Miracles In The Storms of Life

I met guest poster, Kim, in an online forum of mom’s with special needs children. I was delighted to learn that she is also a blogger and since then we’ve struck up a wonderful friendship. I know you will be blessed by her guest post today!

Jesus Makes Miracles Happen in the Storms of Life

As Hurricane Isaac bore down on the coast of Louisiana this week, the magnitude reminds us that a

smaller storm sometimes packs a lot of punch. Many times, we see natural disasters as the enemy.

They affect us and our loved ones’ lives in dramatically negative ways, and certainly, where is the

benefit in such storms? Many would not even consider such events as creations of God. But they are.

We wonder, where do they come? Why do they happen? If God created storms, then why does he

allow their negative impact on us? I, myself, truly could not answer such questions, except what I see

from the storms of life that have happened to me.

The Creator fashioned this earth that we live on in such a way as to shelter storms. He also put us here,

His creation, to care for the earth. I wonder, are we doing it? Not always, as we know.

Yet, the Lord does provide provision for His people. He really does hold His children in the palm of

His hand.

Natural disasters are like the life storms we encounter.

We always want blessings, not trials. So most of us, do not rejoice in our trials. We grumble, throw

our hands up in the air and question God. I am sure He sighs and shakes His head at us, because after

all, He does see a bigger picture, doesn’t He. The Lord really does know what is best.

When my special needs son was born, he was delivered by C-Section, which was completely

unplanned for us. He was wheeled off to the NICU immediately upon delivery for two weeks, unable

to suck, barely swallow, move and breathe. He struggled with extremely low muscle tone, severe

asthma and sleep apnea. He was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome. The battle was constant to

keep him functioning, never mind healthy. It was a miserable season of nearly four years.

Yet, through it all, the Lord whispered,

“For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

Psalm 139:13

The Lord came in the storm.

When my son was nearly five years old I found the pulminologist whom the Lord wanted to use for my

son’s healing. He was young, and had had some experience with my son’s syndrome, and apparently

had a gift for healing. He medicated my son quite a bit at first, but, he actually listened to me, so I

followed his advice (Yes, I am my son’s advocate).

Then, the Lord brought healing after the storm.

My son, for the first time in his life, was not sick because of that man‘s medical treatment. We lived in

bliss with that, until this doctor told me to drop the Singulair and watch what happens. I panicked a

little at first, but by this time, I truly trusted this man’s judgment. Then, the dam burst through in a way

that was unexpected.

My son began having a constant stream of diarrhea. At first we thought it was a virus, and then, it

continued for a week and into two weeks. I took him to the general doctor, who also diagnosed him

with a virus. Yet, it persisted.

Then, in the middle of the night, while sitting up with yet another round of diarrhea from my son, the

Lord gave me a revelation. My son’s diarrhea was related to what he was eating. It was kind of one of

those “duh” moments enlightened by a complete lack of sleep. The Singulair had held back the

symptoms of a food allergy.

the Lord in the stormThe next morning was all sunshine, because I removed his natural peanut butter and honey sandwiches,

which he ate 2-3 times a day. Within 24 hours, the diarrhea cleared up. I removed many other foods

from his diet, which allowed us to drop the remainder of his nine medications. Two weeks of struggle

and storms brought a blessing beyond what we could see in the immediate.

Yes, I still struggle with the idea of storms.

You would think after a miracle like this, that I would just rejoice in trials. Well, I don’t. Trials are

painful, frustrating, and when we lose sight of the Lord’s hand, they promote a lack of hope. But, in

the storms, the Lord holds the reigns. We just have to learn to let go of the reigns ourselves and pray

through the storm.

Kim is a work at home mom. She is married, cares for her two sons, one with special needs, and has

three dogs. You can frequently find her either at her online ministry, His Special Kids, or her natural

health business, The Blessed Cheaper Organic.

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Does God Make Mistakes?

Recently, I had the privilege of being a guest writer on another special need’s blog. It was a post I’ve been wanting to write for my own blog but just hadn’t done it yet. Here it is. Or you can jump over to Kim’s blog, His Special Kids and read it there.

True or false. Does God make mistakes?

If you are a Christian believing in the sovereignty of God you would say without hesitation, “No!” But at some point in our lives, life gets a little more complicated and complex. “Life” throws us curve balls. Some of those curve balls may even be pretty big, to the point that almost everything we ever believed is tested to the extreme.

On April 8th, 1990, David Jennings Camp was born.

David is our 4th child. Our first child was very active and some said she was even strong-willed. (I never thought she was.:) ) As each subsequent child came along they seemed to be more and more laid back. So by the time David was born, his very laid back and even passive personality didn’t cause us to question anything about him. He was just following suit! But by the time he was 3 and not speaking we knew something was up. We felt pretty sure that he could hear fine but something just wasn’t clicking. He didn’t seem to understand when we spoke to him. We took him to several doctors and neurologists and he was eventually diagnosed as developmentally delayed in pretty much every area. For example, David didn’t walk until 19 months, he spoke only a few words until he was around 4 and he didn’t potty train until 5.

Although I’ve always fully accepted David’s condition and diagnosis there have been times when I would feel sudden sorrow and think thoughts like, “If David had been normal ….” Those thoughts have come to me especially when other children reached certain milestones. “If David was ‘normal’ he would be playing baseball.” or “If David wasn’t developmentally delayed he would be looking at colleges just like his age mates.”

But every time I have those thoughts I remember something the Lord graciously showed me and sealed in my heart when David was only 3 or 4.
It came from an article from a Focus on the Family magazine. I don’t remember what the woman’s name was but she had a child with Downs Syndrome. (Let’s say her child’s name was Katie) Through her own soul wrestling of “why did God do this?” and “Did God make a mistake?” He comforted her and clearly impressed on her heart that He did not make a mistake. There was never any other Katie. THIS was always Katie and He loved her and He chose her especially to be in this family.

Wow! That really made an impact on me. Although I didn’t have the same heart struggles that she had, that beautiful truth has remained clear in my mind when those difficult times have come. Like, the occasional conversations I’ve had with my dear dad over the years. Although he loves David, he believes God made a mistake. He slipped up. How sad to live life like that. How could you trust the Lord about anything if you thought He could make mistakes.

To bring this truth home even more, I’d like to introduce you to a beautiful story. Have you ever read, “Welcome To Holland” by Emily Perl Kingsley? You may have  read it before. Please go read it again. It will bless your heart. She has an amazing way of painting the picture of what the life of a special needs family will be.

Sure life has been extremely stressful at times.

With the onset of David’s Dystonia, there are some very hard days. But David has brought such joy and laughter into our lives. He has such a great sense of humor! Maybe that’s because he was due on April Fools day. He has such a happy and pleasant (for the most part) disposition. And when those trying times come or those sad thoughts enter my mind as I now see his age mates graduating from college, I can shout with full confidence:

“No! God does not make mistakes!”

He has planned each child just the way they are for His purpose and wonderful plan.

“For God causes ALL things to work together for good, to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Thank you for letting me share my story!

Dayna Camp
(mom of David)

www.gracetodayblog.com

www.workfromhomecaregiver.com

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Kelcie Can!

Next time you are tempted to say, “I can’t”, remember Kelcie. Here is an inspiring video of a teenage girl with Cerebral Palsy who has the determination to do many things that most people would have thought she would never be able to do. “I can’t” just doesn’t seem to be in her vocabulary! What an inspiring story!

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Inspiring Video of a Mute, Autistic Girl

This inspiring video of a girl with Autism is a real eye-opener! I don’t think any of us will ever look at autistic children the same way again. It’s easy to think they don’t really know what’s going on but many of them are very smart and are just trapped in their body with no way to communicate.

 

Please share how this video touches you.

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A Therapy Dog Called Melody

One night on Facebook, I ran across some truly touching pictures of an absolutely beautiful therapy dog in action.

I saw picture after picture of this sweet dog sitting or laying with patients at a hospital It was so heartwarming! As I reached the last picture I was so surprised to see my friend Olguita posing with  the dog! I soon found out that the dog’s name is Melody and that she is owned by Olguita. I immediately messaged my friend asking if she would tell us about Melody, how she got her and how she became a therapy dog. It’s such an inspiring story! I know you will be blessed too!

 

” My kids had been taking flute lessons for several years and they wanted a dog, so I told them that as a reward for their discipline and persistence with their flute lessons, I would buy them the dog.

I started researching about dogs, and decided that we wanted a Siberian Husky. This breed is really friendly, great with kids, and easygoing. Then we searched over the Internet and found a lady in Puerto Rico who had Siberian Husky puppies. As soon as we saw Melody, we fell in love with her! She was absolutely beautiful and friendly!

She is a “melody” in our lives for sure!

We brought her home and had to decide what her name was going to be. Then we agreed that, since she was a reward for my kids’ persistence in their music lessons, the name had to be musical. So that’s why we chose her name “Melody”! And it fits her perfectly, because she is a “melody” in our lives for sure!

Since Day 1 Melody was always friendly, gentle with the kids, and didn’t even bark! My neighbors would visit us, touch her and play with her and she was always calm, and great with them. So we thought she would make a great therapy dog! I researched in Puerto Rico and found an organization called “Puerto Rico Dogs” that did this kind of work.

Therapy Dog in the Making!

Sheyla Gutierrez, the leader of the group, explained to me that Melody had to be one year old, in order to be able to become a therapy dog and she was only a few months old, so we decided to give her the basic training (sit, stay, come, etc.). My kids went to a summer camp for kids with dogs and there they learned how to train her. That was a lot of fun!

Some months later we connected with our friends from Puerto Rico Dogs again and Melody took the “test” which she passed. (She had to respond to basic commands and then we had to make 3 supervised visits to the hospital with the trainer to see how she behaved in that setting.) She passed with flying colors and was certified! She’s been a therapy dog for 5 years (she’s 6 and a half years old).

From Family Dog to Celebrity!

Since then Melody has become a celebrity! We visit hospitals, elderly homes, homes for children with disabilities, abused children, schools, etc. She has even been featured in the newspaper and has been on TV!

Nowadays, we visit the Puerto Rico Children’s Hospital on Thursday mornings. It’s such a pleasure to see the children’s smiling faces when we go visit! They really look forward to Melody’s visit. In order for us to enter the room, we need the parents’ signed permission and if the kids approve, Melody jumps on their bed and they pet her. The parents also have a lot of fun!

They Adore Melody!

I have many beautiful stories of kids who simply adore Melody! One in particular stands out. This girl at the hospital had pictures taken with her and Melody. She didn’t want her to leave! Some days later she wrote me on Facebook and said that Melody made her SO happy! (It felt great to be able to bring such joy to this girl!)
We also visit elderly homes and the residents there really enjoy Melody’s visit. Some of them had pets at their own homes and since they cannot have pets now, they really enjoy her presence. She reminds them of their own pets.

Melody is truly a great blessing for our family! We adore her and feel privileged to be able to share her with others and bring joy to their lives! It’s truly awesome!

I want to thank Olguita so much for sharing Melody with us!

Do you like this story? Please share it on facebook and twitter and any other social sites you enjoy!

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Joni sings You are God’s Masterpiece

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
“Our disabilities are often God’s “frame” around the portrait of Jesus Christ which He is painting into our lives as we trust and obey!”

This is the theme at the Joni and Friends Family Retreat this week.  Joni Eareckson Tada sings a beautiful song called “God’s Masterpiece”. What a blessing!  Have you heard it yet? This is what Joni will be singing to the group tonight at the “Masterpiece Event”.  Go listen and be blessed!

Joni Eareckson Tada singing

To learn more about these very special family retreats you can read about them at my “family of special needs” blog where I review camps,parks, beaches, amusement parks, and other fun places that are accessible for special needs families.  www.familyofspecialneeds.com

Be blessed today and remember that you are God’s Masterpiece!

Please share this post with friends and on Facebook! Your friends will one you for it.:)

Dayna

aka.hopebuilder

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Public Ramps for Handicapped, Overhangs, and Handicapped Parking Spaces! Oh My!

Caution! You are about to enter a rant zone!

Ramps. Handicapped Parking spaces. Overhangs. Or lack thereof!

This month I’ve taken my son to 2 different VBS’ for special needs “kids” (even for over age 22! love it!). David is such a social butterfly that he is totally in his element. But for some reason, this year in particular I ran into some frustrating challenges.

1. No Overhang – At the first VBS, it rained on the second day when I went to drop him off. That’s not really such a big deal under “normal” conditions because I can just whip out an umbrella. But since David is in a wheelchair and we do not have a modified van for a wheelchair, the process of getting the wheelchair out of the trunk and David out of the car can take a little while. If it hadn’t been for the volunteer who met us as we pulled up, we both would have been soaked. There was no overhang at any entrance and this is a “Mega-Church”! Now I’m not really one to complain, at least I don’t think I am, but my friend, who is a strong advocate for special needs at our state’s capital happened to be there and filmed the whole thing to show to senators and congressmen.

2. Ramps for the handicapped (or lack of them) – The second VBS  David went to is one he’d been to for 3 or 4 years now but for some reason, this was the first time I noticed that this church had very few ramps for wheelchairs. I think it’s because this is the first year they told me to drop him off and pick him up closer to his classroom.  When I went to pick him up the first day, I ended up wheeling him halfway around the property to finally find a ramp. I know I could have eased his chair over the curbed but I was curious to see where the nearest ramp was. It was back at the front entrance!  It was sad to see that such a wonderful church that caters to special needs children had very few ramps for the many entrances to their buildings.

But on a positive note! There were some wonderful “good samaritans” at this church. Several young men ( 16 – 20 years old), when they saw our plight on the second day, took it upon themselves to walk out with us every day and lift David’s chair over several steps to the parking lot.

3. Sunny Handicapped Parking Spaces – Have you ever noticed that, although handicapped parking spaces are placed close to entrances, that they are also almost always without shade? That’s not so bad if you have a modified van that you can easily and quickly wheel the wheelchair in and out of like my friend whose son also goes every year, but  for those of us who don’t have that setup, it can be pretty miserable in the heat of the summer! So usually, instead of parking in the sunny handicapped spot in the summer, I find a shady spot at the far end of the lot so I can take up 2 spaces if I need to and not melt quite so much.

Here is the cherry on top. I was about to pull into a handicapped spot that gave me enough room to place the wheelchair beside the car to get David out and that was right next to a ramp when I saw that someone had thrown several full garbage bags into the spot. I couldn’t believe it! So I took a picture.

Now again, I must reiterate. I’m not one to gripe and complain and nit-pick. (but don’t ask my husband to verify :) )

But these  situations really should be reviewed for the consideration of our handicapped loved ones and their caregivers in our churches and society.

Whew! Now that that’s off my chest, David had a wonderful time again and the people were so good with our “kids”!

 

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let  endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

 



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The Handicapped and the Bible

The story of Mephibosheth in the Bible is such a beautiful picture of God’s love, grace and mercy!

For any Christian parent of a special needs child, this story (found in 2 Samuel 9), is an indescribable comfort! The love of King David for Jonathan’s son is such a wonderful parallel to God’s love for His special children.

“The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”

Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”

Now I’m not a Bible expositor so I will not go into detail about the story, only to say how much it warms my heart and causes me to worship Him as I see the kindness of the Lord toward the handicapped and special needs children like my son David.  Kelly Langston, mom of a son with Autism, goes into great detail on her blog and does a beautiful job.

 

But you know, the story of Mephibosheth is not only a picture of God’s kindness and love toward special needs children, but it is a beautiful picture of His Grace and Mercy toward us wretched sinners through His Son Jesus. For we all all handicapped in our heart and in desperate need of a Savior! Here is a  post written by Charles Stanley, written from this standpoint.

May you be blessed as you meditate on the reality of God’s Grace and Mercy toward our special needs children as you ponder the story of Mephibosheth!

Dayna

aka. hopebuilder

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Inspiring Online Devotional: Finding a Good One

online devotionalI found a great Online Devotional that I thought I would share with you.  I often don’t have time for an indepth Bible study so finding Roy Lessin’s  Meet Me In The Meadow has been a wonderful oasis that I receive in my inbox each day.

His messages are truly devotional that lead you to think, pray and worship. They are short enough for a busy family caregiver to appreciate. But they are rich enough to be meaningful and lead you to do further studying if you want and have the time because at the end of most short devotional or throughout the message he lists several scriptures.

Here is a sampling of one his online devotionals called Love Conquers All:

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Love conquers death. Love leaves the believer with no closed door to heaven, with no hopelessness of the grave, with no fear of the wrath to come, with no terror of the darkness, with no dread of the proclamation, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” Love loudly exclaims, “Welcome to the place prepared for you. Welcome to my Father’s house. Welcome home!” Love never gives up. Click her to read the rest.

 

You can subscribe to Meet Me In The Meadow online devotional and receive them every day in your inbox like I did. When you go to his website and sign up for the online devotional you can choose how often to receive them.

Roy’s devotionals also come in book form. He has several.

This would be a good spot to put in a plug for my daily inspirational emails too. If you would like to receive my

Daily Grace Notes you sign up for them at the top right of this page.

As special needs parents who want to nurture our walk with the Lord, online devotionals are a wonderful answer!

May you be blessed!

Dayna

aka. hopebuilder

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Oh The Blessing Of A Modified Shower!

If you’ve ever tried to get  a physically handicapped person into a  ”regular” shower and then wash them, you know what I’m talking about when I say it’s one of the hardest things to do. After a couple of years of searching out different options, we finally have a modified shower for David!

Can you imagine lifting a 6 ft. flailing and twisted body over a 6 inch shower threshold and then trying to get that Dystonic body seated on a shower chair? That is what Marshall did for the past 2 years a few times a week. I had to stop a couple of years ago when David’s Dystonia escalated.

Angels by the names of Jay, John, Bruce and their Sudanese friends, came to our house and performed what seemed to me like a miracle! I wish so much I had a “before” picture of the shower (and maybe one of Marshall trying to lift David into the shower. But that pic might possibly be mistaken for child abuse from the way it would appear.)

They had to remove the threshold, the shower doors and frame, all the tile from the bathroom floor and the shower, the very old and leaking shower pan. By replacing and lowering the drain, they were able to slightly lower the shower floor.

Now, with the shower floor slightly lower than it had been, they were able to retile the shower floor and the bathroom floor with beautiful and up to date tiles.  Then they put a small hump of tiles between the shower and the rest of the bathroom to contain the water. The wheelchair rolls over the threshold beautifully! And last, we put a curved shower rod up (like the ones in hotels) to give plenty of room in the shower.

It’s just beautiful! And what an answer to prayer!

The First Shower

We were so excited to show David the bathroom and try it out with him. The first night we  used the shower wheelchair. We thought it would be perfect since it has a seatbelt, armrests, wheels, and breaks. Well, you would have thought we were torturing the boy! I never heard such yelling and carrying on from David! He did NOT like it! We felt like we were back at square 1 trying to figure out how to make this work and to help David feel secure  in the shower.

The next night as I was putting David to bed he pointed to the shower wheelchair and indicated that he did not like it. I asked him if he wanted to try the regular shower chair at which he gave the thumbs up, one of his helpful ways of communicating.

So the next morning I place the shower chair into the shower and wheeled him into the bathroom. With the new lower threshold, I was able to wheel the wheelchair right into the shower and place it perpendicular to the shower chair. Holding onto the grab bar it was so easy to help David ease onto the shower chair. And there was no yelling and moaning!

I thank God for the men who came and were willing and able to create exactly what we needed! It’s amazing how a modified shower can ease the stress of shower time for a physically handicapped person!

 

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