Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Personal Testimony of God's Grace in Facing a Giant

On Sunday morning May 24, I delivered a testimony at STARS Family Retreat about the giant I face. Below is the best reconstruction of that testimony:

"I come to you this morning not in great preparation, but somewhat consistent with the statement by Jesus 'When you are brought before kings and governors on account of my name, take no thought for what you will say. Just say whatever is given you at that moment. For it will not be you speaking, but my Father in heaven.' I know the situation is different, and this verse does not condemn preparation, but God oftentimes prepares me that way.

I guess the concept I came in this morning with is 'Make much of Him, and little of yourself' That will be the guiding principle. There are several verses in the Psalms that highlight the supremacy of God.

But the giant I face is me. Yes, you are seeing right.

The reason I say that is because since I was a child and all the way until now, I believe I have had an undiagnosed but very real cognitive, social, and emotional dysfunction or problem much like Asperger's

This manifests itself in circular thinking, obsessions, lopsided abilities, and social awkwardness. It has led to a lack of professional development. But while this giant is real, so is the grace of God that not only is sovereign over it, but also working through it.

Recently, a series of life-rocking events brought this to a head. One of these in early 2007 was when I pulled into a physical for a job that ultimately did not work out. At the physical, I was discovered to have a blood glucose level of 330. This meant diabetes. Now that was not ultimately a big deal, as a lot of people have type 2. My obsessive thinking and fears, though, led to a dramatic weight loss of 70 pounds in 9 months. This was achieved through medication and a lot of discipline. Around August of 2007, the emphasis on discipline led to memorizing Scripture in the book of Isaiah. To this date, I have memorized 14 chapters.

In December of that year, I found that my autistic son was picking all of this up as I reviewed the verses, and when he was able, we became a team--I would start out the verse and he would complete it. We are talking whole chapters worth! There is no way to overestimate what the Word of God has done for me as I have memorized this book. He has given me insights into virtually every verse--so much so that I can see the Gospel in even the obscure passages not well known to many. I feel that sometimes I could write about this forever. And all of that is to His glory! It is an awesome thing to behold, and now I have a ready resource to share and use anytime I desire. In my jobs, everything is not great yet, but God is using my analytical ability forged in the obsessive thought to write marketing copy and articles for a Christian businessman in the garage door business. My employers really appreciates them You can pray for the ultimate success of that and similar endeavors.

But having a child with autism and another with Asperger's is a serious vexation, and I do not want to minimize that. It is not a place for a circular thinker. Severe depression, anxiety, and despair lurk, as it seems at many times to be unfair. But God has worked in that. When you have no resources and throw yourself on his mercy, great things happen. You know there is a sovereign God when, you are thinking in a circle and getting depressed, and prayer to him in realization of his sovereignty leads to his 'straightening out' the circle to form a straight path. And then you notice that the others are on the path. And they need your insights even as you need theirs. And maybe (no, definitely) we can help each other! I believe this is what the 'one anothers' of the Bible are all about.

I really enjoy and appreciate the beauty of art and music. I see my children as artwork. You know, even as the sun shines on the just and the unjust, it shines on the able and the disabled. I love to see Dave's green eyes with the sun sparkling in them. Even something as simple as that. This speaks to me of God's grace to me and him. And it gives hope in a loving God which sustains me in the tough times with him.

And there are many other ways I could tell you he has ministered to my and my family through this. I am privileged to be here and share this with you this morning."