Being Like Christ

“Be like Christ.” We hear that message a lot in Christian circles. We all need to “be like Christ.” Sometimes it’s phrased “be the hands and feet of Christ.” But how do we actually do that?

Are we being like Christ within the comfortable confines of the church walls? Or do we need to go to a foreign country on a mission trip to be like Christ? Do the only lost and hurting people live halfway around the world? Does being the hands and feet of Christ require a plane trip to a foreign country?

All of the above things are great. We definitely CAN be Christlike inside the church building or during a missions trip to a foreign country. But I think we can also live out the gospel by showing Christ’s love in our own community, and many people forget that.

Most of the time, we overlook the needs of our neighbors. It’s easy to do. We live in our own little bubble because it’s comfortable (I am SO guilty). So many people are hurting in our own backyards, in need of help and hope. All we have to do is open our eyes.

I work for a local non-profit organization, More Grace Outreach, that just recently hosted a local missions week. With the help of around 170 volunteers and private donors from multiple churches and states, we were able to help 6 local families and 3 local non-profits with projects — none of which would have been possible without Christ showing up and regular people being the literal hands and feet.

Yes, going to church is important. Yes, foreign missions are important. But so are the people in your own community. The people that other people choose to look the other way when they meet on the street. The people that are probably on drugs or rely on food stamps. The people that make most of us uncomfortable. They live next to us, and they are loved by God as much as you and me.

I pray that God gives us the eyes to see these people like He sees them so that we can give them hope and show them the love of Christ.

Advertisements

A Capital Letter Syndrome Doesn’t Make a Child Less Than

Marching to the beat of his own drum.

I knew.  I knew from early on that my son marched to the beat of his own drum.  I tried to to make him march with the other kids.  I didn’t want him to think something was wrong with him.  I tried all the parenting advice and discipline techniques.  Nothing seemed to matter.  I was trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

A Capital Letter Syndrome Doesn't Make a Child Less Than

The school nightmare

School was a nightmare.  He’d burn up all his energy on trying to “be good” only to fail and fall short of the teacher’s expectations.  He never brought home that coveted green smiley on his behavioral chart that said it was a good day.  I could see it in his eyes, he felt less than.  Less than the other kids his age, less than good, less than what people want.  It broke my heart.  I hated that stinking behavioral chart.  I hated that people refused to try and understand my sweet boy.

Soon we realized that traditional public school made things worse.  When he was in third grade, my husband and I made the choice to homeschool all our children.  I will never forget the day early in our journey that he leaned against my shoulder and said “Thank you for homeschooling me, Mommy.  I felt so stupid in school”  I cried that day and still remember it so vividly.  I replay that memory when we’re having a rough day.

Being your Child’s Advocate

I knew that I was going to have to be my son’s biggest advocate.  From the time we got his SPD diagnosis in first grade until just recently, I’ve had to explain everything it means and what it doesn’t.  I’ve had to undo society’s idea of what perfect children should look like.  My son was perfect.  Exactly the way God made him.  Just because he doesn’t do everything like the masses doesn’t make him somehow less than.  I am actually proud that he doesn’t.  And now, even at 14 years old, I will still fight anyone that tries to force that square peg into that round hole….or lovingly point out how mistaken they are.  It’s a toss-up, really.  😉

Want to hear more of what Lori has to say on the subject? Listen to this week’s podcast episode:

Add a subheadingUntitled design (2)Untitled design (1)


CZ4A9985

Lori Shaffer

Special Needs (Capital Letter Syndromes) and Homeschooling Director

Lori Shaffer is married to her childhood best friend, Jacob.  She is a stay at home missionary and homeschool mom to their three children.  She is passionate about advocating for teen moms and women and children that have been abused and giving them hope and encouragement.  Most days she can be found drinking coffee, working out with Kathleen, or hanging out with her family.

Follow Lori on Social Media:

Facebook- Lori Shaffer

Instagram –@browneyedmomof3

Instagram joint fitness account (Kathleen and Lori)-

@2girlsnotrunning

An Overview of SPD

In episode 43 of The Whole House podcast, Kathleen and I discuss what exactly is Sensory Processing Disorder.  The book, The Out-of-Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A. defines SPD this way:

“Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is the inability to use information received through the senses in order to function smoothly in daily life.”

In short, that means a child (or adult since it’s not something that is grown out of), cannot process all his/her sensory input and has the wrong reaction to many things that “regular” people have no problem with.  Sensory issues become a disorder when the person has an inability to function normally in day to day life.

Sensory issues become a disorder when the person has an inability to function normally in day to day life..png

If you suspect your child (or yourself) might have SPD, the STAR Institute is a great place to start to try and understand this disorder.  It includes great information, including this checklist.  Another great source of information is The Out-of-Sync Child.  It is split into two parts, the first being how to recognize SPD, and the second on how to cope with SPD.  One thing this book suggests is to document your child’s behavior.  This helps to recognize patterns.  Sometimes diet or phases of the moon (I kid you not) can affect the intensity of the symptoms.  The book also makes suggestions on how to better get your child to focus.  Occupational therapy is so helpful.  An occupational therapist can not only properly diagnose your child, but also give you ways to help your child regulate.  I have mentioned many times that my son regularly does his school work in a spinning chair or on the trampoline.  He focuses so much better this way.

Most importantly, we ladies at The Whole House want you to know that we are here for you.  The amount of information out there can be dizzying and overwhelming.  The first step is to get a proper diagnosis.  The second is to connect with someone that can come along beside you and say “I know exactly how you feel”.  If you don’t have anyone like that in your life, contact us.

*Post by Lori Shaffer*

My SPD Story

“Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is the inability to use information received through the senses in order to function smoothly in daily life.  SPD is not one specific disorder, as blindness or deafness is, but rather an umbrella term to cover a variety of neurological disabilities.” -The Out-of-Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A.-

From the time my son was an infant, I noticed a difference in him from his older brother.  He always wanted held, rocked, or swaddled (sometimes all at once).  If he didn’t get those things, he’d scream and become restless.  As a young mom, I thought it was me.  I thought maybe something was wrong with my oldest because he was so easy.  I thought for sure I was going insane.

As a toddler, he became even more exhausting. At least as an infant, I could keep him in one safe place.  I gave up on naps very early because they became such a hard battle.  I wondered if it was normal for him to never have fear of natural consequences.  I wondered if other kids his age didn’t cry over major accidents but lost it over minor paper cuts. I thought that maybe it was just a boy thing and I was lucky to have an easy going boy the first time.

1920613_783158625078073_6952007766355945989_n

When I had his baby sister, I began to wonder if he wasn’t the norm.  The older he got, the more obvious it was that he thought differently.  He reacted to the world around him differently. 

When he started school, words like ADHD were thrown around.  I began to do my own research into it, and while some of his behaviors were similar to ADHD, I felt like it was something more.  A friend of mine was going through the same thing when she found out about SPD and suggested I look into it.  The more information I found, the more I was sure that this was my child.  I took all my information to my pediatrician, who then referred me to an occupational therapist for a better diagnosis.  She confirmed my suspicions and our journey into understanding my son began.

Since then, we have had a lot of ups and downs.  A lot of tears and triumphs.  So many trials, but just as many victories.  Occupational therapy helped so much. The book, The Out-of-Sync Child, became my saving grace.  I decided to homeschool him to help him move and learn how he learned best.   I found friends that were experiencing the same things so I didn’t feel so alone…so much like a failure.

He is almost 14 years old now.  He’s gotten better at self regulating, but still needs help sometimes.  He still gets overwhelmed and melts down.  We still have hard days.  I am always having to remind myself that even though he is visually and chronologically 14, that doesn’t mean he is mentally and emotionally there.  He will always need coping mechanisms to navigate this crazy world.  So, while he is still living with me, my job is to help him recognize when he needs those.  Like a friend of mine reminded me, there is no finish line.  As moms, our jobs are to help our children navigate life.  SPD is not a death sentence.  It does not define my son.  It simply helps me understand how my son ticks so I can help him in the best way possible.

Dear Adult Child

Dear Adult child ready to embark on this new chapter in life,

How excited are you?!?!  You may be heading to college, or maybe working, or maybe you are in a serious relationship with plans to marry soon, but the possibilities are endless.  All the choices in your life are completely and totally up to you now…you’re the adult!  Us more seasoned adults remember this time.  We remember the excitement for the future.  We remember the fear that we’d mess it all up.  We remember the pride in choices made all on our own.  We even remember that we thought our parents couldn’t possibly understand since they were raised in a different time.   Trust me, we remember, and we understand more than you think.  As you begin to pull away from your family and start to form your own life apart from us (as we all do eventually), I want to offer some insight from our side.

Dear Adult Child

Your father is so incredibly proud of you.  He might not say it or show it well, but he is.  He talks to your mother about you after everyone is gone or has gone to sleep.  He talks about you with so much love and pride.   Please don’t take his lack of external emotion as indifference.  He isn’t  usually the weepy emotional type (that’s the mom’s job).   He will talk about you to his friends and family and he will beam because of his pride.  You are his pride.

Your mother, on the other hand, is extremely emotional.  Especially if you happen to be the oldest.  The thing you need to realize about mothers is, we tend to be the nurturers of the family.  So she has spent the last 18 years of her life caring for you.  She’s fed you your favorite foods, watch the lamest shows because you like them, read you your favorite book so many times that she probably could have done it with her eyes closed…and she did it all willingly because of her love for you.  I’m quite certain she’d do it all over again too (I know I would).  She’s tended to your needs lovingly.  She cried when you scraped your knee, or when someone broke your heart.  She cried at night while she prayed for your safety.  She worried that she messed up.  You have been her mission for the last 18 years.  And she loves you more than you can fathom right now.

So, as you go off to start a new life apart from us, maybe try to understand.  It’s hard to let go of someone that needed you for so long.  I promise that we are trying.  Try to resist the urge to roll your eyes and brush off the hugs and tears.  Let us take pictures and show the world.  Let us be proud and sad and excited all at the same time.  Glean a little wisdom from us sometimes, we have been there…it wasn’t as long ago as you think.  We know that you are going to do amazing things in your life.  Never doubt that.  We are your biggest cheering section in life.  Also….shoot your mom a text to let her know you’re alive every once in awhile 😉