Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Border Patrol

(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 10 of The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. 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.)

In Chapter 10, Unexpected Opposition, our Dream Coach speaks to us at the point where we have broken through our Invisible Wall of Fear and have officially decided to take action and leave the Comfort Zone. We find ourselves at the Border and in order to continue we must confront and get past the Border Bullies, or those who oppose the pursuit of our Big Dream. This was one of the most striking and ironic parts of Ordinary's journey for me, the identity and purpose of the Border Bullies.

"Ordinary was speechless and bewildered. He'd heard a rumor about Border Bullies. But he supposed that if it were true, Bullies would be Nobodies he didn't know. He never imagined they'd be some of the Nobodies who knew him best! Now his Mother, Uncle and Best Friend all stood silently before him, blocking his view of the bridge to his Big Dream." (Bruce Wilkinson, page 100)

In church this week I heard the phrase "A prophet is never accepted in his hometown" in the sermon. Now I know why. Our Dream Coach, Bruce Wilkinson gives us several reasons why people who love us and want the best for us can be the most opposed to our greatest ambitions. Sometimes the people who know us can feel like they are losing something that helps them feel secure or have a negative view of success. Sometimes they are afraid that they will lose us (or who they see us as being in relationship to them).

It is hard to believe that anyone would object to the pursuit of what you feel is best or could ultimately be the greatest help to your special needs child. Some of the most convincing Border Bullies I have had to get past include doctors and specialists, educational experts, extended family members and even other mothers. In some cases I was able to get the "Bully" to see and help my cause, others I have had to choose to rise above and press on without them. On page 106, Bruce Wilkinson states "The single biggest reason Border Bullies stop most of us from pursuing our God-given Dream is our fear of man." I have always been a "people pleaser" and it has usually been with great distress that I go against the will of or risk upsetting anyone, let alone an "expert". (Notice the quotation marks there) Although it is still not easy for me, I am able to do it solely because I know that in the end, this is all I can live with. This has made me so much stronger as little by little I learn to trust God and follow where He leads me. Sometimes your greatest trials will yield your greatest blessings. We have to ultimately choose to please God over other people, which is not easy.

Fortunately, in addition to Border Bullies we will also encounter Border Buddies and Border Busters. Border Buddies are the people who love, stand by and support us no matter what. They help us to stay positive and encourage us on our way. Ordinary was able to convince his mother to change from being a Bully to a Buddy, which helped him to get across the Border. I have some very special friends and family members who I rely on when I am struggling to help keep things in perspective. These Border Buddies also include everyone who keeps us in prayer. Prayer Warriors are important in helping us to overcome obstacles as well as work in partnership with God. Border Busters take this a step further. They see your ability to reach your God-given Dream and take steps to help you pursue it. In Ordinary's parable, Champion was his Border Buster. I see my Border Busters as being not only those who actively support me in a concrete way, but also those who have gone before me. Other amazing autism moms who have "been there" and are willing to save me time,effort and even heartache by sharing their knowledge and wisdom. The amazing specialists who actually listen to us and our children and use that information to help us improve their lives. These people are knocking down walls that would keep us from our Big Dreams for our children and helping us to overcome obstacles. Border Busters are people whose help we treasure and never forget. People with amazing testimonies are also Border Busters that bolster our strength and enable us to get past the Borders and Bullies.

In the spirit of growth, it is also important to take the time to carefully listen to what the Border Bullies in our lives are saying. Although some may not have our best interests at heart, there are times when we can learn from constructive criticism. I like how our Dream Coach reminds us that this can be an opportunity to learn something important about ourselves. Sometimes we need to listen to them, and shouldn't proceed until we have convinced them that it is best to do so. Sometimes we just need to hear them out. Bruce Wilkinson advises us to "Listen carefully, asking God for discernment". (p. 110) Once we have discerned what our Dream Giver (God) is leading us to do, we can cross the Border from Familiar (our old life) and into our future.

Bible Verses:

Proverbs 29: 25 "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe."

Psalm 119: 125 "I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes."

Psalm 27: 1 "The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?"

Proverbs 19: 20 "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise."


Chrissy said...

I'm very grateful to count Nicole and Jessica among my Border Busters!

Jessica said...

Thank you Chrissy! I feel exactly the same way about you and Nicole, you've both helped me keep my perspective and stay encouraged many times!

aninont said...

hello amazing moms.
I have been with spectrumspirit each day many times reading it over and over again but I typed a long comment and it disappeared.

I have many thoughts about this part of the study. and would love to comment.

Just wanted to give you many thanks. and please know that your children and you are in my prayers daily.

rochester mom

aninont said...

ok , so my previous comment did not disappear and I have courage now to type more.
When I read this about the border patrol, it was a Aha moment for me, my husband is my biggest border bully.. gosh, we share the same exact dream, how can that be...why are we not in this together... why cant we agree and show the same degree of enthusism when I mention a new supplement or diet or therapy... why why.. and due to this we have become distant.
I love him and know that we both want our son to recover, YES, I now have the courage to use that word, I just dont want my son to get better but with faith in god , my dream of recovering him will happen too.

I was mulling over how we have become so distant that it occured to me that I am his biggest bully too...WOW.. what am I going to do about that?
initially during our early autism disgnosis days, my husband was convinced that changing my sons milk to organic milk would cure the problem, I on the other hand was arguing with him, that we actually need to get rid of the milk completely and we could not see eye to eye. One common dream but two bullies. I obviously was sarcastic and never thought that organic milk would do anything and he never thought that GFCF would do anything, we both fought and the seeds of doubt in our endevour were planted by each of us and guess what , both of our plans failed.

well, who am I to be sarcastic about an idea that he came up with? I should have been a champion and had faith that GOd probably had a plan in this too. this too was going to be part of our journey,

my overall take home point is that, I know what it feels like to be bullied so I am not going to do it to my husband.

If I dont agree with something he does, I am going to pray that he has my sons best intentions in mind and that God is showing him a different path from mine and I pray that his path leads us to our dream.

Hopefully I can use this from now on to appreciate the love he has for our son and understand the pain he is going through with autism and the border bully ie me adding to it.

sorry for the long post.
rochester mommy

Jessica said...

Hello Rochester Mom! I am one responsible for the commenting difficulties and apologize for that. I changed the background and it resulted in not being able to leave a comment. Thankfully Chrissy was able to fix it!

We would LOVE to hear your thoughts when you get a chance. Thank you so much for your prayers. We are very happy to have you & keep you and your family in prayer also.

Nicole Collins said...

I have also found myself being a Border Bully as well. I didn't realize I was doing this until we got to this chapter. I not only have done this to my husband but to my friends. Even close friends who has children on the spectrum. I have done this because of my fear of being left behind and not being able to do the same thing or too scared to try something new. I am so thankful for this chapter because it showed me who I was being a Border Bully with instead of a Border Buster!
I think we're all guilty of this. I believe that Bruce Wilkinson wanted to show us all that we have all at some point been Border Bullies. (See page 102 & 103.) This part of the chapter spoke volumes to me. It's now my job to realize the situations that I'm currently doing and have done this to help people with their dreams instead helping my Comfort Zone.
Rochester Mom, I know that alot of us have had or currently have marital struggles because of the stress we under go daily with autism. The statistics are high for marriages who have a child on the spectrum to end in divorce. (I want to say it's like 80%. Not too sure. But this is what I've heard.) This is Satan trying to get a strong hold on us. He knows when we're at our weakest and where he can attack us the hardest. He's very tricky at it too but our God is so much more stronger and will help us through this as well!
I'm really enjoying all of the comments cause it's keeping me plugged in all week long!

Jessica said...

These are both really good point!

Rochester Mom- Thanks for your honesty. Bruce Wilkinson addresses this on page 110:

"If it's a spouse who doesn't agree with your Big Dream, especially over the long term, take it as a caution from God. Before going forward, a husband and wife should be united about any Big Dream that will significantly affect the course of their lives."

This is very tough, I've been in the situation where we've been at odds over how to proceed and also where we're in agreement. In all things, we have to discern carefully from God. I'm learning this, especially after seeing how much more difficult an intervention is when I try to "force" it as opposed to when I do it with God leading the way. When God leads, doors open and things work better. Taking the time to discern and pray for guidance helps to make some space for spouses to come to an agreement.

I second what Nicole said about the incredible stress our marriages are under, and I have heard the 80% statistic too.

I have come to a point where treating and recovering from autism has consumed virtually all of me and I had to take a step back and refocus on the fact that I'm also a wife. Taking time to prioritize our marriage and invite God to work in this area is making for much happier family time all around. I am also doing a women's/wives study using the book "Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs with a good friend (who is an amazing autism mom) at her church.

Nicole- you are so right that we can be Border Bullies to other people. I am going to be so much more mindful of this, especially with autism moms. I have one in particular whose son is in Matthew's class who is in the early stages of figuring out what she is comfortable with trying and I need to take great care not to overwhelm or intimidate her.

aninont said...

Hello moms, I am being attacked by the devil. I am at work and fighting hard to pray. Here is what happened.
I met an old aquaintence, who was trying to have babies the last time I met her and now she has two beautiful boys, and and she shared pictures of them with me. I tried to fake happiness. she asked me about mine and I said they are great etc.
Her two babies are very young and I had the exact same happiness. God had given me the same bliss to experience but suddenly it hit me that i dont feel that way anymore.The light is gone from my baby's eyes. they dont play anymore together since he does not know how to play...

I am praying hard for God to help me not just enjoy what he has given me so far but also enjoy other people's happiness.

I am grieving for the past that I have lost, but I guess, I should be happy and wait for Pay day.. right. My faith is going to get us through this and get back all that is lost.

As joyce meyer says.. double for your trouble

Thanks for listening.

Rochester mom

Jessica said...

I do understand this because I have been there too. It is times like this that the devil uses the pain of our loss as a way to get to us and get us off track. Like any loss, the pain is never completely gone.

It takes a great deal of faith and perspective to believe that God has a good plan for us, regardless of what we see in front of us or how our lives "measure up" to others. This is also a constant learning curve.

I believe that God uses these experiences become better in the process of working through pain toward healing. There are character traits that will be worked into us so that we will be stronger and will not fall prey to these attacks. These experiences are very painful and difficult but can be used to make us more like God.

When I am tempted to dwell on what was lost, this verse helps me.

Joel 2: 25-26 (NIV):

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you.

You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed."

This helps me to remember that God has a good plan for my life and my child, and also to trust that He is doing a good work, even when I can't see it.

Jeremiah 29: 11-12
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. "

Romans 8:28
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,who have been called according to his purpose."

I will be praying for you.

aninont said...

thank you very very much. I have prayed continually for the past hour. I kept repeating, God loves me. and has good things in store for me.
I am actually looking forward to leaving work to go play with the kids. During my prayer, my son;s beautiful face and giggles resonated in my ears and I feel better.

Praise the lord.
Prayers for you too.

Many thanks for taking the time to reply to me.

Rochester MOM