Regardless of How I Feel

His truth stands regardless of how I feel.

Emotion – A natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationship with others.

Created in the image of God, we have the capacity to experience and express many different emotions.

I, personally, often struggle with unpredictable and random emotions that are seemingly out of my control. Don’t we all? Especially us women…

Emotions are a gift from God, but we must remember that even our emotions were and are tainted by the lapse of humankind into the state of sin; AKA The Fall.

Guess what? Just because we feel something does not mean it’s true.

Deep down I’ve always known this, but lately it’s like a light bulb has gone off in my head…”Hello, I can reject any emotion that crops up if it’s not consistent with HIS truth.” I know, I know, totally easier said than done; but just think, how amazing would it be to be able to feel some sense of control over your emotions.

Our feelings do not always = Reality

Okay, so maybe we can’t help how we feel, but we sure don’t have to let our lives be run by our emotions. Perceived negative emotions are not a sin! God, himself, has been angry. For instance:

Numbers 22:22 (NIV)
But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him…

He admits to being jealous!

Exodus 20:5 (NIV)
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…

It’s how we deal with and what we do with our emotions that matters.

When our emotions have us feeling out of control, many of us (myself included) look for ways to mask, numb, or suppress our emotions. We all know how this turns out…We end up making poor decisions that only add to and exacerbate the emotions we are suppressing in the first place. Speaking from experience here!

Many of us turn to social media and technology, staring at screens for hours. Many turn to food, alcohol, or drugs to escape feelings. We all long for a feel-good substitute for actually feeling. We need to feel all the feels, the raw and hard feels, but do so while keeping our mindset geared towards HIM.

If we do not face our emotions and feelings head-on, we will see negative consequences. These consequences will start inside, emotional or spiritual, and will eventually cause very real consequences on the outside both physically and behaviorally.

And sorry ladies, our hormone fluctuations each month or with pregnancy, menopause, etc. are just no excuse. God understands our bodies and how they work better than we do. God created us women. He knows we are strong and capable to deal with the physical and emotional aspects of being a woman. I am not saying this is easy. No way! I fail to “keep my cool” all. the. time. and especially when hormones are raging. BUT I do not believe it is an excuse to behave badly.

What I’m working on now is having my very first response, no matter how I’m feeling, to be to turn to the Lord.

This requires discipline and mental strength. It’s so much easier to numb the feelings and emotions, but I’m here to grow, and growing requires discipline and strength. It’s not easy.

Scripture itself can provide me (and you) with many promises to help level my emotions and feelings. That’s why it is so important to study and know The Word.

I may deal with certain mental and emotional problems for my entire life here on Earth, no matter what I do. Thankfully, though, HE will be with me the entire time. I can look forward to the future knowing that one day all of my pain and suffering will be gone.

True hope is found in Christ alone. He’s with you even when you don’t feel like he is.

Remember this always: His truth stands regardless of how you feel.

– AMomsFaithUnbroken

 

A dear friend shared the song and video below with me. It seemed fitting to go along with this blog entry. Enjoy!

Whelmed…a Bit Overly

I knew going in that this was all a process; but not just a process, but a never-ending process. Never-ending…

It all started the day of my son’s 2-Year-Well-Child Exam; questions, lots of questions. Then referrals. Then phone calls. Then more referrals. Then more phone calls. To this day, I am still in this never-ending cycle; but wait, there’s more. The paperwork. I cannot even begin to accurately describe how much paperwork. Paperwork sent to me before his referral appointments. Paperwork filled out at his appointments. Paperwork filled out for LifeScape. Paperwork filled out for the State. Paperwork filled out for the school. Paperwork I have to have others do. Then, scheduling the appointments themselves is a challenge between work, my husband’s work, when I have daycare, when I have someone to watch my other child, having the money to put gas in the car to get to appointments, and so on. So, yes, I’m a bit overwhelmed. I’m assuming I’ll get used to this, and it will become my new normal. I have so many new contacts in my phone…

As I mentioned in my very first blog post, I am what I like to call a “seasonally single parent”. In other words, in the months of March – September my husbands work comes first, no matter what. He does his best to be where he can when he can, but him working is crucial for us to keep things as they are with my getting to stay home 4-5 days a week. Now that we know that my son needs physical, occupational, and speech therapy, it is even more crucial that we keep our schedule this way, just to be able to have one of us available to take him to appointments. It’s hard. My husband is sometimes gone several day sand nights at a time, and almost always gone sunup to well past sundown. I consult with him as often as I can when it comes to making decisions about our children, but often times it leaves a lot of the decision making to me. I’m sure that one day all of his extremely hard work will payoff, and we will be able to live comfortably. We have added expenses now, but we will be able to make do. I’m sure of it. 

The Process

One would think that you see that your child has developmental delays, you then see a doctor, get a diagnosis, set up what needs to be done, and its done, but that is in no way the case with autism. After expressing our concerns, we were then referred to LifeScape in Rapid City, SD, for an autism “screening”. At this autism “screening”, we learned that he had many “markers” for autism and that he would need three separate evaluations for physical, occupational, and speech therapy, and that he would need an autism “screening”. Does this even make sense? All we learned at his screening was what we had already learned at his 2-Year-Well-Child Exam, – that he has developmental delays and likely has autism. They could not tell us if they felt he had autism or if he likely had autism or anything of that sort, just that he needed an autism “screening” because he had so many “markers” aka red flags. I have to admit, immediately after this “screening” I was super confused. What I do know now, is that he is not “officially” diagnosed with autism as of yet even, but he is starting therapy immediately, as he definitely needs help. Like I said, it’s a process, a sometimes frustrating one. They informed us that right now the diagnosis doesn’t really matter, he just needs help. I agree…

We then had 3 separate appointments at LifeScape in Rapid City for his therapy evaluations. There were three of them; physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. It was found that he needs to have all 3 therapies on a regular (most likely weekly) basis starting as soon as possible.

Now, the autism “evaluation” is scheduled for mid-November at LifeScape in Sioux Falls, SD. We chose to have him evaluated in Sioux Falls, SD, because the Rapid City LifeScape is scheduled out on autism “evaluations” until 2019 sometime. So, come mid-November, he will be seen at LifeScape in Sioux Falls, SD, where he will play and interact with a therapist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and a speech therapist all at once in a four hour time frame. After this, he will have an “official” diagnosis and we will know where he falls on the spectrum and have a little more information. He is scheduled to start therapy before this evaluation, as mentioned above.

Then South Dakota has what they call the Birth to 3 Program. Your child is evaluated at the local school and you are assigned a caseworker to help advocate for your child and to explain and advise you of the resources out there for families with children with special needs. You also work on your child’s plan for education, which is revised and reworked very often to keep your child on the right path for the way they learn. We start evaluations for this tomorrow, and have all the paperwork done, so far. There are also opportunities for therapists to see your child in your home or at daycare until they turn the age of three.

It seems so backwards. I am meeting at the school regarding education for my second child before my first…

My Army

As overwhelming and confusing as this all is, I am certain we will get a grasp on all of it and it will all become second nature. That being said, there is absolutely no way that things would have worked out the way that they have so far without the help of my family, my daycare providers, and my bosses at work. My parents put in a lot of time and help me out a lot. They are not just “watching the grandkids”. It takes extreme patience and understanding to watch my son. They aren’t just watching him, but learning to work with him. He absolutely cannot be left unsupervised unless he is in a completely “Gus proofed” room, and sometimes even then he can find something unsafe to do or get into. He cannot verbally communicate, so it can be very frustrating to figure out what he wants and needs. He is very curious and has some destructive behaviors. He never stops moving unless he is sleeping. Plus, he has a 3-year-old sibling that needs attention, too, which is so important to provide as well. I can’t just take both of my kids places. My son will “bolt” aka run off without return or any regard for danger etc. Therefore, doing something as simple as getting a haircut or going to the grocery store can really become a chore. My parents and my sister are what make these things possible and keep him safe. For that I am already eternally grateful and know just how lucky and blessed I am. This goes for daycare, too. I know his daycare providers had to have noticed that he had some problems. I let them know what was going on once we knew, and they thanked me for telling them and have been on this journey with us 100%. Seriously, how amazing is that? I know that my son requires more work and attention, and would completely understand if they felt he’d be better off somewhere else, but they have taken this on and are willing to help in any way they can. That’s love. I know that my children’s daycare providers truly love them. That in itself is one of the biggest blessings a parent can find in a world full of so much scary. My boss and coworkers also deserve praise in being so willing to listen to me, work with me, work out a schedule with me, and always make time to talk to and interact with my littles when they are around.

Although this is a never-ending process and a life of constant learning, adjusting, and compromising, I know that I have plenty to be thankful for. Sometimes, it just helps to blow off a little steam.

– AMom’sFaithUnbroken

My New Take on Self-Care

I’ve been thinking about how the world views self-care for a while now. The topic was brought up in a Bible study I’m doing, and it really piqued my interest.

Have you noticed that almost anywhere you look there are signs, messages, and advertisements telling us to “love ourselves first” and offering to show us “ways (or how) to love ourselves more”?

These messages, to me, are not a right-out lie, but a distortion of the truth.

The real truth is that our worth is not bestowed on ourselves. It is impossible to experience God’s complete and total love simply by telling ourselves how lovable and worthy we are.

We also often hear “I’ve never loved myself…” or “She just doesn’t love herself enough…”

The truth of the matter is that we are born loving ourselves. It comes completely naturally. It is not something learned. We listen to our inner voice and take care of our bodies when needed. We are born children of Christ and in his image. He loves us, and we are precious to Him. In His love, we find love for ourselves. God does not tell us to love ourselves before we can love others. He asks that we listen, help, take care of, and pay attention to others in the way that comes naturally when doing those things for ourselves.

That being said, caring for others as we do ourselves does not come naturally. It is something we must consciously put effort into.

We do not have a low self-image, but a low view of God. We do not need to learn to love ourselves more, but to love God and others more in order to receive light, love, and blessings.

Think about it, maybe we are easily offended and hurt because we do love ourselves and not because we don’t. In fact, I’m sure of it! Nowadays, people take offense to anything and everything they don’t agree with it seems. This can be attributed to people being more self-involved and not putting God before themselves or treating others as they treat themselves.

God’s love will set us free from self-loathing and loneliness. 

His light will shine within and out of us as we learn and practice loving others as we love ourselves; not by focusing on ourselves, but by focusing on His Word.

This is not to say we shouldn’t take care of ourselves, but take a look at what we are doing to take care of ourselves. Spending time in prayer and studying His word should be our main focus in self-love and self-care.

–  AMomsFaithUnbroken

DISCLAIMER
I do not mean to minimize or trivialize those who suffer low self-esteem, self-love, and self-image due to mental or verbal abuse or manipulation, which is a different story. 

REFERENCES
Ephesians 2:4 and 5
Genesis 1:27
John 3:1

 

Those Dark & Scary Places

I want to talk about the dark, scary, somber and lonely places our mind can take us. Those places where we isolate ourselves, blame ourselves, blame others, doubt ourselves, doubt others, doubt our worthiness, and even doubt our worthiness in God’s eyes. The places that keep us anxious and frightened. The places that keep us from being happy where we are at. Those dark & scary places.

We all have to consciously make an effort to “not go there”; to not let our mind wander; to not let others lead us there; not let our circumstances keep us there; and not let the devil tempt us there. Those dark & scary places.

I will openly admit that I have always been a worrier, and one to go to and linger in those dark & scary places. I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety even in what could be seen from the outside as some of the happiest times of my life. I do feel we can be predisposed to anxiety and depression. Nobody wants to be anxious or depressed. I do feel there is a genetic aspect. I’ve dealt with such for most of my adult life, but have found relief from medication at times, friends, family, and most of all God.

Since I have started down the path of the unknown with my son’s diagnosis of autism, I have had to fight especially hard to stay out of those dark & scary places.

Of course, I have been looking to my faith to help me be strong in every way, but sometimes I still fall victim and am tempted, pushed, or fall into those dark & scary places.

I decided to do some research on God’s view on autism. I consulted with Mr. Google, and he led me to a very dark & scary place. I came across an article that claimed those born with autism are cursed with a dark and evil spirit and will be healed once that evil is cast out. This claim was even backed by stories in scripture. I choose not to share such with you, because I don’t want to go back to that place and read those terrible words again; I don’t mean the words of the scripture, but the words that used that scripture to take me to a dark & scary place. This article made me doubt, made me place blame, made me feel guilty, and made me feel as if God himself was punishing me. My mind spiraled out of control.

I then began to look at other Bible verses such as Isaiah 65:6-7 (NIV)

6 “See, it stands written before me:

I will not keep silent but will pay back in full;
I will pay it back into their laps—
7 both your sins and the sins of your ancestors,”
says the Lord.
“Because they burned sacrifices on the mountains
and defied me on the hills,
I will measure into their laps
the full payment for their former deeds.”

I kept replaying in my mind “You shall pay for the sins of your fathers.” I don’t mean literally my father, but my ancestors. This then morphed into me feeling like I was being punished by God. This then led to me going over all the reasons he would have to punish me…I used fertility treatments to conceive, I played God, therefore, God in his anger gave me a child, no fertility treatments needed, but gave me a child that has disabilities as a punishment.

Thankfully, I later realized that thinking that way was absolutely a sin in itself. It was most definitely the devil planting those seeds of doubt in my mind and leading me astray. God does not punish us for our sins or for the sins of our ancestors as is told later in the Bible. My punishment for my sin and those of my ancestors was put on the life of Jesus. Jesus died on the cross for all sin; present, past, and future. My debt has been paid through His blood.

A dear friend also helped me out of those dark & scary places. She reminded me that with fertility treatments or not, if I were not meant to have children God would not have given me children. We all have free will, but God is ultimately in charge.

I believe God does discipline us in that he places us in circumstances and situations that refocus us on Him; to become closer to Him; to be reminded how much we need Him; to keep us aware that our actions do have consequences. Discipline is different than punishment.

Hebrews 12:5-7 (NIV)

5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,

6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?

It’s so easy to let the devil place those seeds of doubt in our minds. Truly, all we have to do is look to scripture to know that he is dead wrong.

Everyone always says “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” I don’t think this is true at all. I think God absolutely will give us more than we can handle so we will turn to him and become closer to him; this goes back to being disciplined but not punished.

It’s somewhat embarrassing to admit that I let the devil in and that I spent some time in those dark & scary places, but I share in hopes of helping you to realize that this kind of unhealthy and sinful thinking is just the devil getting in. Don’t let him in. Whether he tries to snake his way in through the internet, others’ comments, an unfortunate circumstance or bad experience, keep in mind that you are a cherished and loved child of God. Consciously make an effort to stay out of the dark & scary places, and be on the lookout for the devil trying to put you there. Even if you’re already in those dark & scary places or find yourself there again, look to Him to consciously find your way out, and remember you are forgiven.

– AMomsFaithUnbroken

He’s Just a Boy

Pregnancy

My pregnancy with my son was my second pregnancy, and fairly uneventful. No fertility treatments like with the first. The first night my husband and I left our sweet first born overnight, we got pregnant with our second. She was just 6 months old at the time. It was a BIG surprise, but a very welcome one. We opted not to do the amniocentesis, as we had no reason to suspect developmental delays, as I was not of advanced maternal age, and nothing of the sort runs in my husband or my families. I did have some issues with weight loss early in my second pregnancy, but he was always on track or ahead of schedule regarding his size. I started to gain weight by month 5 or so, and gained less than 20 pounds total. I got huge, just in the uterus, and had a lot of problems with sciatica and low back pain. I was one crabby and crazy lady. I was very emotional and irrational; just ask my husband and sister. He was very active in utero and I was very ready for his arrival those last few months. My first pregnancy, I suffered from gestational diabetes. The second I did not. By the end of my second pregnancy, he was measuring WEEKS ahead. I was induced at 39+ weeks. He came into the world very quickly, in fact, I had to hold off on pushing until the doctor could get there. Before I knew it, I was holding my precious 8 lb 5 oz 19.7 inch, hungry baby boy.

The Beginning

We brought home a very alert and active baby boy. In the beginning, it was VERY hard having 2 little ones just 14 months apart. At the time we brought my son home, my daughter was not walking yet. Boy, it was a lot of work. We quickly got into a routine, and things were good. He was rolling over by 6 weeks (yes weeks) and then eventually began to army crawl and quickly moved onto crawling and walking. Can I just be really honest and admit that I don’t know what his first word was?With my daughter, I counted her first word as the first word she used in context, not just a random word she said. He got to a point where he was using a few words. He had even said “grandpa” and “grandma” at one point. He was, and still is, SUPER active. He was so different from our articulate and detail oriented daughter. He was always getting into things, climbing on furniture, stealing the TV remote, making messes, and always going full throttle full speed ahead at all times.

He’s Just a Boy

Eventually, I was starting to feel overwhelmed by his tendency to get into trouble. He just wouldn’t listen. In fact, 99% of the time he would just ignore me completely. He didn’t respond to any kind of discipline and just didn’t seem to care. I kept thinking “Are boys really this different than girls?” The answer to this is “yes”, but once he got older it became quite obvious that his behavior was not due to him “just being a boy”. I would express my concerns to others and would always hear “Amanda, he’s a boy!” In fact, I called a doctor to express my concerns and he was very kind and listened to my concerns but also mentioned “He is a boy.” Guess what? He’s not “Just a Boy.”

Regression

As noted before, I was worried about my son. He was not responding to discipline, I could not control him. I was in fact starting to feel like a bad parent. Yep, I felt like I was doing something wrong. Later my mommy instincts really kicked in and I just knew, absolutely knew, that something wasn’t right. I knew I wasn’t unfounded in my concern when one night my husband came home and said “I just don’t think he’s where he should be.” referring to our son. This was BIG because my husband works insanely long hours and doesn’t get to see the kids as often as we would like, and HE was noticing. We also started to notice that by 18 months he had basically quit talking altogether. The only words he was using were “ball” and “car” (still his only words used to this day). As I mentioned before, I called a doctor and was told that there could be something there, but because he had an older sister that never stopped talking that that could be part of it, but it was concerning that he wasn’t talking. He said we’d wait until his 2-year Well-Child exam and go from there. I of course consulted with Dr. Google and quickly realized that my son was showing almost all of the red flag signs of autism in a child his age.

His Signs

  • No eye contact.
  • Little to no words.
  • Not responding to his name.
  • Wondering if he was hard of hearing. (He seemed to be “ignoring” everyone.)
  • Preferring to be by himself.
  • No interest in other children.
  • Not smiling at others.
  • Speech Regression.
  • Flapping/Stimming (Moving his arms up and down rapidly and going up and down on tiptoes and also shaking his head back and forth while running around.
  • Seeming to be in his own world.
  • Bolting (Just running away without looking back.)
  • Fearlessness. (He will just dive into a body of water without even thinking about it.)
  • High pain tolerance.

He actually has more characteristics and signs that we noticed later on after learning more. He has also exhibited more symptoms as he’s gotten older as well. The above are just the things we were concerned about by his 2-year Well-Child exam.

More Signs

Since his 2-year Well-Baby exam we have started to notice more things:

  • Spinning. (He will randomly spin in circles.)
  • Not utilizing silverware.
  • Not liking haircuts or fingernail or toenail clipping. (Not like the average child, but to an extreme.)
  • Does not use gestures. (Such as reaching for someone to be held, shaking his head “yes” or “no”.)
  • Doesn’t point to things he wants.
  • Doesn’t wave “goodbye”. (He did do this in the past.)
  • Narrow focus on single objects.

Diagnosis

We don’t have one yet. I’m going to do an entirely separate post on this because it’s confusing and frustrating.

I know this post may seem cutoff and unfinished, but it’s a long and confusing journey. For now I just wish to share what we noticed and caused concern.

-A Mom’s Faith Unbroken

 

 

Faith Unbroken

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog.

Why Blog?

It’s an outlet for me to share my story, my journey, and my faith as I navigate through this beautifully painful and wonderfully difficult thing we call life. It’s also a way for me to reach out to like-minded individuals. A way for me to raise awareness. A way for me to cope.

Faith Unbroken?

Yep. Faith unbroken. No matter what life throws at me I will not lose my faith. I can’t. I won’t.

About Me

I am looking thirty right in the face, and I’m scared. I live in a very small town. I am married to my high school sweetheart who has been by my side unconditionally for almost 15 years (Whoa! I just realized, that’s half of my lifetime!) and legally married to me for 8 years. I am sarcastic, witty, and religious. I can get along with anyone from any walk of life. I struggle to ask for help. I seem to think I need to do everything on my own. I tend to get obsessive about organization and cleanliness when something is on my mind or when I’m stressed out. I have been exhausting myself on my days off cleaning and organizing my house. There are worse things, right? I’m a lover of music, makeup, reading, words, writing, and grammar. I am a proud mother of 2 children, a 3-year-old girl, and a 2-year-old boy. I struggled with infertility related to my PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and used fertility treatments to conceive the first time. The second was a big and quick surprise that came just 14 months after the first. Motherhood was/is my dream and now a dream come true. I was fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom for a while and now work part time as a bartender, which I did in the past before having children. I also sell makeup as a side-gig. I am a great listener and can understand babbling people and small children better than most, which I attribute to my past in the field of medical transcription (7 years). I am wordy, especially when writing/typing, and can get a bit obsessive about things. My latest obsession has been gut health and the brain gut axis and learning all I can about ASD (autism spectrum disorder). There’s a lot more to me, but I’ll keep it at this for now.

What to Expect

I plan to share a lot about my life as a “seasonally single mom” (only kind of) of a willful, talkative, sweet, and smart 3-year-old little girl, and a fearless, wild, snuggly, and so far non-verbal developmentally delayed 2-year-old little (big) boy; and wife of a workaholic, insanely busy, hardworking, loving, hunting obsessed, and stubborn husband. I want to raise awareness and share my journey to getting my son diagnosed and getting him help in living his best life with his disabilities. I want to share how my faith has been tested in that journey and journeys before. I want to share how these journeys effect my family and relationships .I want to talk about my fears, my hopes, my dreams. I want to help. I want to share. I want support. I want to support.

– A Mom’s Faith Unbroken