Friday, September 24, 2010

WAITING ON GOD - Part 2 - Waiting to Make the Next Move

"You acted foolishly," Samuel said. "You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.  But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command." (1Samuel 13:13-14, NIV)

Waiting on the Lord is challenging.  In the last entry, we discussed how waiting for crises to resolve can be agonizing.  The pain of looking for that job to arrive or a cure to appear can be overwhelming.  But the valuable lessons we can learn during that time grow our faith exponentially if we cooperate with God.  These are not the only times we find ourselves in uncomfortable holding periods.

When our eyes see a situation where we think we need to act, waiting on the Lord can be equally stressful.  It is never a good idea to move forward before we get our Creator's input on a given situation.  In fact, that can be one of the surest ways to get ourselves into trouble.  But biding our time, wondering why an answer hasn't come quickly can be downright maddening.  Why wouldn't our Father want us to know how to proceed right away when we earnestly seek Him?

There's more than one answer to that question.  We know that unless we are tested, our ability to wait never grows.  It's like exercising a muscle.  Each test of endurance increases our level of competence.  And we know that strengthening our ability to hang in there for God's direction deepens our character.  (see Romans 5:3-5)  It conforms us into the likeness of Christ and actually makes us the type of person others turn to for wisdom.

Then there is also the matter of trust.  There too, it is easy to say we trust God until that trust is tested.  We wonder in our waiting time, does God really care?  Is He punishing me?  Is the answer "no"?  What do I do next?  Is God really true to His promises? 

If we stand by for answers before acting, we come out the winner in the end AND please our heavenly Father.  We discover that He does keep His promises.  He does have our best in mind.  His timing is perfect in every way.  We realize that if we had done things when and how we wanted, they wouldn't have turned out as well as the way our compassionate Lord intended.

There are plenty of examples from the Bible of those who created major troubles by rushing ahead of God.  In the Scripture above, Saul literally dethroned himself by not waiting for Samuel to conduct the burnt offering.  And culture still groans over the warring factions created by Sarah, trying to force God's hand through having her slave, Hagar, sleep with Abraham in hopes of building a family for herself. 

I myself have found myself in the middle of a tempest because I suddenly realized that I had rushed ahead into doing something neither seeking the Lord's approval nor waiting on Him.  It was a serious mess that created terrific conflict between people and threatened my own health.

As I tell my children, the bottom line is that the right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.  "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him..." (Psalm 37:7, NIV)  You will find yourself rewarded in every way for your long-suffering and endurance.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

WAITING ON GOD - Part 1 - Waiting for Him to Act


"We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield."  (Psalm 33:20, NIV)
Waiting.  Is there any more distressing concept in our fast-food, instant-message culture?  Just visit a grocery store and you're sure to see someone disgusted by the thought that they've waited too long in a check-out line!  We have become a people gluttonous for immediate gratification of every kind.

Lest I sound like I'm wagging my bony finger at anyone, the greatest possessor of impatience has to be me.  Managing three young children, two of whom have special needs as well as running a full-time ministry with all of its roles and demands leaves me frequently rushing from one thing to the next.  It becomes hard to slow down and wait.

But this pause required in everyday life is nothing compared to waiting for God to resolve a troubling situation.  Waiting for God to act when we are in a place of crisis can often be tantamount to torture, adding more stress to an already stressful situation.  With great angst we join those who have gone before us in crying out, "How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?" (Habakkuk 1:2, NIV)  Doubt even slips in at times like this, corroding our faith.

Still, there are things that waiting produces, amazing things that transform us, if only we will take note.  One major benefit is that we come to a full understanding of God's sovereign control in our lives.  We begin to fall into His arms, depending upon His care only when we discover we are subject to circumstances that are far beyond our control.  Think of how we can learn to become dependant upon the One who wants to provide for us when, despite our best efforts, we can't find a job or heal a child or resolve a family dispute.

Our prayer life grows in times of waiting as well.  We learn to focus on the Lord and get honest with Him about our feelings.  We tend to explore His word more and examine the promises He's made to us.  We are more inclined to lift up others who are struggling as well at these times.  Our prayer evolve into something that is closer to God's desire for us.  In fact, it is during these times that I have actually learned to pray, "Lord, if this is not Your will, please remove this desire from my heart!"

We learn to persevere when we wait.  Don't you often feel like if a certain situation doesn't resolve immediately, you'll surely die?  Then you discover that you're still alive and well as it lingers on.  You may even start to see the small blessings around you while waiting for the big solutions in life.  These are the very experiences that shape our endurance, which in turn makes us a person of deeper character.

Examination of our expectations and desires occurs as we wait.  Introspection about how reasonable we're being makes us much more cooperative in the future when we find ourselves in group or teamwork situations.  We mature as we realize that we don't always have to have things our way.  And our intimacy with God grows as we acknowledge that our Creator always has His best in mind for us, even if that doesn't align with our own selfish desires.

Persistent worry is also stripped from our lives if we cooperate with the process while waiting.  We learn that our anxiety adds nothing to resolving our crises and is often misplaced when we are in a holding pattern.  I, for one, was forcefully separated from my worry when I had a son born with hemophilia.  I quickly learned that fretting did nothing to prevent bleeding and the most serious episodes occurred without cause.  Losing that bad habit I had so closely clung to over the years was actually quite liberating and vastly increased my level of contentment.

There's no doubt, that waiting is extremely difficult no matter how you slice it.  I don't want to sound like I'm oversimplifying things here.  But if we cooperate with the process and live fully in the moment, we are transformed.  And the way we are shaped by having our resolutions delayed results in a better us than we could ever imagined being.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Purpose in Pain

"But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction."  (Job 36:15, NIV)


"But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold."  (Job 23:10, NIV)

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains:  It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”  CS Lewis

This is the first time I've attempted to start writing on a topic where I felt that the Scripture passages and quote say it all.  I'm wondering what more I can add to it!  The Lord brought the top Scripture passage to me the other day when I was searching His word on another topic.  It resonated to the point where I thought it was a fabulous stand-alone verse to write on.

You see, I think our modern culture often thinks of prayer much the same way as rubbing a bottle with a magic genie in it.  If we make petitions to God in a certain quantity or style, He will grant our every wish, some think.  However, many parents of children with special needs can attest to the fallacy of that belief.

How often have we, as parents, pleaded with God to deliver us or our children from a given trial?  What number of times have we pleaded with Him to bring our child healing that never came?  This leaves us only asking the persistent question "Why?" more frequently.  It just doesn't seem to make sense.

However, if you read Job 36:15 with a little more scrutiny, you see that we are told that we are delivered in our suffering, not from our suffering.  And therein lays the treasure.  As Lewis writes, trials are often the only way that we acquiesce and give God our full and undivided attention.  He seems to have our ear when we are in the midst of suffering versus when everything is going our way.  And there are some lessons, as I've written in the past, that we can only learn through life's challenges.  There's no shortcut to that type of increasing wisdom.

Furthermore, I love the assurance God gives us in the 2nd passage from Job.  It's as if He's telling us, "Stick with me and you'll come through this smelling like a rose!"  Gold and other precious metals get that luster from the extreme heat of refining.  This is the only way they can separate out the dross or scummy impurities.  So it is with us.  There are many sinful, undesirable parts of our lives that we'd never rid ourselves of had our feet never been held to the flame.  I can name things like chronic worry, selfish materialism and lack of compassion as just a few of the unattractive parts of my life that God has been separating out through the refinement of what we, as a family, have suffered over the years.  Our job is to trust Him and remain close to Him through it all.

Although there's no doubt that it's difficult, develop the habit of thanking God for what will happen because of the pain in your life.  Knowing that you have a new opportunity to hear Him and be delivered through that pain should give you great hope.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What You Don't See

"Teach me what I cannot see..."  (Job 34:32, NIV)

Today's post comes amidst a swarm of blog entries being made in honor of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.  While I can quote you the statistics that an estimated 1 in 2 people having a chronic illness or that 96% of all illnesses being invisible, my experience in legislative advocacy tells me that personal stories are always the most effective.  In sharing our family story, perhaps you will find something to identify with or grab onto in order to educate others. 

The challenges of invisible illness actually faced us head-on when I was pregnant with my second child.  Having 2 nephews who lived on the other side of the country diagnosed with severe hemophilia, we knew this genetic illness, occurring mostly in males might run in our family.  It was essential that we assure a "gentle delivery" of any boy we might give birth to.  After our genetic ultrasound revealed that I was carrying a son during my second successful pregnancy, our concern began to rise at the possibility that he too may have hemophilia.  We prepared for testing of the umbilical cord blood and made arrangements with all involved to assure a safe delivery.  That's when the ignorant comments ensued. One individual assured me that I was worrying about nothing because they had never heard of that happening.  If only we had known how frequently we'd visit the "I've never seen it before, so it can't possibly be," mentality over the years to come!

Joy became mixed with tremendous grief when our son was born and subsequently diagnosed with severe hemophilia A.  From day one he had what is termed an "active bleeding pattern".  Most of those born with this disorder get a "honeymoon period" where the baby does not experience bleeding episodes.  We never experienced that luxury.  Visits to the hospital 30 miles away occurred a minimum of 2-3 times per week as our boy received IV infusions of clotting factor.

There was so much people didn't see.  The painful hematomas or joint bleeds hidden from the naked eye required frequent infusing.  Because of the rare nature of his disorder, the expensive medical bills for his clotting factor and treatments added to the enormous stress of adjusting to his diagnosis.  And the physical pain he would endure that was not visible to the naked eye was heartbreaking.  People would never see the battles we privately fought to be allowed to infuse him at home prophylactically 3 times per week.  When I was juggling his care with a high-risk third successful pregnancy, even my OB-GYN didn't have compassion or understanding.  Faced with troubles getting venous access while his younger sister's early birth was imminent, my doctor shrugged her shoulders stating that if needed, my husband would just have to head to Children's Hospital with him for treatment while I came to our local hospital to give birth.  Nobody but my husband and my delivery nurse saw as I stood there in my hospital gown, post-partum giving him an emergency infusion in my hospital room because to otherwise stop the bleed flowing from his mouth and nose, my husband would have to walk him down to the Emergency Department for admission wasting precious time.  Not even his hematologist had a reasonable understanding of what this poor boy endured when he was hospitalized at age 4 with a gastrointestinal bleed, undergoing 12 IV catheter pokes over 3 days and facing a life-endangering situation.  There was little compassion, direction or comprehension from any people, medical or otherwise, when our son faced subsequent post-traumatic stress disorder, requiring years of psychotherapy and medications that further risked his life and sanity.  All the while, we faced the angst of those IV infusions at home 3 times per week.  In the privacy of our home, others would never witness the pools of frank blood coming from our son's repeated nosebleeds that left our kitchen and bathrooms rivaling any television crime scene.  Only a select few had some grasp of what we encountered in working with local schools regarding these ongoing hurdles.

I could go on in detail about our son, but I think you can grasp that there was so much that people would never see or understand.  And who was to know that his younger sister would be facing many invisible battles of her own.  Since her toddler years she was found to have numerous severe allergies to a wide variety of prescription medications, including the ADHD drugs she was given after that label was put on her.  Over the years, her sensory issues have revealed themselves in increasing measure affecting hearing and touch.  All the while, despite our confidence in realizing what we face, the disgust and judgment from others regarding our parenting skills of this child continue on.  It leaves others, and myself when I have time to reflect on it, wondering how a mother and father can persevere through these trials that are mostly under the radar screen of the typical population.

The answer to that query is that there is one more huge thing that is unseen.  Power, love and compassion pour out of our unseen God.  Jeremiah 23:23-24 in The Message translation says, "'Am I not a God near at hand'—God's Decree—'and not a God far off?  Can anyone hide out in a corner where I can't see him?' God's Decree. 'Am I not present everywhere, whether seen or unseen?' God's Decree."  What strength and comfort has been given to our family over the years experiencing the truth of this Scripture!  When we felt we couldn't make it, God was there to rescue us.  Whether it be financial provision, a listening ear or an extra set of hands to help us, our trust in Him has never been misplaced trust.  Even if we haven't seen or felt His presence in a situation, He always eventually proved He was there, giving us the assurance that He will be there when we need him next time.  If healing hasn't been in accordance with His will, He provided the endurance required for us to survive an ongoing trial.  As we cry out, "I can't", He never fails to prove He can.

None of this may be seen by the naked eye.  The illnesses and the trials they bring with them may be invisible.  But so is the amazing help we receive!  God's hands hold us upright and allow joy to prevail in our lives in spite of our circumstances.  That's not something a person can necessarily grasp with their hands or see with their eyes, but it heals our hearts in the same fashion that we suffer -- privately, secretly, perpetually.

If you don't live with an invisible illness, open your ears and your hearts to those who do.  They have a great deal to share with you that will grow you in profound ways that you could never imagine. 

If you do live with an invisible illness, but lack this invisible help, call out to Him.  He promises that you will find Him when you seek Him with all of your heart! (Jeremiah 29:13)

Friday, September 10, 2010

I Can Relate!

"Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let's not let it slip through our fingers. We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let's walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help."  (Hebrews 4:14-16, MSG)

The other day I was speaking with another mom who has a child with hemophilia.  She was going through terrible difficulties with accessing a vein for his every-other-day IV infusion, the treatment regimen that gives him a full and reasonably healthy life.  When sharing her woes, my heart just broke for her.  I nodded my head in understanding and promises for prayers because we have been there too.  I could totally relate to her story.

Our faithful God is much the same in two remarkable ways.  First, we can go to Him directly with any trouble, frustration or concern we might have.  One translation of the Bible even says we should approach Him "boldly" because we realize that he can relate to what we're going through.  After all, Jesus walked this earth and faced everything we face.  He was hungry, tired, frustrated, disappointed.  He even had family difficulties and was betrayed by friends.  He suffered tremendously, not only in always trying to do the right thing, but in His worldly poverty as well.  And of course, the pain and torture of the cross is far beyond what any of us have had to bear.  But He holds out great hope for us in that He triumphed over all of those things, not folding to sin and even overcoming the grave!  This experience and this success makes Jesus the go-to guy on every situation we need to talk about, whether big or small.

The second way He offers us comfort in situations like my conversation with my fellow "hemo mom" is that He works through other people in our lives.  It's fact -- God is more likely to use people and situations in our lives to do His work than He is to create some overwhelming divine event.  There are tremendous practical ways that He has ordained or created for us to connect with parents who have walked a mile in our shoes.  He blesses wonderful groups like The Coffee Klatch, a chat group that uses tools like Twitter, Facebook and Blog Talk Radio to connect parents all over the world with others who are also raising a child with special needs.  He opens doors through places like Support for Special Needs, a website that currently offers 108 different community groups with everything from diagnosis-specific groups, to groups designated by location, to life-stage concerns, to personal interests.  (Shameless plug:  We even facilitate both a group addressing Faith & Disability as well as a Book Club group on that site.)  Of course, there are countless supports through local causes, hospitals and school districts as well.  But are you aware that there is also a whole world of disability ministry, of which SNAPPIN' is a part?  The ways to find another parent or group of parents you can consult, complain or celebrate with is virtually boundless these days.

The point is, we have a God who is not disengaged from our challenges in life, although sometimes we may feel that way.  We have an awesome Lord who, although He didn't have to, put Himself through all the icky, difficult parts of our lives, so we could always know that there's hope, understanding and fellowship available to us at any time.  We have a God who hears our troubled prayers and replies, "I can relate!"  And that makes Him one amazing God indeed!

* The two fine moms in the photo used for this post also run a fabulous organization called Good Friend Inc which builds acceptance, awareness and empathy for kids on the autism spectrum amongst their peers and educators.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Different Sort of Post: WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BLOG

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that this post is already a deviation from our usual format.  But in an attempt to help the creative juices of a fellow special needs mom blogger start flowing, I've agreed to participate in IT'S ALL GOOD IF YOU CAN LAUGH's Blog Challenge.  This involves sharing why we blog or why you should read our blog.  So here is my feeble attempt that will hopefully help her as well as spread the word about us:

THE TOP 10 REASONS YOU SHOULD READ THIS BLOG...

Reason # 10:  Because parenting a child with special needs is a challenge and we all need to feel like we have an ally.  Hopefully, in reading these posts, you will see that you're not alone and will gain some encouragement from that knowledge.

Reason # 9:  Because too many ridiculous, hilarious and insane things happen in the course of parenting a child with special needs, and they're just too funny to keep to ourselves.  My transparency is intended to make you laugh at times.  Heck, if we didn't laugh at most of this, we'd be crying all the time!  Like when my Li'l Miss with severe allergies, ADHD and sensory issues blurted out in puppy training class at the top of her lungs, "Yeah, we don't have the long 15 foot leash because my Dad was too cheap to buy one!"  See, you're not the only one wishing the floor would suddenly open up so you can instantly escape from the inappropriate social behavior of your special child!

Reason # 8:  Because life is running at such a break-neck speed that sometimes we need to pause and see how it all fits together.  Generally, life in our house is total and complete chaos.  (Thus, the title of this blog.)  But when everyone stops shouting "Mom!  Mom!", it is soul-filling to reflect on how the pieces of this insanity have synergy and can work out for ultimate good.  We all, on some level, seek to make sense out of this crazy world we live in. And, let's face it, most of the time life DOESN'T make sense! So this blog helps direct you, pointing you in the way to go when life is beyond our human understanding.



Reason # 7:  Because current events or seasons relate in ever-so-unique ways to special needs.  A national crisis can put your child with anxiety issues, OCD or other related disorders over the top.  Holidays can put YOU over the top with all of the family arm-chair-quarter-backing about how to manage your special child.  If we can't discuss those things with parents who have walked a mile in our shoes, we'll end up in fetal position in the corner sucking our thumbs!

Reason # 6:  Because there is nothing like a GREAT resource!  I don't know any human being who couldn't use another good tool in their tool box for life.  If you walk away from having read just one good nugget that you can carry with you to help you through life, it's been well worth your time.  And in this information age, the stuff that can be discovered via word of mouth on the internet is virtually boundless!  I love to share what's been discovered here!

Reason # 5:  Because face it, YOU need an attitude change!  We can let the travails of life get under our skin turning us into that bitter person we all avoid when they come up on caller ID, or we can gain fresh perspective on how God can recycle our challenges for good.  When you've got a chip on your shoulder, we're here to knock it off and help you put your grown-up-pants on!  Just sayin'...

Reason # 4:  Because life's not fair, and the sooner you realize that, the happier you'll be.  This ain't heaven, baby, and we're just here to remind you that it's not.  We live in a fallen world.  But helping you survive and thrive in this environment with hope of the things to come is part of our daily mission.  Besides, life is much sweeter and problems much smaller when framed with an eternal perspective.

Reason # 3:  Because you've never read the Bible framed in quite this way.  Have you read any of the posts citing THE NEW BARB TRANSLATION?  That's the one that says, "Love one another as I have loved you...  OR ELSE!"  All joking aside, God's word IS living and active (Hebrews 4:12).  When we incorporate what He's said into the practical parts of our daily lives, His word becomes vibrant, pertinent, relevant.  It's not just a Sunday have-to in our lives.

Reason # 2:  Because I have found something SO terrific that I want to share it with as many people as I can!  The joy, humor and comfort I have received from a daily, intimate walk with Christ has granted me not only hope of a wonderful eternal life in the future, but an extremely blessed life in the present.  Not that I don't have my struggles and bad days like everyone else, but that's not where I remain.  If you could be in a much better place in life despite your circumstances, wouldn't you choose to be?  Well, that's what's offered in this blog.

And the # 1 reason you should read this blog.............

I'm just the pencil.  God's doing the writing.  You may think I'm a loon.  You're probably right.  I've been called worse by my own children.  But all I know is that I will never ceased to be amazed that God can use a dumpy suburban housewife from Wisconsin to do His good work!  He is the one that chooses the topics and lets the words flow.  You should listen to Him!  He made you. The Manufacturer always knows the best way to care for what He's manufactured!  And I love to have a front row seat to watching Him offer a fresh word to encourage amazing parents who are in the trenches every day fighting to care for their children with special needs!

So there, Karin!  Consider your challenge to have been met!  And may your creative juices be replenished as you continue to encourage and inspire others!

*You may read more about Karin Kysilka on her blog at http://itsallgoodtoday.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

God of the Unseen

Hagar named the Lord, who had been speaking to her, “You Are the God Who Watches Over Me.” She said, “This is the place where I watched the one who watches over me.” This is why the well is named Beer Lahai Roi [Well of the Living One Who Watches Over Me]. It is still there between Kadesh and Bered.  (Genesis 16:13-14, GWT)

Having an "invisible disability" can be one of the most isolating situations in the world.  So many of our initial judgments are made by a quick visual assessment of any given situation.  We determine how good of a parent we think someone may be based upon the behavior we see in their children.  We make ourselves arbiters of how much compassion we think a person deserves based upon how much outward suffering we witness.  If someone appears to be a person of means, we assume they need no help.  And on it goes.

But there can be so much the world doesn't see.  The tremendous, debilitating pain of things like arthritis or Crohn's Disease can put a person out of commission with virtually no one else outside the immediate family being aware.  Diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and hemophilia are serious physical diagnoses that patients endure without anyone ever knowing what arduous routines they are required to follow in daily life.  And things like OCD, ADHD, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia can keep entire families in upheaval apart from the rest of the world knowing.

As a parent, this can be difficult on so many fronts.  First, there's the judgment from others.  If it's a mental illness, your parenting is critiqued.  If it's another sort of physical disorder that can't be readily seen, it's minimized and you're thought to be overreactive in your angst.  Second, there are the insurance battles.  Getting things appropriately covered, especially in the area of mental health care can be out and out war.  Certain drugs for pain management or other specialty pharmacy can make gaining appropriate, covered care a part-time job.  Third, there are the challenges with schools.  Even if your child is entitled to a 504 or IEP, it may be like pulling teeth to get the educational system to work with you in the best interest of your child.  When a disability is invisible, those who don't live with your child can make incorrect assumptions about their capabilities or needs.  Fourth, because there can be so much irrational behavior surrounding invisible disorders, such fear of the unknown, we parents and caregivers can have our hearts deeply wounded as we watch our child being ostracized.  Seeing our child go uninvited to certain parties or excluded from certain activities because of the ignorance of others is hard to take.  If they only knew --  If they all only knew!

But there is One who understands what others don't.  He's been pushed to the limit just like you have.  (Hebrews 4:15)  He's suffered and come through it in amazing glory, so you can do the same! 

In the Bible, God is called invisible or unseen, at least 8 times.  He knows that out of sight can mean out of mind when it comes to people caring about you.  Yet, in Matthew 6:6 we're assured that He sees what no one else does.  He reminds us of his watchful eye and attentive ear in verses like Psalm 34:15-20.  We can live in confidence knowing that He is the God of both the seen AND the unseen.

What comfort we can find when we realize that our loving Father is aware of all that is hidden from others!  He knows the truth!  He knows about all of our secret suffering, all the extra effort we put forth in private and all of our personal financial struggles.  Most of all, he knows our hearts.  (Proverbs 21:2)  When we struggle with invisible illness, He knows the range of emotions that buffet our souls.  And with His care alone, all of the ugliness that assails us can be transformed into something beautiful in our lives.  He offers us a hope that this ongoing battle of ours is not in vain.  Every trial we face, whether witnessed by others or not, has purpose and meaning in His economy. 

*National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is September 13-19, 2010.  To learn more, visit http://invisibleillnessweek.com/#

Friday, September 3, 2010

Call to Action!

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does."  (James 1:22-25, NIV)

I wish I had a buck for every person that told me that they were too busy these days to help or get engaged with parents who have special needs kids.  Sadly, I'd be a rich woman.  It seems to be reflex today that we use the demands of our lives to opt out of that which God has called us to do.

What does God call us to?  We are to comfort others.  (Isaiah 40:1, 2 Corinthians 1:3-5)  Provide for others less fortunate in numerous ways.  (Matthew 25:35-40, James 2:14-16)  Refresh the weak and weary.  (Psalm 41:1, Proverbs 11:25, Romans 15:1)  Throughout the Bible, the Lord calls us to be kind, generous and loving as He is.

So how does that affect a ministry like SNAPPIN'?  A person can be Christ to those who are struggling in numerous ways, many of which are fairly simple.  Of course, you can make charitable donations of funds.   But you can also donate gift cards for gas, groceries or restaurants as well as items for our gift baskets.  A person could be a contributing writer for our blog or monthly newsletter.   One very simple thing to do would be to add our Good Search/Good Shop tool bar to your computer which earns about .01 for each search you do and 3-20% for every purchase you make through this tool.  Some have offered to hold rummage sales or bake sales to benefit our organization.  Others offer their gift of time and talent to give parents a break by providing respite, watching children so moms and dads can actually go on a date or run an errand child-free.  Those who love people can step up to the easy task of sharing information at our booth during conferences or expos. 

There are as many ways to serve as your creativity can imagine.  The important point is that you do serve!  There is no doubt that our Creator wants us to get a little uncomfortable for one another rather than just saying "Amen" to that suggestion in a pew.  Look at how uncomfortable HE became on our behalf!

If this admonition today is a bit disturbing rather than the gentle encouragement usually offered here, it's because God is calling us to action.  Organizations like SNAPPIN' cannot exist without people catching the vision and being generous in every way they can.  It's time for all of us who call ourselves people of faith to show the world what we believe by our actions and not mere words!

*For more information on getting involved in serving, please contact us directly at snappin.ministries@gmail.com.