Monday, December 27, 2010

Beth Moore & Living Proof Ministries


In order to heal, it's really necessary to read the Scriptures and apply them to your life on a daily basis. I can think of no better person to help you do that than Beth Moore (in the picture here which I snagged from her blog).

Beth is one of the best Bible study teachers of our time. She loves the Word and even more importantly she genuinely loves people. These qualities and more pour out from the pages of her books, so if you want to read them to see what I'm talking about, you can find her material at Living Proof Ministries.

And if you are up for a Scripture memorization challenge, she just posted the details of one coming up that's going to last throughout the entire year. I hope you check it out. It's on the blog, and by the way, it's an awesome blog. She takes the time to write heartwarming things. Each entry is like getting a letter from your mama. That's healing, too.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Prayer for the Hurting


Heavenly Father, as I sit here alone in a brand new city this Christmas season, I cannot help but think of others who are in similar or worse situations tonight. For some, tonight or tomorrow may be their last day here because life has beaten them down too much. I am thinking of them and hurting for them, too.

Lord Jesus, this season is so hard because we know once upon a time You showed up here on earth, and since then whether we know it or not, or even like it or not, I think we still expect You to come again somehow--on Christmas Day.

Whether it's the family who is down to their last meal or the single mom down to her last penny, there's something in all of us in dire need which compels us to look to Heaven this time of year for a miracle. For relief. For redemption. For healing. For whatever our need might be. Sometimes those miracles happen, but many times they don't. And for some, Your lack of intervention is simply the last straw.

With this in mind, O Lord, I pray, Father, with all of my heart that You hear me from Heaven tonight. I pray you immediately send your healing, warrior, and messenger angels to people crying out for You all over the earth. I pray You restore hope to the lonely and defeated. I pray You heal depression, mend fractures in families, restore finances, provide jobs, fill up pantries, and most importantly, glue back together the pieces of shattered hearts in only ways that You can.

I pray for Your peace to permeate the lives of all those who call upon Your name tonight. I especially pray for those on the verge of suicide. Holy Spirit, right now I pray you fill those children up with Your loving and comforting presence. I pray for divine intervention right now for these people. A ringing phone. A knock on the door. Anything, Lord. Also restore their brain chemistry. Heal addictions. Bring prostitutes off the street. Remember the homeless. Keep them warm, safe, and fed. Heal them so they can go back home. Reveal the depth of Your love to Your lost and wounded children. They do not know it.

You are the Lord God Almighty, Jesus, and oh, how we need You to return to us. We expect you, Father. We are waiting for You. Looking for you tonight. Please come again, Lord Jesus. Come. You are Emmanuel. You are God with us.

Hold on just for one more day, dear children. Hold on.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Acceptance & Love



O Holy Night!

Every Christmas I cannot help but fall more deeply in love with the song, "O Holy Night." The lyrics clearly and beautifully express the purpose for Christ's birth and His life here on earth. Truly He taught us to love one another. His law is love and His gospel is peace.
  
Love is the only law of Jesus Christ and with love--when we choose to love--comes the ability to accept others. Love and acceptance of others naturally go hand in hand.

And In His Name All Oppression Shall Cease...

This song has been on my mind because for the last few days I've been thinking about how autistic people tend to be treated by others. Even now as I heal and grow, I still experience a great deal of oppression and sometimes at the hands of well-intentioned people. We (and I include those with other cognitive disabilities and traumatic brain injuries) have a terribly long way to go before we are accepted, loved, and understood by society.

That said, there's nothing new under the sun so I don't want to be yet another hypervigilant person crying out day and night for social justice over the smallest of slights. Things happen and we--autistic people especially--must and can learn to be flexible when dealing with others when they lack understanding and patience for people who are simply different from themselves. In other words, we must be intentional in forgiving people if we feel we have been mistreated or oppressed. 

Chains Shall He Break...

An interesting promise is found in Isaiah 58. It says if we loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, set the oppressed free and break every yoke (v. 6), then "your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear (v. 8)." 

For a long time, I felt like the person wearing the yoke and entangled by the chains of injustice. Eventually, however, I saw that regardless of my condition, I had and still have a responsibility to love my brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet I'm here to tell you that as I chose more and more to set others free--free from my anger, unforgiveness, and resentment over how was treated--my healing I've experienced so far did quickly appear. The promise is true and is something you can count on.

During this holiday season, or what's left of it, remember why Jesus came. So many of us now know more than one autistic individual. Extend your love to them. If they cannot receive it, stay close to them and just silently pray for their healing and freedom. No prayer ever goes unanswered, and if we are to bring healing to this next generation of autistic children already growing up, that is what we must learn to do. We must pray for them, but the desire to do so only comes from our choice to love them. And loving is a choice which I hope you will make today.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up...Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

~Romans 15:2 & 7

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Child Is Born



The Birth of Jesus
Despite the many times I heard the story of the birth of Jesus, I have to admit that for years I really didn't understand the reasons He came to live with us here on Earth. I knew Jesus was a prophet, and of course, our Savior, but even those things I only knew in a limited and solely intellectual sense. 

Just a few years ago, however, I developed a curiosity about the Lord's emotions--what did He feel when He taught the disciples? When He was about to die on the cross or ate dinner with His friends (Yes, even the Lord had friends!)? He was fully God but fully human, too. Both. His humanity intrigued me to the point where I became hungry to know more about His too short time here on earth.

I was shocked and startled to see, through reading the Scriptures, that Jesus was first and foremost a healer. He never sought the glory He was due while living on earth. He rarely spoke of being the Messiah, though He didn't deny it when identified as such. Instead He said in Luke 4:18-19, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Did you notice the word because? "The Spirit of the Lord is on me because..." Jesus was not anointed because He was God's Son. He wasn't anointed because His birth fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies. He wasn't anointed for any other reason but to bring healing and life to His beloved children on this side of heaven. In fact, while Jesus lived on earth, no one ever died in His presence.

Jesus came to earth to be an exact representation of His Father in order to demonstrate God's love for us. He could only say what the Father said, and He could only do what He saw the Father doing. The Scriptures repeatedly say Jesus was filled with compassion and that compassion drove Him to heal. Did you know He healed every single person who came to Him for healing? Not one person was ever turned away.

Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday, and He will remain the same forever. So, if you are in need of healing this Christmas, I pray you will be filled with the knowledge of who He really is and why He really came to us. If you understand Him, you will understand you can ask and believe the Lord for anything. Whatever your need is, He truly wants to and can meet it.

This child, the Baby Jesus, was born just for you.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Prayer for Parents



Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to [Jerusalem]; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. ~Jeremiah 33:6

Jesus, today I lift up all the parents of autistic children to You. I cannot help but think of those who are longing for answers from You, from science, from books, from any source that will give these people a sense of relief and hope. Along with their children, I know they are suffering, Father.

Lord, draw Your children to Yourself. Hide them in the refuge of the shadow of your wings today where they can find rest in You. Answer them when they call out to You, and tell them great and unsearchable things they do not currently know, as You have promised in Jeremiah 33:3. Give each parent wisdom from Your throne. Give them hope today. Give them a sign You are still with them, and remind them You will never forsake them.

Restore order and Your peace to each home today. Release Your Holy Spirit in their hearts, and let Your love flow through each child who calls upon Your Name. Give each one of these parents the courage and the desire to pray for their own children rather than avoiding it because they feel they are not able or qualified. And I ask that they do not pray just for their autistic children, but for their non-autistic children as well. You desire to heal everyone who comes to You for healing.

I pray you provide respite for these parents. Relief from having to burn the candle at both ends. I pray for the restoration of extended family--that You call back aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents to step in and be a source of support for too many people trying to do too much on their own these days. Call us all back to You so you can teach us how to carry the burdens of others who have been weighed down for far too long. 

I bring these people to You today, Jesus, and ask you to wrap Your loving arms around them all, especially during Hanukkah and Christmas when life is or often feels a lot harder for those already struggling. Keep all of these people in Your perfect and tender care.

If you would like more information about how to pray for your family or even if you would simply like to know why it helps, Francis MacNutt's book pictured above is an excellent resource.

Friday, December 3, 2010

God Loves Underdogs!



Just a reminder for all of you who may need encouragement today:

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him (emphasis added) that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our  righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."  ~ I Corinthians 1:27-31

My thanks go out to Judith for reminding me of this very important truth today.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Today's Healing Prayer for Autism

Lord Jesus and Most Gracious Father, I lift up my brothers and sisters all over the world today who are suffering with autism and other similar neurological disorders.

Holy Spirit, I ask you to permeate and infiltrate the minds and thoughts of each one of these children because you are Emmanuel. There was a time, because of the great darkness of our sin, when we could neither approach God the Father nor stand in His presence. Still, knowing our need for Him and forgiveness from Him, You came to us in human form so we might know Your Father and to have life eternal.

Jesus, autistic children do not have a way to escape the darkness of their minds. But I know first hand this does not limit You. Nothing is too hard for You. Be with these children, Father. Go to live with them. Let them understand the voice of Your Holy Spirit the way You allowed me to understand when I was just a child. It was Your voice which set me free.

Give each child eyes to see You, ears to hear You, and a tongue to proclaim Your marvelous deeds. Let scores of children over all the earth stand up and testify to Your redeeming power. Let them say, "Not only does He give sight to the blind, but He also sets the prisoner free! And He who the Son sets free is free indeed! That is me. I am free indeed!"

In Your Most Holy and Worthy Name, Lord Jesus, I pray these things today.

Amen

Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. The mind of the rash will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.

~Isaiah 32:3-4

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Is It Really Autism?


Auditory Processing Disorder Instead?

Not long ago, in my neighborhood I met a charming four-year-old boy and his mom. He walked up to me and happily chatted for a moment before I asked him his name. Although still happy and still chatty, he simply could not answer the question. He tried several times, but his name just would not roll off his tongue.

His mother finally told me her son's name was William. And she said, "We were just at the pediatrician's the other day, and William was diagnosed with autism." Her eyes welled up with tears as she explained, "He has some social issues and he's not really potty trained. The doctor said he's functioning on a two-year-old level."

Well, I have to say, I didn't see that. This child was all over his mom, hugging her, laughing with her, asking her to play. He asked me to play. He was busy looking at some frogs in the grass. And when he wanted to ride his skateboard, he asked, "Mom, I ride orange?" The real problem seemed to be that he couldn't say proper nouns. Other than that, I saw no other "issues" as this doctor described. Instead of autism, it just looked like this child perhaps had an auditory processing disorder and nothing more.

Fragile X

Another disorder that produces symptoms of autism is Fragile X Syndrome, which is a genetic disease. Some experts say that at least 7% of children diagnosed with autism actually have Fragile X, while other experts claim that the percentage is as high as 30%. While this might sound like bad news, scientists are diligently working on a cure for this syndrome and expect to find one in the next five to seven years. They firmly believe that by curing this disease the symptoms of autism will disappear in children afflicted by Fragile X.

Autism awareness is important. However, there's an expression I keep hearing that I think applies in this case. "When all you have is a hammer, everything in the world looks like a nail." I'm starting to think that autism is the hammer right now. Just because a cluster of symptoms may look like autism on the surface doesn't really mean it is. I think people have a greater responsibility than they realize to not rush to judgment when they are trying to either make or obtain a diagnosis.

Get A Proper Evaluation

In my neighbor's case, by the way, her son was never professionally evaluated. Her pediatrician made the diagnosis on a routine visit that lasted probably no more than fifteen minutes. Still, because this man was a doctor, William's mother believed his opinion without any further consideration. This is unacceptable and could mean a lifetime of sorrow for her little boy when in fact, speech therapy may be all he needs to turn things around.

Labels Can Be Damning

Labels can make a person but more often they break them instead. Do all that you can to make sure the latter doesn't happen to your child or loved one. I guarantee you that a proper diagnosis will make all the difference in the world.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Never Give Up



Sometimes it seems so unfair to me that life is so big, but what we get to see of it is so small. So limited. Every morning when I wake up, my heart longs for greater vision. I don't know why. Maybe I just want security. Or maybe I just want more of God. Either way, when I fail to see Him or the work of His hands, I am tempted beyond anything else, to just give up.

But even when doubt rises up in me and drowns out the voice of the Holy Spirit, somewhere in my heart a quiet whisper reminds me that quitting is not an option. I just need to surrender. Giving up is not the same as surrender. When we surrender we are actually yielding to a wisdom infinitely greater than our own. We are also falling into the loving arms of a Savior, and in His embrace we find rest and comfort. There we are given strength to rise up again to go back out and resume fighting the good fight. We must never grow weary in doing well. 

Praying for healing, praying for provision, praying for miracles, praying for anything on a consistent, regular basis, I'm finding, is hard work. Oh, it's rewarding when God answers. But in between, when He is silent--or it seems He is silent--my patience is tested. And so is my faith. Even so, I'm seeing more and more how the Lord prevails--and He does so when I least expect it. Kind of makes this whole thing sort of like an adventure. That's a good thing.

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. ~Luke 18:1

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Prayer for Healing of Autism



(The Lion of Judah Heals His Lambs)

Lord Jesus, I lift up all of my brothers and sisters today who are being held captive by autism and other neurological and emotional disorders which may affect people similarly. I thank you for each and every one of their precious lives. Father, I ask that you touch the brain of every afflicted child. I pray for integration between the two hemispheres, for the biochemical system to come under Your authority, and for the proper firing of every single neuron in every single brain I am lifting up to You today.

I also ask You, Jesus, to heal the senses of your children today. Allow them to feel the pleasure and connection from touch. Restore the nerves in their skin so their bodies are neither insensitive nor too sensitive to contact with humans or animals. Restore the ability to taste food, decrease the sensitivity to visual and auditory stimuli. Allow the brain to filter out unnecessary sensory information, and completely restore the bodies of those who suffer from sensory and emotional deprivation.

Give each child peace, Father. I pray You heal the overwhelming anxiety each one of them feels today. Cut each person free from the darkness of social isolation. I pray for Your love to reach every single one of these lambs.

In Your Name, Jesus, I pray. I thank You for your desire and ability to heal each and every suffering person who is brought to your feet. I bring them to You today.

Amen

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Loneliness


Just last week, I met not one, but two WWII veterans. The first one, Bill, was a charmer. With his beautiful Charlestonian accent, he said, "If I had to go back to war to save someone as beautiful as you, I'd do it in a heartbeat." But despite his charm, he also said he felt desperately lonely. The other gentleman I met pretty much had the same thing to say about his own life.

Loneliness is not unique to autistic individuals. No matter our ethnicity, income level, or social status, I think it's safe to say all of us have felt lonely at one time or another in our lives. But what about those who are chronically lonely?

Well-intentioned people like to think that just going "out there" and being with others is the cure for loneliness, but it's not. I'm beginning to wonder what the cure is, exactly. People are living longer, but we also struggle harder to deeply love others over the course of our lives. When we get hurt, we withdraw, and then we forget that people need us to keep reaching out to them to help them get back on their feet, too, when they fall.

This is just one of the reasons inner/emotional healing is so important. Life is more than us. No person can or does live in a vacuum. What we do or don't do with and through our lives affects other people in the long run. If we heal and forgive, we'll love. And if we love, we touch those deep places of loneliness in others, binding up their wounds.

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. ~1 Peter 1:22

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Autism & Dreams

Dreaming...the kind people do during the day with eyes wide open, is one of my favorite subjects. I'm not sure if everyone dreams, and I'm even less sure if other autistic people dream, but I do.

I have to admit, though, that I never knew dreaming a dream and pursuing a dream are completely different in nature. How pleasant it is to sit and imagine yourself in a new home, community, job, etc. I've spent countless hours doing it.

But actually going out to find that new home, community, job, etc., is well, a little bit terrifying. I'm now in the process of finding out just how scary pursuing a dream really can be. So much is involved. There seems to be no part of my life left untouched as I continue to venture into unknown territory.

I used to think people who didn't try to fulfill their dreams or destiny, even, simply didn't want to work toward a goal. Now I know that isn't true. What none of us wants is to work toward a goal only to find out it was all in vain, or the better lives we hoped for really weren't any better than what we left behind.

So, it's not the working for a dream that's the problem. It's the waiting for things to sort of fall into place after all the prepartory work is done. Waiting can do strange things to a mind. Waiting makes monsters out of harmless shadows of doubt. Nevertheless, the light of faith can drive those monsters away, and so I will wait...and I will choose to believe that all I am hoping for will soon be my reality, and my fear of change will not only be laid to rest one day but forgotten entirely.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." ~Joshua 1:9

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Autism & Health Issues

Accepting and celebrating the thread of your own personality is the first grasp of the Grand Weaver's design in your life. ~Ravi Zacharias from The Grand Weaver.

It occurred to me recently that anyone reading this blog and unfamiliar with healing prayer might think my interest in it has to do with some sort of disastifaction with my personality or with any autistic person's personality.

This is not so. The truth is, I like myself. It took me a long time for me to learn how to be friends with myself, but it happened. And over the last few years, I've met several autistic people who have charmed the socks right off of my feet. There's nothing about their personality I'd ever change, either, and I love them just as they are.

What I don't like about autism is the number of health problems that seem to be a part of this package. I don't care for the sensory overload, either. There's nothing worse than having a good time with people but then just inexplicably shutting down in the middle of a conversation. I don't like being forced to retreat into myself when all I want to do is to really be a part of things. This doesn't happen often anymore, but I prefer for it to not happen at all.

So when I encourage you to give prayer a try, I'm not telling you to do it because I think you or your children are not good enough as you are. All people deserve to be loved simply because they exist and for no other reason. I just don't want people to overlook the fact that autism is not just about a brain that is wired differently. The whole body is wired differently, and it is prone to go haywire at the drop of a hat--the effects of which can be quite uncomfortable if not debilitating.

My health issues (many of which are better now, but at one point were almost deadly) are what I target in prayer--not my personality. Not the way I think or even speak, in terms of what I say to others. I am unique and increasingly happy to be so. I hope you feel the same way about you. You are, after all, fearfully and wonderfully made.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Alpha & Omega" by the Gaither Vocal Band

Nothing makes me feel joy like a good, uplifting song. "Alpha and Omega" has been around for decades, but it never seems to go into retirement! Each recording sounds better than the last, and everytime I hear the words, "It is done," the hair stands up on my arms.

What do you need Jesus to proclaim "It is done!" over in your life? Or where have you been set free because you indeed know that "it" is finished and is nailed to the cross?

Enjoy the video.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Autism & Attitude

"I like the way I think." ~Dr. Temple Grandin

There are times, after I read the latest autism research, I'm left feeling completely overwhelmed by other people's opinions of what they think is what is wrong with me. If I focus on these things too long, my ability to see myself as God sees me is almost completely lost. As a result, my attitude about everything goes completely down the tubes. The only way to recover is to renew my mind and to focus on all that is true, noble, and lovely.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." ~Romans 12:2

The following is a video of a talk given by Temple Grandin. Listen to her speak about the world's need for all kinds of minds. She is a positive voice in a tornado of negativity. Thank you.

 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Autism & Cognitive Flexibility

If there are any hallmarks of autism, I'd say rigid thinking is definitely one of them. For most of my life, following every last rule down to the letter was an absolute must. And thinking outside of the box? Not a chance.

Just last year, however, it occurred to me that my inability to roll with the punches left me feeling anxious just about all the time. I then realized unforeseen circumstances are just as routine and predictable as rules and if I didn't learn to expect the unexpected, I saw I'd have issues with anxiety for the rest of my life.

God knows what we need in our lives before we do, but He loves to hear us pray. And He loves to rescue us when we ask for His help. I didn't have the power to change the way I thought about things or to expand my vision to come up with a number of ways to solve just one problem. So knowing I couldn't help myself, I asked God to do the work in me.

I mostly prayed that He would give me a teachable spirit along with the teachers to help me learn. I prayed He would help me be to open to their suggestions. I also asked to recognize the authority of my teachers in order to submit myself to them with some semblance of humility. Inflexibility can be easily interpreted as pride.

I still need a little more time than others to switch my gears and focus if things don't work out as planned. Even so, the point is I'm willing to rethink things and often an unplanned outcome is more pleasant than my best laid plans. Another prayer answered.

Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it."   ~Isaiah 30:20-21

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Autism & Impulse Control

With autism, no victory is too small--ever.

Impulse control has been a problem for me for as long as I can remember. My frontal lobe just never wants to seem to cooperate with the rest of me despite the fact that I know how important it is to be patient. It's like it screams, "Forget about now. I want this done yesterday!" Remember snail mail? In my childhood, when I sent out a letter, I always checked the mailbox for a reply the same day. Talk about impatient.

Since I've not noticed much change in this area over the years, I recently decided to target this problem with prayer. And today there was a change during my lunchtime.

Normally when I heat up food in the microwave, I tear off the wrapper and dig right in. Nevermind that I always burn my entire mouth in the process. But today I got out a plate, put my food on it, set the table, sat down and actually waited for my meal to cool off before taking that first bite.

I also put ice cream out to let it soften while I ate, and in doing so, I didn't bend a spoon trying to dig it out of the carton! And wonder of wonders, I didn't eat the ice cream directly out of the carton. I put it in a bowl and thus practiced portion control today, too. That's also a rarity, I'll tell you.

To me, it's the smaller things in life that give me the most pleasure. Enjoying a meal is a rich experience in my opinion. Today I was able to do that for the first time in a long time.
Do you have a victory over autism you would like to share?

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. ~Psalm 27:13

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Autism & Healing

Last year, a friend ask me to participate in a walk to help raise money for autism research, programs, and therapies. Since her son is autistic and has been helped by a number of these resources, I agreed to do the walk.

The parking lot was set up with a lot of tables and tents advertising one therapy after another, but I couldn't help but notice an absence of hope among this particular crowd of people. Bitterness and disappointment just seemed to sit heavily upon my shoulders that morning. Though numerous people came out to show their support, all in all, it was a depressing event. I went home with such a heavy heart.

Something's Missing

I took a second look at all of the table displays to try to understand why I felt so uncomfortable. State of the art this. State of the art that. Everything promised healing or at least improvement in the life of an autistic child. Despite the fact that I know some, if not most of these therapies are beneficial, I knew something was missing. And that something, I saw, was the knowledge that Jesus Christ still heals today. Faith in Jesus is just as essential for healing as is science, but many people forget this or just do not want to acknowledge His ability to heal as reality.

Christian Healing Is for Whackos...Or Is It?

Unfortunately, even a majority of Christians have misconceptions about what inner healing is and what it looks like. Too many of us are walking around with pictures of sweaty evangelists slapping some poor soul in the head declaring that person to be healed during a big tent revival in the middle of nowhere. True some people have gotten healed this way, but it's really not the norm. If it's not, though, what is?

Prayer Changes Things

The truth is inner healing is a comprehensive, progressive and ongoing process fueled by intensive prayer. Prayer is the vehicle that allows us to enter into and maintain relationship with Jesus. The more we build relationship, the more we see the many ways He is at work in our lives. And when we see Jesus at work in our lives, our faith is built up. When our faith gets stronger, so does our sense of hope. Ultimately an increase of hope leads to an increase of joy.

What About Science?

I am scientific by nature. I am continually amazed by all of the discoveries made everyday by scientists--not just about autism but about anything really. It is helpful, useful, and we see miracles through science all the time. We need science. That said, I am not advocating in any way the withholding of medical treatment in favor of what some refer to as faith only healing. This is actually child abuse and often has rather tragic outcomes.

What I am advocating here is the reintroduction of faith into the lives of suffering people. I guess in some way this post is a challenge to anyone who feels they have exhausted every last resource yet still feels they are living without hope. It sounds trite, but I'm asking you to give prayer a try. If you are at the point where there is really nothing left to lose, then I hope you will pray. And I will pray for you that the Lord will answer your call. I believe He wants to answer and thus He will.  

For more information on healing prayer and retreats, you can contact Christian Healing Ministries or have a look at their site at http://www.christianhealingmin.org/. They have numerous books available in their store as well as other helpful resources.

God bless you today.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Autism & Joy

I have a little neighbor who, whenever he sees me, shouts my name with the most delight I've ever heard come out of a child. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to give him a tight squeeze as he runs into my open arms. Matthew is just one of the many sources of joy in my life.

I didn't always have this joy, however. The way I was raised and the anger and disappointment that came from most of the adults in my life told me that autism was some sort of social death sentence. For years I believed this and never tried nor wanted to relate to anyone. Until I went back to college that is.

The decision to return to a world teeming with people and life ultimately changed everything for me. The journey to love my neighbor got officially underway then, but with this trip there's never really a final destination. None of us love perfectly but I do think loving better than we did is a worthy goal to have. And it's the striving to achieve this goal that brings me the most pleasure in life.

Autism is a force to be reckoned with. I would be less than honest if I didn't admit that. Even so, it does not have the power to steal joy. I hope all of you who are weary and afraid can find some of what you need here. Even if it's just one more thread for the end of your rope, I hope to encourage you to take it and then to hold on.

It's hard, but joy can come in the morning even when you've been up all night crying...the sun does eventually shine again.