Sunday, July 27, 2014

What If

Imagine yourself in this situation.
What if God, the almighty creator of the world, the One who is fully trustworthy, fully just, fully loving, and the ultimate healer, came to you and told you He had a precious gift for you.
His gift was a child.
Imagine He told you that he wanted no one else but you to have this child.
Imagine He told you that this child would change your life in every way, this child would bring such incredible joy to your life.
Imagine that He then told you that your life would not be ordinary, you would not be able to have a life like everyone else, but the reward would be indescribable.
Imagine that God told you that this child would have many challenges and those challenges would make life hard often.
Imagine that God told you that He knew YOU were the perfect parents for this remarkable child.
What would you say?
Can you even imagine saying no?
Yet sometimes we question God. Why is this happening to my child?  This can't be God's plan.  What if in your sorrow or anger or depression you are missing all the joy that God has for you and for your child through this situation?
The fact is, God did give YOU this child as a gift.  He trusted you to care for them and He wants you to trust Him in all things and through all things, even hard times.
My mom told me this one day as she described what a blessing Jacob would be to my life. People sometimes lose the big picture as they struggle with deep despair, stress, financial problems, marital problems.  The big picture is that GOD is in complete control. He did give you this child.  Are you embracing your circumstances in a way that honors God and shows Him that you are thankful for His gift? 
For me, I find myself sometimes complaining about therapies, speech difficulties, treatment costs, safety issues. I lose the big picture. I get lost in the stress so often. 
God, You are holy.  Let your will be done in my life.  Remind me that YOU are in control.  Thank you for my precious gift.  I do not say NO to you, I say YES. Please show me how to use this gift to honor you. Show me how to give glory to you through all the stress or pain or hardships and in the good times and laughter and joy.  Help me in parenting all of my precious children.  Help me to see beyond my life and focus on YOU. What would you would have me do for you and your kingdom? Thank you for sending your Son to die on the cross for my sins. 
In JESUS' name,
Psalm 127:3-5English Standard Version (ESV)
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the children[a] of one's youth.
Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.[b]
Psalm 139:13-16English Standard Version (ESV)
13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
Proverbs 3:5English Standard Version (ESV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.


Friday, July 25, 2014

When the teacher said she didn't want "that kid" in her class...

I recently wrote a letter to a mom/teacher last week that has caused quite a buzz.  I think it stirred people up because the topic needs to be spoken about.  Teachers need more training and assistance and sometimes they need a little more understanding and compassion for people with ASD. 
We were at Tyler's t-ball game and a teacher made a very hurtful comment about a special needs child on the team saying, "I pray to God he isn't in my class next year." I was simply shocked.  I just stared at her for several minutes, composing myself thinking about what I could say.  She didn't realize that my son with special needs was sitting right in between us. My daughter looked at me and said, "MOM! What are you going to say to her.  Tell her he has special needs." I didn't say anything. I knew that a quick reaction probably wouldn't help in that moment and really I felt sad.  I was sad for her and I was sad for any special needs child who is in a class with a  teacher that doesn't want them.  I went home, got her email address, and let her know what I felt about that comment. You can read the letter here:
or on facebook here: and scroll down to the article
Her surprising response to my letter was respectful, but was totally and completely blaming it on bad parenting. Time and time again we hear people blaming the parents.  Autism is a neurological disorder and these children are so remarkable if you take the time to see them, past their diagnosis.  What I wanted people to gain from sharing this letter is important and goes much further than just to this woman.
1. I always feel like the best way to fight hatred, ignorance, and just plain ugliness isn't by lashing out.  We need to educate and help people to understand autism and that there is much more to these special individuals than "bad behavior".  There are many ways to reach them, it may just take some extra training.
2. Always be mindful when little ears are around (and big ears for that matter) especially as a professional.  We adults are responsible for illustrating to these little ones to either be accepting of children with special needs or not.  Regardless of why the child was acting out, whether people believe its the parents, its the disorder, etc. no one needs to say things like this about children. 
3. It is incredibly obvious that teachers need more training as more and more kids with autism are being mainstreamed into their classes.  The fact is, autism is growing in prevalence.  Not all children with autism need to be in a special needs class. Some need to mainstream in order to grow and develop.  This is just a fact. So if you are a teacher and not willing to try and just want to make it a miserable year for everyone,  it may be time to consider a new profession or a teaching job in which children will not be mainstreamed into your class.
4. Even without training, compassion and caring can go a long way.

Colossians 3:12-17English Standard Version (ESV)
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Peter 3:8-9English Standard Version (ESV)
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

Ephesians 4:32English Standard Version (ESV)
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.