Connie Albers: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy

Connie Albers: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy

Author Connie Albers shares effective strategies for reaching the hearts of teens  Based off of her new book Parenting Beyond the Rules: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy. As a mother of five, Connie understands the doubts and insecurities of parenting as well the conflicting balance between being a wife a and mother with hopes and dreams of her own.

ConnieAlbers.com

Not Just a Face Only a Mother Can Love

Not Just a Face Only a Mother Can Love

I immediately connect with this week’s guest when we met. We have both walked the difficult road of parenting a child with special needs. We talked about the joys and the challenges of having children with medical and special needs on Hope for Raising a Special needs Child Kathy is filled with hard-fought wisdom from pressing into God.

I am delighted to introduce you to my new friend, please welcome Kathy McClelland to By His Grace today.


Not Just a Face Only a Mother Can Love

By Kathy McClelland

The night my son Nathan was born he made a sour face.

The labor and delivery nurse said to me, “That’s a face only a mother can love.”

I was too drugged post-surgery to realize what she said, let alone respond with something I would’ve said to my then three-year-old like, “That’s not a kind thing to say!”

Almost four years later her words still sting when I think about them, especially because we were in the midst of discovering our little boy was born with birth defects. Nathan has abnormalities affecting his brain, spine, heart, and kidneys. He was later diagnosed with Cri du chat syndrome, a rare (1 in 50,000 births) chromosomal disorder.

Almost everything about him is different. Aside from his obvious facial differences, he eats with a feeding tube, needs to be catheterized intermittently, and still isn’t walking or talking. Yet these differences are no reason to say he’s a child only a mother can love.

In his short life, Nathan has managed to win his way into the hearts of family members, friends, therapists, caregivers, medical professionals, and teachers. His eye contact is piercing at times. He freely gives his affection to people by making kissing sounds and leaning in for hugs. And although he generally has a flat affect, when he does smile it lights up a room and leads people into sweet, joyful laughter. 

His presence is a gift. It's not because of what he does or doesn't do. It's because of who he is--a sweet little boy buried within a syndrome that entraps his mind and body. Click To Tweet

All too often I think that L&D nurses comment reflects a general attitude many people have toward those who are different, oppressed, needy, and weak whether they would openly say those things or not. As a society, we are often afraid and put off by other’s differences, rather than in search of their beauty. 

That’s not the heart of Jesus though. Our God is a God of compassion. He has great love, care, and concern for the outcasts. He moves toward people on the fringes of society and tells the little children to come to Him. 

Now I see how God was working to redeem and heal that nurse’s hurtful words. 

Three special friends offered to come to the NICU and hold Nathan when we couldn’t be there. They rotated through a schedule of early morning and late nights shifts. These ladies showed up to love Nathan, proving that he wasn’t just a baby only a mother can love.

It was a beautiful expression of love for a boy who will likely be overlooked and judged by many. NICU nurses would later talk about these three ladies as the “baby holders” and “church ladies” who took such good care of him. Their love for Nathan impacted not only our family but the NICU staff as well. They chose to openly care for him and love him even though he is different, just like Jesus.

From the outside, my son isn’t the typical portrait of beautiful. But on the inside, he offers great beauty. My little boy is teaching me there is beauty in differences and that, he is most definitely not just the face only a mother could love.

BIO:

Kathy McClelland is the author of Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent. She is dedicated to sharing hope and encouragement with others affected by disability and differences. This became her passion when her second son was born with a rare (1 in 50,000 births) chromosomal disorder. Go to her blog, kathymcclelland.com, and grab a free copy of All Things Beautiful: Finding Beauty and Hope in a Special Needs Diagnosis.

CONTACT/SOCIAL MEDIA:

Email: kathyallthingsbeautiful@gmail.com

Website: kathymcclelland.com

Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/kathymcclellandwriter/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kathy_allthingsbeautiful/


Have the challenges of life created a desire to strengthen your walk with God?

We all go through struggles in life. Author Misty Phillip has lived through many difficult seasons of life where all she could do was look to God and His Word for hope. She found biblical solutions and scriptural promises that helped her overcome, and she can’t wait to share with you what she has learned.

The Struggle Is Real, But So Is God is a 6-week journey through the Bible that will:

  • Equip you with empowering wisdom.
  • Help you grow spiritually by claiming God’s promises as your own.
  • Teach you how to declare scripture over yourself to strengthen your inner being.
  • Show you how to conquer challenges by activating God’s Word in your life. 

Experience just how real God is and know that He is right there with you in the middle of it all.

See just how six weeks can change your struggle. Just in time for a summer or fall Bible study,  The Struggle is Real: But So is God is now available on Amazon for pre-order order your copy today! 

The Struggle is Real: But So is God

Much Love,

Misty Phillip

Kathy McClelland: Hope for Raising a Special Needs Child

Kathy McClelland: Hope for Raising a Special Needs Child

Kathy McClelland and I talk about the joy and challenges of raising special needs children. Kathy McClelland is the author of Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent. She is dedicated to sharing hope and encouragement with others affected by disability and differences. This became her passion when her second son was born with a rare (1 in 50,000 births) chromosomal disorder.

Go to her blog, kathymcclelland.com, and grab a free copy of All Things Beautiful: Finding Beauty and Hope in a Special Needs Diagnosis.

 

Married to Mental Illness

Married to Mental Illness

Being married to someone with mental illness can be quite challenging! This week’s guest on By His Grace shares the challenge of being married to a husband who suffers from bipolar disorder, and how God has used this in her life to make her more dependant on the Lord. With the help of the Lord, she has actually learned to count it all a blessing.

Listen in to podcast episode 18 Married to Mental Illness Please welcome my sweet friend Rachel Daniel of Brave Pursuit to the blog today!


Married to Mental Illness

By Rachel Daniel

This November my husband and I will be married for nine years. While I am more in love with my husband today than I ever thought possible, I have to be honest and say that our marriage wasn’t always so great. In fact, I don’t think we got to the “honeymoon” phase of our marriage until we were three or four years into the marriage. Those first few years were rough, and looking back on things, I know now it was only by God’s grace and mercy that we made it to where we are today. 

This has to be one of the hardest blog posts I’ve ever shared because I want the world to look at and love my husband in the same way I do, through the eyes of Christ. However, to love someone with the eyes of Christ, you have to see every part of them with honesty and transparency…which is why I’ve been so guarded up until this point to protect the image of my husband.

The honest and transparent truth is that I’m married to a man who battles with a mental health disability: Bipolar Disorder. 

Neither David or I knew that he was suffering from a mental disability until things began to rapidly unravel in our marriage. He battled his disability while I battled my inability to meet his needs due to my own selfish pride, stubbornness, and unrelenting desire to always be right (classic baby-of-the-family syndrome).

Praise God that in spite of our difficulties, we both desired to stay married and do whatever we could to save our marriage. We ended up seeking professional help in the form of a counselor where David was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Once diagnosed and medicated, we were left believing things would be “fixed.” We had no idea that our marriage would still require work because a single pill doesn’t “fix” everything. Actually, we had no idea that our marriage would require more work than most marriages. 

What was heartbreaking is that as a social person, who has always lived my life like an open book, was when I shared with other Christian friends what was going on in our lives, the response went from dismissive to fear. It was then I realized that our culture, particularly in the world of faith, wasn’t speaking and supporting the battle for mental health, and I felt like I had nowhere to turn. I shut down and did my best to hide the struggles in our marriage from everyone for fear or tarnishing my husband’s image. God’s Word reminds us, “For I hold you by your right hand – I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you,” (Isaiah 41:13)

As a Christian wife married to a man who lives with a bipolar disorder, God has taken me on a spiritual journey that I never could have anticipated. I grew up in church my entire life, but I never knew what it was to truly have an intimate relationship with God until I desperately needed His grace and mercy over and over, minute after minute, every day to learn to be the wife my husband needed. Being nice, keeping a clean house, and raising our kids wasn’t what my husband needed. With the help of God every single day, I get the chance to really know what it means to be a Godly, Proverbs 31 wife that my husband needs and desires. I rely daily on prayer and counsel from God to help me in my marriage (Romans 73:23-24).

So what does it look like being a Godly wife to a Godly man who battles for his mental health?

On paper, it looks like most marriages: put God first in my life and my marriage, pray constantly for my husband and myself, communicate with my husband regularly, always forgive, and love him as Christ loves me. Click To Tweet

The reality of walking those ideas and principals out though often looks different than most marriages. I am the thermostat for our house. I do my best to always gauge when the emotional well-being of our family is in normal ranges or when I can sense a shift in the climate. It’s my job, to understand and prepare to handle when the climate changes due to my husband and children’s emotional state.

For example, when my husband is in a manic cycle, it’s my job to interpret his needs: space, sleep, adjustment in medication, extra attention, sounding board, problem solver, etc. Sometimes, this involves me understanding and encouraging him to spend time in his “man-cave” for a few days without the pressures of being the world’s best dad and husband. Sometimes I take the kids out for most of the day, giving him peace and quiet.

Other times, this may mean that I set up a date night for us so that I can give him my exclusive attention without any interruptions. Other times, he just needs me to listen to him vent about his frustrations with life, kids, work, finances, and the other million things he’s carrying day to day for our family without judgment and without trying to “solve” his problems. I’ll admit, I struggle most with trying not to “solve” and just listening probably more than anything else in our relationship.

That’s where God has to remind me day after day to show my husband I can simply listen, and God has to grant me a lot of grace and mercy because I fail at this task regularly. 

I used to rely solely on my husband to meet my emotional needs, and when he failed because he was a human, I was crushed and left unsatisfied. It was only when I turned to God to meet my emotional needs that I found a joy that I never knew existed within the contexts of my marriage. Because I rely on God’s ability to fill me with joy, when my husband is human and makes mistakes, I can still love him, forgive him, have a passion for him, and find happiness in him.

It was only when I turned to God to meet my emotional needs that I found a joy that I never knew existed within the contexts of my marriage. Click To Tweet

In recent years, David and I have become best friends. We don’t have the perfect marriage. We still fight. We handle the difficulties of him being bipolar daily. I fail to be the kind of wife and mother God has called me to be at least once a day…okay, it’s probably more like ten times a day.

Even still, by the grace of God, our marriage is wholly satisfying and filled with a joy that neither of us thought we could experience.

I always hold onto Romans 8:16-17, “The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

We learned (often times through trial and error) how to be each other’s spouse, best friend, partner, lover, and warrior. I wouldn’t wish for anyone to battle a mental disability. However, I know that because of my husband’s daily ability to be an amazing husband and father in spite of his mental health challenges, he has learned how to show compassion to me and our daughters in depths I don’t possess. He picks up the slack when I’m failing (especially in my third trimester of pregnancy with our third daughter), and he has an uncanny ability to get things done despite overwhelming obstacles. A bipolar diagnosis has taught us to rely on Christ in ways we could’ve never imagined, thus leading us to our best marriage ever. 


As Rachel so eloquently shares the struggles in life are really real, but SO IS OUR GOD, and He is always there to see us through! I am so excited to share The Struggle is Real: But So is God Bible Study is now available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon and launches May 7, 2019.

The Struggle Is Real, But So Is God is a 6-week journey through the Bible that will:

  • Equip you with empowering wisdom.
  • Help you grow spiritually by claiming God’s promises as your own.
  • Teach you how to declare scripture over yourself to strengthen your inner being.
  • Show you how to conquer challenges by activating God’s Word in your life. 

Pre-order your copy today The Struggle is Real: But So is God.

Much Love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misty Phillip

Rachel Daniel: Married to Mental Illness

Rachel Daniel: Married to Mental Illness

Rachel Daniel shares the challenge of being married to a husband who suffers from bipolar disorder, and how God has used this in her life to make her more dependant on the Lord. With the help of the Lord, she has actually learned to count it all a blessing.  Rachel is a wife, mom, friend, worship leader, prayer warrior, and blogger at https://brave-pursuit.com.

 

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