the body of Christ

In April, I was asked to share our family’s story with a group of folks who have financially and prayerfully supported our schools by giving to the Educational Support Services fund.

While I have often written about our journey at Apple Pie, Anyone?, I had never given a speech before. It was no small joy and even honor to stand before so many who have walked with us for so long. I considered it an opportunity to say ‘Thank you.’

But, as I was writing everything down, another Truth came through loud and clear:

The body of Christ is incomplete without my special-needs child.
The body of Christ is incomplete without my imperfect self.
The body of Christ is incomplete without You.

Hear me, Friends. Whatever your cross, however tall the weeds you are pushing through right now…

The body of Christ is incomplete without you. He does not make mistakes and He is not sorry. He is sovereign and holy and just. Grace and peace to you today.

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a little help from your friends

[forgive the wacky formatting, Friends… I’m working on it, but the internets are against me today]
The Sweetboy that God gave to us, is delightfully quirky.
Sometimes, though, The Quirk doesn’t manifest itself in socially healthy ways.
Like, when the adjustable waistband in your shorts has unraveled and said shorts are now pooling around your knees.  And you aren’t affected.  But, all of your friends on the bus most certainly are.
Lord, why? He deals with so much, already!
“Why, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce a Social Story about your clothes fitting correctly!”, I thought.
You’ve heard of these magical things – social stories. They are often used with children who experience difficulty expressing language and/or understanding receptive language.  These short and simple stories – with simple pictures- allow children to see how a doctor’s visit might go or how a relative’s visit might work or how you must wear underwear under your clothing.  (Oh, to be a fly on the wall of the family for whom an encounter has just left them shouting, “WE NEED A SOCIAL STORY FOR THAT!”)
And so, here was our Social Story about Shorts:
Shorts are a kind of clothing you can wear.
  shorts_l
Zip and snap your shorts when they are around your belly button.
zip_shorts_missindeedy
Shorts should not fall down.
stomach_shorts_missindeedy
The End.
Not. Even. Kidding.
These kinds of stories have gotten us through our first dentist visit, bringing home a baby sister, and the death of our beloved dog.
Sometimes, that wonderful “not caring what other people think” quality of Sweetboy’s?  It get’s him into hot water socially.
Like, when your shorts are falling down around your knees when you get off the school bus. Only, instead of complete embarrassment over this incident in-the-moment, Sweetboy simply told me, in a very matter-of-fact, ASD way, “My shorts fell down all day today.”
Because this blessed child?  He doesn’t think of it as socially unacceptable that his pants were falling down All The Day Long.
No. This blessed child just thinks it was a nuisance, and so he asks me to fix his shorts so that it won’t happen again, please and thank you.
So, to review, the shorts must stay up around your middle.
Or bad things can happen. Things like, your shorts falling down in front of your friends.
Or your mother.
Either way, it’s not good.
Or socially acceptable.
And someone cries.
Usually, me.
Lord God, shield my child’s heart from the cruel misunderstandings that follow him in his Autistic tendencies.  Shield my own heart, and the hearts of the many mamas and papas who are doing their level best to raise these children You’ve blessed us with.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Also, every picture you’d ever need, and then some, is available for free at www.do2learn.com  It has been an invaluable resource for us.  Maybe it will help you too?
Today’s post is from dear, sweet Missy.  You can find Missy writing anonymously about the mishaps of daily life with an Engineer, a child with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and a preschooler who’s convinced she’s 14.  She is a Southern transplant living the dream in the New England area.  The mishaps are a’plenty.

He guides every step

There are days on this journey of special needs motherhood that my heart is plagued by worries and doubts.

My daughter is almost nine, but my mind is still flooded with memories from the early years of her life.  As I think back on those years, guilt washes over me and I begin to question what I could have done differently.

What if I’d known this?  Or done that? Are thoughts that replay often in my mind.

I feel as if I’ve been learning as I go.

And I have.

Because no one handed me a manual explaining how it was going to be, mapping out the path I was supposed to follow.

But there was always Someone, guiding every step.
Looking back I ponder
Questions plague my heart
Did I fight my hardest
Did I do my part?
The days in the beginning
Have grown into a blur
“What ifs” and “should haves”
Make me feel unsure
Dwelling on the past
Causes too much pain
If I could start over
Would I do the same?
But hindsight’s twenty-twenty
When viewing from today
Through worries of tomorrow
Doubts also try to sway
It’s dangerous to wallow
Allowing fears to win
Because it’s now we’re living
Not in the might have been
And then I pause to thank Him
For leading all the way
He’s guided every moment
Of every yesterday

“This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”   Isaiah 48:17

~Rachel

Rachel is a child of God, blessed wife and stay-at-home mom to three, the oldest of whom has a variety of needs surrounding her visual impairment (resulting from her severe prematurity) and mild intellectual disability.  She blogs at This Journey Our Life, to share her personal journey of special needs parenting, encouraging others who find themselves on a similar path.

home

from Kaylee Page this morning for you, mammas…

blessings to you and yours today

To you, mommas who face foreign lands daily:

Details aside, it’s been a long week.

And so….My mom (bless her heart!), came up to spend the weekend with me as my husband travels to Israel for his MBA study abroad. Her car was parked behind mine so when needing to run an errand I hopped in her car and heard:

Hold on… to me as we go

As we roll down this unfamiliar road

And although this wave is stringing us along

Just know you’re not alone…Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear

Don’t pay no mind to the demons, They fill you with fear

The trouble it might drag you down

If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone….Cause I’m going to make this place your home

I wept. The entire way to the store. (Granted, this is only 2 miles).  But still. I wept.

I’m going to make this place your home. For several years now I have had this deep longing for home, for even a glimpse or sense of home.

Foreign land. That’s where I hang out these days (these years!). In a very foreign land. It’s not all due to being a mom of a daughter with special dietary needs.  Some of it does. Not all though. Life as an adult continuously changes — I grew up in the same home from age 2-18. In the past 10 years I’ve lived in 10 different homes, gotten married, had a baby, changed jobs, my husband changed jobs (he also spent 18 months getting his MBA – which was change to our routine) and we’ve found a new church. Then a miscarriage. Then progesterone to try to get pregnant. Then no baby. And the day to day of caring for Bella and the special ways she needs to eat.

As a kid, home was all around me. Things didn’t change much back then. But things change all the time these days!

And it’s hard for me to find home. IT ALL FEELS SO FOREIGN.

I feel like time is passing but I’m not anywhere to be found – at least not fully found. I’m ok. It’s just that I’m just blowing around in the wind.  And as I blow around it’s all dusty, dry and unclear.  I don’t know the upside from the downside, no idea where the ground is to place my feet, no idea how to look up, no idea how long I’ve been blowing around and no idea when this wind blowing me will cease.

I’ve wished and prayed the fog would lift, that I could just make sense of it all and move on into the next season – IMMA LEAVE THIS HARD SEASON BEHIND.

But…I keep waiting for the next season.  I want the next season, because this season doesn’t make sense. This season has me confused. OYE! THIS SEASON ISN’T PART OF MY PLAN…

So I want to be somewhere where it does make sense and I get to write the story.

Please & Thanks!

As I wept… in the quiet of my heart, God assured and reassured me that this place I find myself…. It, too, can be home.  So of course, I wept some more. Grief went all up on me and got itself some hope.

And through wet cheeks I (for some reason, because I am really bad at recalling Biblical folks who’ve trenched the roads and navigated the journey before us) thought of other women (and an animal?) who have faced the challenge of venturing and living in a foreign land:

How not to find home: Sarah (Lot’s wife)… she so badly wanted to feel home that she turned around (poor thing turned to salt!)  Lesson noted, God. He calls us to stop looking back, stop looking for what it is we want, but look to where He has lead and where he is leading. He calls us to his presence where home resides.  We seek him, lest we turn to a PILE. OF. SALT.

How to find home:  Ruth (eventual wife of Boaz)…. shows ultimate family loyalty which results in her leaving home.  Lands her in a totally foreign place. Eventually she winds up wed to Boaz, but instead of running from where she is supposed to be, she endures it. It was probably difficult, confusing, and most-certainly uncertain.  But she sticks it out. She even proactively does what she can, then waits on God for the rest. She found home in an unfamiliar land.

How home finds us:  The sheep…. We’re told the Shepherd leaves 99 to find 1. We’re not told why the sheep “wanders” off.  I think the church usually plays it up like the sheep ran away like a bandit, in complete defiance of the Shepherd. But what if the sheep just got lost – plain lost. And we always imagine the sheep hanging over a cliff with the Shepherd quickly saving it’s life with a candycane shaped staff. While that’s true in some journeys, I wonder if sometimes the Shepherd is okay with a sheep being away from the herd for a bit – maybe it’s necessary? I don’t know.  WHO KNOWS! Maybe there are countless reasons and maybe those reasons don’t even all make sense to us as the sheep. All we know is that if a sheep gets lost, it will be found… and it’s found in the presence of the Shepherd, not the location of the sheep.

Home. It’s where our heart is. Home isn’t found in routine, certainty, and familiarity (though we try really hard to make this home).  Home is found in the determination to stick it out and in the believing in the unbelievable, and trusting that the unanswerable will be made clear (or survivable) and that if nothing changes the way we want it to, that our God is for us and with us. With us on the journey leaving home behind (like Sarah), with us as we work our foreign fields of life (like Ruth) and in those moments where we are lost (or maybe it’s just we can’t tell anyone where we are).  

We can be home.

Home can be in the fog. 

Home can be in the uncertain. 

To those of you feeling lost and a bit blurry —- Welcome home!

Thank goodness you’re not doing this alone!

Happy Wednesday mamas!

Like many of you, my weeks consist therapy appointments, battles with the insurance companies and trying to conquer that ever growing to do list. We work so hard to advocate for our special kiddos and yet try to maintain some kind of sanity in the midst of it all. Its completely exhausting.

There are many nights when I crawl into bed feeling so drained and I wonder how in the world am I going to wake up tomorrow and do this all over again. I don’t think I can bear any more surprises or add one more thing to my to do list. Then I wake up to find the the KLOVE encouraging word in my inbox,

Isaiah 40:28 – 31

Have you never heard? Have you never understood?

The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.

He never grows weak or weary. 

Did you read that?! He NEVER grows weak or weary!

No one can measure the depths of his understanding.

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

The creator of the universe wants to give YOU his power and strength!

Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.

They will soar high on wings like eagles.

They will run and not grow weary.

They will walk and not faint.

He hears me through the exhausted cries at the end of a long day and when I wait on hold with the insurance company and I ask to not let my frustration get the better of me. He gives me the strength to get through every day without losing faith in the plans He has for my family and especially for my sweet Jameson. Don’t be afraid  to ask Him for strength, for wisdom when faced with challenging situations or when you feel too tired to even make it until your kids bedtime.

Reading this verse today reminded me of the unexpected ways I hear His word and gain renewed hope.

Psalms 25: 5

“Lead me by Your truth and teach me

For You are the God that saves me

All day long I put my hope in You

My prayer is for you to feel His strength and power today and in this season of your life. Please know that the leaders of (in)able and (in)cluded are here to pray for you and support you. Reach out at anytime online through Facebook or here on the blog!

Praying for you today and every day precious mamas

Megan

((you can find Megan at her blog, Our Journey on the Spectrum))

Image

Wife to Brandon PhD smarty pants, Mama to Jameson 3 with an autism diagnosis and Grayson 11 months old. Megan is an art teacher that also loves coffee with her cream and a splash of vanilla.

(in)RL 2013

(in)RL 2013

Ladies!  Today is the day that registration for (in)RL 2013 launches!

[insert gleeful clapping]

I love it. What is it? (said every mother everywhere every day)

Simply, (in)RealLife is a webcast on Friday followed by a local get-together Saturday.  It’s a chance to anchor those beautiful online relationships you’ve made by meeting TOGETHER and in person.  It’s a time to be with other women, other moms, other Believers.

If you register TODAY, you get a copy of the (in)courage 365 Daybrightener while supplies last (US residents only).

EVERYONE who registers gets a copy of the eBook: “Best of the Beach House 2012.”

(in)RL was born out of two years spent listening to women in the comments at (in)courage craving local, real life community. Derived from the social media acronym “IRL” or “in real life,” (in)RL is an invitation to share what we’ve learned about community and encourage women with stories and suggestions for connecting deeper in real life.

Think of it as a FREE girl’s weekend away that doesn’t require packing or plane tickets, where women can kick off any expectation of perfect, set aside their fears, their shyness, their worry that they’re not good enough, and find some of Jesus’ words of rest woven into every video shared here.

The (in)RL webcast kicks off on Friday, April 26 and (in)RL meet-ups follow on Saturday, April 27.

Last year we explored the nitty gritty of community. This year we’re taking a closer look at what it takes to stay rooted in community when sometimes just walking away would be so much easier and tons more convenient. Women share stories of how they’ve chosen to stay through hard marriages, challenging parenting, worthwhile friendships. How choosing to stay has freed them more fully and unexpectedly than if they’d cut and run.

Relevant, yes?

So, let’s sign up. Let’s put ourselves out there and see what happens. Let’s see what God does when we step out from behind the computer and walk through an open door.

Sign up to attend or host a gathering HERE.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Today’s post comes from Tif, who writes regularly about family life over at MIDST.

carol-singers

“’Tis the season to be jolly… Falalalala… la la la ala la.”

I sing (under my breath) with the utmost of sarcasm.  How can we be jolly… with all this “stuff” and with all this “noise” around us?  As children we are surrounded by the excitement, the traditions, the little happy spots of the holidays.  We have parties, ice skating, parades, lines for Santa, cookies to bake, neighbors to sing with, and of course, the Christmas pageant.  All these things we loved as children made the season so bright in our eyes.  Now, as moms, we want to share that same giddiness, that same excitement, with our own children- so we pile it on.  Why not, right?!?!  “The more the merrier,” isn’t that what “they” say!?!

I remember the spark in my first son’s eye… the wonder of it all…. The staring at the colors and lights, the chewing of ribbons and hiding in boxes.  Having a child changed my life.  It changed the way I saw Christmas- seeing it through a child’s eyes again made me feel young at heart… and in such awe.

Then Bjorn was born.  He was a boy who would hide away in his room all day long; he had no desire to interact with others.  He could sit in his room, in his quiet safe space, never speaking. Never connecting. Never touching.  A boy who could disappear from it all…. living in a space of void.

As a mom of a special needs child, my life had changed from experiencing life with my child to advocating for him.  I sought out what was best, what might work, and worked through all of the trial and errors. All year long I fought for my child-  for his voice, for his touch, for his very existence in a world where relationship and connecting is key.

Then the season of Christmas came- and I want so much to share this season of “jolly” with him.  I froze… How?  How did I bring a world of big, bright, loud, full, crowded, and more into the life that desired routine, structure, calm and quiet reign.  We had a problem…  our two worlds collided….

Our first three Christmases, Bjorn never joined us for more than 5 minutes.  He would open one present, walk away, and go back to his room.  We rarely went out, we never went to parties… and decorations never came out until two days before the 25th.  I was sad.  Not just for him, but for (I’m being honest here) myself.  Here I wanted to “do” all these things… to experience all these with my boys… and I couldn’t.  Let’s be real here… I was having a holiday pity party with the table set for one- me!

Then I began to pray and pray and pray.  How was I going to bring the Light of the World to my child who didn’t know how to be part of the world? I then began to listen.  Listen to my son. Listen to my Lord, and listen to the Truth.  It was amazing what happened when I took my eyes of what I wanted and looked at what my son needed.

This is what I heard… STOP.  SIMPLE.  SHARE. And BE.

The first thing I learned was to STOP.  Just STOP.  I had to stop my expectations for what I thought was important and begin to listen (really listen hard) to what my son needed.  This listening was hard to do, because it meant putting myself in his place, a place I had never known. But I had to listen to what he heard during this time of year. Once I did,  I was shocked when I figured out he heard a “hum”, a hum that was loud, piercing, and really painful. It wasn’t an audible hum… but a hustle-bustle type of hum that scared him.  At times the hum was so inaudibly loud that he would just cover his ears, wanting it to disappear.

The second thing I learned was to keep it simple.  Simple meaning…. Not too much, and as little instruction as possible.  I would plan one activity for that season… one thing that would show him the “holiday spirit” and invite in the story of our Savior into his little life.  Simple and sweet….  If it went well I could add the experience to the next year.  Doing this was allowing him to process, to digest, and to experience at his level.  Honestly, sometimes his process time took weeks… weeks!  So, in the Spring he would say something about Christmas that would knock my socks off – and that is how I knew, giving him too much never gave him the time to process the experience- but once he processed it, he could relate to it.

Thirdly, was to share.  I talked and talked and talked.  I shared about what we were going to do, when we were doing it, what it was going to look like and what possible surprises we could expect.  This was intentional preparation… basically “covering the bases”.  I also shared with him the safety things he could do if he was overwhelmed or needed to communicate that he was not feeling right.  We began to set up a signal that he could make if I needed to get him out of the room to a quiet area for him to just seek out the calm he needed.  I became his trust…. He knew that he and I were a team, and that I had his back in times of trouble. This moment was huge for us!  HUGE!  (side note- make sure you keep your sharing simple too. Limit your words to 3-5 word sentences. Be direct and to the point.  As a mom, I always forget this rule… and over share… you know… the TMI rule.  With Special needs kids… there is such a thing as TO MUCH INFORMATION! Trust me.)

And Finally… BE.  Be in the moment. Be Christ to your child. Be the gift that the Lord gave to us… Be your child’s hope.  Be your child’s love. And Be your child’s peace.  May we all see the season as one that is focused on BEING with each other… Once I realized that the holiday season was not so much about the excitement of doing but in the magic of being, it wasn’t my son who changed… It was me.

Now I sing a new song… a song that is beautiful and perfect…

It is one that rings “all is calm, all is bright”.

Running to Him

Rachel is a child of God, blessed wife and stay-at-home mom to three, the oldest of whom has a variety of needs surrounding her visual impairment (resulting from her severe prematurity), ASD, and mild intellectual disability.  She blogs at This Journey Our Life, to share her personal journey of special needs parenting, encouraging others who find themselves on a similar path.

Desperate for help, I felt the urge to run.

Somewhere.

Anywhere.

The walls of my world were caving in around me. Helplessly, I looked on at my daughter who needed to be rescued.

“Will somebody please help me?” I tried to cry out. Instead, my throat choked on its scream.

It was like those nightmares where you want to run but your legs won’t move; where you need to scream, but you can’t.

Silently I stood back.

Waiting.

Watching.

My daughter was slipping away, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

She needed help.

But it’s hard to help when you don’t know how.

I scanned the crowd, searching for someone who would stop to offer their assistance.

If someone shows me what I need to do, I’ll do it! I thought.  Anything to save her.

Why isn’t anyone stopping?  Why doesn’t anyone care?

Weary from searching, I wanted to give up.

These were my feelings throughout a large part of the past school year. Overall, Cami’s struggles had grown more complex, and every solution appeared impossible. Help seemed out of reach.

I was frustrated and fighting despair.

But a phone call changed my perspective and brightened the pathway I had been trudging along.

Immediately following a difficult conversation with one of Cami’s teachers, I called my mom.  In between heaving sobs I updated her on the situation, sharing the most recent struggle.

Answers were uncertain, but I knew my daughter needed help.

I needed help.

I told my mom, “I wish it was as easy as running outside to a crowd of people and screaming at the top of my lungs:

SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME, SHOW ME WHAT TO DO!” 

Her response hit me hard:

“Rachel, it is.” 

The truth of her statement sent chills down my spine, and my throat tightened as more tears spilled down my flushed cheeks.

There is someone Who is waiting to help. Someone Who will show me what to do.

That night I ran to Him.

And still I run.

{Proverbs 18:10}

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.

Proverbs 31:25

Today’s post comes from sweet Kaylee Page.  Kaylee (and husband, Dan) have one daughter, Miss Bella, who lives in a world of FPIES,EoEDelay in Gastric Emptying.  Kaylee works full-time at Start Garden and fine-tunes plans to take over the world while driving to doctors’ appointments.

‎Strength and dignity are her clothing,

And she smiles at the future.

Proverbs 31:25

The version I read years ago said “laughs at the days ahead.” How odd, I thought. How can you laugh at what you don’t know. It took me a while to realize that this woman, this Proverbs 31 woman, had a deep trust and understanding that God was and is in control. She can do this little internal, perhaps sometimes audible laugh.But not always the type of laughter we think of laughing at a quick joke. No, it’s a laughter that’s like a “Ha, only you, God. Only you could make this story beautiful, funny, unbearable, full of suffering and sorrow, but amazing, and honest and good, and weird, and humorous and comical and full of miracles. Create moments that take my breathe away. Only you know what would set me off today. Only you know what my heart needed today. Only you could design a life to make me more like you. Somehow, only YOU could write this journey.”  It’s the laughter Sarah had when she found out about Isaac. It’s gratitude. It’s the relief. It’s the fact that she’ll be a grandmother’s age at story time with all the other young, hipster moms. Or I can imagine Mary, the mother of Jesus, had a similar laugh when the Angel Gabriel told her about having the son of God – knowing, the honor and yet the difficulties this would all bring.

So today, ladies, you are clothed with strength and dignity. You are amazing! You are worth far more than rubies. Lord truly knows, you’ve gotten up while it is still night and provided for your families. You set about your work vigorously; your arms are strong for your tasks. You are a virtuous woman indeed! And God delights in you.

He is proud.

May you have moments that make your heart light today. May that light-heartedness come from a deep, intimate trust and understanding that God is in control. The days to come are, each one of them, going to be okay. They may be better than okay or they may be quite difficult. Whatever steps they may be, they are the beautiful steps he’s laid out for you. Tough as they may be, smile. Not a fake, plaster smile. The smile that totally gets heartache, pain and disappointment. It’s the smile that creeps up for some reason in the middle of the sobbing. It’s the smile that creeps up when you watch your child grow and accomplish something new and exciting. It’s the smile that’s the deepest breath you can imagine. It’s a smile that calms your heart, soothes your soul and gives you the unimaginable peace your heart desires, even if but for a moment.

Praying for your hearts today. Praying for the smile to creep up on you. But also praying that if your heart is just in no way close to being able to smile, that God would rest deep within you, settle His way in. That if the smile is impossible, that at least there is a moment of rest. The rest maybe needed to get you a tad bit closer to that smile.

The Way We Roll

Today’s post is from dear, sweet Missy.  You can find Missy writing anonymously about the mishaps of daily life with an Engineer, a child with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and a preschooler who’s convinced she’s 14.  She is a Southern transplant living the dream in the New England area.  The mishaps are a’plenty.

We felt like we were rolling along pretty well; my husband and I.  I had just delivered our first child, a boy, and we were euphoric.  That first year and a half rolled along beautifully.  And then, things changed.  We hit some bumps in the road and began to pursue a medical diagnosis for our son’s delays and behaviors.
“Your son has a form of Autism called Pervasive Developmental Disorder – NOS, with a Global Developmental Delay.”  They were, by turns, words we were expecting and words we were taken by surprise to hear.  Parenting is a journey.  With the pronouncement of these words, we now saw, at the very least, that our journey would include some mountainous terrain.
Since the time of our firstborn’s diagnosis at age two, we’ve been struggling to make it work as the parents of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  As with all things in the life of a Christ Follower, we were and are totally dependent upon our God to see us over every bump, hill and mountain. And He does not disappoint.  Looking back over the last 7 years, since that initial diagnosis, we can see where God has gently nudged us this way, and that; times when He allowed our momentum to flat out fail so that we would be dependent upon Him to get us going again; and people that He has provided sweet friendships with, to soothe the feelings of isolation.
We were recently acknowledging how very grateful we are to be this child’s parents.  God has enabled us to provide for his (and now his little sister’s) needs, emotional and otherwise. I’m able to forgo my teaching career to stay at home right now.  We are able to provide stability for this child that craves routine and structure.  God provided both a “feeler” and a “thinker” in this parenting team. Our daily prayer is that He doesn’t let us get rolling too far down either one of these paths; and that between the two of us, we’re providing a pretty good team regarding our parenting of this special child that God has given to us.
Does that mean that we get it right all of the time? Definitely not!  In fact, our parenting journey has been downright comical, as we are two very messed-up individuals (see earlier admission about having one thinker and one feeler!) trying desperately to get it half-right as often as possible.  Our reliance, though, is not upon ourselves. It is upon The One from whom all wisdom and grace flow. That’s Who keeps us rolling along. When we think we can’t possibly go one more round of the “how in the world do we get through this stage?” parenting game, He’s right there.  We can sometimes literally feel Him pushing us forward, prompting us to simply love this kid; and to keep moving forward one moment at a time.  In faith? Yes. But also, in the assurance that He’s got our back.  And that He’s gone before us.  He’s got this.  He’s got us.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)
And when we get stuck in a rut during a particularly difficult parenting moment, we have to remind ourselves to rely on God to get us through. It may not be the smoothest ride, but as long as we’re relying on His strength, we’ll keep on moving forward.  And that’s the way we roll.