Grieving My Daughter’s Diagnosis: Thursday’s Grieving Series Post on Saturday

I’m hosting a series over here for the next few Thursdays on Grieving. The original posts/series are found over at my friend Lisa’s spot- Me Too Moments for Moms.

Today, Grace is sharing about her daughter’s diagnosis of Rett Syndrome:

My daughter’s diagnosis of Rett Syndrome came gradually. First the “Maybe…” from the doctor, then the slightly obsessive online search, and then the realization during the search that yes, that list of diagnostic criteria reads like an exact description of my daughter. When the actual diagnosis came, we already knew. We thought we had accepted it. We didn’t know how far true acceptance really was.

Would it become normal? Of course. Rett Syndrome is part of our life now and we are accustomed to it. We take her symptoms in stride, supporting her as best we can with what we have. We live life because we have to—it’s all we can do.

But I still grieve. I grieve for the life we imagined yet she will never have. I grieve for the pain she is in, and the things I cannot fix. I grieve for her frustrations—and mine, too—when things are simply too hard for her. I grieve for the pieces of relationships that are missing because of her lack of communication. I grieve and I cry and then I keep living, because it is what must be done.

Grieving comes gradually. One day I will think, “I can do this. We’ll be just fine.” And the next day something will happen that knocks me off my feet and I fall to my knees, broken. Just when I think we’ve finally moved on to the next stage—when I think we’ve accepted it—I’m proven wrong. Sometimes I wonder if true acceptance will ever come, or whether it’s simply the Holy Grail of disabled parents. Something we all search for, convinced it will change everything and make life better, yet we’ll never find it. We may find something similar to it, but never the real thing. It is because of our love that we always want more for our children—we desire something greater than the present circumstances.

I love my daughter, but I hate her diagnosis. I hate what it has done to her. It’s stolen her voice, crippled her hands, and it regularly gives her pain. I hate that it has stolen her future and her dreams, whatever those might be.

She has so much to say, but no way to say it. I wish I could free her from that cage, give her words to speak and hands that do what she wants them to do; legs that move with ease, a straight back, and a brain free of seizures. I grieve for her captivity.

Yet in that grieving something is revealed to me   To read the rest https://communitymoms.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/story-about-grieving/

Healing The Broken Bedroom Friday-My Journey of Faith Radio

legobrideHi all!

So last week I was at an out of town wedding. That was cause for much pause and reflection…coming to a blog near you soon!

In the mean time, today I had a wonderful opportunity through http://myjourneyoffaith.com/ to do a radio interview with Cynthia McCutcheon!

Sorry there isn’t a visual, but check this out to hear my journey to “Healing the Broken Bedroom.”

Enjoy! 🙂

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cwa-radio/2015/04/23/my-journey-of-faith

Brave is the New Sexy

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I’m not brave and I am not sexy either (though my husband might be of another opinion about the latter).

I also don’t like to let my guard down. And letting your guard down (among other things) is sort of the point in the sexual relationship. In order to do that I have to be super brave–I am anything but brave.

I am FULL of fear.

You ever heard the saying “Getting caught with your pants down?”

It pretty much sums up the fear inside of me when I am left open and exposed emotionally. (And while we’re being honest, I don’t actually like being naked either.)

I have a dream…

I heard it said that dreams reveal a lot about us. I personally believe there is some truth to this opinion.

Nothing describes my fear of vulnerability (aside from that off-color phrase I mentioned ^^^up there) than this dream I have caught myself having again and again.

I constantly dream that I am on the toilet. (Sorry, but it gets worse…)

Without clothes… (told ya)

And suddenly all of the protective walls that hide my nakedness either shrink before my eyes or disappear!

So there are I am—

NAKED on the TOILET in PUBLIC.

My fear of vulnerability in a nutshell.

When Sex is “Fright Night”

So don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with honesty or openness. I can control how much I share in those situations. And talking isn’t physical.

But in the realm of the bedroom, specifically sex—it feels like walking through a haunted house—spooky surprises at every turn, and no real way to prepare for them.

Not everyone experiences haunted houses in the same way. I have seen some people leave a haunted house crying, and others leave laughing. Fear is often a simple matter of perspective.

Like wandering around in a haunted house, the dark corners of my bedroom are terrifying. I have no earthly barrier between my flesh and my husband. Yet, he should be the person I feel the safest and most secure with here on earth, but I don’t.

And truth be told, he isn’t the problem. It’s me.

I have actually conditioned myself to be adverse to natural and normal desires. Desires in my mind are far worse than all the external influences. Those internal firings—feelings—are terrifying to me.

I’ll stuff a turkey with those feelings quicker than you can say “Thanksgiving.”

I don’t want to be controlled by my emotions, so I have learned over the years to cut them off and shove them deep down.

And now, I don’t know how to find those feelings. If I do actually find them, a large part of me doesn’t want them for fear of being consumed by them.

The Power of Love

1 Corinthians 7:4 says “The wife hath not power over her own body…”

Powerless over my own body… That’s scary times right there, but there’s more—

“The wife hath not power over her own body, but the husband…”

The power over my body belongs to my husband.

As I let that sink in, it scares me to death—especially if I look at sex apart from God’s design. Without a spiritual filter on sex we will miss the depth of God’s love for us. His perfect love should cast out the fear of relinquishing bodily authority to our spouses.

So where is the “brave” amidst all this fear?

John 8:32 “and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (ASV)

My “brave” is cultivated through the knowledge of the truth of God’s word. As I reflect on the Word becoming flesh coupled with the words of life found in the bible, I have what I need take steps to obey…

-To offer myself freely to my husband with no rules,
-To be in his presence unashamed,
-To love him sacrificially reflecting the love of Christ to him.

Is it still a scary place to go?

You bet.

But Christ is worthy. He is worthy enough for me to make strides to bust through my fears in order to carry out my part in His design for marriage.

Do I still shed a layer of “bravery” when I am standing without clothing before my husband?

Yes—kind of like that nightmare-ish dream I told you about.

But when my mind is gird with truth, I can dare to be bare and brave all at the same time!

You may also see me linking up with these lovelies:

Testimony Tuesday with Holly

#RaRaLinkup with Kelly http://purposefulfaith.com/

Woman 2 Woman with Meredith

Three Word Wednesday with Kristin http://www.kristinhilltaylor.com/

#TellHisStory with Jennifer Dukes Lee http://jenniferdukeslee.com/

#LiveFreeThurdsay with Suzanne Eller, http://tsuzanneeller.com/

Coffee for Your Heart with Holly

http://arabahjoy.com/ — Grace and Truth

#DancewithJesusLinkup, http://www.susanbmead.com/blog-2/

Fellowship Fridays, http://equippinggodlywomen.com/

TGA Writes

http://wp.me/p5NQtb-6Z

Prude and Prejudice: My Struggle with Sex

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Me and my Hubby on our wedding day

I have always been a private person when it comes to…you know…s-e-x.

For nearly 18 years, this topic has been a sore spot and area of constant struggle in my marriage. I feel so alone sometimes, like we are the only Christian people with an ice-cold intimate life. If not for our faith in Christ, we would lose it. All of it. I have tried to analyze why I have such feelings of disgust and guilt about it. Oftentimes, the best way for me to figure out why is to look back at the past.

Maybe It Was Early Influence

My parents meant well when they raised me to think that boys only wanted one thing and that good girls waited until they were married to have “you know what.” They were very protective of me, but they often assumed I was out messing around with boys. I remember I went to the mall one time. When I returned home, they asked me about my day. But before the conversation was over, my dad had decided I’d found somewhere to go to make out with some boy. All I’d done was shop and hang out with my friends!

I wore confusing looks of nervousness and fear when my parents grilled me. Because of my guilty-conscience face, they frequently thought I’d been up to no good. Football games, movies, and sleepovers often ended with arguments about what boy I’d been with. I didn’t even have that many guys interested in me to start with!

Maybe It Was Desire

While I know these accusations had an effect, I am not altogether sure when the topic became dirty in my mind. Maybe one negative event after another turned that wrong thinking into a raging, sex-hating beast.

Over the years I have realized that I have never been comfortable with desire. I battle repulsion for the feelings because they seemed to show up unannounced, and they seemed beyond my control. I decided I would fix that problem by training my brain and my body to block those feelings whenever they came. Problem solved, right? Wrong.

I took a break from the blocking technique when I met my now husband. There was no lack of desire between us, and I wasn’t derailed by any of the negative thoughts I’d once had. I let my guard down, and those desires took their natural course for a while. I was convinced that when we married, we would have more-than-healthy relations.

We fell into physical sin at times. I was newly saved, and this caused problems with my faith at its core.  Guilt reignited and weighed heavily on me. And just like that, the struggle reemerged.

Here we are, 18 years later. We are still in a rut that only worsened on our wedding night. There have been glimmers of healthy, godly interaction between us, but I have trouble remaining consistent.

Want to see more?

Pop over here to Shattered Magazine for the rest!

(This story is featured in the spring 2015 issue of Shattered Magazine. Subscribe today to read more powerful stories of people and communities breaking down barriers to belief.)

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Confession Alert: Doug the Pug is My Idol (okay for like Five Minutes…)

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Hey friends!

Here’s a light-hearted post where I bear my soul a little! Enjoy!

———————————————-

So, never in my adult life have I wanted to be a dog—or a pug, specifically.

But now that I have become a fan of “Doug the Pug” all that has changed. Doug the Pug is the Cutest. Dog. Ever.

And.

Who knew that all you had to do was post pics of a cutie pie pug with a dash of wit and sarcasm on the side to get THOUSANDS of likes. That right, you heard me—thousands.

Doug the Pug puts my “progress” under the table. One picture or video of cute little Doug and the comments come pouring in. Over here at my little blogsite “Faith Like Dirty Diapers,” I get a handful of views. 20-30 on average with highs not even reaching 100.

The Underdog

So, yes—I just compared myself to a dog. That’s pretty sad. I wanna be like…”Doug.”

Okay, not really.

But man, do I ever wish that the message I am sharing would get the attention “Doug the Pug” gets. As soon as those words escaped my brain, I had to look a little closer and say, “Christy, what part of the ‘ME’ssage do you really want to come through?”

Ahhhh. There it is again.

ME.

When “ME” takes over the message, all you’re left with is a “sage.”

Here is what that word means in black and white:

sage1

noun

Someone venerated for the possession of wisdom, judgment, and experience.

No, no, NO.

That is NOT what I want to want.

I want to share Jesus with people. He has given me a story to tell. But so far, I am back to being stuck comparing myself to others around me-even a dog, “Doug the Pug.” I’m asking God why His created things seem to get all the props while my gospel-centered writing is shuffled to the back of the bus? (Really? As if my writing isn’t a created thing? Or ME?)

Focus Daniel-Son

My daughter made a video of her stuffed animals going to the dentist. (And no, she didn’t use her pug, but she totally should have) She wanted share the video with someone after it was done. It’s natural and normal to want to share the things you work hard to make.

So, she invited me to watch it.

There’s no harm in writing something and then inviting people to read it. The foul comes when we start over-analyzing why there aren’t more people reading it or when we compare ourselves to those with a larger audience.

I have tread water here before, but God was gracious to pull me out.

This time around, I didn’t warm a seat at the table of comparison weighing myself versus a cutie-pie pug for too long.

But…

I was inspired to share my struggle because we often think we have our struggles squared away. And while we may have taken strides toward holiness in an area, it doesn’t mean that we have eradicated all possibility to revisit a sinful tendency.

Many times we have to fix our focus. Temptations come back into view over and over again. The hope is that the next time sin “lets the dogs out” on us, we will be ready.

That said, maybe I should take more pictures of my dog. His name isn’t Doug, but he is a pug. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if I exploit him a little in the name of Jesus…

Right?

Oh and before I forget–you gotta see this Doug the Pug. Here he is as Yoda. Adorbs!!

When People STINK, Just Remember You STINK Too!

onion2Written as a part of Suzie Eller’s #livefreethursday over at http://tsuzanneeller.com/

Forgive me, this is a silly devotional that flowed out of my brain when I first read Suzie’s prompt: “Bloom.”

When People STINK, Just Remember You STINK Too!

Sometimes people stink, sort of like onions. And honestly, not everyone likes “onions.”

I personally happen to love them.

You can slice ‘em, dice ‘em, or serve ‘em up sautéed or grilled. I really don’t care how they are prepared—I pretty much like onions in everything except dessert.

But one of my most favorite ways to enjoy an onion is the glorious “Bloomin’ Onion.”

Whoever decided that an onion should be covered in batter and fried in a savory pallet of seasonings then served up with I-have-no-idea-what-this-yummy-sauce-is, was a genius.

Hater’s Gonna Don’t Hate

So for all the onion haters out there, I get that onions are less than appealing. And I would never eat an onion raw and naked. It at least has to be tucked in between meat and bread or layered in a bowl of greens.

But alone? No way.

It isn’t a walk in the park to prepare them either.

Once you manage to penetrate the papery shell that houses the onion, you are sucker punched with a pungent odor that has the power to melt your face off.

But if you stay in there and persevere to the end, you can put that smelly mess into a pan and swish it around with some garlic and worchestire sauce and suddenly it emits the fragrance of a masterpiece. (Or in the case a a Bloomin’ Onion, cover it with a batter-fried shell)

The truth is, we have to get past all of the initial reactions we have about onions in odor, I mean in “order” to fully appreciate them. And onions are best enjoyed when they are covered or drenched in something else.

Onions Have LAYERS, Donkey!

And you know what else has layers?

People.

(Ahhh, so THERE’s where she was going with the whole “Bloomin’ Onion” thing…)

You see, onions stink, can make you cry, and can actually even burn you if you get an extra potent one…kind of like people.

People have baggage—LAYERS of baggage. Sometimes we don’t know how to set our own junk aside in order to love others well. Even those hardest to love.

But the hardest people to love are those who need love the most.

And consider Jesus’ example.

Before He arrived on the scene of our hearts, we were all sort of like odiferous, undesirable sinners in need of a Savior. And it pleased Him to set His love upon His children—to “cover” us in His love—while we were “yet sinners.”

Jesus desires that we would love others as He first loved us.

John 13:35 says “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

And this verse comes to mind too:

Luke 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”

People Aren’t Onions, but…

True—

People aren’t onions. And honestly if there are oniony-like people in our lives it is because God put them there.

As we ponder those hardest to love in our lives, the first thing we must do is be careful to realize we, ourselves, could be that “difficult person” to love in the life of someone else.

Second, if we would have the mind of Christ, and love people in the way He loves us—even when we are/were a stinkin’ sinful mess—it will change the way we think. And when the way we think changes, our actions change.

2 Corinthians 15-16

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.

No matter what kind of odor people waft in our direction (stinky or otherwise), it is up to us to show them Christ. We do that through our loving actions:

 Kindness in the face of cruel words,

Forbearance in the presence of impatience,

Love for those filled with hatred.

At the end of the day, we are the face of Jesus to the world. And before Christ we are all a proverbial onions. But Christ came and cleansed us with the covering of His precious blood.

In so doing, He took what was vile and made it something wonderful.

We have the chance to be instruments of grace to people in our lives. And just like an onion covered in a yummy batter, when we are covered with grace (and in love cover those around us with the same grace) it is nothing short of glorious!

Thursday Grieving Series: Grieving the Loss of a Grandparent is so Hard

I’m hosting a series over here for the next few Thursdays on Grieving. The original posts/series are found over at my friend Lisa’s spot- Me Too Moments for Moms.

Today, Lindsay is sharing about the loss of her grandfather:

l

On January 10, 2015, I lost my grandfather.  In two years and seven months I had lost all of my grandparents.  I was so angry and had such a heavy heart.  The grief that I took on was like a weight that was tied to my ankle and dragging me down to the bottom of the ocean.

Now I know I am not the first person in the world to lose someone, but when I lost my grandfather it was final.  The end of a chapter in my life was ending and I had absolutely no control over it.  Now I am the type of person who has control issues.  I like to feel that I have a handle on something, but something as large as life and death, how could I ever feel I would be able to control that?  Even when my family placed the phone up to my grandfather’s ear as I said my final good bye, I still was telling him that this was not part of the plan and he needed to just stay longer so I could have my one last visit that was only in one week.  Honestly that last visit wasn’t going to make his leaving this Earth any easier, but in the heat of the moment I thought that was what I needed.

For the rest of this story – https://communitymoms.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/grieving-the-loss-of-a-grandparent-is-so-hard/

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Family: When It Brings Out the WORST in Us

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Family: When It Brings Out the Best WORST in Us

I find that the people I am closest with and that I love the most—A.K.A family—are like the ultimate litmus test for my positively wicked self.

This realization comes almost daily, but was particularly colored when I recently broke into a “Mommy Meltdown” after a fun-filled morning of interruptions. All of them beginning with the word, “Mommy!”

“Mommy, I can’t find my…”

“Mommy, can you help me…”

“Mommy, the DOG…”

and my personal favorite-“MAAHHHMEEEEEE!!!”

Who put the Bermuda Triangle in my living room??

I was running around barking orders like the Soup Nazi. I was stomping from one room to the next breaking up fights, all the while half-clothed (and the kids yelling in disgust at the sight of my white jiggling parts).

With my fuzzy head partially flat-ironed, I was summoned to clean up people pee/dog poo.

I was completely and utterly unravelling at the seams but worse than that, I was sickened at the nastiness that could emit from my very being.

I hollered out to God. “WHY CAN’T I JUST GET READY? IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?”

And what I was really asking was, “Why can’t I just get ready with no trials to show me how fast I can turn into an ungodly beast?

BLESSINGS—“You keep saying that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means…”

(Yes, I just quoted The Princess Bride. I digress…)

Whoever decided that I of all people should be in charge of three little sinners must have forgotten that I am totally UNQUALIFIED for this calling.

Oh…right.

That would be GOD.

So, then what gives? How can I possibly do this? Do you ever feel so helpless and SO in over your head?

I do.

Everyday.

But guess what? I’ve learned something. That “blessing” word? I am the one with the incorrect understanding of it. Not HIM…

James 1:2-3 says this:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

Okay, so words that jump right out of the text are “joy,” “trials,” and “faith.”

To me it looks like that old Sesame Street game “Which one of these things is not like the other?”

If you said “trials,” DING! You win the prize!!

I am tested to the limit by my children. I am constantly confronted with my failings. And I feel like I put the FAIL in failings—not joy.

Think about it–Who knows our frailties better than we do?

God. The creative mastermind and designer behind this whole universe. The One by whom everything consists and is held together by.

It’s up to Him to hold the earth in orbit and He can certainly hold us together through any trial He designs for us.

These trials and testings are exactly what God uses to produce a “steadfastness” in us. And I don’t know about you, but my faith could ALWAYS use a boost!

The fact that our God knows what is best for us to develop our faith muscles should produce “joy” in us.

“Joy” —“You keep saying that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means…”

So, does that mean “jump for joy” because you or your best friend just got a cancer diagnosis? No, with a little yes on the side.

No—because cancer is not joyful. Cancer is hard. But cancer is NOT what or WHO we joy in.

Yes—because by the cancer (or 3 screaming blessings or loss of a job or loved one. . .) God is strengthening our faith in HIM.

That’s the “joy” of trials. Resting in HIM.

So don’t get me wrong, children are a beautiful blessing. They give me so much joy and love and laughter . . . and pain and agony and grief. (Sort of like we do as God’s children)

Yet, it is through these tough times when God has called me to mold them as a mother that He is also molding me as His child.

So, is wrangling 3 littles to stop fighting and acting on their sin nature TOUGH STUFF?

Absolutely.

Is cancer, or crisis, or death also TOUGH STUFF?

YES again.

But is God using these things to strengthen our faith in Him?

Yep.

God has given me my family. He uses their presence in my life to show me so many facets of His character . . . and mine. Even the ugly nasty hag I can be sometimes.

But I am so thankful that God is a good Father who knows just what to hand me to show me my sin. And through that same hand of love, He gives me everything I need to know true joy in Him and Him alone.

Healing the Broken Bedroom Friday

Hey guys!

So, I have decided that it would be better (at least for now) for me to just make a little video clip and chat with you on Fridays.

Then you can feel like there is an actual “real live person” on the other end! 🙂

Thanks for visiting and be sure to watch to the end to hear my “confession.” It might be a help to you!

Until next time!