A Capital Letter Syndrome Doesn’t Make a Child Less Than

Marching to the beat of his own drum.

I knew.  I knew from early on that my son marched to the beat of his own drum.  I tried to to make him march with the other kids.  I didn’t want him to think something was wrong with him.  I tried all the parenting advice and discipline techniques.  Nothing seemed to matter.  I was trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

A Capital Letter Syndrome Doesn't Make a Child Less Than

The school nightmare

School was a nightmare.  He’d burn up all his energy on trying to “be good” only to fail and fall short of the teacher’s expectations.  He never brought home that coveted green smiley on his behavioral chart that said it was a good day.  I could see it in his eyes, he felt less than.  Less than the other kids his age, less than good, less than what people want.  It broke my heart.  I hated that stinking behavioral chart.  I hated that people refused to try and understand my sweet boy.

Soon we realized that traditional public school made things worse.  When he was in third grade, my husband and I made the choice to homeschool all our children.  I will never forget the day early in our journey that he leaned against my shoulder and said “Thank you for homeschooling me, Mommy.  I felt so stupid in school”  I cried that day and still remember it so vividly.  I replay that memory when we’re having a rough day.

Being your Child’s Advocate

I knew that I was going to have to be my son’s biggest advocate.  From the time we got his SPD diagnosis in first grade until just recently, I’ve had to explain everything it means and what it doesn’t.  I’ve had to undo society’s idea of what perfect children should look like.  My son was perfect.  Exactly the way God made him.  Just because he doesn’t do everything like the masses doesn’t make him somehow less than.  I am actually proud that he doesn’t.  And now, even at 14 years old, I will still fight anyone that tries to force that square peg into that round hole….or lovingly point out how mistaken they are.  It’s a toss-up, really.  😉

Want to hear more of what Lori has to say on the subject? Listen to this week’s podcast episode:

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Lori Shaffer

Special Needs (Capital Letter Syndromes) and Homeschooling Director

Lori Shaffer is married to her childhood best friend, Jacob.  She is a stay at home missionary and homeschool mom to their three children.  She is passionate about advocating for teen moms and women and children that have been abused and giving them hope and encouragement.  Most days she can be found drinking coffee, working out with Kathleen, or hanging out with her family.

Follow Lori on Social Media:

Facebook- Lori Shaffer

Instagram –@browneyedmomof3

Instagram joint fitness account (Kathleen and Lori)-

@2girlsnotrunning

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How should the church respond to the recent changes in abortion laws?

Social media is brimming with responses to New York’s recent update to the state’s abortion law:

New York’s abortion law was updated and strengthened Tuesday night when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act into law that had just passed the Senate and Assembly.

The bill was first introduced in the Democratic-run Assembly in 2006 but had not been taken up by the Senate until the Democrats wrested control from Republicans this year.

The law for the first time allows abortions after the 24-week mark to protect the mother’s health or in cases where the fetus won’t survive.- New York Post

The biggest slap in the face to the signing of the law the while the crowd cheers and a “God Bless you” by Governor Andrew Cuomo. God bless who?

I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception…. I submit that human life is present throughout this entire sequence from conception to adulthood and that any inter.png

What should the church’s response be in light of this new law?

  1. Remind ourselves we live in a post-Christian nation. 

“Man no longer sees himself as a qualitatively different from non-man. The Christian consensus gave a basis for people being unique, as made in the image of God, but his has largely been thrown away…. All morals and law are seen as relative.”

There have been many blocks hacked out of our foundation that lead to us becoming a post-Christian nation:

On June 25, 1962, the United States Supreme Court decided in Engel v. Vitale that a prayer approved by the New York Board of Regents for use in schools violated the First Amendment because it represented establishment of religion. In 1963, in Abington School District v. Schempp, the court decided against Bible readings in public schools along the same lines.- cnsnews.com

The cover of Time magazine in 1966 asked – Is God Dead? followed by many conversations that led to some believing the question to be reality.

God is dead. God remains dead. – Nietzsche

In proclaiming God’s death, Nietzsche doesn’t mean to be taken literally. On his view, God never existed in the first place, so talk of his “death” is more about humanity than divinity. We humans, Nietzsche surmises, have found God’s existence both indefensible and undesirable. He therefore asserts rather than establishes the indefensibility of belief in God, even as he explains its undesirability.-thegospelcoalition.org

Roe vWade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), is a landmark decision issued in 1973 by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of the constitutionality of laws that criminalized or restricted access to abortions.

These are just a few of the changes to our government that began to strip away at the foundations of a Christian nation. We have since shifted to a secular nation with no moral absolutes.

“Modern man has no real boundary condition for what he should do; he is left only we what he can do. Moral “oughts” are only what is sociologically acceptable at the moment. In this setting will today’s unthinkable still be unthinkable in ten years?” – Francis Schaeffer

We must stop shouting our “moral oughts” as if our emotions regarding the moral decay of our nation will change it.

A new friend of mine told me she was tired of the church’s rhetoric and promises of “I’ll pray for you” while it remained inactive about the moral and social issues of the day.

2.  Respond to social/moral issues as the early church did (in the midst of a godless empire).

Before I answer the question, let me set the stage of the early church in the Roman Empire:

“According to the centuries old traditions of paterfamilias, the birth of a Roman was not a biological fact. Infants were received into the world only as the family willed. A Roman did not have a child; he took a child. Immediately after birthing, if the family decided not to raise the child – literally lifting him above the earth -he was simply abandoned. There were special high places or walls where the newborn was taken and exposed to die.”- George Grant via Third Time Around

Life was not valued in the Roman Empire. The arena viewed violence as entertainment. Gladiators fought to the death. Christians were mauled by lions in front of cheering crowds. Pedophilia was practiced. And the list goes on. And on this world stage, Christ lived, died and rose again. The early church began.

The disciples devoted themselves to prayer, waiting together.

They were filled with the Holy Spirit. They devoted themselves to instruction and fellowship. They organized themselves, and met needs, spiritually, financially and physically.

During this time, as the disciples were increasing in numbers by leaps and bounds, hard feelings developed among the Greek-speaking believers—“Hellenists”—toward the Hebrew-speaking believers because their widows were being discriminated against in the daily food lines. So the Twelve called a meeting of the disciples. They said, “It wouldn’t be right for us to abandon our responsibilities for preaching and teaching the Word of God to help with the care of the poor. So, friends, choose seven men from among you whom everyone trusts, men full of the Holy Spirit and good sense, and we’ll assign them this task. Meanwhile, we’ll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God’s Word.” Acts 6: 1-3

 

Unfortunately, we have left the social gospel behind and spend our time shouting “moral oughts” and have let the government take over the feeding of the poor, the caring for the widow and the orphan. And yet…we want a secular nation to handle our responsibilities with the morals and values of our Christianity. Not going to happen. We shouldn’t be shocked when we get godless solutions to humanity’s problems from the government.

 

“Because of its messiah complex, today the government preempt the work of the church and tries to meet the problems of poverty by government-subsidized programs.” –What if Jesus Had Never Been Born

We, the church have let our responsibility slip through our hands so carelessly, yet we find ourselves in an abysmal atrocity that we ourselves let happen. We even ask the government to provide these things and when they do, we cringe out how it is played out- government subsidized abortions for one. Foster care is another (I won’t go there in this article).

The government has tried to carry out by force the Christian ideal of helping the poor, caring for the widow and orphan, deciding who has value and who doesn’t. The unborn is not given “value”. The value of the child is often what his value is politically.

If we want to change the climate of the nation, we must pray first, wait for His leading and act. When we act, we become the loving hands of Jesus. We cannot change things because of our own effort, but when we follow the roadmap of the early church by the directives of the Holy Spirit we can bring help and healing.

3. Get ready for the fallout.

We’ve already seen fallout on social media- women mourning the loss of a child and outraged at laws and policies that allow other women to take a life. It’s unfathomable. We have all shed so many tears this week. Emotions are all over the place. Women who have had abortions are sharing their regrets, shame and heartache for the choice they made. There’s going to more of that. We’ve opened the floodgates and we need to be ready for the fallout.

Find an honest women who has undergone an abortion and she will tell you the truth. She is damaged physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Her health has been damaged.
“Women who have abortions are 81 percent more likely to experience subsequent mental health problems, according to a new study published by Britian’s Royal College of Psychiatrics. The greatest increases were seen in relation to suicidal behaviors and substance abuse.”- Afterabortion.org
The church should be equipped to minister to these women after the fact. That’s a hard pill to swallow. These women are already out there. They exist. They need our help. Who else will they go to? What about the women who refused an abortion and followed through with the birth? Are we pro-life if we don’t support her? Make provisions for her and her child? Or are we just pro-birth?
This is some heavy stuff. As a church we have realize our predicament, we are living in a post-Christian nation. With that in mind, we need to get back to the practice of the early church who ministered the Gospel and followed up with provision to meet the needs of those affected by the current culture. It was the early Christians who opened the first orphanages, made a provision in the church funds to care for the widow and fed the poor. The early church preached the value of life.
“The church has made more changes on earth for the good than any other movement of force in history.”- What if Jesus had never Been Born
Let’s pray, humble ourselves and celebrate they tiny moral victories in a secular world such as this one:

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed one of the country’s most restrictive abortion bills into law on Friday.

The so-called “heartbeat” legislation bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy. -npr.org

 

Let’s gear up, army of God, to fight the good fight on faith on our knees and abandon our personal peace (the desire to be left alone to do our own thing) for action based living.

I know that many of you reading this article are already doing the work suggested, you are praying, fasting, serving, sharing your stories for the benefit of others. You are not only sharing, but acting. I applaud you! I thank you.

Let me leave you with this word:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.  Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

 II Corinthians 1: 3-7

Three Things The Church Needs to do to Prepare for the Lost Coming Home Part 3

*You can find the first in the series here.

A few weeks ago in church, a prophecy was given about an influx of people coming in from “the hollows” (this is WV, people). We were instructed to “get ready” multiple times. When I left the service, the phrase was echoing in my head, get ready, get ready, get ready. Why aren’t we ready? More importantly, why don’t we stay ready? Or why do people come and check out church and promptly turn away.

These are some hefty, thought provoking questions that I don’t know all the answers to. After some thought, prayer and conversations with God and whoever else would listen, I came up with three simple things we regular folk could do. Here’s the third:

  1. Lower your expectations and put the bar higher for grace and mercy.

When newbies come into the church, we often expect them to grow up too soon. They come into the church without a foundation, needing the milk of the Word and we want to feed them steak. It’s a new culture out there. Many people grow up never hearing all the basic Bible stories. Hubby is the restaurant business and many of his employees are college age. In simple, everyday conversations, sometimes basic Bible stories come up: David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions Den, Sampson, Noah and Moses are often foreign to them.

During my growing up years (totally dating myself here), Bible stories were common knowledge, not only did we hear them at church, we heard them at home and school (especially if you went to Catholic school like I did). Bible stories were woven into the fabric of my childhood. Not true anymore.

Most kids are being raised in homes where church is not a priority..png

Most kids are being raised in homes where church is not a priority. Sad, but true. The Supreme Court banned prayer in public school in 1962, which means several generations have grown up without this important building block of faith. So, if kids aren’t getting schooled in a faith at home or school, they grow up Biblically illiterate. That doesn’t make them stupid, or any less important in the eyes of God. They are just as important, loved and cherished. It simply means they don’t speak Christianese. They may not know the church’s doctrine or have the same theology. What do we do with this information? We let the Holy Spirit do the work. We don’t apply hefty burdens on converts. We answer questions as best we can. Most important of all, we pour out the mercy that we receive when we came to Christ with a healthy helping of grace. All of us must remember where we came from.

This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for all those [Jew or Gentile] who believe [and trust in Him and acknowledge Him as God’s Son]. There is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] [c]grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,- Romans 3:22-24

THREE THINGS THE CHURCH NEEDS TO DO TO PREPARE FOR THE LOST COMING HOME PART 2

A few weeks ago in church, a prophecy was given about an influx of people coming in from “the hollows” (this is WV, people). We were instructed to “get ready” multiple times. When I left the service, the phrase was echoing in my head, get ready, get ready, get ready. Why aren’t we ready? More importantly, why don’t we stay ready? Or why do people come and check out church and promptly turn away?

These are some hefty, thought provoking questions that I don’t know all the answers to. After some thought, prayer and conversations with God and whoever else would listen, I came up with three simple things we regular folk could do.  You can find the first here. Here’s the second:

  1. Become relationally oriented, not rules driven.

Before you think, I don’t have that problem, stop and think for a minute. How do you respond to people behaving in ways you don’t think are appropriate? Do you have an unwritten set of rules in your arsenal that shoot out when people don’t adhere to them? Confession- I do! If you do, you’re not alone.

We all have expectations and perceptions that are based on our nurture and our nature.

In our homes we were nurtured to behave in certain ways: don’t burp at the dinner table, do enter in conversation, brush your teeth before bed, we will have a bedtime story, we don’t scream at one another to get our point across and the list goes on. Our nature puts in its two cents.  Introverts may not appreciate lengthy parties full of noise and surface conversations. The point is, we all have our isms.

The problem is when we extend the expectations of these unwritten rules or isms to new visitors in our home or the church- relationships are risked. This takes some forethought and self examination.

Is this rule fulfilling an eternal objective or just contributing to my comfort right now?

When a newbie comes into our church smelling of weed, speaking loudly with expletives or standing when we sit, what is our response? To build the relationship or the rules? What if a child comes into our kids church who can’t regulate, not won’t but can’t? What sort of accommodations do we make for him? Do we favor sitting in a seat over a child receiving unconditional love and planting the seed of an eternal relationship?

Build relationshipsnot rules.png

We aren’t the first generation to struggle with this issue.The early church had the same struggle. In Acts 15 we find some history of the early church. Some were being recited:

Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”

The modern version of the directive may be different:

You can only be saved if….

  • You don’t drink
  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t cuss
  • Don’t follow my rules of behaving in church

The early church struggled with the adoption of a new culture and melding the old converts with the new Gentile converts. What kind of rules must be instituted?  What sort of language should they speak? Should they memorize the Torah? Should they abstain from unclean meats? Be circumcised? How far did grace go and how much of the law should be observed?

It was decided that a letter should be sent with a few instructions. Don’t eat things that have been sacrificed to idols and keep yourself from sexual impurity. Simple and to the point.  

It seemed good to the apostles not to overload the newly adopted Gentile brothers and sisters with too many rules (Acts 15:28-29).

By the same token, church newbies are learning to be part of a family and the instruction has to be limited and meted out with grace.

God sent His Son to die for each of us. God wants us to be in relationship with Him. We can’t behave our way to Christ, it’s because of our sacrifice that we are part of the family of God. If someone crosses the threshold of your home  or home church, welcome them! Work on relationship. Pray. Let the Holy Spirit draw him. Rules won’t. Unrealistic expectations won’t.

 

Parking Garage Revelations

Amerey and I headed to Black Bear after tackling one grocery store and before another, sandwiching lunch in between the two (Mom joke).

We took our time at lunch, Amerey fed baby Moira, Cecilia and I took a few turns about the room. One of the things I love about Black Bear (besides the local organic food) is the featured local artists. One wall featured logs of various ages and sizes cut precisely in a beautiful pattern, as if a forest had been hacked by one giant saw blade at the same time revealing the pattern of circles in each tree. Another wall featured paintings of fish in vibrant oranges, greens and browns. So gorgeous.

After lunch,we headed out into the cool, fall day and into the parking garage next door.

“And the antithesis to Black Bear and the Mountain People’s Co-op (across the street), serving organic, whole foods is this parking garage,” I said to Amerey as we descended into the cool depths.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the contrast as I drove home later that day. It made an impression on me. I couldn’t think of what to compare it to until I got home and saw a post that put my thoughts on the matter into words. You see, I kept thinking of the church as that giant cement structure in the middle of the creativity, the whole foods, the bright colors, the artistry.

“Our society celebrates the left side of our brain. Oh, I agree it should be celebrated and exercised and developed. All good stuff!
But we have TWO sides of our brain!
The right brain is full of creativity, dance, sport, wonder, music, dreams…
And should be celebrated.
I’m sure it is. But for some reason I just hear so much more about the left side. Science, math, facts, logic.
I think we’ve got a healthy combination of academia AND rock and roll going on in our house! Wild hair colors and creative clothing. Writing, dreaming, drawing, playing, singing LOUD, shooting lax, dribbling down the court, tossing the pigskin (like I can really talk football😁) working hard, loving their friends, planning their future.
Just wanted to say it. That’s all. Here’s to the RIGHT side of the brain!
Go have fun today right side. Be bold. Be creative. Dream a BIG right brained dream!” – Missy Pratt via Facebook

She hit the nail on the head and let me take it one step further. The church (as a whole) sometimes struggles with creative spirits. What we miss as a body is that we are creative, we are made in the image of our creator God who is in the business of Creation.

“…Christian artists often are not understood in their own fellowships. Artists, in some ways, are a peculiar breed, by nature sensitive and driven by their gifts. People who sell insurance or work in a factory or serve hamburgers in a fast-food restaurant find ready acceptance in the church, but when a new member says, “I’m an artist,” people shift uneasily. Vague associations of bizarre behavior, a sense of disapproval (Why don’t you do something practical?), combined with a feeling of cultural inferiority, color many people’s reactions to artists.” State of the Arts by Gene Edward Veith Jr.

Sometimes Christians

Sometimes Christians are afraid of creativity, of art, of words like passion, desire, unless it pertains to a verse in the Bible. We shouldn’t be like that concrete building in the middle of the world of color. We should be boasting of the blues, greens, the paintings, singing at the top of our God-given lungs, sketching, etc..

The truth is, we don’t know what art is. We think the world owns it. That it belongs to them. It doesn’t. Art has it’s origins in God. He created. We simply copy His work.

Artistotle defined art as the capacity to make.

Dante explains that men are to earn their living in two ways, by means of nature and by means of art.

“20 Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle and purchase possessions.

21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.

22 Zillah bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all [cutting] instruments of bronze and iron.”- Genesis 4:20-22a

Genesis lists the creative artistic beginnings as well as those who work in the business realm. Cain built a city. Jabal was a business man. Jubal was a musician. Tubal-cain was a craftsman with bronze and iron.

We follow in the footsteps of our forefathers when we do the same. The church has room for both the left and right sides of the brain. We should support and celebrate both. For those of you who are predominantly right brained: write, paint, build, sing draw, design, refinish furniture, compose, the possibilities are endless. God is infinite. He gave us the artistic bent.

Jump out of your car, run out of the parking garage and be the creative, wonderful contributor that He created you to be!

*Note- I am so happy to say the church I attend is rich in the arts. The walls are aesthetically pleasing with rich colors. The Fine Arts department is alive and well! The fine arts department is putting on a full scale production of Scrooge, based on Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol!

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday, join us!

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