Encouragement​ for the Special Needs Parent

Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart! I had no idea what I signed up for when I began. My bright obedient firstborn son made my job look easy. It wasn’t until my second child came along that I realized just how difficult the road ahead would be.

Many years ago, I was at a homeschool conference desperately seeking answers to help me figure out how to homeschool my young special needs son. I knew God had called me to homeschool, but I had no idea of how to teach a child with special needs. I felt very alone, on an already lonely journey. Wandering around a vast exhibit hall, I had a divine interaction with a lady at one of the booths. She didn’t have a “magic formula” or a quick fix solution for me, but what she did have was wisdom.

[ctt template=”2″ link=”dcZ82″ via=”yes” ]She had walked far enough down a road similar to mine so she could shed some light on my path.[/ctt]

The Christian’s life is sometimes referred to as a “walk,” a “journey” or a “path.” The path is not always smooth or easy—sometimes we stumble and fall in our walk, and other times we lose focus on our journey and drift away.

Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;  I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

Aren’t you glad that your Heavenly Father always has His eye on you? Even if we are lost and afraid, we are never alone. God is always with us. Even in our darkest times, He is there. All we have to do is call upon His name, and He is there to guide us and instruct us in the way we should go.

Find theBeard that Suits You-3

One of my all-time favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 3:5-6, which says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

This verse reminds me that even when my world is turned upside down, and I have no idea of what to do, if I put my trust in the Lord, and not try to reason things out on my own, He is faithful to show me the way. We must look to our Heavenly Father and acknowledge Him; trust Him.

[ctt template=”2″ link=”j8x0o” via=”yes” ]In this Christian life sometimes the way can be lonely, but we are never alone.[/ctt]

That is the wisdom that the lady I met at the homeschool conference had for me—advice that I needed to hear. It is so simple, yet so profound. We are not called to walk alone on this faith journey. God is always with us and He cares for us.

Some other things to remember when the road gets tough.

Our children are an incredible gift from God, and they give us a unique perspective on the world. There have been many activities that we haven’t been able to participate in because of our child with disabilities, but at the same time, we have had other experiences just because we have an exceptional child.

God has a purpose for the special needs child. Uniquely created, yet in the image of God. Just like everyone else who is alive and breathing on planet earth they have a calling on their life and were made for a purpose.

God doesn’t entrust his special children to just anyone. You were carefully chosen from the began of time to shepherd this extraordinary child. You are their earthly advocate. They need you to pray for them, believe in them, and do everything you can to give them the best possible life.

Don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged. Fight the good fight. There is a blessing ahead.  “And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.” Galatians 6:9 TLB When the days get hard, find time to rest.

Surround your yourself with a community that loves you, and that can pray for you on stressful days. When the days get too hard, find time to rest and take care of yourself. You can’t take care of anyone if you don’t take care of yourself.

Remember, wherever you are God is with you and you are never alone. He is fighting your battles for you, you only need to trust Him with your circumstances and with your child. Your child is His child, and He loves them more than you can imagine.

Whether you have a typical or a special child, what are some things that offer you hope as a parent when you are facing difficult times? Leave a comment below that might bless another weary parent.

May Jesus shine His face brightly on you today friend!

Much love, Misty

Encouragement​ for the Special Needs Parent

Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart! I had no idea what I signed up for when I began. My bright obedient firstborn son made my job look easy. It wasn’t until my second child came along that I realized just how difficult the road ahead would be.

Many years ago, I was at a homeschool conference desperately seeking answers to help me figure out how to homeschool my young special needs son. I knew God had called me to homeschool, but I had no idea of how to teach a child with special needs.

I felt very alone, on an already lonely journey. Wandering around a vast exhibit hall, I had a divine interaction with a lady at one of the booths. She didn’t have a “magic formula” or a quick fix solution for me, but what she did have was wisdom.

[ctt template=”2″ link=”dcZ82″ via=”yes” ]She had walked far enough down a road similar to mine so she could shed some light on my path.[/ctt]

The Christian’s life is sometimes referred to as a “walk,” a “journey” or a “path.” The path is not always smooth or easy—sometimes we stumble and fall in our walk, and other times we lose focus on our journey and drift away.

Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;  I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

Aren’t you glad that your Heavenly Father always has His eye on you? Even if we are lost and afraid, we are never alone. God is always with us. Even in our darkest times, He is there. All we have to do is call upon His name, and He is there to guide us and instruct us in the way we should go.

Find theBeard that Suits You-3

One of my all-time favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 3:5-6, which says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

This verse reminds me that even when my world is turned upside down, and I have no idea of what to do, if I put my trust in the Lord, and not try to reason things out on my own, He is faithful to show me the way. We must look to our Father and acknowledge Him; trust Him.

[ctt template=”2″ link=”j8x0o” via=”yes” ]In this Christian life sometimes the way can be lonely, but we are never alone.[/ctt]

That is the wisdom that the lady I met at the homeschool conference had for me—advice that I needed to hear. It is so simple, yet so profound. We are not called to walk alone on this faith journey. God is always with us.

Some other things to remember when the road gets tough.

  1. Our children are an incredible gift from God, and they give us a unique perspective on the world. There have been many activities that we haven’t been able to participate in because of our child with disabilities, but at the same time, we have had other experiences just because we have an exceptional child.
  2. God has a purpose for the special needs child. Uniquely created, yet in the image of God. Just like everyone else who is alive and breathing on planet earth they have a calling on their life and were made for a purpose.
  3. God doesn’t entrust his special children to just anyone. You were carefully chosen from the began of time to shepherd this extraordinary child. You are their earthly advocate. They need you to pray for them, believe in them, and do everything you can to give them the best possible life.
  4. Don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged. Fight the good fight. There is a blessing ahead.  “And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.” Galatians 6:9 TLB When the days get hard, find time to rest.
  5. Surround your yourself with a community that loves you, and that can pray for you on stressful days. When the days get too hard, find time to rest and take care of yourself. You can’t take care of anyone if you don’t take care of yourself.

Remember, wherever you are God is with you and you are never alone. He is fighting your battles for you, you only need to trust Him with your circumstances and with your child. Your child is His child, and He loves them more than you can imagine.

Whether you have a typical or a special child, what are some things that offer you hope as a parent when you are facing difficult times? Leave a comment below that might bless a weary parent.

May Jesus shine His face brightly on you today friend!

Much love, Misty

Wisdom for Parenting Teens & Young Adults

Parenting teens and young adults are challenging, can I get a witness? I just thought parenting little people was tough, but that was the easy job. Little people want to please and pretty much do what you tell them to do, but when they get older and can make choices for themselves, it gets much trickier to navigate as a parent. I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I can’t give you a guaranteed formula that works.

[ctt template=”2″ link=”E03c9″ via=”yes” ]I simply offer some wisdom that I have gleaned over the past 25 years of parenting in hopes that it will help you too![/ctt]

Start Early -Parenting older kids really begins when they are very young. Teach your child to walk with the Lord at a very early age. Establish boundaries and be consistent. Show them love and respect. Teach them right from wrong, and model for them how to walk. Children are far more likely to do what they see us do, then do what we tell them to do.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.– Proverbs 22:6

Open Communication– How well do you really know your kids? Do you know what has the affections of your young person’s heart? Do you have their heart? Do they share their hearts with you?

[ctt template=”2″ link=”6kcIG” via=”yes” ]Be genuine with your kids.[/ctt]

Keeping lines of communication open with your young people is of the utmost importance. Our kids need to know that they can trust us with their thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgment. Keeping lines of communication open is critical. When our eldest son was in college he lived at home with us and commuted to the University. Since young people are night owls, this made for many late night conversations, but these conversations were critical. Our kids need to know that they can come to us.

[ctt template=”2″ link=”e6w4q” via=”yes” ]Our kids need to know that they can trust us with their thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgment.[/ctt]

Keeping lines of communication open is critical. When our eldest son was in college he lived at home with us and commuted to the University, and this made for many late night conversations, but these conversations were critical. Our kids need to know that they can come to us when they have problems, need counsel or make mistakes.

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. – Proverbs 4:23

Be Involved – We have to be involved in their lives. Life is hectic, and we can get caught up in living, but we can’t just go on auto-pilot with them as they grow. We need to know who their friends with and what their character is like. We become most like those we hang around with, so we need to help them choose their friends wisely.

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV

In the digital age, it is essential to know how they spend their time online, and you need to make sure that you are monitoring those activities carefully. Know who they are associated with, what app’s they are using, and where they are spending their time online and how much time they are spending inline. Limiting use and making course corrections over time as needed.

Wisdom for Parenting Teens and Young Adults-2

Pray without Ceasing – This goes without saying but is probably the most important thing we can do for our teens and young adults. The enemy would like nothing more than to deceive our kids. He is cunning and sneaky and attacks us at our weakest moments. Covering our children in prayer at every age is vital, especially when they beginning driving or as they fly from the nest. It is an honor and privilege to pray for our children, and one we should not take for granted.

It is an honor and privilege to pray for our children, and one we should not take for granted. Pray bold specific prayers for your kids, and keep them continually covered in prayer.

Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

Let Go – Let go and let God. Once we have done our job, it is time for us to release them to the Lord’s care. This is a lot easier said than done, but it is the natural order of things.

I wrote about this in a previous post,  Learning to Let Go,  I wrote, “How do you love them with every fiber of your being and then simply just let go? By entrusting them to the care of Jesus. I will always be their mother, and no matter how old they are, they will always be my little boys, but I need to let them go so that they can become the men God created them to be.”

Raising productive responsible young adults really begins by training them from a very young age in how they should walk, it requires us to keep open lines of communication and be available to talk to them at all hours of the day and night. Continually monitoring and involvement in their lives while they are living under our roofs, so that we can make corrections before they drift too far afield. Then when we have done all that we can do to raise them well, we fervently pray for them and let go and entrust them to Jesus.

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

Looking back, 2016 was an incredible year, and some amazing things happened in my life! God called me to write and speak, and the rest is history. Early in 2016, I signed up for She Speaks 2016 and the next few months were a whirlwind of conference preparation. In February, I set up my blog, and began writing a Bible Study. When I first started, I had no idea of what I was doing, but thankfully I survived the first year!  Here are the top 10 blog posts of 2016:

10. Finding Fulfillment this Holiday Season – First of all, fulfillment does not come from being married, having children, or having a career. True fulfillment comes from knowing Jesus Christ and living for Him. But here is the rub: we will never be truly fulfilled here on earth, because this is not our home. We have a God-shaped hole in our heart that only He can fill.

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9. Our Home – A Sanctuary -A wise woman is careful to build her home. Making our homes a place of beauty that reflects our personal taste is one of the greatest joys as a homemaker.

8. She Speaks Conference 2016 – The Lord has been faithful to walk me through each step of the way, and I am learning so much in the process.

7. She said “Yes!” – An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.- Proverbs 31:10 

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6. Declutter My Heart – How many times in life do we miss out on God’s best because we clench things so tightly with our fists that we don’t let go and make room for God to bless us?

5. Called to be His Helper – I don’t know about you, but I don’t just want a marriage that can survive, instead I want an abundant marriage that thrives the way God intended. When we follow God’s plan for our lives and for our marriage, we unlock the secrets to true happiness.

4. Learning to Let Go – No one warned me how difficult and painful it would be on me when my boys started to pull away. A boy has to detach himself from his Mother in order for him to grow into the man God calls him to be. This is the way it is and has always been. It is good and natural, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

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3. Little baby Liam – We began telling others that Liam was a gift from God, and that God would determine his future. We knew that the Lord had a purpose and a plan for his life, no matter how long he lived.

2. Connor’s Smile – Don’t give up, don’t lose hope! Continue to pray for those situations in your life that look hopeless, because in Jesus there is hope! He is faithful. 1 Corinthians 1:9 says, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Turn your eyes to Jesus and cry out for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5.

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And the number 1 post from 2016 is…..

1. Prayer Update for Connor – The most heartbreaking part of all of this is that he had been living with all of this for 15 years! He did not get diagnosed until the age of 16. After years of going to doctor after doctor, Connor was misdiagnosed with PDD-NOS, an Autism spectrum disorder. We are so thankful for the brilliant doctor who finally correctly diagnosed Connor, and we began treatment shortly after that.

Wow, 2016 was quite a year! These were the top 10 blog posts out of the 67 that was published last year. Also, my partnership with Blog About and the Blythe Daniels Agency I was able to host some great giveaways. Listen, Love, Repeat!Bible Basics: Book Review & Giveaway!God Loves You!, Journal the Word, and Give Your Child The World.

Be sure to subscribe to my email list, to make sure that you don’t miss out on anything!

Goodbye to 2016. I look forward to all that God has in store for 2017! Blessings to you in the new year!

Wisdom for Raising Boys

Recently, I was contacted by a friend about how to establish and nurture a healthy relationship with our boys. Over the years, she has watched the way we have raised our boys and has admired our ability to reach them.

There is no formula for raising boys! I wish I could say, if you do X, Y, and Z, then your kids will turn out perfectly, but that is not the case. Each child comes with their own unique set of abilities, personalities, and temperments. What works for one child may not work for another.

What I do know is that each child is a blessing from the Lord, and He knows our children even better than we do. Pray for your children. Pray for wisdom in reaching their heart, pray for how you may best nurture that child specifically. Pray for your relationship with him, and pray for his relationship with the Lord. One of the greatest joys that I have had as a parent is sharing the love of God with my children, and leading them to Christ.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. – 3 John 1:4 ESV

I once met a woman who remarked how similar my son was to her son. I knew her son, not as a boy, but as a grown man. I have a tremendous amount of respect for this man, and so I asked her what I should do with my son, so he would turn out like her son. I will never forget the response of this wise woman. She said, “Wear your knees out in prayer!” What great advice! It is not only our privilege and a joy to pray for our children, but it is a necessity. We live in a fallen and sinful world, and the enemy wants to destroy our boys. In John 10:10 we learn, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that [you] may have life and have it abundantly.” Praise Jesus! He came that we may have an abundant life!

Raising boys who become men who love the Lord doesn’t happen by accident. Having your son’s heart requires intentional parenting. Making wise choices about what our children are exposed to is also very important – cultivate a love of whatever is noble, true, and right. Expose them to good literature and stories about heroes of the faith. Be mindful of what they see on television, computer screens and video games. Emphasize purity of mind, and thought, and deeds.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8 ESV

I think a popular children’s bible song says it best: O be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear, be careful little hands what you do, be careful little feet where you go and be careful little mouth what you say.

Parenting our boys sometimes requires us to make unpopular or counter-cultural choices that are in their best interest. This is why prayer is so necessary so that we can know what is best for our family, and for each individual child.

Keeping lines of communication open is vitally important. Time spent around the family dining table talking about anything and everything is a great tool for discipleship. We talk to our kids about everything, and we have always encouraged them to communicate honestly with us. As our boys have grown, we have had many important conversations until late at night. I think a huge part of having your child’s heart comes from good communication. I want to make myself available to them, whenever they want to talk.

My friend indicated that she felt like she was missing the mark in reaching her 12-year-old son’s heart. Junior high can be a challenging age! Our once sweet little boys become full of testosterone and start to become men, and they begin to change. Our roles as mom change also,  as they pull away from us. It is our job to continue to love, nurture, and pray for them as they become the men God has created them to be. When boys hit junior high age, it is important for the father to become more involved in leading and disciplining his son.

Boys require hard physical work. It is good for boys to work hard physically, either in playing sports or manual labor of some kind. I always joke that boys are easy: just feed them well, put a ball or a shovel in their hands, and let them go. They need physical work, but they also crave purpose in their lives and should be challenged intellectually. This will look different for each of us, which is why we should pray for wisdom specifically for each child.

There are many good books on parenting. The most important book is The Bible – we must teach them to know and love the Lord and the Word of God.  The Bible is our instruction book for life. In addition to the Bible, listed below are some of the books that I have found helpful in raising my boys.

Created for Work, Practical Insights for Young Men – Bob Schultz

Shepherding a Child’s Heart  -Ted Tripp

The Power of a Praying Parent  -Stormie Omartian

The Ministry of Motherhood and The Mission of Motherhood – Sally Clarkson

Keeping our Children’s Hearts – Steven and Teri Maxwell

Hints on Child Training – H. Clay Trumbull

Bringing Up Boys – Dr. James Dobson

Prayerfully this will encourage my friend, and anyone else struggling to reach the heart of their son. What are some other things that you have found are helpful in raising boys? I would love to hear from you.