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running well regardless of circumstance

Do you ever have those “wow moments” that you never want to forget? Time seems to stand still–and you feel the Lord’s presence in the middle of it. That happened to me this morning–and you all KNOW what this momma does when that happens. I write. I want to remember these moments. I want my children to read them one day. I want them to see how God’s glory SHINES through in what some might consider the challenging stuff…not only in the good stuff…but in ALL the stuff that happens around us. If you just happen to be reading my blog today–maybe this story is to also encourage YOU…just maybe it was written for you…

This morning I should have been tired. BUT I wasn’t. Yesterday began with a sleepless night from our baby and realizing we were out of coffee when the sun came up…it marked doctor visits…an ultrasound…and some unplanned craziness…just when I thought it really couldn’t get worse and we had seen the day through…we were enjoying dinner at a friends house (amazing that dinner at a friend’s house was already in our plans…this momma got a break from cooking and I thought all was well!)–but it ended with our little guy falling over while JUST SITTING—he hit his head and started bleeding from his ears. SO…our crazy, tired day ended with a visit to the ER but the Lord was good and after CT scans we learned it was just ear infections (over the tubes already in them) and the pressure burst with the bump. So, this morning I should have been weary–but my agency’s listserv I know was praying for us (because they are amazing like that when we share our needs with one another) and I woke up feeling refreshed–ready to head out the door for physical therapy…it was a new day—and truly, I felt ready to take on the world.

We go weekly to Emily at Children’s Rehab–every week the same place. Same time. Same sweet therapist. And usually we see the same people at their appointments. The therapy rooms are ginormous and often several therapists are serving patients at once. While these sessions are going on, parents watch and cheerlead alongside…and many times relationships are made among them. Stories are shared. Tears some times even shed through them. Other parents who I have talked to that also do weekly physical therapy with there children at their home often advise me, “You really should get the therapists to come to your house…it’s so much more convenient…you don’t even have to leave…” BUT if we chose to do therapy at home instead of here…I’d miss out on stories like these. I’d miss out on relationships. I’d miss out on more “wow moments” like the one that happened today. And while this moment or story might not even strike a cord with most of you reading—if it strikes a cord with JUST ONE…if it ministers to JUST ONE like it did to me…if you, too, sense the Holy Spirit as it hits your heart—then it’s worth writing.

This morning there was a new face at therapy. She was beautiful. She was 6 years old just like my oldest son. But the challenges she has faced are far different. I sat there talking with her father—and although they were new to this particular time…their experience here extends all the years of my parenthood alone. And today we did what parents often do in therapy upon meeting the first time and watching one another’s hearts–our children–labor with determination across the room–we shared our stories. I watched his face as he sat looking at Isaac as I told ours. He was laughing at his funny antics. Throughout my sharing, this father kept repeating how beautiful Isaac was. I sat there speechless and holding back tears as someone talked about my son to me…even after just meeting him it was as if he could see so much in his efforts to not give up and try to do everything put before him. I couldn’t help but think back to just the night before, after his fall and during the ER visit–wondering what in the world could be happening to start bleed from his ears (you just never know)—and in every doctor visit and unknown for my son, I have fallen deeper in love. Dear God…please, please let him be okay…is my constant cry. So while this man knew little of our previous craziness, hearing what he saw in my son in just a short time–just left me speechless. In the midst of the morning…and through a stranger…God was working as He always is.

“He is amazing…so beautiful…wow…”

He was an Indian man with a beautiful accent…and while his little girl the same age as my oldest son who scored more soccer goals this past session than I can count was struggling to place her left foot flat on the ground because of her cerebral palsy. He saw right through me as he watched my eyes watch our children…and he thought back to when she was Isaac’s age…

“I see you worry about him. I know what it is like. You know he will be okay don’t you? He WILL walk–do not worry…He is a beautiful boy–so bright and so happy…He will be okay…

What he didn’t know is that I was really holding back tears at hearing what he had to say earlier about the joy in my boy’s face. I could see God’s grace before me–and I was overwhelmed with what the Lord hath done. I was thinking about what his life would be like if he weren’t here with us—yet God’s grace brought him home and he is thriving. And He, my sweet Jesus, was giving me the humbling honor to be the one who gets to love him so deeply with a mother’s love.

This compassionate father who I felt had so much more on his plate went on to tell me how Isaac reminded him of his daughter at his age. How she was also stubborn and determined…it doesn’t take you long to figure that out about our Isaac when you spend some time with him or watch him during physcial therapy being forced to “work out” with activities planned for him rather than the ones he wants to do himself. He told me how when his daughter was Isaac’s age and before she was diagnosed with CP how she, too, just wanted to crawl and not have anything to do with anything else…and how at closer to two years old they really began to realize her hypotonia (low muscle tone) was linked to more than just weakness. They soon determined through much testing that it was cerebral palsy effecting the left side creating low tone and keeping her from progressing normally. He told me how shocked they were when they found out…how they didn’t know what the future held…and how the disbelief and uncertainty at first overwhelmed him. I sat there mesmorized by his story as his Indian accent made it even that much sweeter to me for some reason. I sat listening…taking it all in and also remembered that this is one of the reasons I love going to therapy instead of going the convenient home therapy route—…and then he went on…

“I’ll never forget the morning my wife called me…”

I immediately assumed he was about to tell me about the morning he discovered his, then, only child had cerebral palsy…

“I was sitting on highway 400 and I had just passed Exit 6. I was about a quarter of a mile from exit 7 when she called…”

STOP my beating heart…he even remembered EXACTLY where he was when he heard the news. But then he threw me for a loop…

“I’ll never forget the moment. She had just turned 2 years old…and my wife was crying so hard that I couldn’t understand what she was saying. I finally made out what she was trying to tell me. She was walking!!! I started weeping. I’ll never forget the unknowns and the wonder…BUT she was walking…and I’ll NEVER forget that moment…”

This man…this father—had chosen to embrace the HOPE rather than the diagnosis. She was walking! He didn’t want to tell me about the moment he found out his daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, how he felt or the odds against her…but instead—to tell me about the moment she walked…and how his heart felt. As I sat there–I felt the Lord’s presense. I didn’t even know if this man was a brother in Christ–but I knew the Lord was there…and my soul was being ministered to. My heart felt like it was sitting beating in my throat as I listened. Keep it together Andrea. This is going to be really awkward if you start crying now. I looked back at his daughter, and how amazing SHE was. I saw her beauty in a new way…and my heart loved her. I realized that THIS is what had become instint to this father…to appreciate every moment, every milestone, every achievement. His first instinct upon seeing MY son was to see his beauty…his determination…and every joy we had ahead of us.

I looked over at this father looking at his daugther and saw the perserverance of six years…and four and a half of knowing the challenges (and embracing the unknowns) she would face. Looking at her–I would never know she had cerebral palsy. Honestly, listening to this three-and-a-half foot spit-fire who walked with a tiny limp, I simply thought upon first glance she was here for an ankle injury. BUT after hearing her story I knew so much more. She was a fighter. She had learned to compensate to make her walk appear normal by putting so much pressure on her right foot so she had a smooth stride—so that anyone at first glance wouldn’t notice her disability. Most days, the extra weight being forced on her good leg meant having to take pain relievers at night to make up for the workout on her good side. This six year old girl laughed a laugh that swells your heart…and let me not leave out that she’s teaching her classmates how to read…after all she has been reading since she turned three.

While his voice told facts…his tone breathed his heart…“She is a hard worker. She does not give up. And she is very smart. But some times it is really hard for her. She doesn’t want anyone to know she has cerebral palsy–and while her speech and mind are not effected–her heart breaks at P.E. when the other children don’t pick her because she will slow their team down. You know, this happens all the time–and with her limp, it’s true—she really will slow them down and often make their team lose…or that is how they see it. Even at 6 year old she knows. (His Indian accent made my heart smile…)She want to walk like them–so she tries too hard and compensate in a way that some time risks the other leg…”

Oh if the other children at her school could see THIS. Oh if one day they could come back in time and watch her now and appreciate her determination and spirit. This girl would be sought after…and fought for like she should be…truly I was in the midst of a diamond in the rough–a miracle. The determination on her face. The joy radiating from her laugh. Yet the look in her eye–you could see the pain and finally she gives in and asks her therapist, “Ma’am, would it be okay if I sit for a minute…my back…and my leg…it needs to rest.” There was no whine. There was no giving up. There was no ‘I want to do something else’. At six, she wanted to be here–she wanted to get better…she wanted to run her race well—regardless if the other children saw her indescribable beauty and value…truly–she should be the most sought after in the line up to be on their team.

I thought of my children…their cheering for their littlest brother to sit…to crawl…and how THEY have been changed in our adoption process. Oh how I pray that they will be different. That they will see beyond what the world sees. That they will see the heart and what truly matters. I thought about how even *I* have been changed in being a parent the last 6 years. Before I was a mom–I didn’t know how your heart would break for your child…how when you couldn’t do anything to “fix it” how my heart would LONG to anyway…and how things really would hurt my heart more than it hurt theirs. I didn’t know that after birthing my third son how I would feel knowing it might be my last…as I turned off the light in the recovery room the night Frank was born…Frank sleeping all swaddled up beside me and Richard almost asleep on the couch—I didn’t expect to whisper through a cracking voice, “Rich–can you imagine NOT doing this again?” I wanted the moment to never end. And I surely didn’t expect his response, “No baby. I can’t imagine not doing this again.” I thought it couldn’t be more miraculous…

Then before adopting, I just didn’t know…I didn’t know the JOY of adoption…how the heartache of what these children go through would CHANGE me—and a new level of compassion would leave me on my knees in some times a paralyzing state…to later be filled with unexpressable praise when achievements are made…and tiny bits of healing happen bit by bit. I didn’t know the sleepless nights wouldn’t matter or even tire me the same as they did with my biological little ones…how the Lord cares for me as I care for my newest son…such a miracle. So much more was happening when I rocked in the dark hours and whispered truth and love into this healing heart…and again–my world stood still. The unknowns wouldn’t hold a candle to what it felt like to have a son rest his head on my chest and say, “Mama” and pat my face. And that once again I’d look at my husband and say, “Can you imagine NOT doing this again?” And that while the world would look at us like we were crazy–his conservative financial planning self would shockingly respond, “Ang, we have enough on our plate…it wouldn’t make sense–but no, I can’t imagine not doing this again.” Really, we just didn’t know how you see God in new ways–how He meets you there and how beautiful it all is. And now sitting at physical therapy and unknowns…I can’t imagine not doing THIS PART again. The little boy with down syndrome clapping for Isaac when he crawled…or sitting now and seeing another child beat the odds through perserverance. The stories. The relationships. The miracles. The achievements that mean SO much more than I ever knew they should.

I just didn’t know the difference…what it feels like…what a BLESSING this part truly is. And here a sat with a complete stranger—and I watched a little girl who shined so much of His glory and perfect creation…who could be crippled by a diagnosis or rejection or fear–but instead thrives in HOPE and determination. I came home thankful…thankful for the things my children are able to do–and with a new perspective for the things they struggle with. A new perspective on the unknowns…and a new perspective on what children with disabilities go through. Help us Lord to perservere like this child…to not give up during the hard things and to embrace what you lay before us. Instead of getting frustrated or wrapped up in the “whys”–help us to fight to the finish. Help us to tune out the world when we feel overlooked, picked apart or not good enough–it is not the world we need to measure up to…but instead to simply rest in you and run the race before us with perserverance. And help us like this dad–to embrace and celebrate the milestones…the achievements…to see the setbacks for what they are…but to not let them cripple us or take our focus off on what CAN BE when we continue to love and perservere.

May you see beyond the hard things and uncertain things in your family’s life as you trust Him and perservere through all things that come your way. This was just one of those moments I didn’t want to forget…and it was too sweet not to share. And this little girl was a shining example of perserverence…of choosing not to complain but hope in all things…and of laughing and seeing the joys even in through the hard stuff. May you see His glory shine in new ways throughout your day today.


Elle J - November 17, 2010 - 11:30 pm

Beautiful day for you and thank you for sharing. I can truly relate to your story. I can “see it all” as I have had my years of therapy experiences with my son too when he was of toddler years. There is a “waiting room” bond that happens among the parents whose children are in therapy together – memories and stories I will never forget. And the streaming of tears when our therapist “graduated” our son. God’s hand through it all and I am thankful for that history. Blessings to you, Andrea, as you continue to walk your journey of love for your son, and for all the children and parents you will meet in therapy.

april - November 17, 2010 - 11:31 pm

wow wow wow … thanks so much for sharing this with us!

Dawn - November 17, 2010 - 11:45 pm

Beautiful post!!! thank you!!!!!

Megan - November 18, 2010 - 3:07 am

There are no words…that was beautiful.

kelly - November 18, 2010 - 8:19 am

I caught the title of your post from another blog and needed to read it as I am tired of running…in my case, fundraising…for our adoption. Thank you for the pick-me-up-keep-your-eyes-on-your-provider post!

Tiffany - November 18, 2010 - 8:36 am

Oh, thank you. I needed to read this today, as I feel as if I have reached my end. I have felt like I cannot persevere one more day as we wait and wait and wait for a call saying we finally have a court date for our sweet special needs boy in Ethiopia. I was so encouraged by this story, to know that this hard thing is worth fighting through and persevering, that God has not forgotten my family, He has not forgotten our beautiful boy a world a way. I also am so thrilled to read of Isaac’s progress. It gives me hope for my own boy. God really does have a loving hand on these precious children. I can’t make my words make sense. I just want you to know that this post touched me, encouraged me, and lovingly chastised me. Thank you Andrea.

julie@Flitterbugs - November 18, 2010 - 8:38 am

Thank you for sharing this Andrea! I too remember the exact spot I was standing….everything abou that day down to what I was wearing..when my mom called and told me my little brother was walking. He too has CP…and he was 9 years old. 9. When he turned 6, the doctors and therapists told my parents to buy a wheelchair and quit working with him. They pressed on, and one winter day when he was 9…..they had the joy of proclaiming to anyone who would listen that Stephen can walk!

Mary Craig Hart - November 18, 2010 - 10:11 am

Oh, what a beautiful post! Thank you for taking the time to write down that story. Tears!

Kindra - November 18, 2010 - 11:10 am

Thank you for sharing this “God moment” with us, Andrea. What a beautiful picture of the heart of a father, and of our Father.

Jill Gorman - November 18, 2010 - 11:58 am

This was so encouraging to read…what an amazing reminder to remain hopeful despite the sometimes seemingly endless barriers that appear to hold us back from doing what He has called us to!

Katy - November 18, 2010 - 2:45 pm

As someone who has worked through a good bit of physical therapy, I can appreciate the hard work these precious young ones put into it. It hurts and it’s never easy and what a testimony and encouragement to someone like me they are. What a sweet, sweet story. You most certainly brought tears to my eyes today. Thanks for sharing.

Rebecca Harley - November 18, 2010 - 3:13 pm

you constantly do it – amazing how you put my heart into words! I needed that today – the reminder about hope and concentrating of the positive – some days that negative can become overwhelming. Praise God for our children’s perseverance through it all, and for the hope that He gives to our mommas hearts. Praying for you all (and through the night:)

Mary - November 18, 2010 - 3:48 pm

I drove my little foster baby boy to his family meeting today. Tearful, hard. But the whole time I was thinking that God is With Us! Amazing peace. I was trying to put words to what this process is like and you have uttered them here. All I can say is, for 27 years I have missed the amazing repetitive nature of God’s word saying, draw near to the orphan and the oppressed and God will draw near to you. Missed it because it definitely seemed too hard. Now I know, the alternative-ignoring the orphan and the oppressed was actually far harder. I did not walk closely with God by faith until I drew near to the orphan. He knew and praise His name, He led my family here!

Staci - November 18, 2010 - 7:50 pm

Thank you so much for this beautiful post! Wow, I needed it today and will definitely revisit it again when times are challenging. Thank you for reminding us to focus on the hope and promises of God rather than the diagnosis, hurdles, and delays. Thanks for being a vessel for God’s truth to touch many hearts!

Tiffany - November 19, 2010 - 9:14 am

So sweet…tears flowing. Inspiring…truly.

Bobi Bobbitt - November 19, 2010 - 10:46 am

Such a beautiful story, Andrea! Thanks for sharing!
p.s We are soon to start working on our home study for AGCI!!!

Jen - November 20, 2010 - 2:30 pm

Love this. After everything we’ve been through with Nathan…the ups and downs…I never get tired of stories like this because I GET it. The ups make the downs worth it! Blessings!

Chrystal - November 20, 2010 - 4:25 pm

What a beautiful story… I could just feel that fathers love for his daughter through your words- THANK YOU for sharing, and THANK YOU moreover for sharing your heart- in more ways then you’ll ever know!

Heather Forbus - November 20, 2010 - 11:41 pm


It’s like you spoke the words of my heart for my son…. if only the world appreciated his effort to overcome his world of autism.. if only he were chosen by kids his age… if only they knew how far he’s come… if only people knew how lonely this world of special needs is… WOW!! I really NEEDED this, “to tune out the world and perservere”! If only the kids could look back in time and see how hard Toby tries to be “normal” He’s MY WINNER!! THanks so much!