Lord over all – even smartphones on which we pack our e-calendars – rest on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2)? Does the Bible say to stay busy until you run yourself ragged? Is this how we should honor Him?

Last time I checked, no! Although He warns against idleness, His example clearly supports a balance of work and rest (Proverbs 31:27; Genesis 2:2).

We all need time to physically rest, to spiritually rest, to fill our tanks.

If we don’t rest physically, our immune systems are depleted and our neural circuitry is overwhelmed. We get sick and anxiety and depression strike. My kids will tell you that I become an over-stimulated ADD mommy-monster!

If we don’t rest spiritually, we become raisin-souled – displaying anti-fruit-of-the spirit qualities like crankiness, harsh judgment, and narcissism.

Why are we determined to idolize busyness when it can wreak such havoc?

First, let’s examine why we became so busy. The American Dream is a fantastic thing, but I’m afraid we’ve chosen the Extreme Games version. What started out as an earnest and worthy ode to working hard and making something of our lives has morphed into a perceived obligation to “work hard” at everything we do… even rest. Heaven forbid we not schedule a “leisure activity” during that 45 minutes between gymnastics and choir practice.

Further, our culture commonly advises us to schedule everything, including rest! I’m guilty! But scheduling itself can be exhausting!

When I try to make a doctors appointment these days, aligning my schedule with the office’s is as simple as a root canal. Each week, I’ve had to add a list called “calendar additions” to my To Do list. Scheduling seems to dive-bomb me incessantly… Sometimes I just want to duck and cover and let the “scheduling bombs” fall where they may.

And sometimes I do… I turn off my smartphone, power down my laptop, tell the kids and hubby that I’m taking a nap… But even then, my mind races… I struggle to stamp out my brain’s blaze of baseline to-do-listing… Then I have too much in my brain to enumerate or mnemonic into memory… So inevitably, my smartphone lures me from beneath the sheets and I’m recording all the things that I need to do, but shouldn’t be adding to my list because I should be resting…

What I should be thinking is “I should follow God’s example to rest.” I should put down my smartphone in the name of the Lord. I should ask Him to wash over me. I should pray. Because how can we forge a meaningful relationship with God without resting in prayer? How can we fulfill His deepest desire to have relationship with us without resting in prayer?

And this brings me to how Christianity is being eroded by our busyness. How many times have you found yourself too tired to drag yourself out of bed to attend church or bible study? How many times do you have an extracurricular commitment for your precious kiddo that conflicts with your church or bible study? What do you choose?

I bring this up not to be accusatory, but rather to illuminate my own struggles. I’m so fried from over-scheduling that by the time I get to God time, this girl is nap-bound. I reason that society will judge me less for missing church or bible study than missing my child’s gymnastics meet. And so I’m back to worshipping the idol of busyness over God.

The irony of it all is found in God’s offer to give us rest! He so clearly wants to give it to us, and even longs to fold our tired souls into his warm embrace. Just take a peek at Matthew 11:28: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” We just have to listen and go to Him. He is there waiting.

So, I’m now on a mission to promote rest. For God, myself, for moms, for dads, for friends, for we weary American Dreamers who built this country on trusting in God, but who have lost Him to busyness.

How do we start? Maybe the next time someone asks what you’re up to, say you’re enjoying resting. Resist the urge to say “I’m so super busy and feel like I need a vacation.” Consider saying “yes” to God and “no” to busyness. I promise He’ll notice… And maybe even bless you with that nap you’ve been looking for!

Reflect…
1. How have busyness and rest influenced your relationship with God?
2. How can you invite more rest into your life?

Dive Deeper…
1. Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God’s Love to Revitalize Your Soul by Bonnie Gray
2. “The Disease of Being Busy” by Omid Safi

Giveaway!
Leave a comment below to be entered to win a Target gift card!

 

 

Introduction

Blog Coming Soon!

Welcome to my shiny NEW blog!

So thrilled you’re here!

I’m a mom of three who loves to encourage women, study the bible, make meaningful connections, and have deep conversations! I’m a lover of all things fuzzy (especially blankets), long walks on a warm summer afternoon, and great reads. And… I struggle with early morning bus schedules, housekeeping, and managing tween angst… among other things!

Like many of you, I have also survived life-altering experiences that have rocked me to the core. These experiences have forged the cornerstone of an exciting and deepening faith. And that burgeoning faith is the genesis of this blog!

Although I’ve only lived a little over four decades, like many of you, I’ve lived several “lives!” Seasons of great celebration and achievement, but also seasons of despair and desperation.

I pray this will be a comfortable space where we can share our latest “mom mishaps”  and survival skills, but also our deepest yearnings, all through the lens of the greatest One above.

Here’s a taste of what’s to come…

  • Lessons in “Mom Humility” – What do we learn through our children’s struggles?
  • Compassion, Not Comparison – Why can’t we moms just cheer each other on?
  • Vulnerability Bridges – Why do we feel pressured to deny our hurt?
  • Good Enough – When perfectionism strikes, what can we do?
  • Turning Them Over – When should we turn our children over to God?

I want to hear from you!

Tell me which topic(s) above you’d like me to blog about first! Send me your response either by commenting below or on the CONTACT page!

Swing back soon and be sure to click on FOLLOW to subscribe!

Your Friend in Christ,

Allison