Wow. It has been since March that I have posted. Seems I only manage to post on tough days. I wanna work on that. I have so much to celebrate and so much to be on my knees grateful for.

Tough week. Sunday we left church with a butt naked, hysterically screaming Bella. By Sunday at bedtime I had decided that she would not attend the vacation bible school that was due to start the next day. By morning I was full of confidence that Bella could handle it and hopefully they could handle her and if worse came to worse I was only be a cell phone call away. By 10 am my phone was ringing; three phone calls later and Bella had been moved to the Special Needs room. Deep down I was angry that they reminded me how "special" we are. I had once again gotten used to our kind of normal and had insulated us against anything that said different. My tough as nails, bull headed, suck it up, trust in Grace attitude walled us in and made our world "safe". And here she and I were, both in tears, both frightened and both unable to find the words to express our pain.

I have had a prescription form for handicap parking placards since April. I came up with lots of good reasons why I could not go pick the placards up. The biggest reason is because I do not see Bella as handicapped and I feel that, well, I dunno exactly how I feel but I did not want it. Finally yesterday I went and got them. Afterwards I pulled into the church to pick Bella up and they waved me through to a handicap spot. I felt like an imposter as I hopped out of my car on two very healthy legs. I picked her up from her room and when we got back to the car she freaked out, full on tantrum, hitting me, kicking me and biting me so much that I could not hold on to her……and as I was there trying to wrangle her, signing with her to try to get her to listen and praying silently in my heart for patience I understood why we had a handicap placard and was SO, SO grateful for the huge safety zone of that jumbo parking spot that kept my precious girl out of a very hectic/busy parking lot. I had to admit to myself we needed it.

I think so much of how we experience our lives in perception. And if you have read any of my blog posts you know that perception is certainly an area I could use some improvement in. I have been trying to figure out why that bright blue thing hanging from my rear view mirror hurts me so much. At first I thought it was because I did not want that "label" on my precious Bella. Then I thought it was because I was worried what people would think when they saw us hop in and out of the car all able bodied and such (though I guess when they see her having a fit and me in full on sign language they judge not?? I dunno). But I think I hate it because it tells the world something is broken and I do not know how to fix it. I feel like it says I have given up hope.

God is so mercifully teaching me to truly lay everything down to Him. And it is hard. I have spent my whole life thinking I had to hold my world together. But God is showing me that handicap placard has a supernatural significance; I am handicapped. I have a limp like Jacob after wrestling with the Lord. I have no strength without Him. I cannot raise my daughter without Him. I am not physically, mentally or emotionally capable of rearing her, without Him. I am tired, but He can lift me up on wings as eagles so I can run and not faint. I have no answers some days, His word provides the answer to every question. I feel so weak and so weary, the joy of the Lord is my strength. And on those days where I am tempted to lose hope, my hope is in Christ….joy does come with the morning….her giggles and sloppy kisses erase the kicks and the bites. Putting a puzzle together with her delights me in her sense of humor. Watching her rock her baby doll shows me that she knows she is adored. And that handicap placard says that I am laying down my need to be whatever it is I think I have to be, to being what she needs me to be. And I have to remind myself on some days that is the reason He chose me to be her mommy.

So, next time I start to be ashamed of that ugly blue badge or embarrassed or resentful…..I will choose gratitude. I will choose joy. I will choose peace. That blue badge does not define me. Nor does it define my daughter. We are royalty. We are daughters of the most high King. We are beautiful. We are whole. We are blessed. And we get really great parking.