Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sensory Sunday

Getting sensory kids dressed is never simple or easy. But when you are trying to get kids ready for church, it somehow makes everything more complicated. This morning was slightly easier than Friday, but today I wanted to get somewhere by a certain time. Not a good situation. 

My youngest son usually has trouble with pants; the waistband bothers his tummy. So, he is very picky about what goes around his belly. Today, after convincing him to wear clothes (as opposed to pajamas) to church, the pants went on easily. It was the shirt that didn't work. Once I buttoned the sleeves, he couldn't stand the sensation of the cuffs on his wrists. So, we tried a few different shirts before finding one he could tolerate. 

My youngest daughter usually struggles with shoes. And she was true to form today. Her shoes didn't fit. They were shoes she picked out. So, she decided she didn't want to go to church. I gave her the option of wearing shoes or going barefoot. She didn't have the option of staying home. So, she found shoes that DID fit. They were fluorescent orange, with bright pink buckles; not exactly a good color match with a red and black dress. But, I figured shoes were better than nothing. We headed off to church. 

Barely out of the car, my sweet girl began to meltdown, because of her shoes. Again, she demanded to go home. Again, I gave her the option of going barefoot. Her daddy offered to carry her. She refused. All she could think about was the discomfort of her shoes. Panic, induced by the overwhelming input from her uncomfortable shoes, brought on tears (in the girl, not the parent). Finally, we were able to get her inside. Finally, both kids went to their classes and we went to church, albeit thirty minutes late and rather frazzled. But we made it. 

Some days, I don't have the energy for such challenges. Some days, I simply want to get kids up, get them dressed without difficulty, to be able to walk out the door when it's time to leave, and not have to think twice about sensory issues. That is not my life. My children will always be "sensory kids." We can help them in some way. We can provide them with a rich daily sensory diet, we can help them learn to accommodate their most challenging sensory issues, we can help them achieve a high level of function in a world that can so often be overwhelming. But it is tiring, emotionally and mentally. And some days I just don't want to do it anymore.  

Samson's Secret of Success

Samson and success aren't always two words people think of in the same sentence. Honestly, does Samson really seem that successful? After all, he disobeyed God, he married (or tried to, anyway) a Philistine woman, and died a slave. This man who was set apart for God from before his conception, who never (willingly) cut his hair, who God called a judge in Israel; this is the man who defied God's ways, at almost every turn.

Just where is Samson's success? It certainly isn't obvious. The most common sermon topic I've heard on his life is definitely not dealing with success. It is usually an example of why we need to obey God, and what happens when we walk in opposition to God's ways. And with good reason. Samson definitely walked in defiance of God's Law - the very law he was ordained (from before his birth) to uphold!

Yet, when you look past the obvious, a precious nugget begins to emerge, precisely because Samson didn't care about walking on obedience to God. The power of the Spirit came upon him at times, but it wasn't because Samson wanted it. God used Samson to judge the Philistines, but not because Samson wanted to be used, or even submitted to God's authority. And yet, Samson still ultimately accomplished what God ordained him to accomplish.

The reason Samson was successful is because God worked through Samson's life! His purposes were not thwarted, regardless of Samson's attitude, behavior, disrespect, or arrogance. In the end, Samson accomplished exactly what God wanted him to. The angel who spoke to Manoah's wife said, "...he shall begin to save Israel from the Philistines." Judges 13:5 ESV. And he did.

But take a minute to really examine the nugget; God accomplished what He'd planned through spite of Samson's attitude AND behavior.

Samson didn't submit to God's authority. He wasn't indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He didn't obey God's Law; the only part of his oath that he kept was not to cut his hair, and that was probably because of his own selfish pleasure of being strong!! Samson didn't care. The average follower of Jesus, however, cares...deeply.

If God could accomplish His purposes through Samson, who was SO not seeking to be God's vessel, what can God do through His people who truly desire to, in our frail, broken ways, walk in His way? If God can work through Samson, He can work through anyone! And that gives me peace, comfort, and confidence.