Following a couple rough weeks in the kingdom, I keep coming back to the above statement. In the midst of it all, God is not surprised.
I often wonder, why is that I am surprised? Why is it that I am disappointed? Why is it that I struggle and wrestle with the how's and the why's of the situations at hand? Oh, right...because I am NOT God. Well Duh, you would say. None of us are. But do we not try our hand at the "god" thing by attempting to control our circumstances, and their outcomes? Do we not make decisions based on feelings not facts? Are we not occasionally swayed by our emotions in how we respond, and react?
If you are not that person, good for you! You have just saved yourself from years of heart ache, heart break and stress. I sadly, have not yet arrived. I am however trying very diligently to not get d-railed when life comes at me fast and furious.
Surely if you have followed the saga of the dwarfs and their shenanigans over the course of the years I have been blogging, you will know that some of the dwarfs have a handle on life, and some of them are on the struggle bus of life. I try to be an equal opportunity blogging mom, and mix up the posts with small stories and antics from a variety of them, but historically, there are a few that keep getting starring roles. The last few weeks have been a good mix of hard times, and in the middle of the hard times, refreshing moments of grace and goodness, all that shed light on the fact that God is not surprised by any of this thing that I call life. Because of His love for me, He knows when in my humanness, I am at the end of a rope, and need a glimpse of his grace.
Below are the highlights of the last few weeks, the good and the bad, and why I am leaning towards making my life's motto, In the midst of it all, God is not surprised.
A girl's weekend spontaneously planned and executed, that was a blessing and a gift that not only energized me in the moment, but prepared me for the weeks that would follow. There is something so healing and so precious about friends, and their ability to land just when it is needed. We shared laughs in the rain, gain survival skills for the future, and were able to cross items off of a bucket list together!
Shocking I know, but three weeks into the school year and we are facing suspensions and potential expulsion for a dwarf. Yet even with offenses at the highest degree, this dwarf's heart is responsive and remorseful and seeks forgiveness from those that have been offended and hurt in the situation. The situation still remains, and there are still consequences to be doled out, but in the end we know that whatever they may be will be in the best interest of said dwarf.
Help has arrived to our family in ways never before accessible in the state of Pennsylvania. Clinics that specialize in Fetal Alcohol Testing, that I can take my dwarfs into for testing, and walk away that day with a yes or no diagnosis and the severity of the syndrome. While this potential for a diagnosis in no way makes up for their poor choices, it will go a very long way in figuring out how to best communicate with them, and care for them. For years this diagnosis has been danced around, but there was never a way for a formal diagnosis to be given. One phone call, one transfer, and one week later two dwarfs are scheduled for testing in December. The cost for the testing $3500 each. The cost passed on to us, close your eyes and what do you see? NOTHING! I am shocked...but God is not!
A dwarf whom since the third grade has been sharing plans of joining the military has been presented with an amazing gift of the JROTC. While by the week's end we may have 3 Cadet Lingle's in the kingdom, and are proud to be the parents of all three of them, we are most certainly proud of the one that is embracing the lifestyle and challenges of the program with gusto and enthusiasm. He knows the desires of our kids hearts and works in advance to see them fulfilled.
There seems to be a break down in the process of securing an education for one of the dwarfs as we struggle to make our way through finding a good spot for this young one academically. While the school is insisting that we mainstream this dwarf, it is clear that this dwarf is not mainstream material. What the staff views as defiance and and outright disobedience, I am struggling to show that there are reasons for the struggle. Tremors, Autism, Verbal Turrets just to glaze the surface. Sadly when your kids present as a " normal child" it is hard to help strangers see their brokenness. As the mom I feel that the task at hand to get the services needed is an uphill climb and as I crest over a peak, I am confronted with yet another rise to tackle. Not only is this challenge one that I feel I am ill prepared for, but with the change in states and rules, I am in flux trying to figure out all the new rules and policies. Just when I am at my lowest along comes help, in the form of a staff member that has the occasion to work one on one with this dwarf, and has picked up on many of these issues because prior to teaching she dedicated her time to assisting special needs children in an out patient facility. With one email, the ball is rolling in a new direction and there is much hope for the future.
Time with family, planned the first weekend of our move, in June, happened at a perfect time two weeks ago. Again, no surprise to God, that we would need that time to be silly, to relax and to catch up on all the things that you miss when you move away from your siblings! Grateful for a brother and sister and their children that filled our home with a taste familiarity, and fun. With kindness and grace in the midst of a challenging time, were able to fill a void that we did not realize we had!
There is a saying that things are all good, when funding is all good... so we add a bit too the stress of life, by having miscalculated the "cost" of sunshine. But even in this, as I scheduled an energy audit for our home next week,(because I am sure that my neighbors must be hooked into our home's electric somehow) dear Mr. Monty was able to share with me that the last home owners peak month of usage was $825 for the month... What an encouragement to us, while our bill is double what we budgeted for, it is no where near that amount! It is also wonderful that the Prince in his wisdom, has been able to provide us with ways already, to be frugal with our energy and that there is such a thing as an energy audit, that will hopefully show us other great ways to cut costs!
Homeschooling is hard. Hats off to all of you moms and dads that daily provide for the education of your children! Once a dear friend said, you would make a great homeschooling mom, and I laughed out loud and said every day would be a field trip. However, in the face of necessity, I was able to pull it together for one week. It was not pretty, and I yelled and kicked and screamed a lot, but we got the job done and then some. In a very smug and non humble way, I did enjoy one part of the experience, being more physically fit than said young adult dwarf, as we worked our way through PE class each daily for 5 days. While the dwarf could run faster and bike longer, the weight training with this 40+ year old momma on the lanai made this dwarf quiver and complain and hurt the next day! Score one for the mommas! A reminder that making my health a priority is paying dividends and encourages me that even when I do not feel like it, exercise is important for my over all health and my sanity! Plus this was a great reminder that homeschooling is not my life calling!
One of our dwarf''s struggles mightily with their past. The technical term is Reactive Attachment Disorder. It's definition is this: Reactive attachment disorder is a rare but serious condition in which an
infant or young child doesn't establish healthy attachments with
parents or caregivers. Reactive attachment disorder may develop if the
child's basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren't met and
loving, caring, stable attachments with others are not established. As this young dwarf fast approaches 18, we are concerned about their ability to make good decisions, process situations appropriately and provide for the basic safety and care of them self. One more phone call on a separate day yielded an appointment with a RAD counselor, again something that specifically was never available in Pennsylvania to us, that is sharing weekly with this dwarf. Our hope is that upon their "coming of age" this dwarf will see the benefit in this wise council and continue with these sessions, even though initially opposed as them and was viewed as the Prince and I's attempt to "fix" them. In this again, a reminder that God is providing for the needs of the dwarfs in ways that in PA were not available.
There is another dwarf that has a love of baseball, in the middle of all the craziness of life, this dwarf has found a nitch... too bad it is at the crack of dawn... 6am! What high school student willingly attends workouts at that time of day unless they are serious about their sport? Alas, the Prince and I gladly transport said dwarf to early morning workouts four days a week before school in the hopes that this dedication will result in an opportunity to play for a high school team that game that they have loves since they were little! It has been hard to make that adjustment to early riser, but the great news is that we are all home from school for the day by 2:30 hence allowing for down time in the afternoons and a time to rest and prepare for the next early morning.
There have been so many "ah-ha" moments in the past three weeks, and I would be remiss in not mentioning another great gift, aside from the Prince and his recognition of my limitations and stress levels, is the fact that I have a great "get away" just 20 minutes or so from my new home. I can sit in the sand and feel the waves lap my feet as I stare out over the ocean. In the midst of the chaos, I can find tranquility in the roar of the ocean. My happy place can now be reached whenever I need it, with in a short drive.
As I sit, I can reflect on all the great ways that God is tying together our new home, our new surroundings and new opportunities. I can say that while I desired for our dwarfs and my Prince and I to have a fresh new start at things, I was disappointed when slowly I realized that only our scenery had changed, the shenanigans and the often resulting chaos did not change. However, keeping it all in perspective, In the midst of this thing I call life, God is not surprised. He has this! All I have to do is recognize this truth in my life, and then sit back and trust Him as He continues to work on all fronts for our good! (Blogging about it also helps keep a written reminder of His faithfulness to our family in the forefront of my mind.)
Really... You Can't Make this Stuff Up!
PS: As I was typing the conclusion to this blog, I got a phone call from the school where we are in day 10 of a level three suspension with potential for expulsion for one of the above mentioned dwarfs. The school is not expelling this dwarf, and is instead recognizing how they(the school) did not set this young adult up for success from the start. Not only are they graciously allowing for the dwarf to have a second chance(with modifications), they have formulated a plan to guarantee future success for our dwarf, and are also making a way for others with similar disabilities to be successful! I was so surprised I was nearly in tears... but did I mention God is not surprised by this!?