Monday, October 12, 2015

Why I no longer drink or how Jesus saved me twice

How Jesus saved me twice.

Jesus saved me the first time when I accepted his gift of salvation.  As the Bible says, I passed from death to life. I no longer have to worry about my eternity. I know that when I die physically, I will be with Jesus forever.  I will forever be thankful for that.

I learned that though I had accepted his gift of salvation, I had not turned my entire life over to him. I didn't realize it for a long time. Sometimes life with two X-Men can be stressful.  At the end of a particularly stressful day, I would make a drink for myself. Often times it was vodka and lemonade. I have never been a beer drinker or wine drinker, but I lightly joked that even Jesus drank wine, so the occasional drink was no big deal.

When the arbaclofen (STX 209) drug trial ended, I was devastated. I didn't give my worries to the Lord, but started having more and more drinks. I soon started drinking straight vodka and skipping the lemonade altogether.  I kept my shot glass in the cupboard and used it regularly. "Just to take the edge off," I would tell myself. 

It got to the point where I would drink some every day. I was embarrassed that I bought vodka so often. I sort of wondered what the people at the grocery store must think but figured there were a lot of other people buying alcohol as well and maybe I wasn't standing out in the crowd as much as I thought I was.  I was hiding my drinking from other people. I didn't tell Eric how much I was actually drinking. I hid empty bottles, much to my shame.

I knew I was becoming more and more dependent on alcohol. I would feel like I needed it before doing any kind of social event.  I wanted to stop drinking but felt like it was out of my control.

The Holy Spirit was convicting me. I heard numerous sermons about sin and knew that I was putting my trust in alcohol instead of God. How could I not trust the One whom I said I believed in for eternity when I couldn't even put my faith in Him for everyday problems?

But I also knew that I would not stop drinking on my own. I told the Lord that if I were to stop drinking, he would have to remove the temptation from me completely.  And, since God is faithful even when we are not, he did just that. Like the flipping of a switch, I no longer wanted alcohol. The thought of alcohol actually turned my stomach and made me feel nauseated. I dumped any leftover alcohol I had and haven't had a drop since then. In fact, I have no desire to drink whatsoever.

However, people would ask me why I don't drink anymore and I would say that I just felt like it was not good for me. And while that is true, the actual reason I stopped was because I realized that I was not putting my trust in God and was putting my trust in vodka instead.  When we put things ahead of God in our lives that is called idolatry and the Lord hates it. I can say with certainty that drinking alcohol was an idol to me.  Thank God that He delivered me from that!  Now when I am stressed I take a few minutes to myself and pray to God. He has never let me down!

This is something I am not proud to admit about myself. Is is humbling to admit my weakness. But the Lord nudged me to share it with you to show how He is able to deliver us from every thing that we put before Him. It has been over two years since my last drink and I have Him to thank for it. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Some thoughts on prayer

I am a praying person. Sometimes people question why we need to pray to God if He is going to do whatever He wants anyway. 

I was listening to a sermon by Adrian Rogers and he told a story that really touched me. He said that a college invited him to speak and sent a private airplane to pick him up. He said the pilot asked him if he'd like to try flying the plane for a little bit. Of course Adrian wanted to give it a try!  He said it was exhilarating knowing he was flying the plane. He said that pilot didn't need him to fly the airplane, but Adrian definitely needed the pilot!  He said they made a connection and enjoyed the experience together.   And he said that's what God does with us. Even though God doesn't need our participation, He invites us to partner with Him in what He is doing. It will allow us to fellowship with Him and learn to depend on Him. 

Another thing I've been learning is this:  as someone who prays, I spend a lot of time praying for temporary needs. There is nothing wrong with this--in fact the bible tells us to be persistent in our prayers. Jesus even tells us to ask for "our daily bread" in the example he gave his disciples  of how to pray. 

But I recently started thinking about prayers that pertain to eternal things. Maybe it is more important to pray that a person's faith grows than their comfort. Sometimes God takes us out of our comfort zone because he wants us to depend on him. Maybe then we will really experience the exhilaration of flying with Him. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Meltdown of epic proportions

So, we had plans for Drew to meet his new teacher before school starts. We made arrangements with her and planned to meet Drew's aide at the school.  I precisely planned the timing of telling Drew about it. He seemed to take it pretty well. Blake knew about it but didn't make a big deal about it, either. Blake started talking about how he wanted to sit in the front seat. I told him he needed to sit in the back today and to let Drew sit in the front seat. Sometimes when Drew sits in the back and gets nervous, I have a very hard time getting him out. I figured it would be easier to get Drew out of the front seat than the very back of the van.  

We all got ready and while I was turning things off in the house, Blake ran out to the van and got in the front seat and buckled in. I scolded him and told him to get in the back, but he refused. Drew was getting agitated about it and climbed into the backseat. I decided to not make a big deal about it, because I wanted to keep them both calm and happy.

We got to the school and Blake was quite agitated. He repeatedly lock the door when Drew wouldn't get out of the van. Thankfully, I had my keys with me and was able to unlock the doors. Eventually Drew got out and went inside the school with his aide. At this point, Blake was very agitated and wouldn't get out of the van. I let Drew go in and told his aide that I would wait in the van for him.

After a few minutes, his teacher came outside. I had gotten Blake calmed down at this point and he came in the school with me. I was able to go in the classroom and talk with the teacher. Drew waited in the hallway for the most part.

Blake slammed the classroom door and ran out to the van, which was right outside the door. I knew the parking lot was pretty much empty, so I didn't follow immediately. After finishing up my conversation with the teacher and aide, (just a minute or two later) I went out to the van. Blake was all ready coming back towards the building. He said, "I broke the van it is broken."  I got in the van to check it out, and sure enough, he had pulled the sun visor off. The plastic was actually broken. Drew freaked out and started yelling, "he broke it he broke it Mom the van is broken!" I agreed, but tried to stay very calm about it, even though I was upset about it. When we got home I called my mom to see if she could come over while I ran the van up to the car dealership to see what they thought about it. Too bad I didn't call her to see if she could watch Blake while Drew and I went alone to the school!  Anyway, she came over and I brought the van to the car dealership. They looked up the part, which needed to be replaced completely. It is going to cost $143 to fix! It was an expensive visit to the teacher. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pool Party Success

So, as an update to THIS post, here are some pictures of the Arc pool party we went to last night.  We all had lots of fun, even though the water was so cold! 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

When Special Needs Child Rearing Differs from Typical Child Rearing

Sometimes I vent about my kids and their behavior.  If you don't have a special needs kid, you might say, "Well, that's all kids.  My kids do that, too."  And I don't dispute that there are similarities.  But I can almost guarantee that the scope of the behavior varies greatly.

As you may have guessed, I am thinking of a particular situation we are dealing with right now. (read: enduring)

Yesterday, Shelby County Arc was scheduled to have a pool party.  When it comes to outings, we need to tread carefully about introducing the idea to our kids.  Drew especially struggles with going places.  So, I broke the news that we had a pool party last night.  Amazingly, he took the news really well.  He even tried on his new swim trunks without coaxing.  Unfortunately, the weather was bad and the party was postponed to tonight.  He was in his swim trunks and I had to tell him the party was cancelled.  Again, he took the news well and changed into his regular clothes.

As he often does on Saturday, he started obsessing about going to church on Sunday.  He follows me around the house, saying, "I'm not going to church on Sunday.  I can't open the door for the ladies.  Mens go first.  Church is cancelled."  We assure him that he is going to church on Sunday, and he can open the door for the ladies.  It doesn't matter what we say, he continues this conversation over and over.  He asks who will be there.  The expected answer is "Lofty"  Who is Lofty, you might ask?  Lofty is Drew's imaginary friend, the crane character from Bob the Builder.  We think he relates to Lofty because Lofty is hesitant and anxious about things, just like Drew.

So, we were already on this treadmill conversation and had been for a couple hours at least, when I let it slip that we are going to the pool party tonight.  So, added to the conversation about church, he says he can't go swimming, he hates swimming.  Lofty will not be there.  And he hates Little Caesars.  Wait, what?  What does Little Caesar's have to do with it?  Well, a few times, we stopped at Little Caesars for a Hot and Ready pizza and breadsticks.  So, now we have to do it every time we go swimming, or a meltdown ensues with self-injurious behavior and all.

I keep reassuring him that he can do it, and he will have fun.  I made him a schedule and showed him pictures of past pool parties to remind him  that he likes pool parties.  But still he follows me around as I try to do some household chores, going through his script, so close that he bumps into me if I turn around too fast.  It is now twenty minutes before five.  We have almost two hours until we leave for the pool party.  His behavior will escalate with his anxiety as the pool party approaches.  Would it be easier to forgo these outings?  You bet.  But we know that he will have fun and have a sense of pride that he actually was about to do it, just like we told him.  I will update later with pictures of his success.  Hopefully.