Somebody Else’s Story

I will never forget the day when Joy told me that God was using me in her story.  That was the highest compliment I have ever received.  No doubt, a treasure found in the dust of life.

“I wanna play a part
Of somebody finding hope
Somebody finding hope in God of Heaven”

Joy isn’t her real name, of course.  But as I thought of names to use for her, this was the one that jumped out in my mind as perfect.

I’m sure right about now she is thinking I’m nuts, but the reason this is the perfect name for her is because one day, she WILL be filled with joy.  One day, the sadness and hurt will be wiped away.  One day she will be completely healed.

“I wanna play a part
Of somebody finding comfort
Somebody finding comfort when their hurting”

Somebody Else’s Story is a song written by John Waller.  (You can listen to it by clicking on the link)  I was listening it in the car this week, and remembered Joy and how she said God is using me to make a difference in her story.

“I wanna be the one
To shine the light of Jesus
Into their darkness”

When God reaches down to the deepest darkest hurts and brings light, dispells shame and heals you there… you just want to share that with someone!  You want to help somebody else.

“This hope in me was not meant to be
Contained inside I’ve got to give it away”

When God brought me Joy to share with, the joy ran…runs deep in my soul.  Somehow the events of the past make more sense…it is somehow ok-er than it was.

“So lead me to that someone I pray
Lord, I wanna bring you glory
In somebody Else’s story”

I was overcome with gratefulness and joy, that God has done such a work in my own life that he can use my story to help others and bring glory to Himself.

That’s what it is all about, really. We are comforted so we can comfort others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Whether it is being able to comfort others in having children with special needs and autism, or dealing with life threatening food allergies and asthma, or sharing the hope and comfort God rains down in the midst of Rheumatoid Arthritis with someone else who has it, or healings of tragic events of the past, it is a treasure and honor, an absolute joy to be able to be a part of somebody else’s story and bring God glory.

(All quotes are lyrics from John Waller’s song, Somebody Else’s Story)

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Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head!

I’ve just got this vision playing in my mind, that takes place about 20 years from now.  I am 60 years old, carrying my 25 year old Sketch,who won’t step foot in the rain.  I’m wondering how that is going to work?

I am sure he’ll come to tolerate the rain a bit better by then than he does now, but at this point, his total disgust and fear of the rain is getting worse, not better!

Today I was coming home from taking him to OT, and the darkened skies opened wide, spilling it’s heavy rains to the earth.

When we got home, Sketch wanted just one thing:  to be in the house where it was dry.  There was just one problem with this what-should-be easily solved problem. He has to get though the torrential downpour that is blocking his way between the car and the house.

At first he wouldn’t even come near the car door.  When I opened it, with the umbrella in hand, he backed up away from the open-to-the-dreaded-rain door.  He was not ready to face his fear head-on….or, head under, as the case may be!

“Come on, Sketch, I’ll carry you!  See?  I have an umbrella to keep you dry. It will be ok!”

“Are you all done? AHHHHH!”

“Sketch, it’s ok, I’ll carry you in and keep you dry!  Then you can get your blue blanket (his favorite thing)”

“Ahhh!  All Done!” Sketch screams and cries in objection.

It took about 5 minutes of convincing him that it is safe, and worth it, to let me carry him in.  He screamed all the way… I’m sure the 4 steps to the porch and 4 stair-steps up to the door seemed to be more like 4 miles long, with each inch looming with the potential disaster of getting wet…of having “spots” on his shirt…of his shoes having a darker shade of leather than they did before…or…here’s the worst…wet hair!

But, it didn’t happen.  I kept him dry, just as I promised…all the while getting my own feet wet from walking in puddles since I couldn’t see the way while carrying him…my back was spotted with rain drop stains, my shoulders sore from attempting to coordinate the umbrella and Sketch at the same time.  But Sketch, he was ok.

Except, he didn’t think he was.

If I thought he was screaming before, it was just a minor whimper in comparison to what came next.  Now that he’s in the house and dry & safe, he lets loose with the high pitch alarm sounding scream…the one usually reserved for severe pain or terror!

Ignoring his screams, I sit with him by the fire place to get warm and dry.  I grab a extra-comfortable quilted blanket with a rainbow colored sunburst in the center, and wrap it around us both.

He giggles.

I squeeze, and he giggles in relief, again.

I just hold him and warm him and give him squeezes of pressure & hugs that make him feel safe.  (I really don’t mind this part at all!)

We cuddle by the fire, feeling safe from the dangers outdoors.

Sometimes we have a storm in our lives, or a dreaded event, or something we just don’t like.  And we have to endure it to get to the promised land of comfort & safety. And just like I carried Sketch in the house, God offers to guide and protect us as well, while we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death”  We don’t need to fear any evil, for “your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

And even though we may be absolutely dreading the path we have to take, and it takes all we have to make that first step out of the door into the arms of God (who’s holding us under a really big umbrella), God is there and He carefully takes us to the other side.  God takes the rain on his own shoes and back.  “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

And once we are safe… we may still feel a bit traumatized by the whole thing.  We may still want to throw our fit and scream:  “Did it really have to happen THAT way God???  Couldn’t you magically get me here from the car while avoiding the rain???”

And God comes, and takes us by the warm fire of his presence, re-assures us with his Word, and wraps us with the Holy Spirit like a blanket, and comforts us.  And we relax. And we may giggle at how silly we were about the magic tricks, or the situation we dreaded so much but just turned out to be no big deal in comparison to God. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

Often at the point of finally relaxing, we want to just move on. To get up and start doing things that need to be done.  But I encourage you to follow Sketch’s example and to not do that.  Treasure the moment. Stop by the fire place and rest, soak in the love of our incredible Savior.  Rest in the presence of God, absorb the Words of God and soak in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

It’s still raining outside here in Maine, and maybe it is still raining where you are too. Maybe you are about to take that first step out of the car to make the journey to the other side, and to you I say:

Fear not, the God of the universe is waiting to take you safely over, hand-in-hand, or perhaps by carrying you all the way.


Sensory Overload

We just returned from our first visit to a local amusement park. After Tuesdays’ adventures we were a bit hesitant, but since we were given tickets as a Christmas gift, and they were only good for the current season, we decided we better try it before they expire. We were pretty sure that the twins would have a blast, but Sketch was the big question mark.

Once we were in the middle of the park, with rides in action all around us, Sketch became quite panicked. He was completely overwhelmed at all the flying objects around him. I could almost hear his thoughts through his expression of sheer terror and hands covering his ears (and as much of his head as possible), “Mommy! Watch out! The trains are flying though the air! What is going on? It is going to get us! Come over here, Mommy! It isn’t safe! That awful noise is too loud! What does it mean? I think it means danger. Mommy, come! Now!”

And for a little 5 year old boy who has never seen anything like a roller coaster, or any other amusement park rides, it was pretty overwhelming. I mean, why wouldn’t that coaster fly off the tracks suspended in figure 8’s high in the sky? How is he supposed to know that the coaster is attached to the tracks? How can he understand the laws of physics that are at work, or the engineering done to make it safe? For most kids, they probably just take it for granted, that the coaster is “stuck” to the tracks and that it is safe.

Needless to say, Sketch did not go on the roller coaster. But, he did go on some of the kiddie rides. His first was a little contraption somewhat like a merry-go-round that was disguised as whales swimming in the water. Princess Buttercup had the honor of sitting with Sketch on his very first ride. Sketch was in front of the whale car and Princess Buttercup was in the back seat of the same one. The ride began, and the whales spun in a circle (relatively slowly) around and around. For more than half the ride, Sketch didn’t look so good…he was looking..a bit… woozy? He called for me as he went around, I could see his lips form the word, “Mommy?” as he looked at me outside the gate.

He was very brave though. He walked in the gate with Princess Buttercup and didn’t require me to come with him, although he obviously preferred it. The ride seemed to last forever for Sketch. Toward the end of the ride he seemed to be getting comfortable with it and started signing to himself and singing songs. He even smiled. Then the ride was over. Sketch came out and wanted to go again! We showed him another ride where the kids could sit in a gigantic tea cup and spin in tight circles like a sit-n-spin, as the contraption moved around like a merry-go-round. Sketch got on with Dash & Princess Buttercup and the twins made sure to maximize the spin-factor… But, Sketch handled it well and wanted to ride it again!

I think over all, he decided that this new scary stuff is actually more fun than scary. Trying new things is not what Sketch is known for. But his curiosity and those colorful, fun-looking, lit up rides convinced him to try it. What was initially a complete sensory overload became a huge blessing for him. At the end of the day, he was not too happy to leave the park behind in exchange for his well-known bed.

Sometimes God has something new for us, and it looks overwhelming. Unsafe, even. We may find ourselves thinking, “We might get hurt if we do that!” We don’t understand how it all works, but God has it all planned out. Once we step out in faith, and get on the ride, we discover a treasure we never would have known about. A treasure we now cannot imagine living without. Often stepping into the unknown involves vulnerability. We may not fear flying off the coaster tracks, but fear being hurt emotionally by other people. But stepping out and experiencing that treasure of relationships, by serving and loving others like Jesus did, opens the door to a whole different perspective on the world that we won’t want to exchange for the way things have been, in the safety of our routine. It is a sensory overload experience that turns into a blessing we will never forget.

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