Monday, March 11, 2013

my fountain dancing child

Chris and I knew very quickly that we were raising a little spitfire of a girl..."a fountain dancing child."  We didn't/don't want to crush her spirit...her wild, independent, crazy, unique, hilarious, one-of-a kind spirit.  So thankful that my friend Stephanie posted this on my fb wall tonight.  We made a decision a long time ago to do everything humanly possible to "not sweat the small stuff" (some of the small stuff is big).  We have run many sprints in parking lots, Target, the neighborhood to keep up with her fast little self.  We do things differently here in the Wheeler casa...and sometimes that has left me feeling like I am doing something wrong.  She doesn't sit still, she speaks her mind, she makes jokes, she is sensitive to the core, she only wants to wear one pair of pajamas, she doesn't want anyone to feel alone, and she doesn't mind wrecking a house in 2 minutes flat.  I love her so much for all of those reasons.  Chris and I believe that God has a huge story for our sweet girl.  She is fighting through some crazy things that no 5 year old should have to go through.  But, I am so proud of her.  I am proud that she is my daughter...and I'm not afraid to jump in the fountain with her.  Chris and I are about to print this blog, laminate it, and put it everywhere in our house.  Love you all.


I don’t want to raise a good child

written by Lysa TerKeurst

My daughter, Hope, is a senior this year.  And she decided her senior year should be adventurous and a little out of the “normal” box.  A lot out of the box actually. 

She withdrew from traditional school.  Applied with the state to homeschool. Enrolled in on-line college courses that would allow her to get both high school and college credit simultaneously. And planned to spend the month of January serving in Nicaragua doing missions.

This didn’t surprise me really.  Because Hope has always liked charting her own course.

When she was really little I was scared to death I was the world’s worst mom, because Hope was never one to be contained.  And I honestly thought all her extra tenacity was a sign of my poor mothering.

One day I took her to the mall to meet several of my friends with toddlers to grab lunch.  All of their kids sat quietly eating cheerios in their strollers.  They shined their halos and quoted Bible verses and used tissues to wipe their snot.

Not Hope.

She was infuriated by my insistence she stay in her stroller.  So, when I turned away for a split second to place our lunch order, she wiggled free.  She stripped off all her clothes.  She ran across the food court.  And jumped in the fountain in the center of the mall.

Really nothing makes the mother of a toddler feel more incapable than seeing her naked child splashing in the mall fountain.  Except maybe that toddler refusing to get out and said mother having to also get into the fountain.

I cried all the way home.

Not because of what she’d done that day.  But rather because of how she was everyday.   So determined.  So independent.  So insistent.

I would beg God to show me how to raise a good child. One that stayed in her stroller.  One that other people would comment about how wonderfully behaved she was.  One that made me look good.

But God seemed so slow to answer those prayers.  So, over the years, I changed my prayer.  ”God help me to raise Hope to be who you want her to be.”  Emphasis on, “God HELP ME!”

I think I changed my prayers for her because God started to change my heart.  I started sensing He had a different plan in mind for my mothering of Hope.

Maybe God’s goal wasn’t for me to raise a good rule following child.  God’s goal was for me to raise a God-following adult.  An adult just determined and independent and insistent enough to fulfill a purpose He had in mind all along.

I don’t know what mama needs to hear this today.  But let me encourage you from the bottom of my heart with 3 simple mothering perspectives you must hang on to:
1.  Don’t take too much credit for their good.
2.  Don’t take too much credit for their bad.
3.  Don’t try to raise a good child.  Raise a God-following adult.

And all the mamas of fountain dancing children said, “Amen!”

Sunday, March 3, 2013

one year ago

You were reaching through the storm
Walking on the water
Even when I could not see
In the middle of it all
When I thought You were a thousand miles away
Not for a moment did You forsake me

After all You are constant
After all You are only good
After all You are sovereign
Not for a moment will You forsake me
(Meredith Andrews- Not for a Moment)


So, it is almost 3 in the morning and I can't sleep.  This time last year, we would have still been doing everything we could to calm our sweet girl and get her to sleep.  It still surprises me that we made it through the nights of not going to sleep until 5 or 6 a.m. regularly.  My mind has been racing tonight about all that has happened in one year.  This weekend last year was when I went to Little Rock by myself to spend time with my family (they ran the 10K in Little Rock for my Lyme disease)...and I laid in bed sobbing.  I cried pretty much that entire weekend.  I remember walking in and seeing mom and Leah and just losing it...then repeated that when I saw Lauren.  Weeks and weeks of no sleep will do that to a person.  I cried for what Chris and I were going though with Eliana.  I cried over not being able to "fix" my sweet girl.  I cried because I had to be so strong at home.  I cried because "why in the world would I have lyme disease" on top of everything else.  I cried because my house was a complete disaster.  I just longed for some sense of normalcy and we were nowhere near that.  My family just listened and cried and honestly, I have a terrible memory and don't remember everything.  They told me later that they were all worried I was headed for a complete nervous breakdown.  I think I was.  And that's when God showed up in a miraculous way.  It didn't feel miraculous at the time.  I'm pretty sure I shouted "really God" or "you've got to be kidding me"?!!!  I got the call from Eliana's school in Little Rock that Eliana was being taken by an ambulance to the hospital having multiple seizures.  My baby was having seizures and I was 6 hours away.  I don't remember a lot of the drive to the hospital, but I made it before she woke up.  I walked in and saw her tiny body covered in wires and attached to machines.  We spent that week telling and re-telling our story.  It was then that the doctors finally understood what we were saying about her mania and no sleep.  They were shocked that we had lived this for so long...that she could fight sleep they way she did.  They were surprised by her strength during rages and her terror of the night.  They finally listened to us...we had been telling doctors for a long time and they got to witness it.  Even now, I just sigh remembering the relief of someone telling us "we don't know how you've been doing this every night."  A few powerful medicines later and Eliana was beginning to sleep through the night.  Miracle.  Thank you Jesus.  This was the beginning of her healing journey...I really believe it.

It's been one year.  One year of crying out to God on Eliana's behalf...praying for more miracles, for healing of the trauma she obviously experienced as a baby.  There are moments where I forget all that He has done...but tonight I know without a shadow of a doubt that He has NEVER forsaken us.  He has been with us every single step of this journey and He won't leave us.  He loves Eliana way more than we ever could.  He rescued her from who even knows (and I'm not sure I want to know)...and made her a Wheeler.  She is ours in every way...and we love everything about her.  We will continue to fight for beg doctors to understand make sure she feels safe and loved.  In one year, we've come a long way and I don't want to forget that.  We have a long way to go, but I'm praising God tonight that He is with us.  Thank you friends for loving us, for giving to us, and for praying for us.  We still need it desperately. It's been a really rough few weeks, but I feel hope tonight just thanking God for this last year.  Love you so much.


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