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Category Archives: Faith Walk

Children turn to their shepherd in a time of need. Lead them to God through love, for they are lost and cannot find their way home.

Autism: Fighting Demons

It was probably the nicest day of the year so far. It was a Saturday, and I had nothing pressing to do. The day before had been my cleaning day. I had my blog posts written and up to date. There was no shopping that needed to be done…

My mom and I were sitting outside, watching ‘my girls’ who had spent a while happily exploring the yard, and running around, and had moved to rest on the lawn.

I set up the hammock I had gotten from the thrift store the previous fall, and brought out my bag of papers and pencils in case I was inspired to write.

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I lay down on the hammock, and looked up into the maple tree above me, and there I stayed for maybe two hours.

The sun was filtering down through the branches, and the leaves were gently swaying in the breeze.

It was as calm and content as I have ever felt. No fears. No anxieties. No worries. Just peace. For that moment, all was right with the world.

Yet even then I felt this tug at my heart, and fought these words in my mind.

“You will be punished for this.”

Punished for feeling content. Punished for feeling good. Punished for taking time to be okay that I was not in control. Punished for making peace with all that I have lost, and all I have experienced.

And though I tried to push away the attack and fight the demons within, I was not well succeeding.

When other people in the world are so busy, or are so sick, or are living in war torn places fearful for their lives – how can I take an afternoon, and spend it laying on a hammock watching the leaves sway in the breeze.

How could I?

I tried to fight it more. After all, I am never content, like I was that afternoon. I am always fighting some battle in my head – and trying to gain control over things I have no control over – and trying to return to a past that I can’t reach – and trying to make up for things I can’t overcome…

And if I let go of the past that hurt me so many times, and took so much from me, does that mean I don’t care?

If for just one moment, or two hours on a Saturday afternoon, I can make peace with the life I was given, shouldn’t I take that opportunity?

And the demons say, “no.”

But God says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Only I am always afraid – and when I am not afraid? That scares me to. The demons I fight are very strong, and their words are familiar, and it is hard for me to stand.

 

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Autism: The Greatest Love

The other night, as I was lying in my bed reading a Christian book that I had downloaded to my tablet, I came across a chapter that brought out a strong and sudden response.

The book was non-fiction, but this chapter was about a vision which the author claimed to have experienced… as if it were real. It might have been real. I do believe that some people do experience visions – and if I hadn’t believed it was real, perhaps it wouldn’t have upset me as it did.

In the vision, the author was speaking with Jesus, and said, “some people have strange opinions on Christianity,” or something on the lines of that, “some believe they will see their dogs in heaven.”

I cried so long, and so hard, that when I woke in the morning my eyes were still heavily swollen. In one sentence, the author had re-awoken a trauma that, while it hadn’t healed, was at least not as… loud anymore. It was as if my dog had been taken from me all over again, and it hurt just as much as on the day when I unexpectedly lost him.

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“I need him, Lord,” I cried. “I need all of them.” If my animals aren’t in heaven… how could it be heaven then?

This is difficult to explain to people who don’t understand. And I know that this is something that Christians disagree on. But…

You see (and I know God knows this about me, for He put them on my heart, and He gave them to me to love) I really struggle to form connections with people. No matter how hard I try, and no matter how much I like them, I just… I am always afraid, always uncomfortable, always ashamed of who I am when I am with people.

I try to be myself, and I try to be known, and I really do try to connect – but at the end of the day, it is my ‘babies’ that I feel closest to – and they aren’t people.

All of my life, it was them. It was the animals that carried me through. It was my animals that kept me going. Even as I cried over this sentence in the book I was reading, my cat verbally questioned what was wrong (not in English, of course, but I understood him) and my girls came to lick the tears off of my face.

My husband walked by, but it was my ‘babies’ that came straight to me to ensure I was okay. I wasn’t.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love ” 1 Corinthians 13:13. God gave me my babies to love. All through my life, they have been there to love – and I have. I really, truly have. So if love remains, why wouldn’t they? I cried myself to sleep that night praying, “Please, Lord, I need them.”

The next morning I woke with this verse on my mind: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Ephesians 3:20. This verse has been used as a comfort for here, but also in heaven – and for heaven to be “abundantly more than I could ask or imagine,” my babies would have to be there.

They would have to be… wouldn’t they? The thought that they might not be there has me crying still – two days later – and has re-opened wounds that the presence of those still with me have worked to heal. “I need them, Lord. Please.”

 

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Autism: Strongholds and Addictions

This week at church my pastor spoke of something that really got me thinking. The message was about the difference between believing in God, and believing God. It was a passage about Jacob and his uncle Laban. At this point in the story, Jacob had learned to believe God, and so lived a life where he trusted God to provide for him.

Laban on the other hand, believed in God, mainly that God was with Jacob, and blessed all he did, but he was sneaky, conniving… basically all the things Jacob had been through his life, but… Jacob was listed as a great man of faith, where Laban turned towards things such as divination, and went to hell.

Divination. That was the part that left me really thinking this week. I know divination isn’t Christian, yet…

I wasn’t raised Christian, you see. I was raised in a family that, for the most part, believed in God, but that was about as far as it went. We celebrated Christmas, and my parents allowed us to go to church with neighbours if we were invited, but they never went themselves. They believed that children should be able to choose faith on their own – which sounds good, but really left me feeling lost and confused.

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The only person in my family who went to “church” was my aunt – my father’s older sister. Growing up, even having friends who were Baptist, or Mormon, or some other faith, my aunt was the most spiritual person I knew. She was especially kind, and calm, and all those wonderful things that ‘Christians’ should be (yet so often fail to live up to.)

Only my aunt wasn’t Christian. I think she believed in God – but her spirituality included Tarot cards, and plumb lines, and psychic mediums. In short, divination.

I loved my aunt. I love my aunt still. As a child, my most fond memories with this aunt were spent in these activities. Not that most of my time spent with her was involved in divination, but that some of my clearest, and most content moments with her was in this area. I believe, though I hardly talked, that she understood this about me – for of all of us cousins, it was me she wanted to take to ‘church’ most.

As a child, I did not go to church with her, but I did once in my teen years. I then went once alone after I had moved away from home, and was living just up the street from that ‘church.’ It was a church where people gave psychic readings – very different from the church I go to now, but I liked it then. The only reason I stopped going was because I was broke then, and didn’t understand the offering part of church, and therefore couldn’t afford to go.

I did go several times with my aunt, as well as with my mom at other times, during their ‘psychic fest’ and had readings done.

As for the rest of the divination activities that my aunt exposed me to when I was young – apparently I wasn’t very good at them. Rather than allowing answers, I willed them (or something like that.) But I loved them all the same. I loved doing them with my aunt, but this was also something I did a lot on my own for many years after.

You see, I live such an uncertain existence, and am afraid so often of making the wrong choice, that I really want that guidance. In fact, it was through these activities that I chose to go to college the first time, and chose to move to the city I have been living in for the past 17 years (so far from home.)

Before becoming Christian, there were many things I did that are not acceptable behaviour in the church – and many of them were things I did regularly. Yet when I turned to not just believing in God, but believing God, I put away these things. Even though they were strong addictions, the temptation was removed, and it was almost easy to let them go.

In this area, however, I have had a stronghold. I did stop using cards, or plumb lines, and such. I did stop going to psychics. I did stop these things – but even now, 17 years later, I still long for them to be allowed.

And then there is my writing. I know that many Christians pray, and listen for God’s response, and some even get answers. For me, though, I write. I write my prayers, and I write the thoughts that come during those times. Mostly I do this because in order to hear, I have to see. I have to see my thoughts to make sense of them – and if God were speaking to me (just like if I am trying to listen to what people are saying to me) I really need to write them down.

As I was sitting and listening to my pastor speak, however, I was reminded of my aunt – and the things we did together, and I wondered: “Is this divination still?”

Laban believed in God, but still he went to hell. I don’t want that for me. I don’t want that for my aunt. So the sermon scared me, as I am so often scared (mostly because in everything I have done, I have found after many years of giving all I had, that I failed – and I never fit in to begin with. If I fail at this, though, it is eternity in the balance.)

All of my other addictions were removed when I became a Christian – but this… this one is hard. For I really feel ill equipped to live life forward – and I really seek God’s hand in guiding me through it. But what if it isn’t God I hear? What if this is divination too, and all is lost for it?

Living is so hard. Knowing what is right is even harder. I wish God would speak to me, and I really hope… I hope he understands that I am trying to live for him. I am trying to not only believe in him, but believe him. I hope I don’t fail at this.

 

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Autism: What Am I Good For Anyway?

Lately I have been struggling a lot with low confidence and overwhelming depression. I have spent days… weeks even, trying to ‘see’ anything, anything that I might be good at, and coming up empty. With that, the tears flow, and the depression grows. I have no real gifts. I have no real talents. What is it I am doing here, anyway?

So as I do, I prayed. I prayed that God would reveal to me through my thoughts and writing anything that I might be good at; to answer the question: “What am I good for anyway.”

What follows is what came of that prayer. As I read it, I knew it to be true, for I do know myself – yet it is not a boast. For one of my biggest issues is that I compare myself to others, and always come up short. Other people can, I can’t – hence a lifetime filled with depression and low confidence.

The response: (By the way, I don’t hear these things, I just allow the thoughts to come.)

There are things you are good at though you do not see them. That you don’t make money for these things, and that others don’t acknowledge that these things have value, does not mean they are not worth anything, or that they aren’t gifts from God.

  • You are good with dogs.
  • You are good with cats.
  • You are good with rabbits.
  • You have a heart for animals.
  • You have a heart for the broken and hurting, stronger than most people have.
  • You have a desire to do good.
  • You have a desire to bring honour and glory to God.
  • You care deeply for your son.
  • You feel responsible towards your mother and her circumstances.
  • You are quick to forgive.
  • You are understanding of the struggles of others to do good.
  • You sincerely want other people to turn to God and be saved, even people who hurt you.
  • You cry for the lost.
  • You cry for the broken.
  • You want real peace, and real love in the world – not the fake stuff you see around you.
  • You know that you are broken, and are not deceived that you are a ‘good’ person.
  • You realize that all that is good in your life comes from God.
  • You realize that to have anything in life, it must come from God.
  • You desire a relationship with God.
  • You want to do something worthwhile with your life for the sake of others more than for yourself, as alone you would be okay where you are.
  • Your mind is able to create entire worlds, and fantasies that take you far from the pain that overtakes you.
  • When you are interested in something, you will research for hours to understand it better.
  • Though you have no talent for these things, you still want to garden, and create, and grow.

These are things that God has given to you. So you write about them, and you dream about them, and you do not get paid to do these things – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t what you are meant to be doing. God provides for you. You are to do what God lays on your heart to do – even if that is ‘just’ to adopt and love your pets. God can use you where you are.

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Autism: In or Of the World

It isn’t something that bothers me until I share it with other people. “I am watching…” some supernatural movie, or something revolving around magic or something, and the response is… well, it is like I have done something really wrong. Something I should have known was wrong. And it leaves me questioning all that I do.

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It isn’t something that bothers me normally… except when it does. There are some movies, shows, or episodes that hit too close to things I believe are real – and they leave me with very real fears, and very real spiritual battles. “I am sorry, Lord,” I cry. “Please keep the evil far from me, and help me to avoid such things in the future.”

But the vampires, and monsters, and zombies that scared me so much as a child? I don’t believe in these. They no longer hold the power over me to leave me trembling in fear. And if I don’t believe in them, and am not afraid of them, why is it that these type of shows are ones that I will binge watch?

I don’t even like evil. In fact, my favourite part of those shows is when what is evil is somehow made good. While other characters don’t trust them, and won’t forget where they came from, I am thankful they are good. What they were is gone, and now… I like them now.

Mostly I think I watch these type of shows because they are so far from reality that I can just watch, and not be so tormented by the evil in them, for the evil isn’t real. I still enjoy the characters, though, and so it is an escape. And I think I learn from these characters who are so… emphatically themselves.

Then there is the magic. I don’t exactly believe such magic is real, or at least available for use, in this world; but I wish it were. Sometimes I really wish it were. As a Christian, I suppose this is a horrible thing to… admit??? wish for??? Both I suppose. Yet I do, and I would be lying if I said otherwise. Though technically I know that I don’t have access to this power (and conveniently forget while wishing for it that such an ability would have an evil side as well) I think that because I feel so very powerless in this word – in my abilities, in my disabilities, in my overwhelming exhaustion – I really do wish that I could make things happen with my mind, because I often cannot with my body.

You see, my thoughts, my imagination, my mind is capable of far more than I could ever do – so while I almost always fail in the practical part, if only I could take it straight from my thoughts, I could accomplish so very much. Plus it would be a lot of fun! And while I know that these things are impossible, while I watch there is hope that says, “maybe.”

Which brings me to ghosts. Do I believe in ghosts? No… yes… I don’t know. While I have never seen a ghost, I have been around death enough to have seen that what was once there no longer is. So my question at each death is: “Where did they go?” It is an overwhelming fixation. Perhaps it is wrong, and sometimes it is scary, and mostly the shows are so fake that they are ridiculous, and still I watch them. Because maybe someday, sometime, someone will stumble upon an answer. Where do the animals go? Where do the children go? Christians go to Heaven – I believe this – but what is life after death for everyone else (My heart breaks for the lost, over and over: Where do they go?) It is an obsession. Wrong? Maybe – but my fixations and obsessions serve the purpose of helping me to think, and helping me to calm, and they are really hard to let go.

I know these things are escapes for me. The pain of the world lies heavy on my heart and mind, and sometimes… often, it becomes too much, and I have to escape. So I do; into worlds and imaginations, and abilities that are beyond what is available in real life. So the question that comes into my heart and mind at the response other people have when I tell them what I have been watching: Am I in the world, or of it, and is my faith therefore in danger? I would answer, “None of these.” In these moments where I am watching these shows, being in the world is too much for me – I certainly don’t want to be of it. What I want… what I truly want, is to go “home,” and the only way to get there is through faith.

Meanwhile I exist in a world that is often way too much for me, and I have to escape. I have to. And I pray that will be understood.

 

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Autism: Things That Keep Me Awake At Night

Last night, it took me many hours to get to sleep. For one thing, I was stuck on the verse: “God makes all things come together for good…” and was arguing it out in my head. Several people at life group brought up stories of tragedy last night, and this verse was mentioned by a couple of people. Not that I don’t believe it, but more that I feel it is dangerous to leave it there. There is more to it, and so many people take it to believe things will come together for better after some serious tragedy. Yet for a lot of people, things don’t get better after that. They live in pain, and question God, and…

When my children were taken, I was brought this verse over and over again – and I kept thinking, “It doesn’t mean it will be better for me.” What about the Jewish and Christian people killed in the Holocaust? What about the Jewish people who were in slavery for something like 400 years in Egypt before God showed up? What about… and I thought of a whole lot of situations where all for good didn’t seem so great individually.

There are a lot of people suffering in the world, and for many of them, things aren’t likely to get much better.

So I thought that the way people use this verse is dangerous, because for those whose lives don’t improve after such bad things, it could lead them to become bitter with God. “God makes all things come together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” Okay, so does that mean if things don’t improve, it means our love for God isn’t genuine?

I don’t believe it.

“God makes all things come together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purposes.” I thought of this over and over, and asked: “What is it that those who love God and are called according to his purposes want?” In other words, what is it that we, as Christians, are supposed to want our lives, and our actions to do?

The answer: Bring glory to God.

So if the verse read: “God makes all things work together for his glory,” well then even the tragedy would be worth it for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.

This post wasn’t meant to be about this thought at all. Sometimes things write themselves, and that is okay. The things that keep me awake at night!

The other thing that kept me awake last night was my cat.

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Ditch is an extremely affectionate, funny, into everything type of cat. He is my buddy, and when my dog died, he never left my side for two weeks. Even before that, he spent a lot of time lying against me, purring, and kneading. My Gryff was an independent dog, who didn’t mind sharing me with the others. Clara, on the other hand, has pretty much attached herself to my side, and doesn’t like anyone else getting “mommy time,” so Ditch takes his where he can get it, often when she is buried under the blankets, sleeping.

Last night that meant making his way onto my pillow where he spent hours purring, kneading, and licking my forehead. Not exactly conductive to sleep, and he is not one to be deterred. I’d push him away, and he would slap my hand away, or bite it (lightly, but enough to let me know he was annoyed.) Feeling bad that he hadn’t had so much attention from me in a while, I turned over (which stopped the licking) and allowed him to keep kneading.

Every once in a while, I would try to move him away so I could get to sleep, and he would bite, or slap, and keep going. Finally about 2am, I picked him up, and put him out of the bed. I felt bad, but after that I was able to slow my thoughts down and get to sleep.

Four hours of thoughts and purrs, bites, and kneading, with my husband sleeping soundly beside me – and he wonders why I have so much trouble getting up in the morning.

 

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Autism: Residual Pain

Residual effects of yesterday.

I am still struggling with overwhelming sadness and a sense of worthlessness. Other people write on their birthdays how blessed they are to do things and celebrate with their family and friends. Does that mean I am not blessed? We did nothing. I feel cursed. Broken. Alone. I prayed that it would be different, but many of my prayers are met with silence. I can only conclude that God is angry with me.

It isn’t that I believe He shouldn’t be, but… if I could do better, don’t you believe I would? And didn’t He come to save the broken and lost? Does anyone want saving more than me? Has anyone prayed as often for the evil to be taken, and to be made good, as I have? Maybe others have, and so have I, but years later and I am still broken. My life, my family, my heart – all broken.

This is reflected in the children I couldn’t conceive, and the children I couldn’t keep, and the family who abandoned me to their own activities on my 40th birthday. Not blessed. Cursed. And though I know I deserve this, it hurts just the same.

Once again I have to explain to the child I was, who held on for the belief that things had to get better, that things really don’t get better. And I try to hide from her the fear that all those years she lived in pain and terror were really the best she would ever get. And it breaks me, as much as if I were having to tell a child standing in front of me that this would be their reality. It breaks me, over and over, like a near drowned shipwreck victim being smashed against the rocks by the waves.

I want to write to you about success and healing, but what comes out is pain – for that is the experience I live with. Moments of happiness surrounded by weeks of pain. To write anything else would be a lie.

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