Posted in Church, Faith, Healthcare, parenting, Special Needs Kids, The DJ Journey

Even Wonder Women Needs An Oxygen Mask

Moms of special needs children tend to downplay or outright ignore their health. The needs of the child are so great we master the art of caring for them even when our needs are greater. We become so adept at neglecting ourselves for our child we do it without thought. It’s not an attention seeking action it’s survival mode.

Several months ago, I had the unsettling notion something was not right with my health. At first, I had no symptoms. By the time the symptoms arrived, I was in the middle of writing, directing, and choreographing our church Easter play.  I love working with the kids and doing dramas.

This one was extra special because it was the first one in which DJ participated.

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In God’s providence scheduling conflicts led to the play being done a week before Easter.  Any other day and the play would have been canceled.

By performance night, my body screamed for attention.  My health refused to be ignored any longer.  In a span of about 36 hours, I went from feeling like I might have the flu to unable to get out of bed. IMG_9242

What began as me ignoring a typical kidney infection morphed into a full-blown medical crisis.  Words like platelets, blood cancer, leukemia, heart attack, stroke, and premature death engulfed my conversations.

Restricted from any activity, I had ample time to contemplate how I landed on this crudely constructed road.  How did I become so violently ill?  It didn’t just happen.  The answer was clear.  I sacrificed my health in the name of being a strong, nurturing mother giving all and taking nothing for myself. Then came the day when the tatters of my Wonder Woman mentality were strewn about my sick bed.  Everything changed.

There is a reason airline stewardess instruct us that in the event of an emergency we put our oxygen mask on before putting one on our child.  On the surface, the command contradicts the mommy code of putting the child first.  However, the point on the plane should be the same in our everyday lives.  If we do not take care of ourselves, we will be unable to care for our child.   Ignoring our health increases the risk of prolonging or intensifying our illness.  By seeking medical care at the first sign of illness we significantly increase our chances of surviving the monster seeking to destroy us.

I’ve not yet fully recovered.  Don’t know I ever will.

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What I do know is that for ever how many days God gives me upon this earth, I want to encourage others through my mistakes and accomplishments.  So, get that mole checked, stop making excuses for the lump in your breast, don’t assume it is a cold that won’t go away and get a physical every year.  We take the best care of our kids when we take care of us.  Cause to soar as high as she does, even Wonder Woman needs oxygen.

An earlier version of this blog appeared in the Winchester Sun.

Posted in Church, Holidays, In The News, Politics

All Sides Against Church Christ Cathedral

Any true Liberal or Christian should be alarmed at the antics of Indiana’s Church Christ Cathedral.  In an alarmingly boneheaded move, the church decided to put Mary and Joseph in a cage to protest illegal immigrant families being separated.  Let’s just blow right past the fact that nothing being done now has not been done before.  And that criminals in America don’t get to take their kids to jail with them.

christ churchAs a nod to viral social media ignorance, liberals are cheering for this alleged church.  In typical, only-my-agenda-matters fashion conceptual thinking is traded for the thrill of a participation ribbon.  They abandon the First Amendment they have screamed for in the past and will no doubt protest for in the future.  But here’s the thing about the First Amendment.  It not only prevents the government from endorsing the church but also the church from influencing legislation.  So, if you cheer this church jumping in the political ring then, consider the influence pastors have, get over prayer in school, hang The Ten Commandments back on the wall and try not to choke on your Merry Christmas.

While you do all that keep in mind the church is tax exempt.  Ordinarily, I would be shocked a church leader would be so reckless with his church’s financial solvency.  However, considering the pretzel-like manipulations of Scripture he used to put himself in the national spotlight, I’m not surprised at all.  This church leader’s deliberate stirring of murky water only clarifies his intent to drag his congregation down that road paved with good intentions.

Posted in Church, Faith, In The News, Politics

Is a Vote for Trump a Mockery of Jesus

Recently, an article posted on Facebook declared any Christian who voted for Trump was “making a mockery of Jesus Christ.” The article beats the same worn drum. Trump disrespects women.  A womanizer should not be in the White House.  Really?  Bill Clinton turned the Oval Office into a whorehouse!  Hillary re-victimized the women by attacking them. Clinton’s accusers came forward on their own while attorney Lisa Bloom sought to pay women $700,000 to accuse Trump. Neither Republicans nor Democrats get a trophy for their treatment of women.

The nerve center of the article isn’t political. It is spiritual. It takes unmitigated gall of catastrophic proportions to measure a person’s faith by the ballot box. Moses was a murderer used by God. David was an adulterer and orchestrated a murder yet God called him a man after God’s heart. Rahab was a prostitute but was in the direct lineage of Christ. God’s power and grace are on full display when he uses unfit, unwanted and imperfect people to do great things.

The “good” people in the Bible were the Pharisees and Sadducees, those termed Teachers of the Law.  They were in charge in Jesus’ day.  They set themselves as the moral compass and the beacon of all that was right.  Jesus, however, referred to them as hypocrites, a brood of vipers, snakes, phonies, and oppressive.  Jesus set Himself up against the holier-than-thou even as He reclined with sinners.

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The mockery of Jesus comes when we promote our vote as the only Christian one.  Or when we use faith as a weapon of mass destruction.  It’s a pitfall Jesus warned us about and fought against.  He left no question as to our inability to judge one another.

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A person who uses a vote as a measuring stick of faith only invites questions about himself.  One of the foundational beliefs of Christianity is that God works good through bad situations.  Shaming someone for their vote defies that core belief.  Our shoulders are not the ones of which the weight of the government rests.  That is Jesus’ job.  God makes our job equally clear.

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That verse prohibits the Christian from saying, “not my president.”  It makes no difference whether or not you like the president.  God expects His people to act according to His Word and do right even if the government is wrong.  It is the responsibility of every minister in America to bring that point home to their congregations.

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When you see people on social media promoting such outrageous claims of mockery ask yourself why.  Humans have personal agendas but God has an agenda for humanity.  More often than not, God will enter from an unexpected avenue through the least capable person.  So, is a vote for Trump a mockery of Jesus?  No!  It is a surrender that we’ve done all we can and depend on a loving and just God to do what we can’t.  It speaks to a deep knowing that regardless of what the world says, it’s the sinner who has a true heart for God.

Posted in Church, Faith, parenting, Special Needs Kids, The DJ Diariers, The DJ Journey

The Vision of God

The vision was as clear as it was murky. The image was of DJ walking to the front of the church toward the pulpit. I could make out nothing more than the church had two aisles leading to a step up to the platform where the podium stood. That made sense because it was the exact layout of the church we were attending. What made little sense was that even at two-years-old DJ could not walk.

That vision, like most of the others pertaining to DJ, was given to me when DJ was the sickest. He was in and out of the hospital sometimes multiple times in a month. It was terrifying, stressful, and more than a little taxing on my faith. Yet, whenever I was about to crash God always came through with a vision of hope. He always showed me something that seemed impossible with my current circumstances but instilled profound hope that kept me pressing forward.

I have no explanation for why or when God chose to show me these future events. Not one of them occurred in the midst of fervent prayer. Instead, they came out of the blue. Sometimes I hadn’t even prayed specifically for what God showed me but the vision was an extension of my heart’s desire. That was the case with this vision.

I was busy trying to keep DJ alive. His inability to walk was a low priority. Obviously, it was something I wanted for him but in the big scheme of things, I just wanted my baby to live. I had the vision twice, first at home and then a few days later at church. Me being me; I came up with a reason for it. I determined that one day DJ would walk to the front of our church and reveal to us what God had been doing inside his nonverbal heart and mind.

Fast forward about 15 years. We’ve moved to a different city and no longer attend that church. DJ is walking, but he is still nonverbal. Though the vision was anything but forgotten, there was certainly no evidence that it was about to be fulfilled. But isn’t that just like God?

This past Sunday we were at a church we had only been to once. No one in that church had an inkling as to the vision I had so many years ago. But this church was one of the most loving churches toward DJ I have ever encountered. I’ve had pastors and others love and accept DJ. But the entire congregation at this church has such genuine love and acceptance it stands above all others. Knowing that I was still unprepared for what was about to happen.

Just before he was about to deliver his message, Pastor Rick approached Steve and me. He asked if it would be okay for him to take DJ to the pulpit with him. I’m not sure exactly what he said but something that indicated this was not his original plan. Though we had no idea how DJ would respond we consented. Rick turned to DJ and asked him if he wanted to go to the pulpit with him and DJ agreed. It was when Rick took DJ’s hand in his and they started toward the front that it happened.

IMG_1727In the blink of an eye that long ago vision came to life. What I had failed to notice before, was how much the sanctuary at Bethlehem Christian Church resembles the one at Hill-n-Dale where we attended when I had the vision. They are practically identical. I suppose since it had been so long since I had been to Hill-n-Dale I missed the similarities. But at that moment, it became clear.

The vision wasn’t of the aisle at Hill-n-Dale. It was Bethlehem. And DJ didn’t have to speak his testimony he was living proof of it. I don’t know why God made me DJ’s Mommy. I’m certainly undeserving of the task. I understand even less why God gives to me these glimpses of the future. The only thing I know for certain is that DJ is God’s instrument to reach an often cold, hopeless, and cynical world. But in the process of doing so, he gives me what I need to carry on each day. No matter how hard and painful it is sometimes to parent DJ, God provides me the exact measure of hope I need to carry on. And more love than I can fathom.

Pastors like Rick are far and few between. They may love the Lord, but understandably they are leery of anything that may disrupt their message. Rick invited DJ up with him not knowing how DJ would respond but accepting that if DJ took the limelight from him, it would, in fact, be Jesus stealing the show. IMG_1736