Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reporting from the Front Lines

(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 7 of Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Therefore we ask, if you feel like it please share in the comments section what you got out of the reading as well. We're sure you'll lift someone's spirit!)

When I saw that the title of Chapter 7 was Standing in the Line of Fire, I knew I’d have no difficulty relating to it. There are so many battles and attacks from the outside and within that we all can relate to in our journey with autism.

Brief recap…

In chapter 7, Stormie describes two different scenarios where we can be attacked by enemy fire. First, this can happen if we are in enemy territory (ie: not living God’s way) or we can be doing what is right in our own territory and be targeted for an attack. Stormie gives us the example of the Israelites being delivered from Egypt, witnessing miracles and wonders as God guided them and fought their battle. She also gives us the example of Jehoshaphat, standing firm in faith, inspiring others to believe that God could save them. Stormie reminds us that we must first conquer our enemy with God’s help in the spiritual realm and that we must draw close to Him and stand firm in our belief in his goodness. Because any opposition we face from the enemy has spiritual power behind it, the battle must first be fought in the spirit before victory will be seen in the flesh. (p.67)

I really liked Jehoshaphat’s declaration to the believers, “If disaster comes upon us-sword, judgement, pestilence or famine-we will stand before this temple in your presence…and cry out to You in our affliction and you will hear and save.” (2 Chronicles 20:9) If I were to re-write this declaration in terms of my personal battle with Matthew’s autism, it would go something like this, “If illness comes upon us- regression, inflammation, yeast flare-up, gastrointestinal upset, behavior problems- we will stand firm in your presence…and cry out to You in our affliction and you will hear and save.

Once the people declared that they were completely dependent on God, He told them “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15) Thanks be to God that we don’t have to win this battle solely on our own strength, intellect and endurance! I think often about the battles that are waged before us regarding autism: battles to get therapies covered by insurance, battles to uncover and expose the root causes of autism, battles of trying to have your child’s needs met within the confines of a public school system, I could go on and on... As soon as we are drawn into thinking about any of these battles, our first and most crucial line of defense is to go straight to God, and allow him to guide our actions. He will line up and empower the key players, and make divine connections on our behalf so that in following His lead, we may triumph over our adversaries. Stormie writes on page 69, “The hardest part about letting God fight your battle is that He sometimes waits until the eleventh hour so you will have no doubt of where the power is coming from.” Isn’t that the truth! This is crucial for us to understand, so we don’t lose hope or give up before God gives us what we need to stand against our opposition.

Much of the misery of being in battle is thinking that we are alone in it…but you can be sure that the Lord will be with you and help you stand against whatever opposes you. (p.69) It’s okay to feel helpless sometimes, that allows us to realize how much we need God’s help and be in a better position to receive his guidance. When we think of how being in a position to need God poises us to receive greater blessing, it doesn’t feel quite as bad.

“Lord, thank you so much for every mother that has been brought across our path through this site. Bless and empower each and every one of them as they face their numerous opponents and go to battle on behalf of their precious children. Help them to remember that You go before them and are willing and able to bear the brunt of each attack. Draw them to you so that they may rest in their Heavenly Father’s goodness and love and be strengthened in You. It is only with Your help that we can have all we need to triumph in our adversity. May we all take comfort in knowing that You are our advocate, defender and strength. We pray this in your name, Lord. Amen.”

3 comments:

Lovesgarlic said...

Thanks for this recap of the book. Honestly, the recaps are sometimes better and more applicable than the book even is. Thanks for writing these as it is much needed encouragement!

We are in the middle of negotiating the yearly IEP for our son. Our parent-friends who have proceeded us (date-wise) have had hard fights to get services. We are praying for favor with the school so that reasonable negotiation could take place. We ourselves are also praying for the wisdom to suggest the services that he needs and the understanding and discernment to contemplate the services the school offers.

I have been feeling very stressed and high strung over this whole thing. I guess I didn't even realize that God would play a role in the actual meeting. That He would go and work for us. Will He really? I think I have been thinking it was just me (and my husband) all alone.

Thanks for the encouragement!
Heather

Jessica said...

Heather, thanks so much for commenting with honesty and for relating this to your own situation.

I do believe that God plays a role in this. I am usually so nervous before any kind of meeting that the only way I can get through is to fully lean on Him to the best of my ability. (Don't laugh, OK laugh if you feel like it!) I sometimes picture Jesus walking in with me just so I don't feel like it's all on me! If that doesn't work for you (wink!)another good thing is to build in extra time for peace and stillness in your days/life, whatever that means for you.

These things make me stressed and high-strung too, and I'm more prone to be irritable, less patient and overwhelmed. Sometimes I don't even realize it until I'm already there. These are enemy forces that are taking advantage of the situation we're in. If we turn to God fully and seek to be in agreement with Him, we can overcome this and shine for our kids.

Also, remember you're not alone, neither without God or other moms. We are in the beginning stages of negotiating what is best for our son too, and praying for the same things right alongside you. There is power in numbers!

One last thing, remember what the Bible says in Romans 8:28: "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. "

Lovesgarlic said...

Jessica,

Thanks for your feedback. This whole autism journey has been such a new page in our walk with God. I can't remember ever having so many back-to-back instances of being completely beyond our ability to fix or control things. Where all we had was praying for God to intervene and then having there be absolutely nothing more WE could do. Maybe that is because our kids are young *ha, ha* and we haven't been seasoned with the teenage years?

I am going to take your advice and picture Jesus there with me. And thanks for the verse too. That does really help encourage me and remind me of the truth!

Heather