Thursday, November 13, 2014

grace is a butterfly...

When the kids were little, I bought custom signs to hang in their rooms with their names, an adjective about them and an elephant.  They said, 'John you are awesome' with a picture of an elephant, 'Luke you are incredible' with the picture of a giraffe and 'Grace you are amazing' with the picture of a butterfly.  Every night at bedtime, we would say these things to our children and have them say it to each other.  We are big believers in the power of the spoken word and planting positive thoughts in the ground of our children's fertile brains.

At night we would say our prayers and good nights, and Luke would say 'John you are awesome and Grace you are a butterfly'.  Every night.  One of us would correct him and say Grace you are amazing.  I think Luke continued to do this because I thought it was so cute.

I'm sorry to say the habit of speaking these words into my children at bed time has lapsed and weeks will go by without anyone saying it.  A few nights ago, Luke said 'Goodnight Grace.  You are a butterfly.'  Which caused me to tear up at the sweet memory of those long ago nights.

It also caused me to tear up because I've been struggling lately with some of the realities of having a total care special needs child like Grace.  It's not always hard but sometimes it is.  Recently, sometimes seems to be more frequent than not.  Plus, as you know, life continues and struggles in other areas are always present.  I was telling a friend the other day that I think it would be easier if I could handle one struggle before another one came, but that's not  the life we live in this broken world.

As I was thinking about Luke's comment about Grace being a butterfly, my mind wandered to the transformation that a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. Which brought to mind one of my favorite bible verses, Romans 12:2:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

I love this verse, because it speaks of change, renewing and God's perfect will.  The Message puts it this way:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I find myself changed through our daughter and her special needs.  It's not always pretty and it's not always easy to be changed from the inside out.  Sometimes it's hard to accept that the God of the universe loves Grace more than I do and that her disabilities are His perfect plan and will for her life.  But that is what His word says.

Believing His word to be true I place it all before Him.  My hopes and my fears, my tears and my doubts, my joy and my anger, my dreams and my broken plans.  He knows all this about me and still He loves me.  He renews me.  He changes me from the inside out.  As a result of that renewal, my faith is stronger and my heart is fuller.

Accepting this to be truth and love, allows me to change on the inside.  It allows me to be transformed into the person God created me to be.  Allowing God to work in me, brings me one day closer to becoming a butterfly, just like Grace.

This picture is from an after school walk the other day.  The weather was so nice, the kids and I took a walk after they got off the bus.  Grace wouldn't put elmo down so he came too.  She carried him the whole way, which was impressive because she usually doesn't use her hands to hold anything.  Which is a small glimpse of progress and a gift from God for this mama.


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