On being forged into a warrior mom

If I could summarize our journey from Hell to HOPEISM, it would be in my faith, which I call HOPEISM. It has been my weapon of choice to get me through each battle I have had to fight in my mission to win our war called life with autism and seizures. Vaccine injury to be more specific. It would also be in committing to heart, soul, & mind the words and motto's from Forged, NDCQ, the Lone Survivor, and Levi Lusko in his book, "Through the Eyes of a Lion." I will be forever grateful to the inspiration, encouragement, and mental fortitude found through all of them collectively. Because of that, I am not allowing this tragedy of vaccine injury that has come into our lives to be an obstacle to being used by God. I am instead turning it into an opportunity to be used like never before!

This blog is dedicated to Brandon. His life has been forged by difficulty, obstacles, & all too often because of seizures - pain, blood, broken teeth, & broken bones. Yet through all that he has shown such fortitude. The bravery, strength, & resilience of a true warrior. He taught me that having strength through adversity means that even if you lose every battle, like the Lone Survivor, you never quit fighting until you win the war. That in the words of "NDCQ," you keep "dreaming," keep "daring," & keep "doing." As Team Guppy has yet to be able to escape vaccine injury, we have no choice but to as Levi Lusko writes, "Run toward the Roar." God has indeed given us such incredible power in enduring such impossible pain.

Some days the HOPEISM in that simply takes my breath away.

August 3, 2010

Can you be a Bible-belt church and not be buckled-in to the word of God?

There was a shocking statistic linked to an article on one of my Facebook friend's pages a few days ago about the number of people who have disabilities who are not being served by a church.  
So shocking was the statistic that I can't even remember it, nor did I think to save it to share here.

But trust me, it was shocking.

One of my good advocate-friends Clay shared this personal commentary about that issue as well:

"OK, let's get to the point: Texas has more folks sitting in church pews yet less community support per capita for people w/disabilities than any other state. This is in direct conflict with the bible and someone with an M.Div should... care. There's grant money available to get a discussion going. Ready, get set...GO!

Another of my Facebook friends Marty, replied to Clay's thoughts along the lines of:  It shouldn't take someone with a M. Div to figure that out...

Ok, I'll go......

Clay, Marty, --  I agree.

While my thoughts usually more resemble the "far side" of things, I think that the issue goes even before that. 

Before being a Christian in the church, and waaayyyy before becoming a Pastor or Master of anything in life.

That problem begins with each of us as parents.

As parents (and before autism I was included in that bunch too) we scrutinize every toy our children play with for chemical or choking hazards, we scour every food ingredient on the ingredients list to make sure it's pure and wholesome, and we make our children say 'please' and 'thank you,' be obedient to our authority, and not throw fits in public.

All things we should do for their health & safety and for the benefit of them growing up to be responsible members of society.

But yet we turn away when on the playground those very same children ignore those with disabilities, stare at them unknowingly, thus creating that atmosphere of exclusion.

Simply because as adults we're not quite so sure what to do either.

We put our kids in the best pre-schools because we want them to be with the best.  If we are white middle-to-upper class --- can we really say we would seek out pre-schools of all black or other minority children?  Even if they're just as prestigious?

As if Dr. Seuss reads any different to a poor child, or a child with a disability, than it does for a middle-class white child without any disability.

My answer would have been no. 

Not because I did it on purpose, but because we just don't think about that.

We go with what we know... and with who society says belongs or doesn't belong.

I actually think Sesame Street is to blame for this.

Remember this song?

One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn't belong, ...

We teach our children from an early age to pick out that which isn't the same, doesn't belong.

And unfortunately, that has translated to people.

We put our children, with children like our own children.

From pre-schools to play-groups.

We do that for our children - and they grow up to be the people in the church who say that the homeless, poor, minority, or disabled are not who we as a church need to "focus on" reaching, teaching, and ministering to.

As if they don't need to hear about who Jesus is too....

As mommies arranging playdates for our kids, do we seek out and invite children who can't walk? Can't see? Are different ethnicities than ours?

Or gasp, do we take our children to the homeless shelters to have a play-date with the children there?

Watching the movie, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was a must see for me.  It truly opened my eyes as to how innocent children are about their differences, until someone tells them about their differences.

This topic hit home personally to me a few weeks back.  I get church e-newsletters from some different churches we had visited or who had programs my son liked, I liked, etc.

I was looking at some upcoming classes at one, and hit the 'contact' e-mail to inquire about one such program.  

I explained that I had a sixteen year-old son with autism and if they had any program for him while I was in the class.

The response was basically that serving that population was not their focus.  Wasn't where they felt God leading them, or their resources.

That made me chuckle, though it was far from funny.

Chuckle that even me, a Bible-scripture dunce compared to most at my church, could even 'get' how wrong that statement had to be.

How in the world could this church, this leadership in this church, right here in the middle of the Bible-belt, be so NOT buckled into the actual intent of God's word?

How can serving people in your own backyard, NOT be a focus?  Not be worthy of your resources?

But yet their words, and the words of so many other churches, are exactly that.

I guess we think someone else will serve them.

Well trust me on this leaders in the church, no one else is.

A church planted downtown had best not be there to serve only those wealthy executives who make the church possible, but those on the streets who maybe think that a God who could save them, love them, reform them, - is impossible. 

A church planted where there are poor, elderly, those with disabilities, - has the responsibility to serve them, resources or no resources, as well as all whom God put in their community. 

For us as Christians in a church and church leaders to say that we don't serve a particular population because 'it's not our focus' -- is just plain wrong.

Again, I'm not a Bible scholar, but it seems to me that the stories I remember, were of Jesus helping the poor, the sick, those with disabilities, widows, adulterers, etc....

I don't remember many stories of Jesus helping someone who was perfect.

I don't ever remember reading in the Bible how much money it took for Jesus to perform a miracle in someone's life either.

How much it hurt his budget to heal those who couldn't pay.

And I don't remember stories in the Bible where Jesus or the Disciples were sued for damages or liable for injuries, etc.

More excuses I often hear for not pursuing programs.

Did Jesus not heal the paralytic lowered through tiles on the roof because he wasn't sure if insurance covered that?

Did the people who lowered that paralytic not do it because they might be sued for roof tile damages?

I think in the church today, we have hindered ourselves helpless in that respect.

It's not about who we can help, it's about how cost effective it is to help them.

It's about whether we'll be sued trying.

Which in my far-side view, makes us just as pathetic as raising our kids to 'don't stare, it's not polite' -- while not ever taking that step in the Jordan river to know just who it is we're not to stare at.

And whether or not they know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

I'm so proud to be a part of a church has it's belt buckle buckled tightly in the word of God.

Michelle M. Guppy

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