Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pitiful or Powerful...You Can't Be Both!

(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 22, My life is so miserable; I feel sorry for myself because my life is so wretched!, Wilderness Mentality #7 of Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question and/or scripture in the comment section below this post. Let's join together and fight this battle.)

I'm going to approach this a little differently this week. I'm going to start with a quote from Joyce Meyer in this chapter that had a big impact on me and then share about it.

It is vitally important to understand that we cannot entertain demons of self-pity and also walk in the power of God! (Joyce Meyer, p. 247)

I have to admit, it is very easy for me to fall into self-pity. The minute someone asks me how I am, and how Matthew is doing, I have to make a quick decision. Do I speak words about our situation that allow God's power to shine through, or do I go on about my hardships so that person feels bad for me? I'm not saying that we have to be dishonest and just say everything is great all the time. But for me, if I allow myself to dwell on the difficulties I feel so much worse about our situation, and physically drained. The truth is, raising a child with autism is seemingly an impossibly difficult task. Most people who do not have direct experience can't fathom all that our lives entail. But here's the thing: it is like that in any situation you are not acquainted with. This brings me to this next point:

Self-pity is idolatry-turning in on ourselves, concentrating on us and our feelings. It makes us only aware of our own selves and our own needs and concerns-and that is certainly a narrow-minded way to live. (Joyce Meyer, p. 248)

Joyce suggests a great strategy when we feel self-pity tugging at us. She recommends that we get ourselves off of our mind and reach out to someone else. There are lots of other moms in situations that are similar and also moms with challenges that we know nothing about. It means alot when someone lends a hand in support or a word of encouragement. It really matters when someone takes the time to find out how you are feeling and how you can be helped. You are sowing a beautiful seed when you take the time to reach out to someone else, no matter how you are moved to do so. Joyce also points out that overindulgent self-love and self-pity have alot in common. We are supposed to love and be loved by God and others (including ourselves) in a healthy and balanced way. If we get out of balance and focus exclusively on ourselves, it leads to selfishness and self-centeredness. We are supposed to feel honest compassion for those around us who are suffering, and be moved to help wherever we can. We are not supposed to take this to an unbalanced extreme and feel sorry for ourselves all the time. I believe the reason for this is because imbalances in self-love and self-pity sometimes feel like we are doing what feels best but actually work to isolate us. They block God's blessings from flowing in our lives. Not only are we not able to bless others but we are unable to fully receive the love and blessing that God intends for each of us. We are so much more powerful when we use our energy and gifts to encourage and bless eachother.

A Christian has a rare privilege when he experiences disappointment-he can be re-appointed. With God there will always be a new beginning available. (Joyce Meyer, p. 249)

I really liked this point. It reminds me of something I heard Joel Osteen say in one of his sermons, to not think of hard times as setbacks, but as set-ups. You may feel like you've been set back, but God is really setting you up to be blessed. Disappointments can be devastating, but God is always there. Turning inward and drawing close to Him, when you really want to run the other way and give up, is the truest measure of faith. Our God is faithful, and can be trusted, His way is always the best way and He is the one who can give us the new start that we need.

Bible Verses:

Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
-Isaiah 43: 18-19

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
-Galatians 6:2

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
-Philippians 2: 3-4

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
-1 Thessalonians 5:11

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
-Romans 1: 11-12

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring Break

This week, most of our children are out of school for Spring Break. With hectic schedules, travel plans and families visiting, we've decided to take a break of our own. We will be back on Wednesday April 27th. We hope you will join us then!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Two of Satan's strongest weapons...If's and But's

(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 21, My behavior may be wrong, but it's not my fault Wilderness Mentality #6 of Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question and/or scripture in the comment section below this post. Let's join together and fight this battle.)

Do you ever find yourself using autism as a reason for not doing what God needs you to do? I know that's a pretty bold question but really stop and think if you do. Autism is not easy and is definitely a struggle for not only our children but for us as well. So, I'm not saying that autism is an excuse. What I am saying is that I believe that sometimes we can all be guilty of using it as a reason for not doing what God needs us to do out of fear. Think back to Chapter 21 where Joyce lists the "if's" and let's think of it more in our world....

If only my child didn't have autism, then I'd volunteer more.

If only my child would go outside and play with the other children, then I would tell my neighbors more about Christ.

If only autism didn't financially drain us, then I would tithe to the church more.

If only my child wouldn't have autism, then I'd spend more time with my husband.

If autism wasn't so hard, then I'd have the energy to take care of myself and exercise.

If only my child would have a good day today, then I could go spread the word about autism and how others can help.

If only....

Joyce also takes us to the "but's" as well. This is when we see where God wants us, BUT we find something there that we feel is too big for us to handle.

I know I should take the time to meet other families with autism, BUT what if they don't like me.

I know I need to take the time to really play and connect with my child, BUT it seems too hard and my child doesn't seem to like to play with me.

I know my child will talk one day, BUT what if he doesn't.

Joyce tells us on page 240....'If' and 'but' are two of the most deceptive words that Satan ever plants in our heads. Satan knows that if he can cause doubt in our heads, we will be to frightened to move. If he can keep us from reaching out to other parents, keep us from tithing to our church, keep us from spending quality time with our spouses, then he can keep us in the Wilderness. Joyce reminds us that we need to keep our eyes on God and not on our problems or potential problems. One of the reasons our problems defeat us is because we think they are bigger than God. (p. 240 Joyce Meyer) Is it? Is autism bigger than God? I can tell you very quickly that it's not. Nothing is too big for God. He can handle and will handle everything. We just have to face the truth about ourselves. Joyce called this our inner self. On page 241, Joyce writes...God desires truth "in the inner being". That means that if we want to receive God's blessings, we must be honest with Him about ourselves and our sins. We do this through confession. God already knows everything about us. He just wants us to come to him, confess, ask for forgiveness and move forward. It's so easy for us to do however it's one of the most difficult things for us to do as well. We have to remember what Joyce says on page 242....God is quick to forgive us if we truly repent, but we cannot truly repent if we will not face and acknowledge the truth about what we have done. Joyce continues on page 243...Satan wants to keep things hidden in darkness, but the Holy Spirit wants to bring them into the light and deal with them, so you and I can be truly and genuinely free. Jesus said it was truth that would set us free. (John 8:32)

I believe the more honest we are with God, the more we seek his guidance, help and wisdom, the happier and more peaceful our lives will be. We have a choice to continue on in this mindset of letting autism hold not only our children back, but us back as well or we can fully trust in God to help our children and us through autism. We do this by listening to not only what therapies, treatments, supplements that God may want us to do but also where else he needs us to be. Who he needs us to reach out to. We have to remember that this life is so minute compared to eternity. God has a much bigger plan in place and we need to be certain we are doing our parts in helping out. We start by revealing the truth inside of us, confessing to God, accepting his forgiveness and then hearing where and what he wants us to do next. Please know that I am not by any means saying that autism is not difficult. I know how difficult it is. In fact, today was one of those very difficult days for us in our home. However, I believe our attitudes and faith in God will make these days so much easier. I could have very easily said...if only Sean didn't have a so many behaviors today, then I could write in this blog. I could have also said...I know I need to write my post today BUT I'm scared no one is going to like. I could blame autism and believe me I am just as guilty at times for doing so.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this kind of Wilderness Mentality is so easy to fall into and so hard to get out of. I know it's kept me in the Wilderness much longer than I should have been. God has a plan for us. We need to try our hardest to listen to the Holy Spirit and do what we need to do to get out of the Wilderness as quickly as possible.

I love what Joyce writes on page 244 and I'm going to close this post with it...

You don't have to spend forty years wandering in the wilderness. Or if you have already spend forty years or more out there because you didn't know that "wilderness mentalities" were keeping you there, today can be your day of decision. Ask God to start showing you the truth about yourself. When He does, hang on! It won't be easy, but remember, He has promised, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' Hebrews 13:5"

Dear Lord,

Thank you for teaching us how to come to you to find the truth about ourselves. I pray that you show each and every one of us the truth of our inner beings and that we embrace this truth and move forward.

In Your Name we pray,


Then, you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free. -John 8:32

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Waiting Game

(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 20 "Don't make me wait for anything; I deserve everything immediately." Wilderness Mentality #5 of Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question and/or scripture in the comment section below this post. Let's join together and fight this battle!)

I don't think many of us are walking around saying, "It's OK if my child's breakthrough comes a year or two from now, we are happy to wait." Most of us have endured extended periods of trial and difficulty and are ready for that breakthrough now. I know I am! Joyce Meyer points out a very important point about patience being a fruit of the spirit. We can't practice or have patience until we learn to act this way while under trial.

This was a major stumbling block for the Israelites. They simply could not understand why God had to lead them through trials and did not take them directly to the Promised Land. In His perfect wisdom, God led them through these trials so that they would be ready to possess the Promised Land from its current occupants and take hold of the blessings God had in store for them. Many missed out on their promise, simply because they did not have the patience to see their journey through. I don't know about you, but I don't want to miss out on my promise like they did!

Back to the patience being developed under trial, I really appreciated Joyce's honesty about what else gets brought out before you get to patience. She shares with us that "pride, anger, rebellion, self-pity, complaining, and many others" had to be dealt with before she could display patience. (p.231) I am learning not to feel bad every time I fail and wish I had been more patient in a given situation. I am to be thankful that the Holy Spirit showed me an area where I can improve with God's help, so that next time it won't be so tempting to be impatient. These trials that we all face can be valuable teaching time and we can emerge not only stronger in our Christian walk, but as a better example to others.

Often when I open up this book, it as if God is speaking directly to me. This week was no different, as soon as I saw the title of the chapter I thought, "Yep, this is a lesson for me!". I am believing God for an incredible breakthrough. There are times when I feel so positive and strong and times where I am just exhausted. The lessons in this study are helping me to cast down negative thoughts or temptation to give up in my weak moments. Joyce Meyer teaches us that the battle is waged and ultimately won in our minds, so I have decided to do everything I can to keep a good attitude until I see what God does next. I like the way Joyce puts this on page 230:

"I remind myself that patience is not my ability to wait, but my ability to keep a good attitude while I wait."

Waiting sounds very boring, but in our lives it is very active. We are fighting the good fight, keeping up with specialists, diets, supplements, educational goals and whatever else our family needs to function well and thrive. We do all of this and more, full of hope and positive expectation that we will see our promise come to pass. We do this fully believing that our faith and diligence are seen and will be rewarded. Most of all, we do this because we are loved by our Heavenly Father, who unfailingly has our best interests at heart and sent his only Son, Jesus, to lead us to eternal life.

Bible Verses from Chapter 20:

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.
-James 5:7

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
-Colossians 3:12

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
-James 1:2-4

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
-Hebrews 10:36