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Public School’s Answer to Autism: Jail

What kind of society yanks a 10-year-old child with autism from school in the middle of the day, tears him away from his mother (who had NO notice until the moment it happened), and throws him in jail for something he did months ago?

The United States of America. Land of the free. Home of the brave. Aren’t we something? Makes you real proud to be an American, doesn’t it?

Yeah, we really protected society  from danger by cuffing little John Haygood’s hands behind his back and escorting him out to a police car in front of God and everybody in the middle of a school day.

“Excuse me, do you have any paperwork or anything you can show to me?”

John’s mother didn’t have the faintest idea why her son was being taken away in a police car. They finally told her he was being arrested for leaving scratches and marks on a teacher back in October 2016. Felony battery. And now it’s April 2017. Yeah. That’ll teach him. He’ll definitely connect the cause and effect of that one. (Not.)

Since when does our society think it’s appropriate to arrest a 10-year-old boy at school in front of God and everybody in the first place?

The most troubling thing isn’t this one incident, but the fact that this is one of many, many incidents like it. Far too many schools resort to police interference in the elementary school setting. (What better way to condition children to accept a police state? But that’s another discussion entirely.) What I want to focus on here is the lack of common sense schools exhibit when it comes to helping kids with autism succeed in a classroom setting.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a teacher. I don’t relish being kicked, scratched or punched by a student. My granddaughters attend public school. I don’t want them hit or scratched by an out-of-control child. Let’s be clear: I’m not condoning bad behavior. My beef is with the lack of in-class support given teachers and students with autism so that this situation doesn’t occur in the first place. If a student with autism is placed in a regular classroom, and expected to act like regular students, then the school should provide every support necessary for that student to succeed. Instead, from the sounds of it, the student and teacher were set up to fail.

How do I know this when I wasn’t there? Because a child with autism with proper support won’t throw paper balls in class, hurt other students and teachers, or be on his own to react to a reprimand the way this child did. And a teacher, well-trained in autism, won’t react to an autistic student’s behavior in an in-your-face confrontational way, or grab a student with autism and bodily remove him from a classroom.

I know because I have taught students with autism as well as my own children. Children with autism cannot have open-ended expectations and succeed. That’s like asking a child with paralysis in his legs to navigate the school halls without his wheelchair. You don’t physically man-handle any child, leave alone a child with autism. Tactile defensiveness sends the brain into fight or flight mode in kids with autism. You wouldn’t expect a diabetic student to go without checking his sugar or taking his insulin during the school day. And yet, we violate the needs of children with autism everyday in America’s schools.

Most schools in America don’t get this. But they better figure it out because according to the CDC, 1 in 42 boys have autism now.

Wait. Let’s take a moment for that to sink in. 1 in 42 boys have autism.

If that statistic isn’t enough to make you shudder, you ain’t got a shudder button. I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, I don’t think I even met someone with autism. And now, 1 in 42 boys have it.

If that statistic doesn’t  shout out the fact that your typical children or grandchildren will share a classroom with a child with autism, then you ain’t comprehendin’ what I’m tryin’ to say here.

This problem  of inappropriate services for students with autism isn’t going away. In fact, it’s only going to get worse. And yet, schools in general don’t take the time to train staff about autism, or provide the sensory tools students need to get through a day. Sooner or later a school is going to get sued. And when it happens, I hope it wakes up the whole lot of them.

We don’t expect blind students to read the same textbooks or navigate the building the same way typical students do without the tools they need. But schools expect students with autism to. Far too much  is asked of teachers and students and no tools are provided. How do I know? I’m the mother of twins with autism. I wrestled myself with the schools. I’m now teaching in a public school and I see the lack of support with my own eyes. I experienced the lack of support when the twins were growing up and homeschooled them for almost all their elementary and junior high years.

My book about my twins with autism. Release Date: July 2017!

When I speak of support, I’m not talking moral support. I’m talking about visual boundaries, a 1:1 aide, visual schedules, and the most important thing of all: keeping the student with autism meaningfully engaged. An engaged student doesn’t have negative behavior. Yes, there are exceptions. There are students who refuse to be engaged. I understand that. But most negative behavior stems from students not being effectively, and meaningfully engaged. The activity must have relevance. It must have a clear beginning and a clear end. Students with autism can’t be expected to sit in an open-ended classroom without proper guidance and 1:1 support.

Society, in general, likes to call kids with autism brats. Americans and the world in general are sick and tired of hearing about autism. But they’re obviously not tired enough because we don’t know why 1 in 42 boys have autism now. When will the experts take a good hard look at this epidemic? When the statistic becomes 1 in 2?

When people told me that I needed to spank my sons with autism, I invited them to my house for one hour. One hour. Spend one small hour with my sons and tell me that all they need is a good spanking.

Funny. No one took me up on it. Doesn’t matter. I guarantee you they wouldn’t have lasted more than five minutes back then. (We’ve come a long way!)

Society also wants to believe the rumor that more kids are diagnosed with autism because it’s the new trendy disorder, much like they assumed ADHD to be in the 90s. But that argument doesn’t hold water because autism is the only disorder dramatically on the rise while intellectual disabilities, Down Syndrome and Cycstic Fibrosis remain relatively the same. Something is wrong. Very wrong. And whether or not we find out the reason behind these brains that fire differently and explosively, we’ve got to address the current crisis effectively. Most public schools simply don’t.

My challenge to you is this: find out how your school supports students with autism and then let me know in the comments below.

Does your public school have:

  • A sensory room for students with autism to calm?
  • Teachers trained in autism teaching techniques?
  • Lessons provided in an accessible way for the student with autism so they can learn the same material in their own way?
  • Visual schedules?
  • 1:1 trained aids for students who struggle with volatile behavior? (Not rotating aids — the same aid every single day)?
  • Lessons/activities that provide clear beginnings and endings?
  • Social Stories?
  • The use of video technology to help the student with autism decipher social cues?
  • Extensive social skills and behavior training for the student with autism at the preschool-3rd grade level?

My guess is the answer is no. And folks, that’s just the basics a school should be providing. Just. The. Basics. Instead, most schools are terrified of having to provide something like the list above because it may cost more. Well, guess what. We either take care of the kids diagnosed with autism intensively at the preschool-3rd grade level, or we support them the rest of their lives.

So, until the public schools stop brushing students with autism aside (and hoping and praying to God that their parents will remove them from school and keep them home), kids like John will continue to be arrested, handcuffed, and taken to juvenile detention centers for overnight stays. (I can’t imagine the horror his mother and he went through. She wasn’t even warned of any warrants for his arrest!)

It’s unconscionable. Frankly, it’s child abuse. Students with autism need advocates to stand up for them. I hope you’ll join me in adding your voice to mine.

Public School’s Answer to Autism: Jail first appeared on KarlaAkins.com. Karla Akins is a public school teacher and the author of A Pair of Miracles: A story of autism, faith and determined parenting published by Kregel. Release: July 2017.

Steampunk Hat Phase 2

In which my cat, Spook, looks like an alien cat come to abduct my hat

In which my cat, Spook, looks like an alien cat come to abduct my hat

It’s finished! I wish I had time to model it for you, but I’m way behind packing for the ACFW Conference, so I’ll have to take pictures at the genre dinner and post them for you then. In the meantime, here’s a very short video of Spook checking it out. Of course, anytime I start to video my pets they immediately decide not to cooperate.

The lighting was awful when my son took pics of the hat, so I had to enhance them a bit. They don’t at all capture its essence. Yes, it has an essence. I promise.

The bow is much prettier and doesn't look so oversized in person.

The bow is much prettier and doesn’t look so oversized in person.

 

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If you can’t tell, that’s a bird’s nest on the top with an old key.

Here’s a video. Still doesn’t have the same pizzazz as in person, but you get the idea! Remember, my character is a steampunk biologist (naturalist, but it’s Christian steampunk so I say biologist; it’s complicated).

What do you think? Did I overdo it? Do you like your steampunk more streamlined? Let me know in the comments below!

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Tweet this: Check out this amazing steampunk hat!

Public Shaming

Who gossips to youwill gossip about youEveryone’s talking about it. The recent scandal of a popular homeschooling family has tongues wagging all over the world. And even if I don’t mention their names here on this blog, chances are, you know exactly who I’m talking about.

And it’s not all our fault. The family put themselves out there for public consumption. Except that, I like to think they started out as a family who saw an opportunity to share Jesus with the world in a unique way. Maybe I’m naive, but that’s how I like to think it started.

As a former homeschool Mom myself, I know the idealism I embraced in those days. Looking back, maybe I was a little too idealistic. There’s no real way to know. But I don’t regret homeschooling. I wonder sometimes about some of my choices because I know I’m far from perfect. But I also know that my choice to homeschool my children was made prayerfully each year. I never took the decision lightly.

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HOMESCHOOL-COMICS

It makes me sad to see a family taken to task for something so humiliating in such a brutal way. I feel for the parents. I feel for the children. It breaks my heart because I know how it feels.

No, I don’t have my own reality  TV show. But I’m a pastor’s wife in a small rural town. We live in a glass house. Always have. And it’s not been easy on my children. Yes, we chose to be in the ministry. But that doesn’t mean the pain of public humiliation doesn’t hurt just as much.

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As a mother of sons who made mistakes as adults, I can identify with the TV mother’s grief. I know what it’s like to be publicly humiliated as a family. The emotions are overwhelming and confusing.

But I still don’t understand the delight people have in pointing their fingers and wagging their tongues. Even before my family went through such things I never liked the way TV programs and newspapers convicted people who were charged with crimes before they went to trial.

I’m not siding with any crime. I don’t condone crime or abuse of any kind. But it does trouble me to watch people rush to harsh judgement as if they’ve never faltered or made a mistake themselves. But for the grace of God none of my mistakes have been hung out for the world to see. How many of those who point fingers have sin in their own lives?

Judging others doesn't define who they

I suppose there have to be harsh critics in the world or we wouldn’t have judges or law enforcement officials. I know I wouldn’t make a very good one. I believe every soul is redeemable. I believe that wrongs can be forgiven and that no one is perfect. Mercy is, thankfully, one of my gifts. That doesn’t make me better than anyone else. It just means I’d not make a very good supreme court justice. I’m more of a defense lawyer-type than a prosecutor. And that’s okay because society needs both.

Homeschool families who believe in the Word of God as their guide aren’t perfect. I know for myself, I cling more desperately to His Word because I know how weak I am, how fallible, and how at risk I am of falling. It’s what holds me up. It’s what keeps me from making mistakes I’m sure to make without its guidance.

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People see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe. You can’t reason with unreasonable people. Those who hate that TV family will continue to hate them. And I hope the ones that love them will continue to pray for them but also learn some valuable lessons:

  • No one’s perfect.
  • Every family has secrets.
  • People delight in your shortcomings–suck it up and hold your head high.
  • You aren’t what people say you are, you are what God says you are.
  • This world is temporary but your relationship with God and others is not.
  • Pray for your enemies.
  • Pray for each other in the Homeschool/Christian community.
  • Be careful who you idolize and look up to because there are no perfect families or Christians.
  • You aren’t supposed to be idolizing anyone on this earth in the first place.
  • The only one who will never disappoint you is Jesus.
  • Follow Jesus not other Christians or Christian leaders.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.
  • Some sins have harsher consequences than other sins but there is no sin too great God can’t forgive.
  • Some things aren’t any of your business.

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There are a lot more lessons to be learned and it’s a shame we’re learning them at the expense of a very nice family. I hope and pray you’ll join me in praying for them and for those who love to hate them. They need Jesus, too.

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?  (Romans 2:1)

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Rejected best-sellers

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Today I’m the blogger over at Hoosier Ink, so please visit and leave me a shout out!

To go along with that post, If You Never Try You’ll Never Know, I thought I’d highlight a few best-sellers that started out as rejects. Hopefully this will encourage you to keep writing no matter the rejection.

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anne

aaseagull

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aatwi

animalfarm

aaaseuss

aaaaachicken

aaawrinkle

DaVinciCode

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Of course, there are many others I could list, but I’m busy writing the next best-seller. (Hey, you gotta have dreams!)

What’s a favorite book of yours that started out as a reject?

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Happy Thanksgiving!


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “H”

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Tonight we’re having our family feast. But this morning I’m going to the high school to the twins’ Life Skills Class for a pre-feast! Their special education teacher is amazing and the class puts on quite a spread. She goes way above and beyond. Before I leave to go this morning I’ll put my own turkey in the roaster.

turkey

The rolls are made, all the pies and the Cherry Fluff.  The green beans are ready to go. I wanted to get more done yesterday but I’m fighting some sort of sore throat thing again and just didn’t have the energy. So today I’ll finish up the corn pudding, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing. Yes, this is a carb-filled feast. Oh. Yum.

pic novemberThis year is very special because I’ll have all my sons at the table for the first time in almost three years. I’ll also have four granddaughters and some friends. And while most people will be enjoying their feast on Thursday, I’ll probably be sleeping.

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Food is a funny thing. I’ve noticed that it puts all the men in my life in a great mood when I’m in the kitchen cooking. I get more hugs and kisses. Whether we like it or not, we humans do equate food with love.

foodequalsloveAnd I’m grateful on this Thanksgiving to have so much of both, aren’t you?

Have A Doggone Happy Thanksgiving

What are your family’s favorite dishes at Thanksgiving? What kind of stuffing do you serve? Corn bread, oyster, or traditional? Weigh in!

And have a doggone Happy Thanksgiving!

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G is for Gratefulness


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

This post is brought to you by the Letter G

Gratefulness.

It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

My life is in an uncomfortable place financially. I get discouraged that at my age, I’m still struggling.

treewind

Of course, this is because of choices we’ve made: to minister in the rural United States. We have no retirement because of this choice. We have no savings. No insurance. And it’s easy sometimes for me to feel afraid and scared if I think too much about the future and “what ifs.”

If I’m not careful, I can get into a mode of whining instead of praising.

nowhining

I can get into a rut of trying to figure it out and fix it myself. Applying for jobs (as if I have time for one more job), looking for a greener pasture, begging God for an answer, feeling neglected because I don’t have a nicer house, or car or whatever temporal thing the enemy throws up in my face to cause me to think God loves others more than me.

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But as I’ve wrestled with this season of discontent, God has sent me answers: Be Still. Be grateful. Trust.

Be still? BE STILL? That’s hard for a fixer and a doer! Very hard! But He has confirmed it to me in several ways. First, through a message preached on a Sunday morning, and through scripture I’ve read. Then, in a tiny gift I received weeks ago but just today found and opened. It was a magnet that said, “Be still and know that I am God.. Psalm 46:10.”

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I laughed when I saw it. Okay, God. I get it. I get the message. You’ll take care of me while I obey. I trust You even when it doesn’t make sense and all around me is debt and bills and a scary economy. I trust You the way the little birds do. You are up to something good on my behalf. I receive it. I need only to be still (Exodus 14:14).

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How fitting at Thanksgiving time that God would remind me of the need for gratefulness in overcoming fear for the future. I believe that gratefulness is what leads to contentment.

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The little sparrows aren’t fretting about tomorrow. They aren’t thinking that God loves them less because their nest isn’t as fancy as an eagle’s. They aren’t looking at those eagles and wishing for bigger wings.

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If the little birds can praise Him in their humble nests, then I, too, must praise Him and be grateful for the innumerable things He’s given me. My list of things I do have outnumbers what I don’t. This life is but for a season. I’ve lived most of my life with this realization. And I need to recognize when the enemy comes to fill my thoughts with fears and discontent.

Why should I worry_ Why should I (2)

I may never have a white silk couch or a beautiful mansion on this earth. But my ultimate destination is much more than I could ever imagine. When I’m feeling neglected because my furniture is worn and my car is rattling, I need only remember the priceless gift of His love.

His grace is more than enough.

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All the more reason to give thanks with a grateful heart.

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Don’t hate me because I’m doing NaNoWriMo

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I owe my current writing career to NaNoWriMo. I latched onto this November madness like it was a precious diamond in 2003 and I have yet to let go. I am quoted in the founder’s book, No Plot No Problem. As I’ve said before, I blame Chris Baty for the madness I experience now as a struggling writer.

no-plot-no-problem-baty-chris-9780811845052Way back then, I even had to borrow a lap top from Chris to participate. That’s when I learned I really could power through 50K words and not die. And once I did, I had the bug. There was no way I could live the rest of my life and not write stories. Up to that point, I thought I could only write non-fiction. I had no idea what an art fiction was.

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I’m a tough customer. Fiction has to be deep and I have to learn something from it in order to read it. I have many more nonfiction books in my library than I do fiction. I’m an insatiable life-long student. My kids say they can’t remember a time I wasn’t going to school and learning something new.

nanowrimoA lot of novelists think that NaNoWriMo is for beginners, but I’m here to tell you that writing 50K words in 30 days is nothing to sneeze at. And to think I did it the first time without a thought as to an outline or destination. I’m impressed with the person I was back then. I just sat down and wrote by the seat of my pants. I think the thing that separates me from a lot of people is that I’m not afraid to try and fail.

_You never fail until you stop trying._ (2)

This year I’m taking some college students with me on this crazy journey. We’re getting together tonight for a pep talk and will get together each week between now and 50K words. I’m excited because I love mentoring young writers.

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Why don’t you do NaNoWriMo? And if you are doing it, what drives you to participate? Let me know in the comments below!

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C is for Church

the-shepherdess

I love this painting. I have a copy of it my mother gave me when I graduated with my degrees in theology. It’s a beautiful symbol to me of a pastor’s wife.

As you may already know, Church is a huge part of my life as a pastor’s wife and associate minister. (Yes, I’m an ordained minister. I don’t crow about it much because I enjoy my role as a pastor’s wife and more people identify with it.)

There are a lot of people missing out on church these days and guess whose fault it is?

Those who go to church.

Yup.

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Here are some statistics to chew on regarding church attendance from Thom Ranier’s book, The Unchurched Next Door and other sources:

  • “Eighty-two percent of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited.”
  • “Only two percent of church members invite an unchurched person to church. Ninety-eighty percent of church-goers never extend an invitation in a given year.”
  • “A study including more than 15,000 adults revealed that about two-thirds are willing to receive information about a local church from a family member and 56 percent from a friend or neighbor. The message is clear that the unchurched are open to conversations about church.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research

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  • “Four percent of formerly churched adults are actively looking for a church to attend regularly (other than their previous church). Six percent would prefer to resume attending regularly in the same church they had attended. The largest group, 62 percent, is not actively looking but is open to the idea of attending church regularly again.”–Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research
  • “Clearly we can encourage Christians to pray that the unchurched would sense God calling them back, but God works through His people.” “The survey showed that many would respond to an invitation from a friend or acquaintance (41 percent), their children (25 percent) or an adult family member (25 percent).” –Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research

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  • The issue of affinity also surfaced in the responses. Thirty–five percent indicated that they would be inspired to attend church ‘if I knew there were people like me there.’” –Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research
  • “Much to the surprise of the ‘Chicken Little’ crowd, people are still going to church. And more people would attend if given one simple thing—an invitation.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research
  • Most people come to church because of a personal invitation.
  • 7 out of 10 unchurched people have never been invited to church in their whole lives.

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  • The top “rational” reason adults seldom or never attend church is they don’t agree with organized religion or what they preach (24 percent).
  • “Perhaps one of the most underestimated reasons people return to the church is that someone simply invited them back.”
  • The U.S. Church is in a general state of decline, with fewer than 20 percent regularly attending church. This suggests that 7.9 million people may be leaving churches annually–that’s 150,000 each week!  Thom Rainer/Sam Rainer –Outreach Magazine

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  • The study revealed that 63 percent of Americans are willing to receive information about a local church from a family member, and 56 percent are willing to receive it from friend or neighbor.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research
  • A majority (66 percent) of Americans are unwilling to receive information through an e-mail message, and 70 percent say e-mail would be ineffective in getting them to visit.
  • “Americans wanting to find out more about God look to the Bible first (33 percent) but are willing to engage Christian friends and family members as well to discover more about God.” – Philip Nation

Ask yourself this question: why don’t I invite more people to church?

Here’s a hilarious video that addresses the issue of inviting our neighbors. It’ll make you giggle. I think giggling makes us less afraid.

So, do you see yourself or others in this video? I’d love to share the chuckle with you!

Take a step of faith this week and invite someone to church!

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A to Z blog hop at Patterings.


Strong Girls aren’t ashamed of their Christianity

Stronggirlslogo2We are living in troubling times as Strong Girls. Which is why now, more than ever before, it’s important to remain strong and firm in our faith.

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Christians throughout the world are dying for believing in Jesus. Maybe you think this will never happen to you, but I’m sure other Christian women and girls in the world thought the same thing.

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Mariam Yehya Ibrahim is one of those women. She was put in prison in her own country (Sudan) for being a Christian and for marrying a Christian. Even though she had her little boy with her in prison, and was also expecting a baby, she refused to renounce her faith.

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All she had to do to get out of prison was tell the prison authorities that she would become a Muslim and deny Jesus as her Savior. She was hungry. She was carrying a child. Her little boy was hungry, too. But she refused to renounce her faith. What a strong woman.

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I wonder — are you that strong? Am I?

Mariam revealed the secret to her strength in a recent interview on Fox News. It wasn’t that she had her own superpowers, but the power of faith: “The situation was difficult but I was sure that God would stand by my side. I relied only on my faith.”

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“When I was in prison I was only thinking about my children and how I was going to give birth. I was most scared of giving birth in prison…I gave birth chained — not cuffs but chains on my legs. I couldn’t even open my legs, so the women had to lift me off the table.”

Meriam Ibrahim with her daughter, who was born in Omdurman women's prison last week

Because of the way she was forced to give birth, her baby girl may never walk.

While you watch the video below, think about what you would do in these circumstances. Someday you may need to take a stand for your faith. As a Strong Girl, you, like Mariam, will need to draw on the strength that comes from faith in God.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” Zechariah 4:6b.

Be Strong Christian T-shirt

Tweet This: Is your faith strong enough to be tested?

When autism parents kill–it has to do with hope

autism-1As a parent of twins with autism, I know what it’s like to feel desperate and alone. I know how it feels to have doors close and be left with no one to help carry the load. Professionals go home to their families, most don’t have any idea what it’s like to live with the turmoil. They get to sleep through the night without worrying if their child will harm themselves or wander off.

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Maybe you’re reading this and you have a child with autism. Like me, you probably think you’d never entertain the thought of murdering your child, no matter how desperate your feel. But we have to remember that our experience with autism isn’t another parent’s experience.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not condoning murder in any way shape or form. I think I’m trying to understand the emotions that drive someone to do such a thing.

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And I do get it. I do. When you are screaming for help and no one comes, you feel backed into a dark corner of no hope. I believe it’s loss of hope that causes parents to kill their disabled children. At least, I think that’s what happened in the case of Dorothy Spourdalakis who murdered her severely autistic son, Alex Spourdalakis, age 14, last year. (You can read the story here.  It’s compelling. Sad. And too often a common story regarding severely autistic children.)

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But in the case of Gigi Jordan, I’m not so sure. In that case it appears it was a selfish act. Or was it? Could it be true that she killed her son in order to protect him from an abusive father? It certainly can’t be true that she couldn’t obtain services for the child. She’s a millionaire. If she couldn’t obtain services, then who can?

Cases like this are just one reason I was prompted to write a book about autism (My book, Autism: Practical Help and Spiritual Hope for Parents, will be available in April 2015). Parents need to know there is definitely hope in this journey. Hope doesn’t make the road easier, but it makes it bearable.

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Autism isn’t who my children are. It’s a name of a disability that causes significant challenges in socialization, speech and behavior. All people with disabilities are precious. planned for and valuable to God. As much as I love my children, I know that God loves them even more, and He has a plan and purpose for their life. I sincerely believe that if we pray and ask God to send us help to cope, and what services to access, He open the doors. At least, that’s what He’s always done for me.

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As I wrote in my book:

“With God all things are possible” Matthew 19:26. I clung to that scripture and believed it the entire time
my twins were growing up and I continue to hold on to it today.  Things I thought they may never do, they’ve done. More than I ever imagined.

God’s Word tells us that we can’t begin to imagine what He  has in store for us (1 Corinthians 2:9). I can testify to this.

I will admit, when I see children suffering, I have a lot of questions for God. This is when I lean on the faith that God knows what He’s doing and He is up to something good, whether we see it right now or not.

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As a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), I see children suffer more than I want to. Life is hard and I certainly don’t want to minimize anyone’s pain. I know what it’s like to feel alone and hopeless. This is why it’s important that Christians reach out to hurting families. If they reject our offers of help, then at least we’ve tried. Without the hope of Christ, what hope is there, really?

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All human life is sacred because we are created in the Image of God. Murder is never the answer to the frustrations of parenting a child on the autism spectrum or a child with any kind of disability. Yes, it’s difficult. But it’s do-able. More than that, it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. The struggle has been worth the benefits. My sons love me with the purest form of unconditional love I’ve ever known besides Jesus’ love. They are truly God’s gifts to me.

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The following video was prepared for Sanctity of Life Sunday which is in January each year. If you’d like to be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves, you can find information here: BeAVoice.net.

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