What is My Purpose!

What is My Purpose?

From July 14 through July 25, 19 students of ages between 21 and 64 listened, talked, participated, wrote, conferenced, laughed, cried, argued, and probably a couple of other verbs the variety of methods used to learn the subject matter the instructors were trying to teach.

Why?

Not too long after Rod died, God revealed that there were individuals who had spent the decades of their earthly lives on a church pew without understanding the most important reasons why.

How could they be helped?

Who would help them?

So began the journey to Licensed Local Pastor School.

Was every one of those 19 people there because they felt a similar, strong directive from God to be there?

Did everyone know the journey might be in vain—there was a chance licensing to pastor a small church, the chief reason for enrolling in the school, would not be the end result?

How many of them started with the initial mark against them of a faith journey thus far walked closely with and wholly trusting in Jesus alone that was different from that expected by the school?

Were any of them “different/weirdly wired” in the way they thought?

What did they each learn? Did they further their education in things for which they already had an elementary knowledge?

This would include the 9 spiritual disciplines:

  1. Prayer
  2. Worship
  3. Fasting
  4. Scripture (Bible reading)
  5. Study (Bible with supplementary resources)
  6. Stewardship (tithing—not just money but talent)
  7. Solitude
  8. Fellowship
  9. Service

Did they learn that the 9 spiritual disciplines don’t just “happen” to a believer; rather they should be “intentional” acts on the part of the believer? Most of these intentional acts can and should be practiced frequently. Some are easier than others, and some will need constant vigilance and reinforcement to be fully engaged.

Did they befriend those with whom they might not ever have otherwise crossed paths? The love of Jesus was clearly and deeply experienced both through other people and through the work of Holy Spirit when human frailty raged within and without. Did they feel that? True, faith isn’t based on feelings, but God gave us feelings.

Did they learn about communication? When one speaks, it is not the words alone which are important; indeed, they are of minimal importance. The tone with which the words are spoken bears more weight, and some would say body language is of the utmost importance! Body language is difficult to alter (for reasons fully addressed in previous posts and implied in this one). Learning to speak with a tone which conveys kindness, encouragement, and the love of Jesus is an achievable goal. Although this is not one of the spiritual disciplines, in this writer’s case, it will be made so.

On the original draft of this blog, the word “I” appeared more than 40 times with other words such as “my” not even counted but present. Since not using personal pronouns is grammatically unwieldy (see above reference to “this writer”), the rest will include the to-be-avoided-at-all-costs pronouns.

The previously mentioned end result? Mom, sister, son, daughter-in-law, 2 granddaughters and Pastor Dave all came to the ceremony Thursday evening to cheer encouragement as I received my graduation certificate.graduation

I was told more than once that the certificate was just a paper saying the classes had all been completed with a passing grade (one of them barely), but it would be strongly recommended a license not be issued to me at the time the other students receive theirs in one to two months. In part, this was due to belief differences which I admittedly didn’t wish to change, and I believe God would have been displeased with me if I had. The major hindrance was, of course, the ASC which many don’t even believe exists because of adroit masking practiced and nearly perfected over the past 50 years. It was the black and white thinking, however, which was my downfall.

God had me take the schooling for a reason. Of course, I tried to figure out just what that reason might be. Could it be that it was to encourage one of the other students in some way? That happened, so possibly that was the correct answer. Did one of the other students need to see a fellow student “on the edge” most of the time and “over the edge” a couple times, but by the grace of God getting back up every single time? That happened, too.

It is about God. It’s not about me. It’s really not even about other people, although some would disagree.

He told me long ago my purpose in life is to glorify him (confirmed in Isaiah 43:7), a fait accompli in my own unique way with regard to Licensed Local Pastor School. I am, as always, grateful to him for his greatly needed assistance.

Now waiting patiently for his next direction, I will continue to learn about the love with which he has loved me so that the love can be given back to him and to others.

Reader greatly loved by our Heavenly Father, God Almighty, may he bless you in all you say and do and in everything your hands touch. In the precious name of Jesus Christ.

Life on the Spectrum

 

 

puzzle brain

Famous Ones Currently Living With It

There are many. Here are a few that appear on just about every list I found:

Dan Akroyd – Actor/Comedian

Susan Boyle — Award-winning singer

Daryl Hannah — Actress

People Who are Famous Because of It

Temple Grandin — Author

Historical Figures Believed to Have Had it

Abraham Lincoln — President, The Great Emancipator

Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) Writer

Albert Einstein — Scientist

Famous Christians with It

Brent Hansen – Christian radio host

Perry Stone — Pastor/Evangelist

Fictional Characters appearing to Have It

We are talking about Asperger’s, or as it is now known high-functioning Autism.

For years I have suspected I am an Aspie. There are too many signs of it starting with fairly significant bullying when I was a child. I won’t go into detail on that here–maybe in a future blog. There were some hygiene issues which at the time were attributed to laziness but which recently (just this past week) I was surprised to discover are fairly common among Aspies. One of them I still struggle with to this day, but I’ve learned a workaround for it which sorta works.

As an older child and an adult, I experienced social difficulties that cannot really be explained by simple shyness. I have no trouble speaking in front of large groups of people, providing I am speaking something I have previously written and carefully edited to remove comments others would consider inappropriate. And I can do okay talking to one person at a time. groupBut bring in a third person, and I will shut down – even with my sisters whom I am closer to than probably anyone in my life. I remember one time as a young adult being in a car with both of them on the way to see a movie and them both jabbering away, and feeling a little lost because I didn’t know how to enter in.

Over the years I’ve gotten fairly good at “appearing to fit in.” I suspect the people who know and love me the best are so used to my quirks they no longer even notice them.

But. . . there are some problems with pretending to be normal. towel

“Normal” and “perfect” are 2 words which need to be taken out of all dictionaries!

Which brings up another trait of Asperger’s. We have to have alone time, much more than the average person. This is not selfishness. It is alone time.pngnot self-centeredness as many well-meaning people believe. It is an aspect of the way our brains are wired. When I was married to Rod, a wonderful man who didn’t have too many difficulties with my oddities, and no problems whatsoever socializing, he understood this about me. He didn’t believe I had Asperger’s, although his daughter did. He simply thought I’d had too many bad things happen to me and it had altered my personality. It that were true, his personality would have been way more shut down than mine. It was not. He was larger than life and loved by everyone who met him.

In the past couple years I’ve become involved with some Christian online support groups. Even with them the communication issues are readily apparent. A previous group leader admonished me more than once about my black and white thinking. I believe my current leader gets amused by my unusual way of sharing my thoughts. When it’s my turn to speak I try to get everything out in one rush of words so they can move on to someone else. After I finish speaking I will always mute myself so they can’t hear anything else that might slip out inadvertently. I don’t know how to insert myself into a conversation between the other people in the group. This group is actually very good. The women in it are super kind; they each struggle with their own things and aren’t bothered by mine.

This is not the case with other groups I’ve been in, as alluded to previously. Often when I try to communicate I usually start speaking at the exact moment as someone else, and I will let my voice fade away and not be heard. Clearly the other person’s opinion is more important.

How does being an Aspie fit into my true identity as a daughter of the King?

Not easily.

But it isn’t impossible.

Asperger’s is not a disability. Asperger’s is not a birth defect although one is born with it. It is simply a difference in the way the brain is wired. This can be a good thing.

First the bad:

It is difficult to mingle socially with other women, including, or maybe especially, Christian women. A group of women from my church is currently on a lady’s retreat. I look at the pictures they post on Facebook and think how much fun it looks like they’re having. Then I remember how hard it would be to have a conversation with any two or more of them, and I quickly remember why maybe it wouldn’t be so fun. But. . . I am no longer envious as I would have been not all that many years ago. I can enjoy the fact that they’re enjoying themselves, and I can sit out on the back deck and watch the month-old kittens playing with each other and truly enjoy that as much as what the women appear to be doing.

One big thing about Aspies is they usually have one thing they are intensely interested in, and it consumes a great deal of their time and energy. For a lot of my life, my interests were not at all productive. For another part of my life, my interests were my children and my husband. For part of my life it was learning how to get my life back after colon cancer.

The good?

Right now, with Rod gone nearly 3 years, my principal focus truly, and perhaps for the first time in my life, is on Jesus and my relationship with Him. 

You, see He doesn’t care that my brain is wired weird. In fact, I think maybe He even likes it, especially jesus loves menow that I’m focused on Him. Black & white thinking, overthinking, talking to myself (or is it thinking out loud?. . . or . . . am I actually talking to Him when others think I’m talking to myself?) don’t bother Him at all. If the words I speak to Him don’t come out exactly the way I intended, do you think His feelings might get hurt? Of course not. For one thing, He is perfect and therefore, cannot get His feelings hurt. Then there’s that little thing about Him knowing what I’m thinking and feeling before I say it or even before I think it. No, my Aspie quirks doesn’t bother him a bit.

One more reason to love Him!  i love jesus

Another advantage: I have to pray really, really hard before I speak at such events as Walk to Emmaus, churches, and book signings; otherwise, who knows what might come out of this mouth? People are not as understanding as Jesus, and they have no way of knowing that what I’m saying is not always what I mean to say. Sometimes I’ve had the delightful experience, usually at Walk to Emmaus, of having God actually take over when I’m speaking. You can’t imagine what a blessing that is on so many levels.

Another one: Truly great friends. I didn’t have my first non-relative best friend until I was 48 years old! But she was wonderful! She had Alzheimer’s so she could not remember any of the crazy things I said. The other good friends I’ve had have also been exceptional people; they have to be! That includes my sisters. I know of many sets of sisters who aren’t friends at all—they’re more like enemies. My sisters and I have always loved and supported one another.

God puts the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6). For His reasons, he decided to wire me up with Asperger’s, so he knew I’d need the exceptional sisters of Jessie Alice and Jamie Jean, born when I was 1 and 5 years old. I will always be grateful!

Diagnosed at last! One month ago, I received the diagnosis of Asperger’s (also known as high-functioning Austism) along with PTSD & BED from my counselor. By the way, both of those can result from Asperger’s and the social fall-out from weird wiring.

Look at this statement I just found on http://www.lifeonthespectrum.net/blog/?page_id=1001 and wow! this whole blog is FANTASTIC!

Some other great websites:

http://www.aspergerministry.org/

http://christianaspie.com/

“I am no longer a failed normal person. I am a successful aspie.” And I would add to this “loved by Jesus!”.

One Car, Seven Miracles

miracles
rear damageMiracle #2:  December 2016, Raspberry Shortcake after being rear-ended, while at a dead stop waiting to make a left-hand turn, by a small white car with an impaired driver going full speed.  The car had been following me on the 2-lane state highway for about 5 miles.  Watching in my rear-view mirror, I noticed right away there was something wrong since the car was weaving all over the road.  At first, I thought it was going to pass me on the shoulder.  Then it pulled back in close behind in me in the correct lane.  Over the next few miles the car would sometimes return to the shoulder and sometimes veer into the other lane.  More than once this nearly resulted in a head-on collision.  I continued my drive home praying this would not happen.  As I approached my turn, I considered not turning there but going on to the next small town and taking the long way home.  But this would still mean a left turn somewhere and a possible stop.  So I put my turn signal on and started to slow for my turn.  There was oncoming traffic, and I prayed the driver would not attempt to pass me.   I could see in the mirror it was not slowing down; it was rushing at me much too quickly.  I considered driving off in the ditch, but my car is a stick-shift with a small engine, and I didn’t think I could generate enough speed to get out of the way.  Even if I did, what if she chose to follow me into the ditch?  So I prayed for safety for both of us and braced for impact.  It’s amazing the things that goes through the mind in what had to be a length of time of a second or less.

I heard and felt the impact.  Then just sat there for a minute, trying to assess my injuries.  There didn’t appear to be any!  Hallelujah!  Then I went into hysterics.  Just like when my husband died, I couldn’t make my fingers dial 911.  When they finally did, the operator had a hard time understanding me until I calmed.  They had me go check the condition of the other driver.  The car was being driven not by one who had consumed too many drinks and/or drugs but by a lady a little older than me.  I didn’t smell any alcohol, but she appeared dazed.  I asked her if she was all right, and she told me she was.  The operator asked for my assessment of her condition.  I told him she was impaired, not apparently by substances but perhaps by a medical condition.  Could they please send an ambulance?  While awaiting the arrival of emergency personnel, I strongly advised the woman to go to the hospital when they arrived.  When they did, they checked us both out.  She did not go to the hospital.  The only injury I suffered was a nail avulsion to my right thumb, perhaps from gripping the steering wheel so hard at the time of impact.  Amazingly enough, neither vehicle had airbag deployment.

While I sat there waiting for the police officer to complete the report, I began to think.  Overthinking or normal thinking?  What if the lady hadn’t hit me at that precise location?  What if I’d made the choice to go on and make my turn later?  It was easy to imagine her head onning a semi or perhaps a car filled with a family.  And I thanked God that she had rear ended me!  Miracle #3:  We had both emerged from the collision relatively unscathed.

But I was worried about my car.

When I assessed the damage, it really didn’t look all that bad.  The police report estimated it over $1500, but all I could see was the crack in the bumper.  Then I noticed the hatch wouldn’t latch properly and suspected there must be more damage than I could see.  So I started praying Raspberry wasn’t totaled.  Yes, I was grateful that my life and the life of the other driver were spared, but I didn’t want to lose my car.

The body shop assured me it wasn’t totaled, and the original estimate was nearly $4000.  But once they started working, they found the floor of the back compartment needed replacement.  That took the total cost up to early $5000.  Miracle #4:  I wonder, if they had known about that damage to start with, would the car have been considered a total loss?  Perhaps.  In that case, God answered my prayer for the sparing of my car by having a large portion of the damage not be apparent until the repairs had already begun.  A couple weeks later, I had Raspberry Shortcake back good as new.

***

front damageMay 2017.  Collision with a deer.  On that same highway where the rear end accident occurred.

Miracle #5:  Again, no injuries to me.  Not sure about the deer.  Again, no airbag deployment.  Another call to 911.  Since there were no injuries, a policeman was not sent; instead, they conducted a telephone interview.  Miracle #6:  While we were talking, a man who lived in a nearby house and had heard the collision came out to make sure I was okay.  I tried to get out of the car to look at the damage.  Some of it was readily visible from inside the car, but I wanted to see its extent.  Getting out of the car was not all that easy.  The driver’s door wouldn’t open.  So I made my way awkwardly across the gear shift, and the good Samaritan helped me out of the car.

I was heartbroken when I saw the damage.  Surely, if that minor damage from the December accident had been so close to a total loss, this one would be.  The man could see I was upset by this possibility and raised the hood to look at the inside damage.  He reported that nothing appeared to be damaged in the engine compartment; there was no leaking of fluids or other obvious damage.  It looked like the damage was all cosmetic.  I thanked him but was still believing I was going to lose Raspberry Shortcake.

The body shop could not believe I was back so quickly with more serious collision damage to my beautiful car.   Miracle #7:  Amazingly, this time the estimate was less than the first time, only $3500.  There were no hidden issues that arose, and the car was back in my possession this time in less than a week.

***

fixed car

I have been the blessed observed and receiver of several miracles through this car.

The first was simply owning it!

Miracle #1:  Rod’s last gift to me.

After paying for his funeral, there was about $11,000 left.  I was driving a high-mileage car, the last in a long line of them, and was doubtful about its ability to see me through the remainder of my driving days.  My grandmother drove until she was nearly 80!  So I began to look for something small (good gas mileage), less than 5 years old with fewer than 50,000 miles on it.

Let’s backtrack a bit here.  Several years ago, there was a television show called “Psych” that my kids and I liked to watch–okay, that I liked to watch.  One of the main characters drove a little blue Toyota Yaris.  I wasn’t crazy about the color (wouldn’t neon green or sunny yellow have been better?–I never even considered a car in my favorite color, hot pink!), but I liked the look of it.  Maybe it came in other colors.  Maybe I could even afford it!  I went to the dealership and looked at that car.  It was just as cute in person, but way out of my budget.  That was a good thing because just a few years later I married Rod.  At 6 feet 2 inches and 350 pounds, I don’t think it would have been very comfortable for him.

Now, with the $11,000 I started my search for the perfect used car.  I never was able to find any used Yaris’s, so I started to look for similar cars.  Something like a Honda Fit or Chevy Sonic.  Every time I found one in a pretty color, like yellow or green, it would be sold before I had a chance to even look at it.  My brother-in-law suggested I check out the Mitsubishi Mirage.  I might even be able to get a brand new one of those for the price of a used one of the others.  I was already familiar with the Mitsubishi make.  In 2001, shortly after my divorce was final,  my father co-signed a loan for a 1998 Mitsubishi Gallant.  (He passed away 7 months later.)  It had 51,000 miles on it and was absolutely beautiful.  My car at the time was a 1986 Nova which was on its last legs.  I drove that wonderful car until 2010 when it had over 250,000 miles on it.  It died, and no one could seem to figure out why.  It became the first in that succession of high-mileage vehicles.

One Tuesday I had free, I went to several large towns in central Illinois to look at some things in person.  I’d made appointments at several dealerships to look at specific cars, but at each one when I arrived the car I wanted had already been sold.  My last stop was the Mitsubishi dealership.

The salesman told me he could get me into a new car for less than $11,000.  First, we took a test drive in a red one.  It was nice but didn’t have cruise control.  I have a heavy foot at times and need that to avoid possible tickets.  Red would have been okay.  After all, it’s not black, white, or silver.  But 2 of my last 3 cars had been red, and something different would be nice.  Plus I wasn’t thrilled with the lack of cruise control.

Just a couple stalls away sat a hot pink one.  He asked if I knew how to drive a stick.  Yes, the car I drove up in was manual transmission.

So we hopped in that car and took another test drive.  I was in love.  Not only was the car new, I could pay cash for it, but it was fuschia!  I bought it on the spot, knowing that it was one last gift from my generous husband.

It has been a fantastic car, protecting me through two accidents (with the help of God), getting gas mileage of about 40, and able to hold my precious granddaughters’ car seats in the back.

Just last Friday, I took it in for its 30,000 miles checkup.  While helping me complete the paperwork, the technician told me there was a recall on the car due to the Miracle #8  airbags system needing its computer adjusted.  I was surprised having heard nothing about it, but it was free, so I told them to go ahead.

Later, though, it occurred to me that had those airbags had to be reset after either of my accidents, the estimate would probably have gone over the total amount limit.  So, by there being a flaw in the airbag system, now fixed, I had been able to keep my last gift from Rod.