Longing for Belonging

ImageI cried a lot in church today.  I felt lonely and very much unpursued.  I started thinking about all the people in my life that I’ve pursued; my Dad who left my life through divorce when I was two.  I was always the one to try to reach out to him for relationship through the years.  God, wanting to hear him or see him I’ve plead with Him “please God, I just want to hear your voice.”  My exhusband, though by the time I met him I had made up my mind not to be the pursuer and wait for him to pursue me…I must say I did a lot of coaxing when it came to marriage and then again when it was time to make up our minds about having children.  I pursue with neighbors by inviting them to parties or getting involved in the neighborhood association etc.  I pursue with friendships, if you’ve known me any short length of time you’ve probably been invited to a birthday party, play date or girl’s night out.  I’m constantly inviting and including.

So, shouldn’t I be surrounded by tons of people and be enjoying depth of friendship and relationship?  Sometimes it feels like I’m very much alone.  Today as I sat in church and reflected on all the ways I pursue, my heart hurt when I asked God, “why am I not pursuable?”  Why am I the one always inviting and seeking out others? Why don’t they pursue me?  It really made me very sad.

But as my pastor spoke I was reminded of another woman who pursued God, just like I did.  It was the woman with the issue of blood.  Matthew 9:20 says: “And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment.”  I won’t go into to all the social stigmas this woman faced because of her issue and the cultural issues involved in her pursuit of Jesus.  But I will just say that this was a woman with a serious issue that kept her in a very lonely place for twelve years of her life.  When her chance for freedom and healing came by in the form of Jesus, she pursued it!!! She got her healing and her freedom.

When this woman came to mind, God reminded me that through my pursuit of Him, my my kids, my friends, I’ve received them all into my life as blessings. I had to then ask myself if it mattered who pursued whom, as long as they are in my life today?

God reminded me of a gifts assessment I took a year ago, which says that I am a leader, social, hospitable, inspiring and influencing.  Pursuit is my gift.  Seeking out and including others is what I do naturally.  I reminded myself today that in pursuing others I make others feel special, included, wanted and loved.  When I feel lonely and unpursued I can allow those feelings of loneliness and unwantedness to fuel my strengths by not wanting others to feel that way. It gives me a glimpse of what others may feel so that I can use my gifts to reach out to them.

I desire to be pursued, we all do.  But I will not believe the lie that I am unwanted or unpursuable.  If I do own those lies I will push people who do pursue me away and get into a sabotaging mission to prove what I believe about myself is true. God pursues me daily.  My children DEFINITELY pursue me. My family and friends pursue me.  That’s the truth and what I choose to believe.

Do you know what you’re gifts are? The thing you do really well for others and do you sometimes wish others would express that gift towards you?

Celebrating the Accomplishments of a Special Needs Child.

ImageWhen you have a child with special needs, it’s easy to slip into the comparison game.  When I do this and I’m at a parent-teacher conference I find myself saying, “yes, he’s improved, but he’s still not where he needs to be.”  I find myself comparing him with his siblings and to the levels they’ve reached at certain ages.

Recently, my son with special needs earned a high honor at school.  I was so proud of him.  Later in the day I let my thoughts wander to wondering why he was chosen for the award. I found myself justifying, “it’s because he’s a third grader and it’s his last year. It’s because they just wanted a representative from the special ed class.”

I saw his principal in passing and she told me how proud she was of him and how much he had grown over the year, academically and socially.  She asked me if I had noticed the growth!?  I thought, not really.  I see him the same and not reading, not writing, being challenging, waking me up early every morning for food and more food and now!!!  

I think it’s important to take all positive comments, awards and recognitions to heart and not scrutinize or justify with “if you could only see him at home!”  When you have a child with special needs they struggle on a constant basis.  They need as many positive reinforcements as they can get.  

I choose to be proud of my son for the award that he got and to believe that he is moving forward in his education.  I choose not make excuses or dismiss the honor that was intended him.  Also, to eliminate the phrase “but his sister can already do….”  from my vocabulary. His journey is his own, not his sister’s or his classmates.  He’s on his own timeline, not the public school system’s or even my own.  

I choose to celebrate every single, tiny, teensy, weensy, accomplishment.  And more importantly to come to a place where I see his strengths and the beauty of him first so that when I receive a compliment or he receives an honor, it’s just a confirmation of what I already know about my son.  

Have you struggled with a child that isn’t achieving as you’d wished? Do you struggle comparing siblings?  Please share.