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!