Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Not what you had planned

I remember the day well, it was the beginning of September and excitement was in the air. Ministry was about to start, I had finished college and had been preparing for this moment. The church was excited and had given us a great house. Jill and I were about to embark on the life of ministry we had been expecting. Throughout the next few years we were living the dream of being in full time ministry. We had kids over to the house, we did missions trips, music festivals, and had all sorts of adventures. It wasn't exactly how we had envisioned it but it was great. We were going to live the Christian American Dream. After about 5 years in youth ministry we recieved the news about Kyle.

Life didn't change overnight and not even in the few years after his diagnosis but it was going to change. The dream of having a fairly routine family, working in the church, and dedicating our lives to ministry was not going to be for us.

I recently heard someone say "the ministry God has for you, is not what you had planned." This pastor said this in reference to a man who was planning on being a pastor until one of his sons was found to have severe special needs and that wasn't going to possible.

The journey that we have had is not what we had planned, and even less normal over the last couple of years. We tried many years to be as normal as possible, with so much frustration. As I was sharing stories with another dad of a special needs child recently we were recounting how the amount of invitations from others began to dry up. Between the physical limitations on Kyle and the mental capacity of doing unexpected things that dinner parties and gatherings would leave me mentally and physically exhausted and wondering why we even tried.

I don't know if I will ever work full time again, I would really love to have some sort of career and have the ability to provide, but who knows. I would be lying if I said I have reached the point of contentment with this idea of working part time.

Even in the midst of this we still believe that God has a purpose and ministry for Him. It is hard to give up on dreams of living like "normal" families, it is hard to see others succeeding in ways that we wish we could have.

My patience level currently is very low due to frustrations I have with all of the above. I believe God has something for us, and it maybe what we are doing right now, (but probably less than what we are doing).

The level of care, commitment, physical energy, and emotional fortitude take its toll. I wish I could spend this much energy on other thing to serve God, but serving God and my family is just as valid as doing "bigger things." God has those tasks for others and daily I work on trusting God to know what He is doing, because this life is not what I had planned at all.

Monday, July 11, 2011

God Showed Up

Where is God when_______? A common question when pain and suffering does not make logical sense. What about the flip side of the question? What happens when God does show up in a situation that is difficult, painful, or even devastating?

Hindsight is very easy and when at the end of a difficult process we can look back and see the way God appeared. An example of this would be the story of Joseph, the story is a classic story of pain and suffering and then at the end God works it out. During the story it was hopeless and tragic and didn’t have much hope through it.
During the journey of pain it is difficult to see God in the midst of it.

It is very easy to focus on just survival. Jill and I have felt much like that throughout our journey with Kyle.

We have survived, some days better than others. We have gotten small reminders throughout the journey of God’s faithfulness but never in a tangible way until recently.

This adventure with the triathlon has been quite a journey for us. It has been exciting, it has been an encouragement, it has been a way for us to get a little of our story to others. But beyond all of those great things something small but significant to us happened. God showed up. Now how do I know this?

Kyle and Paul had a “photo shoot” for the Post Trib. The photographer took many shots at various times throughout the hour he was there. There were poses and action shots. We had no idea what shot would be used. The following Saturday I received a text- Kyle and Paul are on the front page of the paper. Excited I quickly drove to the grocery store and bought several papers.

When Jill and I got home and began looking and reading the article, a lime green bracelet Kyle was wearing was very visible on the front page of the paper. On this green bracelet only one word could be read and it was legible. It said God.

To think that God doesn’t show up in the most unlikely places is wrong. To see God show up on a little special needs child’s bracelet on the front page of a newspaper is something that we couldn’t have orchestrated or even have thought to do. But yet to us this was a tangible reminder that God is with us through this, and God’s glory is going to be shown through Kyle’s life.

Jill and I have prayed John 9:3 “That God’s work would be displayed through his life” for Kyle and this one small little glimpse has been confirmation that he is.
Here is a link to the article and picture