And gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

Monday, October 27, 2008

Receiving The Grace To Go On

I live in New England where winter is long. It is October, and the leaves have been turning and falling from the trees for several weeks. Yet I hesitated getting out our winter coats; it still felt warm.

Last week, winter bit down on us for the first time this year. Frost on the grass and ice on the car made me see that winter was indeed, inevitable.

Though I knew that winter was coming, the inevitable was not real for me until it had happened.

I think it is similar for those of us who have a child with a poor prognosis for survival. We know that their passing is going to happen, but we can still be shocked when it does. It will be, or has been, the most difficult and painful experience of our lives. Though prepared, there was never any way to be ready.

PRAYER: Lord, sometimes the pain of life and loss can seem unbearable. You are a God of miracles, and I ask that you perform a miracle in my heart today. Heal me, ease my pain and sorrow. Help me to go on. You are the Source of rest and strength. I turn to You in Jesus' Name, Amen.



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Finding Sleep In Our Heavenly Father's Arms

Doesn't it warm your heart to see a little baby toddle toward the arms of their parent? Their parents' arms represent love, safety, acceptance, and rest. These are the arms that reach out when they are hurt, afraid, or tired. They rock them to sleep, they lift them with joy in the morning.

Sometimes we can feel exhausted by trying to meet all of the needs of our families. Many of us suffer from chronic sleep-deprivation. We seem to become accustomed to it, forgetting what a full night's sleep feels like. Perhaps today we can try to climb into the lap of our Lord and get some rest.

Our Heavenly Father wants to lift us into His loving arms and carry us. He longs to rock us to sleep at the end of our day, for we are his children.

PRAYER: Lord, I come to you today as Your child, as Your little girl.I know You have Your arms wrapped around me and my child. Thank You for reminding me to rest. Help me to find some time to be still, to close my eyes. Relieve me from the burden of fatigue this day. In Jesus' Name, Amen.



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Forgiveness Is The Fragrance The Violet Sheds On The Heel That Has Crushed It" -- Mark Twain

"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it" - Mark Twain

We all carry stories of people being cruel to our children, of treating them with prejudice, marginalizing them as outcasts. But none sting our mothers' hearts more than when these experiences come at the hands of our churches, our priests, our ministers, or other religious leaders.

Jesus' words on extending the supportive community of acceptance are crystal clear: "But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they can not repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Parish priests, ministers, rabbis, and religious people are human. They are going to make mistakes and say things and do things they shouldn't. When this happens, we have two choices: we can speak up, or we can go away. Speaking up will not necessarily bring victory, and "going away" might feel more like defeat. Therefore, we must discern what the Lord wants us to do when we encounter these battles. When anointed by God, we can do all things through Him who strengthens us (Phil 4:13).

As children of God, we are going to be called to forgive our offenders. Forgiveness of those who have hurt our children does not justify what they did, and it does not undo it. But it is a commandment. God's Word says, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins" (Mark 11:25).

So let us not permit hurtful circumstances to take our precious energy, or sway us from a right relationship with God. We must put on the armor of the Lord as we go forward. With Him, we will be able to stand when the arrows are sent our way. He will protect us and our children in battle.

PRAYER: Father, I need your help today with forgiving those who have trespassed against my child. I want to forgive fully from my heart, and I ask You to forgive me for hurting others. Please heal the pain I carry from the arrows' onslaught. Heal all wounds, especially those of my offenders. Help us all to do Your Will. I pray all of this in Jesus' precious name. Amen.



Below is an article about a priest, a church, a community and a special needs family who are in desperate need of our prayers. I do not know the details or the different sides to this story, but it looks like all parties are in need of healing.


A Catholic priest has filed a restraining order against the parents of a severely autistic 13-year-old boy in an effort to keep him from attending the church in Bertha on Sundays.

Church officials claim he is too disruptive.

The Rev. Daniel Walz alleges that Adam Race's unruly behavior endangers others who attend the Church of St. Joseph.

Race's parents have ignored the restraining order, calling it discriminatory, and Carol Race, Adam's mother, was cited by police and is due to appear in court on Monday for violating the order.

"He said that we did not discipline our son. He said that our son was physically out of control and a danger to everyone at church," Carol Race said. "I can't discipline him out of his autism, and I think that's what our priest is expecting."
Carol Race said it all started last June, when Walz and a church trustee visited the Races at their home address the behavior of Adam, who stands taller than six feet and weighs more than 225 pounds.

In an affidavit, Walz said the church "explored and offered many options for accommodations that would assist the family while protecting the safety of parishioners. The family refused those offers of accommodation."

Carol Race said the family of seven, which has attended St. Joseph since 1996, typically sat in the cry room or in the back pew to keep avoid disrupting the services and did not hear a complaint from the parishioners until Walz showed up at their home in June.

Even after the restraining order was served, the family continued going to the church and would leave during the closing hymn to avoid contact with others, Carol Race said.

The Diocese of St. Cloud issued a statement saying the petition was filed "as a last resort out of a growing concern for the safety of parishioners and other community members due to disruptive and violent behavior on the part of that child."
Walz said the boy's behavior worsened over time, telling authorities that Adam has been "extremely disruptive and dangerous" since last summer.

According to Walz, Adam struck a child during mass, nearly knocks elderly parishioners over when he hastily exits the church, spits and sometimes urinates in church and fights when he is being restrained.

He also one time assaulted a girl by pulling her onto his lap and, during Easter mass, ran to the parking lot and got into two vehicles, starting them and revving the engine, Walz alleged.

"There were people directly in front of the car who could have been injured or killed if he had put the car in gear," Walz wrote.

Adam's parents have to sit on him and sometimes tie his hands and feet to get control of him, Walz wrote.

Carol Race has an answer to each complaint.

She said her son makes spitting faces but doesn't spit and acknowledged he has occasional problems with incontinence. She says that she and her husband sit on Adam because their weight calms him down, which is why he pulled the girl onto him.
She also said they do use soft straps to bind Adam's hands and feet on occasion because it calms him, as does the revving sound of engines, which is why he started the cars.

Some disability advocates are getting behind the Races.

"It's unfathomable and concerns me that we've taken a situation with special needs and we're making it into the criminal matter," said Brad Trahan, the founder of the RT Autism Awareness Foundation in Rochester, who has asked the bishop of St. Cloud to rescind the restraining order.

Carol Race just hopes the ugly back-and-forth doesn't tarnish the image of the church.

"The church isn't bad," she said. "But it's what some individuals do within the church."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

And Jesus Wept

Jesus Wept (John 11:35).

There are few things more profound to me than the meaning in this verse. Jesus had arrived at the tomb of His good friend, Lazarus. He knew of the accusations that He could have saved him. He saw the grieving of His close friends Mary and Martha. He knew what He was about to do. And Jesus stood at the foot of the tomb of Lazarus, and He wept.

The Lord stood openly and He wept.

There are, and will be, moments in our lives when we cry. Rain falls into every life, some more than others. We cannot control and manage every aspect of our lives or the lives of our children. We are human. And we are not the first mothers to weep. Rachel and the women of her time wept over the children of Israel who were taken away as slaves (Matt 2:13-18). Rachel refused to be comforted. The Bible never told us that she was acting badly or should have been accepting of comfort. She was permitted to cry, to grieve, and to mourn.

Jesus demonstrated to us at the tomb of Lazarus that we need not run from our tears. For do they not come from the same place that loves, accepts, supports, and advocates for our children?

That which is tender enough to love, is tender enough to cry.

PRAYER: Lord, help me remember that You are holding me when I cry, and that it is healthy to give voice to my feelings. I thank You for Your tender compassion and love. It is only in my own ease with human feelings that I may truly share Your Love and Mercy with others.



Friday, October 17, 2008

Shining the Light in Public

Special needs moms often become witnesses to the injustice and suffering imposed upon the marginalized and persons with disabilities in our society, just by living our everyday lives. A simple trip to the grocery store, or trying to access a locker room at the "Y" can require us to suddenly become an activist or a messenger of God's compassion and change in the face of scorn.

But struggle and conflict are elements of human life. We will all have pain, we will all have loss. In knowing God, and through the grace of God, we are given the strength to endure. When our heads bow in despair, we must remember that there is One who shall gather us in His arms and lift our chins and dry our tears.

God will also send us "angels on earth" to help us just when we seem to need them most. These angels may be in the form of doctors, nurses, friends, or strangers. They are God's reminder to us that He is with us, and His hand is on our shoulder.

Though not a political blog, the link below (a report on MSNBC's Nightly News) is for me, a heartwarming public reminder that we are not alone upon this road we walk.

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for Your "angels on earth", the people you send into my life who remind me of Your loving mercy. Bless these people as they reach out and show me Your love when I am in need. I pray that I too, may bring Your love to my family, my friends, and to this hurting world.

In His Peace,


Thursday, October 16, 2008

God Sees The Big Picture

I believe the life of a special needs mother can be compared to riding a roller coaster. There are upswings of great joy and relief, and sudden, unexpected drops into grief and sorrow. We have struggles and challenges in our lives that most mothers would never dream of. Our road is different.

But being different does not mean it is a mistake -- God doesn't make mistakes. He doesn't look at our children and the challenges they are facing and wring His hands. There is no Heavenly panic over our little ones. They are perfectly and wonderfully made.

And we as mothers of children with special needs are no surprise to God. In fact, we have been specially chosen to be their mothers. When we are feeling weak or incompetent, we must hold on to the knowledge that He has equipped us with the strength and grace to meet the challenges of our lives. Even when we feel we are faltering, we are never beyond His reach.

Our children are made in the image of God. So are we. He holds us all in the palm of His hand. He sees, and we are never alone.

PRAYER: Lord, though I may not understand the path You have set before me, I trust You to lead me. Watch over me and my child this day. Help us to remember that You are always beside us, and fill me with Your Spirit. Amen.

Your Sister in Christ,

I have learned and learned again that I must surrender -- to yield, but not capitulate -- to the path that has been laid out before me.