Don’t Throw Out the Baby

Nicodemus & Mary Magdalene

“The Chosen” is a crowd-funded television series which seeks to narrate the ministry of Jesus when he walked with His disciples. It adheres to the Bible, but adds details which may or may not have been fully developed in stories of Jesus and his followers within the gospels.

I’ve only seen season 1, the first episode several times, and it arguably remains my favorite. Arguably because there are many others that are so good, too.

The 1st two episodes of season 3 will be showing in theaters beginning in a few days, and I’m hoping to view these on the big screen.

In recent days, “The Chosen” has experienced controversy due to the following statement Jesus, as portrayed by Jonathan Roumie, makes.

“I am the law.”

Jesus does not say this in the Bible. What he does say is “″Do not believe that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come in order to abolish them, but in order to fulfill them.″ And in Romans 10:4 Paul states “Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

Even if this is more than a matter of semantics, which I’m not convinced it is, what bearing does it have on the fact that Jesus is Our Savior, Lord, Master, and Friend?

This is not a valid reason to discontinue receiving the great benefits of this wonderful series. The scene at the end of the first episode between Jesus and Mary Magdalene does not occur in the Bible, only its aftermath is referenced; however, any fringe person such as myself and many readers of this blog cannot help but be touched by the compassion displayed by the actor who so vividly portrays what I imagine Jesus would have done and said in just such a situation. It augments through the senses of vision and hearing what believers already feel in their hearts. If an unbeliever is watching, how could they not be moved?

Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Over the past 40+ years I’ve experienced a variety of Christian ministries, both in terms of denominations and in terms of ministers/pastors/reverends. One of the sermons that left the most lasting impression with me was by an evangelist who visited a large church my late husband and I attended.

He revisited the story of Jesus after his resurrection having breakfast with his disciples on the lakeshore. This is in John 21.

The disciples had been fishing and had caught nothing. There was a man on the shore who told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. Miraculously, their nets were so full they could not easily be hauled to the shore.

After this miracle Peter realized the man on the shore was Jesus. I love Peter. He made a lot of mistakes and got in trouble with his mouth, but when he realized Jesus was there, he jumped in the water rather than wait for the boat to transport him to the shore.

After they all reached land, verse 9 says “When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.”

The fish on the coals could not have been the bounty the disciples had just caught because in the next verse Jesus says, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” (v. 10)

Where did the bread and fish come from? Was Jesus just carrying them around?

The evangelist next took us back to Matthew chapter 4:3-4: “Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

Jesus, having fasted 40 days and nights was hungry and certainly could have turned a stone into bread.

The morning at the lakeshore, satan (the tempter) was there, too. I don’t think he ever really goes away. The evangelist speculated that Jesus was “showing off.” He had turned stones into the bread that he and the disciples enjoyed that morning to spite the devil! Although the evangelist didn’t go there, it’s possible he caused the fish he had cooked to jump out of the lake and into his skillet!

There is nothing in the Bible to confirm these miracles, but they do correlate with what the Bible does tell us about Jesus.

Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Other times, I’ve heard pastors make outright mistakes. One talked about Noah and his daughters and their husbands boarding the ark. Genesis 7:13 “On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark.” Does this mistake make that pastor a heretic?

Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

I’ve also had occasion more than once to ask pastors “What do you think about Jesus?” or “Do you believe Jesus is The Way to Heaven?”

Most of the time I was satisfied with the answers. There was one man, though, a minister for more than 40 years, who answered the 2nd question with “I believe Jesus is A Way to Heaven.” Articles are important!

Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Pray for people, especially those in positions of authority within the Church, who make false and dangerous statements such as that made above.

Jesus is THE WAY.

Don’t throw them out. Again, pray for them fervently. Their souls depend on it. But be very careful with regard to everything else they attempt to teach you.

This is one reason the Bible advises not to follow a man. This is found in what many consider to be the middle verse of the Bible, Psalm 118:8 “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.” Follow The Man (again, articles are important), Jesus Christ. You are known by Him. Know Him. Then you will be able to easily to discern what is good and true. (Phil 4:8)

God bless you greatly in all you do.

Being Still

Psalm 46:10

What does the first part of that verse even mean?

What does it look like?

As I write these words, I am sitting in my comfy chair with my laptop listening for the voice of God to direct my words.

Am I practicing “stillness before God?”

For years, I’ve heard others, especially women, talk about their “quiet time” with God which seems to occur most often in the morning either directly or shortly after waking. My assumption was always that this was a reference to a period they devoted to God through prayer, Bible study, and devotions. Those certainly can be “quiet” times with God. But two of those require the turning of pages, and all three require engaging the brain either in conversation with God or in reading. For this writer, it also requires the creation of a spreadsheet to track how on track I am with my endeavors.

Are these activities practicing stillness before God?

Back to my comfy chair. . . Even if I were not typing these words, not playing a game on my phone, not crocheting or knitting or eating, not scrolling through my FB feeds, not listening to a podcast, not doing several of these things at the same time, seemingly not doing anything at all. . .my hyperactive mind would still be racing in a million different chaotic directions.

Is it even possible to “be still and know that I am God”?

The original Hebrew word for “be still” is “raphah” which refers to “that which is slack” or “to let drop.” It can also mean “sink down, relax, let go, cease striving, or withdraw.”

As an aspie, I find them all problematic. Those of you not on the spectrum, how do you feel about this?

For as long as I can remember as an adult, I’ve wanted a sugar maple tree in my yard. Last spring, I planted one. This photo reveals the fruit of my labors, the beautiful multi-colored leaves of autumn, even though there aren’t very many of them.

God has revealed several truths to me through this little tree, but this is the one that fits today.

The tree does not appear to be doing a thing. Granted, this is a still photo, but trust me, when I was taking the photo, it was just standing there not striving at all. Its growth was certainly not such that it could be seen with the naked eye, even though its appearance is far different from the twig I planted last spring.

Being still before God is like that. It requires no effort at all.

Unlike the tree, though, thoughts good and bad have made it feel unnatural to sit still and do absolutely nothing except know I AM (YHWH).

So. . . I started with an amount of time I thought even I could achieve. I set the timer on my phone for 1 minute.

Attempted to picture God. A great light with no definable facial features.

He was embracing me.

I recently read that for an embrace to have lasting benefit it needs to last for at least 20 seconds. I’ve been blessed recently to be the recipient of several such hugs. And if I was the recipient, surely that must mean I was the giver as well.

There had been a long dry period preceding that group of hugs.

Although we cannot physically “feel” the effects of our Father’s hugs, I believe that being still before Him gives even greater benefit, at least until the day we can receive them from Him physically.

So, my “quiet time” is really a time of “ceasing striving.” That is the definition of raphah that best describes what it feels like when I am being still. Maybe one of the other definitions better describes what it feels like for you.

It is only after the being still, the ceasing striving, that the time of prayer, Bible reading, and devotions begins. And truly, the few times I’ve practiced this practice so far have been of tremendous benefit to the rest of my activities for the day. . . and to my soul.

For example, today, I discovered a new podcast called “Gratefully Nourished” and through that a new author named Ruth Haley Barton whose most recent book is titled “Sacred Rhythms” amongst which of the rhythms is being still before God and an older one called “Invitation to Solitude and Silence.” Both have been added to my list of books I would like to read.

How amazing, but not really considering the omnipresence of YHWH, that He would reinforce what He is trying to teach me via so many media.

Be still–cease striving–and know and be greatly blessed by YHWH.

Redound?

There are several podcasts I follow. In one of them, Stirring Words, one of the hostesses, Kimberly Taylor, said that she’d been “slow reading” her Bible. This is the opposite approach to what I’ve always done.

She said she wouldn’t even take a whole chapter, just a portion of a chapter as divided by subheadings, and ponder that during her devotional time. So, I the speed reader, decided to give it a try.

My Bible is an AMPC translation which does not have subheadings. My bookmark was at the beginning of 1st Peter.

This past weekend I served at a Christian Women’s retreat of which I’ve been a part for several years. Not surprisingly, this was filled with good and bad. The good is obvious, women’s lives were changed. Several of these women either were, or had children who were, on the autism spectrum, and my talk had a focus on that challenging aspect of my spiritual walk.

The bad, satan was on the attack. The latter normally takes the form of subtle mental and/or physical attacks. This time, it became very clear by the end of the weekend that the attack was occurring on a spiritual plane in the supernatural realm.

Nonetheless, I persevered despite a severe Aspie meltdown Saturday evening and a few physical issues, along with an obvious attack on my brain and spirit (two separate parts of a human being). During the last activity of the retreat, God allowed me to see that what I thought was a mental issue was in reality a spiritual attack. I sought prayer from people I trusted. . . and . . .

Monday was a new day, and it was a free day. It was wonderful.

First on the agenda, read and ingest 1 Peter chapter 1.

The first few verses were great with much truth revealed and ingested; but then came verse 7 which reads: “So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed.

On first read, it seemed as though something new had happened—I had discovered a misprint in my Bible. That has never happened before!

Redound? Never heard of it! Surely it should say “rebound”! Even if that didn’t make a lot of sense in the context.

Research revealed the following:

Definition redound:

“contribute greatly to (a person’s credit or honor):

“his latest diplomatic effort will redound to his credit”

synonyms:

contribute to · be conducive to · result in · lead to · effect · have an effect on · affect · conduce to

contribute greatly to (a person’s credit or honor):

“his latest diplomatic effort will redound to his credit”

synonyms:

contribute to · be conducive to · result in · lead to · effect · have an effect on · affect · conduce to

So, 1 Peter 1:7 could be interpreted as:

So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to contribute greatly to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed.

In other words, the spiritual attack (yes, there is no other word that describes some of the things that happened over the weekend) was a testing of the genuineness of my faith, which is more precious than gold, and would result greatly in my praise and glory and honor when Jesus is revealed; I will get to hear him say “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

What a blessing! And what evidence of the truth of Romans 8:28!

The blessings continued on Monday. I got a good chunk of work done around the house.

And I had some fun starting to crochet this beautiful scarf which is made out of a worsted weight merino/nylon blend called “Autumn Brew” made by Bad Sheep Yarn https://badsheepyarn.com. Check out their website—they have some beautiful colorways.

That’s all for today. Will try to be more diligent about updating this thing more frequently.

God bless you in all you do.

For the Love of Ivan

It had been the dream for years—to own a member of the doodle family, to experience and bestow the unconditional love I knew they were capable of. Plus, I believed he would be an emotional support for me as I dealt with the myriad of mental health issues on my plate.

Finally, on my birthday in 2020, I was notified I had been selected to have my own berniedoodle, whose name was Ivan. His cost was lower than his siblings because he didn’t have the so-sought-after tri-color markings. He was pretty much a black puppy with a little bit of white on his chest and under his nose and mouth. He had a sweet expression on beautiful face, and I fell instantly in love with just his picture.

My daughter and I took the 2-day road trip to the town where he was being socialized by a wonderful family. Neither Jordan nor I is familiar with driving in mountainous regions, and this part of the southeastern United States had plenty of them. But she didn’t complain, even in my 5-speed manual, and we arrived at our destination on a Friday morning.

Ivan was exactly like his pictures – only bigger and had lost some of his puppiness. But he was still absolutely gorgeous and so sweet.

We settled back in the car with Ivan on whom the middle name of Zoltov (because he looked a little Russian and both Ivan and Zoltov sounded Russian to me) was bestowed.

Over the next year and 2 months, Ivan was exactly the puppy I’d dreamed of.

Except. . . my young granddaughters were terrified of him because of his size. As of this writing he weighs 68 pounds and is quite muscular.

My cat never warmed up to him. He loves her; she hates him.

I came to believe I was the only human who truly loved him, and a big part of that was because of how beautiful he is.

Then came the cancer scare.

I am still under testing, and it is not known if the colon cancer has returned, but at some point I will more than likely be facing some type of abdominal surgery. 10 years ago, the colon cancer surgeries left me with a massive abdominal wound which took months to heal, an ostomy, and a bedsore which also took months to heal.

What would I do this time with my husband now gone and a 68-pound dog wanting to jump on me at every opportunity? I consulted my groomer. In the past, her partner had known someone who wanted a doodle. My groomer, who is also my cousin wanted a physical picture of him and an ad to try and rehome him. She also suggested I talk to my vet.

I called the vet, not really expecting anything. But the receptionist called me back after just a few minutes and told me one of the practice’s vets might be interested in Ivan. He called me that weekend, and I gave him the details about my puppy, but he did not call me back. . .

Until yesterday morning. Around a month later.

He said he couldn’t take Ivan because he already had a doodle, but he knew someone who might be interested. Could he give them my phone number? Yes.

I exchanged phone calls, texts, and emails with Ivan’s potential new mommy throughout the day at home and at work.

At 7 o’clock Ivan’s new family arrived. He and I were on the porch, he on his leash.

He was so excited when they got out of their SUV. It was the parents and the two younger children, an 11-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl. Ivan was all over them. They weren’t afraid of him. Ivan really liked the dad, too; and the dad seemed to like him. The mom told me they lived on a farm. The farm had goats and a small pond. Ivan would never have to be on a leash. He would be sleeping with the boy instead of in a crate. It sounded like doggy heaven.

We loaded all Ivan’s accoutrements into their vehicle and lastly Ivan. He went willingly. I blew him a kiss, and he was gone.

As expected, I was sad after they left. I turned to my old standby to make me feel better. The local pizza place delivered their specialty within 30 minutes. My intentions were to binge on the whole 13-inch pizza.

But I have been listening recently to a lot of YouTube videos and podcasts about the neuroplasticity of the brain (transformation of the mind (Romans 12:2) and how this plasticity can be used to help one with disordered eating. Even though I haven’t fully “grasped” or put one (Ephesians 4:24) the principals, I rarely binge anymore and my problems are more in the realm of overeating. I stopped with 3 of the 8 pieces and put the rest in the refrigerator.

Then I watched the first episode of “The Chosen” once again. Even though I think I’ve seen it four times now, that last scene between Jesus and Mary Magdalene still touches something deep inside, and it did even last night. It made me forget about Ivan being gone from my life. When Jesus told Mary “You are mine,” he might have been speaking to me. It was an actor portraying Jesus, and even though he does a spectacular job, I suspect when Jesus says those to me, it will touch something even deeper within me. I eagerly await that day.

Meanwhile I used the money the family gave me for Ivan’s things to go to Menard’s for a window air conditioner. The central air at my house has not worked all summer, and I’ve limped along on fans; but I thought the window conditioner might be a good use of my “Ivan money”.

A lot of people call their air conditioners AC. My air conditioner will be called IZ which sounds a little bit like icy, and I trust that’s how I will feel tonight while going to sleep in cool comfort but without a doubt will still be missing my Ivan.

CODEX a Novel by Megan Fatheree

Although I don’t personally know Megan Fatheree well, I went to youth group with her father many moons ago. It is through him and his wife that I became aware of her writing.

This is the first book of Megan’s I’ve read. Hopefully, it will not be the last because there is a secondary character in Codex whose story needs to be told. This book is so well written it would be intriguing to see how Megan’s future works evolve. Add to that the fact that I am a word nerd, and she has a couple words in there I’d not previously known. It’s always good to learn as one reads.

Codex could easily fit within a genre popular in the 1970s called the gothic romance. There is a spooky mansion, an element of the supernatural, and an abundance of dark, brooding, mysterious men. If I hadn’t read the description of the book, I would not have been able to tell with 100% certainty until the end of the story which of the two principal male characters would wind up being the hero.

Amorette is a quintessential romantic heroine. She is a young, a bit naïve, brave, enthusiastic, too-curious-for-her-own-good woman who falls in love with an older–much older–man.

The ultimate winner of Amorette’s heart is not very likeable at the beginning of the book, but he becomes more charming as the story progresses; and he is clearly a genuine good guy by the end.

The secondary characters are more fleshed out than is common in a novel of this length; and, as mentioned previously, there is one I hope to see as a principal character in a future Megan Fatheree novel.

Any female over the age of 15 will be charmed by this well-crafted story. There is no sex or language, but there is quite a bit of violence; it is for that reason I would not recommend it for a younger reader.

Although the theme is not overtly Christian, and Jesus is not mentioned at all, the writer is a devout follower of Jesus; and good, evil, and redemption are well delineated throughout.

If you like investing in new authors in hopes of discovering a future best seller, as do I, pick up this book. It is available as an Ebook and paperback via your favorite bookseller. Thanks and God bless you.

PLEMD

Post-Loss Exponential Multiplication Disorder

I’m not advertising this post on Facebook or anywhere else. If you’re on my mailing list, you will, of course, read about it. Feel free to not even take a look at this one.

When I write anything–this blog, Facebook posts, and books–I try to be as transparent as possible. That is certainly true in this case; but, because depression has hit and it’s possible a meltdown is looming on the horizon you may want to ignore this.

And I have coined a new mental health acronym. (I know that’s not the correct term because PLEMD does not spell a pronounceable word, but please allow it just this once.)

PLEMD. I’ve got it big time.

Rod died over 5 years ago now. That was a not-unexpectedly huge loss.

But how many have there been in the ensuing years that were somewhat less expected?

Loss of couple friendships. (1×2=2)

Loss of a person with whom I could share anything (not just my husband but others in our circle of friends). (2x let’s say 10= 20)

Loss of any chance of ever being what the world would describe as a “normal” person. Rod’s presence lent an air of normalcy to my existence. (20×2=40)

Loss of home. (40×2=80)

And with the loss of a home the opportunity to be a hostess for family gatherings. This has happened more than once, but the last one was within the last week. (80×2 so far = 160)

It is the one that has given rise to the out-of-sort feelings today.

This is a pity-party post. If you come across it when you are reading a future more upbeat or at least hopefully teaching/enlightening post, please pass it by.

But. . .

If there is anything about this post that resonates within you, know that I am praying for the fringe people, the misfits, the marginalized, all who feel like they will never truly belong anywhere.

Because we do.

Even though we can’t see it right now, Jesus loves us. Remember JLM in Euroclydon is Jesus Loves Me in Euroclydon. While it may seem like a small thing to you, what I’m going through is a Euroclydon for me. And even though I can’t feel it, I have to believe, Jesus is holding me right now.

And that means. . . Jesus is holding you.

Gratitude Journal

Intentional gratitude breeds joy. Try it. Here’s an example.

Tonight just a few minutes ago I was driving home from work in Raspberry Shortcake. The outside temperature must have been around 45F, cool enough to require turning up the heat to 85 but setting it on defrost so it wouldn’t blow cold air in my face. Since it wasn’t all that cold, after about 3 minutes, I knew the engine would be hot enough to blow warm air in my face, so I switched over to the face blower.

Absolute bliss.

A perfect opportunity to thank God.

For a car that has a working heater. I’ve driven many that did not. I thank him for those, too, because they got me and my kids where we needed to go.

But mostly for recognizing that moment of near euphoria which, likewise, is not experienced nearly as often as I would like. And for remembering that Gary Chapman (first husband of Amy Grant) song from probably 35 years ago which contains lines that go something like this: “Well, I know we can’t live by feelings, so please don’t get me wrong. But ain’t it kinda nice when the good feelings come along?”

Amen.

So I thank God for the good feelings.

And I think him for:

Rory

Jordan

Karen

Jessica

Brittney

Aaron

5 Years Ago

Mom and I like to watch the old Datelines on channel 49. Every single time, at some point, the narrator will say something like “Then nearly 5 years ago to the day. . . ” or “just over 8 years ago to the day”. If any qualifying adverb appears in a statement such as that, it pretty much nullifies what it is describing.

I am not qualifying my statement with a “nearly” or a “just over”.

Five years ago today, I sat in a chair at a beauty shop while Wendy made me as beautiful as possible so that I could do my husband proud. After doing my hair, she watched me apply my makeup and told me I had accomplished my goal.

Next, I headed over to the church to change into my new outfit bought especially for the occasion. I think the pastor was already there, but I’m not sure anyone else was. For a few quiet minutes, I had the whole place to myself, a bit of time to prepare my soul for what was to come.

The bathroom where I changed clothes was not far from the sanctuary and directly adjacent to the hallway leading to it, and when I heard the noises made by several people rearranging things, I knew it was time. As I write these words, it is 4:55 p.m. That is the time this occurred on February 11, 2016.

I asked my pastor if I could go ahead and go in, just for a minute before everyone else started to arrive.

“Of course.”

I opened the double metal doors leading to the sanctuary, the set that was nearest to me, half expecting to be blown away by the smell of chrysanthemums.

There were a few plants, and there may have been some flowers — I honestly don’t remember — but certainly not enough for the scent to permeate the air in the cavernous room.

My eyes were immediately drawn to the front.

There he was.

If he’d been there, really been there, he would have been annoyed with me. We had discussed this possibility, half-heartedly, of course, anticipating the occurrence sometime far in the nebulous future; and he always told me to just “throw him in a field somewhere.” Aside from that being illegal (I think), there was no way this would happen, and I told him so.

As was usually the case with me when we were together in public, at least for the previous 6 years anyway, I made my way toward him, the one whom God used so greatly to help heal my mind. He was my safety net. He was the one who helped me not be so afraid to socialize. The one who prayed for me daily in such a way that I could feel it. The one who not only thought I was beautiful but told me I was a blessing! He was my angel.

I took his hand. Rod was always hot, no matter the temperature; but I anticipated his hand this time being cold.

It wasn’t exceptionally so, but as I slipped my long fingers around the webspace between his massive right thumb and index finger inserting their tips into the space formed by the palm of his hand where it rested beside him, there were no similarities between any other time I’d held his hand.

Nonetheless, hold his hand I did. I talked to him. I don’t think I cried. Couldn’t mess up my makeup. Wanted to make him proud as he’d so often been throughout our 6-year marriage. To this day, he is the only person who has made me believe that is proud of me.

Then the people started coming. The woman in charge wanted me to take a place at Rod’s feet. I refused, wanting to be near his precious face. He had not been ill prior to his death–it was sudden– and he truly did look like he was simply asleep. The muscles of his face were so used to being in a smile, the person who prepared him for the viewing couldn’t completely get rid of it, and the left side of his mouth was tilted up ever so slightly.

Many people passed.

Some of his guy friends dropped things in with him. One young man came through the line early, and upon seeing the knives and hunting paraphernalia already there, went home to retrieve one of his favorite pocketknives, returned, and left it there as well.

Most said something along the lines of “If there’s anything I can do. . . “

Of course there wasn’t. Well, there was, and many of them were already doing it. Praying.

Not for Rod. No one who knew him could doubt he was now healthy and whole and happier than he’d ever been in the land of the living, happier than any of us could even imagine.

No, they were praying for me. His daughters. His sisters.

Those for whom this day and the day 4 days prior had created a tremendous hole in our worlds.

Rod was a Valentine’s Baby. He missed his 56th birthday by 7 days. This Sunday he would have been 61.

I didn’t know you were an angel when you were here. I do now. And even though I know you probably can’t hear this. . .

And don’t want to read it. . .

I miss you, my angel.

In Memory of

Roderick Lloyd McDougall

February 14, 1960 – February 7, 2016

Review

I just finished reading through this whole thing. That’s right — the whole ?? pages/words of this blog!

I was taken aback by how many grammatical and spelling errors were present. If you are an Aspie — and if you’re reading this you might be — see how many you can find.

More troubling was the fact there hasn’t been as much soul relinquishment and spiritual takeover as I’d hoped at the beginning.

But this is a journey. Or better, as Steven Curtis Chapman put it, a Great Adventure.

Usually my blogs are written out in a Word document before I ever even open up the blog. Not so this time. It’s truly seat of the pants writing and probably pretty boring. As a brief aside: I do not like to use the word “boring” and have tried to convince my 7-year-old granddaughter it actually means the same thing as “fun”. Neither she nor her 4-year-old sister believe this.

I implore you, reader, to read some of the previous blogs. 2 Corinthians chapter 1 tells me I have not gone through any hardships simply for the sake of going through them. These experiences are to help others.

One thing I noticed on my read-through was how many times I mentioned music. Therefore, I’ll conclude this short post with a Midnight Special live performance of my all-time favorite song. It was released in 1977, the year I took Behind the Wheel driver’s ed, and I can remember it playing in the training car. It is not a Christian song, and its message is a bit depressing, including the prominently and well but sung but disturbing line “I just don’t care”. Ignore the words if you can and just enjoy the music. And please, check out some of the previous posts (and the much more uplifting lyrically and nearly as wonderful musically songs).

God bless you always.

Clay

I am in the middle of an attempt at reading through the Bible in 90 days. Today I am in the book of Isaiah. Chapter 45 verse 9 just jumped off the page, and I felt my Father telling me to pause right there and write these words.

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. The most common word for one such as I is “Christian”. Over the centuries since He for whom we are named walked the earth, the word has lost much of its meaning. Now I sometimes just say I am a lover and follower of Jesus.

I also have Asperger’s. This is not a disease, a curse, or a disability. It is simply a difference. Because of the black and white thinking that often accompanies it (and certainly does in my case) some aspects of following Jesus are easier. It is quite easy for me to accept the Bible as the absolute Word of God. Jesus is called the Word. Both are absolute TRUTH.

Being an Aspie does come with hardships, such as fellowshipping with other believers and sometimes even understanding them. When my husband (neurotypical to the extreme) was alive, he was utterly confounded by my lack of desire to socialize between the two morning church services. I was so uncomfortable with this activity I would often go sit in the truck at the conclusion of the service and wait for him to finish speaking with everyone in the church. Now, of course, I just leave as soon as it’s over.

But for the purpose of this post, let’s talk about one of the potential positives of Asperger’s – black and white thinking.

What do you see in this picture?

How about this one?

This one?

Which is the most beautiful?

Which is the most useful?

With which do you most identify?

If you are an Aspie it is most likely the last picture.

I would. Throughout my nearly 60 years here in the land of the living, I’ve compared myself negatively to nearly everyone I’ve met, Christian and not. I’ve researched this tendency of mine to make comparisons and don’t think this is a trait of Asperger’s.

But compare I do. It’s probably one of those things God will spend the rest of my earthly life trying to correct.

So, what sets apart the last picture?

Different.

A little odd looking (at least to standard perceptions).

Maybe difficult to determine exactly what its purpose is.

However. . .

Do you think the person who created this last pot was not proud? Did he not find his creation utterly beautiful?

If the creator were not proud, surely he wouldn’t have shared it on the internet where everyone could behold its beauty and, yes, speculate on its utility.

I am God’s clay pot.

You are God’s clay pot.

His workmanship.

He is perfect and good and everything He makes is perfect and good. Yes, the perfection and goodness have been distorted and lost in a world that has rebelled against Him. But you, in the untouched form in which He created you, are perfect and good.

His masterpiece.

When you bemoan the fact that you are so “different” from everyone else, you are telling God He did it wrong. Ugghh. Not to say I haven’t done exactly that. Your thinking and mine have been distorted by the master of lies.

God created you beautiful, and He created you for a purpose. Quit arguing with God. Instead relish in your unique beauty while you seek out and perform His purpose for your life.