Visual Blog: Collage of Thoughts on God & Autism

Anticipation

Autism Strikes, part 1

Autism Strikes, Part 2

God is Here

Treasures from God

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From Rags to Riches

The Bride of Christ: Radiant

In the Autism with a Purpose post, I wrote about how we are all created equally in Gods’ eyes.  Regardless of abilities, we all have the same promises from God and we were all made exactly as he intended to make us for the good purposes he creates us for.

The even better news is that all of us that are a part of the body of Christ (through accepting Jesus as our Savior), the church, are also called the Bride of Christ.

Ephesians 5:25b-27 says “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

God is making us holy and blameless and radiant.  Pure.  But to see the beauty of this more clearly, we need to contrast it with what we are now.

When people are sick with cancer or another life threatening illness, or when someone has a physical disability they long for their new body they’ll have in heaven, one with out pain, one that will work the way it is supposed to.

I am sure that all of us long to see our children with autism in a body that works right, that doesn’t fight against them.  As perfectly crafted as that body is for their life on earth, and for fulfilling their God-given purposes, it does bring struggles. There are often food and environmental allergies and intolerances, gastrointestinal problems, sensory processing issues, speech and language disorders. Struggles communicating and relating…. all this will be transformed when we are in heaven, and there will be no more sorrow or struggle!  (Revelation 21:3-5)

Though some of us seem more obviously “disabled”, in reality, we are all disabled.  Disabled because of our own sin.  Disabled because of our sinful world.

When we look at our disability of not being holy, of having a sinful nature, of falling short of the glory of God, we are again, all in the same boat.  Sin is like filthy rags:

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6

For some, seeing how we are but filthy rags is easy. Some of us are very aware of how we fall short of all that God requires of us, of what we have done that harms ourself, others and God.  Of how we have sinned.  Some of us don’t like to look at that side of us.  We’d rather not think about our uncleanliness, our filthy rags.  But we know that all of us are in the same boat.  We have all fallen short of the glory of God. (Rom 3:23)

But God equalized us all–regardless of disability or ability, and those in the church are called His Bride.  We are washed with water through the word, made holy and blameless, radiant.  We go from being imperfect, sinful, wicked people to being transformed and molded by God.  He purifies us, turning us into the holy and blameless church, that Jesus is so passionate for.

Because of Gods’ love for us, and what Jesus did on the cross, we ultimately go from the filthiest rags to the most glamorous riches.

Thinking about the depths of all God has done, and the passion of Jesus for us, brings an overwhelming gratitude for this gift.  This treasure that will last forever.

In Memory of Shannon

This is one of those moments when the dust is kicked up so high it is hard to see anything else.  I write this with tears streaming down my face, and uncontrollable sobs flood like waves from out of my heart.

A wonderful person who brought companionship and laughter to many years of my life passed away on Saturday from antibiotic-resistant pneumonia.  Shannon was only 35 years old. I am overwhelmed with grief that she is gone, and sadness for her incredible family who has to continue on without her, though I am confident that God will strengthen them with His love.

God placed this sweet person in my life during a very hard time, and He showed me volumes about His love, through her. I met Shannon in the mid 1990’s, and I was her in-home supports staff, and I also provided respite services.  Shannon had Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, which causes mental disabilities, and some physical differences as well.

Shannon was so much fun to be with, and God truly blessed me with her friendship.  She was incredibly social.   Everywhere we went, she would see someone she knew.  Her eyes would light up when she conversed with people, or unexpectedly met them at the grocery store or mall.  I will always treasure the memories I have of her.  God taught me about unconditional love through Shannon.  She was always so excited to see me and spend time with me, or spend a weekend at my apartment.

God also blessed me with Shannons’, entire family.  Her mom was a wonderful example of an advocate for her daughter.  She was able to navigate the system and get what Shannon needed in a very friendly way. God used her mom to teach me  about advocating, years before I had my own children.  Shannon had a very wonderful purpose in her short life, and it continues still… sparkling through the dust, and I hope as the dust settles that the glistening will be even brighter.

That sparkling treasure is love.  Shannon’s excitement to spend time with me mirrors Gods’ excitement when I spend time with Him.  God’s heart lights up when we choose to spend time with Him developing our relationship with Him. Isaiah 62;5 “as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”  Shannon showed me what it was like to be “rejoiced over”.

Let us all remember Shannon, by remembering God’s unconditional, passionate and exuberant love for us.

Zephaniah 3:17 says,

“He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Autism with a Purpose

Chris & Tori

When the twins were around one year old, I remember sitting down and looking at them, amazed at how beautiful they were.  I remember thinking that they were perfect.  Perfectly the way God wanted them to be.

Psalm 139 13-16 (NIV)
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

When I learned about Dash having autism, I was shocked. But God wasn’t, He knew the entire time.  When I saw my twins as “perfect”, autism was there even though I wasn’t aware of it yet.  But God knew, and even so, declared him good…crafted flawlessly with His unerring hands.  His ways are higher than ours. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

I used to hear a lot that people with disabilities, were here in this world for us to care for. It was unstated but assumed, that their purpose was mostly so that we could serve them.

I so under estimated them, and God.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (NLT)

It does not say that we are Gods masterpiece if

If we are free from disabilities.

If we are free from poverty.

If we are free from illness.

If…we are made the way society says we should be made. If we have no problems. No, we are all made in His image…all of us are His masterpiece, His work of art.  All of us were crafted with flawless hands, made with a purpose greater than we can ever imagine… Crafted with a purpose before our days began…made the way we are on purpose and for a purpose, according to His higher ways.

We were all made exactly the way He wanted us to be.

“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest, and more precious thing in all thinking.” George MacDonald

Autism or not, “neuro-typical” or not… God has incredible promises and purposes for us all.  None of us are perfect in the sense that we have all sinned, and we all live in a fallen world.  We all need a Savior. But God made us perfectly as He intended so we could fulfill all the good works that He prepared in advance for each one of us to do.

So rest in all God has done, all he has created and crafted, knowing it is in his ultimate wisdom and goodness…all a part of His plan.  Strive toward eternity with Him, being changed into His image, at His pace. God uses us while we are broken and crippled–either physically or emotionally, and does more than we could ever imagine!  (1 Cor 1:26-29 , Phil 3:14, Eph 3:20)

Sing, Sing, Sing…

Robbie


Sometimes we just don’t know what to say.  Sometimes we know what we mean but no words seem adequate to describe it.  Sometimes we can’t think of that certain word that would be just the right way to put something, to convey our thought.  Sometimes we can’t find any words at all to express our feelings.  Sometimes we don’t even know what we are feeling.

Sometimes we have a tune in our heads, but can’t remember all the words to the song.  We may have a general idea of what the song is about, but be unable to sing the words, so we either just hum the tune, or make up approximations to the words.

Robbie and Chris love to sing.  When they have a song going through their head they just sing it out…sometimes loudly.  Most of the time though, they don’t know all the words.  They don’t know what the words mean so they approximate them and it comes out all jumbled and confused.  For those who know the song already, the words can be picked out and understood.  Robbie, has been doing this a lot lately.  He loves David Crowder, Chris Tomlin, Brooke Fraser, Hillsongs, and many other “grown up” songs as well as all the childrens songs he has ever heard.  The more grown up songs have words the kids just have no idea what they mean.  So they sing something close to it.

This reminds me so much of when we pray but don’t know what to pray, and so we “groan” what words cannot express.  We don’t know what we are praying, but God does.  He hears our groans, and understands completely.

Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

So let us take an example from these children who don’t have the social inhibitions sometimes, to hide what they don’t know, and pray out to God.  Let the words (groans) come out however they will.  He knows what we mean.  He knows what all the words are that we are looking for.  He understands it all.

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