But What About Dash: How to explain Jesus to children on the Autism Spectrum

Last week a friend of mine asked me a question. She works for a preschool and also teaches Sunday School, and she has several kids with autism in that mix.

Her question was, “How in the world have you and Mr. Incredible taught your boys about God? How can I as a Sunday School teacher help the children in my class who are autistic gain an understanding of Jesus?”

The question is a hard one to answer, given that people with autism are visual and concrete. They like to SEE, and they like literal.  How does “Jesus lives in your heart” come across to them? I can only imagine.

While thinking about this, I was reminded of when Princess Buttercup was around 3 1/2 years old, and she understood about as much as any three year old that we all sin and need Jesus to take that away for us, and to accept Him into our hearts. It was an amazing night, the night she accepted Jesus.

I remember the following Sunday as if it is the present, not confined by time passed.

We are at church, standing in worship and I am heavily burdened with the thought, “But, what about Dash?”   How will I ever be able to explain God or Jesus to him?  He can’t “see” Jesus, he couldn’t possibly understand the concept of three persons in one, and those being invisible and living in your heart? It makes no sense. How will He ever understand?”

And God meets me right there. Stops me in my thinking tracks and says with a thunderous voice in my heart, “I made him the way he is.  I know how to reach him.”

It struck straight to my core. I didn’t have to figure it all out. God already has.

The captain crashes

One of many unusual places we found him alseep

Dash has always had sleeping problems, as is common for children with ASD’s.

At the age of 2 years 4month, he broke; he gave up his nap in the day and he gave up sleeping at night.

He was suddenly not able to calm his body down.  He would run from one end of his room to the other and crash into the wall and then reverse direction and repeat. Back and forth he’d go until 2am or later, when his body would become so exhausted it could no longer comply with his mind and he would collapse into required sleep.  This is when we “knew” something was wrong and started delving into researching what this could be.

Eventually we discovered Melatonin (Benadryl did not work) and we could finally get him to sleep at a reasonable time–compared to 2am, not reasonable for most 2 year olds!  He’d still often wake up in the night and play and just stay awake.  He slept anywhere between 2 and 6 hours a night.

So when I heard him up in the middle of the night one night shortly after God convinced me that He could reach him, I wasn’t too surprised.

I was surprised, however, to hear what I heard.

I imagine he was standing on his bed, but I don’t know this as the door was closed and I did not interrupt what was going on.  I felt like I was standing on Holy ground.

At the top of his lungs, he was singing, “I stand amazed in the presence, of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how he could love me, a sinner condemned unclean.” You can listen to the song here: I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)

I wonder to this day, what happened in that room.   When I am in Heaven and can ask such questions, I fully expect to find out that Jesus was there; in his room. And Dash stood amazed in his presence. Goosebumps rise and I quiver just thinking about it.

I imagine he was singing the words to the song that explained what was happening at the time. He would often use phrases from songs to say what he didn’t have words for. He didn’t know how to comment, but what he’d see would remind him of a song, so he’d sing it.  Just like the time when I was pouring berry juice concentrate that was a deep dark blue-purple.  Instead of saying, “Wow, that sure is blue!” , he started singing, “I’m so Blue-ue-ue Blue-ue-ue Blue-ue-ue-Ue, I’m so Blue I don’t know what to do!” (from Madame Blueberry, VeggieTales)

Dash has always loved music.  Good music, like the kind we like (insert snicker).

He could sing before he could say words, which wasn’t until he was well over 3 years old.  Every night we all cuddle together on the couch and watch music videos of our favorite artists. We listen to music in the car, in the house. All the time.

Music has a way of reaching us where plain words to not; music can bypass the brain and go straight to the heart.

And God used that, to reach Dash.  He used music to bypass the literal, the visual and penetrate his soul.

_____________________________________________

So back to the original question:  How do we teach the boys about Jesus; how do you teach children with autism about God?

Taking apart what has happened so far in Dash’s 9 year old life, I guess my answer would be mostly to pray for God to reveal himself in a way that he can understand; to reach him.  Next to that, I would recommend using visual tools like felt boards, and pray. And I would recommend using music to teach, and to pray.

Basically, I don’t think I did anything but provide an atmosphere that made it easier for them (Dash, and Sketch who is 7 years old and also has autism) to understand and then let God reach them, his way. No one is too hard for God to reach.  And it may not be “hard” at all, just different. Some people with ASD’s have a more-than-usual closeness to God, they are very aware of his presence.

All this being said, I encourage you to remember that we don’t have to figure it all out. God already has. Our best tool is prayer.

2 Cor 10:4  “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

To us mere neuro-typical types, autism can seem like a stronghold. I think this is because we don’t understand it all.  But God does.  And we are called to pray, which holds divine power to break though…to reach.

2 Chronicles 7:14-15 

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

 

Mirror : rorriM

“Sketch, put your hands up like me!”

He raises his hands with a puzzled expression on his face.

I move my hands slowly.  He follows.  “Good, Robbie!  Do what I do! Follow me!”

He follows. I make a quick movement up to surprise him. He giggles.

“All done? No!” and he runs off.

But, he did it with me for a few minutes and I know he CAN do it.  I had a few minutes of uninterrupted engagement.  No small victory there!

This is one of the  hand games that I’ve been playing with Sketch.  It is similar to Patty Cake, but I call it Mirroring.

I have been playing hand games like this and Patty Cake with Sketch the past few weeks.

Games like this are great because he has to pay attention to what I’m doing;  mirror me, follow me, keep pace with me, anticipate my next move.  I put my hands up, and Sketch puts up his in the same way. I move my hand (or hands) and he is to follow as closely as he can to what I do so he is my mirror image.  It is really quite fun and there are all kinds of opportunity to throw wrenches into the game, like shooting your hand up high without notice.

Sketch likes playing it for a short time.  He thought it was funny when I’d do something unexpected and he’d have to adjust to it. He wasn’t perfect at it by a long stretch, but he tried. And in order to try, he has to remain engaged and focused.

I love it when he’s engaged and focused.  He has so much to offer: Big smiles, joyful eyes, excitement uncontainable. And, he is really, really, bright.  He does not show this to most people, but that boy is really smart.

To play these “mirroring” games, we have to be co-regulated.  Co-regulation reminds me of the Chris Tomlin song, “Where you go I go, When you move I’ll move, In this live I loose, I will follow you”  That is co-regulation in a nutshell.  It is changing your pace to meet someone else’s pace (and visa-versa).

If you are walking with someone and you are far ahead or far behind them, you have to adjust your pace to match your partners in order to being walking WITH them.  Most of us do that easily, and when we are talking and don’t get a response we’d pause and let the other person catch up.  With ASD kids, they may not notice.  They need to practice this skill to develop it.

I could use some work in that department as well.  I don’t know about you, but I find it pretty easy to not go when God says it’s time to go, especially if I’m not expecting a move.  It’s that old fear-of-the-unknown creeping up again.  It’s quite silly of me, because God promises me that he will do more than I can ever ask or imagine!  There is nothing to be afraid of in that.

At the same time, I find it far too easy to move on before He says it’s time to move on.  Knowing, and being excited for what IS coming up, but having to wait for God to give the green light, can be very difficult as well!

If only we could mirror Jesus as easily as playing a game of patty-cake.  I guess the trick is to keep going back and looking in the mirror (the Word of God) to get direction, and to follow it.

James 1:23-24 “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

The other good thing about the mirror analogy, is that one day, we will look in the mirror, and we will not see just an imperfect reflection as we do now, but we will see Him.  Not in a mirror, but face to face.  I can’t wait for that day–the day of 100% engagement with Jesus.

1 Cor 12:13 “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

How about you? Are you engaged with God? Do you find it easy or hard to be co-regulated or mirror Jesus?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

From Bananas to Adoption

Anyone who has known me for a long time, knows that I always wanted to have ten kids. Yup,  t-e-n 10.  I wanted 4 of my own, and to adopt 6, preferably with special needs. Most people who knew this thought I was crazy and I’m sure Mr. Incredible still thinks I’ve gone bananas…

And here we are with 4 kids of our own, 2 with special needs. We are well on our way to that 10!  Well, maybe not anytime soon, but I can always hope 🙂

I have been reading a couple books lately. One is “Kisses From Katie” by Katie Davis and the other is “Choosing To See” by Mary Beth Chapman.

Kisses from Katie is an amazing true story about a young girl, Katie, who at 18 moves to Uganda to care for the orphans and help in any way she can. She fell in love with the people there. One of the most inpactful things I learned from reading this book is that we really need to SEE the needs of the people around us, and to do what we can to meet them. Katie is so amazing.  She would see a child in need, whether for food, education,or clothing, or for medical attention, and she’d do all she could to help them.  All she could…to the point of taking them in her home and nursing them back to health, and starting a foundation called Amazima, to raise money so she could help more and more.

At one point, she was introduced to a tribe whose needs were so great it was overwhelming, and she heard Jesus speak to her heart and tell her he is not asking her to care for everyone. Just the one in front of her. Just the one she is with now.  Just who is there at the moment. One life at a time.  And that is what she did. She ended up adopting 14 children by the age of 22. She believes that adoption is a beautifully biblical picture of what God has done for us…. which leads me to the next book…

I didn’t pick these books, or the order in which to read them, on purpose. It just kinda happened.  I wasn’t thinking about the Chapmans adoptions from China when I downloaded the free kindle book “Choosing To SEE”.  I just love to read about people.

Anyway, adoption is one of the major themes in that book as well, as any of you who are familiar with Steven Curtis Chapman’s music and story already know.  But Mary Beth put into words her view of adoption which hit home even more profoundly.


After feeling afraid that she would not be able to love the child she was about to adopt as much as she loved her natural children, she finally saw and instantly deeply, passionately, loved her baby.  As they handed her to her, she said, “It was like God was speaking to me directly. Mary Beth, you thickheaded woman, do you not understand now that this is the very way I see you?  You are this orphan! I adopted you and you are Mine! I bought you for a price! Do you see how you love this baby?  That’s just a faint reflection of how much I love you! …I saw it.  The second she was placed in my arms, I would have fought to the death to protect her. I loved her with everything inside me.” p86

I had not thought of it like that.  I know that God has adopted us as his children, and that He loves us with a passionate love. BUT, I didn’t really consider that He loves us adopted children, just as much as his own child, Jesus! Just like all my friends that have had the priviledge of adopting children love their adopted JUST AS MUCH.  Of course they do, and I would and we would too!  How could you not?

At this point, you are probably wondering if I have gone bananas what the heck bananas have to do with this?

Well.. let me tell you a story:

I was coming home from Whole Foods and there was a guy who was homeless, asking for help as I was driving home.  The car in front of me passed him so they didn’t have to see him.  He was clearly frustrated by that. He seemed kinda new at it…very frustrated at the lack of help instead of the expressionless face you often see.  Anyway, It was hot and bright and there he was holding a sign. He looked slightly familiar, like one of the guys at our church who plays guitar.

I really felt bad for him. I remembered part of the Kisses from Katie book where Katie talks about doing what you can–even if overwhelmed with the large need, we can often do something…we can offer something. So I looked.

I had may change purse from Peru that my friend brought back for me  when she went on a missions trip.  I got out the quarters out for him. Then I just saw how hot he seemed and imagined how miserable I’d be standing out there. So I thought about what I’d just bought, and realized I could easily give away a banana and help him out a lot, and I wouldn’t even miss it!

So I gave him a banana and some quarters. He came to life. I felt the tingling go from my hand that was giving him food, down my arm to my heart and I had chills all over. He was more than thankful. Heart felt “God bless you!”‘s were given.  I think though, that I was blessed more than him.  I was in tears. I couldn’t talk to him b/c the light changed but I also couldnl’t talk because I was so tearful and overwhelmed. It was like giving food to God. Like I saw Jesus in his eyes, just like you hear people talk about.  It was really amazing.

I was thinking about how easy that was. I reached for my drink…an unopened bottle of water that I kept in a cooler so I’d have a cold drink for the way home. I could have given him that too!  He really needed it more than me.  Then I was thinking about bananas.  They are nutrition packed fruit of the potassium, but also their peels are great for writing notes on!  And, you don’t have to wash it first before eating!  The peel if discarded is biodegradable so no worries about finding a trashcan or littering. It really is the perfect thing to give away!
So now I’m thinking of making up bags with water, bananas with notes When I see those people on the side of the street, I can give them that instead of looking the other way…something, unfortunately, I usually did.  The bananas may carry on them a note that tells the people about the God who SEE’s them.
Now I’m thinking about how I can love others…because Jesus does.  He wants us to do what we can to help those in need, even if just one at a time..help the person in front of you.

1 John 3:1  See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

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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)

Treasures From Distant Lands

Princess Buttercup Sewing her Owl

Or, not so distant, as the Lands are just as close to me as the Land of Autism.

I have been tinkering with the idea of expanding the content of my blog from writing mostly about Treasures found in the context of raising children with Autism, to include writing about the Treasures I find from the Land of My Other Children, and the Land of Dealing with Aggressive Rheumatoid Arthritis, and the other Lands I travel through In Life in general.

Yesterday, I read my dear friend Fi’s blog, Wonderfully Wired, and saw that she is also being led in this direction so I have taken that as confirmation to do the same.

It’s so exciting to explore new lands full of adventure!

As a teaser to what’s to come… Here is the Treasure I’ve found this morning:

“Mommy, I forgot to tie my knot!” Princess Buttercup says in a “that’s silly” kinda voice.

She has been sewing her Owl pillow that she got for her 9th birthday in November.

“Oh, you don’t want to forget that!  Bad things happen when you forget to tie your knot!” I say, as I imagine all the work of pulling a string through all those stitches just to have the stitches come out as fast as they went in.  All that hard work for nothing…

I think about the knot at the end of my string…like an anchor, Jesus.

The Knot

If I were sewing through the tough fabrics of life without my knot, I would either get No Where, or, I would have a very Hard Landing.  I’m sure I would not have survived some of those Hard Landings if I didn’t have Jesus holding me, catching me as the Knot anchors the first stitch to the fabric.

Hebrews 6:19-20  “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”

Numbers 24:21 “Your dwelling place is secure, your nest is set in a rock”

The question of the day is:  Do you have a Knot at the end of your string?

Bonus:  Princess Buttercups Treasure:

A home-made needle threader!

Home-made Needle Threader

The Gift and the Giver: Merry Christmas!

A couple weeks ago, Dash was in such a hurry (and believe it or not, fighting with his sister) that he left on the bus without his bookbag (insert quivering lip of Dash here).  Knowing how much this would upset him, I drove the bookbag over to the school at my first opportunity.  Dash had just arrived and he & his (wonderful) Ed Tech (we’ll name her  Ms. Best) were just about to call me when I walked in the doors. He saw me come with his bag and his face lit up with the biggest smile and arms open WIDE. For a minute, I thought he was going to give me a big hug…but no, that was for his beloved book bag. “My book bag!” he said as he grabbed it.

Oh well… His smile defied his actions and hugged me anyway.  Pretty amazing to be able to give someone that much happiness with just one small action, one gift.

I was thinking about this and how Dash seemingly noticed the gift more than the giver of the gift, and thought about how often we do the same thing with the Giver gives us gifts. He wants us to seek Him first, not his gifts.

But when God gave us the ultimate gift, Jesus, He gave us a gift work seeking.

James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…”  Today being Christmas Eve, as I read this I think of the lights on the Christmas tree.  May the lights shining down on the gifts below, remind us of the Father who’s give His perfect gift in the form of a baby on Christmas morning.

While looking for that verse in James, I found a couple other verses that are worth pondering as we open gifts this Christmas.

The first is Deuteronomy 26:11 “Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household.”

The second is 2 Corinthians 9:8:  And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

This Christmas, let us rejoice in the Giver, the Gift, and rejoice in the good things God has given us, so that we will abound in every good work.

Merry Christmas everyone!  May our smiles and lit-up faces hug our Savior this year!



Be Still And Know

Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know I’m here
Be still and know I love you so
Be still and know I’m near

Be still and know I’m who I say
Be still and know I AM
Be still and know I am Truth
Be still and know I can

Be still and know I can do what I say
nothing is too hard
Be still and know you can do all things
My Word is in your heart

Be still and know you’re who I say
Be still and know you’re Mine
Be still and know you are My child
Be still and know you’re My design

Be still and know you are forgiven
Be still and know you’re clean
Be still and know I am the Healer
Be still and know you’re free

Be still and know I move the mountains
the powers in My Word
Be still and know My Word is active
speak it so it’s heard

I wrote this poem as a response to the Bible study we are doing at church, Believing God, by Beth Moore.  I decided to post it here, because so often we forget that these things are true about our children with (or without) ASD as well.  So if you read it thinking about this being true for yourself, go back and read it again with your child in mind.  It’s really neat to think about God’s Word being alive and active in our kids, with their child-like faith…that they could speak to the mountain, and it move.

Struck Down But Not Destroyed

‘Twas a dark and stormy night… well, it was the night that Hurricane Irene blew threw New England.  As lightening struck randomly outside, it seemed to have struck very specifically inside. Right through to my joints, introducing a whole new texture to the dust in our lives.

I woke up in the middle of the night to feed Polkadot, and when I tried to move, I realized I’d been struck by lightening.  At least, that’s how it felt.  My joints were on fire.  The next day I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with bursitis in my right shoulder, and the other achy joints were kind of dismissed as tendonitis due to repetitive motion from dealing with a new baby…basically, it was a coincidence that they were all hurting at once.

Over the next few days, the “achy” joints became excruciatingly painful as well.  I was unable to do anything without the electrocuting pain bringing me to tears. It seemed like I was crippled over night.  It was clear, that this was more than it initially seemed.  Over the next few weeks, after many calls to the doctor, and much labwork, I have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  RA is a life-long autoimmune condition that has devastating potential as it damages the joints and possibly internal organs as well.

So here we are, a brand new baby (now 8 weeks old!) and 3 other kids, 2 with Autism/Adhd, posssibly Tourettes not to mention the food allergies of anaphylactic proportions!  If it didn’t hurt so much, it would almost be humorous.  At some point, enough is enough.  At some point, the options are to give up completely, or to rely on the God who holds all things together…especially my joints!

It’s funny what people think at times like this.  Said aloud or thought silently, they are there non-the-less… Questions.

“How could this happen?  You did not need this!  What are you going to do? How are you managing with your family? How could God let this happen?  You have enough on your plate already!”

The questions have run through my head as well, which is probably why that “look” is all I need to hear it in someone else.

It’s ok though. To ask the questions, that is.  They need to be asked, after all!  Better to wonder where God is in this than to NOT wonder where he is!

And the questions don’t scare me. As I said, I’ve thought them, and God has supplied the answers, the comfort. He’s sung the songs over me at night, whispering to me in the morning.

I remember one day specifically when the lyrics of 2 songs collided beautifully in my mind.

One was Tommy Walkers, “I Have a Hope” (lyrics are listed below).  We’d sung it in church right after the pain had started. The song is one of the most uplifting songs out there, reminding me that God has a plan for me that is good (despite my circumstances) and that He can turn this darkness into light.  He is giving me a new beginning, not a painful end!

The other song was “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns.  I woke up one morning to that song playing in my mind, loudly in my ears as if God were placing headphones on me!  The chorus says:

“But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth”

The lyrics to those two songs intermixed in my mind for the next few days. As I would be thinking of how scary this is, not knowing what was happening to me, and if it would ever end, “Do not be afraid!” would remind me that “I have a destiny that is yet awaiting me.  My life’s not over, a new beginning’s just begun”.  And then the chorus would come “I will yet praise Him, my great Redeemer. I will yet stand up and give Him glory with my Life. He takes my darkness and He turns it into light I will yet praise Him, my Lord my God.”  And that would remind me that “This is for my glory” and I WILL choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth!  “Though trials may come, I have this hope!”

How’s that for cool?  The God of the universe is entering my world through music, strengthening my faith, encouraging me to believe Him.  To believe that His promises are still true, regardless of my circumstances and as a matter of fact, because trials do come in this life, they are there to encourage me!  Why would God bother with promises if we never had need of them?

And finally, the big question looming out there that no one wants to ask is:  Why did He give us a surprise baby to care for  and then allow this?

That one is easy.  Polkadot is such a Joy to have here with me, and amidst the worst pain, when she smiles at me, that smile strikes straight through that pain, into my heart and reminds me that God has been so good to me!

So it has been not of my own strength, but because of His presence, His words, His body, even… that I have not been destroyed in this.

The body, our local church, has been wonderful in all this. Encouraging me, praying fervently, helping with things that I can no longer do. And the part of the body closest to me, My wonderful Mr. Incredible, has used his super-strength now for 3 weeks, being my arms to reach and lift things, my hands to open packages and containers. He’s been my fingers, tying my shoes, and basically he has been my whole body, doing most everything for the kids.

I may have been struck down, but they are here to help me up.  I may have been struck down, but I have not been destroyed. As a matter of fact, in my weakness, God is making my faith strong…

2 Corinthians 12:9-10: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I HAVE A HOPE by Tommy Walker

I have a hope, I have a future
I have a destiny that is yet awaiting me
My life’s not over, a new beginning’s just begun
I have a hope, I have this hope

God has a plan, it’s not to harm me
But it’s to prosper me and to hear me when I call
He intercedes for me, working all things for my good
Though trials may come I have this hope

Chorus
I will yet praise Him, my great Redeemer
I will yet stand up and give Him glory with my life
He takes my darkness and He turns it into light
I will yet praise Him, my Lord my God

My God is for me, He’s not against me
So tell me whom then, tell me whom then shall I fear
He has prepared for me
Great works He’ll help me to complete
I have a hope, I have this hope

Goodness and mercy, they’re gonna follow me
And I’ll forever dwell in the house of my great King
No eye has ever seen all He’s preparing there for me
Though trials may come, I have this hope

Bridge
There’s still hope for me today
‘Cause the God heaven loves me

Unauthorized Paint

The other morning Dash was on one of his missions to destroy…in his quiet impulsive way so you don’t know what happened for a while after the deeds are done.

Quick like  a bunny hopping in the snow, he went went from thing to thing…first it was coloring in Princess Buttercups new Make Your Own Calendar, then he did that again… then he “smartly” moved on to fiddling with the buttons on my new teapot–took a while to figure out what those beeps were from!  And then…I noticed the paint.

Yes, the paint.  I sat down to look at my “art work” from the night before, and saw that he had gone in my drawer attached to my new easel and got a new tube of red paint… opened it and squeezed a big spiral right in the middle of my cobalt blue masterpiece!!!  Ok, it really was my first attempt at watercolors, and I was trying to practice different techniques I had read about, but boy did that infuriate me!!!  After all, I created that “imperfect work becoming art” piece!

While Dash was in time out, and I was trying to finish getting ready for church, I continued stewing over this.  It is so frustrating!  He had no right to ruin my creation like that.

And you know, I truly believe that God feels that way too… when someone “messes up” or mistreats one of His creations, His work of art…one of his children.  He hurts for us when we are mistreated–when someone markes up His masterpiece!

Often, at the time when we, or a loved one, are mistreated in some way, we don’t think of Him that way.  Maybe he seems distant or uncaring…after all, he DID allow it to happen, he could have stopped it, right?

Well, maybe, but one thing I do know and want to focus on is that He is not uncaring.  I mean, we just celebrated Christmas, the birth of Christ, The Savior entering into the world as flesh and  blood!  God sent his only son as a baby to save the world, because of His love for us. And because he sent him as a newly conceived baby, Jesus lived his entire life here.

He experienced everything we do, so that he could sympathise with us… or more to the point, so that we would KNOW he has been there, done that, had that happen to Him.  That WE would know that He has experienced everything we have been through, and can completely understand.  Not only understand, but Jesus went through all he did here in his life without ever sinning, not even a bad thought. He was perfect so that he could save us.  God cares THAT much.  His own perfect Son was brutally mistreated.  He understands.

Funny thing is, that he could have stopped it all whenever he wanted. He could have given up.  But he didn’t. It was because of the joy set before him: us, that he persevered.  And I am so eternally grateful, because if he gave up, stopped, or made things “easier” for him, then he would not be able to understand.  He would not have conquered all the struggles and temptations, he would not have given us hope that there is a way out.  And in a way, it would be hard to prove that He really cared that much.  But instead, God went to the ultimate extreme to demonstrated the depths of love he has for us…

The word “caring” is really an understatment.

Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”

Hebrews 2:17 “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Hebrews 12:2 “For the joy setbefore him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Conquering the Rain!

A few weeks ago, I watched one of the most beautiful sights unfold before my eyes.

It was a dark and stormy night.  Well, not really, but it was a rainy afternoon, which in our house can turn into a dark and stormy night pretty quick!  If you are new to my blog, you can catch up on the rain posts here and here.

On this rainy afternoon though, Sketch blew me away… and it wasn’t even windy!  I had to meet him at the bus at the end of our long driveway.  So he had much farther to travel to get into the house, than when I was homeschooling him.  Plus, now I am expecting our fourth child (a surprise treasure from God, for sure!), and I simply am not able to carry him all the way in, as I had before.

So I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to make this work.  I decided to walk up to the bus with Sketch’s frog umbrella.  He loves that frog umbrella when it is dry, and he’s inside!  Not once has he used it in the rain. He always rejects it and while terrified of getting wet, he asks, “Carry?”.  So I thought if he saw me use it in the rain, he’d understand that it will keep him dry too.

When he stepped off the bus, he looked at the umbrella with a smile.  I handed it to him but he didn’t reach for it so I took his two hands and had him hold it.  When he seemed steady with it, I slowly released my hands.

Bigger Smile!

And he was soooo proud of himself!  He held it very tightly, and just seemed amazed at how it was keeping him dry.  He didn’t go in the house when we got to our door, he kept walking around in the backyard, cute as can be…soaking up his victory!

From our back window, this is what I saw:

Isn’t it beautiful?  There he is holding that umbrella as if it were the Flag, as if he were marching!  Maybe it was his victory march for conquering his rain fears 🙂  When I saw him walking around like that, tears came to my eyes…and granted, I am pregnant so maybe it was just the horrormones (as my friend, Kay, would call them), but really, what I was thinking about that made this picture so beautiful to me is what has happened to to get him to this place.

After the post Short, Sweet, and Silly was written, I had to take Sketch in the rain to OT.  He surprisingly didn’t object to leaving the house!  He didn’t want to get wet or deal with rain, but he didn’t let his fears stop him! (Lesson #1) and he asked to “Carry?” which I did.  He didn’t just have me simply carry him though.  When I picked him up, he wrapped his little long legs all around my waist and his little long arms all the way around my neck (almost twice!) and he clinged to me so tightly that I didn’t even have to hold him!  If I let go, he was just there, unbudged!  (Lesson #2)

The next time it rained, he did the same thing. Just accepted the rain and clung to me as if his life depended on it.

And the next time, it was a Sunday and we were at church.  Mr. Incredible got to carry him this time and I got to watch Sketch cling to him in the same adorable way.

It’s just intensely beautiful…because this is just what God wants us to do with our fears.  He does not want us to be held back by them, but to cling to Him through them!

Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God must have been holding up Sketch under that umbrella, making the safety of His presence known to him.

And he’ll do it for you too!  Do not be afraid!  And as my favorite potty training card says, “You go girl!”

Merry Christmas everyone!

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