Supporting churches to include people with Autism and Learning Disabilties

Posts tagged ‘#writing’

What a week but here’s some good stuff!

It has been a super, mad, busy, crazy week.  Work has been busy (not helped by having to catch up on some work I missed when I was off ill the other week), my kids are in the last week of dress rehersals in their drama group (the Easter story set in Downtown Metropolis it’s going to be fantastic!).  It has meant a week of making early teas, taxi driving and attempting 1920s hair on my daughter – which was made much easier by the loan of the contraptions below from my sister!  Next week will be even busier as it’s a week of performances.  I get to watch it every night as I am a ‘doorperson’ collecting tickets and selling programmes. I love it and it will be exhausting for all of us!  http://www.leylandmethodistmusicanddrama.co.uk/LMMDG/Welcome.html

The-MOB-cover                                                              41WA5MR7M2L

Our church has had a really exciting mission week this week www.life-stuff.co.uk and I’ve listened to a High court judge and a rugby player talk about their faith.  Our Good News Group got involved by putting on a guest tea party (the team all dressed up as waiters) and welcomed our usual crowd and some visitors. We taught them about how Jesus changed Zaccheaus and how he can change our hearts too. What a blessing it was but exhausting too!

cropped-lifephoto-copy1

So I haven’t spent my usual time thinking about disability issues, Good News Group and inclusion and writing my blog.  I want to be finishing my edit of my novel and starting my new story and that’s not happening either.  Never mind….in the scheme of things it really doesn’t change the world.  What I have been blessed by is other people’s blogs and so here are two in particular I encourage you to read and enjoy…

Alice is a mum of three young children , one of whom is Mikey who has Down’s Syndrome and ASD.  We go to the same church and are passionate about inclusion together.  Her blog this week is celebrating Mikey.   http://www.playontheword.com/2013/03/21-great-things-about-mikey-for-world-downs-syndrome-day/

Alice

Kay Morgan Gurr is a person passionate about inclusion too. I am glad I’m getting to know her and agree with her sentiments in this posting http://bit.ly/ZXB5dj which should make us think why are we doing things in church and is it the best thing for everyone who wants to be there.

safe_image

Thanks everyone – I can’t be sure to blog next week as it’s just as busy but I will enjoy what others are writing in the meantime.

Have a good week everyone and God Bless you.

Advertisements

A bit about why I keep going…

We all seem to face doubt, don’t we? We lose confidence and wonder if we have been fooling ourselves, don’t we?

When the Lord takes us into new territory or tries to expand our horizons it can be terrifying.  That is happening to me right now – does it happen to you?

I wrote this some time ago and just this week found it again.

Marion, Me and my Nan 1984 Marion, Me and my Nan

“It only takes one to love as Jesus did…

When I am overwhelmed and discouraged; I REMEMBER…

When I feel that God is stretching me and challenging me; I REMEMBER…

When I can’t figure out how to reach someone with learning disabilities or severe autism with the gospel; I REMEMBER…

When a friend or family member seems so far away from knowing Jesus, when they are hurting, sad, struggling; I REMEMBER…

There once was an elderly lady called Marion, in her seventies, who walked to church every week. As she passed the kids playing out in the street she would invite them to come to church with her.  In the 1970s it was ok to do that. One quiet, shy six year old went along because her friend from school went too.  For twelve years – week in, week out, the girl accompanied Marion to church…but then she fell away, and for a while her life took a different path.

But Marion still prayed, still loved the girl as Jesus loved, until the day she died.  Marion never knew if that girl ever came back, if she ever choose to follow Jesus who loved her so much.

I REMEMBER… her love of Jesus that shone out of her as a light.

I REMEMBER her kindness, her acceptance, her longing to go to heaven.

I REMEMBER she told me Jesus loved me, but I didn’t really understand.

Not until she was gone.

That day she died I felt her spirit raising up to heaven to be with her Saviour. The greatest joy I had ever felt.

She loved as Jesus did.  She prayed as Jesus did…and didn’t know the outcome.

But two years later her prayers were answered.  I answered Jesus’ call on my life and followed him.

Now, as I struggle to pray for the children and adults with learning disabilities and autism that God has put in my life…I REMEMBER…it only takes one to pray as Jesus prayed, to touch their lives and show them his love.  No matter that we may not know the outcome here on earth.  For as surely Marion knows in heaven that her prayers for me were answered, then one day I will know my prayers for those God loves through me will be answered too.

I am honoured and blessed that this ministry is not mine alone, I learn from and share it with others.  Thank you – you know who you are.

And we all thank Jesus.

New Year Challenges.

Everyone thinks about the future at this time of year. Maybe for you it feels full of dread, or worry. Maybe it feels full of hope, or of new beginnings.
Whatever you THINK this year will bring we can never be certain. The Bible says “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:20-22 and I think that if you are a Christian you can certainly agree with this.
I have plans and ideas for this next year and there are things that others have planned that will affect me too. I cannot say however, if anyone will die, or win the lottery (not me, I don’t play!), or lose their job, get ill, or become famous, or be promoted, or become pregnant or pass all their exams.

As human beings we also dream…and for me this year is a year I want to work on my dreams. I’m middle aged now (apparently) and I am realising that time does get shorter. I’ve no idea how long I have but I can make the best of what I have. As a Christian I feel that God has given me dreams and desires in line with his will, and those dreams are about sharing his love and his Word with others in different ways. Especially to people with learning disabilities and through writing. I don’t want to be self serving, but Jesus serving…so we will see what happens.

If you are a parent of a child with special needs or a carer for an adult with special needs, I want you to know that God loves you and cares for you. He loves and cares for your child and the adults you care for. He knows what you go through each day and how hard that is a lot of the time. He knows too, what they can understand and we must not underestimate his Spirit in their lives. We don’t need to water down the Gospel or the truths of the Bible, we just need to communicate it in a way that is right for them.

Over the next few months I want to write about some of the challenges that face the church in reaching people (children AND adults) with autism, Asperger’s and learning disabilities and how we try to teach good solid Bible truths to the adults we work with in our church. This term we are looking at the book of Daniel and how he foretold the coming of Jesus.

I would love you to come on the journey with us.

Odd one out?

Just the other day I had coffee with three lovely ladies who were all mums of children with disabilities. We were brainstorming ideas to support other parents through dealing with some of the everyday issues that cause so much stress.  We have a chance to work with a couple of local charities to produce materials that will hopefully be really helpful to parents of children with autism. It was a fascinating meeting, with tears and sharing, which resulted in great ideas and a sort of plan of action.

But I did feel at one point…what am I doing here? I definitely was the odd one out. To me autism is fascinating and I am passionate about helping children and families…but it is also my job and I can come home at the end of the day and have a break from it.  I admitted I am out of place in this group, as a few parents have said to me, it’s not as fascinating when you live with the consequences every day 24/7.  And what amazes me is the constant battles the parents I know have to go through. Fighting with systems and authorities to get their child understood and have their needs met. No wonder they don’t find it fascinating.

The only answer I have is a God who cares enough to put a passionate heart in an imperfect woman and use her to come alongside other imperfect people.  He has pushed me to gain knowledge and experiences that are useful contributions to our project.  He does this all over his world…bringing people together to minister and help each other, just when they need it.  He loves us and cares that we get exhausted and don’t know what to do when things get rough. He leads others on a path of knowledge and learning so that they can come at the right time to bring knowledge and life’s mess together to find the answers. I don’t know what I can do or where this will lead…but I trust a Lord who does.

People don’t fit in boxes!

What do I blog about?  Much of the advice I have read says pick one thing…and I did try.  But I found myself feeling put in a box – I’m not just about ASD even though I have a lot I want say.  I have lots of other aspects to me that I want to blog about too.

  • Jesus, and how I came to be a believer, how he forms and changes my life for good.
  • Our church group for adults with learning disabilities – it’s fantastic and there’s a lot we could share with other churches – and they with us maybe.
  • Writing – I have written a children’s novel and am working on my second and other pieces of writing that my head is full of and excited about.
  • Being a wife and mother to teenagers throws up some interesting subjects to discuss, especially as our children get older.

All people are multi-faceted.   We are created by God in his image and for his glory.  But all of us have sinned and fallen short of what he really has in store for us through our determination to go our own way and ignore God. But God loved his world so much that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Look at that word carefully….’whoever’.  Now that’s inclusive isnt it.  If you are a complicated or simple person, intellegent or have learning disabilities, are well or sick, rich or poor…then this offer is for you…it includes ALL of us.

I don’t fit into a box.  I’m not ‘typical’ of a wife, mother, teacher, writer.  All the times in my life that I have tried to fit into someone else’s idea of what I should be it didn’t work. I failed spectacularly or miserably.  I failed to live up to their expectations and my idea of what their expectations were.  Often our feelings of failure are based on wanting others to approve of us.  This is not God’s idea at all.

He loved us while we were still ignoring him, while we were still sinning, while we were still doing it our own way.  He loved us enough to die for us.

Now I get it!   I am defined by HIS LOVE FOR ME.  In that I cannot fail.  I don’t need to live up to others expectations.  I can be who he is making me to be through my faith in Jesus Christ.

One of the reasons I have such a connection with people with ASD and learning disabilities is that I recognise that they don’t fit in boxes.  Society labels them as different, outcasts, sometimes as unworthy.  To me they are each individuals, with something to contribute, and a capacity to believe in Jesus, if only someone should tell them in way they can access and understand!

I am reminded of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

We all have God given talents (bags of gold).  I seem to have some and the people with learning disabilities I know have some too.  So I am challenged as to how I am going to use mine…including what I blog about.  In our group at church we are challenging our members to use their talents.  So people who can read, read the Bible to others.  People who can praise, praise, whether it is in tune or not.  Those who are mobile help serve tea.  All join in drama whether they are in wheelchairs, non-verbal or have a habit of calling out random things in a loud voice! 

This blog post has been very person for me and I thank you for reading the musings of a woman who is trying to work out how to serve my Lord well by sharing what he has taught me with others.  I would welcome your comments!

28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

%d bloggers like this: