Brynna Leigh Turns 15

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Fifteen years ago I held our beautiful baby for the first time.  We named her Brynna Leigh.  She hardly ever cried.  I remember standing over her bouncer seat and asking her if she was hungry.  She was overdue for a feeding but yet she still smiled at me.  It was as if she was saying “Oh….is it time to eat? I didn’t notice.” Fifteen years later she’s still just as content as she was when she was a baby.

When Brynna was little she loved ladybugs, toads, flowers, and Dora the Explorer.  When I hear the Dora theme song I still see Brynna bouncing around the living room with pigtails flying.  When she was 4 years old she was in her first Bible school program.  She was bashful and we were a little nervous about how she would handle being in front of a crowd.  After the program Grandma told her that she was proud of her.  Brynna said “I just did what I had to do, Grandma!”

Brynna started taking dance lessons when she was 11 years old and she fell in love with jazz, tap, and ballet.  She exhibits such  grace and beauty when she’s dancing.  I’m so thankful for the gift that God has put within her.  I look forward to many more years of watching her dance.

I dropped Brynna off last week for her first driver’s ed class.  Really?  How can she be old enough to drive already?  It just doesn’t seem right but yet it is.  I would like to rewind the clock, put pigtails in her hair, and sit her down to watch an episode of Dora.  But I can’t do that.  But I can enjoy watching her catch toads with her little sisters.  And I will savor the moments of watching her dance.  And I will be thankful every day that I’ve been given the privilege of being Brynna’s mom.

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When Your Faith Shatters

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She giggled and smiled as she bounced the ball around the dining room.  Then we suddenly heard the sound of glass crashing to the floor. It was just too overwhelming and ironic that my plate with the word Faith on it was now shattered.  The past few weeks have been extremely difficult.  My faith in God has felt as if it were shattered into pieces much like my plate.  Brett began gathering up the broken pieces.  I asked him not to throw the pieces away.  I just couldn’t handle the thought of seeing my plate thrown into the trash.

It all started a few weeks ago when faceless people out in cyberworld began to personally attack me.  I had no idea that writing about my life could upset so many people.  Or that those people would take time out of their life to tell me what they think of me.  People who love me told me that it doesn’t matter what strangers think about me.  And it doesn’t.  My worth and value do not come from what anyone thinks of me.  But their words still hurt.  When I crawled into bed that night and my husband wrapped his arms around me I began to sob.  And I told him that I wasn’t ever going to write another blog post.  He told me that he didn’t think that was the answer.  He reminded me that a well-known pastor is constantly attacked on social media.  But he gets up every day and he keeps doing what God has called him to do.  And my dear husband encouraged me to do the same.  But I wasn’t sure that I wanted to.

As I was still trying to process the attacks from cyberworld, a stranger at a theme park yelled at one of our girls and told her that she was stupid.  It’s one thing to attack me through a computer screen.  It’s even worse to yell at my girl and tell her that she’s stupid.  What is wrong with people?  Why do they think they have a right to say whatever they want?  Why are they so cruel?  My world was becoming a dark place.

Everything felt like it was spiraling out of control.  Our family was disappointed when the door was suddenly closed on a new journey we had chosen to take.  My heart was broken.  We had a couple of extremely difficult weeks with our two turtles.  Bad behaviors that the girls had conquered suddenly began creeping back into their lives.  I was discouraged and I felt like a complete failure.  And then, of course, there were the normal demands of life mixed in with all of the extra struggles.  I ended up with an extreme case of anxiety.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I didn’t want to get out of bed. The pages in my Bible just seemed to be full of words that had no life.  I struggled to pray.  I was emotionally and physically exhausted.  The only reason I was going to keep going was because I had no choice.  It was like I was in the bottom of a pit and I didn’t know how to get out.

Then I had an emotional breakdown in public.  That was the last thing in the world that I wanted to happen.  I didn’t want everyone to know that I was a complete mess.  Wonderful, loving people tried to comfort me but nothing they said made me feel any better.  I desperately wanted to talk to someone who understands the struggles of raising special needs kids.  That night I didn’t find anyone. I felt a loneliness like I’ve never felt in my life.

A friend came the next day and took Mikayla & Hope to her house.  She had no idea what I was going through.  She just wanted to spend the day with our girls.  Her timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  And she brought chocolate which was also perfect.  She took the girls to her house two days in a row and they had a lot of fun.  I was so thankful to have a little time to myself.

Then I got a facebook message from the only special needs mom that I’ve found in our very large church.  She shared encouraging words with me that were exactly what I needed to hear.  Her special needs journey looks a lot different from mine.  But the feelings and emotions are very similar.  I needed to know that I’m not alone.

But the truth is that I was never alone.  There’s one person in this world who understands completely. When I was lying on my bed crying uncontrollably the door opened and he stepped into the room.  He sat down beside me, he rubbed my back, and he kissed my forehead.   Yes, this man understands. Eleven years ago he had no idea that our twin girls who were growing inside of me would have special needs.  He didn’t know that our life was going to suddenly take a turn that we weren’t expecting.  He didn’t realize that he was going to have to trade in his dreams for our girls and start dreaming new dreams.  He had no idea that the journey was at times going to try to steal our joy, our hope, and even our faith.  He feels the same things that I feel.  As I looked up at those same beautiful eyes that I first fell in love with 25 years ago, I realized that I’m never alone.  And I’m thankful that I get to spend every day of my life with this man who loves me even when I can’t get out of bed.

My faith was never really shattered because faith isn’t about what I can see.  Faith is believing that God hears my prayers even when His answers seem to tarry.  It’s believing that God is listening and He loves me even when my eyes see the opposite of what I’m praying for.  Faith is believing  that our girls will accomplish great things in their lives.  It’s believing it even in those moments when they seem to be going backwards instead of forwards.   Faith is choosing to believe that there’s good in the world even when I feel overwhelmed with the bad.  Faith is choosing to keep going even when I feel like I can’t.   The every day struggles are very real.  I’m exhausted and my emotions are still out of whack.   But my faith hasn’t shattered into pieces and fallen on the floor.  It’s still intact.

 

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see ~ Hebrews 11:1