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 7, 2011
On being tried, convicted, & hung on my own pitifulness.
It was the first Sunday in a long while that I have actually attended church. Many Sunday's missed because of Brandon's penchant for having seizures on Sunday mornings. Many more times because of a period of personal "pondering" and getting things back in focus that needed to get back in focus to return.
And two things I was reminded of today, on my first day back:
1) The Worship should leave you feeling invigorated, inspired.
2) The Message should leave you feeling convicted.
I was both, and it was very challenging. I mean really. Typically on the first day back at school you're allowed to "ease" into it, in terms of review or something. One doesn't expect a final exam on the first day! But I felt as emotionally drained as if I had just taken a final exam or something. And I mean that in a good way. If worship doesn't leave you invigorated & inspired, it wasn't the worship that was wrong. It wasn't the music too fast, too slow, too old, or too new. It was you. It was your distraction. Of your thoughts. Of your wants. Of your prejudice.
If the message, sermon, preaching, -whatever you call it in your church, doesn't leave you convicted of something in your life that you need to change or do better, or dare I say, - do... Yes, as if you were on trial and being examined, and cross-examined, then it's not that the message was wrong, it is that your heart is wrong. It's not the Pastor being judgemental, it's your selfish desires & stubbornness not wanting to be called into judgement.
And if as a Christian I am to be known as anything, it has to be about being honest. In the good, the bad, and the ugly. I know nothing else. I best not brag when I'm right if I'm not willing to admit when I'm wrong. I best not portray my greatness if I'm not willing to expose my weakness.
I have to say, that today was one of those "be honest with yourself" times that quite frankly sucked after I got over myself to see that.
A simple stage reminded me of that. The picture shown above was the stage at church today. Nothing else. No band, no instruments, no choir, no nothing. No fancy props, no expensive decorations, no lighting effects, no trendy/pretty/fashionable anything.
In today's philosophy of extravagance and entertainment, that was pretty bold a move by the worship leader. People do judge books by cover, not content. Which is why my respect level for that worship leader just went through the roof. My life is based on focusing on the content, not the cover. My son's cover is Autism. So many people write him off by just that. Never bothering to look at his content. Which if they would take the time too, they would see is love. Beautiful, pure, innocent, unconditional love. Which is what this world craves. Yet because of his autism, his cover, - they miss out.
I wonder how many visitors or even church members will miss out on what today at church was about, simply because of the cover?
I don't know what anyone else there today saw, but I saw Jesus. Or rather felt his presence. I saw the way church was, and should be. People gathered in the grass around Jesus sitting in a shack or under a tree. No lighting but the sun. No props, just the people. No band, just the sound of voices singing to their Savior. Perhaps why today's worship and message touched me so, is because worship and a message had a chance to touch me so. Without all the other distractions that take our focus and attention away.
Something the Pastor said explains it perfectly for me... He said something along the lines of "You can have a form of religion and totally miss out on the power of God." I think we have. I think we've made religion a form of complicated entertainment where because of that, we have totally missed out on the simplicity of a complex God.
I know I have lately. I've hit "send" when I should have hit "delete". I've had feelings hurt when I assumed instead of questioned. I've spoken when I should have shut up. I've judged when I should have simply loved.
I've harbored resentment when I should have instead used that time for resolution.
I've quite frankly screwed up in many ways, and that's not an invitation to reply, "No, you're great...". Another thing wrong with our culture lately is that we can't just admit we're wrong. And my thinking has been wrong. It's as if God knew the day I would get my blue-streak-feather-in-hair, jeans & t-shirt self back into church, and saved today for just that occasion. No feast for this prodigal daughter, just Jesus and the final exam of all Christianity boils down to...
Joshua 22 -- "....but be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul."
Much like how church has become a production and gone so very far from what it's called to be in the book of Acts, my actions in what to focus on and how to think about certain situations has gone further.
And it's amazing how a plain simple little crooked wood shack on an 'as far as today's standards go' ugly stage showed me all of that.
And I thank all involved.
I was inspired, convicted, encouraged, challenged, accused and forgiven. And as I sat there, having been gone for so long, I couldn't help but look around and be reminded of why we were drawn to our church so strongly in the first place. It's the people. The good ones, the bad ones, the young ones and the old ones. It's the seemingly perfect ones, the rich ones, and the poor ones. It's the black ones, the white ones, the tattoo'd ones, and the dyed hair ones. It's the teen mom ones, the divorced ones, and it's any sinner-ones. It's the ones who can sing and the ones who can't. It's the ones who do things and the ones who don't. And most especially, it's the special needs children and the problem-children like me. It's the people who can come together no matter their differences or imperfections, and unite as one for a greater purpose in serving an even greater God.
And most of all and above all, it's the presence of God in that church that unites all of us as one. That accepts all of us for who we are, yet encourages us to be more like who HE is. That works in and through the Pastor to speak the truth and say what needs to be said and to call us to do what we need to do.
Some could walk out of there and think of the Pastor, how dare you...
I walked out of there thankful for the Pastor & Worship Leader, for daring...
One of the key scriptures used today was also in Joshua 22... "For a long time now -- to this very day -- you have not deserted your brothers but have carried out the mission the LORD your God gave you."
Even though today I feel tried, convicted, & hung on my own pitifulness of late, I can smile. Because for a long time now, every time I have fallen down, I have picked myself back up to continue on in Christ. For a long time now, though I have faded away, I have never left. For a long time now, every time I have sinned God has forgiven. Because of how God loves me and pursues me and forgives me, I will pursue my mission in life, in autism, and in my Ministry with the same determination as the Lone Survivor, - and like him, I will Never Quit.
Satan doesn't win when we falter.
He wins if we quit.