I am piggy-backing off of Sunday’s blog post because I felt as if there was more to be said. I received a lot of positive feedback on that post and some negative too so I will address both of those things. Let’s get the negative out-of-the-way……
I AM NOT OPPOSED TO ANY CHURCH or opposed to people going to church! What I find frustrating is the thought process that church attendance is all there is to being a Christian. I know many very strong Christians who DO NOT attend church. Being a believer is having a personal relationship with Christ….PERIOD! Going to church or not going to church doesn’t make you any better or worse of a Christian. Is church a good thing? Absolutely, if you can find a place where you fit in and that fits what your family needs then go…..worship…..enjoy! In my opinion there is no one church that is any better than another. It is your choice what fits for you and your family. Be as involved or as uninvolved as you wish. Now, what I do have a problem with is the church thinking that people are going to flock to those 4 walls. That isn’t going to happen. The church has to reach out to their community; not just sit in their 4 walls thinking the lost or homebound are going to come to them. Being the hands and feet of Jesus to a lost world means to get out there and reach those who won’t or can’t come to the church. The other part of my blog on Sunday was putting in place a program for kids with special needs. That might look different depending on the size of your church. It might be a buddy system, a whole large program, a small one-room place for even just one child……just have something so parents have a safe, loving, Godly environment to bring their child if they so choose. For the record, in our case, due to Hannah’s immune issues…..it isn’t possible……it would have been prior to PANDAS; but now it isn’t. But, there are many families with kids who have special needs who would bring their children to church who don’t have the plethora of health issues Hannah has, if there was a safe, loving environment to bring them to. That is all I was saying. For those of you who thought I was bashing the church…..well, you don’t know me very well.
Do I personally miss going to church and would I go if I could? No, I personally don’t miss it and no, I do not really think I would go, not for me anyway…..that is just the most honest answer I can give. And, y’all before I get “preached” at there is a whole bunch of stuff I could write about but I am not going to. The bottom line is we all have our own personal thoughts and feelings about things. Some things are best left unsaid and for me, for now, I will leave the plethora of reasons left unsaid. But, that answer doesn’t change the fact that I love Jesus with my whole heart and I am totally dependent and reliant upon Him! You can truly have a relationship with the Lord and NOT go to church! I am living proof of that! Hannah LOVED church when she was able to go and she LONGS to go back and so for her and for that fact, yes, I would do anything to take her…..so, for her I would go back! But, I also have to put her health as my #1 priority and after the lab work we received back just yesterday…..well, taking her to a big, crowded, public place would not be in her best interest especially right now. But, you know what…..God, has made me content in that…..for so long, I was angry, bitter and resentful and now I am happy and content in my little bubble here at home. That is God, y’all…..contentment is from HIM! So, I rest in the fact that not going to church is okay and I am no less a Christian for staying here at home and keeping Hannah safe, healthy and well! You know, HE gave her to me, to do just that!
NOW…….let’s talk about how I am not just a mom of a child with special needs…..
One of the things I struggled for years with after having Hannah was the loss of my identity. I was either “Hannah’s mom” or “Dennis’ wife.” Not that either of those are bad things but there was and is a lot more to me than those 2 things. I am a woman with dreams, desires, passions, goals, hopes, hobbies, loves, likes and dislikes. Prior to Dennis and Hannah I worked (and even after marrying Dennis I still worked). For the longest time after Hannah I lost so much of who I was. I left a job I loved. I was solely a mom who wore the hats of maid, therapist, nanny, chauffeur, chef, teacher, personal shopper, etc…..it took me years to remember that I was MORE and I deserved and owed myself MORE! It didn’t mean that I loved Dennis or Hannah any less; it just meant that I loved myself too.
It really happened for me when PANDAS hit back in March 2014 that I realized I needed a break. It was May 2014 that I think it hit Dennis. He told me to pick any place and he gave me a budget to work with and he sent me away by myself for 5 days. Little did he realize I would pick Vegas! HA! So, in May 2014 I flew by myself to Las Vegas for 5 days and had a blast ALL BY MYSELF! That is when it hit me…..I needed time for me periodically. Since then, Dennis has been really good at making time for me to take a few long weekend trips here and there either by myself or with girlfriends and he always makes time on his schedule for me to have nights out with girlfriends. I wish there were more of them but hey, I will take what I can get. He and I started taking more trips together; which are more difficult due to childcare, but we are making it a priority for it to happen at least 2 times per year.
When I got sick in May I started taking better care of myself. I just turned 47 and let’s face it I am not getting any younger, nor am I looking any younger. There are pedicures, facials, massages and good skin care in my future (thanks to friends who encourage me) HA! I also eat really well and the exercise thing is slowly happening…..I just need to find my energy! HA!
The point is……there is so much more to me (any mom for that matter) than just being a mom. Being a mom is a gift, I know that; but it isn’t WHO we are. We have to take time for ourselves. I know, for me personally, taking care of me is so very important as Hannah will be with me forever and I need to be here and healthy to take care of her. I can’t do that if I don’t take care of me NOW! Special needs mama’s wear MANY hats but none of those hats define WHO we are and what is in our hearts. I know for me, when I am out with friends I like to talk about everything except Hannah! I don’t mind briefly catching people up on her; but I want to talk about other things and just laugh, have fun and enjoy the freedom…..I like to “adult” and not talk children.
Special needs mama’s are women just like anyone who love to go out, have fun, take trips, laugh, eat, drink and be merry! Some of my favorite memories over the past few years are those day/nights out with friends just having fun. If you know a mom who has a child with special needs she is probably stressed out, lonely, afraid, fatigued, sad, anxious, worried, among other things and you might think you have nothing at all in common with her, but I guarantee you that you do. If she is like me, there is so much more to her than the definition of “special needs mom” and if you get to know her you will realize she can be a really good friend too. She might be a little bit more frazzled than most, a little bit crazier, a little bit more OCD and perhaps a germaphobe (yes I am referring to myself here) but we are good for laughs (I know I am slightly crazier than most of my friends and you never know what will come out of my mouth)! If you know a mom who has a child with special needs…..pick up the phone, call her up (or text) and invite her out on your next girls night. You might just have a great time and make a great new friend! Hopefully, she will fix herself up and won’t look like the picture below…..HA!
Sometimes this could be a self-portrait of me! HA!
Until next time………