Each new year turns our thoughts to the new things in our lives. We hope for change in our habits, bodies, jobs, homes and more. I am no different. I see change coming on our horizon. But the difference this time is I don’t know what that change is going to look like. I’m waiting on God.
Our Evan is reaching that age when all young men look to getting a job. He needs a job. He even wants a job. (Well, he would be happy for a few days sitting around playing MarioKart and watching hours of StarWars. Me, too.) Trouble is, we can’t find a job that suits him. Sure, many people are faced with this same struggle of finding the right job. Sometimes we are forced to pick the tolerable job until that dream job comes along, right? In Evan’s situation we can’t find any job. Evan is ready to feel useful; to be needed and put his skills to use. (If you are wondering what Evan’s skills are, super smiling store greeter is his niche’.) Finding jobs for those with special needs are few and far between. So we are waiting on God.
I’m praying for big things this time around. Have you seen some of the fun places out there for people with disabilities? There are changes coming. Attitudes are shifting. Here are a couple of places I love: Sammy’s Soap is a favorite in my state and this coffee shop video has been making the internet rounds. What are some of your favorite places? Are you volunteering? I’d love to hear what you are doing and how you are getting job creative with your loved one.
That wise philosopher, Tom Petty, said the waiting is the hardest part. He was right. I don’t do waiting very well. I want to know God’s plan and I want to know it now. Trusting in the unknown isn’t my thing. You’d think I’d know by now this isn’t how God works. God comes through in the clutch, when there isn’t any doubt it is only God’s doing. I’ve seen the trends in the past. I wait, there is no other possible way, then and only then, God comes through. This is how God works in the waiting.
Trusting God in the waiting, it is not my forte’. God knows this. I wonder if this is why this lesson comes to me again and again. It is something I need to learn. This time around I’m trusting a little more than the last. I don’t see any jobs on the horizon for Evan. Yet. But I have seen God move in prayer. I have seen God do things that could have only been done through him. So this time? I am confidently waiting on God.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
It seems like all the cool bloggers are doing it – a year in review. So I thought I would jump on that bandwagon and give you mine. (Because we bloggers really hope this is the time someone reads our stuff.) Don’t worry, I’m not much on talking about all that has been. But I thought you’d like to see the short version of my most popular posts in 2016.
Should I count down? I’ve never done this before. I’ll count down.
#5: Finding Joy in the Mundane. You would think since our life is kindof unique it would be exciting and always new. Well, no. Unless you count running to see who’s gagging in the middle of the night or the never-ending prayer, “Please God, don’t let this be a hospital visit.” That’s the kind of excitement we live with. Otherwise, we chase chickens.
#4: I Need A Nap. This wasn’t specifically about special needs, but more my rant on what a stay at home mom truly does at home. And what we do before 7:00am. Spoiler: In our house, it usually involves grossness. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Home is where my heart is.
#3: They Have No Idea. An oldie, but a goodie. Kindof. The Target Incident. It was the day when we decided to take a break from Target. They didn’t send me a thank you note, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t miss us.
#2: I’m ‘Just’ A Special Needs Mom. More on being a stay at home mom. Sometimes (a lot of times) I want more than this life I live. Rereading my own post reminds me of all God has given me right here, right now.
#1: One of the Hard Days. (This was the most read, most popular post of 2016! Congratulations!) Hard Days. We all have them. Sometimes the special needs hard days are the rest of the world’s great days. But, I know the source of my joy is in Christ. And that’s where I go on my hard days.
And one more for good luck – or just because it was one of my favorites to write … Thankful from the Disability Trenches. I am thankful for this life we live. Evan has taught me so much through disability. I didn’t know what I didn’t know until Evan. It’s difficult to be thankful for someone’s hardship. But it is what it is and I am just starting to see how God is using this life. I can’t wait to look at 2017 and see the way God has moved through it.
My struggle with grace is real. Well, my struggle with giving grace is real. I have no problem accepting grace. I want grace all the day long. But offering it to others? Well, that’s where my struggle begins.
I posted a picture of Evan and me in the doctor’s office waiting room. A woman was staring at us. Staring, glaring, all the -ings. And once she knew I knew she was staring, she did not care anymore about appearances and kept on staring without trying to hide it. This wasn’t that nice stare when people smile at you while staring. That I tolerate. (Smiling is my favorite! #Elf) She was just gawking. I was so ready to give her the bug eyes right back. Here is where my lack of grace skills comes in. So my go-to is to post a picture of Evan and me and our intolerance, right? Why would I be the first to smile and offer grace? Nope. That’s not how I roll, remember? Offering grace just isn’t my thing. But it sure is what I expected of her from the very start.
My struggle with grace is real. I want all the grace all the time. I want all the accommodations that come with disability. I want all the handicap parking spaces. I want all the back door entrances, the front row seats, and free passes. I want your eyes on me when it’s convenient for me, but please avert your eyes when it isn’t. (And you should obviously know the difference between the two.) I want you to cut me some slack in this special needs world. But you? You want me to give you some grace? Whoa. Let’s not get to loosey-goosey with this grace thing.
A friend commented on that picture and said the lady was probably staring because we have joy. Evan has joy. It’s true. We’ve figured out how to have joy in this special needs walk. (It’s hard not to with Evan, he’s hilarious.) We just came out of an illness; a hospital stay. We were seeing the doctor for a follow-up from that time. Evan was still dealing with the after-effects of the illness. His laughter was making him cough. (Probably why she was staring.) But even though there was illness, there was joy. We know the source of our joy is deeper than good health or a good doctor checkup. The source of our joy is the same source of that ever-flowing grace.
God gives us grace through Jesus. He G-I-V-E-S it to us. So why do I have such a difficult time giving it out? I’m stingy with grace. I want it, but I don’t want to hand it out freely. If God keeps on giving it to me it isn’t going to run out anytime soon. I may as well pass it on to others.
I’m sorry, lady in the doctor’s office. My struggle with grace is real. And I don’t mean that in a trendy catchphrase way. It is real. It is something I need work on. Grace is a free gift from God. It should be my free gift to others, too.
Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God …”
Unspoken: Call It Grace is a wonderful description of the miracle of Grace.