Thursday, July 23, 2015

You Are Not the "A" Word

Word Art Created by A&J Reader, JE. Thank you!
A priest said that to me not too long ago. Taken aback somewhat, I thought, "Well, I haven't really ever seen myself as the 'A' word." Then I realized he didn't mean that "A" word. He meant autistic and added straightforwardly, "That chapter in your life is through. You are healed. You have an entirely new identity in Christ."

As Nigel spoke, I didn't say much. He prays for the healing of others constantly. He has seen miracles and he has heard all the stories of healing miracles--for decades now. He also knows when someone shares a testimony that does not ring true. I had wondered for some time if he thought I fell into that category. Now I know he doesn't. And to hear that declaration spoken over me, "You are healed..." Well, I didn't think it would make all that much difference in how I thought or felt about myself, but it seems to be making all the difference in the world right now. 

I marvel at God's ability to transform. It's such a mystery--just like our physical growth. As children we grew everyday. Yet, we couldn't feel it. We couldn't see it, either. But one day out of the blue when we put on some pants, we found them to be three inches too short. Exposed ankles--and nothing else gave our growth away--nothing we could internally or definitively measure, anyway. 

So it is with healing. We wait, we watch, we pray, and if asked we would probably swear we would be able to recognize the moment that "big" change occurred. If you are one those people, that is wonderful for you, but most of us I would venture to guess would be just as in the dark as a newly lanky child who sprang up overnight after waiting for what seemed like an eternity to grow. I know that's where I am. In the dark. Things have happened. I have grown...but how...I know not. 

But what I do know is this: I am not the "A" word anymore. Praise be to the Lord God Our Healer! Thank You, thank You, Jesus. Your love leaves me speechless.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Baby Steps

Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss in What About Bob?

I think even Scripture tells us not to despise small beginnings but because I do not, at the moment, feel particularly motivated to look it up, let's just say that yes, somewhere in the Bible this profound and marvelous truth does indeed appear.

For this reason, I am not despising my recent move which happened a few days ago. Until then I lived in an apartment owned by my employers which they generously provided for me for three months. Now I live 7 miles down the road in an apartment over a three car garage.

Being new to the area and still showing next to no skill in the social networking department, finding an affordable place to live was a huge concern for me. But I prayed and managed to get a feel for what I wanted for this next season in my life. 

Every single prayer regarding my move was answered. I wanted simplicity but independence. I wanted to put more of my healing to the test but not feel overwhelmed. Again, this is exactly what was given to me, and my heart is full of gratitude. My spirit is full of awe. And I am in the beginning phases of understanding what it means to feel humbled by God when the heavens finally open up after they seemed like brass for the past couple of decades. 

God...bless this home and the couple who heard from You to provide me for exactly what I needed. Let your Holy Spirit rule and reign here, and let your love flow from this place. May all who enter here experience Your healing and Your presence. You are truly an amazing Father! 

Thank you, Jesus, for all that You give and all that You gave. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Context is Key

Pretty much every mature Christian knows Jeremiah 29:11 by heart. This verse is probably one of the most quoted in all of Scripture. It's good to know God's word off the top of our heads, but sometimes when we do, it's easy to gloss over other verses that are just as pertinent. While we do that hurried half reading, half skimming the Bible, we can easily miss out on some much needed additional encouragement. 

Jeremiah wrote this famed promise in a letter addressed to the people of Judah who had just been exiled from Jerusalem. While they expected to return immediately, Jeremiah exhorted God's people to settle down, marry, and build homes in Babylon. He explained to the Judeans they would be in captivity for seventy years. 

Seventy years! What crushing news. This is why God, in essence, said to His people, "Hey! I know that all seems lost--that you think this is the end--but you are wrong! When it's all said and done, I am going to fulfill all that I've promised you!!! Keep your chin up and carry on!"

Today, realizing this promise came from the context of such a devastating captivity made me think of the hopelessness people feel when they think about the captivity in which their children with autism live. Hope seems far away; the future bleak. 

But what if you are a parent who knows in your heart of hearts that healing was promised to your son or daughter? What if you had a dream that was so real there was no mistaking the contents of that dream in which you received a promise of healing?

"Yes, I had that dream, but...so many years have passed. It must not have been real." Or simply, "It's too late. It will never happen." 

I know how frustrating and confusing this can be, but just the other day, I heard a response to this very same lament and it was simply this: "The longer you have to wait for your healing, the bigger the testimony when it finally comes."

To this response, my heart says, "Amen and amen!!!" 

By the way, my favorite part of Jeremiah 29 is not actually verse eleven. What I love immediately follows: Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you [...] and bring you back from captivity. 

Like I said, context is key. A glorious promise erupted from crippling loss. And in that loss, God asked his people to live in peace in a strange land for decades.Yet in the end, He said He would be back to "come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place." 

I don't know about you, but all of that--the rest of those verses surrounding Jeremiah 29:11 makes me smile. Why? Because waiting is hard, especially when the suffering never seems to end. But I want you to know, God has not forgotten you. Keep praying and seeking. He will be found by you. God loves you. 

May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you today.