Saturday, August 26, 2017

Missing A Friend

Over the last few weeks, I have turned my attention to learning about the human brain. Dr. Daniel Amen wrote a book called Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, which has really been an eye opener for me.

Through his work, he has really been able to shine a light on cognitive issues that stump others in the medical field. He breaks down the functions of 5 major brain systems and explaiins how people tend to behave when these systems are either under or overactive. I have been able to see some of the areas God has already healed in me, and I see areas of healing I still need.

Clearly God has been working on my limbic system--the area of the brain responsible for bonding. A few months back, I said some things to a friend that were necessary to say, but they were hard truths. I knew there would be a falling out over them. I had prayed almost 9 years about those words hoping they wouldn't need to be said, but well--those prayers didn't get answered.

So, here I am. Months later realizing that the crippling pain in my neck and back keeping me awake all night is from the pain of missing my friend. We have a mutual friend very much need in prayer, however, and so I decided to risk it and reach out to her to let her know what was going on with S.

After I wrote that letter and mailed it, I sat in my room and cried. Hard. It only took 5 months to react to missing my friend (that's sarcasm--wish it had only taken 5 minutes). Years ago, another friend of mine said, "You know, you just have a way of looking straight at someone with those big brown eyes of yours and speaking hard truth. Except you aren't mean about it."

I heard that same sentiment even today, and well, the truth is, most of the time I wish it weren't so. There's no ability in me to look the other way. I literally can't stay silent if my silence harms someone--and it usually does.

I hate division. It hurts so, so deeply. There is no measure to the pain, both physically and emotionally that I feel over it. least I feel it. It is so, so difficult to explain to people why in the world I'm only just now, at the age of 46, experiencing things like this for really the first time, but better late than never.

So, I'm depressed. To the point that my doctor tried to give me a depression assessment, but I said, "I know what's bothering me, and there's nothing to do but wait this out." My fear is not so much that this friend may not come around. Rather it is the prospect of perhaps never being understood by anyone, ever. Yet even that joins me with so many others around the world. People everywhere have a deep longing to be understood. And accepted. In this, I am certainly not alone. Realizing this is even healing of autism, so I'll take that win even if it's small.

I miss my friend. With all of my heart. This healing has been the hardest one yet.

On a lighter note, tomorrow or so, I hope to post the picture of my healed footprints. After a lifetime of flat feet, I suddenly have arches. Weird. But good. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Angels & Healing

Merry Christmas from Virginia!
As Christmastime approaches, I cannot help but think of God's holy angels and the night two millennia ago when they burst with joy as they announced the birth of a newborn king. Our King. 

Since that time, they have continued to minister to God's children in countless ways, most of the time unseen, but once in awhile, they somehow manage to make their presence known. 

I could be wrong, but I am convinced that angels play a role, if not a significant one, in our healing. 

I remember one holiday about ten years ago when my heart was so full of despair that I could not bring myself to step outside and pray my most heartfelt desires the way I normally did on Christmas Eve. Call me foolish but for me, December 24th always feels as if it holds the greatest potential for the manifestation of miracles. It's only a feeling, but if holiness could ever be tangible or even palpable, I do sense it rather strongly on Christmas Eve. 

But on this particular year no prayers came forth, and I walked back into the empty house where I was of all things, dog sitting for a Jewish family*. This home, totally devoid of any reminder of our Lord's birth, only amplified my despair. Tears streamed down my face, and at 7:30, every minute until bed time seemed like an eternity. 

At 9:30, I finally headed to bed (which is extremely early for me). As I pulled up the covers around me, I prayed, "Maybe Christmas miracles aren't even real. Maybe everyone is right and I'm as naive as the day is long. I don't think I believe in them anymore. It's really time for me to grow up." 

Then I settled down to get to sleep, expecting this to take at least an hour, if not two. Depression tends to keep me awake. Surprisingly however, I fell into a deep, deep slumber in about five minutes. 

Then I had a dream. I was sitting at a desk, trying my hardest to write something but couldn't because of an overwhelming feeling of anxiety. I got up and began to pace back and forth in this little room. As I headed back toward the desk, I heard something. 

When I turned around there were three identical looking monks standing in a row. They had on brown cowls with golden sashes tied around their waists. They also all held a golden tablet in their hands. They had brown hair, but their faces were not entirely distinct. 

One of them stepped forward while the other two remained both still and silent. He said, "My name is Sean, and I have a message for you. Do not be afraid." 

Such a simple dream, but even as I slept, as soon as he said those words a peace in the physical realm was released. The feeling was so powerful that I woke up with a start and literally half ran and half fell down the stairs to get to a computer to see what "Sean" actually meant. I reasoned that if it had anything to do with God then the dream was from Him (I had never had a dream from God until that point). 

Sure enough, Sean is the Gaelic form of John, which as many of you know means, "God is gracious." It was 4:30 in the morning, but my heart was so full of joy, I could not get back to sleep. This is important because I went through almost two decades of major clinical depression. Nothing could ever lift my despair. 

Yet on the hardest day of the year for me, I had a dream that lasted no more than a minute. There I was laughing just hours after declaring that Christmas miracles were not real, and that I was a fool to ever think they were. 

Later that day, I saw a friend of mine who was shocked to see me in such a joyful mood. I decided to share my dream with her. I didn't think she was going to believe me but instead of doubting, she smiled and said, "Kelly, those men were not monks, and that was not a dream. They were angels, and that was a visitation." 

Well, that kind of rocked my world. I didn't know what to make of it. But given the sudden change in my mood (and that sense of unshakeable peace lasted for weeks), it was hard to deny that something out of the ordinary had happened. 

Since that night, I have had several more dreams along those same lines. Sometimes an unseen person holds my hand. I feel a presence even while I'm asleep. Sometimes I do see some people, and they share with each other attributes of God and I'm just kind of listening in on their conversation. And when I wake up, I know I have been changed. 

Angels are not meant to be worshiped. We are not even meant to seek out their names. In the case of my dream, I did not ask the monk for his name, yet it was told to me because it (Sean) contained a message about God Himself--that He is gracious. In this way, the dream was healing, and the healing came through a message told to me by an angel. 

So in that regard we may all do well to learn more about the role of angels and how they function in the heavenly realm. For me, knowing what they do and why has recently helped my prayer life flourish, and prayers are the gateway to greater healing and of course, intimacy with God, which is all He desires from us anyway. He loves us, and in understanding His world and realm in deeper ways, we learn of this love in previously unimaginable ways. 

That is my hope for you all during this Christmas season. I hope the knowledge of God's love coming down for you will break your chains of hurt and pain and that you will experience freedom like never before. Thank You God for Jesus and His healing heart. 

Merry Christmas, Beloved. 


*Many of my friends are Jewish for whom I have a deep and profound love as well as for their beautiful faith. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Ginger & A Little Discovery

So about eight years ago or more, one of my wisdom teeth decided it wanted to make its debut in the world. In microscopic increments it has been pushing through my gum every few months or so, causing me to easily imagine what it feels like to get punched in the face. Yet another reminder that growth hurts.

My usual remedy for the pain is ibuprofen. Except a few months back, my stomach began to hurt all the time, too. A little research uncovered that ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers. Well, the pain in my mouth was harder to bear than my stomach woes, so I decided to see if eating a ginger chew (from Trader Joe's--this product is actually made with real ginger) would offset the gastrointestinal issues and allow me to keep treating my jaw ache for awhile with pills. It did. 

This week, the old wisdom tooth went through another growth spurt. I had run out of ginger chews so I hopped over to Trader Joe's to pick up some more. I came home, popped one in my mouth and then decided to give it a few minutes to do its magic but something sidetracked me. So, about twenty minutes later when I got up to take some ibuprofen, I was like, "Hey, wait a minute. My jaw doesn't hurt anymore!" Then a few minutes later, "Hey wait a minute. Maybe now I don't have to take NSAIDs anymore, either!" They are the only "medicine" I take, but I am just not a pill popper. I don't even know the last time I took an antibiotic.

This incident made me wonder if ginger had anti-inflammatory and pain relieving qualities. Well, I don't know how true the online information is, but the consensus seems to be that yes, ginger does apparently relieve pain and assist with inflammation problems.   

Since people on the autism spectrum often seem to have autoimmune problems, this happy accident seemed too good not to share. My apologies if this is old news to you. But for those of you just stumbling upon better health as I have been doing, at least you have some anecdotal evidence to support what you probably intuitively suspected.

As always, when trying something new (in this case--finding a ginger supplement to aid with pain relief), go for balance. Too much of a good thing never ends up being a good thing. Be well.



Saturday, November 26, 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

Emotional Healing & Maturity

During this--my--journey of healing I, until recently, constantly held onto one assumption. I had assumed that the majority of adults in my life possessed some degree, if not a large degree of emotional maturity but because of autism, I didn't. My primary motivation to be healed was to obtain this elusive maturity so I could grow into the kind of mind I hoped it was possible to possess. 

I'm here to tell you, my autistic friends, that my assumption was 100% wrong. First of all, maturity is not a product of the mind. It is a product of our emotions, and our emotions cannot change if our spirit is in need of healing. Most people do not recognize these things about themselves so the second part of my assumption--that the majority of individuals in my life possess emotional maturity and I don't because of autism--was also flat out wrong.

Emotional maturity is marked by a willingness to love. It's not necessarily measured in how successful we are in loving because learning to love and walking in it is a continual process. Although it gets better with time, loving perfectly doesn't happen until we get Home. Our efforts must be empowered by the Holy Spirit for one thing, and additionally God allows us to fail at our attempts to love others in order to teach us lessons about Himself that are more valuable than gold!

But the second mark of emotional maturity is a willingness to forgive. And that needs to be followed by a willingness to give up the right to be offended. Jesus was never offended by anyone. I'm not saying this is an easy road to walk. But I'm saying it is a necessary one--to desire to be like Him and to walk in His ways. 

You've heard it a million times--you know what the fruit of Holy Spirit is: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Many Christians I know at the moment are anxious to show the world how spiritually gifted they are. I implore you, however, to be anxious to show how much fruit of the Holy Spirit you want to see released into this world through you.

Pursue the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Especially gentleness right now. The Holy Spirit gives us power, but the definition of meekness, which Jesus was and is, is "controlled power." We want to use this power--the power of God's love to destroy the works of the enemy which is precisely what Jesus came to this earth to do. We are meant to do what He did. And to do these things, we must always walk in love.

The need for emotional healing never ends. I don't care how much prayer you've received for your wounds. I don't care how old you are. I don't care about your professional background. I don't even care if you are a healing prayer minister (prayer ministers are usually in greater need of healing than those to whom they minister), I'm telling you today this journey to healing never, ever ends.

You cannot love if you are emotionally broken any more than a bucket can hold water if it has a hole in it. 

Let God heal your wounds. He can. He wants to. He loves you. 



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Social Life

Last week when for the first time I learned all about weak social ties, it was truly a moment when it took everything I had not to facepalm myself. 

Why? Because for literally all of my life, if another individual didn't feel like a friend to me, I rejected the relationship. It wasn't honest or so it seemed. Yet, these casual acquaintances are apparently the primary fuel to the networking fire that pretty much keeps life moving on a forward track for all of us. 

Sigh. Even after stumbling upon the revelation of this type of human interaction, I still think I have issues with it. Not too long ago, one of my own neighbors introduced himself to me and in less than two minutes, he told me he wrote a book, pastors a church he planted himself, and is friends with Bill Gates. And of course, he concluded the conversation by handing me his business card. 

You might chalk up my ambivalence to these types of interactions to autism (my ignorance of them--yes, but my ambivalence--no), but it isn't. The truth is, I'm kind of an idealist Actually, I'm an INFP to be exact. And I love the way Jesus taught us how to relate to one another. In today's world I can't help but think that when we look at each other all we see are dollar signs or some other means of personal gain for ourselves. Jesus, on the other hand, saw right into the heart of every person He ever met, and His response was always the same. He loved. And His love healed. That's how I want to be. 

There are some benefits to networking. I can't dismiss those. But there are also benefits to having things like sacred spaces where no business cards or shop talk is allowed. I long for the days where I can sit quietly in the sanctuary of a church and bow my head in prayer without hearing the latest on the stock market from the people behind me. Silence is golden, and we need to rediscover its worth. 

While I'm glad I am learning to get the inside scoop on how we all relate to each other, and in the future I won't be so quick to ditch the fake feeling "friends," I just want to encourage you to do a little more than working on the branding of your own name, building up your online presence, and handing out the business cards. The truth is if you want to receive, you need to learn how to give. And if you want to be lifted up, you need to learn how to humble yourself. That's the backwards logic of the Kingdom of God. Live by it and you will never fail to walk in blessing. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What Happens During Healing Prayer

It occurred to me today that maybe some of you, if not many of you, would like to receive healing prayer but haven't because you aren't sure of the process. 

Protocol probably varies from ministry to ministry, but I can describe the process with which I'm most familiar. 

In a nutshell, prayer ministry starts with a phone call. You find a church or para-church ministry and contact them to make an appointment. There is no cost for the appointment, but some organizations require you to fill out an intake sheet (a questionnaire of sorts) so they can kind of get to know you before they ever see you. Personally, I like the intake sheets. They are a big time saver.

The intake sheets contain questions that ask about your nuclear and extended family. That is because patterns of illness tend to run in families. For example my father had diabetes and died at age 59. His father also had died diabetes and died at age 59. Also, cognitive issues have been prevalent in my father's family line for at least three generations. These types of patterns are pertinent and should be addressed during ministry. 

After you fill out the sheet and email it back to whoever sent it to you, then comes the actual appointment. A prayer ministry that cares about accountability will always have a team of two people doing the praying. The atmosphere should be quiet, inviting, and peaceful. 

My prayer appointments have always been about 90 minutes long, but for about the first 20 to 30 minutes, you will be asked quite a few questions. Basically you are sitting through an interview, and while you are giving your responses, both team members are listening to you but are also listening to the Holy Spirit for His wisdom so they will know how to pray for you. 

When that part is over, that's when the praying begins! Again, it's typically a quiet, peaceful process. No one doing the praying should ever shout, move suddenly, or touch you inappropriately. Prayer ministers should let you know if they feel led to hold your hand, give you a hug, etc., and ask for your permission first. I rarely say this, as I don't like the expression, but truly during a prayer session it's pretty much all about you. Your safety and your healing come first. It's all that matters.

Healing can and often does take place even as prayer is still continuing, but in my case, that has never, ever happened! When I first began receiving prayer, I used to feel disappointed and a little jealous of others who got noticeably zapped by the Holy Spirit during their own ministry appointments. But then I would go home and about three days later my own healing would quietly appear, pretty much without fail. 

Through that (having to wait and return home empty-handed so to speak) I learned that healing is not dramatic at all. It's actually kind of boring and often hard to initially notice to the point I can't help but wonder if that's why people don't really want to be healed. It doesn't draw attention the way injury does. That may be not be true, but still...the thought has crossed my mind a time or two... 

So there you have it. If you want to be well, you know the first step. Don't wait. Pick up the phone and change your life. The Holy Spirit is waiting for you...