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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

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Monday, January 30, 2012

From the Autism Support Network Newsletter

Something for all parents to read, but especially those of us with kids (mainly boys) with ASD. Please take a minute to read this:

Video game addiction

Rachel McCumber

Daniel started playing video games when he was 18 months old. I was a new parent and maybe this wasn’t the best decision – actually, I know for sure it wasn’t the best decision. However, what is done is done. He was amazing in some ways. He could use a mouse to make pictures on the MS Paint program on our first family computer – at 12 months old.
Paint wasn’t enough to keep his attention. He soon graduated to Mario 64 on my then-husband’s new Nintendo 64 consul. I was amazed to watch how he could with such small hands, still work all the buttons and joy stick on the controller. By 18 months, he was fascinated by Mario 64. He would play for hours, if I let him. By the time he was 2, he was an addict. Only Blue’s Clues could pull him away from Mario. I started to worry.
By the time he was two and a half, I was worrying about a lot of things. Toilet training him was difficult. Actually, keeping him clothed was difficult. He had no interest in any make believe games that required interaction with anyone else. He didn’t want to play in his room with his baby brother and me. He didn’t want me to read books to him or go to the park. He would have lived on the couch in our living room in nothing but a diaper.
I tried to limit the tv and computer. Daniel would completely melt down – biting, kicking, screaming. I noticed he really wasn’t progressing in his speech at all. He wasn’t interacting with anyone, not even the children that would come over to play. He was distant and detached. He had no interest in anything outside the electronic world of tv and video games. When I eliminated those, every day was hellish from the moment he woke up until he went to sleep. He had no interest in me, other then for food and even food was a challenge because he was such a picky eater.
I began searching for options, answers, “what I had done wrong”. My pediatrician wasn’t very helpful. Maybe I didn’t give him enough information. I was so scared that I was a horrible parent and that everyone was judging me. Our doctor’s opinion was that he was just a boy and boys develop slower. My ex-husband’s opinion was that I should just try to be Daniel’s friend. When I asked for counseling, his answer was, “If you need counseling, then it is broken beyond repair.” I was at my wit’s end.
I started searching on-line. There wasn’t much out there yet but I did find some information on how to work with my son when he melted down. I started using some of the techniques suggested. When Daniel melted down, I would hold him so he couldn’t hurt me or himself. I would calmly and in a quiet voice tell him it was ok and that he could stop and that I loved him. Very slowly, we began making progress.
We have come a long way. However, video games have been a reoccurring problem. Daniel has struggled to balance video games and life. For a long time, he could hardly get himself to stop playing when he needed to use the bathroom, let alone eat. Daniel has lied about his playing, been caught playing under the covers at 2 in the morning. He has forgone sleep to play. The only thing he has never done is lie about being sick so he could stay home from school to play. There have been very long, long stretches where he couldn’t have any video games at all.
My husband (Daniel’s step-father) and I have often described Daniel’s obsession with video games as reminiscent of a crack addiction so I wasn’t surprised and actually encouraged to find a report on a study by Dr John Charlton of the University of Bolton and Ian Danforth of Whitman College here in the USA and presented at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Dublin on the Thursday 3 April 2008. This study showed that people who are addicted to playing computer games show some of the same personality traits as people with Aspergers syndrome. According to Dr. Charlton:
The thinking in the field is that there is a scale along which people, even those considered to be ‘normal’, can be placed upon. And that people such as engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists are nearer to the non-empathising, systemising, end of the spectrum, with people with Aspergers syndrome even further along again.
Our research supports the idea that people who are heavily involved in game playing may be nearer to autistic spectrum disorders than people who have no interest in gaming.
I would assume that would make a person with Aspergers Syndrome more susceptible to a struggle with computer game addiction.
I have often toyed with the idea of eliminating video games altogether. However, I know that the other kids will want to play and that even after he leaves my house, Daniel will have to face this struggle. I figured it is better to give him the opportunity to face it now, when he has so much family support.
I asked Daniel to come out to the living room and I gave him a self test I found on myaspergerschild.com. Daniel was quite distressed as he realized the direction the questions were taking him. In order to prevent a full scale melt down, I told him to just give himself some time to consider what the answer to these questions meant. I reassured him that I was not making any decisions but rather wanted him to work on learning to be self aware and then proactive about what he found out about himself.
Later, after he had calmed down, Daniel said he could see how he bordered on addiction. Based on the fact that he answered “no” to some of the questions I considered most weighty, such as lying about being sick in order to stay home from school and game, I told him that I agreed. I reminded him of how far he had come in the last year. I pointed out how he was consistently choosing personal needs such as food and going to the bathroom over video games. I let him know that I had also noticed him recently taking time to spend with family or attend a basketball game at the local high school instead of playing video games. I explained that I thought this meant he had the ability to keep a check on this aspect of his personality. I also pointed out that he still had to be diligent and aware of the potential problem in the area of video game obsession.
Daniel agreed to work towards finding a balance. Further discussion led to Daniel defining “balance” as spending one hour of free time doing something non-video game related for every hour of video game.
Daniel still plays a lot of video games. He plays more then I would want to play and possibly more then he should play under ideal circumstances. However, a conversation has been started. I am able to say to Daniel, “How much non-school, non-chores, free-time have you spent doing something besides video games?” Instead of a melt down, more and more often, Daniel is willing to stop and do something else.
Recently I have noticed that when there is stress in his life, especially in the form of transitional changes, like me starting a new job, he becomes more likely to hide out in the video game world. He becomes more likely to be aggressive when I try to point out this pattern. However, I am learning to ask questions that help Daniel face these struggles. I will point out the added stress and ask if he thinks this may be contributing to his increased urges. Daniel is learning to be self aware by looking for outside data to verify his own perceptions. He is also learning to find alternatives for stress release. For myself, I have to remind myself that this is a lifelong journey. Instead of forcing the change, I am learning to be a combination of the mirror that reflects a relatively objective point of view for Daniel and a safety catch as a last resort. I have to remind myself to be willing to slow down and let the development be authentic.
Courtesy of Aspergers Mom

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Living Water in the Desert

I've been feeling tired, drawn out and depleted lately... my little man just got over an awful week-long stomach bug (YUCK!). His behavior and focus have been great at school but then he's been falling apart when he comes home. I'd much rather have it this way than the other way around. We will always love him no matter what! The state he's in when he comes home just shows me how hard he's working to keep it together at school, particularly now that he's started potty training! Feeling sort of emotionally parched, I've been meditating on several scriptures about the Lord providing water in the desert. There are an awful lot of instances of water in the desert in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, water takes on a whole new meaning. In the Old Testament, water in the desert clearly represents life, as water is the source of life for all living things. However, in the New Testament, water takes on a spiritual meaning with the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Water now represents life, but eternal life, through Jesus Himself.  As I have written many times before, I am not one to talk about burning bushes or visions, but I do believe that God speaks to us even today... through Scripture, a particular song, even through emails or books, or even a comment from a friend. When you start to hear the same message over and over again, you know God is speaking to you LOUD AND CLEAR and it's time to listen!!! It is almost scary when you feel something deep inside and then you see it in writing or hear it in a song or in a friend's comment. You KNOW deep down inside it's God speaking and you get those chills, not like the kind you get when you are cold or when you are nervous, it's a unique feeling... Keep reading and you'll see what I mean.

In my quiet time with the Lord, I have been reading several books and I wanted to share what I read this past week. Three excerpts from three wonderful books... completely unrelated, the authors come from completely different backgrounds and perspectives: one is a well-known author and theologian of times past, the other is a Christian music/recording artist and youth pastor, the last is a parent of a child with ASD. However, the message is the same across all three excerpts... I have felt the Lord's "voice" so strong and clear that I HAVE to share these with you.

In a recent post, I shared an excerpt from C.S. Lewis' The Horse and His Boy. In that book, as mentioned in the section I posted, Aslan the Lion (whom we associate with Jesus the Lion of Judah) shares with the boy (Shasta) that he had been protecting him all along. One of the places where the Lion granted his protection was... yup, you guessed it: the desert. Well, guess where the Lion chased Shasta to on the way out of the desert? Towards a gate where there was a cool pool of water where they stopped to refresh themselves and find renewal and rest. Hmmm...

In Mark Hall's book 'The Well' (M. Hall, 2011. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI. ISSBN: 978-0-310-56238-2), Chapter One: A Lone Woman, section titled 'The True Well,' he writes:
"Have you ever had that moment? Have you ever felt stale and hardened in your heart and yet sensed God trying to break through the thickness and say, 'I am not a book. I am not words on a screen that you sing. I am a person who wants to know you'?... I believe God speaks to us today, but we often don't hear Him because we try to exchange His living water for well water-- sustenance from our own wells... Here's the problem: Our own wells don't exist. They are a mirage concocted by the desires of our flesh and worsened by the enemy of our souls. What we consider wells are mere holes. They may produce benefits or even a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, but the results never last. The thirst always returns... When we draw on anything or anyone other than Jesus for contentment, hope, security, peace, and life, we trade the only true Well for a meaningless hole... we must spend time with Him to become more like Him. The more time we take to drink Him in the more we surrender to Him and allow Him to change us, the more Jesus becomes our Well... When Jesus isn't our Well, we often compound the problem by trying to fix things on our own. We end up feeling more isolated and out of touch with the Lord."

Just a few days later I was reading Kelly Langston's book 'Autism's Hidden Blessings' (K. Langston, 2009. Kregel Publications: Grand Rapids, MI. ISBN: 978-0-8254-2977-4), Chapter 4: The Dawn Will Surely Come- God's Promise of Refreshment and Renewal. Here is what she writes (cue the chills...):
"Life can not exist without water. Without it we become parched. We dry up, our skin hardens and our tongues thicken in need of moisture. Our bodies shut down and eventually, if left without water, we will die. In Scripture, God uses springs and fountains of water to illustrate His ability to restore His life within us, enabling us to carry on with the work He calls us to do... He (God) knows exactly where we are in the desert of autism and He is waiting for us to cry out for renewal and refreshment (John 6:1-13, 21:1-6). The loving God who refreshed Hagar and her son (Gen. 21:17-19) with life-giving water promises to provide the life-giving spring of water we need to sustain us... The Holy Spirit is our Living Water and Advocate. As we wander through the days taking care of our children, our energy dwindles until we reach the point when we just can't give any more. It's a dangerous place to be, because in our tiredness we often take out our frustrations on the ones we love... In times like these it's important to remember that Christ never meant for us to go it alone. He promises to give us living water to sustain us (John 4:13-14)... I can not fully express how invaluable the Holy Spirit is when caring for a child with autism... He challenges us no longer to fear that our children won't get all that they need to survive autism, but instead to take our child by the hand and cry out to Him for help... Lean on your Advocate to carry you through the dry spells and bring to your tired soul a bubbling, invigorating fountain (of Living Water)."

I've often written about water in this blog... particularly my little man's love of water. Well, here I will leave you with links to two videos to make you smile. One is of our vacation to Cancun, where the little man had a BLAST playing in the water. The other is of Casting Crown's song "Come to the Well." I pray these will be refreshments to your soul.

Cancun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6-nAekdUy0
Casting Crowns "Come to the Well": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW5unzXXC0k

Be blessed!

He LOVES the water!!!

Change is in the wind...

Hi all! There are so many changes coming up in the world of autism spectrum disorders that I have decided I will be posting some of the most important information right onto my blog, plus I will post a copy of the links into the respective pages: Autism Research News, News & Articles, Book listing, Informational Videos, etc.

This does NOT mean I will stop writing my own posts, but I feel everyone needs to stay informed during these times of change.

God bless you all and happy reading!

From MedLinePlus Heath News:

'Co-Occurring' Disorders May Explain Change in Autism Diagnosis

As symptoms of other conditions become more apparent, labels may vary, study suggests
URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_121081.html (*this news item will not be available after 04/22/2012)
Monday, January 23, 2012 HealthDay Logo
HealthDay news image MONDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Many children with autism also have other developmental or psychiatric conditions, including learning disabilities, speech delays, attention or seizure disorders and anxiety.
According to new research, some of those co-occurring conditions may explain why autism diagnoses often change as children get older.
In a survey by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, more than one-third of parents with children between 6 and 17 years old reported that their child's diagnosis of autism had changed over time.
"We don't know what changed the diagnosis. However, we want to deliver the message that it's important to look at the other coexisting conditions, evaluate them before you make a diagnosis, and also recognize these conditions vary by development age," said study author Li-Ching Lee, an associate scientist in the epidemiology and mental health departments at the School of Public Health.
Autism is a neurodevelopment disorder characterized by problems with social interaction, communication and restricted interests and behaviors.
In the study, researchers used 2007-2008 survey data from the parents of nearly 1,400 children aged 3 to 17 who had received a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including autism, Asperger disorder -- a mild form of autism, and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified.
Parents were asked if their child currently had a diagnosis of autism or an ASD, or had had one in the past.
Nearly 26 percent of parents of children aged 3 to 5 reported a change in diagnosis, the researchers said. Nearly 34 percent of parents of children aged 6 to 11 and 35 percent of the parents of 12- to 17-year-olds reported their child was diagnosed with autism at some point but no longer was considered to have autism, the researchers found.
Overall, children with two or more co-occurring developmental or psychiatric conditions were five times more likely than kids with fewer coexisting conditions to continue to have an autism diagnosis, the researchers said.
Kids who had a moderate-to-severe learning disability were 11 times more likely to continue to have an autism diagnosis over time, while kids with a developmental delay were nine times more likely to retain an autism diagnosis, the study authors said.
Researchers didn't look at why certain conditions are associated with a change in autism diagnosis. But some of the symptoms of various development and psychiatric conditions can overlap, so it's possible that having certain ones can lead to a misdiagnosis until the child gets older and their issues become more clear, according to the study.
For example, kids diagnosed with a hearing problem showed a tendency to "lose" their autism diagnosis over time. Researchers speculated that behaviors that initially resembled autism symptoms -- not responding or not engaging -- were later discovered to stem from impaired hearing.
The study is published in the February issue of Pediatrics.
Dr. Joseph Horrigan, assistant vice president and head of medical research for the advocacy group Autism Speaks, cautioned not to make too much of the findings. The children weren't actually followed over time, nor were they actually examined, a methodology that would be the "gold standard" of research.
Because the results were based on a telephone survey, Horrigan said, "I'd be a little cautious about over-interpreting whether this means there's likely to be change in an autism diagnosis or a loss of an autism diagnosis for a given individual."
Nor did researchers look at kids whose diagnosis went the other way -- that is, they were initially not diagnosed with autism but were later diagnosed with it.
However, the findings highlight how often kids with ASD experience other conditions, some of which may be treatable with medications or with educational interventions. These include anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, epilepsy and learning disabilities.
"Up until the recent past, there's been a tendency to spend most of the time and energy on the autism and the autism diagnosis, and thinking about a treatment package that's keyed directly to the autism," Horrigan said. "What's important here is they are highlighting some of the most common co-occurring disorders, a number of which are readily amenable to treatments."
An estimated one in 110 U.S. children -- many more boys than girls -- has autism, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Li-Ching Lee, Ph.D., ScM, associate scientist, departments of epidemiology and mental health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and co-director, Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Epidemiology, Baltimore; Joseph Horrigan, M.D., assistant vice president, head of medical research, Autism Speaks; February 2012 Pediatrics

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An Excerpt from C.S. Lewis' The Horse and His Boy (The Chronicles of Narnia)

In reference to my previous post (Not Seeing the Forest for the Trees) I wanted to share one of my favorite portions of the book 'The Horse and His Boy,' from C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. This story is about a boy named Shasta who is on a journey to an unknown destination. This touched my heart and soul WAY back before Nathan was even in my prayers or plans and I wanted to share it with you:

Chapter Eleven: The Unwelcome Fellow Traveler
"'What on earth am I to do?' said Shasta to himself. But he remounted his horse and continued along the road he had chosen, in the faint hope of finding some cottage where he might ask for shelter and a meal. He had thought, of course, of going back...but he couldn't because by now he had not the least idea of the direction. 'After all,' said Shasta,'this road is bound to get somewhere.' But that all depends on what you mean by somewhere. The road kept on getting to somewhere in the sense that it got to more and more trees, all dark and dripping, and to colder and colder air... strange, icy winds kept blowing the mist past him though they never blew it away...

'I do think,' said Shasta, 'that I must be the most unfortunate boy that ever lived in the whole world. Everything goes right for everyone except me... I was left behind... I was the one who was sent on... I got left out.' And being very tired and having nothing inside him, he felt so sorry for himself that the tears rolled down his cheeks. What put a stop to all this was a sudden fright. Shasta discovered that someone or somebody was walking beside him. It was pitch dark and he could hardly hear any footfalls. What he could hear was breathing. His invisible companion seemed to breathe on a very large scale, and Shasta got the impression that it was a very large creature. And he had come to notice this breathing so gradually that he had really no idea how long it had been there. It was a horrible shock.

It darted into his mind that he had heard long ago that there were giants in these Northern countries. He bit his lip in terror. But now that he really had something to cry about, he stopped crying. The Thing (unless it was a person) went on beside him so very quietly that Shasta began to hope he had only imagined it. But just as he was becoming quite sure of it, there suddenly came a deep, rich sigh out of the darkness beside him. That couldn't be imagination! Anyway, he felt the hot breath of that sigh on his chilly left hand... 

At last he could bear it no longer. 'Who are you?' he said, scarcely above a whisper. 
'One who has waited long for you to speak,' said the Thing. Its voice was not loud, but very large and deep. 
'Are you-- are you a giant?,' asked Shasta. 
'You might call me a giant,' said the Large Voice. 'But I am not like the creatures you call giants. 
'I can't see you at all,' said shasta after staring very hard. Then (for an even more terrible idea had come into his head), he said, almost in a scream, 'You're not-- not something dead, are you? Oh, please-- please do go away. What harm have I ever done you? Oh, I am the unluckiest person in the whole world.'

Once more he felt the warm breath of the Thing on his hand and face. 
'There,' it said, 'that is not the breath of a ghost. Tell me your sorrows.' 
Shasta was a little reassured by the breath: so he told how he had never known his real father or mother and had been brought up sternly by the fisherman. And then he told the story of his escape and how he was chased by lions and forced to swim for their lives; and of all their dangers... and he told about the heat and thirst of the desert journey and how they were almost at their goal when another lion chased them... and also how very long it was since he had anything to eat.

'I do not call you unfortunate,' said the Large Voice. 
'Don't you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?' said Shasta. 
'There was only one lion,' said the Voice. 
'What on earth do you mean? I've just told you there were at least two the first night, and--' 
'There was only one; but he was swift of foot.' 
'How do you know?' 
'I was the lion.' And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued. 'I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you could reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you... Child... I tell no one any story but his own.' 

'Who are you?' asked Shasta. 
'Myself," said the voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again, 'Myself,' loud and clear and gay: and then the third time 'Myself," whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all round you as if the leaves rustled with it. 
Shasta was no longer afraid that the Voice belonged to something that would eat him, nor that it was the voice of a ghost. But a new and different sort of trembling came over him. Yet he felt glad too.... A golden light fell on them from the left. He thought it was the sun. He turned and saw, pacing beside him, taller than the horse, a Lion... It was from the Lion that the light came. No one ever saw anything more terrible or beautiful... after one glance at the Lion's face he slipped out of the saddle and fell at its feet. He couldnt' say anything but then he didn't want to say anything, and he knew he needn't say anything.

The High King above all kings stooped towards him. Its mane, and some strange and solemn perfume that hung about the mane, was all round him. It touched his forehead with its tongue. He lifted his face and their eyes met. Then instantly the pale brightness of the mist and the fiery brightness of the Lion rolled themselves together into a swirling glory and gathered themselves up and disappeared."

I hope you, too, find that the Lord is walking with you, even when you feel like the most unfortunate person on this earth. Jesus is there with you... the Holy Spirit breathes His sweet breath upon you. Take the time to know Him and see that He is always there!

Be blessed!

Not Seeing the Forest for the Trees...

I was going to name this post "What if?" Then something happened that made me change my mind. We were home for the long weekend and I was struck by the daytime view through the little man's bedroom window. Being the middle of January in New England, all the leaves have fallen off the trees. The view from his window is so different without the leaves on the many trees outside! He can now see so many more airplanes and traffic helicopters up in the sky! I never really have time to just look out any bedroom window! By the time I do get a peek it's usually as I draw closed the shades and curtains after dark when we're getting ready for bed. I just hadn't noticed the long distance view now that the leaves have fallen off the trees...

I've written before about trusting God's long-distance view on this journey. Today I want to write about the idiom 'Not Seeing the Forest for the Trees." This refers to getting so focused on the details in front of us that we miss the overall picture. As parents of kids with special needs it is SO easy NOT to see the forest for the trees! It is SO easy to fall into the trap of self-pity, getting bogged down in what's happening now/today that we are blind to the MANY blessings God grants us EVERY DAY! It is SO easy to get stuck in the "what if's?"...

Well, go ahead, write down all your "what if's"... then FORCE yourself to answer each one and you WILL find the blessings in your current situation. Finally, go back and read what you have written. See how many blessings you would have missed out on if you were not walking this walk?!?!? Today someone said to me, "Your son is so fortunate to have you!" After thanking them for their kind words, I cheerfully replied, "Actually, I'm the one who's fortunate to have HIM!" No, this journey is NOT easy, but guess what? I have YET to meet ANY parent who says raising any child is easy. I am not minimizing our challenges, but finding peace on this journey is so much about perspective! No, I can't biologically have any more children, but for all purposes I should not be here today yet I am here and alive watching my son grow up... he may have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum but by all purposes we should not even have a child to begin with and I should be in Heaven, therefore I am incredibly blessed!

I mentioned in a previous post that I've been reading a few books written by parents of kids with ASD. In my daily readings I came across a scripture in Kathy Medina's book "Finding God in Autism" (see my list of recommended books) that really got my attention. Philippians 4:13 is such a popular verse, one I often wear inscribed in jewelry and numerous athletes have worn proclaiming strength and victory through Christ...but very few people quote the verses just prior to verse 13. Philippians 4:11 is the verse I'd like to focus on today. The apostle Paul writes, "for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances" (NIV). The New King James Version says, "for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." Funny how THAT verse is not so popular, nor is it so frequently quoted, yet it is SO important for our walk with Christ to think this way! Like the apostle Paul, I can say "for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances" (Phil. 4:11b NIV) but ONLY because I know that, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13 NKJV).

We can not do this alone! Hang on to Jesus' hand! Spend time seeking Him and you will learn to feel and hear the Holy Spirit walking right by your side. Know that He is in control. Do NOT let yourself NOT see the blessings for the trials, or the forest for the trees! Keep a journal. Document in writing all the good and bad things God has seen you through and go back to read it periodically. Jot down Scripture that helped you along the way to revisit in the future. Always remember Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (NIV). Furthermore, "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:32 (NIV).

Remember how I'd been asking for prayer that my Sunday mornings become easier? Well, our children's ministry has now adopted a uniform, meaning I don't have to worry about (at least) finding sensory friendly attire to wear on Sunday mornings. It's a small detail, but to me it is just one more way of God showing me He is with me... I'm choosing to see the forest for the trees... God's already there... to quote my favorite Christian band, Casting Crowns and their song 'Already There':
From where I'm standing, Lord, it's so hard for me to see where this is going
And where You're leading me
I wish I knew how all my fears and all my questions are gonna play out
In a world I can't control...
When I'm lost in the mystery, to you my future is a memory 'cause you're already there
You're already there standing at the end of my life, waiting on the other side... you're already there!
From where You're standing, Oh, Lord You see the grand design that You imagined
When You breathed me into life
And all the chaos comes together in Your hands like a masterpiece
Of Your picture perfect plan...
One day I'll stand before You and look back on the life I've lived
I can't wait to enjoy the view and see how all the pieces fit...
One day I'll stand before you and look back on the life I've lived but You're already there!
Listen to the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RZ2pSmNg8U
Here's Mark Hall's "story behind the song": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W99gAQ_FRzY

Have a blessed day!
God's masterpiece! ;)