Conquering the Rain!

A few weeks ago, I watched one of the most beautiful sights unfold before my eyes.

It was a dark and stormy night.  Well, not really, but it was a rainy afternoon, which in our house can turn into a dark and stormy night pretty quick!  If you are new to my blog, you can catch up on the rain posts here and here.

On this rainy afternoon though, Sketch blew me away… and it wasn’t even windy!  I had to meet him at the bus at the end of our long driveway.  So he had much farther to travel to get into the house, than when I was homeschooling him.  Plus, now I am expecting our fourth child (a surprise treasure from God, for sure!), and I simply am not able to carry him all the way in, as I had before.

So I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to make this work.  I decided to walk up to the bus with Sketch’s frog umbrella.  He loves that frog umbrella when it is dry, and he’s inside!  Not once has he used it in the rain. He always rejects it and while terrified of getting wet, he asks, “Carry?”.  So I thought if he saw me use it in the rain, he’d understand that it will keep him dry too.

When he stepped off the bus, he looked at the umbrella with a smile.  I handed it to him but he didn’t reach for it so I took his two hands and had him hold it.  When he seemed steady with it, I slowly released my hands.

Bigger Smile!

And he was soooo proud of himself!  He held it very tightly, and just seemed amazed at how it was keeping him dry.  He didn’t go in the house when we got to our door, he kept walking around in the backyard, cute as can be…soaking up his victory!

From our back window, this is what I saw:

Isn’t it beautiful?  There he is holding that umbrella as if it were the Flag, as if he were marching!  Maybe it was his victory march for conquering his rain fears 🙂  When I saw him walking around like that, tears came to my eyes…and granted, I am pregnant so maybe it was just the horrormones (as my friend, Kay, would call them), but really, what I was thinking about that made this picture so beautiful to me is what has happened to to get him to this place.

After the post Short, Sweet, and Silly was written, I had to take Sketch in the rain to OT.  He surprisingly didn’t object to leaving the house!  He didn’t want to get wet or deal with rain, but he didn’t let his fears stop him! (Lesson #1) and he asked to “Carry?” which I did.  He didn’t just have me simply carry him though.  When I picked him up, he wrapped his little long legs all around my waist and his little long arms all the way around my neck (almost twice!) and he clinged to me so tightly that I didn’t even have to hold him!  If I let go, he was just there, unbudged!  (Lesson #2)

The next time it rained, he did the same thing. Just accepted the rain and clung to me as if his life depended on it.

And the next time, it was a Sunday and we were at church.  Mr. Incredible got to carry him this time and I got to watch Sketch cling to him in the same adorable way.

It’s just intensely beautiful…because this is just what God wants us to do with our fears.  He does not want us to be held back by them, but to cling to Him through them!

Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God must have been holding up Sketch under that umbrella, making the safety of His presence known to him.

And he’ll do it for you too!  Do not be afraid!  And as my favorite potty training card says, “You go girl!”

Merry Christmas everyone!

Short, Sweet, and Silly

It’s raining it’s pouring

Robbie will be roaring

He won’t go to the car

it’s way to far

to get there while it’s storming

It’s raining, it’s pouring

The inside is getting boring

It’s time for OT

I need a trick up my sleeve

to get him in that building

Right now, all is calm at home.  Robbie is having a blast playing with Banangrams and spelling the names of his favorite places.

But, it is raining and pouring again…and it’s Wednesday.  Being aware of what struggles are coming as far as getting Robbie in the car, and in the building for OT, then in the car again and in the house, is trying hard to ruin the mood. The playful, fun mood…

And I don’t want the silliness to end. So, I’m not going to let it. I am going to enjoy the next half hour of Robbie playing Banangrams and potty training his doll.  Why miss it to worry over what’s to come when there is silliness at hand?

I think that today, I will choose to take the advice of Paul in Philippines 4: 4-9

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Curiouser and Curiouser

“‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English)”

I am reminded of this line from Alice in Wonderland (by Lewis Carroll) every time I think of Sketch these days.  He never was the kind of kid to get into everything… that is, until now.  This week has been filled to the brim with adventure for him!

Dash & Princess Buttercup, on the other hand, were notorious for this curious behavior.  I had to watch them like a hawk when they were little.  Dash would climb anything to get something that caught his eye, including his twin sister!  Dash would put anything and everything in his mouth,  including door knobs and hinges and any dead bugs or old food that didn’t get vacuumed up immediately.  The twins were sensory-seekers to the highest degree!

But Sketch, not so much. He never went through that phase.  He never put anything AT ALL in his mouth (well, except for his beautifully knitted blue blankey, that he pretty much ate up).  It turns out that that is an important stage in the development of children, as it strengthens oral motor skills for eating and speaking.  To this day, Sketch hardly eats anything.  His diet is limited by his food allergies, but he self-limits himself to specific crackers, cereal, chips and yogurt (only french vanilla!).  Rarely,  he’ll have a little oatmeal. Sometimes apple slices.  That’s it! No exploration through the mouth!

Except for yesterday, when he took one of his picture symbols that is laminated, and peeled off the plastic cover.  Next thing I know, he is leaning over in his car seat looking like he is going to empty the contents of his stomach all over the car.  He took his hand, put it deeply in his mouth, and pulled out that clear plastic he put in there while I was driving.  He nearly choked and I had no idea!

Sketch is becoming curious in other areas as well.  He shares a room with his sister, and there is a long gate that separates their room so Sketch won’t go jumping on Princess Buttercups bed while she is sleeping.  Sketch is now 5 and 1/2 years old, and never once tried to open the gate.  He was fully capable of doing it, but he just never tried.

Until Sunday when he just decided to let himself out and explore the house while we were all still sleeping.  Well, the Princess wasn’t sleeping.  She was very upset  about the whole event and started crying, which woke us up.

Although we were a bit concerned about what could happen with this new found ability of his, we were also so proud of him because he took the initiative and tried it. He was curious enough to actually do it.
I guess he is getting a bit bored of his usual activity of lining up our dirty laundry through any clear path we may be fortunate to have in our house.

There were many more events this week that show how curious Sketch is becoming.  He snuck in his sisters “nook”, which is off limits to the boys, and giggled!  He watched me pour water into the filter Brita filter like it was the most interesting thing he ever saw (I guess he never noticed that before?). He has been getting out of bed after being tucked in, opening the gate and coming down stairs, giggling and incredibly proud of himself.   And yesterday, he opened an emergency exit door at Chuck E. Cheese and set off the alarm.

And speaking of alarms… the big news of this curious week was took place on Sunday, at church.  Sketch decided to “lift and pull” the fire alarm in their Sunday School class. The entire church had to be evacuated until the firemen came to turn off the alarm! That was quite the event. Whether he was curious about what would happen if he lifted and pulled, or whether is was simply following the directions posted on the alarm, we may never know. But… it just goes to show, he is becoming “curiouser and curiouser”.

And we just love it.

It means he is trying new things, and the more he tries the more he’ll learn.  The more he’ll learn things aren’t as scary as they seem sometimes, and that new things can become wonderful fun things.

God loves new things. He is in the business of doing new things, making us new creations…growing us.

Isaiah 43:19 says, “See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

I just imagine Him watching us explore the new things He is doing.  I imagine He is very excited when we step out into the streams he’s placed by us, curious about what it may bring, what we may learn about Him or what may happen if we dip our toe into it–will it be freezing cold or refreshingly comfortable?

Like Sketch getting curiouser and curiouser about the things around Him, I want to get curiouser and curiouser about God and what He’s placed around me.

Sometimes new things are outside our comfort zone.  Like Sketch, we can be a bit hesitant to try some of the new things He has in store for us.  But, just as I know that new things are good for Sketch, in many ways, I also know that the new things God gives us and opportunities He brings our way are also things He knows are good for us.  They help us to grow and to bring us pleasure , and also to reveal to others a little of who He is.

In my last post, I wrote about how Sketch hates the rain.  He now has some froggy rain boots and an froggy umbrella to help him stay dry, and he has been playing with them in the house.  Today is supposed to be a rainy day…I wonder if he’ll be curious enough to try them out in the rain?

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head!

I’ve just got this vision playing in my mind, that takes place about 20 years from now.  I am 60 years old, carrying my 25 year old Sketch,who won’t step foot in the rain.  I’m wondering how that is going to work?

I am sure he’ll come to tolerate the rain a bit better by then than he does now, but at this point, his total disgust and fear of the rain is getting worse, not better!

Today I was coming home from taking him to OT, and the darkened skies opened wide, spilling it’s heavy rains to the earth.

When we got home, Sketch wanted just one thing:  to be in the house where it was dry.  There was just one problem with this what-should-be easily solved problem. He has to get though the torrential downpour that is blocking his way between the car and the house.

At first he wouldn’t even come near the car door.  When I opened it, with the umbrella in hand, he backed up away from the open-to-the-dreaded-rain door.  He was not ready to face his fear head-on….or, head under, as the case may be!

“Come on, Sketch, I’ll carry you!  See?  I have an umbrella to keep you dry. It will be ok!”

“Are you all done? AHHHHH!”

“Sketch, it’s ok, I’ll carry you in and keep you dry!  Then you can get your blue blanket (his favorite thing)”

“Ahhh!  All Done!” Sketch screams and cries in objection.

It took about 5 minutes of convincing him that it is safe, and worth it, to let me carry him in.  He screamed all the way… I’m sure the 4 steps to the porch and 4 stair-steps up to the door seemed to be more like 4 miles long, with each inch looming with the potential disaster of getting wet…of having “spots” on his shirt…of his shoes having a darker shade of leather than they did before…or…here’s the worst…wet hair!

But, it didn’t happen.  I kept him dry, just as I promised…all the while getting my own feet wet from walking in puddles since I couldn’t see the way while carrying him…my back was spotted with rain drop stains, my shoulders sore from attempting to coordinate the umbrella and Sketch at the same time.  But Sketch, he was ok.

Except, he didn’t think he was.

If I thought he was screaming before, it was just a minor whimper in comparison to what came next.  Now that he’s in the house and dry & safe, he lets loose with the high pitch alarm sounding scream…the one usually reserved for severe pain or terror!

Ignoring his screams, I sit with him by the fire place to get warm and dry.  I grab a extra-comfortable quilted blanket with a rainbow colored sunburst in the center, and wrap it around us both.

He giggles.

I squeeze, and he giggles in relief, again.

I just hold him and warm him and give him squeezes of pressure & hugs that make him feel safe.  (I really don’t mind this part at all!)

We cuddle by the fire, feeling safe from the dangers outdoors.

Sometimes we have a storm in our lives, or a dreaded event, or something we just don’t like.  And we have to endure it to get to the promised land of comfort & safety. And just like I carried Sketch in the house, God offers to guide and protect us as well, while we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death”  We don’t need to fear any evil, for “your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

And even though we may be absolutely dreading the path we have to take, and it takes all we have to make that first step out of the door into the arms of God (who’s holding us under a really big umbrella), God is there and He carefully takes us to the other side.  God takes the rain on his own shoes and back.  “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

And once we are safe… we may still feel a bit traumatized by the whole thing.  We may still want to throw our fit and scream:  “Did it really have to happen THAT way God???  Couldn’t you magically get me here from the car while avoiding the rain???”

And God comes, and takes us by the warm fire of his presence, re-assures us with his Word, and wraps us with the Holy Spirit like a blanket, and comforts us.  And we relax. And we may giggle at how silly we were about the magic tricks, or the situation we dreaded so much but just turned out to be no big deal in comparison to God. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

Often at the point of finally relaxing, we want to just move on. To get up and start doing things that need to be done.  But I encourage you to follow Sketch’s example and to not do that.  Treasure the moment. Stop by the fire place and rest, soak in the love of our incredible Savior.  Rest in the presence of God, absorb the Words of God and soak in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

It’s still raining outside here in Maine, and maybe it is still raining where you are too. Maybe you are about to take that first step out of the car to make the journey to the other side, and to you I say:

Fear not, the God of the universe is waiting to take you safely over, hand-in-hand, or perhaps by carrying you all the way.

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