Monday, April 21, 2014

Blog Change!

For those of you who have been following my blog, thank you!  It has been awhile since I've written for multiple reasons.  One is that the doors of adoption seemed to have closed, at least for now.  Neil and I are fine with this because we see that God has opened other doors of opportunity for our family.

This post is to invite you to share and be encouraged, inspired, and refreshed in your life as you follow me in my new blog at  My new blog has more to do with learning from leaning on God as I share our struggles and joys that come through life struggles.  It's very new, and I am still learning WordPress, but I'd love to see your comments and faces as we share ideas about life together via blogging! I am always encouraged by all your comments!!  I thank you in advance!  I've included my email address in my new blog should you like to contact me for any reason.  Thanks, again!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Facing Fear: Who's Got My Back?

Fear.  For me, fear sometimes blocks me from living life full throttle.  By "full throttle", I don't mean "fast"; I mean "boldly, without hesitation".  I don't want to hold back or "fold".  I want to live life "all in".  Do you know what I mean?

Just before the summer holidays began, a couple of unanticipated events caught us by surprise.  The first event took place five weeks before we were supposed to move.  I signed in to my hotmail account so I could IM with my sweet hubby while he was at work.  The only reason for this account is to be able to "talk" to Neil periodically throughout the day.  I noticed I had several emails.  "That's odd", I thought, and began reading down through the list.  There were a number of new Facebook accounts, a couple of Twitter accounts, and a few new gmail accounts set up in my name with different variations of my handle.  Not having set up any of these accounts, I thought I would begin with Facebook and get to the bottom of this. 

I called Facebook and was immediately connected with their support team.  I gave the gentleman on the other end access to my computer so that we could see what was going on simultaneously.  I had no idea what I was viewing.  I was so glad to have someone walk me through this process!  He pointed out various areas and times my computer had been accessed, none of which were times I had been online!  In fact, whoever was accessing my system had "stopped" or interrupted several of my running programs!  

Have you ever felt dread?  For me, it began in the core of my stomach.  It seemed to take just short of forever to reach my brain.  I just couldn't believe what I was being told and seeing for myself!  The gentleman from FB made several alarming statements about how many times my computer had been hacked over the previous six weeks: 1,647 times!  The next several minutes were filled with counsel to get a security system for my Netbook and the rest of our devices.  We had firewalls and security in place already, but obviously, we needed to step it up a notch.  

Over the next couple of weeks, we installed a better security system to protect our information.  Apparently, whoever was hacking, was not after money, not that he could have obtained any if had tried.  He was after our personal information.  The only device we were not able to lock down was the iPad.  This person pegged our IP address and was able to access our other computers through the iPad.  It was creepy.  I would be cleaning the iPad for Judah, and all of a sudden, I was locked out.  The hacker took control of the iPad.  I was watching everything he did as he accessed the "Settings" along with various websites and accounts utilizing our personal information.  He was uploading my pictures on the upstairs computer via the iPad, accessing our accounts (not financial) by typing our full names into the URL search bar and bypassing our passwords, and creating new accounts with our names.  Scary.  From then on, we kept the iPad turned off until we moved.  Problem solved.  He could no longer locate our IP address after we moved.  We did, however, keep our security in place.

The feeling that someone else could so easily access our personal information was unnerving, to say the least.  That someone could actually lock us out of our system while giving himself free reign with our computers, left me feeling quite vulnerable.  I know this is common, but until it happened to us, I could not relate to the fear of someone attempting to steal my or my husband's identity.  

There was one other event that took place within a week of this one.  It is one where fear had already taken root and had been sitting in the back of my mind for quite some time.  People who are not accustomed to being around families with special needs really don't know what life can be like on a daily basis.  This is not a knock or a slam against those people.  Outside of living vicariously through a handful of my friends, I am clueless to how to live within certain cultures of the world, since I've had no personal experience.  Likewise, those who do not interact with individuals with special needs on a regular basis are relatively unaware of what a day in our lives can look like...and grace is extended to those who lack understanding.  

Because individuals with autism look like everyone else, people tend to have certain expectations.  When those expectations are not met due to sensory issues or certain behavioral responses, often judgement and criticism are cast, reeling in feelings of inadequacy and exclusion or rejection from parents and caretakers.  As have many others, to be sure, we have heard everything from we are lazy parents who neglect our children to we are being irresponsible parents who don't discipline hard enough, or frequently enough, to curb our children's behaviors in order to make them "obey".   It has always been a fear of mine that someone with a critical spirit and a lack of discernment or understanding, and without the wherewithal to come to me, will call Child Protective Services and tell them what a bad parent I am.  This was a huge fear...that is, until it happened.  

A week after the whole "computer hacking" incident took place, we received a certified letter in the mail saying we were under investigation with CPS.  Someone had called and complained to the state that we were "neglectful parents due to a lack of supervision", according to the report.  One of my worst fears was confronting me, daring me to look him in the eye, and I had to do just that. 

We made the appointment to meet with the social worker the following Monday. My nerves were on edge the entire weekend.  "This is all we needed right before our move", I thought to myself.  "Who would have done something so mean?  I mean, everyone around us knows that our boys have autism.  All our neighbors have my 'mommy card' so they can call me anytime, should anything ever upset or make them nervous."  I wondered if it was the lady several doors down who thought Judah was stuck in the sewer drain.

From inside the house by the patio door, I had about 30% visibility of our yard. We had a large yard that curled around the sides of the house and windows on only two sides.  Needless to say, we a had few blind spots.  Because I don't handle the heat well here in Texas, I sat right inside our door to watch Judah as he played outside.  If I couldn't see Judah playing, I would immediately go outside to locate him.  Often, this meant checking on him, literally, every five minutes.  However, there would be those moments during the day when Noah needed me for something or when I needed to use the loo.  These are the times Judah usually escaped our yard.  However, no one ever complained to me.  Well, I had one neighbor who didn't like Judah getting in their yard and "ruining their garden", so I tried to be extra careful and more vigilant to catch him before he climbed our fence.  There were many times he was too fast for me and made it into their yard before I could get to him.  This placed a great deal of stress on me daily.

One afternoon, the lady who thought Judah may have been stuck in the drain, was standing over him talking to him, asking him if he was stuck.  One may have thought to help him out of the sewer drain if he was stuck, but, apparently one didn't.  Needless to say, Judah was not responding to her.  What actually was taking place was Judah was trying to get down into the sewer drain.  The drain was between our house and our neighbor's front lawn.  Often Judah escaped our back yard and made a bee line for the drain.  He was curious and fearless.  He enjoyed throwing small rocks down there.  Sometimes he took his clothes off and threw those down the drain!  I called the city once to retrieve a small pile of shirts,  but we lost quite a few articles of clothing that had washed away after being disposed down that drain.

At any rate, I had been looking for Judah, and because he was lying flat trying to get through the drain hole, I didn't see him right away.  Then I noticed the lady standing there.  I realized that must be Judah she is trying to engage.  I ran over as fast as I could.  She looked at me and asked, "Is this your child?"

"Yes", I responded.  I didn't know what else to say.  I didn't know her and going into a big explanation of his autism seemed like it would come across as an excuse at that moment.  Was it worth it?  Probably not.  Would she understand?  I don't know.  Sometimes I get tired of trying to explain "autism" and what it looks like in my boys.  It's a gamble.  Sometimes people understand.  Many times they do not.  I have learned to pick and choose the "teachable moments".  This was not one, I decided.  I bent over and picked up Judah.  It's a good thing he is too big to fit down that hole, although, if I did let him go, I am sure he could figure out how to wiggle his way down there!  I heard the lady call me "irresponsible" as she was walking away in a huff, being put off by my lack of knowing just where Judah was and what he was doing.

What she did NOT know was that he had been playing inside the house.  I went to the bathroom.  He left to go outside.  When I came out, he was gone.  I had been looking for him for about five minutes.  Back yard...front yard (I couldn't see him because he was lying down by the curb)...the two sides of the house without windows...neighbor's yards...I was calling him, but I received no response.  I made my round again and was about to call Neil when I saw the lady standing on the sidewalk "talking to the sewer drain" with a concerned look on her face.  (If I could have taken a snap shot of that three seconds, I could share the comedy of that picture!)  Immediately, I put the pieces together and ran over to retrieve Judah.  Could she have been the one who called CPS?  

Nonetheless, no one asked if I needed help or offered suggestions that might make life easier, and no one really complained to me or Neil about anything our boys ever did, except our one neighbor with whom I tried extra hard to keep Judah from "visiting".  If anything, most of our neighbors looked out for the boys and called me if there was any concern.  I felt very supported in this way.  So, I was really taken aback when we received that letter in the mail.  

That Monday, we met with the social worker in our home.  Immediately, she assured us that this was just a formality.  They had  received the complaint eight months earlier.  At that time, the social worker had paid a visit to the school, where the boys would have typically attended had they been in general education, just to find out they were at a different campus because they had special needs, of which she was unaware.  After tracking down the correct campus, she tried to "interview" the boys to see if they had enough to eat and if there were any signs of abuse.  Neil and I laughed at that since Judah was non-verbal and Noah still couldn't not answer basic questions like "what did you do in school today?"  "How did that work out for you?" I asked, laughing and feeling a bit more at ease.  The social worker then mentioned that she interviewed the teachers, and they all raved about our family and wondered why anyone would even make the call in the first place.  Then she looked up from her paperwork and followed that comment with, "I have been working with CPS for several years, and never in all my years of working for the state, have I had a principal of the school make a point to come to the classroom and go to bat for the family!"  

After a few more minutes of conversation, we began talking a little more about what we do in our church and community.  Apparently, the teachers, along with the principal, mentioned our involvement.  The social worker was impressed and asked if she could take our information and pass it along to families with special needs who are in need of support, encouragement, and resources.  Upon leaving, there were still some calls she had to make in order to close out the case.  The case had taken eight months because after visiting the school, the state realized that our children were in no danger, and our file had fallen to the bottom of the pile.  However, she needed to get the interview done, and by law, had to go through all the formalities in order to officially close the case.  She was glad to have met us.  

I am not saying this to paint anyone in a bad light or to "toot our own horn", as it were.  I learned that God can take a stomach wrenching situation and make it bloom like a flowering shrub in the spring.  This could have seriously jeopardized our adoption, but instead, it let the state know who we are and what we do.  How cool is that?!!  

The verse that had been going through my head that whole weekend was Isaiah 26:3: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee" (KJV).  I am learning that in whatever situation I find myself, God's got my back.  Now I am NOT saying that I can do as I please and He will bless my actions regardless.  I AM saying that when we are faithful to Him, we experience His blessings through our obedience.  Life isn't always fun, and rarely is it easy.  

I don't believe God is ever caught off guard or surprised by anything that happens.  I don't believe that He wills bad things to happen, and I don't believe He makes mistakes.  However, I do believe that nothing happens without His consent.  For example, Satan could do nothing to Job without God's consent.  God did not allow Satan to take Job's life (Job 1:12).  God said, "Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand." Nothing happens that catches God off guard or by surprise.  How much do I trust God?  Does He have my back?  If God has my back, and nothing happens without His consent, then I can live life without having to fear what may come my way, whether, in my opinion, it's good, bad, or indifferent.  I can live life "full throttle", without hesitation, and I will boldly play out the hand I have been given.  

I am not folding this time...I'm all in.

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Rant; I am Throwing Down a Challenge

Well, it has been six months since my last blog.  Too long!  Honestly, I have been involved in another writing project.  I will let you know if it gets published.  I am still in the process.

Today I took Noah and Judah to the playground.  We were there for around thirty minutes before it began to get a little too crowded for my boys.  Noah was ready to go, so we made the two minute drive up the road to another playground, rarely used.  Perfect.  There was no one there, not that a handful of other children would have been a bad thing.  We parked.  The boys got out.  They began playing.  Another vehicle pulled up and parked.  A whole family with two younger children got out.  The dad came and sat at my picnic table to watch his wife, daughter (about five years old), and son (about three years old) play.  All was well until...

Noah approached me at the picnic table and said in his quiet, sweet voice, "Swing?"

"You may go swing, Noah."  He stood there looking at me.  "Noah, what else you would like?" I asked him, knowing that he wanted me to push him.

"Mommy, come", he said.  This is his way of asking for help.

I got up and walked over to the swings with him.  I greeted the other mom on the way with a cheerful "good morning".  She smiled back and returned my greeting.  Once Noah was on the swing, I began pushing.  He was loving it!  Judah saw us and trotted over to join us.  Judah directed me over to the swing he had chosen by taking my hand and guiding me. I helped him up and began pushing Judah. He laughed and laughed as I kept pushing him higher and higher.  I looked over at the other children playing on the slides and jungle gym.  They were, also, having a great time.  And so was I!

By this point, I think it was pretty obvious that by the way my boys communicated and how they got SO excited over swinging that they were children with special needs.  The other mom had gone over to sit next to her husband at the picnic table where I was previously sitting.  They had been there maybe fifteen minutes from the time they pulled up in their vehicle.  Then the dad called over to his kids.  Mom helped round them up.  I watched, a little confused why they were leaving so soon.  He became very stern with them.  Then the little girl asked, "Why are we leaving?'

"We are going to check out another playground", he stated in a matter-of-fact tone.  Then they left.

How do I take this?

When we lived in Iowa, with the exception of my MOPS group of moms, everytime I took my sons to a playground to play and other moms were there with their children, inevitably a mom would notice Noah's odd behavior.  When I explained that he has autism, without fail, the other moms would collect their kids and leave our area.  One time, there were two moms, who were friends, that brought their children to the playground to play.  They were prepared to stay for quite awhile.  I only knew this because they had their packs of food and coolers of drinks with them.  The kids had taken their shoes off and were running around and playing tag on the monkey bars and slides.  One of the moms, who had been observing Noah for a number of minutes, asked me, "What is he doing?  Why is he flapping his arms like that?"

"He is just really excited", I responded.  "He really enjoys being around other children, and he is having fun watching them play."

Not five minutes later, the moms had packed up their children and went to another part of the park to play.  It was strange to me because they left their packs and coolers right where they were, as though they were going to come back for them.  "Oh, well," I thought.

About thirty minutes later, Noah and Judah were ready to go home.  I gathered them together and loaded them in our Durango.  As I was pulling out, I saw the two moms and all their kids coming back to the play area and settle into their former routine and games.

Once...okay, it is probably in my head, and I am being hyper-sensitive.  Twice...coincidence?  Every time?  Yep, I am taking it personally now.  It hasn't happened in five years, that is, until today.

So, there is my "rant".  Now for my challenge.

I have to say one thing to all those who are afraid of individuals with special needs: they are NOT poisonous, contagious, or toxic to the environment.  I really don't mean to be rude.  I completely understand being intimidated from not knowing what to say or do.  I understand ignorance at not knowing what to expect or anticipate.  Fear can come from that, right there.  What I don't understand is the total rejection without batting an eye.  I don't understand making an individual, or whole family for that matter, feel like a cow patty in the middle of a field in farming country: insignificant, undesirable, unwanted, and at all costs, something to be avoided.  It boils down to pride and self-centeredness.  I challenge you to go a little beyond your comfort zone when you come across someone with special needs.  Odds are they have been rejected their entire life and are used to that "special treatment".  If for just five minutes, take time to smile and say "hello" or hold a door open.  Make them feel not just "special", but valued.  Who doesn't want that?

Sometimes I wonder if people are thinking, "What will people think of me if I talk to that person?"  Lol...really?  My question to you is, "What will they think if you don't?"  On one hand, people will either think negatively of you (but not too negatively because they would have done the same thing) if you do or say nothing...that is, if they actually think anything of you at all.  Let's face it, most of the time, people aren't thinking about what you are doing or saying, unless it affects them in some way.  On the other hand, if you, for a moment gave an individual with special needs the time of day for only two minutes to smile and say "hello", people around you will feel good.  They will admire you for being somewhat heroic and standing out among the rest that just turn their heads the other way.  But mostly, a simple "hello" is what many individuals with special needs are craving.  Just like you, they want to be noticed for who they are, be accepted for their strengths and challenges, and above all, be valued for their existence.

If you are truly afraid of saying or doing something wrong, feel free to ask questions.  It is NOT offensive to ask questions.  People are longing for someone to ask about themselves!  Do you like to talk about yourself?  How would you feel if everyone completely avoided you thinking they just might say the wrong thing?  What if you became the "elephant in the room" that everyone knew was there, but no one would talk about or talk to?  Don't be timid to ask about their disability.  Ask about it!  Ask parents about their children with special needs.  Ask how they "do it" on a daily basis.  "What is life like" for them?   Try looking at those with special needs as a different culture, not another world.  People with special needs think and feel the same way you do; they just have more daily challenges facing them than a typical person does.  Ask about those challenges.  Ask about their daily routines.  Bottom line: learn about someone else who is a little different, but mostly the same, as you are.

To churches, I have one last challenge.  We have attended a number of churches in the past 10.5 years of marriage.  Very few have anything to do with individuals with special needs.  Why is that?  This goes far beyond the playground.  There is absolutely no reason why a church would have no members with special needs in their congregation.  I humbly and passionately submit, to be a church that does not embrace and welcome members in their community with special needs into their congregation, is wrong on SO many levels.  Unless there are no people with special needs in your city (and since 1 in 6 are diagnosed with something, I would be pretty skeptical of that), then the church absolutely should have a place for the special needs community.

We attended a church that placed our boys in a room by themselves, separate from the other children, and offered very little to no interaction at all.  We attended a church that told a dear friend of mine not to bring her nephew back because they were not equipped to "handle" a four-year-old with Downs Syndrome. I have sat with church leadership in various churches and heard many stories of them having to turn families away because they were not "equipped" for individuals with special needs, especially children.  I have listened to peers who have children with special needs who were turned away at various churches because that church didn't know what to do with the child with autism, the child with auditory processing disorder, the child with sensory integration issues.  My response to that is "Get equipped!"

Who are we, as the body of Christ, more like:  the disciples who didn't quite always understand the heart of Christ?  When the children raced to see Jesus and the disciples tried to hold them back, Jesus said, "Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God" (*Mark 10:14).

Are we more like the Pharisees who made sure they looked like they had it all together?  "And a man with a shriveled hand was there.  Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked Him, 'Is is lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?' that they might accuse Him.  And He said to them, 'What man shall there be of you, that shall have one sheep, and if this fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?  How much then is a man of more value than a sheep!' (*Matthew 12:10-12).

Or are we more like the self-serving crowd of people who wanted to get a better look at Jesus, having no regard for others in the crowd who wanted to touch or be with the Christ?  And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, who had spent all her living upon physicians, and could not be healed of any, came behind Him, and touched the border of His garment; and immediately the issue of her blood stanched (was healed).  And Jesus said, 'Who is it that touched Me?'  And when all denied, Peter said, and they that were with him, 'Master, the multitudes press You and crush You.'  But Jesus said, 'Some one did touch Me' for I perceived that power  had gone forth from Me.  And when the woman saw that she was no hid, she came trembling, and falling down before Him declared in the presence of all the people for what cause she touched Him, and how she was healed immediately.  And He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has made you whole; go in peace." (*Luke 8:43-48).

Or are we more like Jesus Christ?  Jesus touched and healed the blind, the deaf, the leper, the broken in body and in spirit.  Jesus healed those who couldn't walk.  He welcomed the those who had special needs of the body and of the heart.  Why would we, as the body of Christ, the ones who are supposed to represent and reflect Jesus Christ to those who don't personally know Him, turn certain people groups away?  Selfishness (not wanting to leave our comfort zones for sake of our convenience and ease)?  Fear of looking inadequate (pride)?  There are many reasons.  My challenge here is to get beyond ourselves in order to see and reach those who are standing right next to us.

*Scripture is copied from the English Standard Version of the Bible.  I changed the word "thee" to "you" and capitalized the pronouns referring to Christ.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Home Study Paperwork Completed

Our home visit went really well.  Jennifer, the lady from the adoption agency, stayed for nearly three hours.  The visit was pleasant and unstressful (is that a word?).  She asked all kinds of questions like, "How were you disciplined growing up and how does that compare or contrast with the way you approach discipline with your children now?  How do you handle stress?  What was the most traumatic experience in your childhood?  Do you have a good support network of family and friends who are geographically close?  What was your relationship to your parents like growing up, and what is your relationship to them like now?"  These are just a few of many.  All in all, it was kind of fun answering some of these questions.  Some questions were quite thought provoking, but there weren't any that Neil and I had never discussed.  That made it easier, for sure!

Next step: the agency will write their report and begin finding matches of children for our family.   Neil and I have already been online looking at various children's profiles.  I am SO glad we have an agency working with us this time!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Adoption Update!

Our home visit with the agency is on Sunday at 2:30!  Wooo-hooo!  That is the last of the "paperwork"!  Next step: matching a child with our family.  Total awesome-ness!

Ahhh...the Holidays are Here

Yesterday the school bus pulled up to the curb in front of our house.  The door opened and my two little gentlemen stepped down the three stairs and off the bus.  Their bus driver waived to me.  "Have a great weekend!" she said.

Thanksgiving is one day away.  We have a busier than usual holiday planned this year.  With our family living on the far north side an we living on the far south side of the country, family get-togethers and visits are far and few between.  However, this year we have been invited to feast with friends here in Texas for Thanksgiving, and we will be flying back to Wisconsin for Christmas.  All this to say, my mind is quite possibly "busier" than what is typical.

This morning my alarm went off at 5:50am.  Ten minutes left to snooze.  The boys' bus arrives at 6:45 to pick them up for school each day.  Sigh...5:54am.  Six minutes left.  Pray quickly...I've got much to accomplish today.  Last day of school before the Thanksgiving holiday.  And who are we kidding?  Once Thanksgiving hits, Christmas becomes a blur and we are already into a new year!  6:08am.  I must have fallen asleep and slept through my alarm!  Grrr...OK, here we go!  Get the boys up. Noah is dragging, and Judah is such a grumpy bear!  Go to the bathroom. Judah is like a rag doll as I try to get him dressed.  "C'mon, work with me, Judah."  Left to get himself dressed with as little help as possible, we would be here until 9am!   Get them dressed.  Feed them breakfast.  Make their lunches.  Give Judah his seizure medication.  That's always a battle.  Get their socks and shoes on.  6:44am.  Bus is running late.  That's alright.  It will give me time to catch my breath.  Neil is in San Antonio, so I fly solo three days a weeks.  I miss him when he is gone.  6:46am.  Whew!  We made it!  I am waiting outside for the bus with Judah, and Noah is waiting upstairs as he playing with my cell phone.

Waiting.  6:48am.  Not usually this late, but sometimes it happens.  As I am sitting on the stoop with Judah on my lap waiting for the school bus to come, I am reviewing my "to do" list for the day.  Make a pumpkin cake roll for tomorrow, clean the carpets and upholstery, finish the laundry, and tie up any loose ends for Camp Grace, a Christmas event for families who have children with special needs.  Fortunately, there is a small team of us working on Camp Grace.  I love it!  6:55am.  Where is their bus?!

Then it dawns on me...

Yesterday the bus driver said, "have a good weekend".  I thought she was taking an extra day off and someone else would take her place today.  It's happened before.  Today is Wednesday...oh, boy.  I quickly left Judah sitting on the stoop in front and ran inside the house to check the school calendar.  Another big sigh.  Sure enough...

Yep! The holidays are here...beginning today!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Wait a Minute...What am I Doing?!"

We have all had moments when we find ourselves saying "Aha! I think I understand now!"  Then there are those moments in life when we survey our circumstances, stop, declare, and ask, "Wait a minute!  What am I doing?!" 

When Neil and I were dating, we went to Six Flags Great America in Chicago where there was a ride appropriately called "The Dare Devil".  This is a free fall swing from 12.5 stories (150 feet) in the air.  I always loved the rush!  I had been cliff jumping off a forty foot ledge into the water at Devil's Lake in WI.  I had done mountain climbing and repelling the bluffs in British Columbia, Canada, and white water rafting in Calgary, Alberta. This ride greatly appealed to my sense of adventure! 

After being briefed of our instructions from the ride instructor, Neil and I were strapped in to a sort of "body sling" and began our 150 foot ascent.  We reviewed our instructions together on our way up.  "When the instructor says, 'Three-two-one...Fly', Neil pulls the cord, and we will free fall straight down.  OK, got it."  Once we hit about the 75 foot mark, the people below began looking a little too small for my comfort.  100 feet...and I had my "Wait a minute...what are we doing?" moment.  That is when Neil began to have a little fun with me. 

"I sure hope this thing works", he said with a half serious look on his face.  I looked at him with a questioning look.  125 feet and counting...

"I mean, do I pull this cord?  Or was it this one?"  I tried to stay cool, but I am sure my face all too readily revealed my concern.  150 feet.  We stopped.  Pause.  Then the instructor's voice came over the loud speaker.  "OK, Neil, 3-2-1...(another dramatic pause, and then...) FLY!"  Neil pulled the cord.  I am pretty sure I screamed.  I have to be honest, though, after that first swing through, I was loving it!  As the swing slowed down and by the time we got our feet back on the ground, I was ready for more!  A little too expensive for a second trip up and back, but the first one was definitely worth the thrill!

Since then, I have had a few of those "wait a minute...what am I doing" moments in life.  I've noticed that they usually come during times when I look around at the circumstances in life and feel I have no idea what I have gotten myself into. 

I am reminded of Peter who wanted to believe that it was really Jesus walking on the water towards him and his buddies in the boat in the middle of a storm.  Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, if that is really You, then tell me to come to You on the water."  Jesus said, "Come, Peter".  And Peter stood up in the boat.  He didn't think twice.  He stepped out onto the water and began walking towards Jesus.  (Matthew 14:22-31)

Who knows how far he really got before he realized what he was actually doing.  I think often we picture Peter about five to ten steps out on the water before he realized the gravity of his situation.  However, I wonder if he was a good fifty or a hundred feet out before he had a reality check, so to speak.  I wonder this because in my life, it seems God waits until I am in completely in over my head before my "reality check" hits me full in the face.  Once I am so far, there is no going back, leaving me with only two options: stop and sink or trust God for the outcome and keep moving forward.  I'm just speculating, but I kind of think Peter was out there a ways before he realized where he was and what he was doing.  He really couldn't pull a "Scooby-Doo", turn around and run back to the boat.  It was sink or look to the One who called him out there and keep moving forward. 

Peter was doing just fine...and then he had his moment, his "wait a minute; what am I doing" moment.  He said, "Lord, save me!"  He really didn't need saving.  He was already doing what he was called to do in that moment, which, in fact, was a miracle, but it all seemed quite normal until he looked around. 

The other night, I was lying down on our loveseat facing the wall with our family pictures.  The reality of my life began to settle into my mind.  I could see myself married, but having two kids?  Being a mom?  For some strange reason, that all of a sudden, that felt weird.  Then to top that, we have two children with special needs.  OK, that sunk a little deeper.  Then I began to think...we live in Texas...working with special needs...helping out on various teams in our church...reaching out to families and other churches...working and networking with respected organizations and ministries to further the Gospel...and adoption?!

In my past, I have been honoured to work with so many ministries, but they have all been short term -- a couple years here, a few years there.  Now, eight years into child rearing, there is NO going back!  I am in this for the long haul!  I had my "Wait a minute! What am I doing?" moment right there on the loveseat, and I flashed back to the few minutes of being hoisted up 12.5 stories in the air and those 30 seconds of panicky feelings in my chest right before Neil was told to pull the cord and "fly". 

I remembered when Neil pulled that cord, I screamed half way down, but once I realized I was safe in the midst of that free fall, I truly felt as though I was flying!  Once Peter realized he was safe in Jesus' arms, although Jesus asked him why he doubted, did his heart soar at what Jesus had called him to do?  I wonder if in that moment, Peter began to understand the contrast between how the calling of God in our lives supersedes the limitations that this life mandates.  We can see how the gravity of that truth seemed to sink into Peter's heart as we follow the rest of his life.  There is no need for fear, just obedience.  We can walk forward confidently trusting God for the ability to carry out His calling in our lives regardless of the circumstances.  Philippians 1:6 says,

"I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

And there, finally, is my "aha" moment.