On being forged into a warrior mom

If I could summarize our journey from Hell to HOPEISM, it would be in my faith, which I call HOPEISM. It has been my weapon of choice to get me through each battle I have had to fight in my mission to win our war called life with autism and seizures. Vaccine injury to be more specific. It would also be in committing to heart, soul, & mind the words and motto's from Forged, NDCQ, the Lone Survivor, and Levi Lusko in his book, "Through the Eyes of a Lion." I will be forever grateful to the inspiration, encouragement, and mental fortitude found through all of them collectively. Because of that, I am not allowing this tragedy of vaccine injury that has come into our lives to be an obstacle to being used by God. I am instead turning it into an opportunity to be used like never before!

This blog is dedicated to Brandon. His life has been forged by difficulty, obstacles, & all too often because of seizures - pain, blood, broken teeth, & broken bones. Yet through all that he has shown such fortitude. The bravery, strength, & resilience of a true warrior. He taught me that having strength through adversity means that even if you lose every battle, like the Lone Survivor, you never quit fighting until you win the war. That in the words of "NDCQ," you keep "dreaming," keep "daring," & keep "doing." As Team Guppy has yet to be able to escape vaccine injury, we have no choice but to as Levi Lusko writes, "Run toward the Roar." God has indeed given us such incredible power in enduring such impossible pain.

Some days the HOPEISM in that simply takes my breath away.

June 28, 2012

The "Dang-it" of Disappointment.

I'm doing "The Bible in 90 Days" -- it actually started as my Lent season undertaking that obviously is taking a bit longer than 90 days.  I share a brief blog post about each day's reading on my blog, God's Word Day by Day. When it's all said and done, I'll have "90 Days" of reflection about that journey.  Albeit 90 non-consecutive days....

Anyway, in that journey, I've just finished the book of Job.  Seems lately I haven't just read about his trials, I've lived them.  "Team Guppy" as I call our family -- has lived them.  If you read this blog's posts - you know that over the last 18-20 months we have not only lived with autism, but horrendously uncontrolled seizures in our son who has autism.  There should be a limit on the amount of trials a person must go through, but as we see through Job's life, that isn't always the case. 

For us it certainly hasn't been.

Dang it!

Which brings me to these musings about disappointment.  More specifically, how the heck you handle them.  I'd like to sit here and think that with all my experience in having faced so many of them, I would have a 30-minute power-point all ready to insert here for you to watch and be duly enlightened and amazed by.  But I don't. And I don't want anyone to think for a split-second that I have the arrogance of thinking my disappointments are the worse ever. They aren't.  I guess I could have one slide in that power-point presentation after all.... I do know this about disappointments:  There are others whose disappointments are greater than yours.  And that's something that always balances the scale for me.  It doesn't take away the pain of my disappointments, but it certainly helps to keep them in perspective.

While I can't answer why disappointments happen or how to best handle them, I can share what I've learned about them.  Mainly, that it seems like people today have the attitude that they don't deserve disappointments.  That they somehow take for granted having so many blessings, that how dare the universe send the plaque of a disappointment or bad-day upon them.  The slightest hiccup in a day ruins the entire day for them.  I guess that comes from raising kids by giving them a reward for every good thing they do.  No, not every good thing you do earns a reward, but you do good anyway.  When we grow up expecting good for doing good -- we can't handle bad when it blind-sides us. I credit my childhood for preparing me for my "Life with Autism."  It wasn't perfect.  We didn't win the lottery and have a life of ease because we were good.  Bad things happened despite us being good.  And I was made stronger for it.  When a bad thing happened, it didn't mean we were exempt from more bad things happening.  

Others think that if you just ignore disappointments they'll go away.  They won't.  Pretending satan isn't lurking doesn't mean he isn't.  Pretending you weren't just sucker-punched and had your breath taken away by a disappointment isn't going to take that pain away or make the next breath any easier.  I prefer to see my enemy face-to-face. I prefer to go ahead and face my disappointments, not duck from them. Actually, I'd prefer to blow them up with a canon, but since there isn't a concealed hand-gun license for that -- I have no other choice.

I guess my saving grace in disappointments is humor, albeit sarcastic at times.  Not by choice, but by necessity.  I've heard many times by many people when going through a disappointment:  "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."  While I know they have the best intentions with that statement,  I wonder if they would have wanted someone to say to them if their spouse/relative/best friend died prematurely, "Well, they dropped dead suddenly, but you know, you just have to be thankful and make lemonade!"  That topped only by, "Here, would you like some ice cubes to go in that glass of lemonade you're presently choking on?"

It is true that after life throws you lemons you have lemonade.  I could use a wine cellar in my house to store the barrels of lemonade I have!  But not because I purposefully made it.  It's merely what has oozed out of the lemons that have been pulverized as life threw them at me and they were somehow caught between my head and the wall I was banging against in hurt, confusion, disbelief, or anger.  Sometimes the lemons were thrown so hard at me they were instantly liquefied into lemonade.

Lame cliches' no matter how well-meaning, have no place in helping someone through disappointments.  That's why I love our dearest long-time friends.  The husband is the most laid back person I know, and upon sharing our most recent disappointment with them, his wife texted me his reply of  simply "Dang-it".  I can't tell you how hard I laughed at that.  I could picture his calm self sitting on the couch and upon hearing our news, say simply, "Dang-it!"  And I know that when I get a moment to share with my BFF, she'll have an equally humorous to me "buck-up buttercup" response.  Or she'll come over with a bat and burlap bag and ask me for the address of the person who dared cause our disappointment.

You can't avoid or change disappointments, and there are many times you can't even make the best of them.

Sometimes disappointments are just that --- a "Dang-it!" bleep in an otherwise blessed life.

They are as unfair as life itself.  But I suppose the most merciful thing I have learned about them is that God is still God even though he allows them.

That was the hardest thing to learn about disappointments as a Christian.

Twice in my life I have prayed with everything in me, for something to not happen.  I mean deep-down-to-my-soul praying.  Laying-on-the-floor-with-arms-and-legs-outstretched-crying praying.  All-night-and-all-day praying.  God-will-answer-my-prayer-miracle-believing praying.

And twice those things happened anyway.

Like I said, I have no advice on how to handle that depth of disappointment.  My first reaction was, "Really, God?"   From there my whining only got more pathetic.  Then I got angry.  Then hurt.  I'm still a bit bewildered and in shock.

But even in all that -- I do know that no matter how deep the depth of your disappointment, God is deeper.  Though God may allow disappointments to happen, God is not disappointment. They don't happen because you are bad.  You're not exempt from them because you're good. They just happen.  God is still God.  Life is still good.  I think to further illustrate that to my fractured-faith on that particular day -- at the very moment that second thing in my life I prayed for the most to not happen,  happened - God sent in the middle of a perfectly hot, humid, Houston day -- a hail storm.  Those who know me, know that my most perfect of days, is a dark, stormy, thunderous day.  Hail would just be icing on that type of day for me. And it hailed on top of that dark, stormy, thunderous, 104 degree moment that day.  Big chunks of icy hail in the middle of a hot, humid, Houston day.  It was God reassuring me that he was still God, and that if he could send quarter-sized chunks of hail in a 104 degree day, then he could surely be in control of what we were going through.

God is there in our disappointments whether he shows himself or not. Just because the thing we prayed for most to not happen, happened, doesn't mean prayer doesn't work.  Although admittedly I asked our friends to pray for my husband through a difficult time at work because I was afraid that if I prayed for him I would jinx him!  I didn't want to go three-for-three just quite yet!


Like I said, I should be a pro at handling disappointment.  But I'm not.  I sometimes kick, scream, cry, and curse.  I get angry, I get sad.  At times I even laugh.  What I don't do, is run from disappointment. I stand firm and embrace it in all its suckiness.  I don't not dream because of a dream that was shattered.  I don't not pray because a prayer wasn't answered how I wanted.

I've dreamed many wildest dreams for both of my boys, and especially as they pertain to Brandon's healing those dreams have been disappointingly crushed more often than not.  For Matt, disappointingly delayed.   But I still dream them. And I still believe in prayer and in the miracle that dreams can and do come true.

I guess that's the thing I do know about disappointment...

That it's not so much in how you handle it, it's whether you will choose to defeat it or allow it to defeat you.

And I choose to defeat it.

Each and every ding-danged, blasted, gosh-darned time I must.

That's what I appreciate most about "Team Guppy" --- no matter how many times life trips us, kicks us, or knocks us down, -- as long as we have air flowing through our gills, we will rise to the surface and swim on.

Against the tide no less.

There are too many people in this world so defeated by disappointment that they quit daring to dream or do.

Not us.

Not ever.


June 5, 2012

Experiencing God through "Desperate for Respite" ---

I guess what brings me to sharing these thoughts today, is an "Experiencing God" Discipleship Class I attended years ago.  The most significant words to me, came back to me today as I read an e-mail I received about an event cancellation.

The e-mail was from the non-profit organization Desperate for Respite.  Each month that organization has been meeting the needs of parents who are DESPERATE for Respite.  But due to a scheduling conflict that should not have ever been one in the first place, they had to cancel the event.

The parents receiving that notice will be crushed. 

I am crushed because I know that if my son were not attending camp that weekend, I would very much have been counting down the SECONDS until I could take my son there for him to have a fun evening with fellow friends while my husband and I had some much needed "us" time.

I just can't help but remember these words from that "Experiencing God" class:
“Watch to see where God is working and join Him.” 

God is working through Desperate for Respite.  That is an undeniable fact.  The people who run that organization have seen a need, felt a calling, and answered it.  Though at times it has been nothing but struggle.

As Christians sometimes the hardest thing to figure out in serving, is how, when, where.  How do I know I'm doing what I am to be doing?  How do I know where to serve?

"Watching to see where God is working" is the answer to those questions.

"and Joining Him!" is the exclamation point at the end of the sentence.

God is working mightily through Desperate for Respite -- and our community as well as the churches within that community would do very well to join in that.  Not cancel that, not ignore that, not work against that and not try to recreate that on their own.  But to simply partner with that and join in that.

God is using that organization to increase his Kingdom!  Families who perhaps never stepped foot in a church are stepping foot in a church.  They are "Experiencing God" through the hands and feet of the faithful volunteers.

In a day and age that could use all the light it can get, why on earth anyone would work against those who are shining a light or just turn the switch off completely - for any reason -- is beyond me.

Please join me in sharing this June Newsletter for Desperate for Respite -- if you would like to join in where God has been doing a mighty work, please contact them!

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The opinions and views expressed here are those of Michelle M. Guppy and Michelle M. Guppy only!