Friday, August 29, 2014

Don't Cheat Yourself...


 We were all laced up hydrated and ready to go run our big four mile loop. My little jogging buddy is 60 pounds soaking wet with long legs and knobby ten year old knees…she likes to be with her mama and I’m thrilled to drag her, I mean bring her along.  

Mile .50 was coming up and the once gung-ho side kick was no longer singing loudly and smiling. It was more like a “how much longer” out of tune scream. I took out my ear buds and that just about made me give up on the spot. How anyone exercises without the top 40 playing I will never know. 

I could see that if we were going to make it she was going to need a cheerleader. And all though I hadn’t set out with that job in mind, I wanted her to succeed. Sometimes what isn’t a big deal to you, is a beast of a mountain to someone else.

“You got this sister!”

“You are a rock star!”

“Nothing can stop you when you set your mind to it!”

“I believe in you!”

“I’m right here with you…go baby girl go!”

And this went on and on for what felt like waiting for a white Christmas in July. But I knew in my heart this was not an impossible task for her. And when we quit too soon…it can become a habit. Trust me…The pot is calling the kettle black. (Please don’t tell me you have never heard that phrase. Google it. It’s a keeper.)

She was pushing  through every mile one foot in front of the other, red cheeks and sweaty faced huffing and puffing and *all the stuff* and then when we turned the last corner…she did something I never saw coming…

She took off running, well sprinting really, and shouted to me at the top of her lungs “Mom, why are you going so slow now? We are almost home! Don’t cheat yourself…run you can do it!”

Don’t cheat myself??? Where does she get this stuff? (Laughing)


Encourage each other, and build each other up, just as you are already doing. ~1 Thessalonians 5:11

 We weren’t created to do life alone. We need each other for accountability and encouragement. That being said… be careful that the people you are “running the race” with have your back. 

Life is brutal, live it with people who will take out their ear buds, even when it’s inconvenient and rally with you. Reevaluating the people you allow into your life…the ones you spend a whole bunch of time with…is very necessary. If they aren’t building you up…they are tearing you down. There isn’t much neutral ground there.  

Two people are better than one; they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble…A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10&12

Whatever it is that has you asking “What mile is this and how much longer until we get home?” I say to you…

“You got this sister!”

“You are a rock star!”

“Nothing can stop you when you set your mind to it!”

“I believe in you!”

“I’m right here with you…go baby girl go!”

Sprint ahead and keep your eyes on the goal, shake off what drags you down and grab a few good friends to go with you. 

My best friend and I have a saying that truly doesn’t *quite* make full since but we understand it…it goes like this…

I’d rather have four solid quarters than one hundred pennies that I can’t keep up with.” Get it? Anybody?

Happy Friday love bugs…be better than just good this weekend. And hey...don't cheat yourself. 

~Allison   








       


       

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

He Is Not The Lesser...He Is The Chosen.

“You don’t know what you don’t know.”  Are the words that came from my best friend’s mouth directed at a teary eyed me who was standing on the tennis court opposite her with my hand over my mouth. 

I said a word that hurt her to the core of her being. The kind of pain that sends a shock to your gut and makes you stutter your next few words, turning your face flush.

She shook her head and waved her hand as if to say, “give me a minute and I’ll be over it.” I apologized too much, you know what I mean? The kind when you keep saying I’m sorry and the other person really just needs you to shut the hell up and drop it. But you can’t because you feel so horribly guilty…

Even when she had long forgiven me, and she had because she’s really good at that, I still brought myself to the Altar for weeks asking for mercy…and I received it. Finally. 

But I was changed. Permanently. And I have never used that word again. When I hear other people use it, and they do…way too often…a piece of me cringes and I silently whisper a prayer of forgiveness…again.

I know you want me to tell you the word I used. I will…but you have most likely in your mind come up with at least 10 highly offensive words wondering if that’s what I said. I’m curious…did you come up with the word “retarded”?

Mostly I hear people say something very similar to what I said, it sounds like this…”Did you hear about the new rule change the school put into place? That’s just retarded. Who decided that?”  Or. “Can you believe she said that to him? She’s a retard.”

Neither of those is OK. But somehow they are common place in our society. You might not even blink an eye at that word…what’s the big deal?

He is the big deal. 

My friend’s son.

Her first born child. 

Who was given to her by the same God who gave my children to me…but hers has special needs and is classified as retarded.  I have streams rolling down my cheeks at the wonder of him. He has stolen my heart.

Retarded: People who are slow or limited in mental development. Characterized by limited intellectual understanding or awareness, emotional development or academic progress. 

If this is the description of your flesh and blood, the word can no longer be thrown carelessly around. And for the love of the God who hand spun him…do not use it in a derogatory nature…as a slam, slander or dig to describe something or someone you have distaste for.

When I pull into her drive way he is there standing in the window…with his little white dog in one hand he runs to my car and greets me with the biggest smile and high five. “I go with you Mrs. Lee. I get in you car.” He jumps in and we put in an Elmo DVD…we laugh and sing and clap at the ridiculous red character he loves so much.

At fifteen years old he is a diaper wearing, Elmo watching full of nothing but joy and peace in his precious heart child of God…



I have decided that special needs children will experience the fullness of heaven in a much greater capacity than those of us who are considered normal could ever fathom.

I see Jesus Christ in his eyes. 

I witness Jesus Christ through his life. 

He is not the lesser…He is the chosen. Just wait and see…

I now know. And I want to be a part of educating you…the one who doesn’t know. Your words are painful. They hurt hearts of mamas who care for babies that never grow up.

To put it in perspective for you…if you are a Christian…when you are around someone who uses the Lords name in vain like, “That GD dog crapped in my yard again.” Now you see? The name of someone you are in love with being mistreated…it needs to stop. Or all those “Your Mama's so fat” jokes that make people reallllly hot…am I making it clear? Or if you are an African American and you hear someone use the N word. Or if you have a loved one who is gay or a lesbian and you hear some one describe them as a faggot.  

Did I hit enough nerves there? Are your ears red? Mine are...I despise bully's. 

The special needs community is a very forgiving one. They aren’t walking around with a chip on their shoulder angry at the world. They extend more grace than anyone I know…perhaps because they need grace more than anyone I know.

You don’t know what you don’t know. You just don’t. But if you hung in there with me for this long post…you can’t UN-know.

Would you simply find a different word? Help me stop the unnecessary meanness. And if you feel lead…would you do me one more favor?  

It has come to my attention through a series of no good horrible events that I will save for a possible later post…that many…let me say that again, MANY local Church’s are not accepting Special Needs children into their doors on Sunday morning. They “aren’t equip.” Or they “Simply don’t have the financial resources to care for these children.” (I am rolling my eyes as you hand out your free coffee and donuts and walk on the marble floor.)


The Church. The Body of Christ. The hands and feet of a crucified and risen Jesus whose VERY message was to care for the broken and hurting and needy…. are closing the door on the families who need rest and worship perhaps the most.

No... this is not OK with me and I am banking on the fact that it is also absolutely not OK with you either. I can’t personally tackle every single Church…would you make it you business to call yours and find out if they accept special needs children? Unconditionally? Even the visitors? Will you dig deep and look at the departments “policies”? Are they just as welcome as the children with smocked dresses and giant hair bows who sing and recite Bible verses and sit still for the lesson?

You don’t know what you don’t know…

~Allison


John 9:1-3
As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”   

Luke 14:12-14
He also said to the man who invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, least they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Exodus 4:11
Then The Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, The Lord?”


  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Day Ten...High Standards

Hey there...settle in for a few minutes with me will you? Let's talk standards.

I cannot stand to be told what to do. I cannot stand it so much that I'm writing that sentence again. I CAN NOT STAND TO BE TOLD WHAT TO DO. It's annoying and most of the time the person doing the "telling" isn’t in my opinion all together worthy of my obedience

So there you go. I like to do things my way and I also like to learn by doing...not by hearing. I don’t recommend it, it's been pretty painful. 

All that being said....the few times I have enjoyed being told what and how to do things it has always always always had one thing in common, and that is, the person in charge has managed to prove their authority in a way that captures my heart.



Obedience is a heart issue. If I love you and respect you...there is a far greater chance I will follow your rules. Because at that point...even if I think your rules are stupid...I want to please you, not disappoint you, and give you respect.

Most people fire off the Ten Commandments without including the very first line in the chapter...and it is my favorite. It makes the rest of the rules matter to me. See if you agree...

"And then God spoke these words. I Am The Lord your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." Exodus 20:1-2

BOOM.

He is establishing with us who exactly He is, and what exactly He has done for us before He lays down the rules. I love that so much. 

I read that and I hear "Hey Allison, I'm the One who created you; I am the One who gets you out of all that trouble you constantly get yourself into. I Am the One who gave you freedom when everyone else was trying to knock you down...baby girl...obey me...I deserve it."

And then, because He continues to astound me with His generosity and PATIENCE Oh my word the amount of patience He has...He sends us Jesus to forgive us when we go right ahead with our stubborn selves and break all those well laid out rules He made.

WHO. DOES. THAT? I would squash you like a bug if you broke all 10 rules I gave you. I'd squash you after you broke three... But not our God...

To be honest...I can’t even recall by memory all Ten Commandments. I forgot the list after about 3rd grade Sunday School. I'm just guessing you are in my boat so here it is ...short hand.

1. No other gods. Only Me.
2. No carved images. Don't worship them. 
3. Do not use Lord's name in cursing or in any irreverent way.
4. Work six days and rest one. 
5. Honor your Father and Mother.
6. No murder.
7. No adultery.
8. No stealing.
9. No lying.
10. No lusting.

Aaaaaaaand I'm in trouble. Those are high standards. 

When Jesus comes on the scene He sets all the self righteous people who think they are doing a pretty awesome job of not breaking the commandments straight by adding...

"You have heard it said, Do not commit adultery. But I am here to tell you if you even look at another woman lustfully you have already committed adultery in your heart."  Matthew 5:27-28 

Did you see that word..."heart"? Told you. Obedience is a heart issue, and Jesus is wildly interested in what’s going on inside that heart of yours sister. 

When we read and watch all of the horrible, unimaginable acts going on in our world today we scream "What is wrong with these people? Have they no SOUL?" And the question we need to ask is, "Have they no Holy Spirit?" People need The Voice whispering..."Do not hurt others, remember the commandments."  

Let's all remember why we want to obey God, we love Him. And lets remember WHO He is and WHAT He has done for us the next time we roll our eyes at the list of "do not do’s" He gave us.

He is worthy of our respect...

And sure...you can do what you want to do. We all know you can sneak around and get away with most things these days... that's not too impressive. You can sling the phrase "redemption of sins" around like a gunshot to anything unholy....but who are you really hurting in the long run? It's you sister. 

Will God still love you if you break all ten...yep. Will you live a very frustrated life in the process...yep. Don't be that girl. Rebellion against God can leave a lot of carnage in its wake...   

Look at this!!! Day ten is done of the Scripture challenge! I'm high five-ing you! At this rate we will finish before Christmas...if we are lucky. (grin)

~Allison 
*aka* the very biggest grace abuser.

Day 11
Romans 3 Click HERE