I have been on a journey the last few years. I had been calling it a healing journey, but Kelly Flanagan in his book, Lovable, has challenged me to call it being wholed. I resonate with that because I often pray Shalom over myself and others. The Hebrew word, Shalom, is often linked to the word peace but it is so much more than that, it is wholeness, integrity, completeness, perfection.
I am not writing from an attitude of wholeness today. I feel anything but whole, complete or perfect. But it does not really matter how I feel about it! My true self is whole, complete, full of integrity and perfect!
“In the first act of life, we begin to overcome the disunity at the center of our self, which was wrought by our shame. We embrace the confused and lost little one in us, we return to our worthy and good-enough soul, and we come back into union with the divine spark underneath our underneath. We coalesce around our true self.” KF
I started painting with my daughter during the time my husband and I were separated. We have continued this activity together and it has been wholing. I painted this the other evening. I have been intensely wrestling with God concerning my purpose and my passion. It feels like there is nothing left to squeeze out of me, nothing else to burn, waiting for the “who I am on the inside and what I do on the outside to become one”.
The separateness we feel is truly an illusion and I am easily convinced by it when I see how I behave sometimes or when I look at my circumstances. But the truth is, I am whole and complete and perfect. I have a life full of meaning that is repeatedly being pulled free from shame and into my divine purpose. That is my true self.
Did you know?
- Autism now affects 1 in 68 children…1 in 42 boys.
Autism prevalence figures are growing.
- It is one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the US.
- Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average.
- Boys are nearly 5 times more likely than girls to be on the autistic spectrum.
- There is no medical detection or cure.
Before I had a child with Autism, I used to think that Autism was an over diagnosed disorder and it was caused by immunizations. After studying much research, I think immunizations can exacerbate the autistic symptoms in children, but our son never had immunizations ,so it is not the only cause.
As far as Autism being over diagnosed, I walk in a different pair of shoes and no longer see it that way any more.
Our son has been in some form of therapy since he was 4. There were some extremely grueling years of day in and day out therapy at home including; vision therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and vestibular therapy. We have worked a lot on large and small motor skills through the years. Doing “simple” things like tying shoes or using scissors are not easy for him, but he can do it!! He gets overwhelmed very quickly and moving from one activity to another is extremely hard for him ( and all of us who are in a hurry;-)
Behavioral therapy has been an on going challenge for all of us. “Tools,” that we use as parents, have to change several times in a course of a day or a week. What worked last week like a charm, will not necessarily work today in the same scenario. Nothing has been more difficult in our marriage. It is not that Autism causes divorce, it is just that if you live with a child that has challenges, it brings out all the weakness in your marriage. We have both wanted to leave the situation out of sheer frustration and exhaustion, and we had a time when we were ready to call it quits. In our effort to rebuild our marriage, we knew a number one target had to be parenting this child in as much unity as humanly possible.
Our son has a great desire to have friendships, which can be unusual for someone on the Autistic spectrum, but it is not often reciprocated. And as our son has stayed immature socially, his younger “typical” friends have moved on to other friendships. We have, however, found a few home schooling families who invite our son for play days or sleep overs! It is must needed respite for all of us…he gets tired of us too!!
Our son is very bright and extremely creative! He likes to write movie scripts and draw cartoons. He likes to play Mine craft and play with Legos. He likes to ride his bike with us on the bike trails. Of course he likes video games, but these are used as incentives and rewards for appropriate behavior. Through the years, we have tried several group sports, some successful and some not such a great idea! He had the most success with flag football and we are trying track this spring! He likes to wrestle and rough house with us. I started doing yoga three years ago and working out at the Y, just so I could be strong enough to handle my fast growing son! Every day takes an immense amount of mental and physical stamina and it is all beyond our human capacity.
When I gave birth, we found out that I had a ruptured uterus and that it had been so for some time! He and I really very easily could have/ should have died. His name means gift, and on our hardest days we remember that.
We have spent the last 13 years trying to re adjust and re learn everything we did with our first three “typical” children. All the while, we keep in mind, he is exactly who he was meant to be! Every day is ground hog day here!! We get up and start the process all over again. I would like to say that “we have no doubt that he will grow up to be a self sufficient human being doing amazing things in the world”….but I would be lying! I know he is capable of greatness and deep down that is who he is, but we have so many days that we struggle and feel inadequate. He is like all of our other children in this respect; we give all the tools, love, and encouragement we can give and he will make his own choices. Until then, we pray, we move forward, we learn and grow one minute and one day at a time<3
My husband gave me a card today, inside it said, you have a beautiful heart. If I read that on a great day, being in a euphoric state of mind, it would have been humbling. But I read it today. Today which came after last night, in which we had quite a spirited argument. I woke up just as angry as I went to sleep, even though we both take “do not let the sun go down on your anger” quite literally!
My heart wasn’t beautiful! I had a card for my husband, but I couldn’t bring myself to give it to him. When I write something or give a card, I have to be in complete agreement with it- if I am not, it would be a false representation. But he not only left this card for me to read, he wrote in it one of the most expressive notes I have ever received from him! It was extremely real, loving, kind and humbling. No one knows me better than him and no one sees the whole package like he does….and yet, he calls it beautiful.
We took time to pray before we went to work today, we prayed through, until all of the misunderstandings had subsided and the peace that surpasses all understanding guarded our hearts and minds once again. This is new for us. We didn’t used to allow work to wait before and we allowed other matters to have preeminence over our relationship. This was the right thing to do! Ask for forgiveness- Go to God and say we are weak, our wisdom lacks and He is the answer!
To tell you the truth, the card and my husband’s expression reminded me so much of Jesus. He thinks my heart is beautiful too no matter what! He doesn’t look on the outward appearance, but He looks at my heart. That is solid and mature and I am not always there. This Valentines day, is such a great reminder of that other-worldly love. A love that dies to self so others can live. A love, not always sexy and romantic the way we think of love, but solid, mature, and always there no matter what. It’s rare and I am humbled to have such beautiful hearts hold mine<3
facial by Doug at Simply Skin in Clarion, PA
Wow! I used to think people were so old when they were fifty! I mean, in 5 years I could live in a 55 and over community like my parents used to…that’s so weird!
Here I am, it is what it is, I am what I am! I went to the Chiropractor the other day and he said; “Aren’t you so glad you started taking care of your self when you did, it shows! You don’t look older than 35”! I love that man!!
Seriously, I have learned that I do care about how I look but over the years it has come with much more balance than obsession. Many years ago a wise Christian woman told me that a smile was the best thing any woman could ever do for her face- a free face lift! I have been practicing that ever since!
I have recently been thinking about what I have learned over my life. In the last three years alone, I have learned more about myself than I could ever convey. But some high-lights have been; Aromatherapy, Human Behavior and Autism. I have done this through classes and certification, living with my son, working in the field and personally working with therapists.
After playing the drums and piano most of my life, three years ago I started learning guitar and returned to taking voice lessons again. I have been working on pieces that are so challenging, I want to scream and throw them in the fire place!! I hate how uncomfortable and irritated change can make me feel, yet I desire to grow, and that takes incredible effort.
The most profound lesson I think I have learned in the last three years can be best conveyed by a story in Shauna Niequist’s book, Present Over Perfect. Shauna conversed with a man on a ferry ride and he shared with her that he was skilled at making people “feel loved in an instant.” His business started out with genuine love and creativity and he loved spreading the message every where he spoke- he was extremely successful. He gave every one he met his best attentiveness and energy! But along the way, “he lost the ability to demonstrate real love to the woman and children who were at home”, and he eventually lost them.
The story of this man angers me because I have been the man, and I have also been charmed by the man! The story scares me because we can “loose” something we once had. We save our best and turn on our energy for those who do not know us so well, not those closest to us. We get very good at being charming with relationships that are in the outer sphere because we simply do not want to express more effort learning better tools for intimacy at home. I almost lost my soul in such an experience and I know of many who have. That is a very important lesson to learn, and yet, I am keenly aware of how capable I am of repeating it.
That made me think of a weighty scripture that has always grabbed me. Proverbs 31:30-31 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.
Fearing the Lord will produce something of value, something lasting, pure and true. It has benefit, not just to the person who fears the Lord, but to others who have been recipients of the good works. It multiplies and ripples out in ways that make others want to give thanks for that person. In contrast, when we are charming and deceitful, it only serves self, scratches the momentary itch but at the same time makes self hungry for more, and can potentially ripple into a wake of destruction and ruin.
I am 50. I have been changing, growing and learning life altering lessons among other things. I want to be beautiful…but in ways that are much deeper than skin. In ways that are life giving and nurturing, today and forever<3
I had a rough weekend, then I read this early this morning. ” The Holy Spirit is still greater today than all our shortcomings and failures. He has come to free us from the restraints and complexes of insufficient talent, intelligence, or upbringing. He intends to do through us what only he can do. The issue us not our ability, but rather our availability to the person of the Holy Spirit.” JimCymbala
This totally encourages, inspires and refocuses me today! It sheds a light on my dark space because it is true, I know it is true, I just needed reminded. I hope you are encouraged by it as well and you can be available to The One who has your future and your prosperity in mind. Have a great start to your week<3
I Started Doodling with my daughter who is still at home. We learned it from my friend who is on her umpteenth round of Chemo. In the natural, she shouldn’t be alive. But she is Brave! She puts all of her trust and faith in Jesus and completely trusts Him to meet her needs and use everything to bring Him glory, even her Cancer and especially through her art.
The last 5 times I have seen my friend, who lives several hours away, I think it is going to be the last time I will see her. Her son surprised me last month by saying he was going to be driving her here to see her parents and asked if they could stay with us. Honestly I was a little stressed because I knew we had a lot going on that month, but God worked out all the details! I instantly was eager for the visit as they always end up being such a retreat for both of us. It like putting the world on hold and keying into a deep spiritual relationship with another saint. As it turned out, we were gone 2 of the days they were here which allowed them to have time and space to have visitors over! I made one request to my friend, that she teach me something of her artistic ability, because this is a sampling of art that I own from her…
(See and BUY Jeanette’s art at her website; Jyvonne Inman)
I wanted to sit at her feet and learn something from her so I could say Jeanette taught me how to do this! It wasn’t easy for us to sit down and do that together. She had just found out upon arrival to our home that the cancer had grown in her back and she had been experiencing a lot of pain.
She had a fever a few of the days she was here, which is frighting to some one in her delicate state. She also got sick while she visited and was a bit weak. But there was some space carved out one evening where she sat with me and my children and told us that all art starts with doodles!
Of course her doodles are masterpieces, but we all worked on our individual pieces as she related how the contrasts are often like the contrasts in life and wove kingdom lessons into everything she taught. “We can’t appreciate the light unless we compare it against the dark times.”
Here is my friend, our evening together and the doodle I made!
I haven’t been feeling all that brave, strong or courageous lately, that is why I wrote the reminder down. After writing this post, I can’t help by be inspired by this woman who is incredibly brave everyday. From the time our children were all at home (11 children between us) and we were home-schooling moms, to this last visit, Jeanette has inspired me and brought the peace of Jesus to my mind and heart….and reminds me again to be brave. Thank you my friend, I love you<3