The Creative In The ADHD Brain

Anakin typing

Confession: I have been guilty (along with a list of teachers and coaches) of accusing my child of either being lazy or sabotaging his opportunities.  A lot more before I understood what it means that my oldest has ADHD, and thankfully a lot less now that I understand the balance between his attention and his distractibility.

I don’t think we give these children (and adults) enough credit.  Yes it’s hard for them to engage in some things at the same level as other “normal” children – either gazing out the window absent-mindedly or cutting off their peers every five minutes – but their brains don’t just stop there!  There is something amazing on the other side of this disability and it’s their God-given, creative genious!  When they reach that sweet spot, man can they take off!

DifferentI strongly recommend you pick up the book “Different” by Sally Clarkson and Nathan Clarkson. [Disclaimer: This is not an affiliate link, it’s my honest mom’s recommendation.] Nathan was diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, and OCD – making him a very different child growing up.  Now he’s used his talents to create movies like “Confessions of a Prodigal Son” and he acted in “The Purge”.  His adult life now is the result of Sally Clarkson’s labor of love, and raising an ADHD child to reach his “sweet spot”.

I’ll share about my younger son in another post, but I wanted to highlight something amazing about my oldest, Anakin.  We’ve always struggled with writing assignments, although he’s advanced for his age, because of the work it took to get him to sit still and focus long enough to write a book report/essay/story that made sense.  And then something was unlocked in him that has him taking off, publishing e-books [Anakin does receive a percentage of the purchases from this link, so it’s as close to an affiliate link as I have], illustrating his own cartoons and writing like crazy; he found a passion for history.

Anakin and Caleb reading

He says history is his favorite subject and he wants to become a writer.  He says things like, “Now that I’ve read the book ‘Unbroken’ I’d like to see how Angelina Jolie directed the movie based on his life.”  His passion – at the young age of 10.5 – is to write fiction stories in historical context so you learn about history without the rote work of memorization.

Confession: History was MY WORST SUBJECT EVER.  And then came math.

Now I can’t make him just write a “paragraph” on anything, as you can see in his assignment on The Silk Road of the Middle East.  The instructions were to write a paragraph or short story on what it would be like to trade along The Silk Road. And here comes Anakin, 809 words later, he has created quite the plot – with developed charaters, dialogue, and within the historical context of the times.  One I’m happy to share with you (for free) because my son wants to know if it’s readable enough for younger children to stay captivated – in the hopes of developing it into a children’s book, complete with illustrations.  Y’all let me know!

The Life of a Silk Road Trader

 

Old Goku

Original Artwork by Anakin Hass, “What would Goku look like when he’s finally old?” based off the Dragonball Anime universe.

The point is, successful adults with disabilities are those that are able to major on their strengths.  The key to raising successful adults, then, is to be parents who let children major on their strengths! If you would’ve asked me last year if Anakin was a good writer I would’ve answered with a, “Eh…” and a half smile.  And I would’ve been wrong.  I missed his gift because he just had not found anything he was passionate enough to write.

 

I want to encourage you, from one mom to another – whether you homeschool or not – to give your children the space and time they need to pursue their passions.  Even if it doesn’t look like the things you are passionate about! We are raising world changers.  I believe, prophetically, that the battles to be won will be fought by those who stand their ground at the intersection of a Kingdom Need and a Heart-Filled Talent.  This intersection will be their posts as adults, and we need to shepherd them in that direction.

Have you ever been surprised by something you didn’t think you could do, but you did very well?  How did that experience impact your perspective on life?

One Thing I Learned from Mandy

finish well pin
Confession: I have been rocked by tragedies recently, although mostly peripheral to me.  I don’t know if my heart is just more sensitive today, or maybe it’s God trying to show me something…

I have been gutted by multiple instances of overnight fires, claiming multiple lives.  Even here in town.  I shared on my Facebook feed a news article as a prayer request in one incident because it felt horribly close to home, and my husband knew the couple involved.

But my phone wasn’t done blowing up with these types of notifications, as last week on Tuesday many of my blogger friends expressed grief that a fire took the lives of a mom, dad, and two children during the night. In sadness, I said a quick prayer for people involved but it didn’t really register at that moment.

How You Finish

Mandy Kelly was a wonderful Christian blogger at Worshipful Living, where she created a lot of brilliant resources for Moms/Homeschoolers/God-fearing women like me… One of these being the Good Morning Girls ministry, where she was the Leadership Coordinator.

I cannot even begin to share how the Good Morning Girls Facebook page influenced my life; I followed along their Bible studies, I was encouraged to dive into my Bible (even through seasons where I didn’t really feel spiritual), and I often used these studies in fellowship with other mom friends when we felt a little too busy or disconnected.

When I realized it was “that Mandy”, my heart sunk.  Even though I didn’t know her personally, she was who “I wanted to be when I grow up”.  I think every Christian mom-blogger does this chore of Pinterest and social media promotion with the hopes that they’ll be able to use their voice and influence others the way Mandy did.  I dream of having this humble beginning of a blog become a solace for all these godly warriors who are fiercely on the front lines of God’s Kingdom over their households.

As I prepare to participate in a link-up to honor Mandy, I have to think about ONE THING she taught me and I’m at a total loss for what to say.  She taught me to read and highlight in my Bible, and how to do the SOAP method.  She taught me that I can rekindle the joy in my homeschooling, and that having the faith of a harlot can be a remarkable thing.

But I think the main lesson I can walk away with is to finish well.

Her life and ministry was an example of how it doesn’t matter how you start as long as you do, and nothing on this earth is fatal or final; until you are before the very presence of God – where Mandy and her family found themselves last Wednesday morning – you can always be used by God.  You are never out of grace.  You are never beyond hope.  So finish this race, and finish well.


Even though it came as a surprise, I know she was welcomed into eternity as she heard Jesus say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Because in her earnest desire to finish well, that phrase describes who she was and what she inspired others to be.

Mandy’s church has opened a fund to help raise donations for the family. You can make donations here. When you visit the website, click on the green “Give” button and designate your donation for The Kelly Family.  The funeral for Scott, Mandy, Lizzie and Judah Kelly will be at 1 p.m. on Monday, March 27, 2017, at her church. Visitation will be held before the service from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. I ask that you please hold the surviving two children and extended family in prayers during the service (for Alaskan reference, this would be between 6:30am – 10:30am our time).

In Memory Of

This post will be a part of a link up of other bloggers choosing to honor Mandy, which goes live on March 29th. I encourage you to read more from other bloggers at that time.  And I can only pray that should I pass on to eternity unexpectedly, I would have made my mark on this world like Mandy did.

What are some ways you hope to finish well? How can I encourage you and pray with you through this?

The ADHD Friendly Church

winter church

Confession: I was THAT kid at church. Restless. Slightly disruptive no matter how interested. I had to keep busy. 

15 years later I come to church and I see my boys, among other kids, and I get it. We can have the most dynamic worship team and the funniest Pastor, it is very hard for us ADHDers to do nothing during the service.

What are you saying Maria?! You don’t sit at church and do nothing! You pray! You listen! You worship!

Fair enough, let me expand. Yes, we actively worship, and provided we can sing along at the top of our lungs you still have our attention. But sitting still and listening during a sermon is NOT our forte! Even with our best intentions, our minds wander. And we get restless. As in, grab another cup of coffee, go pee, and remember to send that email kind of restless.

True story: I either pray out loud or pray in writing. Bowing our heads and closing our eyes is how I take a power nap while out in public

My daughter asked if she could sing with Mommy and Daddy.

Which is why we seem to do better as a family in churches that are more ADHD friendly; a much more casual atmosphere, where we can laugh along with the distractions that inevitably happen without offense being taken. And where the sermons get to the point (sorry I had to be honest and say it).

What denomination is that?

I don’t know! I don’t think you’ll find it reading the church bylaws or ministry website. It’s an exclusively organic feel the congregation as a whole creates when they love your family and accept you- quirks and all. It’s a kid-friendly environment where they are not a distraction but the mission. It’s a place where you’re invited to plug in so you’re NOT asked to sit still for two hours week after week.

Our small group doesn’t just do church, we do some camping and hiking too 🙂

Before you find this blog post disappointing (seeing as I didn’t solve your problems or gave you solid answers) I’d like to share that there are things YOU can do to make church work better for your family regardless of how differently-abled your family is:

  1. Be honest and open about the disability. You’ll find most ministers are compassionate. The majority of church folk want to believe that your boy isn’t acting like hell on wheels because he’s rebellious. A lot of times, they’ve just never met anyone quite like y’all. So speak up (the Bible tells Christians we can’t be psychic)!
  2. Try to make church enjoyable for the kids: they deserve something to look forward to! Reward incentives work great. Allow them to wiggle a bit and make friends. Mainly, lighten up your attitude! Do you ever wonder why some adults only come to church for funerals and weddings? If you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself, and your kid can be himself, you’ll find everyone has a better time.
  3. Minimize the uncomfortableness: is it hard to sit still? Bring crayons and paper to draw during service. Or take a Rubik’s cube. Or a fidget cube. And don’t fear the electronics: an iPad with the youversion app open to write notes is ok! A bag of gold fishes has saved many moms with toddlers. Flags to wave during worship and tambourines for kids are great too (except at my church, my pastor friends kindly asked me to pass on tambourines).
  4. Have an “end goal” in mind: our family normally doesn’t eat out during the week so Sunday lunch is often looked forward to. Also, MY boys bring Pokémon cards to church (Sacrilege!). Provided the actively participate during service, they can trade with friends afterwards.
  5. Most importantly, make church about the people and the Lord, not the building. Our God is very relationship-minded and we should be too. Church for our family is the people we love! The quiet prayers, the worship music, and the listening is a daily part of our lives at home, so when it happens at church it’s no biggie! Instead, church is where we get to pray with our friends – and that’s what makes it even more special.

Have any tips to share with that Mom that doesn’t feel like she can relax at Church? What encouragement would you offer her?

The Special Needs, Battle-Worn Parent

Confession: This post may seem like a rant.  But it’s my heart’s goal that through THIS momma’s rant, you can be just slightly more aware (if you aren’t already) of what it’s like to walk a mile in these shoes.

Being the mom of a special needs child is hard.  I know MANY moms in different battles and my heart just goes out for them, because though I have it much easier than some… It’s still exhausting.

boys reading

I’m sure we all have moments where we yell at others but only inside our heads, because we’re still trying to keep what little appearance of sanity we have.  But it may sound something like this:

“Well your child is constantly interrupting others and can’t wait his turn to talk, but I don’t think that’s an ADHD symptom at all…”

So you’re assuming he’s just rude and sabotaging his friends on purpose?  This is TEXTBOOK impulsivity in a social setting, classic symptom of ADHD – and I know, because I read the books.  Would you like one?

“Your child’s behavior is not the greatest, so although the rest of his peers are advancing, I don’t think he is taking this as seriously as his classmates and we won’t be advancing him.”

He fractured his hand at the growth plate of his middle trying to impress you with the skill he was trying to accomplish because it mattered to him THAT much to earn your approval though… Just sayin’.

chess

“I would never try medication with MY kids! We’ve been able to manage little Tommy’s behavior just fine by cutting out his sugar and red dye number 40.  I’ve also read that more protein helps little boys with the same issues you struggle with.”

Would you tell a diabetic that he just needs to get his fat self to exercise and eat healthy and he wouldn’t need his insulin any more?!?  And would you not think that I have tried everything before this point?

“I just don’t see the big deal with behavioral issues.  After all, boys will be boys.”

I don’t think boys are supposed to struggle with insomnia, bed wetting, and poor appetites either.  And him talking out of turn in a class is not nearly as concerning to me as the migraines he gets two to four times a week from constantly trying to focus around non-stop distractions.  But I’m glad you feel he’s manageable.

swimming

“My mom just whooped me when I didn’t focus.”

Yeah, my mom whooped me too.  We now have lived 6000 miles apart for the past 8 years.  You were sayin’?

“Have you considered that maybe you just shouldn’t homeschool him?  At some point you need to see you may be doing things wrong and you should leave him to an expert.”

I don’t even want to dignify this with an answer.

Anakin and friends

I could keep going. But I can also go in the other direction; I have friends who have just loved on us and never said a word – which is helpful.  But if there’s one thing I’d like for all these people to know is that they are the icing on the chocolate cake of my problems and my battle as a parent of this child.  Which is why many, many moms in my situation just walk away and don’t bother saying a word.

We don’t want to begin to tell you how much we have to wrestle with our spouses over this.  Many spouses are in a sort of tug-o-war over their hopes for their special needs children and how to address it, and while we’re walking that tight rope we’re still fussing with the child (usually over the SAME thing, over, and over again… It’s like beating a dead horse until you get it to the edge of the water and then making it take a drink!).  And we still have to research for outside sources of help for our child.  While managing the rest of the family and other “normal” kids and not so “normal” kids.  And let’s not forget any semblance of self care…

family pic

So from all moms like me, I kindly ask moms like you: When you see us in the struggle at the school line or the grocery store, don’t be THAT mom – the judgy mom, the mom with all the answers (the one I used to be, when everything seemed in control).  Instead, be the mom that brings an extra cup of coffee or sends a funny meme.  Be the mom that teaches their kids about differently-abled brains and how to be friends with kids who process life differently than yours.  Be the mom that “moves towards the mess.” If you don’t know what to do, just lift three fingers and whistle the “Hunger Games” tune.  We get it.

put your love glasses on

For Richer or for Poor

Confession: My husband and I attended a wedding where the bride refused to say, “or for poor” at the end of her wedding vows.  The preacher tried to get her to repeat the whole phrase, “For richer or for poor” twice… she would drop the last half of the phrase every time!

for richer or poor

I’m thankful I’ve stuck with my husband on the “or for poor” parts of our lives, just as he has stuck with me on the “in sickness” part of our lives.  It would’ve been a lonely stretch if we skipped out on each other when times got tough.

For the record, we’ve been homeless more than once, tried to make ends meet in Oklahoma, Florida, and now Alaska. We’ve changed careers and jobs at least four times; from military, to Subway (making sandwiches), to the FAA, to selling cell phones, to now working in the medical field where he’s finally growing and doing great.


Can I share a deep revelation I received through this journey?

A godly man doesn’t need to be reminded about his responsibility to provide. It’s a constant, heavy burden over his shoulders. It’s his primary ministry and his God-given curse. 

“And He said to Adam, “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’: The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.””

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:17-19‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

I didn’t learn this only from my husband, but also by having open conversations with other husbands when they shared how deeply work transitions and unemployment affected them.

It is excruciatingly painful for a godly man to be unable to provide for his family. I qualify this statement by emphasizing that this is how a godly man feels because any man who intentionally neglects his family is not in a relationship with his God and is spiritually blind.  Whether or not your husband loves God is really up to you to know!


So what do we do in these seasons? When we can’t make all the ends meet, and the husband is applying for jobs unsuccessfully, and the notices are piling up on the kitchen counter…

  • Pray for your husband AND don’t nag at him. There are some needs that are meant for GOD to provide. And since you don’t really need to remind your husband of what needs to be provided for anyways, seek God for these burdens instead.
  • Do NOT with-hold sex from your husband during difficult times. Contrary to pop culture bolony, sex is not just a physical need for your man; it heals his soul, and validates him deeply in a season where everything else is telling him “you’re not good enough.” And sex is not a reward tool, your husband is not a dog.
  • Encourage your husband and appreciate all he does for you. It’s quite foolish to get angry at a man who’s spending a lot of time at work… because he’s working! And deep in his heart it brings him peace to know he’s providing- even if this comes with overtime, travel, or deployment. So thank him for the hard work, or the part time jobs, or the traveling, or the applications he has put in. He needs to know that it matters to you in a dog-eat-dog world.
  • Live within your means! Don’t make the burden more difficult by desiring a lifestyle that is outside of his (or yours, if you both work) income. Learn the biblical key to contentment so he can truly find solace and rest at home.

I have learned to say, “I love going camping with you!” Instead of “I would love a Hawaiian vacation.”  And, as any godly man would, Paul actually took me to Hawaii kid-free for a four day honeymoon (debt free too!). I have learned to not mind used furniture if it means we’re not adding an extra bill. And I have specially learned to serve him in our budget by asking him, “What bills should we focus on with this paycheck? How much do you want me to spend on groceries?” I have the better memory for when bills are due, but he’s a better mathematician.


More than anything, my husband is my favorite person. I’m happy to eat ramen noodles or steak and lobster with him. And you should feel the same way about your husband!

These trials come to teach both husband and wife to rely on God and not only on themselves. Don’t despise the humble beginnings. Don’t fear the seasons of lack, because you both serve a God who knows all your needs. 
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:6-7‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

 

How can you encourage a struggling wife (or yourself) when finances are tight?

 

One Week of Idita-Reading

featured

Confession: My oldest son loves to read.  In fact, when he gets into a book we’re all normally annoyed by how he binge reads – and neglects everything and everyone else.  My daughter likes to read too…

… But when it comes to my youngest, asking him to sit down and read a book is like asking him to volunteer for wisdom tooth extraction.

Caleb at Iditarod Start

Here’s Caleb, freezing cold but happy to see the Iditarod Ceremonial Start in Anchorage!

Sit the youngest in front of the pediatrician and  he can read 4th grade level texts at age 7.  He knows a lot of “encyclopedic information” from books about animals and human anatomy.  But there’s something about sitting down with a book for a few minutes, specially a fiction book or a chapter book, that he was just not having it.

Enter IDEA, stage right! (Interior Distance Education of Alaska)

Anakin's Artwork

Original Artwork by Anakin Hass, done entirely by freehand 3/4/17

They are our homeschooling charter school.  I’m always very thankful of their educational support.  They have always stood behind me as a homeschooling parent – an experience I’ve heard is unique to charter schools in Alaska.

Our schools every year participate in the Iditaread, a race against mushers actively competing in IditarodThis race to Nome is a big deal for us Alaskans, as these Mushers access towns that are off the road system completely – only reachable by dog mushing or plane.

http://iditarod.com/photo/

Mats Pettersson lead dog jumps and is ready to continue to run after Mats checked in at the Kaltag checkpoint during the 2017 Iditarod on Sunday afternoon March 12, 2017.Photo by Jeff Schultz/SchultzPhoto.com (C) 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

In the Iditaread, kids read on average a page per musher’s miles.  They log their miles and try to make it from Fairbanks (only this year) to Nome (979 miles) before their selected musher does.  Many homeschooling families do this challenge outside of the official Iditaread because it’s very fun for readers. (That’s the key… It’s a marathon of reading, usually all pages are done in two to three weeks!). 

http://iditarod.com/photo/

Jason Mackey runs on the Yukon River with many snowmachine tracks running alongside on the trail nearng the Kaltag checkpoint during the 2017 Iditarod on Sunday afternoon March 12, 2017.Photo by Jeff Schultz/SchultzPhoto.com (C) 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Obviously, this was daunting for my 7 year old.  But I have a couple of liberties recommended to me by the teachers and staff at IDEA:

  • Pick rookie mushers for emergent readers!  Caleb is racing against Roger Lee in his first Iditarod, all the way from England! It gives them a chance to learn about new mushers.  If your kid is a good speedster reader, he can tackle the more challenging mushers.  My son always races against Dallas Seavey – and that’s hard to beat! He’s won multiple times and finished last year in record time.
  • I get to “vet check” the books the way veterinarians check the dogs to make sure they’re healthy.  In that sense, I can offer Caleb 2 miles per page if the book is more 2nd-3rd grade level, as well as make sure with my oldest who has read the entire I Am Number Four series that the content isn’t entirely inappropriate for a 10 year old.
  • Keep track with maps and colors and progress book marks – provided entirely by IDEA, Caleb now has a visual so he doesn’t feel discouraged.  He can trace his finger along his map and see how far he’s come!

iditaread1

We started with a kick off party at the school where each kid did a cut out of their lead dog.  Then the staff can move their dogs along as the kids reach the check points along the way.  This captivated all three of my kids!

Then we added a twist: Mom and Dad are doing the Iditaread too!  We’re racing mushers as well (and falling tragically behind, but it’s the effort and attitude that counts!).  We’re leading by example.  The rules for us are a little different though:

  • I can’t count pages I read during Paul’s work hours, because that’s not fair!  So the pages I read have to be between 12-1pm (his lunch break) or after 5pm in the evening.
  • Pages of books we read aloud to the kids in the evening or during lunch count for the parent who reads and the children who sit still and actively listen.  Woo-hoo for the Read Aloud Revival led by Sarah McKenzie!

iditaread2

We’ve spent a lot of evenings just reading after dinner until bed time. The TV is collecting dust, and I kind of like it that way! However, we decided to take the weekend off, and our mushers didn’t, so now we’re pretty far behind them.  But there has to be a balance to everything – a big learning point when you have 1 confirmed and one awaiting diagnosis for ADHD.  So there is still school work, math, writing, chores, family board games, outings and church.

And for the record, Caleb read 300 pages this week.  Motivated himself to make it 400 pages starting tomorrow.  He’ll make it to Nome with his “lead dog Max” in no time!

caleb and max

How do you motivate children to love reading when they seem to prefer doing ANYTHING else?

Moving Toward The Mess

In my last book review, I shared about Danielle Tate’s “Restoring the Lost Petal”.  It just so happens that I’m finishing up this other book – and it goes quite nicely with the last one!

There’s been a deep need in my heart to reach out and say some very important things.  And I believe that what God stirred in my heart with the last book and with this one are related.  So even though I was supposed to be done with Move Toward The Mess by mid-January, I think God’s timing was perfect.  It let me soak this book in a little bit deeper.

book

My last book review talked about the importance of the church addressing modesty, purity, and sexuality – since they did such a poor job with me!  I was already not a virgin when I got saved.  I was “too messy” for that church.  But we’re never going to get a grip on this much needed conversation if we’re afraid to get messy.

People will come into our churches just like I did – with soiled hands and a filthy dress – and we have the responsibility to embrace them into our Kingdom family.  We need to be the ones to affirm them in Christ, remind them of their God-given value, and remind them of their purpose.  This is not something we can do from a distance.  We have to get our hands dirty!  That’s not to say that “sinful people” contaminate us.  But we desperately need to learn to be comfortable with hugging, talking to, and spending time with people who are not washed in the blood… Because how else would they get to that point?  What else would attract them to God’s love if it isn’t demonstrated in our very own hands and feet?

muddy-splash

So without stealing the previous book’s thunder, I would say “Move Towards The Mess” by John Hambrick came at just the right time.  Because this book contains chapter after chapter showing us how God shows up in the lives of those who run towards the mess instead of away from it!

We live in a broken world.  Drive two miles away from your church and you’ll see the spiritual and moral chaos that is in every city; the poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, and prostitution.  And if the neighborhood is still nice, just keep watching; they may not be poor financially, but they’re poor in spirit.  Those kids may have a house to sleep in, but be so disconnected from their family it’s not quite a home either.  There’s still addiction to fight.  There’s still young girls using their bodies as currency to meet their needs.

So I hate to be the one to break it to you, but if your Christian walk is rather uneventful or you find your church life quite boring, it’s probably because you’re in a “country club for saints” instead of a “hospital for sinners”.  That’s not to say you need to change churches.  What you really need is a new perspective.

One analogy that Hambrick used which stuck with me so well is that church is really the locker room pre-game ralley with the coach.  The hype of being in that locker room is the precedence of going out into the field and playing the game – going out into the world, “moving towards the mess”, getting our hands dirty carrying out the plays our coach has planned.  Without hitting the field, using our grit, and finding our mettle these “locker room ralleys” are useless.  We waste time going to church if it doesn’t radically affect what we do outside in the world.

football

His antidote to this attitude really boils down to knowing that we are sinners saved by grace.  When we realize just how much God has forgiven in us, we stop waiting until we get our lives together, or until we get the right “title”, or waiting for the broken to come to us.  Our own need for grace becomes fuel to love others and want to bring salvation to them.

Not many churches will experience the randomness of a girl like me walking through their doors one Sunday in February and getting saved.  I was the exception, not the rule! Most people live on the fringes of the church property and won’t step inside because they feel filthy.  Well, my friends, let’s bring church to them.  Let’s move toward the mess.

Pick up your copy of “Move Towards The Mess” here, or you can win a copy on my blog by commenting below and answering the following question:

What mess do you feel God calling you towards?  Where does your heart ache the most towards others?

Disclaimer: I received two copies of “Move Towards The Mess” by the Blythe Daniel Agency in exchange for my honest review.  I was not paid to give a good review, nor will I receive any monetary compensation from your purchase.

Triumphal Procession

Everyone loves parades!  My daughter was in the Fur Rondy parade here in Anchorage last weekend.  She marched for American Heritage Girls.  My boys had a blast cheering their sister on and then getting candy and goodies from everyone else that passed by.


We all want to walk through life feeling like we’re a part of the parade.  We want people to cheer us on! To clap as we go by!  We want to feel victorious as we move forward…


… It doesn’t always feel that way, right?

If I’m honest, I’d say that lately it feels more like I’m walking the Green Mile.  Sometimes we’re in icky situations, surrounded by an icky crowd…

… Sometimes we’re sure that they are not cheering for us, they’re laughing at us as we walk by.  They are rejoicing in our misery.  We’re out to be spectacles, put on display for all our failures and short comings.

It’s times like this we just want to retreat.  Let’s just go home… we shouldn’t have left our beds.

The Apostle Paul can relate, he wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:9: “For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.”

Oh I can relate to that.  We have been technically homeless since last July; having moved in to our friend’s spare bedroom until the doors we are praying for get opened.  Every time someone asks, “Have you guys bought a house yet?” “How long can you stand to live with your friends?” it stings like an insult.

I’m pretty sure there are wives who wince the same way when they get asked, “When are you guys finally going to have a baby?” without knowing that they have tried… oh how hard they’ve tried!  Or the husband who hears the wife’s friend say, “How long has he been working for that company? And no promotion yet?”

First, you and me have to realize that these are innocent, well-intended questions.  Our friends aren’t trying to embarrass us, they’re concerned about us.  Even though their questions don’t seem very graceful, we can extend grace to them and forgive how they’ve stepped on our toes.

But more importantly…

We can turn the corner that Paul turned, when he realized that he wasn’t just placed at the end of a victory parade, as the prisoner of war to be laughed at.

Could it be that you and I are being paraded in our weakness, and in our frailty, because God wants to show us off to the world?  That maybe it’s right here, in this suffering, God is showing us to the world to say, “See my servant?  See her struggle?  Just you wait! I’m going to do something in her life that you wouldn’t believe unless you’d seen it with your own eyes!  The victory that’s coming for her is so great, you’ll want to see this now so you can see the revelation of what’s to come – and rejoice with her!”

2 Corinthians 2:14-15 New International Version (NIV)

14 “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” – Paul the Apostle

My friends, I can truly see that the suffering of this present time cannot be compared to the glory that is coming.

Joel 2:24-26 New International Version (NIV)

24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
    the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm[a]
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
    and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.

These are promises we can hold on to as we walk through what feels like parades of shame.  We don’t have to walk in defeat, we can walk with joy and with our faces held high regardless of our circumstances!  It’s God’s heart to lead us in triumphal procession, to spread the aroma of His salvation everywhere, so that the world knows it was God who has worked wonders for us.

Do you have an encouraging promise to hold on to? Or a prayer request to share? List them below!