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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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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

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! ;)

1 comment:

  1. Great insight. So much of our lives with our kids can be a good day or a bad day just based on our perception at the time. Daily I have to surrender to God's will and not my own. I have been at this so long now that I really do know that surrendering to God's plan is always better than my own. Yet the human side makes it hard to believe that on certain days...those are always the days when I didn't get enough sleep :)

    It is so important for us moms to find a way to have a few hours a week to ourselves so that we can continue to see the trees through the forest and see the blessings that really are in our lives.

    God bless you and never give up :)

    Kathy Medina