Thursday, July 31, 2014

We've Come a Long Way, Baby!

"Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?"
~ 2 Samuel 7:18, NIV ~

It seems like yesterday that I had my first nervous in-service for our son at the nursery school 3 blocks away from our home.  

I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me when our treatment center nurse found it necessary to tell the teaching staff that my son's clotting factor was derived from Chinese hamster ovaries.  From that school year forward I did the school staff training on my own.

This year's preliminary training is in place with the school nursing staff, and a larger one will follow next month with instructors and the school's emergency response team.  I should be nervous.  It will be his first year of high school.  Instead, I seem to have a peace that surpasses all understanding.

It isn't the that we are trouble-free.  My son has had a summer of prolific, unexplained nosebleeds again.  He likely needs some oral surgery that I have been putting off for lack of funds.  We are in a precarious place with our treatment center right now over an issue that breached our trust.

Even so, I can't help but reflect during this time of transition on how far God has brought this incredible boy over the years.  

  • He has recovered from a frightening hospitalization at age 5 for internal bleeding in his GI tract that left him physically and emotionally scarred for years.  
 
  • He no longer fears going to the ENT doctor, despite multiple nasal cauterizations for relentless nosebleeds over the years. 
 
  • He wants to see his dental specialist, even though he has gone through an oral procedure under general anesthesia once previously because the work was so involved and the mouth so vascular. 
 
  • He has learned to get around on crutches and in a wheelchair after facing a serious ileopsoas (hip joint) bleed and a foot injury. 
 
  • Despite SO much missed school over the years, he has remained a great student, leaving intermediate school as an honors student. 
 
  • He has gone to our state Capitol and advocated for people with bleeding disorders with influential lawmakers. 
 
  • He has developed his own sense of what is best for his own physical needs, managing his bleeding disorder and other challenges. 
 
  • And he has gone from needing to be restrained for IVs (a by-product of his PTSD), to self-infusing with assistance.
 
Sure, I still fight the boy on remembering to wear his bicycle helmet and medical alert bracelet.  It usually ends up in a good-hearted joke, "Don't come crying to me if you're killed!"

Even so, it is easy to feel confident moving into this new transition with our son when you see how far God has brought him, brought ALL of us.

There have been times when it seemed the difficulties of hemophilia might never, ever end.  I would hold him and we would cry together over this beastly bleeding disorder.

While he still lives with the hurdles of hemophilia, he sees hope beyond his illness.  God has strengthened and guided him through some of the most difficult obstacles.  Why shouldn't we feel confident that He will do the same in the future?

What a blessing to face such a big school transition confident that God has his back!

PRAY:  Father, as we walk into transitions this new school year, help us to remember all that You have brought us through in the past.  Guide us as we walk in confidence trusting You.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dread of the School Year Ahead

"I, yes I, am the one who comforts you.  So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear?  Yet you have forgotten the Lord, your Creator, the one who stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth.  Will you remain in constant dread of human oppressors?  Will you continue to fear the anger of your enemies?  Where is their fury and anger now?  It is gone!"
~ Isaiah 51:12-13, NLT ~ 

In the nearly twelve years I have served parent raising children with special needs and chronic illness across the country, I have heard countless stories of parents going to battle with their schools.  In fact, I would say that with the parents I serve, school adversity is the rule rather than the exception.  

When my children were in elementary school, this would always amaze me, because we had such a positive experience with our school staff.  Sure, we had the occasional difficult teacher, but the administration and special ed staff would rally around us to formulate a remedy.  The only exception to that would be when the boy on the autism spectrum began bullying and getting physical with our son with hemophilia.  That REALLY left the staff in a quandry trying to protect everyone's rights.  But then, that's another story for another day.

However, when our youngest child entered intermediate school, all bets were off.  School became a living hell.  Because she had met all of her IEP goals in grade school, they dropped her down to a 504 plan for intermediate school.  Against my better judgment, I let this go, taking a wait-and-see approach to her middle school transition.  That was a huge mistake.  A school twice as big with three times as many children all given much more autonomy proved to be too much for our girl to handle.  And it took me nearly the entire school year to get her back on an IEP.  It was a nightmare.

The following year wasn't much better.  I'll spare you the copious details, but there was a great deal of instability in her school as well as independence that she did not yet have the capability of handling.  Inadequately supervised indoor recesses because of many cold days created nothing but trouble.  

Probably the icing on the cake was that the administration always came down on the side of the staff rather than our daughter.  Our last meeting with the principal ended in him asking us if we were getting our daughter counseling -- A complete relinquishment of responsibility in my opinion.

So, given the past 2 years, the repeated calls from school, the detentions, the challenges with certain teachers, and the lack of support from the administration, you can imagine how much I am dreading the school year ahead.

It started shortly after the 4th of July when retailers shamelessly began placing back-to-school supplies.  My stomach began churning.  What if we have another school year like the past 2?  I have no reason to hope that it will be any better this year.  It's mostly the same players in the same environment.  What do I do if it IS another bad year?  How long do I give this to work out?

I have no control of how this school year will go.  I can set a thirty-day limit on how long I give this year to work before I insist on a school transfer or pull her to homeschool.  Yet, it may harm her more than benefit her because she would lose the few close friendships that she has managed to foster in her current setting.  And social acceptance and friendships are NO small thing for kids like ours!  What do I do?

But God...

The two words that are a game-changer.

No matter what, I have a God who loves her, who loves me, infinitely more than the difficult people in our lives work against us.  He goes before us, beside us, He has our backs.  We need not dread anticipated conflicts with school.  He comforts us no matter what adversity we may face.

Why, oh why is my brain always so forgetful that the same God who laid out all of creation is on my side?  

The bottom line is that I need to redirect my focus so that it is fully on the One who saves me.  He is my eternal hope when things seem so hopeless.  Keeping my brain filled with His promises, glorying in His nature, reflecting on all that He has accomplished in and for us, will set my attitude aright.

My dread NEEDS to end.  My daughter needs my positive support to walk forward into this school year.  The only way to do that is to move in the power of our Creator.

PRAY:  LORD, when our kids dislike school or have had difficult experiences there, it is so very hard to send them back.  Go before us, LORD.  Equip us to be the best advocates possible for our child, while also keeping a positive outlook.  We can't do this without You.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A child's prayer


"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Revelation 21:4, NIV

Some weekends ago, we went up to my aunt's house. In our nighttime prayer, just before tucking her into bed, my daughter Namine prayed: "Dear Jesus, help my aunt not be so old. Amen."

To understand where that came from, let me give you a little context. Earlier that day, my aunt's leg was bothering her, and she had said as much. Namine gets around pretty fast in her wheelchair, so she needed her to slow down. Namine responded, as five year olds are wont to do, with "Why?"

"Well, because I'm old."

Namine said okay, and that seemed to be the end of it. I would have thought she'd forgotten all about it, but she didn't. That night she prayed that her great-aunt wouldn't be so old, equating age with pain. She's had her share of pain as well, with the countless surgeries that she's endured, but her thoughts are ever focused on others.

Pray: Heavenly Father, remind us daily of Your promises. Thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son, so that we may one day join you in heaven. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Paul

Monday, July 28, 2014

Search and Rescue

Photo credit traveladventure.org

"So now they live in frightening ravines, in caves and among the rocks." (Job 30:6, NLT)



He is standing at the foot of the cave peering into the darkness. He can’t see what lies ahead of him in the cave. All he knows is that it's beckoning him, taunting him, and seductively luring him to enter.

I’ve been to that same cave where he now lingers. I’ve felt its cold walls and I’ve wandered through its stalagmites of fear, despair, and loneliness.



He didn’t even know that this cave existed until four months ago. Now, he’s thinking of taking up residence inside its isolated, depressing caverns.


He’s standing at the gaping mouth of the cave called Autism.

The flight instincts inside of him whisper in his ear.  The allure of the cave is almost irresistible.

Just four months ago his child was diagnosed with autism. Long conversations at night with “Dr. Google” resulted. The toll on his family is inescapable.

And it’s draining them- body, soul, and mind.

They are crushed, overwhelmed, and weary. Relationally, spiritually, and emotionally -- they are dying. They have no friends or family in the area who understand, or even have a glimpse of what their lives is like.

That’s why the cave is so appealing.

We met for the first time just a couple of weeks ago in my office. I showed him the scars I personally had collected form my own time in the cave. I shared my own wounds, my own experiences, my own memories, and my own warnings about going to the cave.

The following night I invited him to join me and several other special-needs dads at our favorite hangout. (Chicken wings and onion rings soothe the soul.)

In time, we will begin to show him the map to get out of the cave. More importantly, we will introduce him to the Guide we found in the cave who led each of us out of the pit, and put a new song in our mouth.

But right now, he just needs to know a couple of things in order to survive. He just needs to see that he is not alone. He needs to see that there is an entire band of brothers who have each other’s back, and who wage war against autism together. 

He needs to see that there is community. He needs to see that there is a place for him. He needs to see that life goes on and you survive to fight again the next day.

Imagine his surprise in a few years when he realizes God has, in fact, given him a rare masterpiece. His child with special needs will become his greatest gift and a most remarkable and valued treasure. He doesn’t see it now because he is still focusing on the packaging instead of the gift inside.

Search and rescue.

That’s what he needs, and that’s what we are doing for him right now.

Once you, as a parent of a child with special needs, leave the cave, you have an obligation to keep returning to the cave with the Guide, and helping others find their way out of the cave as well.

Search and rescue.

In John 5 there is a beautiful account of a man who had been lame for 38 years at the Pool of Bethesda. He has a personal encounter with Jesus, and as a result, finds his healing.

A beautiful, moving story indeed.  But I’m haunted by one question every time I read that story in scripture.

Did the man ever go back to the pool? Did he ever go back to the pool and tell all the others there seeking healing where they could find the man who had healed them?

My son still has autism.  That hasn't changed.  But God has used him and his life to rescue me.  God hasn't healed my son.

Instead, he has used my son to heal me.

Christ stepped out of heaven, transcended space and time, and came looking for me.  I didn't find Jesus.  He found me.

He wasn't the one lost in the cave. I was the lost one.

Search and rescue. 

Go back to pool my friends. Go back to the cave and search for survivors. Go back and tell them of the One who can bring healing to their souls.  

PRAY- "Father thank you for searching for us in each of our own personal caves. Thank you for sending Jesus to do search and rescue. We were lost, and he left heaven to come look for us. Thank you for everlasting love!" 

--Jeff Davidson

Saturday, July 26, 2014

"Are You Serious?" Awards - Volume XXVII: The Trying to Make Sense of Nonsense Edition



In case you haven't already noticed, I am proud to call myself an ambassador of Christ.  I love Jesus.  Being a Christian infiltrates every fiber of my being.

Still, there are times where I am so deeply embarrassed by my family of faith.  I hate to be counted among the fools thinking they are wise by trying to make sense out of the complex with their “biblical” nonsense.

This is one of those times.

It was brought to my attention by my valued colleague, Dr Steve Grcevich, who wrote a blog post in response to this faith-oriented bit of foolishness.  He was far more diplomatic and clinical than I.

This week's winner, Mental illness and spiritual evil by Shane Raynor, definitely made my blood pressure rise.  Perhaps, my ire was in large part stoked by Raynor's pure conjecture, which serves only to alienate those facing mental health issues. 

 Are you SERIOUS?!

“The Exorcism” — Limbourg Brothers, ca 1412-16
In his article, Raynor proposes the notion that the rocketing rate of mental illness could be more due to spiritual evil than actual neurochemistry.  He quotes and lauds the Catholic church for becoming more proactive in performing exorcisms, which in my mind, would be a GREAT way to give a suffering individual PTSD and further alienate them from the family of faith.  Overall, he poses no great insights or solutions, but only further pokes the box in damaging ways.

I think Dr Grcevich states his point aptly when he says, "We know that far too many people have been wounded by the church from accusation during episodes of mental illness, and we have a difficult time encouraging those who have been wounded to give church another try."

Several leaders in the Church, such as Rick and Kay Warren, Ed Stetzer, and The Mental Health Grace Alliance are starting to pave the way in the area of mental health.  Even so, we are only just beginning to break open this area in need of deep compassion.  We still have a LONG way to go.

I wonder if the increase might instead be due to the Church's failure to show compassion and remember verses like this: 
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”   
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  (John 9:1-3, NIV)


So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.  (Colossians 3:12-13, MSG)

“Don’t criticize, and then you won’t be criticized. For others will treat you as you treat them. And why worry about a speck in the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own? Should you say, ‘Friend, let me help you get that speck out of your eye,’ when you can’t even see because of the board in your own? Hypocrite! First get rid of the board. Then you can see to help your brother. (Matthew 7:1-5, TLB)

As the Church grows in its understanding and inclusion of those with mental health issues, let Bible verses like these be your guide rather than foolish conjecture based on limited understanding.

~ Barb Ditttrich

Friday, July 25, 2014

I Was On the Way to Help Toby Mac, Then I Wasn't

                                          ©  | Dreamstime Stock Photos

 "What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”
James 4:15, NLT

When you live in the world of special needs you must keep your life open to unexpected changes; at all times. My daughter adores Toby Mac. She would most likely do whatever it takes to get there to see him perform! Music is a soul soother to her and her autism and Toby Mac is on her top five.

Of course, because of this great love for Toby Mac, I thought I would be safe in signing up to help him out by selling merchandise and other various things when he came to our city. Well, I was wrong. The only thing that would keep my daughter away from Toby Mac was a greater fear. In this instance her fear surpassed her love.

Because of autism, my daughter has some extreme and at times random (to me) sensory issues. Yet at times her greater love for things can surpass her greater fear or pain of the sensory overload. It is not an exact science so it feeds the unpredictability of our life. An example of this is the loudness of a concert, it is a bit painful but she endures for the greater love of the music or the show.

On this particular day we had a major storm system come through our town. It included very loud rain and booming thunder. It was very disturbing to her. It was something she was not equipped to handle. Though she loves Toby Mac and always wanted to attend a concert, she could not go through with it because of the current tormenting storm.

I then had to cancel and disappoint people yet again. Another commitment broken adding to my lack of reliability. I really hate that because I only commit when I believe I am absolutely sure I can finish the task well, however, my life will not even allow things like this if other unknown factors, like a bad storm, enter in.

All our lives come with a certain amount of unpredictability but the parents with special needs children come with more. I am learning to live open handedly with my plans. I try to give this up front speech about it now when I try to commit as well because more of us would do well to live more open-handedly.

James tells us to say, "Lord willing we will do this or that." Therefore as a parent of a special needs child I just have to be okay with this because I believe God would have us put those He gave us charge over, first priority. We are not to neglect our children but serve them first. Cancelling the concert was serving my daughter.

Prayer: Lord help us live with our hands open not clinching too tightly to things we cannot control. Let us keep our hope and trust in You alone.

~Angela

Thursday, July 24, 2014

May God Bless You and Keep You


Peer pressure, bullying, and simply trying to fit in can lead any child to make wrong choices.  When you add to the mix our kids who can struggle socially due to their differences, the desire to be part of the crowd (or just have one friend – PLEASE!) can pull our kids in directions we certainly would not choose. How do we raise kids who are grounded? At a recent lunch and learn event, Rabbi Ranon Teller of Brith Shalom Congregation talked about Jewish traditions and how they are effective in raising young people who are grounded.  He had my undivided attention. He pointed to three pillars that are part of Shabbat (Sabbath): ritual, Sabbath rest and blessing.

Ritual
On Shabbat, the family gathers for a meal Friday night beginning at sun down.  In this tradition, all family members are present and seated at the table together enjoying a meal without interruptions. No excuses accepted for other things that need attention. A key piece is simply the ritual, the intention and practice of making it a priority to be together. In this, the family disconnects from the outside world and reconnects with each other.  Studies show that over time American families eat together less and less. Conversely, families that do eat together are more resilient and have improved communication between members.  A healthy body happens with intentional regular action. We can say we want to have a healthy body and that it is important to us, but for that ideal to become a reality we need to develop regular practices of healthy eating and exercise.  A healthy body comes through regularly repeated activities. And so it goes for the health of the family. Building family closeness and connection requires regular practices as well, such as the ritual of a gathered meal and time that is set aside just for the family. (Family game night, anyone? Pizza and a movie? Build the best ice cream sundae contest?)

Sabbath
Sabbath is the practice is disconnecting from the business and work of everyday life and setting aside a time of rest.  In the Jewish tradition, part of that rest includes disconnection from technology.  (I hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Yes, some of the noise is coming from me!) Engaging with technology draws focus and energy away from those gathered together.  Rabbi Teller told of families placing technological devices in a basket and intentionally setting them aside. Disconnecting from iPads, gaming devices, and cell phones encourages deeper connection within the family. On a recent date night my husband and I did something we'd not done in years.  We left our cell phones at home.  On purpose!

Blessing
In the Jewish tradition of Shabbat, parents bless their children in prayer, often with the priestly benediction:
May God bless you and keep you.
May God shine light and be gracious to you.
May God show you kindness and grant you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26 NRSV)

Showering your child with the gift of regular prayer and blessing teaches them of God’s love, as well as your love, for them. Also, the power of prayer is an amazing thing in the life of a child.  Never under-estimate what God does through prayer.  Prayer itself can become a ritual.  I used to pray with my son every day before he got on the bus to go to school. It was just a brief prayer about asking God to protect him, bless him and give him the ability to handle the day.  Several years into this tradition I started attending seminary.  As I was leaving that first night for class my son came bounding down the stairs and said I could not leave yet because we had not prayed.  He offered a blessing to me, a simple prayer that left me blessed in more ways than one.

What are your family rituals?  Are there ones you would like to start?  How do you take a Sabbath rest and disconnect from the demands of the world?  When and how do you bless your child and family?


PRAY:  Lord, help us to keep in focus what really matters.  Take us back to Your Sabbath rest.  Remind us to spend time together, creating our own family rituals, lifting our souls to You in prayer.  Guide us to be intentional as we care for the precious family with which You have blessed us.

~ Lorna Bradley

“Time for Family”
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Beauty of Letting Go



Do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 HCSB

I admit it. As the parent of a child with special needs, I tend to hover. It's often necessary, though. Someone has to help her figure out what foods are safe to eat, to administer her medications on time, and to give her the weekly infusions until she's old enough to handle these tasks herself. But as she gets older, I'm realizing that I've got to start letting go. This is difficult, since I've been with her since birth, at every specialist appointment, therapy session, and surgery. I've stayed overnight at the hospital, researched every procedure, and logged more miles on our old van than I care to count. But the letting go is critical if I want her to reach her full potential and live as independently as possible. 

My resolve to work myself out of a job as a parent was recently tested when it came time for my daughter to go to church camp for the first time. She refused to go if I didn't attend too, so I made arrangements to be one of the female adult leaders on the trip. The children's minister assigned me as her "camp mom" so I could monitor her medications, food, and general physical and emotional state closely. At first, she said she wanted to be my roommate too, but as our departure date got closer, she changed her mind and said she wanted a "real" roommate. She was assigned to a room with two other girls, in a room that was more than halfway down the hall from mine.

I wanted to protest this change because it would make it inconvenient for me if she got scared or needed something in the middle of the night. Then I realized that my comfort and convenience were not the primary issue. She was expressing her desire to be independent, and I owed it to her to give her the opportunity to try. It wasn't easy, but it worked out better than I dared hope. I helped with medications and food selections, and she asked for help when she needed it. The other adult leaders and I were always nearby if she needed us, but I tried to stay in the background as much as possible so she could have the full camp experience without mom being at her elbow all the time.

There were some scary moments when some neurological issues we hadn't seen in a while reappeared, but we dealt with those as best we could, and the "normal camp experience" resumed.

Isaiah 41:10 became real to me in a whole new way this summer. God isn't just strengthening, helping, and holding me by the hand. He has my baby girl too, and I can count on Him to take good care of her. Part of the beauty of letting go is that I get to watch Him do just that.

Father, thank You for helping me to step back to let my child take steps toward independence. Thank You for loving her more than I do and for being right there with her to watch over and protect her when I'm not there. Thank You for allowing me to see Your work in her life and for the opportunity to see her faith grow as she learns to trust You for herself. Amen.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

NEVER Underestimate The Power of Praying for One Another

Photo image courtesy of Cathy Yeulet via 123rf.com
"When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there."
~ Jesus speaking, as quoted in Matthew 18:19-20, MSG ~

How many times have you listened in sympathy to someone, replying, "I'll be praying for you"?

How many times have you cried out for help, asking others to say a prayer for YOU in a time of need?

We all do it.  Even those less inclined to do so tend to at least ask for "positive thoughts when the going gets rough.  As the saying goes, "There are no atheists in fox holes."

Yet, do we pray?  If you had to measure as a percentage, how much do you actually follow through on praying for those you said you would?  When you ask for prayer from others, how often are you actually joining them in prayer?

I have had the great privilege of having my prayer life stretched over the years.  You can read about one such experience that I wrote on last October in, Revolutionary Prayer & Dirty Carpet.  I have learned so much about connecting with God in remarkable, sometimes ordinary, ways.

In recent months, our ministry has become involved in two different endeavors that have unfolded prayer like blossoming flowers in a stunning bouquet.  The first is The Front Door Church, an online church service that allows families of ALL ability levels to worship together right where they are -- at home, on vacation, in a hospital room.  Our ministry was thrilled to partner together with our friends at Key Ministry in this pilot program, because we wholeheartedly agree with reaching people who have not found or cannot get to a church home locally.  What the service involves is merely clicking on http://go.mediasocial.tv/cbcfrontdoor every Sunday night at 7 PM, CST, watching a sermon and praise music, and praying together.  It has been revolutionary!

When people offer their prayer requests, we DON'T WAIT -- We pray right then and there.  A transforming work of the Holy Spirit takes place when people see a prayer typed out for their concerns right there on the chat wall.  God's presence and care are made known to them in a tangible way.  It brings almost unspeakable, inexplicable comfort to those who are there.

We continue checking in on participants throughout the week.  We offer a word of comfort and a private message with  prayer at that time too.  It's as reassuring to me as it is to those I am praying for or with.

The second endeavor is our team of private prayer warriors that we developed recently.  For the entire life of the ministry, we have had a dedicated prayer team supplicating for our work and our families.  It was usually done through e-mail updates.  But in the past month, we transferred it to a private, confidential Facebook group that only serious, mature prayer warriors are invited into.

When we issue a prayer request, we share a photo of the one we are praying for, with permission.  Words cannot express how this has utterly transformed the way our prayer team is praying for people!  The visual aid gives there prayers more specificity, more life.  Because of Facebook's ease of use, we are able to give updates on those requests much more quickly to the team.  It fuels their prayers as they see their joined requests come to life in God's hands.  We have already seen so many prayers answered, and love to rejoice together.

Friend, never, EVER underestimate the power of praying with and for people.  Don't hesitate.  Do it right away!  If they ask you to pray, stop the person and ask, "Would it be okay if I pray with you right now?"  Even if you don't feel proficient at it, the Lord doesn't care about perfect words, only the position of your heart.  Write yourself a note to check back in with the person you prayed for.  You can't believe how much that SMALL THING will encourage them!

As you obey in prayer and supplication, you will be amazed and transformed by watching the MIGHTY hand of God at work!

PRAY:  Father, thank You that You are not a God who is far away, but One who is close to our hearts, and deeply involved in our concerns.  Jesus, thank You that You made a way for us to come BOLDLY before the throne of grace in our time of need.  Holy Spirit quicken our minds to remember to pray for people the minute they ask for it, and follow up on those requests as a means of showing your care to the hurting.  We can't do a thing without You, Lord.  Thank You for keeping us upright when life weighs us down.

~ Barb Dittrich

* Click here to read more of our posts on PRAYER.
**Click here to learn more about The Front Door Online Church

Monday, July 21, 2014

Asking People That Agree With Me

“The older counselors replied, ‘If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.’  But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers.  ……  Rehoboam spoke harshly to the people, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors….”  1Kings 12:7,8,13  NLT

Before we delve into this I want to make it clear that the point of this passage is not old vs. young.  In general, the older the wiser, but this doesn’t mean that young men or women don’t give good advice.  In this story that is the case, but that is not necessarily true of all cases. 

David made his fair share of bad decisions and then some.  When a person that has borderline personality disorder goes untreated or treated for the wrong diagnosis they are bound to make some bad decisions partly due to the human sin condition and partly due to their illness.  They also will take bad advice from time to time.  Here are a few things that I was consulted on.

Should I get another tattoo or pay this bill?  I think I should get the tattoo since I haven’t done anything for myself for a long time.  A friend said the bill will always be there next month.  He got the tattoo.

Should I try K2 (synthetic marijuana) because it’s legal, (it was legal at the time), and my friend said it’s not addictive?  I think I’m going to try it.  He tried it, smoked it for a while, and even offered it to me.  You can guess that was an interesting conversation.

Should I buy a newer truck and take out a loan or buy something older that I don’t need to borrow as much for?  I only have had my current job for two months but I know I will keep it long enough to afford the newer truck.  It won’t be like my previous jobs.  He bought it and it was repossessed about six months later.  He was only able to make one payment and quit the job a few weeks after buying the truck.

What should I do about my debt?  Maybe I’ll just ignore it and hope it goes away.  He ignored advice, ignored his debt and it grew and grew.

These sound pretty absurd, but all are true and really help get my point across.  David took advice from anyone that said what he wanted to hear.

Before we all point to him let’s think about ourselves.  When I need advice what do I do?

Do I only ask others that I know will agree with me?  
Does this sound somewhat familiar.  You want to buy that new clothing item, but really can't afford it right now so you reason with a friend that you haven't had a new outfit for ever so long.  It sounds alot like the tattoo David wanted.
 
Or how about this.  I can eat that extra yummy cake because it's a special occasion.  Never mind that I just had way too much dessert at the last three parties I was at over the last week and my friends were all saying that I only live once so I might as well indulge myself. Sounds a little like K2.

It can be as simple as overeating or even something like seeking marriage advice or similar serious types of decisions we may have to make.  

I think you get the idea.

Am I just like my son David was or just like Rehoboam in the Bible story above?

Good question.  How about you?  Where do you get your advice from?

Prayer:  Lord, help me to seek wise counsel and when I am tempted to only want my way remind me that your way is the best even when I don’t understand it. 

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