Monday, 14 October 2013

Article for Golden Pen


Living with intellectual disability and autism and distressing behavior, has been a challenge to being an overcomer.  But in a recent post by Jeff Goins
I found some points about journeys and what we can learn from them.
Jeff wrote the post after a trip of his own did not go as planned.
I have related what he said to our sixteen-year trek with our son, Garrett.

Here’s what I came up with:

1.  No journey is perfect.      Ain’t that the truth.   Our family’s journey with intellectual disability, autism and challenging behavior, has been a voyage into a whole other world.   We take encouragement from Psalm 37:23: The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delights in his way.

2.   The destination is not what we expect.
Someone once described having a child with disabilities as booking a holiday to Italy and finding yourself in Holland.    The destination is always unknown.
As we prepare for life post-school we trust our unknown future to a known God.
Psalm 31:15:  My future is in your hands. . .

3.  Get rid of what we think we deserve.
Don’t we all deserve regular, normal kids?  After nine months of discomfort and ten hours in the labour ward, surely we deserve the best outcome?   Like the disciples’ mother who believed her sons should have places of honour, we pridefully believe that we deserve something else than what we have.

4.  Inspiration is everywhere.   Some days I see it, some days I don’t.  And one thing I swore I did not want to write about was this very subject!   That’s why I write fiction.

5.  Pay attention to what’s around you.    While most of us can tune out to extra noises, the child with autism not only hears everything, but reacts to it too.
 I’ve learned to be aware of everyday sounds – a lawn mower, the neighbour’s muffler, the garbage collection – all of which can trigger an episode.

6.  Don’t travel alone.  Thankfully, I travel with a supportive husband without whom I could not do what I do.  We have a caring church community and other formal supports.   And of course in spiritual terms we are never alone with the Holy Spirit as our comforter.

7.  Art helps.  We love movies, music, and the theatre once our boy is at the respite centre.  And we have our own creative outlets.  (I hit 31 thousand words of my work in progress recently.)   Being able to pursue my writing interests is keeping me sane.

8.  Gratitude.  Okay.  So I need an attitude check.  When everything else is out of control, the one thing I can control is my attitude.   I am thankful for those who care with meals once a month and others who provide regular respite.
Hebrews 12:28.

9.  The best of journeys have a purpose.  Still working through that one.  Did Romans 8:28-29 come to mind?  Like I say, still working through that.  What I cling to from these verses is the fact that I am called.

10.  If you accomplish nothing, take heart.  You have changed.  
 How changed?  As someone who prefers to work to a plan and be organised,
I have learned to take each day (sometimes its down to the half hour) as it comes.    I have been to bed fully dressed so I was ready for anything next morning and who says dessert has to come after first course or that socks have to match?

On two recent bad days, the Lord gave me great encouragement.
One evening I said to the Him:  Please give me a word for such a day as the one I just had.
I got nothing then but my waking thought the next morning was:

“It is of the Lord 's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Lamentations  3:22-23.

Another day a friend posted Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians, chapter 4.
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. 

Taking heart from these words and from Him who I know has overcome.

Monday, 2 September 2013


This idea came from Sunday morning's sermon.  The preacher was talking about God's story in terms of the Creation, the Fall,  Redemption and Restoration, which we all know as the gospel:
God created, the creation fell, our relationship with the creator was broken; we are redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus and we're restored to the relationship through belief.
Pastor Stewart then went on to say, we each have a creation, fall, redemption and restoration story of our own.  We have a story of our origin, of a time we realised we had fallen or sinned, when we realised we needed a saviour and when our lives were restored, even though each of our testimonies is different.
This got me thinking.

In his essay, ' The Religious Meaning of Comedy,'  Nelvin Vos argues that it is comedy that most accurately embodies the Christian message.  He goes on to say the Comic Plot is U- shaped:  descending in to tragedy and rising again to end happily.  He says the upward movement from misery to happiness is essential to the plot.  The Comic hero assimilates into his society, while in Tragedy, the hero is isolated.   (The Christian Imagination, Essays on Literature and the Arts - Leland Ryken, 1981, Baker Book House.  p.241)

I have been involved with the characters of my fantasy novel for some 12 to 18 months and I thought  What if  each of the characters had that same four part  story also?
It might just work.   Here are some examples:


family of origin
immaculate conception through special mitochondria in his cells. 

becoming friends with Mr. Wickham/
her prejudice
begins when he murders the sand people while trying to rescue his mother

visiting Mr Darcy's estate/being told the truth about Mr Wickham
Luke Skywalker saves him - believes there is good in him

Mr Darcy gives her a second chance which she accepts 
seen with Obi Wan and Yoda

Try them with your own characters.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


For the Christian whose attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ, what does abundant living look like?
It would appear there are two aspects to our living:  physical and spiritual.
Most of us live cluttered lives with an abundance of stuff.  Images of the Tv show 'Hoarders - Buried Alive' come to mind. While we would reject the idea of hoarding to such a degree, what else are we accumulating?
Recent articles in the Brisbane Sunday Mail were related to the idea if simple living.  The article portrayed people who had removed or relinquished anything that did not sustain them on a basic level.  People who chose public transport over owning cars or reduced the amount of clothing they owned.  Even secular society is questioning its consumerism and acquisitiveness.
As Christians our abundant life is lived in the spiritual.  We have access to the abundance of grace, peace and the promises of God through Jesus but from Philippians 2: 6-8,  Jesus himself chose to make Himself nothing, to leave the abundance of heaven for the sake of the Cross and for our salvation.
No matter what our physical lives may be, abundant living is about living in connection with the Spirit of God and I suspect that the opposite of physical abundance is how we are to live our lives abundantly.