January 01, 2017

Through the Trees

Hello there.
It’s been a while.
I’ve missed you.
It seems I have lost my voice for a couple months.
Both literally, and figuratively.
On the sidebar of my blog, in the description about me it says that “I can see the forest through the trees”.
I should qualify that -– I usually can.
There is a beautiful view to be seen in this journey.  That view is a gift to special needs families, friends of such, and anyone that chooses to step onto these unfamiliar paths through this forest and walk along side – even if just for a moment.  That view makes all of the discomfort and unfortunate things that happen in this journey worth it.  I am grateful for all of those that I share this view of the forest with – it makes it even more beautiful.
As with all forests, there are trees present.  Sometimes those trees are big and they are right in front of your face and it makes it very difficult to see the forest through the trees. They discover that they can make themselves taller by cutting other people down, they suffocate roots systems around them to promote their own growth.  Sometimes those trees are uncomfortable with the presence of special.  They treat that as a non-native  species in their forest.
I have had a couple of large trees standing right in front of my face and it has made it difficult to see the forest through them.  In your special forest, you will come across those big trees.  What are yours?  Is it part of your IEP or “team”? A critical person? A part of the diagnosis you have to face? A place that you try not to face?  What is the big tree that you find obstructing your view? Is it there just for a moment, recurring or ever present? Or is it a combination of trees – smaller in trunk size, perhaps, but pressing their bark point blank in front of your eyes?  In talking to friends, I have found this common element in special - I have discovered that everyone in the special journey has very similar trees
What is it for you that make it hard to see the beautiful view of the forest through the trees?
Recently someone spat some darted words to me, “God did not call you to this.” Complete with the forefinger pressed to thumb pointing at me in emphasis.  I sat there stung so deeply with my breath sucked from me that I couldn’t even find my reply.
The very next day, on four separate unrelated communications with no knowledge of my previous above encounter, came the exact words through email, voicemail and personal encounter – from friend, personal acquaintance and stranger alike saying, “God called you to this!”  The last came with a long, extended hug which felt that it was heaven trying to press those words back into me.
And so the cycle goes in the special journey – forest view, tree, forest view, tree. . .
The tender mercy I am continually given and one that shows me that God cares so much for these precious children with special needs and those that care for them, is that every time there has been a big tree standing in front of me, (sometimes with an intimidating ax lying next to them) – EVERY time I encounter that, God has followed those moments with an exquisite view of the forest and urges me to keep going, that what I am doing is a needed work in His forest.
I felt that message again this Christmas season as I was asked to be the guest speaker at an event for women.  It was a fundraiser for Jill’s House, their biggest of the year, with a couple hundred potential donors in attendance where they typically raise a couple hundred thousand dollars in that one single event.
At the conclusion of my remarks, I looked up to see a wet-eyed lady in the middle of the audience pounce to her feet in dramatic applause.  The rest of the audience followed.  I was a little embarrassed – I certainly hadn’t anticipated a standing ovation.  But it was Heaven putting the exclamation point to the message, “Your voice is My gift to you, and I need you to use that gift.”
The most flattering comment came from Fox News Channel anchor, Shannon Bream, who was in the audience.  She came up to with the biggest hug and told me that my words had her on the edge of her seat.  What? A professional journalist was hanging on MY words? Pure love, humility and gratitude washed over me. Message from Heaven received.

I received other wonderful, kind and intimate comments from individuals after the event was over.  Each conversation finished with a hug and an exchange of a Christmas sentiment.  Each hug was a reminder of the miracle of the season.   It is a miracle that I have a Savior, who was born to take upon Him not only my sins – but to take upon Himself my pains, afflictions and infirmities, which, this special journey has created plenty of.  He was born to help when the trees in front of me seem too large for me to see through.
I have been an emotional slosh this Christmas season as my understanding of that miracle continues to grow.  There hasn’t been a single day this month that I haven’t seen the view of the forest and not had my eyes start leaking down my cheeks.  It is beautiful.  It is a gift to see.
My voice has returned along with my ongoing invitation to walk along side me.  I can see the forest through the trees and the view is more beautiful when I have someone to share it with.