Ceilings. They don’t seem so life changing until you hit one. That’s were I found myself the last several years. Spiritually, emotionally and mentally maxed out. I began feeling that every important part of my life was outgrowing me and I just could not keep up in my marriage, my parenting, relationships in general and in my work.
I studied the bible in my early twenties and just fell head over heals for Jesus. And in 1995, I was baptized. He changed my mind and my heart. Jesus gave me a different understanding of God, His love and His purposes. But here I was twenty-two years later and in much need of deeper waters. I felt there was something different I was supposed to be doing. Or at least doing what I was, differently.
I began an online class with Brene’ Brown called, “Living Brave”. Needless to say, it was another piece of the puzzle that God used to show mercy in my life. It was clear that I was living and working in scarcity, whether real or perceived, nothing was ever enough. It’s exhausting to live this way. I had read at different times throughout the years that there were studies showing the brain scan of mothers of special needs children were similar to combat soldiers returning home with PTSD. There are many reasons but mostly, it is due to the continual hyper state of awareness that is needed to keep our kiddos safe. I share this because I was given an opportunity to do some intensive trauma work and then a friend came back into my life and we looked at my story together. We looked at pain points and great times, childhood dreams, college accomplishments and hopes. Sifting and sorting, we mined for that “golden thread” in hopes of finding a new vision for my life.
There have been times throughout my life that I felt as though I didn’t belong. Not in the sense of not belonging to one group or type of people, but that somehow I was a mistake. Obviously, this thinking colors the lens in which I viewed the world. Looking at my story, it was also clear that I was sensitive to others who didn’t seem to have a place. I volunteered in college as a respite worker for special needs families which possibly was a foreshadow of things to come later in my life. The process of really looking at my life story and why it mattered to do so, allowed me to see two areas that clearly define who I am. One is that I am a highly sensitive person and the second is that I feel things deeply. I saw these as weaknesses for years and not for the gifts that they are. They have allowed me to be the mother my son has needed, especially in the times when he could not speak or express if he was in pain or in danger. So, I found myself in a state of uncertainty and complete clarity at the same time. The uncertainty came from the thought of starting over with a completely new vision for life in my mid forties with 20 years in the same organization behind me, the clarity came from rediscovering my strengths and how my life experience could bring help and hope to others. It’s taken a year of surrendering to the grounding, that weird space of “now but not yet”. What a gift this year has been though, living in the simple, the mundane which our family desperately needed and the time to work through a marriage crisis which allowed us to really glean the important and find the light again.
What started with a resistance to do anything in the special needs arena because let’s face it, we live it everyday, has now turned into a family vision that is going to take a lifetime to see through. Here we are launching lifeinpieces.org, hoping to give families who have been given the piece of any and all kinds of special needs, a platform to live their strengths of empathy, compassion, humor, kindness and acceptance which the world needs more than ever. Life In Pieces is for anyone and everyone who wants to make a difference with all they have been given, piece by piece.
I am a woman who lives and loves with her whole heart, who feels deeply with and for others, consistently looking for ways to create safe spaces where everyone belongs.