There’s a time in your life that is so profound, it’s beyond words. Maybe you were a young child sitting in the middle of a long pew, and you had to work your way through a group of old ladies who smelled of Avon’s Sweet Honesty in order to get to the aisle … or perhaps you were at a revival meeting where the visiting pastor had a shock of white hair, wore a three piece suit, and spit enough spittle to fill a small bucket when he got on his holy roll … or was it a camp meeting, way out behind the cover of tall pines around a blazing bonfire with the sounds of crickets and frogs competing with the three part harmony of Our God Is An Awesome God? … Where it happened is only a minor detail. What really matters is that you’ll never forget how your heart thumped, how your hands trembled, and how your knees nearly buckled when you realized you were lost and in desperate need of Jesus.
It had to happen in that moment.
Because the sense of urgency was beyond anything you’d ever experienced before.
And so you asked the Savior Of The World into your heart.
You gave Him your life.
All of it.
And for a time, you allowed Jesus to lead you. The focus was on Him. After all, what did you, a mere sinner who was created from the dust of the earth, do to deserve eternal life? Not a thing. Your life had been bought with an extreme price, and you were fully aware of the fact that Jesus had left the glory of heaven to come to earth and suffer an indescribably cruel death for your sake. That if you had been the only one, He would’ve died for you.
Oh my goodness, with the weight of that truth comes a crashing wave of humility. So great is His love. But the human race is born into sin, and as has been proven throughout the passage of time, sin is a difficult habit to break. Abraham, Moses, King David, Sampson, Peter … each a legendary patriarch of our faith … yielded to sin. To think we’re immune to darkness when such strong men of the faith fell, is evidence of pride. And sin all began when the enemy of all enemies dared to believe he deserved to be on equal footing with God.
“Let ME be God!”
Pride was Lucifer’s achilles heel, and it remains at the root of every defiance against our holy Father. When we sin, no matter the category it falls under, the bold heading at the top of the page is PRIDE. Our will over God’s will. Yes, we begin our journey of salvation on the right path, but what the world has to offer is so tempting, so seductive. And eventually, we stumble. Sometimes we fall flat on our faces.
Thankfully, though, we serve a God who is absolute grace and mercy, and in His abundance of love for us, He lifts our blinders to allow us to get a glimpse of who we are. Just like a child who is caught in the act of disobedience, He shines the spotlight on our weaknesses. And in those divine moments, we again realize that we are powerless against our nature. That without Him, we truly are nothing. This is the gift of repentance. This is how we are transformed into His likeness. It’s part of the salvation process, the working out of our faith….so when we finally do see our Savior face to face, we’re ready.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
Just my thoughts!!!
Scripture openly tells us of an enemy who is prowling like a lion, seeking to steal, kill, and destroy. That information alone should cause Believers to be on guard and to expect the unexpected at all times. If an actual lion were prowling around our homes, seeking to kill us, we’d be on guard, right? But our human nature is to not worry about those intangible things we can’t see or touch. And so we are shocked when the demonic scoundrel makes his move. Shaken to our cores, we’re left to make sense of something that makes no sense. But it should’ve made perfect sense to us. BECAUSE we’ve been told there is an enemy prowling around like a lion who is seeking to steal, kill, and destroy us. haha. UGH! We’re so stubborn and set in our ways.
If you’ve ever felt like your foundation has been rocked, this video might be for you today. I hope so.
What is God’s price for Kingdom real estate?
What is the down payment for that mansion made of gold?
The parable of the talents, found in the book of Matthew, suggests that how we use our lives will hold weight in heaven.
Just as the soft whisper of a drifting spark can ignite a roaring blaze of heat, every person has been given a gift, a purpose….a spark. Within each of us, lies a flicker of hope, love, and encouragement that can set the world on fire.
Some have been gifted with monetary wealth, some are able to build with their hands….while others have the ability to empower and teach. Think about it. Among us are listeners, gift givers, thinkers, healers, servants, inventors, writers, and sympathizers. We each have something that was given to us so we could give it away.
We all have something unique to give.
Scripture doesn’t say “Well done thou good and successful servant” … it says “faithful servant”. We aren’t measured, then by how the world rates success. The Lord cares about our efforts. He wants us to unleash our gifts with reckless abandon from an abundance of love.
So when all is said and done, on the day we face the Lover Of Our Souls, we will be measured simply … by the purity of our hearts and by our love.
Just my thoughts!
Do you ever have those days when you feel sad for no reason at all? Not all days can be good ones, can they? But the dark days, perhaps, serve to make the bright days all the more radiant. Maybe they serve a purpose. I know on days when I feel disconnected, I long for a connection with God even more. And on all days, He is the there. Always ready to wrap me up in his feathers and allow me to feel His presence. If you can relate, then you’ll enjoy this short vlog:
Blessings to you!!!
Today is my 49th birthday. Don’t you find that as you get older, birthdays serve as a time of reflection? They become milestones, markers of sort, that represent who we are and the meaning of our existence. I’ve made some brilliant moves in my life, but I’ve made some whopper mistakes as well. While my heart holds fountains of joy, it also reflects the stagnation of regret. It’s life. And all blended together, the final hope, perhaps, is that our lives end up as a mirror, displaying only the image of our Creator. Where Melanie once was, now is only God.
My two youngest are non-verbal. And they get it. They were born getting it and as a result, they’ll never harbor an ounce of regret. Hope and Charlie will always be image-bearers. People consider them to have special needs, but those people have it all wrong. It is we who can learn from them. Here is my morning birthday celebration with the two who have turned my life upside down and all around in the most amazing way. Happy Birthday to ME!!!
Are there times you feel guilty about praying about the small things? Especially when there are BIG things going on all around you in world? Well let this VLOG encourage you today. God cares about the little things!
The holidays are here. Those four words make me break out in hives every single year. As a special needs momma, I’m giving my best effort to parent two kiddos who have Down syndrome, who are non-verbal, and who have sensory processing issues. When the holidays come around with bright blinking lights, merry music, frigid temps, Santa, Rudolph, and those darned elves…well, it unravels all of the progress I’ve made throughout the year. My sweet children turn into wild leaping monkeys who make baby dinosaur screeching noises every time they hear Feliz Navidad. Why, oh why, must that song be played constantly from Thanksgiving day on? While others sit with hot cocoa admiring their twinkling tree and holy manger scene, I do well to make sure the baby Jesus doesn’t get flushed down the toilet. At this moment, he’s missing…and what is a $29.99 nativity set from Walmart really worth with an empty manger? Wherefore art thou baby Jesus?
Determined to survive, I’ve come up with five tips to take on the holidays:
Be willing to make changes. For instance, if you would spend the holidays pulling your child off the Christmas tree because he or she is determined to climb it, then don’t put a tree up. It’s not the end of the world to not have a Christmas tree. My daughter is eleven years old…and I haven’t had a Christmas tree in eleven years. It wouldn’t last a minute in my house, especially now that I am outnumbered with two of them. And why would I want to fight about a tree? The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy for everyone…including me. So, if it’s going to be a battle, it’s out. Period.
Create new traditions. While I don’t put up a Christmas tree, my house is decorated both inside and out. My walls are covered in sparkly red and white snowflakes, I’ve hung a large felt banner that says “Merry Christmas”, and ornaments are hanging from every door frame. Holly drapes from windows and sparkly tinsel hugs the top of my kitchen cabinets. Everything is secure and placed out of reach of little fingers. The kids love it, and because they love it, so do I. It works for us. And if I want that cup of cocoa while sitting around a perfectly decorated twinkling tree, I’ll hire a babysitter for a few hours and find a coffee shop or a fancy hotel for that. It’s all about balance.
Be willing to have everyone come to your house for family holiday celebrations. Chances are your house has been proofed for special needs kiddos while other family members’ homes have not, so to make life easier on everyone involved, just have celebrations at your house. Don’t take on too much, though…order a pre-baked turkey or ham and have everyone else bring a side dish. While it’s normal to want to go out to enjoy festivities away from home, it isn’t always practical. Why not give your family the best chance to have a successful celebration? Keep it at home when it involves the kids.
Let your child dictate what she wants her holidays to be about. Don’t get hung up on reading The Night Before Christmas, stringing popcorn, and making a gingerbread house. Perhaps those were traditions you enjoyed when you were a child, but your child is unique and will have her own preferences. My two kiddos love music and enjoy dancing more than anything else, so every night leading up to Christmas, we jack up the holiday tunes, put on our socks, and dance through the house like a bunch of crazy kooks. Waving our arms around, jumping up and down on the beds, and sliding across the wood floors…Christmas is a celebration. They have a blast as I burn off all of my extra peppermint bark calories. It’s truly a win-win.
Don’t put Christmas in a box. Gifts are meant to be placed in boxes and wrapped up in bows, but Christmas is not. Too often we get hung up on what Christmas is supposed to look like. Hallmark Christmas movies drip with romance…church musicals usher in holiness and majesty…while tv commercials pull on our heartstrings (and pocketbooks) with tradition and nostalgia. Christmas is all of those things, yes, but so much more. It’s about love, acceptance, and celebration. Whatever that looks like to you. So, you are hereby granted the freedom to create your own thing. Step outside of that box and go for it!
As you prepare to bring in the season, keep in mind how unconventional that first Christmas really was. Jesus came to us by way of an unwed mother. Born in a cave that was inhabited by animals, his first visitors were the poorest of the poor who had nothing to give. There was no Christmas tree, no turkey dinner, no tales of St. Nick…and the only twinkling lights were from the stars in the heavens. The gift that day was simple, and it’s a profound gift that has continued to be given each and every year since. Jesus had a mom and dad who loved him and who would protect him. And that was enough. In fact, it was perfect.
These are my thoughts on the holidays…may you and yours have a blessed season!
The human brain’s primary goal is simple: Keeping us safe and ensuring our survival. Every time we formulate an opinion of someone, whether it’s a sixty second introduction or a lifelong connection, that opinion is based on whether our brain has determined we are safe or not safe in that relationship. And often, we form those opinions in less than one minute of meeting someone. We are a shallow bunch, right? Within sixty seconds of meeting a brand new human being, our brains fire up life experiences, prejudices, and pre-conceived notions in order to size that person up. There’s no fact-finding or exploration to the brain’s archaic process at all. Our brains, then, are wired to feel instantly secure with people who are much like ourselves. We not only want to survive and thrive, but we also want “our kind” to survive.
The mind of a special needs mom, however, is notably different which is one of the many positives that comes along with this unique journey. Her primary goal is to not only keep herself alive (so she can necessarily take care of the special one in her life), but to also keep her child safe and to ensure his/her survival on a planet where individuals who have intellectual and/or physical disabilities are too often marginalized. As a result, her brain is re-programmed to not sum people up in less than one minute. The special needs mom, in fact, throws everything she ever thought she knew out the window the moment she comes face to face with her child. In a flash, life is no longer the same…and never will be again. Pre-conceived notions? Prejudices? Life experiences? They no longer hold any sway over this mom, because her measuring stick has transformed into a magic wand…the woman suddenly wants to save the world.
When life flips to something brand new and unexpected in the blink of an eye, everything flips along with it. From this point on, she’ll give everyone a chance to be kind and good and patient and accepting…because her child’s survival depends on the human race being what it needs to be. Special needs moms, for instance, constantly seek out and watch to see how people view her child. She can spot a soft face, a smile, and understanding eyes even in a large crowd and she will return the smile. Always. If you don’t believe me, try it sometime. In addition, she’ll thoughtfully listen to how people respond to her child, hoping for the best. Kindness and warmth, even when void of understanding, go a long way. And when someone takes the initiative to bend down and look eye to eye with her little boy, it will catapult her heart into the heavens. That one simple act speaks volumes: “you have value” … “you matter to me” … “I don’t see myself as any different than you”. By choosing to serve others, even with the simple act of intentional kindness, you are a living sacrifice.
Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
To a special needs mom, you can be cultured and educated or crass and unrefined…liberal, conservative, or a person who doesn’t give a hoot about politics…none of it matters. As long as you have true compassion and acceptance for those who are physically and/or intellectually challenged, you are in her circle for life. She’ll love you instantly and forever, because you and “your kind” actually are the key to the survival of the special needs child and the world as we know it.
The following pictures are of a little fella who was born with Down syndrome in an Eastern European country. The first picture is of him in the “baby orphanage” when there was still hope for him finding a forever family. The second picture is of him only a few months later, after being sent to a “mental institution” when he wasn’t adopted. The final picture is of his grave. Without touch, love, acceptance, and proper care, he died. This is the reality of the world we live in.
In our country, you might say, this kind of thing would never happen. And you’re correct. In the United States, an estimated 75% of children who are prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted….in other countries, that figure jumps to 90%+. Because of a genetic test, children who are diagnosed with an extra chromosome while in the womb don’t even get a chance. The statistics are staggering. There is no middle ground. As citizens of this earth, we either value all life or we don’t value life at all. Life not only matters while in the womb but also AFTER the womb. It’s life y’all.
Consider for a moment what a world without individuals who have special needs might look like. It would present an existence where the concepts of compassion, patience, and unconditional love are absent. Every human being has a purpose, even those who by the world’s standards are less than perfect. This is why the mind of a special needs mom is wired so differently. Our mission is not about the survival of a political party or a church denomination…our mission is about saving the best part of the human race. The human race, at it’s very best, is not power and strength…but when we purposefully choose to bow our power and strength to acknowledge the value of one who is considered “the least of these”.
“…and whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” Matt. 25:40
Just my thoughts.