Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Rainbow of Solidarity in the Church

For 28 years my grandpa, a Vietnam veteran, was a certified Scuba diver. All suited up, with air tank on his back, he plunged into the great blue deep. With heavy weights, he sunk down to the edge of the coral reefs of the Carribean.

Futher out, at a depth of about 90 feet, the blue became gray where no light could penetrate at that depth. Grandpa switched on his dive light  and shined bright on the gray, restoring all the natural colors of the yellow and blue tangs or striped lionfish and clownfish.

He caught and brought them home, plopping them into his salt water aquarium. Keeping a little homemade ocean habitat was healing for his heart for all that he'd been through in Vietnam and in life.

With all that's going on in the world today, what can heal our fearful hearts?

How can we help create a little slice of heaven here on earth?

May our tears for our country, for the lost, for the broken be a prism for the light of Christ to reveal the rainbow of God's redemption in this part of His Story.

May our love replace the hate that is stealing the dignity, killing the joy and destroying the lives of people made in His image.

We don't have to be afraid or ashamed. But, we do need to keep on loving in the gray. Shining His light in the darkness. Being the hands that hold all our brothers and sisters close who reflect a rainbow of hues in the color of their skin.

"Nothing can separate us from the love of God
 that is in Christ Jesus." ~Romans 8:27

No depth of uncertainty in these times can keep us from His love. Christ is always with us because He lives in our hearts.

"God is love
And whoever abides in love
 Abides in God
 And God abides in Him."
~1 John 4:16

Nothing, absolutely nothing can change that.

And the darker the world gets, the brighter His love, if we let Him, will shine.

The only thing that we have to fear is fear itself.

Fear blinds us. Keeps us from loving anyone other than ourselves.

Love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).

May we be knit together in love and unity with all our brothers and sisters in Christ, creating a rainbow of solidarity, a little picture of heaven, where every tribe, every tongue, every nation bows down and worships Jesus.

"And they sang a new song, saying,

     'Worthy are you to take the scroll
         and to open its seals,
      for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed 
         people for God
     from every tribe and language and people and nation, 
        and you have made them a kingdom and priests to 
    our God,
       and they shall reign on the earth.'" ~ Revelation 5: 8-10


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

When it Seems Like You'll Forever Be Holding the Hand of Your Struggling Learner

Mustering up all the excitement I could, I tapped my little guy on the shoulder. "Ready for swim lessons?" 

As he lounged on my bed, he crossed his arms over his legs and scowled. "I don't wanna go." No surprise here. It was his typical response for trying something new.

"Well, I already paid for it, so you're going." And that was my typical response.

He's smart enough to know there was no point arguing. Mama's got her plans, so he better go along with it or he might pay the price in loss of video game time. 

Thankfully, his swim instructor was super patient and he eventually had a blast and became a stronger swimmer.

Soccer was harder. Even though all the other kids had gathered around the coach, he refused to go out on the field. I hadn't planned on this.

Holding his hand, I padded out on the field and as soon as he was distracted, I backed away and hurried to the bleachers. He was fine after that and ended up loving it.

Then it was time for the club meeting. I was prepared for a similar scenario. But, the dynamics of the room proved to cause sensory overload for him. 

He clung to me like a bear cub on a pine tree. This mama bear wanted him to participate, but I had to let it go. Our kids' hearts are more important than how well they perform. 

All oaks from acorns grow, right? This little acorn, he has autism. Will he still grow up into an oak, able to stand on his own? Cause I know he can't hold my hand forever. 

How do us parents with struggling learners move from frustration and disappointment to hope?

We need to keep the bigger picture in mind.

Success in the Kingdom of the Son doesn't lie in college diplomas, a six figure job and grand accolades. It's being like Jesus.

Not only did Jesus level with us all by becoming a man, He lowered himself even further, by becoming a servant and washing his disciples' mud-encrusted feet.

If we want our kids to be like Jesus, we need to be like Him first and let go of our plans and our pride.

We must be willing to stoop down low and hold our children's hands until they can stand on their own. But also taking a step further and showing them the nail-scarred hand of the one who will never let them go.

It's making disciples of the least of these.

So they can bring His light into a dark world.

My boy loves John Bunyan's allegory The Pilgrim's Progress

Christian, the main character in the story embarks on a journey to somehow remove the heavy burden on his back (his sin). 

Along the way, he comes face-to-face with Jesus on the cross and the burden comes rolling off never to be seen again. 

But, that's not the end of the story. 

He is given a new coat of armor to protect himself (the armor of God) and a little scroll to help him along the way (the Bible). 

The journey takes many twists and turns and Christian has to fight, endure and press on. Until he reaches that Celestial City where his earthly journey ends and his heavenly one begins.

Our kids need Jesus. For salvation, protection and life instructions.

Let's not just focus on self-sufficiency, but God-sufficiency. May our children not only walk the stage to get a diploma, but walk the path to the cross, where every self-centered dream must die in order for dreams eternal to live.

In whatever weaknesses our children have, God is strong. And, He is more glorified in those who need Him most.

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:1-4