Sometimes God tells us to fear not. When you look at the passages in scripture that contain fear not, you find that He speaks this phrase to the people of God before he asks them to do something. He (or an angel he sends) says this to Abraham, Sarah, Mary, Jacob, the Israelites and many others.
The moment captures what is really important–his new-gained ability. The fact that he rarely mastered suck and swallow in his bottle feeding, or had few foods to choose from, mattered. Despite the need for glasses and his inability to walk (which was still almost 2 years away), he could feed himself with mashed vegetables.
Despite his exceptionally low muscle tone and 9 medication, his smile radiates joy.
What matter is what is on the inside
I was raised in a normal household and family, so everyone around me was normal and I rarely met a special needs person. Then, when my special needs son was born, and he didn’t look perfect, I relearned beautiful. I quickly realized how perfect my son really was! He smiled at us when he could, and his personality showed through. He gave hugs when he could, but we knew he was in there and I gave him as much love as I could.
You could see his heart.
So when I see those photos of special needs children where they look almost physically perfect, I think, You missed the point! Their portrayal on the cover of magazines lacks a lot of truth sometimes. It appears that the most normal children are chosen for a photo shoot, not the imperfect ones. The real and the raw is oftentimes missing.
- No or few, devices,
- feeding tubes,
- behavior problems,
- mental illness,
- everyone is looking at the camera,
- and everyone has all of their limbs.
God created our children
I know we know this, but when all we see is how we need to make them normal and not accept them, we miss God’s plan. He has a plan and a purpose for our children’s lives, as they are.
Sure, we can seek out healing for each and every step of the way, but at some point, we need to remember that special is God’s plan too.
While we may look for that miracle cure, we really need to remember that the LORD wants the hearts and minds of His people, so that His plans and purposes are carried out.
He wants you and I to share the love of Christ with our children and the world around us. Healing our children’s condition is not the end all. Even in John 9:1-3, Jesus healed the blind man, not for everyone else, but to bring glory to God.
Remembering those who died
We remember those who died for our freedoms on Memorial Day. As a mother, I fear that my son will charge himself out onto the battlefield. I see the effects of battle on our family as a daughter. Then, as a granddaughter, I see two generations who lost a father and a grandfather. Yes, war comes with a price and the chosen return home.
While Memorial Day reminds us of the sacrifices that our servicemen and women made, it also reminds us of our mortality. No one dies and gets a free ticket to Heaven if they do not believe in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We all must begin with the power and authority of God, then come to know the saving grace of Jesus, God’s only Son.
We receive grace for our sins
It doesn’t matter how we start our lives that matters, it is how we finish. Many men and women find themselves in the military because they had few other places to go. Whether it was because of their recklessness in their youth, or families who had abandoned them, they took the risk of becoming a serviceman or woman.
Some never made it home, having made their redemption on the battlefield. Others died, lost forever. No matter what, those who died were God’s sacrifice for our country. He is the giver of life and death and the choice was His alone, whether or not we understand.
The Holy Spirit strengthens us.
Any of God’s chosen people can use their skills and authority to carry out what they think is His will. Yet, only those who seek out the power and authority of God will know how to seek it out.
It is not a 100% guarantee that He will bring home those who serve Him in the military, but it counts their lives as worthy. Those who died for our freedoms and the freedoms of those whom they fought for, had their lives justified by God.
Those who died made a way for the living
No matter what happened and no matter what their relationships with you, your loved ones served a purpose. God made sure of it. The Lord uses His finger to point us back to the loved ones left behind. This is where our focus needs to lie now.
We remember the dead and the legacy they helped form, but we pray and sow over the living. This is where our families’ future lies–in the living.
Praying for mercy and peace in your family, as you remember the fallen heroes
Holland remains the place you want to be. Trust me. You arrived in Holland when you became a special needs Mom. You just didn’t know it at first. The shock of finding yourself there disorients you at first, and then, slowly your world comes back into view. Only now, the world changed.
When my special needs son arrived, my aunt sent me a copy of the Arriving in Holland poem. The shock of giving birth to a special needs son was fresh. Normal left the minute he was born. Yet, at first glance, I felt prepared to arrive in a different land, not Holland. Spain would be great, but Special Needs Land?
I knew not what was in front of us, but I knew that my God had a reason. Special needs takes much more than one person to manage. The Lord called whole family to help. All hands on deck is the protocol for raising a special needs person. Further, God trumpeted a whole army waiting to help us when we need it, even if we cannot see them.
So, while arriving in Holland was quite a shock at first, it became our family’s life journey.
Arriving in Holland
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”
“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.
No matter where you are in your journey
Whether you just got off the plane in Holland; you have lived and built your home in Holland; or you are leaving. Holland is the best place to be, because God purposed a plan for you to be here. You are even called by Him to live your life in Holland, so relax, see some sights and find the beauty.
Because in the acceptance of the journey comes peace. In a season of rearranging your life and revamping your priorities, you actually find a life—in Holland, I might add. And, it will bring your joy!
The Pharisees persecute you in the church, even today. You probably think they are gone, but I assure you, they exist. Further, they are unfortunately, alive and well in our modern church. You know this if you have a special needs child, have lived through disease, death, divorce, or any sort of traumatic loss. Meet my new friend who went through the wringing of persecution by church Pharisees.
As she tearfully recounts to me at one moment, and then indignantly protests the next, her story moves me. Yet, it also doesn’t surprise me.
You see, this woman has six children right now. Two are not hers, but another relative, who was on crack and she took in her twin daughters. She really didn’t have the money, but she couldn’t just turn away these little girls, who are six years old. But, it gets worse.
This past May, her husband was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Then, he died in June. But before he died, he wanted to sit in the Sunday School room of his children’s classes with them. It was his dying wish. But, the Pastor’s wife refused to let him do it. Why she was making this decision was not clear, but it hurt the whole family.
Now, she refuses to go to church. But, she feels guilty. SHE is the one who feels guilty for the incredibly mean and calloused way she and her family were treated. There is no excuse for God’s children to be mistreated by the church.
Does it make her less of a Christian?
When I hear stories like this, I say it makes her more of one. Far too often, the church is filled with too many Pharisees who throw rocks and stones of religious legalisms. Like, thou shalt not go to Sunday School when you are dying from cancer?! It makes no sense, but they solidly stand on their principles and claim it is God’s Word.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who stones the prophets.
I have seen this play out in my own life, and the life of countless others who stop going to church. It isn’t because they don’t believe in God, or don’t have a deep abiding faith. It is because the rock throwers are still throwing stones, because they stopped looking in the mirror a long time ago.
You don’t have to go to some far away country to find persecution for being a Christian.
Persecution happens all around the world.
While, the rising tide of Islamic extremists have hit us in recent years, general persecution of Christians has risen over all. Last month, the Open Door USA ministry released a World Watch List of 2017 on Christian persecution around the world. It is time we as Christians begin to focus on prayer for these countries and how we can help them.
In some cases, Christian extinction, at least public extinction, is a reality.
Our own persecution reminds us to pray.
When we are going through a personal crisis and the church persecutes us, it deals a striking blow. I know this myself. But, when the Lord heals our wounds, it is a reminder that the Pastor’s wife, Bob the Deacon and Susie the Gossip Queen have missed God’s call on their life. They are persecuting us because they don’t want us to get God’s call in our own life. Yep, it’s evil, but honestly, they are blind and need a “come to Jesus moment.”
They still may not repent, but you know, we can move on. We can pray for them and for those who are persecuted both in this country and around the world. I always try to remember, God is judge and He will bring justice with His Sword to those carry out persecution against His Body.