We are given gifts according to our abilities.

 

I was listening to a talk in which the speaker was talking about the parable of the talents. If you aren’t familiar with the story here’s a partial summary:

The Lord of an estate gives three different people who worked for him responsibility for one, two and five talents to steward, (take care of,) while he is away. They were given different amounts according to their abilities. The moral of the story is God is pleased when we steward our gifts well and develop them to the fullest of their potential.

Many of you know that I have a son who is a special needs adult. The best way to describe his intellectual disability is a 5-8 year old mind in a fully functional man’s body. The older he gets the more frustrated he is getting and the more he is acting that out, and the more challenging parenting him has become.

Please don’t misunderstand, he is a great kid and I love him like crazy. This is just the reality of our situation right now.

The thing that hit me between the eyes is this: He is a gift that my Lord has given to me to take care of and Jesus makes the point in this parable that I was given the gift of Evan Scott according to my abilities.

Really? God are you sure because, often and especially lately, I feel very overwhelmed and inept to handle all the decisions and daily issues that come with this gift. Many days Lord I don’t feel able to take care of this gift properly. I felt more confident in my ability when he was younger although I have certainly never felt fully competent.

Even if I feel I don't have the ability, Jesus says I do.

 

God is not a liar so apparently I do have them. So then my mind becomes loud with questions and sounds like this:

What abilities are those exactly?

How do I find those inside of myself?

How do I not constantly feel anxious and overwhelmed with the responsibility that comes with this gift you have given me?

How do I look at even the challenging moments as part of the gift and not resent God for allowing Evan to have to deal with this?

How do I not resent God for giving me and Phoebe the ‘gift’ of dealing with all that goes with being a special needs mom and special needs sister?

I’m starting with the paradigm shift that if God says I have the ability then I do. We walk by faith and not by sight, right? I can’t see it so this seems like a good jumping off point.

I’m also trying to develop my awareness that the Holy Spirit is always present and one of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into all truth. I feel very alone on this journey so this is a process for sure.

Along with this awareness I’m trying to build the habit of having a constant dialogue with Him and asking Him for help more often. Asking for help is not my strong suit. I have found a lot of help, asked for or not, comes wrapped in strings. He is our helper.

David advises us in the Psalms to forget not His benefits. This is a benefit  I had forgot sometimes.  I am finding His help to be wrapped in only love, which is refreshing.

James encourages us to ask for wisdom if we are lacking and says the Lord will give it to us liberally and without judgement. I’m asking for it much more often these days and He is faithful; I just have to calm down and listen.

As far as the resentment goes, the Lord is making me much more aware of when resentment toward Him and others pops up. It has been a bit shocking and very uncomfortable how often I am having resentful feelings. The only thing I know to do is be honest with Jesus, and ask Him to help me. I then, on purpose, try to think on something in the “think on these things” list.

I also try to remember that I have given God and many others plenty of reasons to resent me and I appreciate the grace I have been given and want to give the same grace away.

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ~Philippians 4:8 ESV

I think the key is hope which is waiting in trust. I remind myself that if I just wait and trust that God has best in mind for all of us, including Evan, everything is going to be okay.

I have access to everything I need.

 

I’m still in THE MIDDLE of accepting I have the ability to do this or God would not have given me this gift….after nearly 21 years. I’m a slow learner.

I’m still in THE MIDDLE of figuring out how to use all of the resources Jesus’ sacrifice gave me access to.

I still make lots of mistakes but His strength is made perfect in my weakness, and for that I say to the Lord, the giver of gifts, thank you.

 

Thank you for visiting The Land of Angela today. I hope your were encouraged and my experiences help you somehow to navigate your own MIDDLE more easily. I believe we can use our real faith for real life. I’d love to hear your thoughts so pop over to my Facebook page  and leave a comment, or leave one below. Also if you think this could be an encouragement to your friends, I would be honored if you share on your social media pages.

Angela

 

Angela is a single mom raising her two favorite people.

Her favorite son Evan is a baseball and wrestling loving 20 year old young man with special needs, and a great sense of humor. He loves school and church and his friends and is not fond of summer break.

Her favorite daughter Phoebe is a 17 year old senior in high school, who is also a gifted and anointed musician, and singer/songwriter. She’s sings in a band called Coopertheband when she’s not at school or in church.

Angela works from home as a freelance writer and blogger. She is also available to speak at your next event.

 

 

 


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Parenting is Full Contact

 

Now that Mother’s Day is over, with all it’s sweet quotes about children and parenting, and summer break has begun, let’s get real.

Parenting is like the X-Games

Parenting is full of extremes. When done right it’s full contact and its full of mistakes. It’s full of joy and full of heartbreak. It is exhausting and exhilarating. Some days you want to hide your head under the covers in shame and some days you want to stand on top of something and cheer with pride!

With all of the extremes of parenting, and because life is also full of irony, we also have to find some sort of balance.

We actually have to find some MIDDLE ground.

We have to find some MIDDLE ground between yes’s and no’s. We have to find a place in the MIDDLE of rescuing our kids and training them to solve their own problems. We have to find a MIDDLE ground between having a good relationship with them and losing their respect.

We are to be their primary influence and teach them to think on their own. We have to train them to be adults and allow them to be kids.

We must give them grace and we must show them we mean what we say. We are supposed to protect them, and make sure they know that actions have consequences.

We are responsible for keeping them alive but some days we want to kill them.

I could go on but you get the idea. If you add in single parenting, a spouse who is active duty military or travels a lot, going back to school, a heavy work schedule, special needs parenting, or being the primary caretaker for a loved one; it’s X-games on steroids.

Some random examples of full contact moments…

I have acted like a mama bear in all manner of school meetings and sports events because I felt like some injustice had been done.

I have drugged my son and hung on for dear life to keep him still so he could have a root canal. (He got up on a stool while the floor was wet to look at his behind in the mirror causing stitches and a broken tooth. I’m sure I should have been watching him more closely.)

I came out of church one Mother’s Day to find my children fighting over who was going to sit in the front seat. My son was crying and there was snot hanging from his nose like a tire swing hangs from a tree. If any guests witnessed what happened next, I feel sure they did not come back to our church the following week!

I rescued my daughter from certain death when she fell off of a dock and into the water on a camping trip. The next summer I pushed her off the diving board.

When she was about three she started throwing a fit in the car and said she didn’t want to go home. I pulled over and told her to get out. “We are going home and if you don’t want to go home you should probably get out of the car.” She began to beg to go home. “Oh perfect. I’m so glad you want to go home because that’s where we’re going.”

 

 Here are 5 Survival Tips that work for me:

Pray-

Prayer is our lifeline as parents. Prayer is the key to unlocking wisdom, discernment, strength, and joy. God is the perfect parent and the more time we spend talking with him the more we will parent like Him.

Everything that we have-right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start-comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. ~1 Corinthians 1:30 MSG

 

Set an example-

There are 3 ways to lead: by example, by example, and by example. ~Unknown

We lead our children. Parenting is not passive. Our children are following us so we must ask ourselves, “Since my children are following me, where am I taking them?”

If we want our children to have manners, we must use some manners. If we want them to be even tempered, we can’t be in the habit of losing ours. If we want our children to be stable we can’t live on an emotional roller coaster.  I want my children to have an extraordinary relationship with the Lord, but I can’t make them. I have to show them. I want my children to be forgiving which means, when I do something wrong I have to ask for forgiveness. My children know better than anyone that I am far from perfect, but they also know that everything I expect from them, I also try to live.

Train them-

 Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it. ~Proverbs 22:6 Amp

Setting an example is important, but it is not enough. We have to teach them how to behave in specific situations or they don’t know. We have to teach them how to deal with stress in a healthy way. We have to teach them good habits. We have to teach them how to practice gratitude. I could go on for days. We have to teach them. We don’t just expect them to come out of the womb knowing how to do algebra, so why do we sometimes expect them to instinctively  know how to do life? If that were the case, they wouldn’t need parents.

Allow them to earn things-

My children don’t have to earn things like my love and acceptance. I provide that free of charge. I provide for their needs free of charge. I do however make them earn their own spending money and I make them pay for things that are expensive.

For example, I gave my daughter my old phone when I got a smartphone. I made her pay for her first smart phone. Why? Because it’s important for her to learn the value of things. Because when they have a part in working for the things they want  they take care of them. Because with setting a goal and working for it comes self confidence. Because I am training my children to be adults and when you are an adult you have to work for the things you have.

I cannot send my children out into the world thinking the world is going to present them with things on a silver platter at no cost just because. I would be doing them a disservice.

Give them some grace-

Grace is like....

 

I do not expect my children to be perfect. I do expect them to do their best. I don’t always do my best though and neither does anyone else. God gives me grace and so do a lot of other people in my life, including my children.

Finding some MIDDLE ground means we just have to give them a break sometimes.

Grace doesn’t mean we make excuses for bad behavior, it just means we acknowledge that we are all human and we all make mistakes.

Grace gives my kids a safe place to land when they fall on their face, and it makes it much more likely they will run to me when they are in trouble instead of running away from me.

I am not the most warm and furry parent. 

I wish I was a better parent. Who doesn’t? I wish I was sweeter and more patient and I never yelled.

You know what they say about wishing in one hand….well nevermind. A good parent would probably not use that as an example.

I do love my kids like crazy and I have on my protective gear. Maybe that’s enough!

What about you? Do you have any moments where your kids act like orphans? Any moments where you felt like you were hanging off of a cliff? I would love to hear about them!

Thank you for visiting the Land of Angela today! I would be honored if you would share this with your friends and family. Be sure to subscribe if you would like to get posts directly to your inbox.

Visit again soon!

Angela

Angela is a single mom raising her two favorite people.

Her favorite son Evan is a baseball and wrestling loving 19 year old young man with special needs, and a great sense of humor.

Her favorite daughter Phoebe is a 15 year old sophomore in high school, who is also a gifted and anointed musician, and singer/songwriter.

She works from home as a freelance writer, blogger, and medical biller.


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Enjoy the View

Enjoy The View

Life is like living by the ocean. Every day there are waves. There are low tides and high tides. There is always wind. Sometimes it’s just a nice breeze and sometimes the wind registers at hurricane force. Most times it’s somewhere in between. Every day it rains a little. Some days it rains all day. Some days it storms. There is a lot of sand. The sand can feel so good on your feet as you take a walk on the beach, yet at times it seems like there is sand everywhere; in your hair and your clothes and in your car. It can be abrasive and overwhelming.

The beauty of the ocean, however makes it worth riding out the storms and putting up with the sand. The view is quite breathtaking. There is more sun most days than rain and the sunrises and sunsets can change your perspective on life itself. The sound of the waves brings peace. The horizon makes anything seem possible.

Enjoy the View

One day recently was particularly long and hard. It had crashing waves and lightening and thunder, as my restless son tries to find his way. As challenging as parenting a special needs kid is, being a special needs kid is 100 times more frustrating. I made the decision that we would get outside and find a peaceful place to breathe. Off we went to the woods for a short hike and then a slow drive through the park with the windows down. A few minutes sitting by the lake and it seemed like all was well. The waves calmed and the hurricane force winds turned into a nice breeze and the sun came out.

My son warms my heart and breaks it at the same time. He fills me up and empties me in the same moment. The beauty is always worth weathering the storm and I am blessed to be the able to live by this ocean. And so it is with life.

Enjoy the View

Evan and I trying to take a selfie. 🙂

My prayer for you today is that you will focus on the beauty and enjoy the flow of the tides, that you won’t be afraid of the storms, and that you will remember that most days there is more sun than rain and that God’s grace is sufficient.

Enjoy the view by your ocean! Have a great week.
Angela

 

Angela is a single mom raising her two favorite people.

Her favorite son Evan is a baseball and wrestling loving 19 year old young man with special needs, and a great sense of humor.

Her favorite daughter Phoebe is a 15 year old sophomore in high school, who is also a gifted and anointed musician, and singer/songwriter.

She works from home as a freelance writer, blogger, and medical biller.


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