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Strength to Care

Lessons from Matthew & Isaac – Our CHARGE Syndrome Journey

I will be here…

We keep hearing…”What is going on with the Troupe’s?”. I have taken a break from blogging as we had a very busy Fall and Holiday season. There have been some monumental changes in both Isaac and Matthew, as well as the rest of the family. We have just been enjoying a season of what Theresa has referred to as “a good place right now”, at least as things are concerned with Matthew’s development and Isaac’s health. I will try to do that in the next several weeks in blog form. But first, I want to share with you an historic occasion for me and Theresa

At the Rhett House – a bed and breakfast we stayed at on our honeymoon 25 years ago!

Last October Theresa and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by taking a small vacation to South Carolina. We had a very relaxing time and were able to spend quality alone time together on a few carriage rides, plantation tours, a dinner cruise in the Charleston Harbor along with some other things. This was actually a monumental step for us. It has been just over 14 years that Theresa and I have spent a night (not to mention five!) away alone without at least one of our kids. The last time we have done this was when Matthew was one year old and we went on a staff retreat outing with my fellow church employees. It took months of planning and a coordinated effort of our nursing agency, caregivers our church family and a huge sacrifice by Hannah and Megan…who held the house and schedule together while we were gone. There are many to thank that made this trip possible. If you are reading this and you were a part of it…Thank You!

There is a struggle that happens when you are a parent to children who have complex medical and other special needs…the struggle is between providing for the many needs, appointments, therapies, surgeries and procedures and spending time alone together to keep a relationship and a marriage together. I think it is hard enough with our other kids with all of there activities and events. There are many reasons why it is harder with kids who require more. A big one is guilt. Guilt for leaving them behind in the hands of people who don’t know them as well as we do. Guilt for leaving a burden on our other kids and adding to their responsibility. Life can become routine, even with all the twists and turns, with each parent taking on their to-do’s and schedules…leaving spending quality time alone at the bottom of the list. One resolve we came away with on our trip…we need to do this more often…even if it just a night away once in a while. The following is from a song by Steven Curtis Chapman which we listened to while we were away. It was from a song we played during our wedding ceremony.

I will be true to the promise I have made
To you and to the One who gave you to me

I Will Be Here – Steven Curtis Chapman

Our last night in Charleston – having dinner overlooking the Charleston harbor.

As I listened to those words again for the 100th time over the years I realized how important it is to remain true to the promises I have made. We have remained true to the promises…I have remained true to the promises I made to Theresa and to my Savior. But, I have to admit that I have lost a part of imagination of romance and adventure and dreaming of the “what ifs” of our future together. The luster of romance and wonder of my promises have given way to the mundane. Has that happened in your relationships as well? Have they become routine?

I am reading a book right now by Mark Batterson titled “If…Trading Your Regrets for God’s What if Possibilities”. A great read about the “what if” moments in our lives. A part of the very first chapter really struck a cord with me:

“Neuroimaging has shown that at we age, our cognitive center of gravity shifts from the imaginative right brain to logical left brain. At some point, most of us stop living out of imagination and start living out of memory. That’s the day we stop creating the future and start repeating the past. That’s the day we stop living by faith and start living by logic. That’s the day we stop dreaming of what if possibilities and end up with only regrets. It doesn’t have to be that way!” Mark Batterson – If: Trading Your Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities

Beginning with our trip and up until now I am experiencing one those tipping point moments of realizing that I have been taking my relationship with Theresa for granted. Taking my relationship with God for granted. I have been living life on cruise control a quite possibly living out of memory and not living a life with imagination and dreaming of possibilities. It is actually an easy trap to fall into…I’m not getting any younger and perhaps neuroimaging of my brain would show my center of gravity making a shift. It doesn’t have to be that way though.

“Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games” – Babe Ruth

I’m not one to get into the whole resolution thing of a new year. But, in this case, I want the promises I have made, the promises to God, to my wife and to my family to remain true. I want to acknowledge what God has done in our lives. I want to continue to be an encouragement to those who pray for us, those who support us and for other families who share our struggle. I can only do that by living life of imagination and wonder of the things I can only do through faith. I believe there are new miracles God wants to reveal, I believe there are new dreams and new “games” in which to hit a home run…and new opportunities to allow God to show his amazing love and grace.

Are your relationships and living a life of faith on cruise control? It doesn’t have to be that way. Remain true to the promises you have made. Imagine, dream and allow for new miracles in your life today.

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