Wednesday, September 12, 2007

For LaPine-Bend Area Families

If your child loves music as much as Billy Ray, you are always looking for free or low cost entertainment. I want to let you know about a concert in LaPine on October 6th. Here's the flyer for it.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Helping Your Child Build Relationships at Church

I have been talking about relationships between church members and children or adults who experience special needs. I know that it sounds easier than it is. To parents who have been hurt by Christians who don’t understand it seems impossible.

The bonding doesn’t take place immediately and it takes work on a parent’s part but a thing of beauty develops from that effort. Through the magic of video I can show you the joy that Billy Ray and his friends at church experience. After you watch it I will have some pointers on how to establish those relationships.

Many parents write that they are not welcome in service with their child. Sometimes the whole family stops attending and other times one parent attends the first service alone and the other parent the next service alone. The separation and isolation from the church family is painful. We have been there.

The answer may be in prospective. We understand that our kids can’t always control talking out in whatever setting. For the most part young children who do not experience special needs would be taken to the nursery if they can’t remain quiet during service. For many of our children with special needs to do that could cause a meltdown which may be more disruptive to the service than the occasional noise or talking out. This may not be obvious to everyone.

An amazing amount of acceptance and tolerance happens when your child establishes relationships. I think the video from friendship and worship time at Grace Fellowship demonstrates that.

I started years ago, just introducing Billy Ray to folks in our prior church. I taught him to shake hands and say hello. Sometimes he would want to hug. Until we knew folks enough to be sure that was okay I was very cautious about having him ask or I ask. Little by little I would add little insights into Billy Ray relative to noise or who he is as a person.

Now that he is very attached to folks, I have learned where I can just set him free to interact independently with folks and when I should supervise closely. You will note that when he was greeting an elderly man I stayed very close because even though I have warned him that he must be gentle with Lewis, he sometimes is too rough for him. On the other hand, I know that he can do his “running hug” with John or Max so I back off a bit.

I can often tell who he wants to greet by who he is looking at and can’t figure out how to get to. For example, I saw him staring at Max and there were people blocking him from getting to Max. I confirmed where he wanted to go and then helped him wade through the crowd.

Many people have told me how much getting to know him has touched them. Children and adults with disabilities change us in a way no one expects.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
Blogs: Amazon Author Connect, Parenting a Complex Special Needs Child and Parenting a Complex Special Needs Adult
Websites: Parenting Your Complex Child, Lighthouse Parents, Peggy Lou
Club Mom Articles
Parenting Your Complex Child Yahoo Group

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Billy Ray and "Grandma Lowery"

We went back to our prior church (Soul's Harbor in Woodburn, OR) last Sunday. We moved 2-1/2 years ago and hadn't been home for 2 years. It was wonderful to be back for a visit.

My friend, Carol, had put on a wonderful buffet for after church which made it possible to visit because Billy Ray had something to focus on. Thanks Carol!!

I asked Bob Brown to take pictures of Billy Ray and "Grandma Lowery" for an article I am writing on her ministry to special needs children. Thanks Bob!! Here is my favorite.

Eldora Lowery, now 90 years old, is an inspiration to us all. When I started a Lighthouse Parents support group in that church she came to me before the first session and said "I want to be involved" and she was there every session. Though the group never really got families to come, Eldora has continued her ministry in special ways.

It seemed just when Billy Ray needed the fiber for medical issues a package would show up with oatmeal cookies from Eldora. She writes him cards and letters often. Since Eldora talks about how good the Lord is, caregivers and family members who are not believers have had to read about the Lord because Billy Ray loves to have them read to him repeatedly.

For years Billy Ray was the only child with special needs in that church. I will never forget one day a father visited the church by himself. They had just moved to the area. He said that they didn't bring their son to church because he could be disruptive. He said that he and his wife would trade services to attend alone while the other one would stay home with their son. We encouraged him to come and bring his WHOLE family and he did. As the church learned to accept Billy Ray they took this boy into the services and their hearts.

It's my understanding that "Grandma Lowery" ministers to him just as she does to Billy Ray. Truly ministry is ageless.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
Blogs: Amazon Author Connect, Parenting a Complex Special Needs Child and Parenting a Complex Special Needs Adult
Websites: Parenting Your Complex Child, Lighthouse Parents and Peggy Lou
Club Mom Articles
Parenting Your Complex Child Yahoo Group

Monday, April 09, 2007

Purpose Driven Child or Adult With Special Needs

For years I struggled with the question of why God would allow disabilities of all kinds or injuries. We know the general answers: he sometimes uses adversity to get our attention or to deal with sin. I was unsatisfied that there was a connection to disabilities with those answers. Eventually, I found John 9:

"As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. "Teacher" his disciples asked him, "why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?"

"It was not because of his sins or his parents' sins," Jesus answered. "He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him. All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is so little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end. John 9:1-4 NLT

At first, I interpreted the story that the man was born blind so that Jesus could heal him. That being the case why wasn' the Lord healing Billy Ray and other disabled persons I know?

While reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, I began to think AGAIN about why the Lord would allow our children to suffer so. Is there any purpose for Billy Ray's life that is so full of struggling for him and for us?

I reread the quoted verses in John 9. I asked the Lord if the man was blind so that God could be glorified not because of his sin what was the reason for the long-term suffering of our complex children.

The many books written on the topic of how we are changed by knowing disabled children came to mind. To be honest, I have not always been positive about those type of books because I felt they missed the point of what the children need. In an early draft of the Introduction to my book I wrote as the first line "There are many books about how disabled children impact their world and change those around them for the better." I went on to make it clear this book was not about that. I rebelled at the idea that changing others was important when these children suffered so. Searching these questions has changed my thinking.

Our children do have major impacts on the lives of those who take the time know them. That is a nice thing but the question of why would God allows these precious ones to suffer remained. If God uses adversity or affliction to get the attention and to deal with sin but these children have not sinned what is the purpose?
As I watch Billy Ray suffer I sometimes wonder how God could stand watching his son, Jesus suffer such torture for us. He did that to bring us to Him. Our children change people for the better and draw others to the Lord in ways no one else can accomplish. That is a powerful purpose.

Over the past couple of years I have had multiple discussions with theologians I respect. Not one agreed that John 9:3 would apply to children with special needs. Most felt it was more a Romans 8:28 thing that all things work together for good and that God uses it. Eventually I came to accept that it really didn’t matter which scripture applied these children are used to bring glory to the Heavenly Father.

Len Bynum, a man in the church we attended when we adopted Billy Ray helped with Billy Ray so I could continue teaching my Sunday School class or be in worship service. He wrote a poem for Billy Ray one day. I typed it out and have kept it in the corner of one of Billy Ray=s pictures all these years. Here it is:

"It gives my heart special joy,
To know God loves this little boy.
Billy Ray B God works through you,
I see your smile and it makes me know
That God will help us both to grow!"

Billy Ray and I were sitting near the Henrys at a recent church potluck. Lori Henry and I were talking about these scriptures to explain disabilities and suffering. I shared that I believed John 9:3 pertained and others disagreed. She said they should read Josh's Testimony, their blog about her son Josh's recent struggle with a brain tumor. As a result of sharing with others many have been brought to the Lord. I have written about the witness this has to folks who have never thought about going inside a church in Being Loved by the Real Church. I know that not all Christians are as supportive as our church has been but when they are the world sees Christ in action.

The Lord has not failed to give our kids a mighty purpose no matter what their disability might be.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan

Blogs: Amazon Author Connect, Parenting a Complex Special Needs Child and Parenting A Complex Special Needs Adult

Websites: Parenting Your Complex Child and Lighthouse Parents

Club Mom Articles
Parenting Your Complex Child Yahoo Group

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Our Little Answer to Prayer

Today is the 23rd anniversary of Billy Ray's adoptive placement. I wrote a post about it here . There is a "rest of the story" that I wanted to share with you here.

We were waiting for a newborn with Down's Syndrome through a doctor in Portland and had been number one of the list for a while. We were told that we would only have 24 hours to pick up a baby when we were matched to one. It had a definite impact on our lives during that horrible wait. We took a packed diaper bag when we visited my late husband's elderly parents and checked our voicemail constantly whenever we were away from home.

We were notified that a baby girl was expected momentarily and unfortunately, I had strep throat. I was on antibiotics and was on it long enough to not be cautious but I was frightened it would mess things up. I asked our then pastor, Fred Werbin, to pray about it. It was also a prophetic prayer I'll never forget. He prayed that when we got a baby it would be so clear that this was the child the intended for us.

That baby did not become available after all. Eventually we contacted an agency and were told about a 14 months old boy whose adoption was failing. The adoption came together in a totally unexpected way and speed. Billy Ray came to us at 15 months. The bonding was immediate.

When I was rocking Billy Ray at night I used to sing the little chorus "God is So Good" and modify it to add Billy Ray's adoption in several spots. For example, "God answers prayer he gave me Billy Ray". I also called him my little answer to prayer.

Over the years with the many struggles have experienced with my husband's long illness and death and later with Billy Ray's health issues, it has been such a comfort to know so clearly that Billy Ray was the answer to my prayers and that of our former pastor. It is quite clear that he is the child the Lord intended for us.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
Blogs: Amazon Author Connect, Parenting a Complex Special Needs Adult and Parenting A Complex Special Needs Child
Websites: Parenting Your Complex Child, Lighthouse Parents and Peggy Lou Morgan (under construction)
Club Mom Articles
Parenting Your Complex Child Yahoo Group

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I Needed That Today

Sometimes I will be reading the Bible and a scripture just jumps off the page (or usually the computer screen from my Ebible Software). Today is a case in point. Billy Ray is giving little hints that something is changing for him physically. I haven't figured it out yet. I was reading 1 Peter and came to 1 Peter 5:7:

"Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you." (New Century Version)

That seems so simple but it is NOT. As parents we want to fix everything for our children. We are doers. Turning everything over to the Lord is much harder than it seems.

I can imagine captains of the old ships dependent on the beams of light from the lighthouse to make big rocks and shipwrecks visible and thereby avoiding them. We have similar anxiety today when there are choices of treatment (some of which has multiple risks) and programs to consider for our children. Like the old captains we might wonder if we are missing something. How reassuring to know that the Lord sees it all and will guide us because he cares for us (and our children).

To give him all your worries today and "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him" (Psalm 37:7 New King James Version) for to give you the light (understanding) for your child.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
Blogs: Amazon Author Connect, Parenting a Complex Special Needs Child and Parenting a Complex Special Needs Adult
Websites: Parenting Your Complex Child and Lighthouse Parents
Club Mom Articles
Parenting Your Complex Child Yahoo Group

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

He Will Direct Your Paths..and Your Child's Path

I have been doing a lot of thinking about the decisions parents have made or felt they had to make for the children with special needs. Some had tried desperate treatments in an effort to “fix” their child. There are just times we don’t know what to do. We search the Internet, read books and talk to experts. It can all be overwhelming and confusing.

We may think that the Bible doesn’t have any help in making these hard decisions. Actually the principles in the Bible fit to decision making. Here’s some examples:

We don’t have all wisdom and understanding especially in the beginning with our child. Things are changing all the time how can we possibly interpret our options and make wise decisions? James 1:5 (New Revised Standard Version) says that if we lack wisdom we can ask God. I don’t read that as praying “Lord give me wisdom” and then just waiting some magical knowledge of what’s prudent. We need to do our homework about options and treatment. By asking for wisdom we are asking for understanding that we lack on what to do.

I love Proverbs 3:5-6 (The New King James Version):

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

How do we use that to apply in making decisions. I love the commentary on these verses from Bible Believer’s Commentary:

“3.5 First, there must be a full commitment of ourselves—spirit, soul, and body—to the Lord. We must trust Him not only for the salvation of our souls but also for the direction of our lives. It must be a commitment without reserve.”

“Next, there must be a healthy distrust of self, an acknowledgment that we do not know what is best for us, that we are not capable of guiding ourselves. Jeremiah expressed it pointedly: “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23).

“3:6 Finally, there must be an acknowledgment of the Lordship of Christ: “In all your ways acknowledge Him.” Every area of our lives must be turned over to His control. We must have no will of our own, only a single pure desire to know His will and to do it.

“If these conditions are met, the promise is that God shall direct our paths. He may do it through the Bible, through the advice of godly Christians, through the marvelous converging of circumstances, through the inward peace of the Spirit, or through a combination of these. But if we wait, He will make the guidance so clear that to refuse would be positive disobedience.”[1]

I have to admit that I worried a bit as I heard of some parents making some far out choices where the child died or mercy killings. However, I have come to see that relating to the Lord as above makes the decisions more clear.

There is great comfort in team parenting with our Father. I like to think of Him as Abba Father which makes Him Abba Grandfather as well. It helps so much to remember that He loves Billy Ray even more than I am capable of loving him and that He knows what I could not possibly know.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan


Amazon Author Connect, Parenting a Complex Special Needs Adult and Lighthouse Parents


Parenting Your Complex Child and Lighthouse Parents

Club Mom Articles
Parenting Your Complex Child Yahoo Group

[1]MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. 1997, c1995. Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments . Thomas Nelson: Nashville