Autism, Birthdays, Mistakes and Inhalers

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My son is autistic. It has been one heck of a ride! Mostly the ride has been within myself, learning to accept, be flexible and be open to a new normal. It has taken almost fourteen years and I have by no means arrived.

 Having a birthday party for him was something I swore off a few years ago…and Oh Buddy, how I did swear!! One does not always know what is going on in that beautiful mind and if you go left when he wants to go right, watch out!  I couldn’t take any more tantrums in front of friends, leaving his friends sitting at the table because they ate their cake before he had the first bite or rude comments about the presents he didn’t like and the list is endless.  It is just too stressful….for me. Does that sound selfish? Maybe it is but I think I have a better grasp on my humanity and what I am able handle peacefully.

He started planning his party 2 months ago. I see him maturing in many ways. He has no problem communicating his need for more freedom and less parental control. I didn’t handle that very well when our oldest son communicated the same things to us at the same age, but I see my error in that now. I want to help raise confident, think for your self, respectful and God fearing men-so I can appreciate his hormones and intrinsic make up better than I used to appreciate his brothers’!

No person on earth has more tested, tried, exasperated or challenged this writer, than this particular son. He makes me want to hit the escape button on my emotional hand held and I sometimes  ponder if space from each other would’n’t be a good idea. I don’t know the answer to that but I do know, he is exposing many things within myself.

As I grow deeper in union with Christ, I have found this to be true. That the people and the situations in our lives that are cataclysmic to us in someway, are the very doors of hope that God has purposed. That can look a lot of ways, can’t it? It can look like the accident,the unplanned pregnancy, the lost dreams, the divorce, the illicit relationship, the addiction or the communication break down, just to name a few. God is standing there, purposing good through it, what ever it is. His hope and future for our good, in the pressure, in the refining and in the heat.  When you are aware of it, your eyes are opened! He wants to do something in us and through us. Ultimately, He wants us to so know how loved, accepted, forgiven and pleasing we are to Him- so that knowledge is given freely to others no matter how they behave, acknowledge or appreciate us.

I am getting ready for a big Aromatherapy event this weekend and in my busyness,  I made a mistake while blending some inhalers. I see that I am maturing a bit too. I just looked at the cartridges and asked, what shall I do with you now? Ginger, Lavender, Frankincense and Bergamot…. the blend lent itself to calming anxiety and reducing stress…perfect! I will give one to each of the special boys who are coming to the birthday party tonight and give one to my son and myself! A mistake turned into a blessing! That is what they are all intended to be. Not just for ourselves, but for everyone who surrounds us as well.

Thank you for reading, I really do appreciate it. I am right here walking this path of wholeness with you and I would love to hear from you today.

Failure

Do you remember in the movie City Slickers when the character, Ed, said his best and worst day were the same day? I relate to that in this way; that the things in my life that could have potentially destroyed me, have been the very things that have given me grit and determination to change.  Those times have been the catalyst to eventually propel me into my best self and my best potential.

I have found that the humility I have learned in failure has been fertile ground for authenticity and given me a more meaningful way to relate to others.

I am sitting here this morning in my quiet place. The corner space in my room, next to a window that has been designated for prayer and meditation. I am reading Psalm 91, H.C.G Moule and Beth Moore. As I feel a cool, gentle breeze touching my shoulder after a humid, sticky night, I find that I am in very good company.  The words  that I am reading were written by people  who have a deep understanding of failure. The constant theme is; what is impossible with man, is possible with God.

It is not only that God loves,  knows and relates to us, in real time, through Jesus Christ…which is pretty mind blowing.   It is that He can still prove inexhaustible and victorious in our mortal flesh today! It is also that, He and He alone, can set us free from the slavery of sin. And it is further, that because He has set His love upon us He will deliver us. 

I am sitting here right now, drinking in His love and mercy. His absolute encouragement  and inspiration toward me to lift my eyes up to the mountains from where my help comes from. The awesome overwhelmedness that He is a master at taking ashes and creating beautiful things out them.  He really wants to do that for me and for you today and every day!

Thank you God that the things that the devil meant to destroy me have been turned for good in your hand. Thank you God for your Holy Spirit that leads me in to all truth and uses my life to help other’s with their’s. I am overwhelmed as I sit in your presence. I thank you for the other’s who have gone before me and have transparently encouraged me by their trials, struggles and failures. As difficult as the road has been, I thank you that you did not allow me to become hardened. You kept my heart soft and vulnerable, so that you could continue to teach me and I could continue to encourage others with the comfort I have received.  And I thank you that you, and you alone, can grow the most beautiful creations out of seemingly impossible conditions. 

 

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I am walking this path of wholeness with you and I would love to hear from you today.

My Search For Significance 2

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I told you last week I wanted to do a series on my journey through the last year. Last year at this time I had come clean with  a gigantic failure. Now my failure was noticeable to others. We all have failures, but they are not all noticeable to others. My  husband  and I had many failures that lead up to my “huge” failure and they mostly went unnoticed to others but were destroying my wholeness, our marriage and our family.

Noticeable failure, I have found, can bring enormous amounts of guilt and shame. The shame wants to suffocate you. It wants to keep you in a bondage not unlike the one you just came out of. It took an amazing amount of mental assent to the truth, like non-stop 24/7 self- talk, filling my mind with the truth. I took about 3 months off, as much as I could, just to fill my mind with the truth. Any little rejection from any person would throw me right back into a pit, so I was very self-guarded and did not go out very often. I was acutely aware that I couldn’t stay in that place of hiding, so I was cautious but I also needed to be safe in the loving arms of Jesus to be restored.

Christine Caine said; “shame always wants to re capture you at the point (where you still see baggage dragging) and wants to take you hostage.” I wrote that quote along with now hundreds of quotes and scripture onto art paper and started “postering” our home with them. I would walk around and read them out loud! I was most literally “Not conforming  to this world  but being transformed by the renewing of my mind.” Romans 12:2

I do not know how a person could get out of destructive habits any other way. I do not know how you could mix “a little bit of truth” in with a world that is swallowing it up faster than you can take it in and be transformed. I think that is why it says; “do not conform to the world.” All those “little failures” I spoke of earlier, were seemingly small. Ever so slightly, I was getting loose with my boundaries. They did not start as big leaps into uncharted territory. Mary Kassian says “it comes by creeps, not leaps” and that is So very true! Conforming to the world, it’s desires, it’s pleasure…the “I deserve it” mentality wraps itself around you and the tune turns up the volume in your mind until you are singing along. Breaking these habits takes radical, violent action- it will not happen passively.

I spent another 3-6 months testing the waters of the outside world with my new legs and a growing inner strength. That would only come after significant time reading the Bible, praying and singing. I have taken up the guitar in the last few years and it has been a comfort to me as well as a positive challenge. As I said in my last blog I would repeat these truths; “Julia, you are deeply loved, completely forgiven, totally accepted and fully pleasing to God.” (Search for Significance). One day, after a dear friend read John 8 to me, it was as if I was there with Jesus and He was saying to me, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more- I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Jesus, the savior of the world, told me “neither do I condemn you.”, I couldn’t have a higher authority than that and I continue to keep my eyes completely focused on Him.

I am personally aware how our destructive behaviors can really damage others and I have lamented over these. I first had to walk along side my husband ,who I have hurt the most and who has had supernatural love toward me, so I have seen the pain I have caused first hand. I am not minimizing this aspect of failure at all, but when it comes down to it, all that a person can do is ask for forgiveness and pray fervently that God uses it all for good. I am unable to be responsible for how other people choose to respond but I do hold it close and pray every day for reconciliation in every relationship.

If we keep listening to shame in our failures, no matter “how big or how small”, they will remind us how long we have been carrying them and tell us “you will never be rid of this.” But God wants us to be FREE, He came to set us free from this world and to live with Him and have life more abundantly. He is cheering us on and giving us the strength to “run the race with endurance.” Hebrews 12:1

Believing this is all true, is radical! I have been on this journey and I want to encourage you on yours. My hope is that I reach a light to those struggling in a similar situation and walk the path with you so you are not alone. ❤

A Life That Matters…..

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(Photo, Gabrielle Allman)

As I said in an earlier blog, Christmas time, although promoted as a warm, cozy, relational time, can be a time of anxiety and loneliness for many.

Those feelings beg me to ask, is my life a life that matters? If I do not feel what I am doing matters, I do not feel that my life matters. My friend, Lyndell Hetrick Holtz, wrote about this on her Heart Mender’s Blog-  I Too Want a Life that Matterscheck it out! She has a very  concise  way of facing life’s hard things. She  often says; “Face it, Feel it, Free it”!

I gain great comfort in that when I consider the only way to any healing is to face the issue or failure head on. We tend to avoid  hard things because we think it is easier to do so. We do it in little ways or it can become Excessive Avoidance Disorder– and our culture is heaped in it. We avoid doing hard things, keeping commitments, and putting the work in first and it is destructive.

If we want to have holistic health, it is going to take more than swallowing a vitamin every now and then. It is going to take facing our dilemma,  whether we caused it or some one else did. Feel the pain of it, express it out loud, or write down your thoughts in a journal. And then open your hands and release it. I will stand where ever I am, lift my hands to God and tell Him all of my concerns. I will tell Him, I have no power over this, only the power to release it to you. And then I will say, I trust you are working all these things for good in my life and I release this to you. It is weighing me down, I feel insignificant, I feel like I am not seeing any benefit to getting up and doing what is right every day. Many times I will write that down and put it on my cupboard, to remind my self that it is not my burden.

To live a life that matters, we need to be different than the masses. Routines are awesome. Habits will work for our good or our detriment! If I get up every morning and pray and exercise, that is going to lead me to a different destination than having a cigarette with my coffee and do nut!! (You may chuckle, but this was my early life!!) Holistic health will effect all of your life and the little things you change will have an everlasting impact! If a plane takes off and it is even a little bit off it’s course, in the end of that trajectory, it is not going to land at it’s destination!

If you are sad, lonely and really struggling today, please consider what I have said. I want to help you with the help I have received. Check out Lyndell’s blog and other encouraging people like Rick Warren and Dr. John Townsend. You do not have to stay where you are! How do you want to have a life that matters? What do you want your destination to be?

We are right here with you cheering you on!! Head into the weekend, with a renewed sense of your life mattering. Lay aside the pressure from culture and  glean the true meaning of Christmas in the Gospels of, Matthew, Mark, Luke or John! We want to hear from you today:-)