Friday, June 10, 2016

Challenging My Assumptions

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God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Psalm 46:1-3, 9-11 NIV

The phrase that has echoed through my head for the past several months has been, interrogate your assumptions. The trick is to notice then I'm acting out of a belief (which is all the time) and to ask myself, 'Why do you believe that?'  Pausing to ask a question gives some space for a sacred moment, an opportunity to reframe and do something different. I've been challenging my assumptions about my son, his capacity, what he'll understand and engage, and have been pleasantly surprised. The sadness of it is that my prior expectations, based on these assumptions, were so low. So my assumption interrogation muscles are being developing on that front.

The last week of school is coming up. That means it's almost time to meet new school people and figure out how we will get along. I'm learning some new things about J. (communication potential, motivations, etc.) that could inform his upcoming IEP discussion and found myself becoming dejected and somewhat adversarial at the thought. As I inventoried mental 'evidence' to support my potential requests to the school district, I became aware of the now familiar tap on my spiritual shoulder. What are you assuming? That brought me to a pause. Apparently I'm to flex my newly developed muscles towards the staff in J's new school. 

I'm not really sure what this means in relation to school officials. I think my negative assumptions are founded. My defensive behaviors are designed to protect my really tender underbelly that has been pummeled these 17+ years of life with autism. What if I open up and share my honest desires and beliefs about my son and experience the undercurrent of disrespectful dismissal mixed with an excessive 'one of these two sizes fits all' mentality, yet again?

Standing stuck in that moment prompted the Holy Spirit to another shoulder tap. 'A me name God!' (I hear it in the Jamaican creole in those moments. Translated weakly 'I. Am. God. !!') Then, as He often does with us humans, He rolls out a scroll with His resume highlights and reads His own press clippings. I have done this, and I do that and I will do this.  Remember that?  I did it, and since you've forgotten, that too, that was me. Psalm 46 reads like that to me and in humility I acknowledge that I forget. I forget that the real reason I must challenge my assumptions is GOD. GOD will be in the IEP meeting, and who knows what He will do? 

The shoulder taps provide the opportunity to 'be transformed by the renewing of my mind' (Rom. 12:2, NIV) My renewed mind is freezer to believe and dream and hope and trust. My load is now His load, and it is lighter.

Lord, you are the Lord of Hosts and who else can we journey with? The Creator and Sustainer of everything that is, is with us. We acknowledge your presence this morning and remember that with you, anything can happen.  We let go of our own machinations and lean into trust and hope today and we say with every breath, 'You. Are. God.'

PS. This beautiful boy is 12  today! Lord, I'm so grateful for the gifts that you package as kids!


  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Z! You are a remarkable boy!

  2. I really needed this. I am struggling with finding respite for my daughter. I have been trying for 2 years with no long term success. I was becoming discouraged. Thank you for this reminder that God has not forgotten my situation. Happy birthday to you and your son for the journey is for the both of you. God bless.

  3. Hi Denise, I pray that the one who IS Resource will send some people with information and influence your way.