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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why A Homecoming Nomination Mattered To Me

A Mother's Joy

This is my son's senior year in high school. He is a part of the marching band, serves on the loading crew, participates on UIL teams, and is the Debate Club President. In many ways, he is not unlike his peers, but I am delighted that he has found so many activities that he enjoys and so many places where he belongs.  In spite of his many activities, I was quite surprised and excited to find out that he had been selected as a nominee for Homecoming King.

It is probably safe to say that most, if not all, parents would be beaming with pride and joy to have a child nominated for the Homecoming Court.  So naturally, why would I be any different and why am I making such a big fuss about it? Some people may think it is from a place of parental bragging rights or some sort of assumed status, but in all sincerity, for me it comes from an overwhelming sense of awe and gratitude. There was a time when my son's future did not seem to have such a wonderful outlook.

You see, when he was just two-and-a-half, he received a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum. At that time, he had no communication skills whatsoever. He would not speak, he would not make eye contact, he wouldn't even point to things he wanted or needed. And if that wasn't enough to scare a mother of a small child, he also had uncontrollable  meltdowns almost daily caused by a sensory processing disorder and our inability to understand what he needed.

Before his diagnosis, I had imagined grand things for him.  I envisioned that he would be a great pastor, godly politician or honorable military leader. I dreamt of great and mighty things he would accomplish.  So the news that he might never speak, might never develop social skills, might not ever be independent blindsided me in a way I never could have anticipated.

With a little time of processing this news, I came to realize that I needed to mourn the loss of my expectations for my child in order to really accept him for who he was and then become the best advocate and cheerleader for him that I could be. I might have had to lay aside my expectations but I refused to give up my hope that he might live a rich and rewarding life. One in which he would love and know love. One in which he would know purpose and be able to contribute to the lives of those around him. 

It's been a long, and often challenging process, but as my husband and I looked for ways to help meet his needs, always pushed for what was in his best interest and educated everyone who had influence in his life about his challenges, we have seen him grow and blossom. Often times it required us to nudge him just outside of his comfort zone so he could learn what he needed to and gain confidence. Of course, we had lots of help along the way:  family, church family, para professionals, and many teachers have all contributed to his success. We certainly could not have  done it without them. The progress he has made is truly awe inspiring. Most people who meet him now never suspect he has an Asperger's diagnosis because he has come so very far.

So why exactly did his Homecoming nomination matter so much to me? Mostly words fail me, I feel my chest is going to burst at the seems with a joy I can not contain. There is no way to describe how amazing it is when something you thought could never be becomes a reality. But in the simplest way I can express it, I guess it is because it is the evidence that he is well liked and sociable, that he fits in and does make a difference and an impact in the lives of his peers. It is the fulfillment of so much more than I hoped for and it is the soft whisper of God to my heart that says "See, I am not done with him yet."  

I think I will continue to believe great and mighty things for his life.

Cherry Fargo
Being ReMade

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Prove It!

Prove It!

I love it when The Lord reminds me of a lesson He has been teaching me.  I don't think I will ever master some of them this side of heaven and that's why I need reminders.  Today's reminder came from listening to my favorite morning show on the radio, KCBI with Jeff & Rebecca.  I only get to listen for about 20 minutes in the car as I am taking kiddos to school and I always enjoy every minute of it. It is often a source of inspiration as it was today.  I had been wondering what I was going to blog about and on this morning's program was one of those reminders.

As a child, I had an abusive step-father for many years.  He often said these words to me: "You are so stupid! You are never going to amount to anything when you grow up."  When he said this to me I would think "You just wait until I grow up and we will see who the stupid one is!" For a long time after, it seemed to me that I had been so strong in those moments, that I hadn't allowed his hateful words to crush me.  

Over the years I have come to realize that, although I wasn't crushed by his statements, I was indeed broken because I felt compelled that I needed to prove him wrong.  What he said about me couldn't be right and I would not allow it to be.  That's a lot of pressure to put on one's self. It may look like confidence but it becomes bondage because when you are always striving to prove someone wrong, you are never free to just be who God created you to be. 

That bondage also carried over into other relationships for me.  I ended up in conflict with someone at a church I attended over something I was sure God had called me to do. This wasn't something I had taken lightly, I had sought counsel and prayed over it. Since I was already carrying this big chip on my shoulders, I was deeply wounded and offended when my motives were misjudged and I wanted to rise up and prove them wrong.  God calls us chosen, blessed, redeemed.  He wants us to step out in faith to minister to others.  He gives us gifts and talents to do that so  I also wanted to prove what God says about me was right.  That there was a calling on my life. Because if I could prove God right, then that would definitely prove my ex-step-father wrong. 

As I struggled with this "I'll show you mentality", God began to reveal to me that He already knows my heart. He knows all of my thoughts. He is my perfect judge and advocate. He is my redeemer, creator, loving father.  And then He impressed upon me that I do not have to prove anyone else wrong, because God knows the truth anyways and what do man's opinions really matter? We are not to seek our affirmations from the people around us, we are to look to Christ for our identity, (Galatians 1:10). I also do not have to prove God right either. He is sovereign, almighty, all powerful.  What can I possibly do to defend His honor that He can't do a million times better. What can I possibly do to force His purpose to be fulfilled in my life in my timing? Nothing at all. He is the author and perfecter of my faith, my calling, the purpose He has for my life.  He simply calls me to submit to being remade in His image and to follow His lead.  He is calling you to the same.

God loves you! It doesn't matter what the world thinks or what you are unfairly criticized for as long as you are chasing after Christ. There is nothing any amount of striving can accomplish so believe what God says about you and REST in it. You don't have to prove anything, you don't have to prove anyone wrong and you don't have to prove God right either.

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession..."
1 Peter 2:9a NASB

Cherry Fargo
Being ReMade

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Where Grace & Responsibility Overlap

My life tends to be messy.  It has almost always been that way. I have been told by a few that it is messier than what many people’s lives are and yet I know that is not as messy as others. Some of it is my own doing, consequences of my sin and bad choices.  More of it is the fall out of the sin of other people in my life and a portion of it is just plain old circumstantial, a part of the journey.

For a very long time I have had this perception that life just isn’t suppose to look like this.  I have thought that if I work hard enough to reach my goals and dreams, if I love God enough and am faithful to chase after Him, if I serve Him well then life will be far less messy, I would have everything I think I need and this journey would become easier.  Because of things I experienced as a child, I have had it stuck in my head that it is all, always, my responsibility, if I don’t do this and that and all of the other things, life will always be this way with the next mess happening before the last one is ever cleaned up and it will be my fault when it does.

I never had the opportunity to learn how to just “be” as a child.  An enormous amount of responsibility was thrust on me at an early age and as a result I have spent the majority of my life thinking that who I am is based on what I do instead of just being a child of God.  Redeemed, rescued, saved by grace have never seemed like enough.  Oh, I believe that my salvation is secure but I have struggled with the fear that all this mess is meaningless unless I turn it into something bright and shiny and magnificent to bring God glory.  I strive to clean up all the messes and attempt to get it all together so that I will feel worthy enough to be who He created me to be. Responsibility has become a stronghold and an idol, one that I am in the process of tearing down by admitting my limitations, by recognizing that I am very hard on myself, by acknowledging it’s not even within my power to make something out of it all.  “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts.”  Zechariah 4:6

I am also learning to accept that this IS life, it is challenging, it is messy and that is okay.  It’s okay for me to acknowledge my hurts and disappointments, then carry them to my Father in Heaven and exchange them for His truth and promises, His strength and His grace. God does want me to do my part but my responsibility is not the planning, doing and trying to control that I have made it. Rather it’s the sitting, waiting and trusting that God really means for it to be.

God doesn’t intend for me, or for any of us, to do by works what He wants to accomplish by grace.  He wants us to bring all of the pieces of our life to him, to surrender them and allow Him to do as He will with them.  Maybe He will make something magnificent and breathtaking out of it for all to see.  But maybe, sometimes the really magnificent thing is the healing that He brings to our own hearts when we learn to live where grace and responsibility overlap, when we learn how to just be His child who daily brings to Him the messes of our lives, not out of any agenda of our own, but out of trust and faith that whatever He does with it, His plan is perfect.

Cherry Fargo
Being ReMade