Updated: Jul 1, 2022
I dreamed two nights ago that I was sewing buttons on a garment or some type of large
covering. I had sewn them on the same garment before but, for some reason they were not attached and fell off when the garment was opened. This time I was painstakingly making sure that each button lined up perfectly in the center of the buttonholes. I pulled the needle and strong thread in and out repeatedly and wrapped it around itself under the button for extra strength and stability before pulling it back through and knotting it, then going on to the next button. There were so many buttons – as if they were endless and uncountable so that I was not finished when my alarm woke me from the dream.
I find it fascinating that many times when I wake from a dream the scripture for THAT day or the one in the Devotional Plan I’m reading on my Bible App just happens to fit. That was also the case this time, as the scripture was from 2 Corinthians 5:1-5.
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Interesting that these verses are talking about being clothed and I was sewing buttons on clothing in my dream. What does it mean?
The buttons and thread, I think, signify the multiple actions or connections necessary to care for, or clothe, each member of my family. As Mom, it’s my job to take care of basic needs like feeding, dressing, teaching, guiding, keeping order & routines, etc. But in addition to these things, I am still learning who each of my children are and how to best care for them. My first three kids knew me, and I them, from their beginnings inside my belly. I had “sewn their buttons” best I could throughout their growing years and now they are adults. The method of “sewing buttons” I used for them won’t work for my second set of kids, who became “ours” after going through very hard things first. Four kids with multiple special needs between them; the one they all share being trauma. Maybe that’s why the buttons fell off in my dream and I had to sew them back on again.
What do I mean by special needs? Here’s a list of official diagnoses (asterisks) & symptoms
our kids have:
-*FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome),
-FASD signs, awaiting complete evaluation,
-*Generalized Anxiety Disorder,
-*ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), level 1, provisional,
-*Unspecified disruptive, impulse control and conduct disorder,
-*neurodevelopmental disorder associated with prenatal drug exposure,
-*Sensory Processing Disorders, all of them but especially our 4 yo
-*contact with/exposure to lead,
-Reactive Attachment Disorder...
Here are the regular behaviors we live with:
-poor memory, language that randomly doesn’t make sense, difficulty learning new things (big drop-to-the-floor meltdowns)
-acting several years younger than chronological age: baby-talk, desire to play with baby/toddler toys, sucking/chewing on fingers or other items, temper tantrums, etc.
-intense fears of unusual things: screaming, covering ears, being frozen in one place, etc.
-flitting from one thing to another every couple minutes, highly distracted by every tiny noise, movement or light change, constant movement
-aggressive behavior, “accidently” hitting or throwing things, bumping into siblings while spinning, climbing, hanging upside down, etc.
-all have difficulty falling asleep, having nightmares or weird/scary thoughts
-zero pain tolerance: band-aids, “love-lotion”, essential oils, etc. stay on the kitchen counter for easy access for Mama since we use them DAILY for every tiny booboo, tummy ache or muscle pain.
-finger/toenail picking down into the quick several times a week
-inability to feel the urge to go potty- last minute rushing to the bathroom, frequent
accidents & bedwetting
-toilet plunging almost DAILY due to extra-large stools
-diapers 24 hrs for 4 yr old not ready to potty-train
-eating non-food items, gagging on/throwing up certain food textures, gorging on other foods, chewing very little or not at all before swallowing, screaming if the meal is not a favorite, difficulty brushing teeth
-running or wandering away while at public places: must wear backpack with leash attached to parent
-repetitive behavior; constant humming/interrupting conversations or while reading stories aloud
-toe-walking and toe-knuckle walking: two kids in AFO’s (ankle/foot orthotics).
-two in glasses for reading/up close work, one in glasses to see distance
-screaming or melt-downs when the answer is anything but “yes”, or when it’s time to stop something fun
-one academically very advanced, (for example, reading at 2nd grade level though only just turned four, learns to play songs on the piano, memorized the planets, etc.) but very much behind behaviorally
-three academically 2-3 years behind “average”
-all thrive on strict routine. We cannot tell them about future exciting events until right before the event occurs because they will not be able to sleep at night or focus on responsibilities during the day until the event is past.
-all have special diet – gluten free, dairy free (mostly), dye free, sugar free to reduce hyperactivity plus they are given special herbs and supplements to help heal their brains, stomachs and help them sleep at night.
Believe it or not there is actually more, but I’ve already filled an entire page and I’m sure you’re already overwhelmed. Writing it down is overwhelming to me!
It is funny to think my husband and I are doing this while our friends are just beginning their Empty Nest years. I honestly do have days when I think, “what in the world did we do??” But then I’m reminded in some small way that this is God’s plan. I’ll look out the window just in time to see a bright red cardinal resting on the fence (a rare occurrence). Cardinals are a symbol of hope that I have learned to cherish. Or I might have a flashback of the dream I had the year before our twins arrived – God’s smile when I told Him I’m trying to start a new legacy for these children and me.
I remember that we asked the Lord to let us help “rescue” children who need love in our permanent home. We didn’t know how many. We didn’t know if they would be girls or boys. We didn’t know or care what color their skin would be. We WANTED to make a difference for kids who came from hard places so that they could have the chance to heal and grow up healthy and be lights to the world. We trusted God to place in our home the kids who need US and found out that we also need them. We fell in love with each of our kids very quickly.
We took classes to learn about trauma and how to respond to our kids or be proactive, but LIVING with the trauma, myriad of behaviors and disabilities that come with it are way beyond what anyone can learn in classes.
It's not fair what these kids have been through. The craziness we go through every day is just OUR family. Every foster or adoptive family is different with their own set of crazy issues. No child should be abused, neglected, abandoned, or go through withdrawal from drugs and alcohol. Yet thousands of children do through no fault of their own. When I think about that I wish we could save them all. I pray the Lord will bring struggling birth parents to their right minds so they can turn around and get on the right track. I pray that He will raise up more foster/support parents for those who need the extra help and adoptive parents for those who just can’t or won’t turn around for their kids’ sake. I think about my own resilience – my childhood wasn’t nearly as bad as my kids’, but I have some common experiences that I share with them. I know that if I can heal after not dealing with my past until adulthood, my children have a much better chance to heal since they are starting young.
Truthfully, we all have imperfect “earthly tents”. Tents are temporary. They get moved about, stuffed in storage, forgotten, folded, bumped around, blown over by the wind, rained and stormed on, torn apart, or just plain worn out. The worse the wear, the more repair needed. In our home our little earthly tents need sooooo many buttons and so much stronger thread to hold them together that I could not possibly do it alone. I groan with the burden because my heart hurts for them and because of them – I want what is best for them. My husband and I both do.
Somehow the Lord gives us just what we need to manage each day. So many people tell me, “You have your hands very full.” I don’t really have time to think about how full my hands really are except when I have had to fill out a behavior form for one of my kids’ neurodevelopmental evaluations or reading what I just wrote. HA HA! How am I NOT overwhelmed EVERY day? Afterall, when Hubby is at work, I don’t have any kind of help and I rarely ever get a break. It’s extremely rare for me to go anywhere by myself. The only way I can figure that I am not falling apart is that HE HAS FASHIONED ME AND MY HUSBAND FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE. As in the scripture quoted above, “…(God) has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come..”
The Spirit fills us up and keeps us going miraculously. He keeps providing the buttons, the thread, the materials, and everything needed, including the energy to keep on sewing. We don’t expect perfection or payment or recognition for what we are doing through HIS power and provision. We just keep sewing His Love-Buttons little by little, every day. Sometimes when a day is particularly hard because I’ve dropped a button or used the wrong thread, my wise Hubby will hug me and say, “We are doing the right thing… ‘Treasures in Heaven.’” Someday the temporary tent will fall away, and we will all be fully clothed in our eternal Heavenly House! AMEN!