Often, I am astonished at the 2000 plus Facebook friends I have. I wish I could credit this to my charming personality, but my crazy array of friends from far away as Bangladesh are all because of a 14 year old young boy and his AMAZING story.
My second son, Joshua, was diagnosed with severe autism at 2.5 years old. He is a living breathing miracle, and the sole reason I will never doubt the power of a good prayer. His diagnosis was a stinging verdict in a cold medical office as Josh rolled around silently on the floor.
Afterwards, A small piece of paper slid into my hand. On the paper was a referral to a psychiatrist for me because, supposedly, the road ahead would inevitably cause me to, “lose my mind,” the neurologist admitted in not so many words.
I left the office shell-shocked.
I knew the symphony of issues my little toddler had were serious.
I will never forget that day. I remember driving home, tears streaming down my face as I prayed.
In that moment I heard a still small voice say, “Celebrate small victories.”
Josh was a runner, a silent runner, who could not answer to his own name. I had 110dcb alarms on all my doors, and while he couldn't utter a word, he could amazingly evade every lock and alarm in the house.
Just taking a shower was an Olympic event. He also felt no pain, and therefore, had to be constantly watched.
He nearly drowned during a park outing, and once was even brought home after a ride in a police car, lost and unable to identify himself.
Eventually, in my desperation, I found a community of doctors, nutritionists and parents optimistically looking for answers. Year after year, an amazing thing happened: God began to heal my son.
It wasn't an overnight miracle, it was step upon step and victory upon victory.
So many times when I came to the end of myself, God was there.
We began to see Josh heal, each new treatment or supplement we prayed about working, never having to resort to scary drugs.
We watched as he slowly regenerated back into a happy boy. One day, I felt Josh's hand in mine, and I looked down as he said, “Hey Mom! I can talk to you now!”
But it didn't end there. One day, as his sister was being baptized he asked, “Mom what's baptism?” As I explained he then tore off his shirt and ran to the lake so that he could, too, be baptized.
Since then, Josh has found his niche… acting. Yeah, I know that's how God works, the silent kid is the one that ends up performing Shakespeare.
God, our tender Father, knows our sorrow when life doesn't exactly turn out perfect, and He is there.
He comforted me as I cried buckets of tears, as the mom of a special needs child.
Dear friend, if you are challenged with a struggling child, be encouraged today-- believe in miracles.
Sometimes when our children are saddled with a diagnosis, that peak seems too high to summit. But be assured- nothing is too big for God to tackle. The same God that poured out his love on the cross is big enough to handle your mountain.
Each one of us has a cross to bear, so pray with me today, and give that cross over to the one with experience at carrying it. His burden is light. He will see you through.
Word of the Day:
You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. Psalm 77:14
Father, carry me today. Sometimes my situation seems bigger than I can handle. In the darkest of nights when I wonder if I can make it through with my child, help me to remember that you love my children even more than I do. Help me to lean on and trust in you, even when I can't see the end of this thing. I know you are with me now just help me in my weakness to feel strong. Let my children see me trusting in you to guide us. Help me to believe and hope in the good that is to come. When your hand is in things, miracles happen.
Author: Karen Beauvais
Whenever I want to bring a room into hysterics, I tell them that in college I taught exercise classes and danced on a dance team. If that room is full of my children, I like to bust a move or two just to show them I still have it. The net result is usually tweens howling with laughter on the floor or 20-somethings at work snickering and shouting “MISS KAREN!”
When we have children, our willowy frames get curvy and stretched. It is a sad moment to stand in front of a mirror the first day of bathing suit season, when you realize there is just not enough fabric to work the kind of miracle you need right now.
It is upsetting that throughout the animal kingdom, the males are often the more beautiful than the females. The male peacock, for example, is the one with the fabulous teal and green feathers that fan out in an extravagant display while the mother peacock, who has to do all the hard work nesting those eggs and all, looks downright frumpy! If the sign wasn’t there at the zoo, I would not have even have known she was a peacock. I would have thought she was some sort of common pheasant or something.
One day I read an article about “loving your mommy body” like a war hero embraces his battle scars. See that one, I got that in Nam! And that one came when I dove on a grenade and saved my platoon!
All of a sudden, I realized my body was the way it was because 4 people came out of it. “See that scar? That’s a C-section that four human beings made. Four human beings that became honor students and camp counselors, good friends and wonderful Christians, I tell ya,” I bragged to myself... as I put the skinny jeans back on the rack.
But seriously, that simple article changed my outlook on “me.” I was not a stretchmark or bulge; I was mom, the hand that rocks the cradle… that changes the world.
God knew what he was doing when he made us soft and curvy. He knew that plenty of tears would be comforted in hugs and that the child we were raising wouldn’t be looking for a super-model, but the warm heart that is Mom.
Friend, love yourself today for all that you are, and forget what you are not. You earned your battle scars, revel in them and remember they brought forth life and goodness. And while that may not get you a reality TV show or a trip down the catwalk, it will net the best hugs ever and the greatest vocation of all time.
Word of the Day:
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
Father help me to remember you fashioned me in my mother’s womb. You made me for greatness, and greatness has come out of me. Help me not compare myself to an airbrush or Photoshop but to love the “me” that you created me to be!
Author: Karen Beauvais
By Karen Beauvais
Every Sunday and on holidays I pull my mother’s delicate blue China out of my cabinet. It has traveled to charity teas and even to school with my children for Valentine’s day.
I have a mission, I am using this China like my mother did as a way to say, “You are special, you are welcome, you are loved.” I feel like it’s the best way to let her legacy live on. I am not in the camp that the family China stays stowed; it should be used and well worn like the Velveteen Rabbit.
My mother’s table was host to many: dear family friends, relatives and guests sometimes from afar, like the Polish priest who spoke no English or the Chinese engineer from my father’s job or the very lively Vietnamese family I taught English as a second language.
When I was in college my friend Marco pedaled 4 hours on a bike to come visit, and while we didn’t fully know Marco or his family my mother made him a bed and put out the China.
Deep in my heart, I believe God’s table is much like my mother’s. Always ready for the diverse and different. It was welcoming and full of love. Believe it or not, this template for love and acceptance helped me bridge the gap and get to know those who were not necessarily homogeneous to with me in my adult life. Making my life a rich tapestry of people, just like my mother’s table. This is the legacy I want to pass on to my children.
On days when the neighbor’s children pound on my door bell setting off the barking dog as I rush to finish my remote work to deadline, I remember my mother’s home. Always welcoming and full of love just like the heart of God. There are days I feel challenged:
Is my house clean enough?
Do we measure up? There is a rip in the couch!
Where can I hide my mountainous laundry?
Oh gosh, did the boys remember to flush?
These thoughts plague me sometimes when guests come, big or small. There are days I reluctantly throw on a baseball cap and pour an extra glass of tea as I try to make my home a welcoming place.
The real question is: “Am I truly given to hospitality?”
Am I raising children to welcome the weary, bless them like the good Samaritan, bind them up and leave them better than we found them? Won’t that make the world a better place and their lives richer?
But really... it all starts with me.
Do I have a welcoming heart?
Does my table have room for another?
Do I understand God’s plan to reconcile starts with me?
Job 31:32 says, "The alien has not lodged outside, For I have opened my doors to the traveler.”
What an amazing God we have that embraces the outsider.
There is a notion that if we reach outside our comfort zone that our ideals could become compromised. At my mother’s table, I embraced a mosaic of different types of people thanks to her welcoming spirit that helped me grow to love others.
Oh to have that same welcoming spirit like the widows in the new testament mentioned in Timothy. They were not the self conscious kind, they made their reputation by opening their hearts and homes. “Well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord's people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.” 1 Timothy 5:10 NIV
As we go about our day, let us all remember to open our doors and have a welcoming spirit to those that are in need.
Let us teach our children the importance of reaching out to others even if they look a little different. In this we become more like Christ and honor the beauty of his vast and diverse creation.
Word of the Day:
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrew 13:2 NIV
Father, give me a heart for those who find themselves on my doorstep. Help me to be an ambassador of your love and hope. Help me to live a life that welcomes the lost tired and weary. Let my home be a place of warmth and love that spans generations. Help me to raise my children to welcome the alien as we make room at your table. So that in this way, the world will know your love.
By Karen Beauvais
While any mother of a two year old could hardly imagine this, parenting a young burgeoning adult is sometimes just as exhausting. While you can practically bubble wrap a toddler and hover like a helicopter over them at will, when they edge towards adulthood, the game begins to change.
Suddenly you are not the all-knowing expert, hugs are not as abundant as they used to be and for some crazy reason you are no longer allowed to dance in the privacy of your own kitchen. And dear Lord, they drive cars instead of being ratcheted down in a 5 point harness. The anxiety potential is limitless!
There is something so magical about being a mother, but I don’t get why God allows us to give our hearts away to talcum powdered, wonderfully smelling babies only to have to let it all go when they grow up. Suddenly, you trade diaper bags for gym bags and playdates morph into a day out with girlfriends... sans mom.
Hey remember me? I sometimes think. The giver of life. The one you wanted to go to tea with and paint your nails! I have been reduced to a dot on the horizon in the rear view mirror as my daughter runs off for lunch with her friends.
While I always grappled for time as I was raising my four kids, now there are times that I long for them to be little again, as I attempt to busy myself with a new career and hobbies. I would even take the sleepless nights and ear infections if I could go back. I would go back to carefree days of making bubbles in the driveway and cuddling up to a pop-up book before bed. Only this time... I wouldn’t worry about how clean the house was.
Now, towards the end of vanishing time with my children, I have learned to relish the short time instead of ruminating over body image, house demands, academics, work and all the other things that waste us.
Friends, when life is a pressure cooker of diapers, bottles and spit-up rags; or SAT prep, driving lessons, college exams and orthodontist appointments we must remember that this time of our lives is only a season that will all too soon be gone.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to take in every hug, every laugh, every tear, every milestone of the journey. It seems like just yesterday my daughter was running off to prom, then graduation…
Before you know it, the amazing children we are trusted to raise are adults. So today put your time in the perspective of eternity and raise your children well. Don’t rush that hug or let your temper spill like lava to the point of regret. Live in the present and be thankful for it, like the “present” it is-- another day to be well lived. This is your gift. Enjoy it.
Word of the Day:
“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone.” James 4:14 (NLT)
Father help me to dial down the pressure and live in the moment, appreciating the joys of motherhood, before it soon passes. Help me to shape and prepare my children for tomorrow. Keep me focused on today because tomorrow has trouble enough of it’s own. Keep me in the present and appreciating the gift that today is.
By Karen Beauvais
A mom’s life, whether you are home caring for toddlers, or juggling a career and children, is often a tour de force of multi-tasking. Sometimes, I feel like a triage nurse. At the end of the day, you just hope everyone in your care survived.
While it’s the toughest of jobs, I would re-enlist in a heartbeat without blinking an eye. Raising children is God’s way of replenishing the earth with His goodness; no wonder Jesus said “Hey, let them come to me!” (Matthew 19:14).
It’s important to know that God is there when the day seems like blur. You know what I mean: when it is so overwhelming, four people couldn’t possibly manage it-- the day you look at the clock, and it’s 5pm, and you are still in your PJs.
I’m reminded me of a day I was home alone with my four kids. I walked into the bedroom to call the youngest to dinner, only to find he emptied his diaper all over the room. It was fascinating that he could cover so much square footage with poop. I came into the kitchen put my head down on my hand and my elbow landed on a fork. A fork that was wedged under a plate of macaroni and cheese, which subsequently went airborne.
It was almost Seussical. As I was on my hands and knees, cleaning all the cheesy goodness off the floor, a child, who will remain nameless, spilled his milk and it cascaded down like a shower all over me. I remember very little of the rest of that day, except that it involved tears (me) and a lot of steam vacuuming.
Believe it or not, even on those days, like these, when you wish you had a personal assistant, sous chef or a live-in Mary Poppins-- God is right there, in it all.
One of my favorite stories is of Susanna Wesley, the infamous mother of Charles Wesley whose husband was thrown in debtor’s prison, her house burned down twice and she was left to make ends meet with multiple children on her own. Her method of dealing with all of this madness was to frequently throw her apron over her head and pray in the midst of chaos.
I totally get it, Susanna.
What a great reminder that in midst of mind numbing chaos, God is there. The same God that put the world together from dust, holds your life firmly in his hand in the chaos. Often I retreat to a corner in my kitchen and just pray. The room fills with peace and for one minute I feel the peace of God flow into my crazy life.
So, whether your sanctuary is behind a bathroom door with toes squiggling underneath, a moment at your favorite coffee shop or outdoors; steal away with God regularly. Let him restore your soul. Be still with him, let the peace come in even if it’s just a minute, and he will bring the blurring whirlwind that is your life into focus, so that you can pick up and face it refreshed and renewed.
Word of the Day:
“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” Psalm 46:10
Father help me to slow down and realize you still own the universe. That if I stop for a minute and breathe, it’s OK. Help me to find those moments in my crazy day to walk with you and share my heart. Thank you for giving me peace in the storm, your promises my ballast when the waters get rough. Remind me today that time with you, and my family, trump the giant list of things I have to do today. Remind me to steal away with you and find my peace in you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.