Immeasurably More

More Hope, More Joy . . . Embracing Life with Down Syndrome

Welcome to Holland May 29, 2014

Filed under: Special Needs — Linda Aalderink @ 2:40 pm

Welcome to Holland

by Emily Pearl Kingsley, a parent of a child with Down syndrome

I am often asked to describe the experience
Of raising a child with a disability,
To help people, who have not shared that unique experience,
Understand it
And imagine how it would feel.
It’s like this
When you’re going to have a baby,
It’s like planning a fabulous trip to Italy;
You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans-
The Coliseum, Michelangelo’s David, the gondolas in Venice-
You may even learn some handy phrases in Italian.
It’s all very exciting.
After all the months of eager anticipation,
The day finally arrives.
You pack your bags and off you go
Several hours later, the plane lands,
The stewardess comes in and says
“Welcome to Holland”.
“HOLLAND!?” you say. “What do you mean, Holland?
I signed up for Italy.
I’m supposed to be in Italy.
All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy”.
But there has been a change in the flight plan.
The important thing is
That they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place
Full of pestilence, famine and disease.
It’s just a different place.
So, you must go out and buy new guidebooks.
And you must learn a whole new language.
And you will meet a whole new group of people
You would never have otherwise met.
It’s just a different place.
It’s slower paced than Italy;
Less flashy than Italy.
But after you’ve been there for a while
And catch your breath,
You look around and you begin to notice
That Holland has windmills;
Holland has tulips;
Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy,
And they’re all bragging about the wonderful time they had.
And for the rest of your life you will say
“Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go;
That’s what I had planned”.
The pain of that will never, ever go away,
Because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.
But if you spend your life mourning the fact
That you didn’t get to Italy,
You may never be free to enjoy
The very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

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Run To Jesus! January 27, 2014

Filed under: Special Needs — Linda Aalderink @ 6:10 pm

Run to Jesus!!

On a recent trip to the beautiful Southern USA, we passed through Savannah, Georgia. This was our first time to this beautiful city, but our time was short, so we decided to take a trolley tour of the city. We boarded the vintage looking trolley and enjoyed seeing the many squares and historical sites this city holds. One stop on our tour was Forrest Gump’s bench where he sat with his box of chocolates and shared his life story. This trolley stop was a highlight for me, because I have always loved Forrest.

In the movie, one of the things Forrest Gump did was run. And run! When he was a child, he ran with corrective braces on his legs, yet managed to escape from bullies. As a young adult, he ran to save his fellow soldiers, and later in life, he ran from coast to coast attempting to heal his broken heart. Forrest realized in the many different situations he found himself in, running was the only option for survival. In fact, the more he ran, the better he became at it.

Who or where do you run to when you are afraid or need help?

Sometimes for me, my initial steps are running to family, friends, the internet or food. While these all may have their appropriate place, (well, I’m not so sure about the food J), the best initial step of my run is straight to Jesus. He is the healer of my heart, my best friend and guide, and the lover of my soul. We may grow weary and tired, but Jesus never does.

Run to Jesus.

Today may be filled with medical, behavior or school challenges. And who has time to think about tomorrow or 5 years from now? Uncertainty looms, but there is one thing that is sure – Jesus. He is waiting with open arms for us to run to Him.

He alone is the One who can move us from sadness and hopelessness and bring a change to your circumstances and joy to your heart.

Run to Jesus.

I love how The Message Bible phrases Hebrews 12:1-2:

“Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.” Hebrews 12:1-2 The Message

 Run to Jesus now . . . begin by praying this verse for you and/or your child:

“The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10

 Together, let’s put on our running shoes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take Time To Praise October 30, 2013

Filed under: Down syndrome,Prayer,Special Needs — Linda Aalderink @ 6:48 pm

CS Lewis

“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” C.S. Lewis

We all have them. Days when we feel far from God, or He feels far from us. Days when we worry and angst over what tomorrow will bring, especially when we can barely get through the day we are in. Even with grown children, and our special needs son is 27, there are just some fears and concerns that continue to arise, some are new, while other fears have always been there. I think for special needs parents, the uncertainty of the future, our child’s future, is a fear that continues to rise to the surface in us. It certainly does in me.

So what’s a parent to do? I think the answer is in the C.S. Lewis quote – remain near to God. For me, taking time to praise God for who He is has been vital, because when I focus on who He is, I am reminded of how great, awesome and trustworthy He is.  I am reminded of the character traits He exemplifies, and He always has been and always will be firmly in control and aware of my situation. He is the same – yesterday, today and forever.

So here are a few ideas to get your praises going.  I use these to refocus my thoughts and fix my eyes on Jesus:

  • A list of “go to” Psalms for praising God: Psalms 8, 34, 92, 95, 96, 100. Just pick one today.
  • Pick one attribute or character quality of God to focus on: God is faithful, friend, provider, helper, protector, worthy, etc. I use Biblegateway.com and find it helpful for doing a search on an attribute of God. There is also a great list on the Moms In Prayer International website. http://tinyurl.com/ofyby2e
  • Choose a good worship CD and push “repeat.” Let the words soak into your heart and mind. And turn up the volume!  Currently, my favorite CD is Chris Tomlin’s Burning Lights. The whole CD is amazing worship, but if you have time for only one song, listen to the song “Sovereign.” Oh, my! I love this! Click here to watch and listen: http://tinyurl.com/k5rep9w 
  • As much as I may try to find peace and happiness on my own, it cannot be done apart from Jesus. Take 5 minutes today and focus on the One who holds us and our precious children in His everlasting arms.

“You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” Psalm 59:17

 

And So It Begins October 15, 2012

Filed under: Down syndrome,Special Needs — Linda Aalderink @ 2:24 am

The real books are finished! No more edits, checking and re-checking. This work that tested my perseverance and caused me to doubt whether I could ever finish, is now a real book. God you are faithful!

In many ways it’s comparable to giving birth. For months and months, well actually years, this work has been in process. First the stirring God put in my heart to share our story with the hope of encouraging  other families similar to ours.  Through these years, I continued to read about “advances” in medical technology which is resulting in a blood test for pregnant women to give a definitive diagnosis of whether or not the baby she is carrying has an extra chromosome. Currently, 90% of these definitive diagnoses end tragically for the baby.

My motivation and direction was clear, yet I didn’t know anything about writing a book.  But I pressed on, attending writing and publishing conferences, reading books, and following other writers’ blogs. I learned everything I could, and all the while God continued to lead and fling open doors that I never dreamed would open. One step at a time.

So this weekend, the birth! I cried when I held the first real book. All our kids were home this weekend and that made every moment so much sweeter!

Now, comes caring for that newborn! More learning ahead! Selling books to family and friends, book signings, social media, and getting the book into the hands of all those families who face difficult choices, uncertain days, and futures that may not look like anything they had in mind. One step at a time.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me.  If you are the parent of a child with a special need,  I would love to hear your story.

Meanwhile, my prayer is that Immeasurably More will give encouragement, hope and a few smiles along the way.

So glad labor and delivery are over! More info coming soon on where to buy books.

Still taking one step at a time,

Linda