Open Heaven   Leave a comment

I sit here tonight contemplating the last week and what baby steps we have taken at Treasures of JOY.  

Our Sunday celebrations are growing.  In May, we averaged 35 Treasures per service.  On June 10th, we reached an all time high of 48 and then on Father’s Day we reached 43 with many out to be with family.  I am so excited about the new Treasures that God is bringing to our service each week.  With each new Treasures I know that we are touching families and growing Disciples.  

We started golf practice last week and had 16 athletes for the first practice.  Yeah Treasures, you far exceeded my expectations.

We are waiting for Bocce practice to start, “rain, rain, go away JOYce’s Treasures want to go out to play”.  Well I know Houston needs the rain, but I sure want to get Texercise and Bocce practice started.  

So tonight, after another storm cancels Texercise and Bocce, I have a moment to sit and think about where we are and where we need to be.  I see clearly how God has stepped in and opened Heaven to fulfill His Vision for Treasures of JOY.  He created ALL in his image, so my Treasures with the disabilities are the same as all others – IN HIS IMAGE.  Through the many events that we are participating in within the community, we are providing the community a chance to see our Treasures.  I have always wanted the world to see that Treasures of JOY have value in the community and all have a purpose – now as the community sees them they will understand Treasures are just people – just like you and me.  

Thank you, Lord, for Open Heaven – thank you for the blessings you are pouring out on us; and now equip these earthen vessels to complete all that You have set before us.

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Posted June 19, 2012 by jcollierw in special needs parents

What Does Leading Mean?   Leave a comment

As I sit here this afternoon thinking about all we do at Treasures of JOY, I’m trying to figure out what is the most important thing I do or if there is a most important thing.

 Treasures of JOY began as a non-profit ministry in early 2011 to provide a place for healing, recovery, and life support to families affected by any type of disability.  As we were forming the ministry, we found that 1 in every 5 households has a family member affected by some type of disability, whether visible or invisible.  To our team, the number was staggering and demanded we do something to stand in the gap for these families.  There are some of us on the team who have family members affected by disabilities and there are other team members who are just led to volunteer and be a part of the ministry.  I am learning that there is so much involved in running this non-profit organization, but I always really just want to focus on the families.  Therefore, I am going to blog about what the start-up of this ministry has been like and how we keep it focused on the real purposethe families affected by disabilities.

 So what does it mean for me to be the leader of Treasures of JOY?  Every morning when I wake-up, my first thoughts are prayers to my Lord for the safety and well-being of The Treasures, their families, and all those who volunteer.  The one pressing thing on my mind every day is that with each family that I minister to “have I met their need, as Jesus would expect?’.  I have learned over the years that families sometimes expect us to take over and actually lead them down the path of disability, but Jesus expects that we guide and teach them to live life to its fullest and learn to live the life we have been given.  On Sunday mornings, we touch the lives of 40 to 50 people, but with our other events throughout the month we touch so many more.  So really even after one year, I’m still not sure that I’m meeting the needs, as Jesus would expect, but I’m trying.

Part of starting a JOY Ministry and I think my mentor, Denise Briley, will agree is organization.  There are so many families affected by disability that no one person or one church can possibly reach out and touch every need.  Treasures of JOY leaders have met on many occasions to discuss and implement the events we thought would help not just the person affected by a disability, but help the entire family.  I’m a people person, I love being with my Treasures and their families.  I love working with them in Special Olympics, Sunday Celebration, Games Night, or Respite, but I have to do the paperwork and follow-up to stay current with my responsibilities.  Organization, as most of my friends know, is not my strong suit.  I force myself to be organized, but it is not something that comes easily or naturally.  In saying all that, I cling to the Scriptures:

Hebrews 12:1

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”

Romans 8:1

“Therefore, there is nono condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,…”

Yes, I must get organized and ensure that I know every family that Treasures of JOY is involved with is care for, but until I do, there is GRACE.  I do the best I can every day and lean on those who have stepped up to the plate with me to make sure we do this right.  While we are getting organized, each day we will “Jesus in Skin” to The Treasures of this world, as Christ Himself would have us be.  Be “Jesus in Skin” that is the most important thing I do each and every day.

 

June 11, 2012

Posted June 11, 2012 by jcollierw in special needs parents, support

Is Rest Relevant?   Leave a comment

This weekend, my husband, my son, and I took four days to just chill out and relax.  We went to our timeshare with the hopes of getting in some fishing time, but unfortunately the wind and cold prevented that.  I am an avid warm weather person so I never do cold weather fishing now that I’m an adult.

I can tell you that in the 9 years of working in special needs ministry I can count on less than my ten fingers the days I have taken off.  I hate being away fromy my ministry family.  Yet, the guilt left on Friday evening as I began to enjoy my family with no interruptions.  The condo is off the beaten path, in the woods and has very poor cell phone reception, so there weren’t even text messages to interrupt our quiet time.

Saturday, as I was spending quiet time with the Lord I realized that my mind was clearer and I was hearing Him speak to me so much better after just 24 hours away.

I don’t know about other ministries because I devote my time to Special Needs, but I hate to leave my JOY family behind and my Mom literally has to force me to leave town and take a break.  Yet, now after my four day break I realize how important R& R is.  Everyone should take personal time to refresh and renew their spirit and their physical bodies.  This rest allows us to work so much more focused when we return.

So the answer to the question; Is Rest Relevant?  Absolutely, everyone must schedule time to rest just so they can work better when they return.  We must take care of the temple of God; to do His service now.

Beginning tomorrow I will be posting about setting up the Treasures of JOY ministry.  We have our new home at Church of Champions and we are in partnership with Helping Hands of Champions, Inc, a non-profit community service organization.  I will be sharing our journey from beginning through the process, and look forward to your comments as you join me on this journey.

Posted February 14, 2012 by jcollierw in special needs parents, support

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Mom’s Write in the Middle of the Night   Leave a comment

Yes, it is 1:30 a.m. and I am blogging.  I know most people would wonder what a person could blog about at this time of the morning, but my JOY moms (those caregivers of persons affected by special needs) know exactly what I am about; the peace and quiet of the sleeping house.  My emails are caught up, for the most part my to do list for today is ready for me to tackle, but my days and nights are mixed up now so I thinking and typing in the wee hours of the morning.

Over the last 16 days, I have had a constant migraine that not even a trip to the ER has stopped.  Then I somehow caught cold or congestion, or something and I have spent the last week, minus 2 days in bed.  Thankfully, God blessed me with a wonderful Mother who my son calls “Mom”.  She steps in and takes over the entire household when I am foolish enough to do this to myself.

I facilitate a support group of JOY Moms in Cypress, Texas and one of the things I tell them constantly is not to push and to give themselves “me” time; seems like I should listen to my teaching.  So I suppose that’s where my blogs are heading for a while and I intend to track my recovery process from this “crash” for spending weeks in bed for me can be nothing less than a crash.  I am also going to track my learning to live a balanced life with a prayer that it will help others; and if it helps but one other person then I will have accomplished a goal.

So my first thought into this new lifestyle is nutrition.  With the busy lives any Mom lives, much less a JOY mom, we have learned to grab as we go and our nutrition may be great for the child or adult we care for but we usually aren’t taking care of ourselves.  Before James was born, I could work, play a round of golf, which included walking and carrying my bag, go to sleep at a decent hour (unless there was a good party of course) and be ready for the next day.  But as I look back now I was grabbing a Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, Diet Sprite, or whatever our drink of choice was.  I was usually drinking a glass of tea with very little sweetener or a glass of water with lemon.  Now I use water to brush my teeth and shower.   My doctor told me last week that I was to have a glass of water in my hand at all times; dehydration it seems occurs with migraines and/or worsens migraines.  The good news that he didn’t discuss was that my cholesterol came from 295 down to 156, so I guess he figured I was addressing food along with the prescription he gave me.  However, I want to get off the prescription so I will be working harder at eating like my Mom taught me many years ago.

So Moms and Dads, grandmas and grandpa’s, or any other caregiver out in blogging land, will you join me?  If we don’t learn lifestyles that keep us healthy and functioning, who will take care of our treasured gifts from God?

Night to all

JOY in CHRIST,

JOYce

TOO MANY DAYS   Leave a comment

I see that it has been too many days since Iast posted, and I did the one thing that I try to help all parents; stop pushing, do only what you can do; keep balance, prioritize. So I’m on the upside of recovery and will be posted to my Treasures of JOY families again very soon.

MY CUP IS FILLED TO OVERFLOWING   Leave a comment

I have enjoyed several careers along the way while trying to live the American Dream, but always there was something missing.  I would have moments of satisfaction upon reaching a goal, but never fulfillment.  My work never had meaning until now.  Now I awake hoping something new is going happen during the day.  Tired – yes – but satisfied that I’m doing the work in this life that I was created to do.  By accepting Christ 16 years ago, I found over a period of time my specific purpose for being on earth.  I learned through study and service that giving of myself to others was the meaning in life that I was searching for all those years.  Now, just one small hug from one of my JOY “kids” gives me complete satisfaction and fulfillment for hours of preparation and work.  It is never the money anymore and thankfully my helpmate provides well from his years of working with the railroad.  Many think work and a job means collecting a paycheck, but it really means feeling satisfied at the end of the day that you’ve done what you do.  So, at 52 years old I now fully understand what I was created for.  I was created to be the mom to James, an Unexpected Treasure.  It may have taken me too many years to understand the gift, but in the end, I know he is priceless.  For you see, as James’ mom, I have learned my second purpose, which is to be the advocate for other treasures.  This second purpose allows me to help other Treasures, besides my James, dream big.  I’m that person to help them believe that God never makes a mistake; each Treasure needs to be all they can be for God’s purpose.

In James, I can see the purpose realized.  He loves everyone – unconditionally – and makes it his job in life to hug and love on as many people as possible each day.  Others may not agree, but then they don’t have to.  As long as James brings glory to the Almighty God through his love and his hugs that is the only confirmation I need.

So, do you have a Treasure?  Do you have a child or family member with physical, mental, or invisible disability?  Have you explored their life and their daily “stuff”, because if you look closely enough I’m willing to bet you can see Jesus in them?  Each time they take a breath, go out among the world that often shuns them, and each time they look into our eyes we see love and trust spilling over – that Treasure has fulfilled the purpose God has given them.

Yes, I’ve heard the comment of all the naysayers – purpose means a person can be gainfully employed and support themself at a chosen profession.  But that is the world’s definition.  Purpose means you do the one thing the Creator created you for and no one in the world can define that purpose for another – only the Creator.

My friend, when a Treasure walks by you or up to you today, I urge you to ignore the world – take time to get to know them.  Don’t judge them by the criteria of your worldly friends and family – actually don’t judge them.  Simply look within yourself to see if you are doing what your Creator created you for.  And as you realize that Treasure is really no different than you – perhaps even a little closer to the Creator – smile at them, encourage them, and remind them to dream big because there is hope when you are a child of the Creator.

I guess it’s lucky I didn’t sleep because I just spent the last hours studying.  It was great and I feel like I accomplished a lot – but I can’t always be so engrossed.

Where is your faith?   Leave a comment

Pastor Byron, as I begin this post let me first say that I am not plagiarizing your sermon from 7/3/2011, but rather expanding on the title to fit into my special needs blog.

And that was the question of the sermon at Connextions Church yesterday, but as I have thought about this sermon over the 24+ hours it has become even more personal to me. As Christians, we quickly say to anyone that our faith is in Christ alone, but is that really fact or simply what we say. After all, when someone has asked me over the last 27 years how I was my standard answer was “fine”. So isn’t just as easy to say that my faith is in Christ. Yet, I have examined my life and I know that at times my faith is in me or in my situation because that’s all I am looking at. Pastor Byron was quick to point that out yesterday; if we aren’t focused on Christ during our trial or problem then our faith isn’t in Him. There are many times that I simply focus and worry on the problem; is James going to get his kidney soon, is James eating enough protein, is there something I could do to make his quality of life better, do I spend enough time with Bob? Of course, I’m looking to me in my human wisdom to answer these questions so my faith is on my human wisdom not on Christ. So I ask you again, where is your faith? I know of only one person/spirit/God that has the answer for any of my questions tonight. There is not a doctor at The Medical Center here or anywhere else that could answer any of my questions about James and there isn’t a counselor alive who could truthfully answer me about my relationship with Bob because they don’t have enough knowledge; only Christ does. So as I write this post I am reminding myself to place my eyes back on Jesus in each and every situation and I would pray that you would do the same. Ask the questions, go ahead, He wants us to communicate with Him without ceasing. So ask your questions, as I will ask mine, but ask Jesus, not yourself or the doctors or the counselors or the pastors or anyone else. Ask the one who has the answers and the solutions. Jesus tonight I pray that I will find my misplaced faith and that I will boldly speak the words to help others place their eyes back on You.