God Knew

Thursday we will be heading home to Montgomery for the first time since last Thanksgiving. A lot has happened since then. I've finished residency and started fellowship. We've moved from Oklahoma to Arkansas - slowly making our way back east of the Mighty Mississippi. My beautiful sister has had a baby - the second cutest little boy in the entire world, second only to my Will. Friends are getting married and having babies. Life is definitely happening, whether I want it to or not. 
I can't help but look back and think, "Have I really done all of this?" You see, the last time I actually lived in Montgomery, I had just gotten married and was still in the process of applying to medical school. I had always wanted to be a doctor, and I knew it was God's will for my life. But, it wasn't until after the wedding that He decided to let me in on the plan as to where I would go. I certainly didn't think I'd be moving half-way across the country. I had no idea why we ended up in Tulsa. God knew. Then, surprise! Here comes little Will. I had no idea why we were having a baby so early in our marriage and my medical school career. God knew. I survived medical school and had to decide where to do my residency. I decided to stay in Tulsa only to find out I could have had a spot back in Alabama. Why? God knew.
Will got in to the Little Light House the same summer I started my residency. It was there that Will was able to reach his full potential. Had I not listened to Him, Will would have never had that opportunity. Who know what he would or would not be able to do if he hadn't been able to spend three wonderful years there. God definitely knew.
Then the decision came to do a fellowship. Oklahoma City or Little Rock? (Okay, that was an easy one!) Why couldn't I find a good private school for special needs kids for Will? Why did I have to send him to public school, where I had heard bad things about the special education system? God knew. He blessed me with a smooth IEP process and wonderful people to work with. He blessed Will with an amazing teacher who has personal experience with Angelman Syndrome. He's blessed us with support that we wouldn't otherwise have had. God knew. 
Now, we're heading home for a little rest and relaxation. We're heading home to some things that are happening and I don't know why. But, God knows. He is in control of every situation. I'm praying for a peaceful time with our family - time to catch up and enjoy each other. God knows my heart, and I have a feeling that this is going to be a very special weekend.

Totally a God Thing!

We moved to Little Rock just about two months ago. We had come to town over spring break to look for a house. It seemed like we weren't going to find anything we could remotely afford that would meet our minimum needs. Then, the evening before we left town, we found a house in North Little Rock - a house that we thought had just been rented. We later came to find out that we are ONE street inside North Little Rock and one street away from Sherwood. What this means for us is that we are in the North Little Rock school district, which has a better reputation than the Pulaski County Special school district (the schools that serve Sherwood). I kept hearing good things about Will's school, Indian Hills Elementary. This got me a little excited. But, even though the IEP process had gone smoothly thus far, I was still worried about how this all was going to go. You see, we came from The Little Light House in Tulsa. It's what I like to call "heaven on earth for special needs kids." If you meet anyone who has a child there, they'll tell you, they dread the day that their child has to graduate. 
What I knew before tonight was that Will would be in the self-contained special education class. He would have six total students in his room with one special education teacher and two paraprofessionals. This student to teacher/para ratio thrilled me. Indian Hills is also the only elementary school in the district with a full-time nurse, and they have the district's lead speech and occupational therapists. I definitely liked all of this. But would the teacher be as nice as his had been at The Little Light House? Would they be as understanding? Would they let him have a snack (the boy likes to eat!)? Question after question filled my mind. Finally, I sat down and prayed - novel idea, huh? I told God that this was my son, my child who I had dedicated to Him and I know has a devine purpose on this earth. I want the best for Will and desired that all his needs be met at school without too much difficulty on my part. 
Tonight was back to school night. We went up to the school and met Will's teacher, therapists, and principal. It was AMAZING! His teacher is fresh out of college and has such a fire for life and passion for our special kids. When we walked into the room she said, "You're Will. I am sooo excited to meet you! I had a dream about y'all last night. " At first I thought, well that's kind of weird. Then she went on to tell us that she has a niece who is five years old and also has Angelman Syndrome. She even spent a year and a half living with her and taking care of her. God put this wonderful young woman in place at this moment just for Will. She seemed so honestly interested in him, what he can do (which she was amazed by), and what his needs are. If he's hungry, she'll let him eat. If he's tired, he can lay down. Need help eating? No problem. Every time I asked her what I needed to do in regards to things like diapers or sippy cups, she would say, "Whatever is easiest for you. " She even plans on sending home daily notes with progress reports, etc. I couldn't ask for more. His therapists all came into the classroom to meet him, find out more about him, and see what our goals for Will were. Finally, when we met the new principal, we found out that she got her start as a self-contained special education teacher. She said to us, "Well, isn't it a coincidence that his teacher has a niece with the same condition and that I taught special ed?" I know it's no coincidence. It's totally a God thing!
I don't know why I'm so amazed by this. He promises in His Word that He'll supply all of our needs. He also promises that He will give us the desires of our hearts. 

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."  - Psalm 37:4

This happens over and over again. I think it goes back to the whole fear thing. I'm afraid things won't go the way I want them to or that I'll be disappointed. God shows me over and over again that there is no reason to be afraid or worry. The best place in the world that you can be is in the center of His will. When you dedicate yourself to Him and "delight yourself" in Him, He really will give you the desires of your heart. The key is, when you're fully delighted in Him, your desires become His desires. Give it a whirl sometime. You'll be amazed at all the "God things" that happen in your life.

Fear Not !

This world can be a very scary place. Scary things happen to everyone - even good people. I know that I often look for some sort of reason why these things have happened. Let me give you a few examples. My nephew Gage was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. Then they found some chromosomal abnormalities. As if this wasn't enough, he was recently diagnosed with Fanconi anemia, a disease that has the potential to be devastating. Just when I thought, why in the world did this great kid and his wonderful parents have to be dealt this hand, the hand got worse. They just found out their younger child, Stella, also has Fanconi anemia. This is a very scary situation. You have the tendency to think, "Why them? They're good people." I have another friend from college who is serving the Lord with her husband and three daughters in India. One of her daughters has been very ill and may possibly have a genetic condition. It seems like if anyone would be blessed, it would be missionaries, right? My best friend's daughter is plagued with frequent UTIs. This may not seem as big of a deal in comparison to the others, but it caused them pain and worry, and it's a big deal to them. Our son is disabled and can't do most things a person always dreams their son will do. It seems like there is nothing but badness and scary-ness (if that's a word) everywhere you turn. It doesn't seem fair, but, as my dad told me as a little girl, "Life isn't fair. It's a magazine." (Let's see how long it takes some of you to get that one!) It seems like all of these families are fighting in the battle of their lives. 

"Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident."  - Psalm 27:2-4

Every time you turn on the TV, radio, or computer it seems like all you hear about is financial ruin,  the terrible economy, and the unemployment rate. Good people (and bad) have lost their jobs, their home, their cars, and even some, their families. My family is not currently in the greatest financial situation. Being a fellow, my salary is basically the same as that of a resident. For those of you who don't know what that means, it means I'm payed pennies on the dollar for what an attending physician would get. Part of my "pay" is getting to learn, which I am very grateful for but does not pay our bills. We currently do not receive medicaid or SSI even though Will is disabled and have a lot of out of pocket medical expenses. Plus, everything here in Little Rock costs more than it did in Tulsa. Pastor Rod has been preaching a sermon series on fear (check out the sermons at www.firstnlr.com) over the past month. It feels like he's preaching directly to me and that I'm the only one there. Last week he talked about being financially faithful to God. He talked about people who don't tithe and give offerings to God for the fear that they will not be able to pay their bills and provide for their family. I am ashamed to say that I have been that person once or twice in the past, but I am proud to say that I have been faithful in my giving for several years now. I do, unfortunately, still sometimes wonder, "What if I still had that money? I could pay this bill and that bill with it." Then I get a gentle kick in the pants from the Lord (lately in the form of Pastor Rod's sermons!) saying, "Don't worry! I will take care of you!" And He always does.  It hasn't been in the form of a check in the mail, but we have never done without life's necessities. 

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  - Matthew 6:25-35

I guess what I'm trying to say is that bad times are going to come. Scary things are going to happen. It's our human nature to be afraid. But, God doesn't want us to be afraid. He promises He will ALWAYS be with us, NEVER leave us or forsake us, and that He has a plan for our lives. We may not always understand His plan or know the next step, but that's where our faith comes in. We have to trust Him. We have to believe His promises. It's not always easy to do - I'm the first person to admit that - but as I spend more time with Him, I'm learning to trust Him more and to slowly but surely put aside my fears and find the joy He wants me to have. While the situations I've written about are anything but joyful, I truly believe that no matter the outcome, God will bring joy out of it. His plan is not necessarily always to heal or provide a check, but the blessings will come...if we let them. I know it's hard to have faith when you're afraid - that's why we have to stop being afraid. I hope that whatever your fear is, you can learn to "Fear not!" Put all your trust in Him, let Him lead you, and your fear will be replaced with abundant joy. 

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."  - Psalm 28:7

"Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you..."  - 1 Chronicles 28:20