Tuesday, June 25, 2013

One Mom's Glory Story

The following Glory Story was shared by a mom of several young children who is walking through an unwanted divorce with courage, faith and hope.  In spite of her daily challenges and fatigue, she is choosing joy and lives by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in her.  Please join me in praising God for this example of His power and presence in our day-to-day lives. And while you're at it, pray for this hurting but rejoicing family.
On Friday afternoon I received a 49 page divorce decree which my attorney called "the most complicated decree he has seen in his career." Unfortunately, the most important part (the separate parenting plan) was missing and is expected tomorrow. 
Despite how unwanted, challenging and overwhelming all of this is, I wanted to tell you how I'm being encouraged by "God moments." When I went to bed Thursday night, I peeked at the devotional title for the next morning.  It was titled, "With You To the End." That gave me hope that my prayers for the decree to come in by Friday would be answered.  
When I woke up Friday and read the morning's devotional, it was more than perfect. It was based on John 14:16-17 (CEV), "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you."  Even more fitting, I went on to read Matthew 28:20 (MSG): "I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."   
This morning (Sunday), on the way to church, my kids and I had not had a good morning.  To top it off, we were running late and I got stopped by the long light at the intersection next to church.  As I sat staring at the church, I glanced at the church marquee which read the words from — you guessed it — MATTHEW 28:20!  I laughed and smiled all the way into the building. 
God is GREAT all the time, but especially when He gives those "subtle" reminders right when you need them.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

James & Jill's Glory Story

A member of our Board of Directors shared this family's story with me a few weeks ago and I've been so encouraged by it — for a couple of reasons.  A little boy named Micah has been surrounded by a remarkable community of loving and supportive family and friends.  Yet Micah's story should not be remarkable.  God delights in using sacrificial love and the outreach of His people because He uses intersections of love to reveal His power and presence (1 John 4:8) and He delights in surprising us with unexpected gifts (Luke 11:12-14, Ephesians 3:20-21).  

James and Jill (Micah's parents) are humble, enthusiastic Christ followers who are trying to help each of their children reach their full potential developmentally as well as in character and Truth.  That SO inspires me!  While the specific circumstances and challenges of our own lives may be very different from what Micah's family lives every day, each of us has opportunity to be blessed and be a blessing when we allow our lives to intersect with other's.  Sometimes that means reaching out to help someone in very simple (seemingly insignificant) ways and sometimes it means doing big things.  Perhaps most difficult of all — yet, oh so important — is being willing to ASK for that help.  

Asking for help can be the open door God uses to spill out blessing in astounding ways around you today!

Thank you to James and Jill Olson of Crosslake, Minnesota for allowing us to share their story and the photo (below) of beautiful Micah. By sharing this family's story, Walk Right In Ministries does not intend to endorse a particular program but does encourage families to seek the Lord and prayerfully explore their options when identifying resources through challenges.
To Our Amazing Family and Friends,  
It has been almost three weeks now, since our trip to The Autism Treatment Center of America for their Son-Rise Program® training in Sheffield, Massachusetts. We cannot express our thanks enough for all the financial support and loving prayers that made this trip a reality! We were so greatly touched by the outpour of love and support. People have been so genuine and sincere with wanting to help and learn more about Micah and how autism affects our family. Please know that our lives, our hearts, our beliefs were touched in a way that we never even knew to expect. God is good, and you are all beautiful angels to our family!  
We stayed on the Sheffield campus for a five day training to learn the Son-Rise Program®. We were there with 81 other individuals, from 13 different countries, seeking a new way to help a loved one with autism. We were all united by our determination and love for our child with our hopes to help them break through autism. It was an uplifting week that inspired hope and courage in us to always press forward, to know that our child’s potential is limitless, to never lose hope, and to always choose happiness today! 
We learned new approaches and techniques to help Micah and our entire family through challenging moments and how to build on already wonderful, positive moments. One of the key parts of Son-Rise is to have the 3 E’s: energy, excitement, and enthusiasm! When we first came home, you could tell the boys noticed a change within James and me. We celebrate (somewhat over the top) each positive moment, such as good eye contact and having flexibility. Micah heard “thanks for looking at me” with such excitement in the first few days, that he started telling us the same thing and eventually asked us to stop telling him that! We also learned new approaches for the control battles that usually led to great frustration and meltdowns for Micah. 
Micah challenged and escalated the situations quite a bit in the first few days, but started to realize that something has changed and thankfully, he is responding amazingly! I have done many happy, victory dances in this house just in the past few weeks!  
We know we have quite the road ahead of us, but we are so encouraged by the renewed spirits we came back with, the hopeful outlook for the future, and Micah’s responsiveness to the program. We will be implementing the program more over the next few weeks. We are setting up a room to be the Son-Rise playroom where we will work one-on-one with Micah to achieve specific goals for his social development (eye contact, communication, interactive attention span, and flexibility).  
We will continue to support Micah’s body with various supplements. We will continue with his HANDLE (reflex integration) and craniosacral therapies and his specialized diet. Above all, we will continue to love and nurture this beautiful, precious boy that God Almighty blessed our lives with. We will take delight in who he is today and give thanks for the creative, thoughtful, and exuberant boy that fills our days with joy and love!  
We thank you again for your loving support! May “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace”. (Numbers 6:24-26)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Jennifer's Glory Story

The following Glory Story was contributed by Jennifer Greene who facilitated a Finding Glory Group earlier this year at McLean Bible Church (Loudoun Campus) in Virginia.  Jennifer, along with six other moms who have children with special needs, met monthly using the Finding Glory study package.  Larry and I had the privilege of visiting with part of the group over coffee prior to the 2013 Accessibility Summit in April.  It was easy to be inspired by these moms who, despite extraordinary challenges, are working to build encouraging, Christ-centered relationships in their lives and put their focus on God's Word.  Their husbands and children are receiving the spill-over of that blessing too.  Please say a prayer for these families today.
"During our mom's small group the other day, I shared about wanting to really press in to Jesus and have a deeper and richer relationship. I feel that I want to be overwhelmed by Him. I so often say I'm overwhelmed by my life's circumstances but I feel that Jesus is saying, "Why not be overwhelmed by ME??!!!"  
So I've been thinking: What if we pressed in and became overwhelmed by our magnificent Savior? Isn't it possible that he is BIG enough to overwhelm us with his love so that we don't feel so completely burdened by our children's disability? 
The moms agreed that this is possible but, in all honesty, they admitted that they were just too numb from life to even want to press in and seek God for something like this.
I thought that this is a reality for so many of us. 
We love God but we suffer under the weight of our child's disability. But God didn't allow our children to have disabilities so that we could travel a road of suffering until we die then have joy only when we get to heaven!  Shouldn't we be overwhelmed by God's goodness and love right here in the midst of our circumstances?  Isn't that the ultimate testimony to our Sovereign God?"

Thank you for listening to the prompting of the Lord and for sharing, Jennifer!

Ephesians 2:4-5
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 3:17-19
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

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