Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pool Party Success

So, as an update to THIS post, here are some pictures of the Arc pool party we went to last night.  We all had lots of fun, even though the water was so cold! 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

When Special Needs Child Rearing Differs from Typical Child Rearing

Sometimes I vent about my kids and their behavior.  If you don't have a special needs kid, you might say, "Well, that's all kids.  My kids do that, too."  And I don't dispute that there are similarities.  But I can almost guarantee that the scope of the behavior varies greatly.

As you may have guessed, I am thinking of a particular situation we are dealing with right now. (read: enduring)

Yesterday, Shelby County Arc was scheduled to have a pool party.  When it comes to outings, we need to tread carefully about introducing the idea to our kids.  Drew especially struggles with going places.  So, I broke the news that we had a pool party last night.  Amazingly, he took the news really well.  He even tried on his new swim trunks without coaxing.  Unfortunately, the weather was bad and the party was postponed to tonight.  He was in his swim trunks and I had to tell him the party was cancelled.  Again, he took the news well and changed into his regular clothes.

As he often does on Saturday, he started obsessing about going to church on Sunday.  He follows me around the house, saying, "I'm not going to church on Sunday.  I can't open the door for the ladies.  Mens go first.  Church is cancelled."  We assure him that he is going to church on Sunday, and he can open the door for the ladies.  It doesn't matter what we say, he continues this conversation over and over.  He asks who will be there.  The expected answer is "Lofty"  Who is Lofty, you might ask?  Lofty is Drew's imaginary friend, the crane character from Bob the Builder.  We think he relates to Lofty because Lofty is hesitant and anxious about things, just like Drew.

So, we were already on this treadmill conversation and had been for a couple hours at least, when I let it slip that we are going to the pool party tonight.  So, added to the conversation about church, he says he can't go swimming, he hates swimming.  Lofty will not be there.  And he hates Little Caesars.  Wait, what?  What does Little Caesar's have to do with it?  Well, a few times, we stopped at Little Caesars for a Hot and Ready pizza and breadsticks.  So, now we have to do it every time we go swimming, or a meltdown ensues with self-injurious behavior and all.

I keep reassuring him that he can do it, and he will have fun.  I made him a schedule and showed him pictures of past pool parties to remind him  that he likes pool parties.  But still he follows me around as I try to do some household chores, going through his script, so close that he bumps into me if I turn around too fast.  It is now twenty minutes before five.  We have almost two hours until we leave for the pool party.  His behavior will escalate with his anxiety as the pool party approaches.  Would it be easier to forgo these outings?  You bet.  But we know that he will have fun and have a sense of pride that he actually was about to do it, just like we told him.  I will update later with pictures of his success.  Hopefully.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Different Perspective on the Duggar Situation

I have only been watching the Duggars for a couple years.  I have been fascinated with their lives and their family.  I admit I was pretty shocked to hear that Josh Duggar molested his sisters when he was a teenager.  I have read many comments online saying what a slimeball Josh Duggar is/was and how their family is in a cult and that Josh's victims will be ruined for life because of his abuse.  I have read that he has apologized and his sisters have forgiven him.  From what I have read online, people have said that they couldn't possibly have forgiven him, that they were coerced into saying they did to protect their family image.  All of this may be true, I don't know the Duggars personally, so I can't say.

But I do have a few things to say on the subject.  Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident.  And I have read reports citing as many as 1 in 3 women will be abused in their lifetime.  So, these are high numbers.  Chances are good that if you are reading this, either you or someone you love has been sexually abused.  And it is my belief that these statistics are low because many instances are never reported.

Like many of you, I was sexually abused as a child.  It was by a babysitter.  I didn't report it because I didn't want to get anyone in trouble, and of course, there was shame about what I had done/been forced to do.

I am not going to lie and say there were no repercussions.  It was a secret I didn't want brought up for years and didn't even tell my parents about it until I was an adult.   And I probably wouldn't have told them ever if it hadn't been revealed by my sister who also was abused by this person..  I didn't want them to be hurt or maybe think they did something wrong by allowing this person to babysit for us.

 Psalm 61:1 is one of my very favorite verses in the bible. It speaks of Jesus and his redemption:

 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Ah,  friend-- good news to the poor means that Jesus died for your sins and mine have been forgiven by Jesus.   He died on the cross to pay for the sins of the world.  When I accepted Him as my Savior, my sins were forgiven and placed on Him.  No longer am I dead in my sins, but can know they are forgiven and will have eternal life with my Savior.

I have given my life to Christ and with it, all of my hurts.  That includes the pain of sexual abuse. Jesus says through the prophet Isaiah that he was sent to bind up the brokenhearted.  Psalm 147:3 says: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Sometimes, people who are sexually abused are held captive by the memories of what they endured.  I am not saying that is wrong.  I think it is a natural reaction.  Satan would love for us to be bitter about what happened and let it ruin our relationships.  He is a deceiver and a destroyer.

I have completely forgiven my abuser.  When I think of her, I feel no malice.  I only feel sorrow for the fallen world we live in that led her to hurt me in the first place.  I pray for her salvation and that she has repented of her sins and has given her life to Christ.

 I believe that if Josh Duggar has TRULY repented of his sins and humbly asked forgiveness, the Bible tells me:  "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

I don't know if the Duggar sisters have truly forgiven their brother.  But I know that it is possible with Christ's help. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Clenched Fist

I was listening to a podcast by Adrian Rogers today.  He is a pastor who has gone on to be with the Lord. His sermons are still broadcast in a program called Love Worth Finding.  He told a story in today's sermon about a little girl long ago putting her hand in a very, very expensive vase.  Very quickly, she discovered that her hand was stuck!  Her parents tried to get her hand out.  They used oil in hopes of coaxing her hand out, they pulled, and tried all kind of things to get the girl's hand out of the vase.  But alas, her hand was truly stuck. In the end, her parents had to break the precious vase to get their daughter's hand out of the vase.  When they did, they discovered that their daughter's hand was in a tight fist.  They asked her why on earth she didn't just open her fist, for surely her hand would have slipped right out of the vase with her hand open!  The girl replied that she had been holding onto a penny and didn't want to lose it.

This is such a marvelous picture of the mindset of man.  First, for the unbeliever--they hold onto what they see as valuable and miss the wonderful treasure that is the kingdom of God.  Nothing on this earth compares to the riches that God gives to his children.  The unsaved person says, "I like my life just the way it is.  I have great things--a family, a house a decent job and I am generally a happy person."  when they don't realize they could have so much more!

Faith in Jesus guarantees that we will spend eternity with Him.  In a sinless, perfect world.  That is a beautiful thought considering the ugliness of the world we live in. You have to be seriously checked out to have not noticed the state the world is in right now.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power."

Really look at that list.  Doesn't it resemble the people in our world today?  We are living in end times.  Believe it.  I could give you twenty reasons why this is true.  But that list is very clear.  Don't give up eternity for the penny you have clenched in your hand.  Open your hand and grab hold of the Creator of the universe who died so you may have life!

Part 2, The Clenched Fist of the Christian coming up.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Tough Subject

I get so used to helping Drew do every day things that I forget how much he is growing up. Today at school while doing his work, Drew said "if God is mad at you, you will die."  His aide and teacher were surprised and asked where he heard that. He said, "Pastor Jim". Now I know that's not exactly what was said, but that must be the conclusion he drew from the sermons he listens to.  So, I asked him about it. At first he didn't want to talk about it. I said, "Is God mad at you, Drew?"  He said, "No, I was good!"  

Drew knows what punishment is and has even recently started using the word, especially when he thinks his brother needs it. 

I said to Drew, "Do you know how when you do something bad, you get a punishment?  Well, Jesus took our punishment for all the bad things we do. Remember how Jesus died on the cross?"  

 "Yeah, poor Jesus!" he said. 

I said,  "When Jesus died on the cross for us, God was mad at him for a little bit. But Jesus didn't stay dead. He came back to life and showed us that God is not mad anymore.  When we die, if we believe in Jesus, we will be with Him in heaven."   

He said, "And Jesus is in my heart."  I said, "is Jesus in your heart?" He said, "Yes. And Kevin, too." (Kevin is his friend who he sits with every week)

Not sure if I handled the conversation properly, but it tells me he is listening and starting to figure things out on his own. Looking forward to more God talks with him.