Suffering and Heaven

18920650_10158894564500074_8516742202078951748_nYesterday I took just Gabe out shopping.  I don’t often get to spend alone time with him and I was reminded what an amazing kid he is.  He has such a tender soul.  He wants to run an orphanage when he grows up… but he also wants to drive a Ferrari, so… 😉

We had a fun time, just the two of us.  On the way home he kept asking me about Heaven and what it’ll be like when Jesus comes back.

I explained to him that Jesus will appear in the sky with great glory, riding the clouds.  That every eye will see him, even those that pierced him.  That we will rise to meet him and be changed, to be like him.  That there will be no more sickness, death, pain…

I got choked up and so did he.  He said, “Mom, I can see him coming.”  I said, “honey that’s the Holy Spirit showing you that it’s true.”

You see, just the day before he had been in a lot of pain.  In between tears and sobs he had asked, “if God loves me, why am I suffering so much?”

The conversation, and the sweet presence of God, was something we both desperately needed.  Something that I need more of.

In my own suffering I tend to turn away.  I feel like I can’t take anymore disappointment at times, without losing hold of my faith.  But yesterday, it was like He peeled back the curtain obscuring eternity and gave us both a glimpse of our future and the end of suffering.  I felt a glimpse of the eternity and wonder awaiting us, and looking over at Gabe’s tear-filled eyes, I know he did too.

I know that Gabriel is being molded in ways I can’t even begin to comprehend.  I know he has a huge call on his life.  Even at the age of 8, there is a level of tenderness, empathy and hunger for knowledge of God that is amazing…. probably as the result of all the suffering he’s had to endure.

We can got lost in the hardships we face but we need to remember that life here is short and eternity is long.  We can’t choose the trials but we can choose how we face them.  Our God loves us.

 

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Autism and Detoxing

I’ll be totally honest, this has been the first summer break I haven’t dreaded. Why? Because my oldest child, Michael, is on the autism spectrum with a side of A.D.D. It’s difficult to understand the strain and chaos that can entail if you don’t have a child on the spectrum.

That’s why I’ve always felt like I needed the break I get when he’s going to school everyday. Michael, like many other ASD kids, does best with structure and routine. Summer break just unravels all of that and leads to…well, stress that was enough to make me dread it months out.

I honestly haven’t this year, at all. Michael has made major progress. He’s been taking silica everyday and I think it has really helped.

See, I’ve done a ton of research (yes, I’m a proud google-mamma) and I believe all his neurological symptoms are a result of the synergistic toxicity described in this pub med study… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3170075/ and others.

I had Michael very young and I did everything wrong. He got all his vaccines, and always with Tylenol.  It’s kind of a miracle he didn’t end up in worse shape.

But anyways the cumulative toxin overload essentially poisoned his brain and the resulting autistic symptoms were merely the result of cumulative vaccine injury.  He developed primarily sensory and behavioral issues.  Unlike other kids, we thankfully haven’t had to deal with food allergies, asthma, or gut problems resulting from his vaccine-injury.

Sierra….where’s your proof? I never had a dramatic event following a vaccine.  Michael never had a seizure or lethargy (that I can remember). He just went from being a sweet, bubbly, laid-back baby to a completely out of control toddler with major sensory issues. 192254_10150438180300074_8167383_o

I’ve no doubt in my mind that Michael was born perfect. The vaccines set him up for years of heartache and struggle….not to mention putting an enormous stress burden on myself and my husband in dealing with the fall-out.  His autism is nothing more than the degree of vaccine injury that was inflicted onto him as an infant.

For years I had heard about detoxing to reverse autism but I always assumed it was ridiculously complicated and out of reach for an average parent like me.  I just didn’t have a ton of hope that Michael could get better.  We dealt with the same behaviors and tantrums for years.  But then I saw this article http://realfarmacy.com/mineral-waters-remove-aluminum-from-brain/ …Detoxing and improving neurological health in ASD kids could be as simple as drinking a bottle of Fiji water every day.

I talked with Michael about it.  Smart kid that he is, he read the article and really wanted to give it a go.

There’s a big push in the autism community that we need to celebrate our kids autism and act like everything is a-ok.  Michael doesn’t think everything has been great.  Not when he didn’t have any friends at elementary school for two years.  Not when he struggles to control strong emotions he can’t always understand.  Not when he started to realize he was different.

He was extremely gung-ho to start, to the point that he begged me to get him a big supply of Fiji water.  It was touching and also kind of sad that he wanted so badly to gain healing from his autism.  We started right away and also bought him solgar’s oceanic silica (because everyone kept drinking his water!).

That was about three months ago and Michael has made major progress.  The tantrums have been less.  He seems more relaxed and happy.  He is just easier to be around.  Hence me not dreading summer vacation. 19055433_10158911764265074_4485162110289028260_o  I don’t think autism is something to be celebrated.  It has been like a cloud hanging over Michael, obscuring who he really is.  We owe it to our kids to help them to truly heal, so they can become that person they were meant to be.

What causes autism?  It seems glaringly clear to me.  It’s the synergistic toxicity (and the sheer volume) of the shots kids receive.  As the vaccine schedule has doubled and then tripled; autism rates have exploded.  It’s the toxins we spray so we can have pretty, bug-free lawns.  It’s the franken-food we eat.  It’s low vitamin D levels.  It’s the mthfr gene expression which makes it harder for some kids to detox the harmful adjuvants in the vaccines.

When 1 in 3 kids have a chronic health condition- we need to wake up.  In spite of (or because of!) our current vaccine schedule; kids are sicker than ever.  Somethings got to give when the projected autism rate is 50% of American children by 2025. http://www.inquisitr.com/1735694/autism-will-afflict-half-of-the-american -children-by-2025-and-glyphosate-is-to-blame-mit-doctor-says/

A Good Day

Yesterday was a good day.

My little girl turned five on Thursday and my mom and step dad came out last night.  They gave her possibly the best gift for her- a gumball machine! 18519821_10158791140855074_8977889329133441059_n Shiloh is a bit obsessed with gum so it’s perfect for her.  Gabe had a good day too.  His little friend came over and he got to play and have fun like a “normal” kid for the first time in a loooong time.  Then he felt up to playing outside with another friend for another hour and a half.  Lots of giggling and running around.  It made me so happy because since we quit topical steroids nearly three months ago he has been going through hellish withdrawals and had many days where he had to carry him because he was too weak and in too much pain to walk.

20170519_182541So he had a great day and got to have cake and ice cream!!  You can see there is still some redness and scabbing on his face.  But he has come so far from these days…  20170225_083718   I got another gift as well.  Gabe had been upset about getting disciplined by his dad.  He was really pouting but I went up and cuddled him anyways.  He said, “Mom, I like being around you because you are always really happy.”  That meant a lot to me because I have really struggled with depression but I don’t want it to affect my kids at all.  I’m so glad Gabe doesn’t see that.

 

My Power Source

I haven’t written in a while.  Summer is always a busy and chaotic around here!

I also switched jobs.  Now I work part time as a barista at a Target Starbucks.  Honestly, the job I’ve wanted for a long time.  I love Target and I love Starbucks!  I also love getting a discount, yay!  13626415_10154249884502429_8547029261097152568_nMy friend snapped this on my first day.

My husband’s brother and his family visited for the first time from Virginia a little over a week ago.  It was incredibly special.  We had a blast, hanging out and doing tourist-ey things with them.

Tomorrow is a big milestone for me.  I’ll be turning 30.  I’m kind of sad to leave my 20’s behind, but older = wiser, right?

I watched the movie ‘Miracles from Heaven’ a few nights ago.  At about 20 minutes in I started crying and couldn’t stop.  It just touched so many nerves for me.  The child in pain, the mom losing hope- it’s definitely been where I’ve been at for a long time.

My 7 year old son, Gabriel, has had severe eczema for years now.  It has been so tough for him.  Lately we haven’t been letting him play outside because he reacts so strongly to the allergens.  His eyes are always bright red lately.  There’s times where he can’t sleep because the itching or pain is so intense.  And all of this with daily anti-histamines and steroids and expensive lotions.  It feels like a never ending nightmare.

Watching him suffer, day after day, had really hardened my heart towards God.  Gabe had asked me, “why did God let me get eczema?” and I’m at a loss for words.

No, it isn’t as serious as what the Mother was facing in the Miracles movie.  But his condition has been devastating for him.  To the point that when we went to meet his cousins (in 90 degree heat) he cried because he wanted to wear a sweatshirt to cover up all the redness, bumps, and open sores.  He is also limited in his daily ability to just be a kid because the itching and allergies make him so miserable.

We’re still going through it.  There’s no end in site.

I think most (if not all) Christians face a make or break trial.  Something devastatingly hard, something that never seems to end, something that hits home.  Those times test what we know to be true.

God was speaking to me through that movie.  I realized I’ve been ‘under’ the trial and the devil was running roughshod through my life.  In my pain and sadness I was distancing myself from God, my power source, and leaving myself very weak and vulnerable to attacks from the enemy.

“Now if we are children, we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:17

I have resolved to hold tighter onto Christ through this.  I believe in miracles.  Especially the quiet ones, where God uses tough circumstances to do an incredible work in us.

My sweet boy, with his Daddy….

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A Trip on the Short-bus

Shout out to all you who parent, love, or work with challenging kids.  Autism, O.C.D., O.D.D, A.D.D., A.S.S…(ha jk about that last one).

I have one (Michael) who is a whole lot of aspergers and a little bit of the other ones.  He is also very capable, almost a genius in fact.  He was starting to read at three and was put in a gifted program this year.

He is super smart but not the most *ahem* driven or compliant child to ever grace a classroom.

This year he has been quite a pain to his teachers- argumentative and refusing to complete work.  He was shocked to learn that he might be held back a year, and have to repeat fifth grade if he doesn’t get his act together.  “But I’m in the Quest program…”  Sometimes (all-the-times) we can’t sail through life on sheer giftings alone.  We need to be willing to work hard, to persevere, to see it through.

My son Michael also had one too many infractions on the bus and got put on the ‘short bus’.  He came home after his first day riding and was humbled.  He had to be strapped in and the other children riding had much more severe problems than him.  I think it was a bit of a wake up call.

Like Michael, we all have God-given giftings, abilities, talents, and passions.  But we also have many weaknesses, frailties, and struggles.  We have to wade through, work hard, never give up… if we want to realize our God-given potential.

Michael has the ability to be well-behaved and do great at school.  If he will or not is ultimately up to him.  Just like any of us.

So take this as an admonishment to do your best with what you have.  We all have cards stacked against us.  We might have to yell at some mountains in faith.  We might have to be stronger than we ever thought possible.  K2-Eight-thousander-List_of_countries_by_highest_point-List_of_highest_mountains

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20

 

 

 

Talking Codependencey

I’ll start with some backstory ya’ll. (I’m a Minnesotan but ya’ll is really catchy, dontcha think?)

I first became aware of codependency through my sister who was really involved with a 12 step program.  She told me I might want to look into it.  I did and was basically shocked that it was painfully descriptive of me.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and how I can practically grow to become a healthier person. unwrapping-codependency_newlife

I grew up with loving parents but there were major issues too.  Generational alcoholism wreaked major havoc.  There was periods of major dysfunction.  Hurtful things were said and done.  It was tough.  Basically if you grow up in a family with chemical dependency issues, mental health problems, abuse, etc. you WILL have codependent traits to some extent.

In my case I see it rearing it’s head in many ways.  It is sheer agony to say ‘no’.  We’re talking wracked with guilt and self-doubt and then feeling like I am letting someone down.  I get borderline panic attacks when I need to confront someone.  Example: years ago my then little boy was playing at McDonalds.  A far larger boy was acting like a bully, just wailing on kids for no reason.  His mom sat nearby, completely ignoring the situation.  I had to confront this kid.  I was literally sweating and shaky when I told him to cut it out.

You see, if early on, normal confrontations were met with explosive anger it ‘conditions’ you to avoid confrontation because it feels terrifying and unsafe.

So it might affect someone with codependency in that you cannot/will not address a major issue in a relationship.  You’ll either ignore it to the detriment of the relationship of just let that relationship go.  Because confrontation could mean an angry outburst, rejection, retribution… and you want to avoid that at all costs because it is so painful.

Codependents are also pretty notorious for taking on someone else’s problems while neglecting their own.  Case in point- spending hours on the phone with someone trying to help them with their drama.  And then loosing sleep over it and feeling hurt when they don’t take your heartfelt advice (and then want to cry on your shoulder about their same ole drama next month and on and on…).

This situation gets even trickier when you are trying to make a relationship work with someone with their own issues.  Someone who won’t accept your setting healthy boundaries.  Someone that is quick to get hurtful and vindictive if you aren’t bending over backwards for them.

Talk about navigating murky waters!  I personally had to all but cut a family member out of my life because that person would not respect or accept my setting up some boundaries.  It was tough but ultimately I realized that my feelings and time were important too.

Sometimes you just don’t have any idea how problematic this behavior is until you see healthy behavior.  My husband is just a very normal and stable person.  Like: textbook normal.  Like: 0% crazy.  Yes, normal does exist and I am married to him.  He cares about people but he doesn’t ‘own’ their drama.  People come at him with drama and he’ll shrug and say, “they’ll get over it.”  He doesn’t lose any sleep or act nutty.  He can be assertive without being a jerk about it.

The ‘biggie’ here is learning boundaries.  What they look like (some people honestly just don’t know) and how to enforce them.  People with codependency issues are at a huge risk of ending up in abusive (mentally and/or physically) relationships.  You can see how it can create major problems if you don’t value yourself enough to demand being treated right, or just don’t know how.

We need basic, healthy boundaries to navigate life.  Sadly, there are people out there that will try to use and abuse and we need to be able to stand up for ourselves.  From dealing with aggressive sales people to full-on abusive, manipulative relationships.  We need to be strong to deal with people who would bully us and try to bulldoze through those boundaries.

If we go along with something out of a sense of guilt or obligation we are not being authentic to ourselves.  Not only that, but resentment simmers and grows.  When an simple and polite ‘no’ would have saved us from so much turmoil.

It used to be just thought of as a product of being in relationship with an alcoholic.  Now it is recognized that a lot of these wounds originate in childhood trauma and then get played out in adulthood.  People with issues attract other people with issues.  If not dealt with, they raise kids with issues.

Childhood trauma actually physically changes your brain.  Just like a broken arm- if it isn’t properly treated and healed it never heals right.  The pain and dysfunction remain.  People can be crippled in their emotions just as much (if not more!) than they can be in their physical body.

Change is so hard.  Healing is painful.  But what is the alternative?  My motivation is my kids.  I don’t want to keep perpetuating dysfunction.  And man if you have issues, kids will bring them out!  It is the ultimate stress test of mental and emotional health.

And to the final issue- really the major driver behind all codependent behavior- shame.  Shame is feeling like there is something fundamentally wrong with you.  That who you are isn’t acceptable, let alone loveable.  It drives eating disorders, abuse (on both ends), substance abuse, suicide, and on and on.  Self-rejection is the most painful and crippling and difficult to overcome.  If you can’t love yourself your heart is too crippled to fully love anyone else or experience love.

This is the core issue.  If the belief in your own lack of worth is planted somehow early on in life, it really takes a lifetime to overcome.

I really don’t believe there is enough love and acceptance in this world to heal a wounded soul.  It takes divine love.

I’m still very much on my journey.  I would still describe myself as someone who regularly struggles with depression, low self-esteem; all that fun stuff 😉 But I have hope.  I know healing is a journey.  I know when I get my own issues sorted out, I want, more than anything; to help other people.  Isn’t that really the point of it all anyways? a4d70636041d97f9d61addd98c86f4e4_500

Beth Moore said in one of her books, “I think most people would choose a meaningful life with pain over an easy one.”

I believe that with all my heart- that you can see meaning and beauty resulting from even the ugliest and most painful struggles.

No One Likes to be Judged

In this age of social media we are able, more than ever, to loudly and proudly proclaim our views- without helpful context or non-verbal communication.  It’s definitely contributing to people feeling misunderstood, irritated, and angry.

I saw something someone had posted recently that really touched a sore spot for me.  It was in no way directed at me (as far as I know!) but it still felt like I was being judged.  The post made sweeping generalizations about todays crop of kids with diagnoses (read-on the autism spectrum) that they mainly suffered from bad parenting.  Ouch.  Way to judge and dismiss a generation of parents that are doing their best to cope and struggling.  judge

It felt painful.  It made me angry.  It made me sad.  It is so easy to judge.  A lot harder to care and extend a helping hand.

I realize I felt the way I did because I do feel really insecure in this area.  My oldest child is very high-functioning but he has some pretty major behavioral issues.  It isn’t his fault.  It isn’t our fault.  It is just the way his brain is wired.  He probably would have been a very strong willed child regardless, but the autism takes it to a whole new level.  It is definitely a daily struggle.  We have never been permissive or negligent parents in any way, but it would be easy to surmise that we were from a small ‘snapshot’ of his behavior.

For parents that are already giving their all and worrying it isn’t enough- certainly the judgement of people who really don’t have a clue is not particularly helpful.

I wonder if people outside the ‘cookie-cutter’ church going type feel the same.  If they feel judged and dismissed when what they desperately need is some grace.

Jesus came full of truth and grace. John 1:14  God knows we need both.  Grace bridges the gap and truth sets us free.

So the next time we see a glaring (to us) sin or shortcoming let us pray for grace to see the human being behind it.  Maybe some empathy for their hurts, pains, and disappointments that have maybe gotten them tangled up in a mess they can’t get out of.  Grace.  Cause no one likes to be judged.

“For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” John 12:47