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Special Needs Parents

Special Needs Parents

Who are Special Needs parents?  These are parents that have know medical terms even through they have never gone to medical school. These are parents who know how to use just about anything for therapy. Special Needs parents do things longer than other parents. (We had one child in diapers/nappies until that child was about 6.)

Special Needs Parents

Special Needs Parents

  • Push to get the children to do things, try things, achieve,
  • Don’t want their child discriminated
  • Want opportunities for their child
  • Speak for our children
  • Advocate for their needs
  • Love
  • Keep track of appointments, medication, therapies, and numerous other things
  • Celebrate the little things

Numerous things have been written about special needs parents. I want to begin by looking at some of the parents that we see in Jesus interactions with the disabled or those with special needs. Not all of the interactions with the disabled include the parents.

Learn about special needs parents from Jesus’ interactions

Special Needs parents need to know who God is and what He does. Jairus comes to Jesus asking Jesus to heal his daughter. He knew that it was Jesus who can heal. (Luke 8:41) Jairus knows that it is God that can heal. As special needs parents, we need to go to God.

Know that God works in spite of our unbelief. At times we just give up. Jairus and is his wife stood at their daughter’s bedside weeping and mourning because at this time their daughter was dead. Jesus responds that she is not dead but sleeping. Their response was laughter, laughing at Jesus, what does he know, she is dead. It is too late. Jesus works even though they don’t believe. Jesus simply says, “Child, arise.” It was just two words. God works in spite of our lack of faith. (Luke 8:49-56)

Sometimes special needs parents just need to have faith but also be specific. The official whose son was ill came to Jesus and asked him to come and heal is son. Jesus said to him, ” Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official replies directly and to the point, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus responds, “Go; your son will live.” The man knew and believed. He returned home and his son recovered. It was not just the father that was impacted but the household. Our faith can impact others. (John 4:46-54)

Sometimes as special needs parents we need to allow our children to do the talking. Our children have experiences and understanding. We need to listen to them. That was a bit of what the parents of the blind man did in John 9:1-41. Some of it was out of fear for the Jews. They did say, he is old enough, ask him. The former blind man doesn’t have much patience with them. He tells them he was blind but now he can see. Our children can understand God working in there lives in ways we can’t. Give them an opportunity to share that.

Go to Jesus. Sometimes that is all we have left to do and really that is all we need to do. Go to Jesus, talk with him about the challenges. He is ready to hear us.

Reflections

I found this an interesting study. In the past I have looked at Jesus interactions with people, how people response but to look at the parents was new. I found it helpful in my own life as a special needs parent. As I reflect on these interactions, I am reminded that I need to know God, belief in who God is and does.

Are you a special needs parent? What have you learned about God through parenting?

Special Needs Parents

Be Like Jesus – Interacting with Individual with Special Needs

Be Like Jesus – Interacting with Individual with Special Needs

I am continuing to think about Special Needs. I shared some of the basis for understanding Special Needs here. How did Jesus interact and relate to those with special needs? Jesus gives us a model for how we are to interact.

Learn how to interact with special needs

I decided to begin by looking at Jesus interactions with disabled or special needs in Luke. Knowing that Luke was a doctor made me think that he would have just a bit of that reflected in his writing. I just started at the beginning of Luke reading and focusing on the interactions with the disabled.

Here are some highlights and some of the truths that we can learn from these interactions. I have been challenged as I read these accounts.

Jesus’ Interactions in Luke

Luke 4:31-37 Heals a Man with an Unclean Demon

The demon calls out to Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus rebukes him and tells the demon to come out. The man’s life was changed with this encounter with Jesus. The crowd was amazed. Jesus’ interaction changed lives and amazed people.

Luke 5:12-16 Cleanses a Leper

When the man sees Jesus, he knows that Jesus is the one who can heal. He falls down and begs to be clean. Jesus touched him. The leprosy left. Jesus tells him to go to the priest following the law that Moses had given. Jesus touched the man. Did you see that? According to the law the leper was unclean. It is important to know that Jesus touched the man.

Luke 5:17-26 Jesus heals a Paralytic

This is a great interaction that shows how friends need to be involved. The friends brought the man to Jesus but because of the crowd they could not get to Jesus. That does not stop the friends; they are determined. So they let him down through the roof. The friends had faith. Jesus’ response, “Your sins are forgiven.” While Jesus was meeting physical needs, he was more about the spiritual needs.

Luke 6:6-11 Heals the man with a withered hand

It was the Sabbath but Jesus was willing to “break the rules”. The scribes and Pharisees were watching; they will filled with fury. Some might not understand and even be opposed to what we are doing. But if we have the correct biblical basis for understanding this, we will be willing to work to meet spiritual and physical needs.

There are more interactions in Luke but I want to share two interactions that Jesus had in John.

Jesus’ Interactions in John

John 5:1-17 Healing at the Pool on the Sabbath

Jesus goes to the man lying there and asks him, “Do you want to be healed?” Then Jesus says, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” Jesus had withdrawn himself from the crowd. Jesus goes and finds him. During this second interaction Jesus says, “Sin no more.”

John 9:1-41 Heals a Man Born Blind

The disciples see the blind man and begin to discuss who sinned — the man or his parents. Jesus’ response corrects them by saying, “That the works of God might be displayed.” What works of God do we see displayed in the individuals with special needs?

Some people came to Jesus asking to be healed. Jesus went to some offering healing. Often we see the spiritual connected with the physical. There was no one way of doing ministry, Jesus healed in many different ways. The same is true today, we need to have a variety of ways.

Individuals who are disabled or have special needs remind us that we are all broken people in need of God’s healing.

Lessons Learned

Because of Jesus’ interactions with the disabled there lives are changed. As we share the gospel with those with special needs, their lives can be changed.

Those around saw what Jesus did, they were amazed, glorified God, and were filled with awe. Our interactions should do the same today.

Jesus reached out and touched the leper. We need to reach out and touch people physically. We need to be willing to get a bit unclean for the Gospel.

Special Needs ministry requires working together with others just as the friends of the paralytic. Support those who are working with special needs as they support those with special needs.

People might not understand what and why we are doing this. We need to understand what God is asking us to do and have courage.

Be like Jesus in your interactions with those with special needs. Do you have individuals with specials needs in your life or church?

Overwhelmed – 3 Things to do when life is overwhelming

Overwhelmed – 3 Things to do when life is overwhelming

Are you overwhelmed? What do you do when life is overwhelming? How do you handle things when you are despaired?

Welcome to Chats over coffee. Grab a cup of coffee or tea if you prepare. I had a cup of black coffee in my Germany mug.

I had planned to continue writing some of my thoughts about Special Needs and even had started a post. But this morning as I was studying 2 Corinthians in preparation for our autumn Bible study, I was encouraged and thought I would share what I learned in this passage.

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Maybe it is the end of summer and the beginning of school lurking and the thought of all the things that needs to be done and knowing that the schedule will become busy. So many things can overwhelm us–circumstances, children, schedules, health, etc.

Paul writes to the Corinthians that he experience affliction and was so burdened beyond his strength and that he despaired fo life itself. Paul was facing affliction.

Our affliction might not be the same as the apostle Paul’s. It might not be that severe but it is our affliction. How did Paul respond? Let’s learn from him and face our affliction the same way.

How to face affliction

3 Things to do when life is overwhelming

Rely on God

Paul says that this affliction caused him not to rely on himself but on God. We realise our limitations but we have a limitless God.

Ask God for wisdom in how to deal with the overwhelmed bits. Look to God for strength to handle what is happening. Depend on God for help.

One of my favourite verses to remember when the overwhelmed feeling comes is Psalm 121:1-2. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (ESV) God who made heaven and earth is your help.

Don’t rely on yourself in these times rely on God.

Set your hope on God

Paul states that it was on God that he set his hope knowing that God would deliver him. Our hope is from God. When we are putting our hope in God, it is a sure foundation. But when we hope in what we can do, it is our best efforts which is not enough.

Ask others for prayer

We need others to join us in prayer. It might be just asking a few close friends to pray. It might be your small group. Paul said, “you also must help us by prayer,” (1 Corinthians 1:11). Knowing that others are praying can be an encouragement to us. They receive a blessing as they pray and see God working in the circumstances of your life.

So when life is overwhelming, here are three things that you need to do. I wonder if we were to do these three things how our attitude might change.

Are you feeling overwhelmed at this time? Maybe you are like me and weary. There are some circumstances that are just wearing me out and causing me to be a bit weary. Writing this has been an encouragement to me. I trust that it will encourage you as well.

Three things to do:

  1. Rely on God.
  2. Set your hope on God
  3. Ask Others to Pray

Special Needs – Biblical Basis

Special Needs – Biblical Basis

Chats over coffee - Special Needs

I have been reading and thinking about Special Needs, parenting and the church. Friday is chats over coffee, which is a time that I write on a more personal note. So I share my thoughts or what is happening. I want it to be a time when you get to know me a bit more.

I joined the special needs parents club 14 years ago. It wasn’t a club that I planned to join but I have to say that the people I have met have been wonderful, caring, encouraging, and supportive.

I have been thinking and beginning to put down on paper thoughts about Special Needs from the Bible. So where do we begin when we think about this topic. We begin in the beginning.

Special Needs in the Beginning

God created man in the image of God, Imago Dei. Understanding that gives value to each life. It doesn’t matter the special needs each life is valuable. (Genesis 1:27)

Life was perfect but not for long. The Fall changed everything and disease and brokenness entered the world. (Genesis 3) We live in a fallen world full of disease, disobedience, and death. Special needs remind us that we are living in a broken world. But it was into the broken world that Jesus came as a man to redeem us. Jesus came for the broken.

That gives a broad picture but what about the individual?

Special Needs in an Individual

The picture in Psalm 139:13-16 is of knitting and putting together each of our parts. So God knows the extra chromosomes or the parts that are not the way they should be. God has created each individual. I love the response. It is one of praise. It calls us to worship. (I am seeing that word quite a bit this year — Worship in the Waiting and I no longer choose Joy.)

The words that the Lord said to Jeremiah remind us that God is the creator of each individual. God knows each of us. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV)

Remember when Moses gives his reasons to the Lord saying that he is not eloquent. The Lord’s response reminds us that he is the creator even of these special needs. “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord.” Exodus 4:12. (ESV) I find the next bit comforting “No therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” Exodus 4:13 (ESV). That applies to us today. God will go with us and teach us.

How does all this help me as a Special Needs parents?

I find understanding in remembering that we are each made in God’s image. That makes life valuable.

I am reminded that we live in a broken world. The disease and disability is a reminder of The Fall and the need that we have for a Saviour.

I find comfort in knowing that God is sovereign in this. He created each individual and knows the needs that they might have.

My belief in God’s sovereignty is what carried me through the early days of Special Needs parenting. We were living in Asia on the other side of the world from family. Miss K needed one surgery within days of birth and as she healed from that surgery we learned that she needed another operation and this one open heart surgery. Just before heart surgery we received the chromosome study and learned Miss K had Trisomy 21. Was this a surprise to God? Did he forget where we were living? Did he know that she would need two operations and the expense of those? My greatest comfort during that time was knowing that God is sovereign. He knew all this and he cares for Miss K and us.

Biblical basis for special needs

Disabilities can overwhelm us but even more God should overwhelm us with his compassion and power.

What forms your basis for understanding special needs in the Bible? Next week I will share some of what I have learned reading through the gospels and seeing Jesus interactions reaching the broken.

July Review

July Review

It is hard to believe that it is the end of July. Where has the month gone? Where has the year gone? Here is a quick review of what happened in July.

Miss K finished school and is enjoying her summer break. The weeks leading up to the end of school were challenging as we waiting to find out where she would have a school placement for autumn. (I won’t go into all the details but most of this has to do with her special needs and the process here.) She has a place at the local secondary school and we are pleased with the schedule that they have put together for her. It is a mix of classes with SEN and mainstream. We are thankful to know where she will be attending in the autumn. Now on my list of things to do is buy uniforms.

Miss K turned 14. Her birthday always is a time to pause and reflect on how God has sustained her life.  She is all about birthdays and one of her favourite things to watch in YouTube is birthday parties. We had a party with the girls from her class.

July Miss K turns 14

My son and I took a trip to Scotland. We rode the train and visited some friends. It was a nice getaway and fun to see some new parts of the UK and a fun time with my son.

July Review Loch Lomond

2018 Goals

My goals for 2018 are listed here. I also have them written in my planner and will add notes of things that I have done towards those goals.

Both kids were at camp the same weekend. That has never happened so we took advantage of that and planned tourist. When I told Miss K what we were doing she said, “that sounds boring” which was exactly why we were doing it when they were at camp. We enjoyed a day out in Lincoln. We knew that it would be almost impossible to get Miss K to go on a Towers Tour so we did that. It involved quite a bit of climbing but then we had a wonderful view of the city. That falls under the goal of relationship with my husband.

July Review Lincoln

One of my goals for July was to consistently blog three times a week. I have copied some posts from my old blog. Some of the posts that I copied this month were a number of posts about My Asia Journey. I share those just so you can learn a bit more about me. You can find Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

I finished a fun sewing project that I had been working on for a long time. It took some time to collect the selvages. I made a mug rug with fabric selvages. I like the way it looks and have begun collecting selvages for my next selvage project.

Selvage Mug Rug

A few trips on the train gave me extra reading time. I finished Why We Sleep, Among the Poppies, which is a Christian Fiction set in World War 1, and Essentialism.

Two things I made in the Instant Pot this month that have changed my world. Okay, maybe that is a bit dramatic but changed my cooking. I made mashed potatoes and hard boiled eggs. I have to say both were easy.

Ponderings in July

Recently I discovered that a zero-waste store has opened nearby. That got me thinking about all the plastic that we use. I am slowly making changes. So I got out the bread maker and made bread — saves plastic bags. I made some felted soap to try that instead of liquid hand soap. Next on my list is making yogurt in the Instant Pot.

How was your July? What did you do? Any good book recommendations? I can always add a few more books to my to be read list.

July Review

Book Review – Essentialism The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Book Review – Essentialism The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

I recently posted on my Facebook page that I had finished reading this book. For my benefit as well as yours I will just summarise a bit of the book, Essentialism The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. As I review this, I will point out things that agree with the Bible or maybe where it disagrees.

Essentialism

First impressions – The book was easy to read both in content and in font size, graphics, headings. Yes, the physical aspect of the book does play into how easy I find to read the book. It was easy to finish. Do you know what I mean? I started it and easily kept reading. It didn’t get stuck on a pile of books to finish in the next decade. I read the physical book with a highlighter in hand.

Getting this out of the way – My husband bought this book and gave it to me to read. He knows how much I enjoy reading and reading this type of books. The review, opinions, and thoughts here are my own. This is a secular book in the category of Business/psychology.

 What is Essentialism? 

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at your highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.” (page 5)

What does it mean to do the right things? We live in a noisy world; meaning the media, people, friends, social media are all saying things. Maybe it is things that they are doing and we think we should do it. Maybe it is intentionally things that others want us to do. We need to know what God is calling us to be at this time.

Essentialism requires courage. We are going to do and be different than all the noise around us.   This is going to require discipline. That means that we will need to be intentional.

“The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default.” (page 7) How easily do we just go to default mode. It is often easy and doesn’t require much thinking. Essentialism is going to require courage and discipline. We need that to live by design.

“Essentialism is a disciplines, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.” (page 7)

I made it to page 7 only 239 more pages to go. Don’t worry I won’t go into as much detail.

Principles of EssentialismFour Parts of Essentialism

The book has four parts: Essence, Explore, Eliminate, and Execute. Also throughout the book there are charts that showing the non-Essentialist and the Essentialist. I found the charts helpful to just show a summary of some of the differences.

The author talks a bit about priorities. The importance of priorities but also gives a bit about the word priorities. The word came to English in the 1400s and it was singular. There was only one priorities but it in 1900s it became plural. A word that means first or prior thing now has come to be multiple things. I think we really need to go back to the idea that priority is one word. My priority might change from one day to the next but it is the one thing that is important. You can’t do everything.

Essentialism involves choice. An essentialist says, “I choose to.” While the non-essentialist says, “I have to.” There is a big difference. You make the decision and you choose it.

Here are some quick take aways from the book.

Have time to think. Sit and think, evaluate. Have space in your life for this. The Bible talks about being still and listening to God. That is what this time should be in our lives. Do you have be still time in your day or week?

Sleep is important. That goes along with the book I read on that. An Essentialist understands the importance of sleep.

Live with intent. As a Christian, our intent should be to love God and glorify Him in all we do. If we keep that intent in the front of our thinking as we make decisions and live each day, our life and schedule will be different.

An Essentialist knows when to say, “yes” and when to say, “no”.  Just because someone asks you to do something, doesn’t mean you need to say yes.

Know when to stop even if the project isn’t finished. When I was homeschooling, it was easy to decide, I bought the curriculum, we started it, we will finish it but we should have stopped. It wasn’t working. Be willing to stop.

How will I put this into my life?

My quick answer is, “I am still thinking about that.” Any really that is true. I don’t have a boss and a job description so it is a bit more difficult to see how it could apply in my life.

It has made me consider my attitude so instead of saying, “I have to make lentil and barley stew for 50 people on Thursday.” I changed it to be, “I have an opportunity to make lentil and barley stew for 50 people on Thursday.”

I am still asking myself the question, “What is essential?”. This morning I was intentional in sitting and just listening to the Lord. I had to be disciplined to sit and be still. I have a page of thoughts. On one specific thing God said, “be faithful and leave the rest to me.”

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

Are you trying to do too much? Do you need to learn principles of Essentialism in your life?

One thing that will overcome excuses

One thing that will overcome excuses

Excuses, Excuses

“I don’t have time. I am tired.” It does not take long to come up with excuses. Excuses are a way of putting off things or blaming others for not doing what we should do.

Why do I make excuses? It could be to avoid doing something or maybe not taking responsibility for what you need to do. Why do you make excuses?

This week I was reading and meditating in Exodus. In Exodus 3 God has just appeared to Moses. The first thing that God does is tell him that he has seen the affliction of his people and then gives the promise that he will deliver them and take them to a good land. God also promises that he will be with them. Then in Exodus 4 Moses responds to what God has asked him to do.

God has appeared to Moses, told him what he is going to do and given him a promise. You would think that Moses would be thrilled and ready to obey and go back and lead the people to this new land.

BUT

God gives Moses a command. Instead of obeying Moses begins questioning and doubting.

His first excuse it putting it on others. “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice,  . . .” (Exodus 4:1)

Think about the things you know you should be doing. Is the response obedience or to decide how others will respond and because of that make an excuse?

The second excuse is about himself. Basically Moses says, “I can’t speak.” He forgot who it was that was asking him to do this.

Are the excuses that you have about your abilities and skills? When we do that we are doubting God.

God listened to his excuses but had a response for each excuse. Excuses don’t work with God.

Learn from Moses’ Excuses

Make sure that the tasks are what God has called you to do. Moses tried to do it his own way when he stuck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. (Exodus 2:11-12) So learn the lesson to do it God’s way in God’s timing.

Don’t make excuses. Trust that God has called you to do that and he will work in those around you. God will give you the abilities you need to obey him. Don’t doubt. Remember God’s promises.

Excuses, excuses

Don’t stop there. Keep reading. I love how the chapter ends. Aaron who will be the spokesman meets Moses and together they go back to Egypt. Aaron speaks and tells all that God has said to Moses.

This is the response that we need when we hear what God is saying.

“And the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped. Exodus 4:31 (ESV)

The people believed, bowed their heads and worshiped. That is the kind of response that I want when I hear what God is asking me to do. They did not make excuses but worshiped. That is the response that we need. Worship is what will overcome our excuses. 

Are you making excuses? Listen to God and worship him. Watch him work in your life.

You might also enjoy this post about the same topic, worship.

Fourteen Years of Special Needs Parenting

Fourteen Years of Special Needs Parenting

Yesterday we celebrated Miss K’s 14th birthday. She looks forward to that day each year with excitement. About six months ago she began saying, “it is almost my birthday.” Her birthday means that I now have 14 years of special needs parenting experience. Next year I get my 15 year award. Oh, it is not like that in parenting is it.

Special needs is a general term that expresses itself in so many ways. Some children can look “normal” but have special needs. Other children the special needs are evident looking at them. I don’t know which is easier. In many ways I am thankful that Down Syndrome has features and that helps in understanding Miss K’s abilities and setting expectations. (I could get into the whole expectations vs. ability but will save that for another day.)

My experience is based on raising Miss K and I will just reflect on some things that I have learned about God. Fourteen years ago as I held a tiny baby with small ears and purple fingers (those are the two things I remember about her when she was born), I didn’t realise all that I would learn.

So with 14 years of experience what I have learned? There is so many things that I have learned — medical terms, therapy options, expectations, and many other things. I will focus on the things that I have learned about God through this experience.

14 Years Special Needs Parenting

What have I learned?

God is sovereign. That was and still is a truth that I cling to, this was not a surprise to God. God knew we were living in Asia, God knew she would need two major surgeries within weeks of birth, God knew. Today that truth still holds, God knows.

God is the provider. Twenty six days in NICU, two major surgeries, and numerous tests and procedures at a cost of less than US$300. A physical therapist who donated her time to evaluate and recommend exercises for the first two years. (I so wish I could go back and find all the doctors, nurses, and therapists.) Moving to a new country and just happening to live in the same village as a speech therapist from the US when we were ready for speech therapy. I need to remember today that God is the provider as we wait for a school placement.

God is faithful. Just as each year has a 12 July so God has been faithful through all these years. Day in and day out He has been faithful to us.

God is the healer. I know that God is the healer. She was in God’s hands the night that we were told to go home and prepare ourselves as she would not make it through the night. As we left the NICU that night, I looked at the doctor and said, “she is in God’s hands.” I went home and went to sleep. The next morning we called the hospital. Three days later she had open heart surgery.

God cares. In big and in little ways through these years I have seen that God cares. He cares about Miss K and He cares about her family.

These are just a few of the things that I have learned about God in new ways these past fourteen years.

Happy birthday Miss K. You are a precious gift from God, loved by God and those around here.

2018 World Down Syndrome Day

Chats Over Coffee Special Needs Parenting

Chats Over Coffee – Cleaning Schedule & Knowing Yourself

Chats Over Coffee – Cleaning Schedule & Knowing Yourself

Chats Over Coffee

Friday is a bit of a more personal post. It is a time for you to get to know me. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and let’s sit and chat. I have a cup of coffee in my Starbucks England mug. I have a collection of them and enjoy traveling back to places I have visited. Wonderful memories!

Cleaning Schedule

In case you are wondering after reading this, I did get my kitchen floor washed. Then my kitchen is clean for about 10 hours of which 8 of those we are sleeping.

I have a schedule for cleaning. It is what works here for this house and at this time. I doubt that this schedule for would work for every house. I like small bits that I can easily get done. Yes, the whole house might not be clean at the same time but it is tidy and we can vacuum and it will look neat.

I don’t have to think about what needs to be done. I know it is Monday and so I clean the bathroom. Not having to think makes it easier. Yes, I am about easier so I can spend more time doing other things that I enjoy.

Do you have a cleaning schedule? I have a number of suggestions of cleaning schedules pinned here. Use those for ideas and suggestions but create one that fits you and your house. You know your house, your family, and yourself.

Knowing Yourself

If you were to ask me one thing that I think it important, as you plan and execute your plan for growth, I would say knowing yourself. I am thinking both in your spiritual and your physical.

Why? God has created us each different we have unique strengths and weaknesses. We are in different stages of life and our family is different. Yet while we re created different our goal should be the same to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. . .”  (2 Peter 3:18)

How does this help? When you know yourself you know things that will work and things that won’t work. You are not comparing and swayed into the something that won’t work for you.  The more you know yourself the better you can plan and work your plan.

What are some things to know? Your strengths and weaknesses. Your preferences and how you function. Some people really need a tidy house to function while others work if they can see it. Your house and the way things work and don’t work there. I don’t have a dryer so I need to allow time to dry clothing on the line which is fine when we have days of sun but when it is cold and damp out that impacts laundry.

Here is a bit written looking at yourself as you begin to think about the year.

How well do you know yourself?

I know I like paper and pencil so I have a paper planner. We eat 95% of our meals at home so that means I need a meal plan. (I really need to work on that.)

My Asia Journey – Part 4

My Asia Journey – Part 4

If you are beginning to read this now, go back and read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, it will give you the full story.

So in November 1996, just before Thanksgiving I returned to the US. I found an apartment, began my new position, and got involved at the church I had attended in the past. I was working as a project manager which was in the marketing department. I was working on a new product line and a current project line both of which were manufactured in Asia. I even made a trip to Asia. I was enjoying my new position. I was connecting with friends both people I knew and making new friends. Life was good.

Then in May, just six months after I returned from Asia while standing at a product review meeting the VP of International Manufacturing asked me if I would consider returning to Asia. Excuse me, I just came home. I just bought a brand new car. You told me it was a promotion to take this position and now you are asking me to return, is that a promotion? Some of that was just thoughts in my head. I said what I had always heard you say in those situations, “Give me an offer.”

Some things had changed since the last assignment. The company had been purchased and so instead of the benefits package being handled within our company but had to go to the corporate office. So I waited for an offer. During that time I spent quite a bit of time praying and seeking God’s will. Some days I was feeling, “no thanks, I am staying” and other days it was “I am going”. That went back and forth until the middle of July. I still didn’t have an offer but I clearly remember one evening as I was walking and praying that God said, “go”. A week later I received the offer. I was given the weekend to think about it but I already knew the answer.

So a few weeks later I packed up, putting some things in storage and shipping some things.  I sold my new car. I moved back to Asia. Yes, that was the fourth time that I moved to Asia. I was back in Taipei. Each time I was there the office had moved to a new location and each time I managed it so that they moved while I was living in the US.

I found an apartment not too far from the office. I could actually walk. I had a car and a parking space in the basement of my building. No more having to search for parking. I had a number of the same staff that I had worked with previously. I did have a few additional responsibilities. I was able to connect with my Chinese teacher and began lessons again.

I knew that God had sent me back to Asia and for more than just shipping orders on time. I began attending a different church. It was about a 45 minute bus ride. I began to look for ways to be involved there so I taught Sunday School, helped with the youth group. Then in June 1998 I met a new missionary that was looking for someone to help with a Bible study for returnees. I thought I can relate to returnees. I have lived overseas and then returned. So in September 1998 I began leading that Bible study at my church. I didn’t realise how much that would change my life.

I loved my job. I loved the traveling. I loved living in Asia. I had no plans to return to the US.

I was there until March 2001 when I was transferred back to the US office. I had looked at for a position to remain in Asia but that had not happened. I was praying about what was next. I knew I would have a position in the US for a short time. I felt that I wanted a skill that could be used overseas and so I decided to get an MA-TESOL which would give me credentials to teach ESL. I wanted to combine that with ministry. I was on the East Coast for a few months and then moved to the west coast to go to school and work for a mission organisation there.

As I look back on each of those moves, I see the way God worked in my life. He lead me there in a way that I felt safe and then began to stretch me and grow me. I learned to love the people there and realised the needs for the Gospel

That wraps up My Asia Journey. That was not my last move to Asia.