Thursday, May 15, 2014

Love, Community, & Autism

Well, time flies! It has been about eight months since my last blog entry was posted. I did not really intend to be quiet for so long, but have you ever noticed that sometimes being quiet is exactly what the doctor ordered? Reflection is good, and we can draw strength from it if we are patient during the process. 

To bring you up to speed, I am still on my healing journey. For me, the biggest challenge to wholeness has been both trying and wanting to live in community and fellowship with other Christians. In other words, I had long been content with just sitting at home reading my Bible and praying, feeling like I was doing enough for God.

But...I learned that it's nearly impossible to read the Bible and not see that it's not a rule book, but rather it's a book of stories. About people. About people who came together to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the share the message of salvation, and to continue the work of Jesus--which was mainly to heal the sick, preach the gospel, and to cast out demons. And on occasion, to raise a dead person or two. And the reason we do that today is to demonstrate God's love to the world. People are healed when the love of Jesus Christ transforms their hearts. 

The truth is, there's no way to do this--to go out and minister to others as Jesus did--alone. Not even Jesus ministered alone! Additionally, I began to realize that church is not a place where I go to expressly receive a blessing from God. Nor is it a place to go where I want to hear good music. Church is where we, as the Body, gather together, and we worship, corporately, the Lord. In other words, we give something back to Jesus as a family. We take communion (which is healing, too), and we remember the body that was broken and the blood that was shed for us. Together. 

So, after much praying, the Lord led me to a little Anglican church here in Jacksonville where I fit right in. I was accepted right from the start. I joined a small group, I usher, and I was even sponsored to attend the Anglican 4th Day Weekend retreat where my new found cognitive flexibility was supremely put to the test! (For those of you not familiar with the weekend, it's like camp, and for four solid days our lives are in the hands of others who tell the attendees what to do every waking moment. They even drag people out of bed before the sun comes up!). But the weekend was wonderful, and I was in awe that not only did I tolerate being with people for a straight 96 hours, but that I actually loved the experience and bonded with many of the ladies also in attendance! 

Basically I am learning in this phase of my life that it truly is better to give than to receive. I'm not out there setting the world on fire, but my heart is being changed from the inside out. I am learning how to love. And to me, there is no better healing. 

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