The Most Captivating Celebrations

My favorite holiday when I was a kid was always the 4th of July. I loved the fireworks, my family’s tradition of making homemade ice cream and running around in warm weather with my brood of cousins. It was enough to make it the most anticipated family gathering of the year for me. It beat out Christmas and Thanksgiving hands down. The fireworks were always the highlight of the evening and they filled me with awe and wonder.

Jacqi Kambish Celebration

As an adult, awe and wonder have been harder to grab a hold of. Life has a way of stealing joy and laughter if we let it, and there have been times when I let it. There have been times when I crawled into my hole of darkness and forgot there were reasons to laugh, or sing, or dance. There have also been times when other people thought that I should laugh less loudly, less heartily, and less often—I let their ideas dampen my joy. There have been times when it seemed the seriousness of life demanded that I apologize for finding the silver lining.

There are many reasons in this life to be depressed, hurt, angry, lost, resentful, and bitter. But I’ve found through the love and grace of Christ Jesus that there are plenty of every day joys to celebrate as well.

Even in the midst of sorrow, hardship, uncertainty, and pain there are often moments of pleasure, reasons to laugh, and opportunities to be filled with awe and wonder.

As a child the big celebrations grabbed my attention and held my esteem. But as an adult, I’ve learned to look for the little daily surprises and sweet moments to fill my heart with gladness.

Moments like my kids playing nicely together, the back yard flowers blooming with a sweet aroma, and the colors of the sunset.

Moments when my kids show undeserved kindness, plant pop-cycle kisses on my cheek, and talk to me about what’s happening in their lives.

Moments when we celebrate birthdays, academic successes, and new opportunities.

Big moments, like when my daughter reached the 6-months-seizure-free mark and the anticipation that, soon, she will reach the one year mark.

Celebration Jacqi Kambish

Celebrations over potty training successes and the kid’s remembering to flush…and wash hands!

Celebrations like 13 years of marriage to my best friend.

Celebrations like the grass coming in green and the roof holding out for just a bit longer…

Thankfulness for a working laundry machine, summer breezes, and quiet moments watching the kids run in the sprinklers.

And there is more…

Celebrating the way God provides when the money isn’t there, and watching as he moves in the hearts of my kids.

Watching as God turns the sorrow of Epilepsy, and a truck load of other diagnoses, into the development of strength and character in a struggling little girl.

Turning a regular boring night into a family dance party just because.

Celebrating all those little moments; moments I was given to spend with my family, just living and laughing together.

I wouldn’t change it, and I don’t want to miss it.

As a child, I watched the fireworks, but now I watch my kid’s faces.

At one time I was hoping for the man of my dreams. Now I’m proud of the man I married.

The every day celebrations beat out the big celebratory festivities of fleeting seasons every single time…but only if I notice them.

I wouldn’t change that for the most spectacular fireworks display.

Because the most captivating celebrations of my life are the ones I almost miss.

“The LORD has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3

 


Jacqi KambishJacqi Kambish is a Christian mom to three spirited children striving to balance the daily demands of parenting a child with special needs and meeting the needs of typically developing siblings while working full time and writing.  She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Bible Theology and Youth Ministry from William Jessup University.  Jacqi lives with her family in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and enjoys reflectively writing about parenting, faith, and the joys and trials of life while leaving her readers with hope and encouragement.  Her blog The Presumptuous Ladybug can be found at and you can connect with her on Facebook.
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Finding Spring: A Special Needs Journey

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Life always seems to move in cycles of intertwined seasons.

“A misty winter brings a pleasant spring, a pleasant winter brings a misty spring”-Irish Proverb

Jacqi Kambish AV Special needs parentingThe ebb and flow of laughter, pain, anger, loss, hardship, joy, love…it weaves us into the tapestries that we are—complex and colorful.

As a parent of a child with special needs, there is a sorrow too deep to voice and at the same time a thriving hope and optimism that runs parallel to the difficulty of watching my child struggle. The beauty and pain of my soul’s winter season is a complex entanglement, where icy blues are folded into joyful pops of bright spring colors. Even as my heart breaks, hope and happiness burst through.

There are everyday reminders:  The number of the hospital saved in my phone, the seizure log my daughter packs for school, and the medications with their side effects.  She wants to climb the playground equipment, ride a bike, and swim but it’s complicated.  Each day is marked with exceptional difficulty and challenge.

My daughter is 8 years old and has Epilepsy, ADHD, and learning disabilities.  Her seizures are uncontrolled, and every day I watch as she struggles as medication after medication remains ineffective.  I watch as she tries to understand and control her emotions.  I watch as her mind gives up and begins to seize when presented with difficulty and stress.  I watch as she cries and laments the difficulty of school as she becomes frustrated with her inability to engage in all the activities she wants to pursue.

I’ve read, researched, and studied.  I’ve pleaded with God to give us a cure, to find something that works for her.  And yet…the struggle remains.

As I watch, my emotions range from anger to sorrow, to helplessness, to hope, to perseverance, to acceptance, to positivity, encouragement, and back around…

But…I watch something else as well.

My daughter, in all her struggle, has the most amazingly sweet and compassionate heart.  She sees people.  She wants people to be happy and is deeply saddened by their pain.  She prays for the “bad people in the world” because… “They need Jesus too.” When I’m angry that a kid at school hurt her feelings, through tears she asks me for guidance on how to love them better.  She ponders that kindness is the best response and laments at how difficult kindness can be.  She amazes me.

I don’t know why God hasn’t healed my daughter yet.  I don’t know why she has to struggle so much.  I don’t know why he gave her to me when I am so fallen and struggle so often to control my own emotions.

Special Needs Parenting Jacqi Kambish (1)At times when my heart cries out “WHY?” God softly reminds me that he loves her deeply, that he sees her and that he sees me.   He speaks quietly into my heart the understanding and hope that he has a specific plan for her and that her life has a purpose I cannot understand or fathom.  When I stop and listen, what God says to the deepest corners and hardest places in my heart is that her pain and difficulty is not for nothing.  Her struggle is not pointless, meaningless, or unseen.

Ultimately, his game plan and end goal is for a beautiful child of the King to immerge from the ashes triumphant and victorious in Christ Jesus.  What he beckons us both toward is closer relationship with him as he sweetly says, “Lean on Me, trust Me, wait on Me.”

I don’t know what the LORD is doing.  I don’t understand it.  I don’t like it, but I do believe that He is good.  I do believe that He knows what he is doing and that hope, redemption, and goodness will ultimately be revealed.  So, in the moments of deep sorrow, fear, and “winter”, I hold tight to hope in Christ and to my belief that God is our defender and the only real source of rest.  And, the peace I find as I soak in the rays of God’s truth is as warm and glorious as the first sunny day of spring.


Jacqi KambishJacqi Kambish is a Christian mom to three spirited children striving to balance the daily demands of parenting a child with special needs and meeting the needs of typically developing siblings while working full time and writing.  She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Bible Theology and Youth Ministry from William Jessup University.  Jacqi lives with her family in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and enjoys reflectively writing about parenting, faith, and the joys and trials of life while leaving her readers with hope and encouragement.  Her blog The Presumptuous Ladybug can be found at http://thepresumptuousladybug.com/ and you can connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thepresumptuousladybug/ .