Don’t Lose Hope: A Letter to Special Needs Parents

It’s a rare thing when I choose to reblog a post, but this post really nailed my feelings when it comes to parenting! I’m so grateful because it highlighted something I needed to accept: This is my life, even if I don’t want it to be… Please visit the blog and have a read, especially if you are a special needs parent, but even if you’re not, this post can enlighten you. Have a good read ❤ and don’t give up! 

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Dear Special Needs Parent, This unexpected life is weird, wonderful, wild and ugly, isn’t it? I think we, of all people, are the ones who can rightly say, “It’s complicated.”…

Source: Don’t Lose Hope: A Letter to Special Needs Parents

The Jesus heart

It was 2012 January. It was cold and Japan was still much affected by the 2011 triple disaster and I was very much affected by the fact that our child had been traumatized in her Japanese kindergarten. overkwork.jpeg
My body was weak and my heart was slowly freezing. I was trying to recoup so I could help my child overcome. But my mental and physical condition was rather bad. I slept 2 to 3 hours pr. night. This was before my husband sent me off to the doctor to get some sleeping pills… (So glad he did!).

To get away from it all, we went to the mountains in the Kanto region near Mt. Fuji during that January. Just my daughter and me. I thought I needed to get away… It didn’t do my health much good, but the Lord gave me a Blessing I’ll never forget:
While there, we visited the Venetian glas museum, where Jesus met me in one of my deepest moments of despair.
Imagine an almost empty Venetian estate. Inside it’s full of various glass art, from facets to colorful engravings. The walls are all covered with gorgeous art and the ceiling with paintings of beauty. The lighting is soft and dim in most places and you can hear the smooth sound of water from fountains from almost any place inside the estate.Hakone_Venetian_Glass_Museum_002.jpg

The place was almost empty because it was out of season and my daughter was excitedly going from display to display, up and down the stairs, wow’ed by the beauty.
I was scared of the future, frightened at the present and angry about the past.

I looked up at the ceiling, wondering if life would ever work out – and saw the replica of the famous “Last supper” painted there. I found Jesus and as I did, it was as if His eye moved, looked at me and I heard His voice whisper “You will be okay!”.
Immediately I broke into tears. They streamed down my face… I kept focusing on Jesus in the painting. I refused to let the moment go… but my daughter was calling me and I had to wipe the tears and keep moving.

Jesusheart.jpgMy heart was both heavy and yet light. I knew I was in a rut, but I also knew that Jesus had spoken to me. His assurance took the burden off me. I can’t say that life got easy after this, but that day and the rest of the week in the mountains certainly did.

On our way out of the museum, I stopped by the gift shop and I saw a beautiful red glass heart pendant. I bought it despite the price tag being way over what I would usually pay for a glass pendant, and I call it my “Jesus heart”.
He glued my heart that day with His words.

It’s 5 years ago and it’s still fresh in memory and the heart still hangs around my neck.

Leave the past in the past – Philippians 3:13-16

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There are 3 things God is working out in my life right now: Worship, relationship within His body and the death of my mother.

My mother was a “suburb alcoholic”. She had a full time job and was a full time wife and mom and cook and maid… and she never had an easy life. She wasn’t a drunk hanging out on the sidewalks or sitting on park benches with a bottle of something. She was a hardworking woman who enjoyed alcohol a bit too much. She had a choice. During my childhood I don’t remember her being particularly nasty or drunk, but during my teens I do remember how viciously evil she could become in her words especially when alcohol went in and took over. She couldn’t control her drinking and it became her death.

On the night she died, the ambulance came around 4 pm after she had vomited blood and she fell to the floor drifting in and out of unconsciousness. She was taken to the emergency room and received blood… But the doctors couldn’t stop the bleeding. After several hours of trying to save her life, she was taken to the ICU, where a kind nurse was wiping away her blood as it came from mouth, nose, ear – every hole in her body. They put her in a respirator and on sleep inducing painkiller.

I got a shock when I saw her. She didn’t look awful, but with 7 needles in her hand I couldn’t hold it. So I pushed my hand underneath hers. I knew that her life would end. They woke her up so we could say our goodbye’s… I told her I loved her. She couldn’t answer me because of all the tubes, but her eyes spoke and I’m grateful for that moment. After a bit they put her back to sleep and her blood slowly ran out of her body. I was wiping it away as gently as I could. The life ran out of her and I was wiping it up. My brother asked the doctor if it was cirrhosis of the liver and he nodded.

The doctors told us that it would be a miracle if she made it through the night. They put words on it. I remember that sinking feeling and I asked my dad “what happens if she does make it through the night?” – and his answer was “then it will be a miracle if she makes it through tomorrow”. She didn’t make it through the night. About 3 hours later, at 1 am, she drew her last breath and the machine went silent. But those 3 hours lasted… for what seemed like a lifetime. Watching someone – a loved one – bleed to death is tough. You know what is coming so you want to hang on. Yet, you know what is coming so you want it to be over with fast.

After her death my life seemed to stop and I couldn’t understand how the world could continue. It took some time, but I eventually came to terms with my mom’s death. I forgave her for choosing continually to drink even when the doctors had told her to stop (yes, she knew, but she had kept it quiet). We learn to live without our loved ones and it is now 11 years ago and some months.

My mom was not a believer. At the time, I was not a believer either. I so wish I had been though! If I had just had my Jesus during that time, I would have had something to hang on to and trust. A never ending strength and love… But I didn’t. In my family there is a tendency on my moms side to depression. I am not sure how far back it goes, but I know that my mom’s dad had it (who died very young somewhere in Berlin during WWII), my mom had it and turned to alcohol and her brother had it and turned to a gun ending up shooting himself (suicide). I have it too. But I will be forever grateful that Jesus came and picked me up and though I may have struggles, I will never need alcohol or a gun or anything else besides Jesus.

But recently God has brought my mom up again and I knew there was something I had to deal with but I didn’t know what. After all, it’s 11 years ago and I am okay with my mom being gone. But – when a friend shared how God was working the grief of loosing one of her parents out in her – I found myself sharing my moms death with her. Which is something I rarely do. Yes, she’s dead. Yes, she was an alcoholic. Yes, we learn to live without our parents. But… I suddenly realized that I had not come to terms with the way she died. The blood, the tubes, the needles in her hand. I have had some weeping days and this time I am allowing myself to cry. When God shows you that there is still pain in your heart, He wants to heal it. So I am pouring out my pain to Him.

I wanted to share with all of you who actually read this blog, where God had me open my Bible this morning and the words jumped right at me. I know Paul is not talking directly about dealing with grief and loss and trauma, but still;

Philippians 3:13, 15-16 (GNT)
13 … the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead.  –  15 All of us who are spiritually mature should have this same attitude. But if some of you have a different attitude, God will make this clear to you. 16 However that may be, let us go forward according to the same rules we have followed until now.

And God spoke; “leave the past in the past”.

I definitely have something I need to deal with and then leave it at His feet.

Slow motion baby steps

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After 3.11.2011 when it all began, I gradually and slowly became more and more worried and concerned about all the little details as well as the big issues of life. It happened at a speed so slow I never realized just how bad it had gotten. During this time I took care of my daughter’s physical needs but ever so often neglected her emotional needs. The last 6 months in her kindergarten things weren’t good, but it didn’t get really bad until we pulled her out of the kindergarten. After that things went down hill fast. Looking back, I feel guilty. My daughter had taken far too many emotional punches in her kindergarten, so many that she resisted and gave up learning the language. She needed me, but I didn’t realize it. Because – I was so stressed and worried about everything else. Somehow in my mind I thought that pulling her out of the kindergarten would magically bring her back to normal state of mind. I was wrong, but I didn’t realize this until I got the help I needed. Then I took some baby steps back to being a mom.

My first cry to the Lord was also the first step into a whole new spiritual world and way of life. My first morning coffee with Jesus was the first step into the spiritual realm. A world I had never been in before (see previous posts).

On the first many mornings of my coffee with Jesus, I emptied my heart in every sense of the word. I spoke anything that came to mind – in silence. Gave up everything that was left in me – in silence. I didn’t see that there was very little of my old self left in me. I was filled with fear, worry and concern. Those very things that had forced me down the spiral of evil. One of Satan’s favorite ways of getting us down is just that: Fear. A year had passed since 3.11. 2011 – and not until then did I get help. A whole year with gradual fears and worries getting worse daily and me not noticing at all. But now that I was standing up again, feeling more like a human as well as more like a mom again, I thought it was all done. But no… I was very wrong. My muscle relaxing medicine was working and gave a false sense of being “normal”. Still – I was able to be a mom again, though at times I withdrew to give myself time away from everything.

Despite knowing that something had to change, I had no clue what. Yes, my circumstances had to change, but what circumstances and to what? The road seemed blocked at that point. My daughter didn’t want to speak the japanese language, the aftershocks of the big earthquake was still happening, the food issues were never ending, the air radiation was a daily online check – and I had grown weary and tired. On top of everything else, my stress obviously was also affecting my marriage. Blessed me, my husband had been very kind and accepting during the past year. He was still accepting of me needing my “personal space” but  being aware of my stress disorder was likely a relief at this point for him.

During my morning coffee’s with Jesus, I gradually learned to give up control. Sounds easy… it’s not! My circumstances were out of my control, which left me feeling helpless and hopeless. When fear and worries presses down on you, helplessness is right down that same alley. I had no choice but to give up fighting and give up myself to His care. Still it took a long time for me to be able to give up my worries and just trust Him. The better part of a full year actually. I didn’t want to be afraid, but I couldn’t help it. It was like a bad habit. Now that I am on the other side of the stress disorder, suddenly things look more clear. Obviously, we are not in control of calamities and obviously, if you are a believer, control belongs to God, not us. Without knowing it, I was slowly letting go of fear and worries and was on my way to allow God to control my life. But Satan is vicious and he had every intention of not allowing me, to allow God. The closer I came to Jesus during my coffee morning, the more I was able to let go. You see, Satan is powerless if Jesus is around. And He was with me. I felt His presence so often during this time and I was filled up spiritually. I put on the armor of God through the power of Jesus, and when that happens, Satan hides. As soon as my daily routine began though, satan was right back on my shoulder poking me in every way he could. I was an easy target… and most days I gave in and fell over. Crying my heart out. Climbing back up from a pit of stress which satan has painted with glue is not something you can do on your own.

I slowly but safely began to take my first baby steps in slow motion.