Friday, February 28, 2014

Follow Me

Psalm 119:105 - Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

John 21:22 - Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!" 

Dear God, I thank Hou that You are directing me down my own path that is unique and different from the paths of others. And that You pick me up when I fall. I got knocked down - Tom, those leaders at Oak Mountain, a few other things. Please help me. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Thy Word by Amy Grant (YouTube)

Thy word Is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path

When I feel afraid
And think I've lost my way
Still You're there right beside me
Nothing will I fear
As long as You are near
Please be near me to the end

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path

I will not forget
Your love for me and yet
My heart forever is wandering
Jesus be my guide
And hold me to Your side
And I will love You to the end

Nothing will I fear
As long as You are near
Please be near me to the end 

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path
Thy word is a lamp u to my feet
And a light unto my path
And a light unto my path
You're the light unto my path

*Disclaimer: Surprise extra post because surprise the Jesus Calling Kids Devotional bool has February 29. I guess she should have actually subtitled it 366 Devotions for Kids? Nah! It just meant I needed an extra lesson today. 

A Jewel in My Crown

Proverbs 3:11-12 - My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord re proves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

Isaiah 61:10 - I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 61:10 (ICB) - The Lord makes me happy. All that I am rejoices in my God. The Lord has covered me with clothes of salvation. He has covered me with a coat of goodness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding. I am like a bride dressed in jewels.

Luke 6:37-38 - "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you."

John 3:16-17 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did. It send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."

Dear God, thank You for loving me to consider me precious enough to be worthy of salvation through Your Son. But may I say something about the judge not passage? For you see in that I see where the situation with Tom comes to play again. You see I got judged. Wrongly judged. From the beginning. And a lot of that came in after I got diagnosed. And Tom has not forgiven me not has he repented or asked for forgiveness for what he did wrong. So God, if he doesn't ask, I can't offer. And if I have asked, but he has refused...? Soften his heart Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Live This Day

Psalm 73:23 - Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. 

I Corinthians 10:13 - No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 

Dear God, Here is my worry about what the presbytery may have decided. Here is my worry that all hope is lost with regard to entering biblical conflict resolution with Tom or that church. Here is my worry about what will happen to my mom and how she will handle the results of testing for autism. Here is my worry about the new testing I may be having this year to clean the slate in search of the actual and correct diagnoses, tired of the doctors saying I had personality disorders that are too descriptive of autism and actually are autism once you factor in the fact that there are also other signs of autism. Here is my worry that I will never find a truly loving and accepting and inclusive church. Here is my worry about how the book will come along. God, give me peace today. And help me handle the challenges of this day-TODAY. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Breathe on Me by Jennifer Knapp (YouTube)

No temptation seize a man that he can't overcome
Who am I to be fallen?
Crack your back on a slab of wood
Come freedom, nail it down
I come crawling, I come crawling

Come trickle down and save the world 
Two hands that I can't see
Come breathe, come breathe
Come breathe on me
Split-rib water, blood and bone
Come now, come Calvary
Come breathe, come breathe on me

Testimony come now quickly, whisper in my ear
Celebration
Peace at last not far away, empty sheet a borrowed grave
Salvation
Come freedom, come
Come freedom, come

Come trickle down and save the world
Two hands that I can't see
Come breathe, come breathe
Come breathe on me
Split-rib water, blood and bone
Come now, come Calvary
Come breathe, come breath on me

Come freedom, come
Come freedom, come
Come freedom, come

Come trickle down and save the world
Two hands that I can't see
Come breathe, come breathe
Come breathe on me
Split-rib water, blood and bone
Come now, come Calvary
Come breathe, come breathe on me
Come breathe, come breathe on me
Come breathe, come breathe on me


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Future Is My Secret

Deuteronomy 29:29 - The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Psalm 32:8 - I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. 

Dear God, Yes, I do wish I could know what to expect. How things were decided for my case with the presbytery and would proceed. If I will get the true closure or see the biblical restoration. How much money would I get. How things will work out for the immediate financial needs we have. Whether I will actually get the right medical treatment I actually need. It is hard to trust You. It is hard to trust anyone. Thanks to Tom. He proved that even the most trustworthy human is NOT to be trusted. EVER. He proved men are selfish pigs. All because instead of standing up against what he knew was wrong and doing the right thing, he joined in the wrongdoing. God, my autism brain needs tangibles. Tangibles that help me build the trust in You. Okay, God? Move things into biblical conflict resolution. That would be a good next step. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

I Want to Know You by Sonicflood (YouTube)

In the secret
In the quiet place
In the stillness
You are there
In the secret
In the quiet hour I wait only for You
'Cause I want to know You more

I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more

I am reaching for the highest goal
That I might receive the prize
Pressing onward 
Pushing every hindrance aside
'Cause I want to know you more
More and more

I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
More and more, Lord
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face 
I want to know You more

I am reaching for the highest goal
That I might receive the prize
Pressing onward
Pushing every hindrance aside
Out of my way
'Causee I want to know you more
More and more

I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
More and more, Lord
I want to touch You 
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more

I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more

I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
And more
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more

I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
More and more, Lord
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more

I want to know You
I want to know You
I want to know you more
I want to touch, touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more
More, more, more
Yeah

Slow Down!

Colossians 4:2 - Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 - Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Dear God, Thank You for the blessings You have for me. Teach me to slow down. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Monday, February 24, 2014

I Love You

I Corinthians 13:12 - For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

I Corinthians 13:12 (CEV) - Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face. We don't everything, but then we will, just as God completely understands us.

Ephesians 3:14-19 - For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Dear God, Love. I struggle with the concept right now. You see Tom kept saying he loved me as a father might love a child, but then when tensions arose, he abandoned me when I needed him the most. He exacerbated an already bad situation and then he failed to show grace and love. Was Tom patient or kind? No. Was he arrogant or rude? Most definitely. Was Tom irritable or resentful? Beyond. Did he rejoice at wrongdoing or with the truth? He rejoiced over wrongdoing because instead of listening to me or talking with me, he believed lies that he then spread and he had already said that the leadership was wrong yet he did NOTHING about it. Did he bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, or endure all things? NO. Love never ends. If love never ends, and a friend truly loves another friend, then when trouble arises, a true friend doesn't just abandon the other one like he did me. God, I pray that You will lead us into a conversation even if it is under the presbytery and lead us through conflict resolution and restoration. Why? Because of grace and love. God give me wisdom. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Pit of Self-Pity

Psalm 89:15-16 - Blessed are the people who know the vestal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted.

Hebrews 12:1-2 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1b (ICB) - So let us run the race that is before us and never give up.

Dear God, please give me endurance to not give up on the goals or the journey. No more self-pity.  In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Let It Go from Disney's Frozen (YouTube) 

Idina Menzel 

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I'm the queen

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn't keep it in, Heaven knows I tried

Don't let them in, don't let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know
Well, now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
don't care what they're going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway

It's funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can't get to me at all
It's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I'm free

Let it go, let it go
I'm one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You'll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I'll stay
Let the storm rage on

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I'm never going back, the past is in the past

Let it go, let it go
And I'll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway

Demi Lovato

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn my back and slam the door

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation 
And it looks like I'm the queen

The wind is howling like the swirling storm inside
Couldn't keep it in, Heaven knows I tried

Don't let them in, don't let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know
Well, now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn my back and slam the door
And here I stand, and here I'll stay
Let it go, let it go
The cold never bothered me anyway

It's funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can't get to me at all
Up here in the cold thin air I finally can breathe
I know I left a life behind, but I'm too relieved to grieve

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn your back and slam the door
And here I stand, and here I'll stay
Let it go, let it go
The cold never bothered me anyway

Standing frozen in the life I've chosen
You won't find me, the past is so behind me
Buried in the snow

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn my back and slam the door
And here I stand, and here I'll stay
Let it go, let it go
The cold never bothered me anyway, oh

Let it go
Yeah, yeah
Na, na 
Here I'll stay
Let it go, let it go
Ooh
Let it go



Friday, February 14, 2014

The Empty Spot

John 16:24 - Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 - Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Dear God, I have no words today to express myself. Please hear the cry of my heart and please help. Please move things into biblical conflict resolution with Tom. Please move things with my mom so she can go out and get a new job. Please move Congress to pass the ABLE Act for people like me. Please move people to open their eyes to the fact that the ACA is a positive thing that is already helping and will continue to help people in need. Thank You God. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

It's Your Choice

Psalm 141:8 - But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless.

Colossians 2:6-7 - Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:6-7 (ICB) - As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so continue to live in him. Keep your roots deep in him and have your lives built on him. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught. And always be thankful.

I Peter 5:6-11 - Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Dear God, for me trust doesn't get any easier. I am trying to trust You right now with regard to the matter of Tom and what his church did wrong. I am trying to trust that I will hear something from the presbytery and trying to trust that You gave them wisdom to step in. But trust is so hard, especially when Tom reminded me of why I cannot seem to trust anyone. And I want to be thankful to You God, but it is so hard when everything around me seems to not be going quite the way I would hope. And some of those things are turning out to be a lot trickier than what they should be. But God, here is my heart today. Please answer my deepest prayers today. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

God's Not Dead by Newsboys (YouTube)

Let love explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold
To see a revolution somehow

Let love explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold 
To bring a revolution somehow
Now I'm lost in Your freedom
In this world I'll overcome

My God's not dead
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion 
God's not dead 
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

He's roaring He's roaring He's roaring like a lion

Let hope arise and make the darkness hide
My faith is dead I need a resurrection somehow
Now I'm lost in Your freedom
In this world I'll overcome

My God's not dead 
He's surely alive 
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion 
God's not dead 
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

He's roaring He's roaring He's roaring like a lion
He's roaring He's roaring

Let Heaven roar and fire fall
Come shake the ground
With the sound of revival 
(x3)

My God's not dead
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside 
Roaring like a lion
God's not dead 
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion
God's not dead
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion
God's not dead
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

He's roaring He's roaring He's roaring like a lion (x2)
Roaring like a lion

I Will Never Disappoint You

Colossians 1:27 - To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 3:15 - And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Dear God, You say You are different than people like Tom in that You will never break Your promises or disappoint me. You say You will fill me with Your peace and Your love. Please God, You know the desire of my heart is biblical restoration and conflict resolution. Please God, in this period of silence and yielding my heart to You, please fill me not only with Your love and peace, but please move things into conflict resolution with Tom. Stir his heart today. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Break Away

Exodus 3:14 - God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you'"

Habakkuk 3:17-19 - Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no here in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's, he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. 

Dear God, please do shine the light of Your presence on my problems, especially the one regarding Tom and church. All I ask if biblical conflict resolution. Soften his heart. Soften their hearts. In Jesus' Name, Amen! 

Count on Me

Psalm 73:23-26 - Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Zephaniah 3:17 - The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17a - The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.

Dear God, Thank You that You will NEVER let me down. It is hard to trust the truth in that though. Tom said he would never abandon me and would always be my friend. Then in the one moment I needed him the most he became a bully and an abuser. He shook me up. And it hurt. And I am not angry now. Just very sad. Sad that he has refused to do what You said we are to do which is to seek peace and restoration with each other. I have tried. He has refused. And that is what prompted the complaint against him. The complaint that needs the people to have wisdom in order to advise and to intervene before someone else gets hurt. But God, You need to direct them to how to form the committee to help and soften Tom's heart. And I need to somehow trust You to do that. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Mighty to Save by Laura Story (YouTube)

Everyone needs compassion
Love that's never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations

Savior 
He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever 
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

Take me as you find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything that I believe in
Now I surrender
Yes I surrender

Savior 
He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

Shine Your light and let the whole world see
We're singing
For the glory of the risen King
Jesus
Shine Your light and let the whole world see
We're singing
For the glory of the risen King

Savior
He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever 
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

You're my Savior
You can move the mountains
God You are mighty to save
You are mighty to save
Forever
Author of salvation
You rose and conquered the grave
Yes You conquered the grave

You are mighty to save

Quiet You With My Love by Rebecca St. James (YouTube)

Come to me, all who are weary
And I will give you rest
Come to me, all who are weary
And I will give you rest

Lay your head down on my shoulders
Be still my child, rest a while

And I'll quiet you with my love
Rejoice over you with my song, with my song
And I'll quiet you with my love
Rejoice over you with my song, with my song

Come to me, all who are weary
And take my yoke upon you
Come to me, all who are weary
My burden is easy and light

Lay your head down on my shoulders
Be still my child, rest a while

And I'll quiet you with my love
Rejoice over you with my song, with my song
And I'll quiet you with my love
Rejoice over you with my song, with my song

I'll quiet you with my love
Rejoice over you with my song, with my song
And I'll quiet you with my love
Rejoice over you with my song, with my song

And I'll quiet you with my love
Rejoice over you with my song, with my song
And I'll quiet you with my love


A New You

Matthew 28:5-7 - But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you."

II Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Dear God, I know You are working to create a new life in me, but even still, I will always have the autism. That cannot be changed. I will always have struggles and challenges with it. I can only learn so much in a clinical setting though. I have to be allowed to be involved in activities that I would encounter on a regular basis in order to put what I learn about in a clinical setting or a class to the test. But it is hard to do that when the first thing a church does after learning about the autism is immediately jump to excluding me from participation rather than letting me be with others where I can practice what I learn. And that is Oak Mountain did. I was very involved with all kinds of things until that conflict with Bob. I tried to keep things internal and find someone within the church who would know the process for conflict resolution, but then he punished me for doing so. So I had to go externally. With Tom, I tried to use the things I had been taught, but then he refused and he exacerbated things, and then when he acknowledged that what the church did was wrong he did nothing about it and made things even worse until he basically destroyed my spirit and shattered my heart. He unnecessarily hurt me. In some ways, I do believe that he intentionally did things to create conflict with me because he wanted the old "drama" that he uses to describe the meltdowns I have as a result if the autism and the sensory overloads. In other ways, I want to believe the best about him though and believe that he truly did not mean to or want to hurt me, but if that was the case then he had no justification to severe the friendship on Facebook either, he could have kept that intact per EVERY promise he ever made to me and the compromise he agreed to with me in the last words he ever said to me. But because he didn't do that, because he didn't uphold that, because by that point he had been caught in lies, I had no choice to but to file a complaint about him. God, the problem isn't that I will always have the autism no matter how much You are working in me. The problem is that Oak Mountain seems to want to exterminate the autism completely as though the autism were a sin. They want to change me as a person and change my inborn personality that You gave me and make me into something I am not. And because they cannot change what You designed, they want to exclude me. They said it was for my protection, but what they fail to recognize is that by excluding me from those activities that I was involved with, it led to more questions being asked by more people. And if I were to be honest which I am supposed to be, then it would mean that I would have to tell a lot more people about the abuse and the bullying that Mark and Mikki and Bob and Gordon did and even Ken and now Tom. Oh God, please give the presbytery the wisdom to know how best to handle the complaint. And please lead them in putting together the committee that will meet with everyone to see what kind of resolution can occur, if any, or what steps can or need to be taken next. And please soften the heart of Tom to go through conflict resolution and soften the hearts of the leadership at Oak Mountain before they damage another person who has autism or any other kind of special needs, whether it is a child, a teenager, an adult, or the entire family of the individual. In Jesus' Name, Amen!
 
Easter Song by Keith Green (YouTube)

Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
That we can be born again
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
Christ is risen from the dead

The bagel up on the tombstone
Said, He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell His disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world
He has risen, Hallelujah
He's risen, Hallelujah 
He's risen, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
That you can be healed right now
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
Christ, He will reveal it now

The angels, they all surround us
And they are ministering Jesus' power
Quickly now, reach out and receive it
For this could be your glorious hour

Joy to this world
He has risen, Hallelujah 
He's risen, Hallelujah 
He's risen, Hallelujah Hallelujah 

The angel up on the tombstone
Said, He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell His disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world
He has risen, Hallelujah
He's risen, Hallelujah
He's risen, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah



Still and Quiet

Isaiah 30:15 - For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength."

Zechariah 2:13 - Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

Zechariah 2:13 - Be still before the Lord.

II Corinthians 12:9 - But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Dear God, Being still and quiet is hard! Especially when your body is full of energy that wants to get out of you. The harder you try to stifle the energy, the more it wants to just be released. God, I have a worry to release if I am to be still and quiet. You see, there is a matter of the word that Tom used in his letter for my disability court - the same letter that also acknowledges in a sense that he knew that what they were doing was wrong. He used the word "mainstream." The thing is, they did not try to mainstream me after the diagnosis came back. They EXCLUDED me without giving me a chance to try. I love the video I found the other day about in which it indicated that the little girl with autism had learned a lot from being around her neurotypical peers. It reiterated that since we autistics learn best when we are actually with our neurotypical peers, then why would anyone exclude or segregate us? Good point! Especially if it's a church! Shame on any church that dares segregate someone just because the person has a disability! That is not what Jesus would want. That person is just as gifted in his or her own way, just as able to serve God in his or her own way, just as able to worship God in his or her own way, and just as able to be a part of any other activity that anyone else is involved with (although maybe sometimes with assistance in each area)! Woe to the church that dares exclude a single person just because the person has autism and challenges the authority that he or she recognizes is doing something that is blatantly wrong! It is not the person with the autism that is the problem. It is the authority that did the wrong that is the problem. In this case, it is Bob that was the problem. It is Mark that was the problem. It is Ken that was the problem. It is Gordon that was the problem. It is Tom that became the problem because he knew that there were things wrong with the document and that if they would correct it then I would sign it, yet he failed. Tom knew that what the leadership was doing was wrong and that all he needed to do was talk with me and we could have easily resolved things, but he didn't do anything to stop the wrong and then he refused to talk with me or attempt to resolve anything. Then he broke every promise and his compromise which was the last thing he and I agreed to, the last words he spoke to me. He had no justification for it either because I had diligently kept my end of it until after he broke it anyway. I got punished for having one meltdown that he exacerbated! I got punished for having autism. I got punished for the way You created me, God. And You got punished for making me. God, You got punished by them. I saw them put Jesus back on the cross and spit in His face, mocking Him and His words, Your words. Your words that say that if they truly felt I was wrong then they should have engaged in proper and biblical church discipline with me, and had they done so then there could be redemption and rejoicing in it, Your words that say that we are all part of the body and all needed, Your words that say that we are to seek peace and restoration with one another which I have tried but they have refused, Your words that say that as a result of his actions, Tom is not evidencing the marks of a true Christian, not qualified to be a pastor of any kind anywhere anymore, and Your words that would describe Oak Mountain as a church that You would spit back out because it has mistreated someone who is considered to be one of the least of these which would cause them to be sorted out into the goats. Many people seem to think that those passages only apply to individuals, but God, it applies equally to churches as well. Churches are people. And yes, it even applies to government. Though I am not a biblical scholar, far from it, I read of all the government systems that You demanded and commanded to help take care of the least of these. Governments have always made sure their entire kingdoms or countries have had enough food to eat, water to drink, and other basic needs, including healthcare. Because essentially the government consists of people. People who are supposed to take care of each other. Our government has been corrupted by a bad group of wealthy people claiming to be followers of Christ but all the while trying to take away resources to make sure people in need have food and affordable healthcare and resources when they are disabled or retired or veterans. They have become greedy and have shifted to taking care of more people in powerful positions and forgotten the needs of the people and have shifted funds around so that people in need have next tot nothing while people who are not in need get more and more money. And the people get more and more money but do not turn around and use it for what they are supposed to use it on, but only pad their pockets more. Then those same greedy people go back and ask for more money which gets taken away from the people in need again. The people in need are getting beaten up and kicked down in the name of Christ and personal responsibility. Then the people not making the decisions paint this ugly picture of a welfare queen who owns expensive things using tax dollars and buys cigarettes on an EBT card (those cards have many programs on them, they are to cut down on fraud). They don't stop to think that perhaps the picture they paint is not the case MOST of the time. They call everyone on assistance or receiving checks from the government lazy. Government benefits go to many people: veterans who served our country for those people to feel so entitled to judge people receiving checks - the ungrateful jerks right, disabled people who cannot work or can no longer work and not all of the disabilities are visible, the senior citizens who have retired because of old age, the single moms or dads who have lost their husbands or wives to war, the young married couples who have children but only one can work because they cannot afford daycare because one of the kids has special needs that before the ACA was not able to be insured but now can but many of the therapies needed are still not covered by the insurance either because it is not FDA approved and certified or because they consider it investigational or because lawmakers haven't been very inclusive about having those services covered, the mom or dad who escaped an abusive situation or got abandoned and left alone with children. REAL people with REAL problems. How does a person on SNAP have a car? Because either it is used, they had it before needing SNAP, or it doesn't belong to them and they borrowed it from someone. How does a person on SNAP have a cell phone or an iPhone? Because iPhones are not expensive if you get a two year agreement plan, because it was a gift, because it was part of a family plan and family package, because it was purchased during the holiday sales. How does a person on SNAP have Internet? They go to the library or a friend's house with internet or they had it before they ended up needing SNAP. Anymore you need internet to apply for jobs. Since when is the person who is asking these judgmental questions so entitled anyway? People on SNAP are buying steak and lobster! Really? Not unless they get it from the dollar store or have coupons. Most people on SNAP get less than $200 a month. Unless they do serious couponing to make those dollars stretch throughout the whole month, most of them are not buying steak and lobster. And even if they are buying steak and lobster, what business is it of anyone else's what they are eating? What makes that person who is judging so entitled to judge? The sense of entitlement isn't coming from the people on the assistance programs. Chances are many of those people hit rock bottom, asked a church to help, got some help and then got referred to other agencies, peeled away their pride to go to the other agencies, and then got the help they needed when they most needed it. Or the person went to a church for help and got turned away. The only people I see who have entitlement issues are the ones sitting there judging and pointing fingers at the ones who have assistance right now. Many if them are sitting on the internet hours a day mocking and pointing their fingers telling the ones on social programs to get off their lazy butts and get a job. They don't think before they write those hateful and judgmental comments. Many of them claim to be Christians too, then they judge the Christians like me who change political affiliation out of shame and embarrassment that You, God, are being mocked and people are being bullied and abused in Your name. Humanity. What ever happened to it God? Compassion for our fellow humans. Respect for our fellow humans. No, President Obama is not Muslim and even if he was, what does it matter when You, God, ultimately appointed him to be the president? And no, he isn't perfect, no man is. And no, he is not the antichrist. Many presidents have been labelled as such. God, I am glad You listen to what I have to say. I am glad that You care about what I have to say and about what I think. Now it is time for me to take care of some chores then get still and quiet while I finish a book so that I can later be still and quiet absorbed in Your words. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Speak Life by TobyMac (YouTube)

Some days, life feels perfect
Other days it just ain't workin'
The good, the bad, the right, the wrong
And everything in between

Yo it's crazy, amazing
We can turn a heart through the words we say
Mountains crumble with every syllable
Hope can live or die

So speak life, speak life
To the deadest darkest night
Speak life, speak life
When the sun won't shine and you don"to know why
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope
You speak love, you speak...
You speak life (oh oh oh oh oh oh) You speak life (oh oh oh oh oh oh)

Some days the tongue gets twisted
Other days my thoughts just fall apart
I do, I don't, I will, I won't
It's like I'm drowning in the deep

Well it's crazy to imagine
Words from our lips as the arms of compassion
Mountains crumble with every syllable 
Hope can live or die

So speak life, speak life
To the deadest darkest night
Speak life, speak life
When the sun won't shine and you don't know why
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope
You speak love, you speak...
You speak life (oh oh oh oh oh oh) You speak life (oh oh oh oh oh oh)

Lift your head a little higher
Spread the love like fire
Hope will fall like rain
When you speak life with the words you say

Raise your thoughts a little higher
Use your words to inspire
Joy will fall like rain
When you speak life with the things you say

Lift your head a little higher
Spread the love like fire
Hope will fall like rain
When you speak life with the words you say

So speak life, speak life
To the deadest darkest night
Speak life, speak life
When the sun won't shine and you don't know why
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope
You speak love, you speak...
You speak life (oh oh oh oh oh oh) You speak life (oh oh oh oh oh oh)

You speak life (oh oh oh oh oh oh) You speak life (oh oh oh oh oh oh)

Some days life feels perfect

Be Still and Know by Rebecca St. James (YouTube)

Alone in the valley
I cried for You to fill me with
Your peace
So when the lightning strikes
Thunder rolls around me
Still I live in peace
You ask that I...

Be still and know 
You are God
Be still and know
You are God
You are God...

When the fires rage
When the storm surrounds me
Still I live in peace
Though the mountains fall
Crash into the ocean 
Still I live in peace
You ask that I...

Be still and know
You are God
Be still and know
You are God

You ask that I...

Be still and know
You are God
Be still and know 
You are God

You are God...

Lead me through the valley
Lead me by the streams
Restore me and draw me to You God

To You I lift my soul
To You who makes me whole
Gently You hold me close to You
Oooh...close to You...ooohh...

Be still and know
You are God
Be still and know
You are God
Be still and know 
You are God
Be still and know
You are God

Be still and know
You are God
Be still and know
You are God

You are God...

You're near me
You love me
You hold me
You reach me
You still me
You move me
You draw me to You God
You're near me
You love me
You hold me
You reach me
You still me
You move me
You draw me to You God

You are God...
You are God...

(You are God...
You are God...)

You still me, You draw me to You

(You are God...
You are God...)

When the fires rages, still I live in peace

You are God...





I Am Your Shepherd

Psalm 23:1-6 - A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Luke 1:37 - For nothing will be impossible with God.

Ephesians 3:20-21 - Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Dear God, You are the only good and true shepherd. Tom used being a shepherd as an excuse to hurt me. He did not act like a shepherd in that moment. He knew I was hurting, yet instead of taking care of the hurt sheep, he inflicted further damage. A good and true shepherd will also abandon the entire flock to go after the one that is lost knowing that when he brings that ONE back to the flock that all of heaven will rejoice more over that one than all the others who were never lost. God, I want to do the right thing and seek peace and restoration in this, but I need You to stir him. I need You to stir them. I need You to awaken their hearts and minds to the reality that their approach is not helpful to anyone and lacks the grace they so love to preach about all the time. But today, most of all, I need You to stir in my mom to move her to the point emotionally where she can be more proactive about getting a new job. And today, I also need Your healing touch. My throat pain has gotten even worse. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Be Bold!

Isaiah 41:11-13 - Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you." 

Isaiah 41:13 (ICB) - I am the Lord your God. I am holding your right hand. And I tell you, "Don't be afraid. I will help you."

Hebrews 12:1-2 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Dear God, You said You would be right there with me no matter what comes my way. In these passages I see that You will in fact somehow work things out, though maybe not the way anyone expects, with regard to Tom Patton and those other bullies from his church (Gordon, Mark, Mikki, and Ken). I know that it means the presbytery has to decide on its approach to things as well, but if You already know how to handle the situation, then I will have to put aside my worry and my fear like You ask of me and trust that they have wisdom enough to pull a committee together to help with the resolution no matter what the resolution may look like in the end. Ultimately, my heart desires to show the grace that I was taught about, though never given by them at that church because true grace wouldn't exclude people from any aspect of any activity of the church as long as the activity is age-appropriate and gender-appropriate and true grace especially would never grab onto a person's diagnosis of autism and use it as an excuse to exclude the person - that's outright discrimination anyway. But alas, grace prevails and I want to give them one more chance, it just cannot be under their terms and conditions the way they want to insist. It is I, who is in control, well, technically You are in control, but You put the reins in my hand in how to best approach things now. And You are asking me to keep my eyes on the prize the whole way through. The prize in this particular case is full restoration with Tom (including Facebook, which he had no justification to violate his compromise or promises regarding) and resolution and restoration with his church where my TRUE friends really are because the fact is that my TRUE friends loved me before my diagnosis and still love me and still have not found justification for the church leadership to abuse and bully and mistreat and exclude me the way it has. Lord, give me strength facing the next few days between now and when the presbytery meets. Give me strength for whatever decision they make and wisdom to know what to do from that point. May it be a favorable decision though that moves forward into a conflict resolution process since that is the very thing You command us to do to start with (II Corinthians 13:11 and Romans 12:9-21). Oh, and God, I have three more requests if that is okay? 1. For the letter to make the appointment regarding the exact amount of assistance to come soon (attorney's letter said within 30-45 days). You brought me through a long and strenuous process. 2. Physical healing. My throat feels really sore and achy, considerably more so than yesterday. 3. Mom to get out of her funk and start the process of looking for a new job rather than just sitting at home complaining about having to save every penny we can because we have less money now and have all the bills coming in that have to be taken care of. It sucks that she got fired over a misunderstanding and that the supervisor was not more clear about her instructions or the question posed to her more clear because of definitions that even I would have probably said the same thing. No she did not take files home, but she took folders home that would be able to make files. She was handed the things at the very last minute as the supervisors were rushing them out the door because of the weather that was already deteriorating. A folder is not a file until there is a label on it and information in it. They should have been more specific about their question. She did not lie. She answered the question honestly based on her understanding of it. And as honest as I am (brutally honest), I would have answered the same way. Because the difference in meaning is very sharp. Now God, I have a thank You, and although some people might disagree, I know that it is within Your will because ultimately, it is You who appoints all authority under heaven, but thank You for the Affordable Care Act. It may be confusing as heck right now, but it is a good and a right step forward in this country. It removes illegal discrimination by insurance companies which now lets the people who most need insurance the insurance and the key to access the same affordable care that others have enjoyed for so long (the Americans with Disabilities Act says that covered individuals have that right, but when an insurance company is allowed to charge them more or deny them or drop them, they are acting in violation of that law). Some people will find every reason they can to complain: they don't like the president because he is of a different color, they don't like him because he is so progressive thinking, they don't like him because he's "socialist" or "communist" (oh, please, if he is socialist by the way they describe him because he wants to help the poor and the sick rather than the rich and the healthy, then he is doing what Jesus would do and says everyone is to do according to Matthew 25:31-46 and a whole lot better than Tom's church which failed to exercise grace with me and excluded me because I have autism; and if he was a communist, then the people running around bad-mouthing him or the laws being made right now would be in jail; and if he was a dictator, they would be beheaded). They have even assumed that the president is a Muslim (he has said repeatedly that he is not and why would his religion matter anyway since Kennedy was a Catholic). In Romans 13:1-7, You are clear what the Christian duty to government is. Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, I read about how the government takes care of the needs of the people. To hear Christians in particular bad-mouthing the president, the ACA, and oh yeah, taxes (I will never see a penny of my tax dollars because people are getting assistance and they are all just lazy moochers (yeah, great, so the veteran who served this country for you to be an ungrateful pig is lazy, and the elderly who worked all their lives and earned their retirement is just lazy, and the disabled person who can no longer work and can barely function outside the home is just lazy, and the hard working mom made single by war or some other circumstance is just lazy, or the couple who has one working and the other serving as a caregiver to the children who have disabilities is just lazy), or the church should be taking care of these people not the government (by the way, those people need not leave their houses anymore because tax dollars are used for the roads, the schools, the police and fire departments as well as social programs designed to help people whom are often even referred to them by churches!)), but to hear so-called Christians spewing these things makes me angry. Oh, God, give me the courage and the strength to not back down where not backing down is required and the wisdom to know when backing down is necessary. Give me the grace to be able to show to those who may not even deserve it (Tom and his church), so that if nothing else, they see You and not me shining through. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

I Give You Peace

John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 20:19-23 - On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld."

Dear God, I wish I could feel Your peace more. But it aggravates me that Tom acted like a heartless jerk. It aggravates me that he knew that what that church was doing with regard to me was wrong yet allowed to happen and then joined in. It aggravates me that he basically lied about being my friend and caring so much for me and wanting what was best. It aggravates me that he became a bully and an abuser in that one moment when grace was most needed. It aggravates me that he and that church are unwilling to resolve the conflict. It aggravates me that Tom, in that one action and decision, failed to evidence the marks of a true Christian. It aggravates me that because of his own hard-hearted, ungracious act of unforgiveness and abuse that I had to file a complaint about what he did wrong. Seek peace and aim for restoration. That is what You tell us to do if we are Christians. God, as You know, the weather here has been wild, so the presbytery had to move its meeting. I got told that it was great that I wanted to seek resolution though no matter what. That's all I ever wanted to do. But to have resolution, both sides have to be willing to come together and redraw the lines. And to put it simply, Tom has refused because I am pretty sure he got bullied and the church has refused because they still want me to sign that document that I already said is no longer even valid just based on the one fact that they violated their own terms. Not to mention that what their document is is outright discrimination. Not restorative. Not full of the grace they talk so much about at that church. It evidences the abuse I was put through by two-thirds of the care team. It evidences the abuse that Tom was informed of but allowed to happen anyway. It subjects me to continued abuse. And Tom knew and knows it is wrong. He even wrote that. Twice. It saddens me. A lot. And in that I do not feel peace. I feel unrest. I feel anger. God, Tom and these men are not able to withhold forgiveness like the disciples. They can try, but I know You forgive me because I know You know why things happened and You know that it was simply an autistic meltdown caused by a lot of emotional stress, a lot of which was caused by Tom himself. But God, I did ask them for forgiveness and to evidence forgiveness and they have failed. I asked Tom to evidence forgiveness and readiness to be forgiven, but he has failed. He is unrepentant and therefore unforgivable. For a person cannot receive forgiveness unless they repent and ask for it. Oh dear God, how much I long for Your peace. Unresolved conflict, unrest because my mom has lost her job and sadly has done nothing toward making necessary phone calls to get another one, and now another wait regarding the disability matters. It is hard to feel at peace in the middle of all of that going on! So here I am giving You what is on my heart and mind. Please give me some peace today. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Your Thoughts Are Precious to Me

Psalm 37:4 - Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Matthew 1:23 - "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel."

Dear God, Thank You God that the only thing that really matters or should really matter is what You think of me. You know my heart, my mind, my soul, and my spirit. And maybe that is why Tom screwed up the way he did. Fix my mind on You and not what the media or anyone else says I need to be, wear, or have. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dark Days

John 1:4-5 - In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Hebrews 12:3 - Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Dear God, I am going through some dark days right now: Mom needing a job very soon; unresolved conflict with Tom; the wait that comes after the SSA decision; the anxiety of not knowing whether the presbytery will do anything to help even though I know in my heart that they cannot simply overlook things either because it is a very serious matter that was brought to their attention. But in all the darkness I am going through, I see a glimmer of light: The decision came from the SSA. Oh God, please help me see Your light. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Monday, February 10, 2014

The Ultimate Time Manager

Psalm 32:8 - I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Psalm 32:8 - I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.

Luke 10:41-42 - But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

Dear God, So You are the ultimate time manager. And I need to relax about some of the things that I think deserve and even devour my time. But help me to strike a healthy balance. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Treasure Hunt

Psalm 27:8 - You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to you, "Your face, LORD, do I seek."

Isaiah 12:2 - "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation."

II Corinthians 4:7 - But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

Dear God, Sometimes I wish I could already have the treasure of heaven. This world hurts so much. Tom, my mom facing joblessness because of a misunderstanding, no church wanting me because of the autism and because they misunderstand me but refuse to try to work through things and instead abuse me and bully me, financial worries, health concerns, government messing around with benefits programs and trying to steal from one social program to give to another instead of cutting back on unnecessary localized spending that has no national benefit, republicans trying to hold the country hostage to their demands so they will do their jobs, and the list could go on. I am still looking for the treasures or blessings. Conflict resolution with Tom and maybe even with his church, mom to get a new job quickly (I have pretty much been assumed to be unemployable now which is something I will now be working hard at dispelling), a month with no infections of any kind, a financial miracle, and this list could go on and on as well. God, thank You for sending Jesus so I will have the greatest treasure in heaven one day. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


I Will Lift You Up

Matthew 14:28-32 - And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

Ephesians 2:4-7 - But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 

Dear God, I am in doubt that You are bigger than all of my problems. I am in unrest because of my mom needing a new job again and soon. I am in turmoil because of the still unresolved conflict with Tom Patton. I am in uncertainty because I don't know of the presbytery will even do the right thing in that and form the committee that can help in some fashion. But You said You will reach out and grab my hand. So God, here is my hand. Please take hold of it. And don't let go. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Don't Be Distracted

Psalm 42:11 - Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Dear God, All I ask today is that You prepare the hearts of the people at presbytery who will be determining what needs to be done with regard to Tom Patton and that church. It really does make me sad that he willfully ignore the fact that I was being bullied and abused. And it hurts more that he became a bully and an abuser. It hurts that he believed and spread lies about me. It makes me angry that he has been allowed to just get away with it. It makes me sad that he refuses to seek peace and restoration which reflects on his character more than anything else. If the marks of a true Christian include those two key things, then he is not a Christian and can no longer serve in his capacity. As sad it may make me feel, it is the reality. God, I want to believe that You will work all this out for the good, but it is hard. Tom always said he had my best interest in mind and at heart yet when the time came where that was most needed to be proven and for the most grace to be exercised, he failed miserably. I have been told that if an offense is minor enough to try to overlook it, but what Tom did is nothing minor and it cannot be overlooked and should not be overlooked either. He has to be called under accountability for what he did. They have to be called under accountability for what they did. And I am hoping and praying and struggling to trust that You will make sure they are brought under accountability. That is what would be good, not just for me, but for everyone. Because sadly, it turns out that I really am not the only one who has been hurt or bullied or abused or neglected or adversely impacted by their actions. Many people have been. And sadly, those people, like me, have been accused of many things and been made out to be the sole offender and the bad person when that simply isn't true at all. They have bullies in their midst and those bullies have corrupted them, and a corrupt church is not a church at all. Apparently You do not take kindly to corrupt churches either. But today, I am going to try to refocus and exchange my anxiety for Your peace and Your comfort, okay, God? In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Your Love Never Fails by Newsboys (YouTube)

Nothing can separate
Even if I run away
Your love never fails
I know I still make mistakes
You have new mercy for me everyday
Cause your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water's deep
But I'm not alone here in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails
The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I'd reach the other side
But Your love never fails

You make all things work together for my good
You make all things work together for my good




Rest

Matthew 11:28-29 - Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

I Timothy 2:8 - I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling....

Dear God, Oh howdy! How right You are that when others around me are doing all kinds of wrong, like Tom did, while I am trying to do the right thing or even help them to do the right thing, that it can lead to being weary! God, please help that presbytery to know how to step up and intervene. Okay? Thank. You God. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Come to Me by Jamie-Grace (YouTube)

I had a dream I was standing on the shore
Two feet planted in the sand
Soakin' up Your glory yeah
Saw you walkin' from a distance
Without a hint of resistance
You had Your arms open
And a warmth in Your eyes
You took my hand and You whispered

Come to me when
You're weary and
I'll give you hope when you're hurtin'
I'll give you rest from your burden
Come to me when
You're weary and
I'll give you hope when you're hurtin'
I'll give you rest from your burden now

I woke up to the weight of the world 
Right back into reality
And all that's goin' wrong
'Cause in the midst of this chaotic life
I try to find peace of mind
But You've been there all along
And even now I hear You whisper

Come to me when
You're weary and
I'll give you hope when you're hurtin'
I'll give you rest from your burden
Come to me when
You're weary and
I'll give you hope when you're hurtin'
I'll give you rest from your burden

I feel the weight, I feel the weight is slowly liftin'
As you close the distance
And I know it's gonna be okay when I hear You say

Come to me when
You're weary and
I'll give you hope when you're hurtin'
Oo I'm gonna carry your burden
Come to me when
You're weary and
I'll give you hope when you're hurtin'
I'll give you rest from your burden now

The weight is lifted now


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Run to Me

Psalm 46:1-3 - God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at it's swelling. Selah

Romans 8:6 - to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 

Dear God, I would love to peace right now, but things are so hard and so confusing. The leadership of Oak Mountain still want me to sign agreement to continued bullying and abuse. They want me to sign it before they will make any changes. But the problem is that with all that has happened, they would have to make the changes before I could sign anything. Why? 1. They violated it. But beyond that, there are other things. 2. Three of six of their activities that they listed no longer exist. As to the remaining three, well, that is where they violated it. 3. Tom Patton said he had an issue with women's ministry being restricted because it was something I consistently did well with. He's right. And they need to unrestricted it as he had requested. 4. Sunday school was never addressed. This would leave too much room for error. And it could lead to unnecessary hurt. 5. They have a section called permanent exclusions which should never exist in a church that claims to practice grace. NOT ever. Also, translation of that is discrimination. Because one of the activities was declared as off limits to restriction if it is open to all people even nonmembers. And that is the small group or LIFE group. They flat out targeted the autism with that one. And even though the therapist said I was ready, they still refused. That is the thing that caused a conflict - the therapist said they were paying her but refusing to take any of her suggestions. Yes, I had a conflict with two people. One of which just absolutely finds me antagonistic (which is actually quite funny because she finds compliments to be antagonistic, and from what I have been told repeatedly, I am too sweet or too kind). She found me antagonistic if I said anything, if I didn't say anything, if I smiled, if I frowned, it just didn't matter, she found me antagonistic. Other than that, I actually did great with it. Surely they could find alternatives or let me just go with a friend so I can just learn. Excluding me will never teach me anything though. 6. Absolutely got hounded by people who wanted me back on kiosk. And like most things, I did great with it when teamed up with other people. Instead of excluding me, they should just add to those things they deem as restricted. 7. Wording. The way the thing is worded is offensive. Period. Instead of "restricted," they could say that these activities are ones that we know that Susan can do her best with when she is on a team or with a buddy. 8. I don't initiate phone calls. Not unless it's an emergency or I need something (appointment, application, etc.). Come to think of it, most of us on the spectrum do not initiate phone calls. So as far as that one goes, a simple modification allowing one e-mail per week would be better and reasonable. 9. Tom Patton. Ah! The biggest clincher at this point. He and I would have to go through biblical conflict resolution and restoration, including Facebook (more for logistical reasons than anything now). Yep. 10. Mikki O'Neil. She's great as far as being a resource should conflict arise, if she can be found. And that is great to have resources. They also need an autism expert as a resource or an advocate as a resource. But she shifted to one on one Bible study with me and I felt it inappropriate because there was tension with her (as of yet to be resolved on my end though I would love to resolve it), but the shift created a conflict of interest for me. If they want me to do such a study like that, they really would be wisest to choose another female for me to that with. I essentially did bring these issues up many times. But they ignored me. They said sign it, them we'll address the issues. No sir. I cannot. It is not ironclad and it is full of missing information. If anyone anywhere handed me something like that to sign, I would do the same thing until it was corrected. My requests are not unreasonable. But they accuse me of trying to negotiate and claim it is non-negotiable. Baloney sandwiches. The ONLY thing in this world that is non-negotiable is the Bible! And according to that Bible, Tom should have talked with me and aimed for restoration and sought peace with me. Those two things are also two of many marks of a true Christian which would mean that since Tom refuses to seek peace and restoration with me that he cannot be a true Christian which would then me that he cannot be a pastor, an elder, or a deacon either. Also, church discipline. Well, the expectation from both the church membership vows and the document is that if I was truly out of bounds then they were supposed to engage in church discipline, but they didn't. And that is non-negotiable according to the Bible. According to what. Tom taught in theology, the discipline process can be very redemptive. Yeah, it can, but what it brings to mind is why would they refuse to do that with me? Discrimination. Abuse. Bullying. Hatred. Disobedience to God. That's got to be it. They want to twist the Bible to suit themselves. Surely that's it. And in their twisted Bible, everyone who has autism, including and especially me, doesn't deserve grace or to go to Heaven. Sure. That must be the reason. After all, for six months I tried to explain to Tom that they kept punishing me for having autism, and he kept brushing it off. He knew about the abuse yet he let it happen! Oh and Mark Guzzo only likes to destroy any relationship I have with any pastor because he is a jealous person who also bullied me because of the autism. Guess what? God also says whatever you do to any of the least of these, you also do it Me. Jesus got abused and bullied and excluded at Oak Mountain right along with me. And it really isn't right. Look, I don't know if this post will help or not, but maybe it will because if the right person sees it they can go back to the right people about it. But in all fairness and honesty, I have only ever asked that they make the corrections listed above to their document. That is all they have to do for me to sign it. That is all they ever had to do. And no, it cannot be sign it then we'll make the corrections. It has to be that they make the corrections and that I see they made the corrections for me to sign it. Sheesh! Even the government wouldn't force someone to sign something if the person finds fault with it and points it out. They would make the corrections necessary and them re-present it for a signature. A bank, a car dealership, a realtor, a library, a doctor, etc. ALL do just that. I am not trying to negotiate. I am trying to help them make things ironclad and not have room for any error or misinterpretation. But that is where and why I feel that every church leader should be required to attend lectures on autism and other special needs before being allowed to go I to that position. Because if they were, there would be less people getting abused and bullied like me and everyone that the same church abused and bullied before me. And if they truly believe in grace, they would take my suggestions seriously and honor them. As it stands now, there would be no time to with do any complaints. And maybe that is meant to be. If the presbytery does do something, then hopefully things can finally be resolved at that point. Well, either resolved or all the parties could face discipline. But this post is my own outreach of grace. Because they truly get one more chance to make it right. So God, I now got this off my chest. Please do what You know needs to be done. I know Tom could lose his job because of the whole mess though. But the basis of the complaint was the fact that he knew what the others were doing was wrong yet he did nothing to help or to fix it or to stop it which makes him just as guilty of doing what he acknowledged was wrong. And that cannot be overlooked. And I either need closure or resolution. So God, you want me to trade my worries for Your peace? Here you go. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

No More Comparisons

Numbers 6:24-26 - The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Psalm 13:5 - But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

Psalm 29:11 - May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Dear God, Sometimes I feel inadequate because I have autism. And at these times, I realize I am just comparing myself to others. I am sorry for that. But God, I come to You today because something was stated that frustrates me. You see, God, yet again, I am being blamed for everything that happened at Oak Mountain. They claim I am out of bounds or was out of bounds. They claim I lack respect for accountability. The truth? If I was out of bounds, then so was Tom Patton. But according to what BOTH of us were told if I decided to depart from Oak Mountain, then it was up to Tom to decide of he wanted to pursue the friendship that he chose to pursue with me. And as far as that goes, I repeatedly asked Tom for clear cut boundaries but he refused saying that that wasn't how friendship works. Also, it highlights the fact that IF they truly felt that I was out of bounds, then according to their own terms, their church session must conduct official church discipline. Yet they failed to do that. Now I am being told after many months that they would possibly be willing to reconsider me if I earn their trust. What they seem to fail to understand is that trust goes both ways. Although I am willing, and have expressed this many times, to subject myself to some boundaries and restrictions, I cannot subject myself to their old document. It wasn't even an agreement based on the true definition of an agreement. God, why now? After all this time trying to ask them to enter into a peacemaking process, why now would they even express the remote possibility of doing so? They had three months. Almost four. Although I would like to be able to demonstrate grace to them, it comes with limits. As I expressed in return, I am willing to enter into peacemaking with them but only after Tom Patton and I go through the first step of that process. Then, and only then, can I consider it with their church as a whole. But God, my fear is that even if they are willing to enter into the process that I cannot withdraw the complaint due to time constraints. And I have hesitancy. They violated my trust when that care team chose to exclude me because I have autism and "autistics fill-in-the-blank and therefore fill-in-the-blank might happen and fill-in-the-blank." I heard nothing but those kinds of hurtful and hateful things for SIX months and Tom Patton dismissed my frustration about hearing those remarks as me misunderstanding them. Rather than doing something to help, he let them abuse me and bully me. I didn't just leave them out of frustration about the process which even he wrote was mishandled and misconducted. It was partly due to frustration but also partly due to the fact that it was plain and simply abusive treatment. He had the chance to correct that in October, but he didn't do it. Instead, while he was saying that what Oak Mountain did was wrong, he stood back and let it happen and then he joined in. And then he broke every promise he ever made to me and broke his compromise regarding Facebook (and promises too). His own actions were what crushed me. Because I trusted him. They sit there telling others that I have to earn their trust back? What about them earning my trust back? Why do they not understand the very things they expect of me also applies to them?!? My expectation of them was that if they truly found me to be out of bounds then they would do official church discipline. But they didn't! How can I respect that? I don't have a problem with accountability except when that so-called accountability system is violated by the very people who I am supposed to be accountable to. Matter of fact, I have to share this with all honesty: I have NEVER been fired from any of the jobs I have ever had. I quit one job because they put me on call and it was against company policy. I quit my VA workstudy because I was at a point in school where I couldn't find enough hours to work during the week because of my class schedule. My next job had some strange moments: Was told go pick up the playground balls. No one told me I could use a broom and the dustpan; then a supervisor told me to go run an errand on the clock and I questioned him on it; and bathroom cleaning? Well, I couldn't go in the men's room. I left that third job again due to class schedule. Workstudy two ran out as did all other financial aid except for what Voc Rehab provided. Fifth job: I put in two weeks notice and worked two jobs for two weeks. Sixth job was in my field but I had to leave because I was an honors student and the supervisor stole my byline and kept scheduling meetings when she knew I had class because she was my classmate. Seventh job: contract labor. I found myself being removed the schedule and said I couldn't afford to keep coming in when I knew I was on the schedule the night before but suddenly no where on the schedule when I arrived. I quit. I cannot tolerate conflict, especially unresolved conflict. But I also cannot tolerate when people keep putting ALL the blame on me and never take responsibility for their own actions in things. And it seems that that is what has happened again with Oak Mountain. So now, I am in a position of having to state my own terms, desires, and expectations, and refusal to meet me halfway is unacceptable. It isn't about not respecting accountability or boundaries. It's about respecting God and myself. It's about getting what I deserve as a creation of God. As a human. As a person. And yes, as a person with special needs. As I shot back, if they are willing to enter a peacemaking process with me, I am as well. Matter of fact, if one looked back on the past three months of my posts, they would see that I have expressed nothing but a desire to resolve things. It's too bad I don't know how to attach documents to a blog post or I would be able to allow readers to not only see their old document that they violated and therefore nullified but also my updated, nondiscriminatory, and more solid form of what they drew up. At this point, though, even if they entered into a peacemaking process with me, neither their old document nor my document could be upheld. It would have to be a new document that all vested parties have a say in, that goes through final approval based on law, the Bible, the BCO, research and history. So if they are willing to enter the process, so am I, but they have to understand that trust goes both ways, that the first step is between myself and Tom and cannot have their terms on any part of that, and that all parties have to be involved in the final process. A document drawn up by one person without input from all involved parties is nothing more than bullying and demanding. It is not an agreement. And when Tom expressed his own concerns over it, he had a longer list than I did! The reason I am including my thoughts on this here is because first, it is part of my own process too. You see, I am now on my 35th day of solidly being dug into the word. I am on my 35th prayer log based on my 35th devotional day. And I cannot tell you how many devotionals I am in right now, some of them on that youversion site and a few of which have ended now because they were starters for me, but I am plugged into that much more so than I was when I was at Oak Mountain. I had no choice though. They took away my rights as a person. And even though many people could attest to the fact that they found innocence and expressed frustration at the mistreatment that I have endured, those men hurt me. And Tom unnecessarily hurt me. The hurt that he caused me was the most damaging. But I can also tell You that regardless of what happens, if they enter the peacemaking process with me, starting with him, that depending on what happens with him, it has the most potential for the most beauty to be displayed. And oh how I would long for that to be the case. I have my reservations right now though, and I have just been assured that I am within my rights to have those reservations and to express desire to have someone else in the process. So it is that with You God, I am solidifying my desire to enter a peacemaking process with Tom Patton first, then the leaders of Oak Mountain to include Tom Patton second with representation from the presbytery to ensure that they play by the rules and play fairly. The reason for Tom Patton to be included at every step is that of all of them, he is the only one who ever demonstrated any understanding about autism. And that is important for me and for this process to have any hope of success. God, I do hope that a peacemaking process can begin. Although not on their turf right now. But please open their hearts and their minds to the fact that they too have a responsibility for what they did wrong. And God, even if we enter such a process, please keep reminding me that I am an individual created by You for You and am not to be compared with others or to compare myself with others. They need to listen. I need to listen. And what I have to say may be hard for them, but it is just as important. And God, truthfully, if nothing else, then if all that happens is that Tom and I finally work through our interpersonal conflict, then I will be truly fine with that. Because my reservations about giving Oak Mountain another chance were solidified when they interfered with that relationship with Tom to start with. Strike two. I would certainly hope they don't strike out though. Because every innermost part of me would love for it to work out in a way that is fair to me, to them, and to the people who do love me and have consistently loved me before, during, and after the autism diagnosis came into the picture. Now I finally truly get grace. Thank You God. In Jesus' Name, Amen! 


Saturday, February 1, 2014

I Am a Tower

I am a tower
Standing tall
Standing strong
I offer shelter
I offer a view of the world from up high
I am a tower
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