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Reconciliation

Sometimes, while reading my Bible, I find a passage reworking itself in my head. No sacrilege, just applying it to my current situation.

I know what it is to respect the Lord, and when I try to see through His eyes, I know He wants me to try to persuade others to follow His example, advocating for children and for reconciliation.

God knows my intent is pure and I hope you can see this, too. When I write about the our lives, I don’t write to brag or in hope that you will hold us up as an example of perfection. I write to give you hope and the knowledge that you are not alone. To be honest, some people think we are out of our minds. If we’re insane, we’re crazy with intention. Christ loved everyone, and His love compels me to love others, specifically vulnerable children with no protector.

He died for everyone and rose again, to show that He is making a second chance available to every individual. If He wants to give a second chance to all, how can I do otherwise? Because of what He did for me, how can I do anything but live for him and do my best to advocate for those who need help?

I used to see through my own eyes, but now I try to look through the eyes of Jesus. Anyone who sees through His eyes sees in a new way. God reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the example of the ministry of reconciliation. God reconciled the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.

And He has now given us the responsibility to spread the word; it is our duty to promote reconciliation. We choose to be ambassadors of this great love; God is making this appeal through us. I implore you on behalf of Jesus: be reconciled to God and bring reconciliation to others, so their lives and families will be preserved. 

2 Corinthians 5:11-21, UCV (Unauthorized Casey Version)

Reconciliation is a lifelong ministry of bringing others to know a great love. What better example of God’s love and reconciliation than the love of a parent who will do whatever it takes for a child?

The initial intent of the foster care system should never be to remove children from their original parents.

Sometimes, as in our situation, the abuse is so great there is no other choice, but in many cases, the biological family simply is missing something necessary to survival. Helping a family achieve reconciliation and forgiveness is an amazing opportunity.

Before I truly understood foster care, I was one of the would-be adopters who refused to consider foster care because “it would kill me if the child were removed” from my home after I’d formed an attachment. I’ve heard this sentiment from a number of other people.

We need to reconsider our understanding of foster care. It is not a means to adopt (although this may happen). It is a ministry of reconciliation.

God gave us the original blueprint, doing everything possible to create a connection. We need to approach foster care in a similar manner, being willing to do everything we can to enable families to remain together.

Your thoughts?

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Blogging Joke

Know why Jesus would be great at blogging?

If you correctly guess the answer, I’ll write a post involving your blog. 🙂

And….go!

Hint: he’s got lots of what every blogger wants!

Targeting Target, Part 1

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Photo Credit: Mike Mozart

Hooooo-kay. I stayed out of this as long as my sense of right and fair and safe would allow.

Just to be clear, let me start here:

I am a no-holds-barred, Jesus-following, Bible-quoting, EVERYBODY-loving kind of person.

When one of our friends complained about hypocrisy among Christians who claim to love but won’t get their hands dirty, Hubby paid me the highest compliment I’ve ever received.

That’s true about some people, but Casey doesn’t care if someone is a CEO, a gang member, the President, a prostitute or a homeless guy who stinks to high heaven. She’ll sit right next to any of them. And she’ll talk to them to death and probably end up hugging them. 

I think everyone should be treated with fairness, respect and love. EVERYONE.

EVERY. ONE.

What people choose to do in their own time—and what people choose to believe is right or wrong—is not my responsibility or my problem.

Telling others what they’re doing wrong is not my job.

Some of my friends would argue that if we don’t help people see that they’re not perfect, they’ll never see a need for Jesus, since he died to take the punishment for sin.

Here’s how I see it: if we don’t LOVE them, they might never see a need for Jesus. Why would anyone want to join a team that picks on them?

Let’s apply “tell them they’re bad” logic to regular life:

Job Offer

“Well, your resume isn’t that great, and you don’t really have the experience we want, and you didn’t dress appropriately for the interview and honestly, we don’t really like you. But we’ve got an opening we have to fill. Want the job?

Vs.

“To be honest, your presentation could use some work. However, we feel you have incredible potential and we’d love to train you. Want the job?”

Marriage Proposal

“Hey, would you like to marry me? I mean, you’re not really good enough for my family, and in fact, they don’t like a lot of the things you do, but if I vouch for you, they’ll accept you.”

Vs.

“I love you more than life itself. I would die for you. Will you marry me?”

Adoption

“You come with a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT of baggage. You make it insanely hard for anyone to get close to you. In fact, you’re actively pushing us all away with your horrendous behavior. But, I’m going to sacrifice all the fun in my life to find a way to help you, because that’s the right thing to do.”

Vs.

“I know you’ve had a tough life, but my love for you is bigger and stronger than any hurt you’ve experienced, and we’re going to survive this together. I love you forever and always, no matter what. Would you like to be a part of my family?”

Love, not hate, is the answer.

Jesus never taught his followers to be judgmental.

In a recent conversation (okay, argument) with a friend, I stood my ground as he clung to the idea that we should tell people they’re sinners. We discussed the story of the woman caught in adultery (that story is a whole other post in itself) and brought to Jesus by the religious leaders.

My point: he didn’t let any of them judge her, and in fact he embarrassed them so much that they all left.

His point: Jesus told her he didn’t condemn her, but to stop sinning.

My point: Jesus is perfect. If he wants to talk with someone about sin, he can. That’s HIS job, not mine (because I’m certainly not perfect).

Side note: Jesus loves you and has a beautiful plan for your life. If you’d like to discuss that, I’m happy to help.

Jesus never taught his followers to discriminate.

In fact, he was always in hot water with the big-time religious leaders of that time because he hung around with SINNERS. Prostitutes, thieves (the tax collectors were notorious), drunks, liars, potty-mouths* and guys with anger issues.

He helped them change their lives by teaching and loving them.

If you can find an example of a time Jesus was mean to a person because they weren’t following him, let me know.

AND

If you can find a time when Jesus fought back against something he didn’t approve by using deception, I’d like to hear about it.

Up Next: The Point.

 

*You know the story of when Peter denied he knew Jesus during his trial? The third time someone bugged him about it, he got so mad he cursed. Ever thought about the fact that someone could spend three years with Jesus and still be a potty-mouth? That sort of blows my mind. And makes me feel like less of a failure when I screw up. 

Suicide Rates are Higher in Autistic Adults.

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Photo Credit: Helen Harrop, Suicide Survivor

One of my blogging buddies wrote the article below. When I wrote my Suicide post, she mentioned that the original title could be misinterpreted by adults on the Autism spectrum. I reworked a couple areas of the post for clarity, then asked if she’d be willing to write a piece about suicide and Autism.

If you’ve been reading Hypervigilant for a while, you know I have strong feelings about the need to understand those with Autism. Her writing definitely supports that goal. Every sentence of this post is worth your time. And if you don’t already follow her blog, you should. She’s phenomenal.

**********

Another blogger asked me to write this. After a misunderstood blog post title apeared that they posted. With all the noise about vaccines and Autism in children, a very serious matter is being over…

Source: Suicide rates higher is Autistic adults.

If I Stay

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the trailer describes what’s inside my head.

Temporal. Fleeting.

A short time. Like a mist. Snap of the fingers. Don’t blink.

We are separated by so thin a fabric from the other side. We ignore reality, go about our business. Our lives.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the knowledge of how quickly life can end. I gaze around the room, arrested in the realization that one of us could be absent at any moment. The immediacy of impending change.

An unexpected gust extinguishes the flame. The Daylily blooms in the morning, opening bright colors to the sun and by evening shrivels to nothing.  In an instant, our bodies become a shell, a container empty in sudden finality.

I forget, at times, that this is not ‘my’ life. It is easy to settle into comfort, expecting certain players and characters to appear, disappear, reappear.

But we are reciprocal performers, all bearing roles in The Grand Masterpiece. Every performance, every pageant demands the inexorable curtain call.

Nothing but a moment separates us from leaving it all behind.

I wrote the above while sitting in a church service. A heavy feeling descended; the almost-knowledge of impending change. That someone would soon lay down the script.

I make no pretense of having a direct line to the future, but the weight of that sense was undeniable. Looking around the room, I wondered who it might be.

The retired Army general, always at attention? The empty-nest mother? The ancient farmer decked out in his silver and turquoise-studded leather string tie? The young woman with a heart condition? The middle-aged man with cancer? Me?

What bars our heart from stopping, keeps lungs from failing, prevents our brain from declining to send messages?

No one died that day. Or that week.

I felt better. But still, the visual of the Daylily haunted the edges of my thoughts.

The following Saturday, I attended a ladies’ create-something-cool event at our church. I learned how to pronounce decoupage.

My friend Ana, curves added by her pregnancy, approached with questions about heart surgery. Her baby girl had a heart defect similar to my son’s. They would perform surgery soon after birth to close the hole. She even had the same wonderful surgeon. Still, she twisted her coarse, dark ponytail with nervous energy.

She relaxed as we talked, as I praised the surgeon, as we smiled over my son’s quick recovery. She walked away.

Four days later, I received the message from another friend. Ana had a stroke. She was unresponsive. The baby might die.

I thought of the movie and wondered if she could hear everything around her.

Texts, phone calls and prayers—sad, desperate, hopeful—punctuated the night.

Moved to a better hospital, she did not wake. More prayers, more calls.

Eclampsia.

While souls hovered, her two beautiful boys said goodbye to their mother and the sister they would never know. Her husband released his wife and daughter. His loves.

Within hours, they were gone.

Sons bereft of mother, husband lacking loving partner, friends without her shining presence. All left destitute.

Just before the funeral, I found the note and remembered the feeling. It returned with concussive force.

I’ve only now been able to write this.

We have no promise of tomorrow. For that matter, no assurance of today. No guarantee that I will draw another breath.

But I have hope.  Do you?

1 Peter 1:3-5

Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy he has given us a new birth and a living hope. This hope is living because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He has given us new birth so that we might share in what belongs to him. This is a gift that can never be destroyed. It can never spoil or even fade away. It is kept in heaven for you. Through faith you are kept safe by God’s power. Your salvation is going to be completed. It is ready to be shown to you in the last days.

 

 

 

Forgive them?

Father, forgive them

they don’t know what they do

Father, forgive them

they do not have a clue

Father, forgive them

please take my life instead

Father, forgive them

put the price on my head

Father, forgive them

I know all they’ve done

Father, forgive them

hear your only son

Father, forgive them

***

Today it occurred to me that when he was pleading on our behalf, he was even forgiving the shooters in Kenya. As one of my young friends says… “mind…blown.”

I wonder if my capacity for forgiveness will ever be anywhere close.

Probably not.

Be

I don’t generally post my poetry, but found this in one of my old notebooks and I still like it. 

Be

shining daylight for the blind

swift transport for the lame

love for the unlovely ones

balm soothing all in pain

hope for mothers in sorrow

recognition for one ignored

open to hungry homeless

a shield from vicious hordes

life for the man who’s soulless

friendship for the bereft

comfort for grieving soldiers

bright joy for the depressed

a voice for unheard children

in doing this we’ll see

the hands and feet of Jesus

are what we’ve come to

be

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