May 29, 2008


I cannot claim to be all that political. I do the best research I know how of the candidates and issues and I make sure to vote! It's an American thing to do. It's something our soldiers fight for, our freedom to vote and for other freedoms as well. I am truly grateful for the men and women who are serving our country! THANK YOU!

I want to encourage you to read my husband, Sean's, blog The Observers Desk. Today's post is very insightful. I have never known Sean to be misquote the truth about anything. He was a newspaper reporter for over 25 years so he knows how the media can spin an article. I have found that Sean has been a writer of upper most integrity and has reported the truth about what he was reporting about. Please take the time to read his blog. He is a gifted writer and very intelligent. I am sure he would love to receive comments and I am positive that he would take the time to respond to your comments as well.

Be aware of how you vote for and or may vote for for president. I believe it is our duty and right to vote! It is also our duty to be aware of the candidates and make wise choices. To be honest I do not like any of the three running. But I still have to pray and ask God to shed His light on the darkness and help me make the right choice.

Go Check out The Observers Desk!

May 27, 2008


Well I wanted to wait till I had pictures from Sunday night's event but unfortunately I did not have my camera and my friends camera did not take good pictures that night. But I am excited to share some great news! As those of you that read my blog know Sean is the pastor of Creal Springs A/G. This month has been a month of baptisms. We have had a total of 7 youth ages 6-10. Now normally my husband would be leery of baptizing a 6 year old. But let me tell you something. This 6 yr old is one special kid! When asked, "Why do you want to be baptized?" He has stated numerously, "Because I want to live for God!" When ask, "Why do you want to live for God?" He states, "Because He loves me and He thinks I'm special!" We happen to agree with this wonderfully created 6 yr old!
SO who is this wonderfully created 6 yr old you might other than our Kristofer!! So let me tell you about what happened. On Sunday night Samantha was being baptized. Afterwards, Kristofer yelled out, "I want to be baptized, I want to be baptized!" Before I knew it he had his shoes off and was ready, as soon as Sean said ok come here, Kristofer was in the baptismal. He was smiling from ear to ear. Sean asked him if he wanted to say anything and he said, "I love Jesus!" I wasn't sure how he was going to react to being baptized, remember he has Sensory Processing Disorder....awaiting further testing for autism. Bath time is always draining for us. He loves the pool so I was hoping no screaming. He did great! When he came up out of the water he was like a fire cracker!
Have you seen adults that are baptized and come up out of the water praising God and occasionally are just so over whelmed by the presence of God they have a difficult time getting out or are so excited they are shouting and praising God? Well Kris was shouting and smiling and was jumping up and down. He was full of electric! Once I was able to calm him down long enough to get him redressed, he was bouncing around the sanctuary! So excited! He actually asked me to call his grandma Dede in Florida and his one true friend other than Jaron, Jay Short in KY. Jay and Kris have a unique friendship. Jay has called Kristofer, Christopher Robin since birth. So sweet that Jay is. Jay is autistic. His parents, Marty and Micheal are our best friends.
I have never seen Kristofer this excited or happy, well since we went to a dinosaur exhibit at a museum. We are so proud of him. I am the children's ministries director at our church. I primarily teach children's church but also fill in when necessary for Sunday School. I love teaching the kids. There are times when I don't feel like I am making any progress. But Sunday I realized that even when Kristofer doesn't seem to be tuning in in children's church, he really is listening.
Case in point, Sunday I was teaching about communion. He was in a corner of the room doing his thing, coloring on the chalk board and playing with his boat. I don't mind as long as he is quiet so I can teach the lesson. After the lesson is over I ask questions to see who was listening and who gets an extra piece of candy...candy is my best friend!
So I asked, why do you take one answers but Kristofer...."Because Jesus did just like the Israelites (he called them Issy people)." When I asked what the elements are symbols for Kris said,"Jesus' body and the blood he bled on the cross of us." All the while with his back to us coloring on the board. He listened to everything, digested it and was able to tell me what it is and why. How amazing is that! I had no idea he was even listening!

Update on the worst teacher of the year....

Yes I said it! This teacher does deserve the worst teacher of the year award....if anything for a VERY bad judgement call!

St. Lucie teacher reassigned after student 'voted out' of class
By Colleen Wixon

Originally published 10:12 a.m., May 27, 2008 Updated 01:40 p.m., May 27, 2008

PORT ST. LUCIE — Morningside Elementary kindergarten teacher Wendy Portillo has been reassigned until further action may be determined, according to St. Lucie County School District spokeswoman Janice Karst.
Last week, Portillo held a vote in her classroom in which kindergarten students "voted out" 5-year-old Alex Barton, who was in the process of being tested for Asperger's Disorder, a type of high-functioning autism. Alex's mother, Melissa Barton, said the vote was taken after classmates were allowed to tell Alex what they didn't like about him.
The class voted Alex out of the room, by a 14 to 2 margin.
Portillo was reassigned out of the classroom at the district offices on Friday, as soon as Schools Superintendent Michael Lannon heard about the incident, Karst said. She said it could be up to two weeks before the district's investigation on the matter is concluded.
Portillo has been a St. Lucie County teacher for 12 years, and at Morningside Elementary for nine, Karst said.
Barton said Tuesday morning that Alex had officially been diagnosed with an autism-spectrum disorder and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. He is not in school, but misses the one friend he made in the classroom, she said.
"He's a little better today," she said. "He's just being Alex."
Barton said she thinks Portillo should be fired.
"She has no business being near children at all," she said.
As to the news of Portillo being reassigned, Barton responded, "That's just a slap in the face."

© 2008 Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers

May 24, 2008


I first heard about this situation on another blog,
I have included the whole article on my blog as well. This really upsets me! I have close friends that have children who are autistic, PDD-NOS, and have Sensory Processing Disorders. I would be raving lunatic if this was to happen to my Kristofer! As a parent you trust that you can send your child, whether special needs or not, to school and the teacher will at least protect them from being bullied! In this case, not only where the students being bullied but the teacher was the leader of it! If the school board does not fire this teacher then that school board needs to be removed from their positions! This is a huge case of bullying! It's hard enough dealing with a child with special needs, the fighting a parent has to do to make sure their child receives a quality education is hard enough. Many of us with special needs kids do our best to protect them but in this case I could never imagine this happening! The teacher does not need a slap on the wrist but needs to be fired! If my child was in this class and was made to participate in this kind of thing I would still be upset! We teach our children to love your neighbor as yourself. We teach our children that no one deserves to be made fun of! This is just....well you read the article and if you blog make a point to spread this around. The more people that know what is happening the better!

St. Lucie teacher has students vote on whether
5-year-old can stay in class
By Colleen Wixon

Originally published 01:50 p.m., May 23, 2008

Updated 04:30 p.m.,

May 23, 2008

PORT ST. LUCIE — Melissa Barton said she is considering legal action after her son's kindergarten teacher led his classmates to vote him out of class. After each classmate was allowed to say what they didn't like about Barton's 5-year-old son, Alex, his Morningside Elementary teacher said they were going to take a vote, Barton said.

By a 14 to 2 margin, the class voted him out of the class.

Barton said her son is in the process of being diagnosed with Aspberger's, a type of high-functioning autism. Alex began the testing process in February for an official diagnosis under the suggestion of Morningside Principal Marsha Cully.

Alex has had disciplinary issues because of his disabilities, Barton said. The school and district has met with Barton and her son to create an individual education plan, she said. His teacher, Wendy Portillo, has attended these meetings, she said.

Barton said after the vote, Alex's teacher asked him how he felt.
"He said, 'I feel sad,'" she said.

Alex left the classroom and spent the rest of the day in the nurse's office, she said.
Barton said when she came to pick up her son at the school on Wednesday, he was leaving the nurse's office.

"He was shaken up," she said. Barton said the nurse told her to talk with the child's teacher, who told her what happened.

Alex hasn't been back to school since then, and Barton said he won't be returning. He starts screaming when she brings him with her to drop off his sibling at school. Thursday night, his mother heard him saying "I'm not special."

Barton said Alex is reliving the incident. They said he was "disgusting" and "annoying," Barton said. "He was incredibly upset," Barton said. "The only friend he has ever made in his life was forced to do this."

The child's mother filed a complaint with the school resource officer, who investigated the matter, said Port St. Lucie spokeswoman Michelle Steele said. But the state attorney's office concluded the matter did not meet the criteria for emotional child abuse, so no criminal charges will be filed, Steele said. Port St. Lucie Police is no longer investigating, but is documenting the complaint, she said.

Steele said the teacher confirmed the incident did occur.

St. Lucie School's spokeswoman Janice Karst said the district is investigating the incident, but could not make any further comment.

Vern Melvin, Department of Children and Families circuit administrator, confirmed the agency is investigating an allegation of abuse at Morningside, but said he could not elaborate.

What I want to be when I grow up.

A few weeks ago the area classes of 2020 (Kindergarten) had a project given to them. They had to answer two questions: What do you want to be when you grow up? and What will you need to do the job? They were then to draw a picture about it.

The above picture is Kristofer's! He answered, "I want to be a fireman!" (like his Uncle Bryan but he didnt write that, he just said it) He then went on to list everything he would need; a firetruck, a hose, a hat, boots and jacket, and a ladder. Oh his list was much longer but he didn't want to write it all out and that was part of the project.

Those that participated were then published in a local paper. One child's picture from each class was published. Each participating class was also photographed and placed in the newspaper as well. We are so proud of Kristofer that he wanted to participate. It was optional but he had fun doing it.

No matter what we trust the Lord has big plans for Kristofer. What is interesting is he is fascinated by fire. We have to hide the matches and watch him closely if we have candles lit. He likes to burn paper and blow the matches out. A bit scary for us because he just doesn't get that fire burns skin as well. It doesn't matter how much we tell him it will hurt he comes back with "No it won't!"

May 20, 2008

Living with SPD

In our house we are constantly waiting for a melt down. We do our best to avoid it but sometimes things happen that just can't be changed. I am talking about Kristofer. Right now we are waiting to find out if he will be accepted for the first level of testing for autism at Southern IL. University. The school did run a GARS-2 test and it came up inconclusive. A bit aggravating but a step in the right direction to push forward. Now we are very aware that Kris has Sensory Processing issues and that may be all that he is dealing with. It is true that many autistic children deal with Sensory issues but it is not true that all kids with Sensory issues are autistic.
So to make sure what Kris is dealing with is strictly sensory we are moving forward. It may be weeks before we know anything about the next step for evals. But at least we have started the process. We are a bit aggravated with the doctor we had in Florida. Although the care was good and we never had a problem getting an emergency appointment when the kids were sick we feel Kristofer's case was not handled well. We found out just 2 weeks before we moved to IL that the doctor had "just" read all the reports that had been sent to her about him from the OT, Behavioral therapist and speech therapist. They had recommended him being eval'ed further with a specialist. Something we found out right before we moved. At that point it was too late to start something. We being new to the area it has taken us a bit of time to figure out what to do and where to go but God has shown us.
That being said, let me tell you what we have dealt with the last 2 days. It is never the same thing that sets him off. Due to my knee Sunday morning I was unable to attend service. Which I hate but had no choice but rest it. I was in more pain than I care to be in all due to the cartilage. I can't wait to get it fixed! Anyway, Sunday night we had two boys getting baptized so I made sure to go with the kids. When the kids are going to be in the main service I try to make sure to bring paper and crayons to keep them busy. It always helps Kris, Eli and Sara. That night Kris was very agitated by what I don't know. But another little girl at the church wanted to sit with us. Usually Kristofer likes her to be with them. They are in the same class at school so they know each other. Well this little girl was invading his personal space, touching him, touching his paper, sitting very close, Kris kept moving away I kept telling her to move away from him and finally he had had enough of her. He screamed at her during worship time. What didn't help and probably sent him over the edge was the electric guitar at that moment got louder. He was screaming, and crying it hurts my ears, it hurts my skin, it hurts my body. Eli was sleeping on my lap so I had to quickly lay him down and got Kristofer into my arms. Very difficult to do with my knee locked.
I ended up holding him very tight with one ear against my chest, my hand on his other ear and just rocked him. He just cried, softly and pressed deeply into me. It helped him calm down and he was able to return to drawing once the worship service was over. I could have left the room with him but he has to learn to work through these situations. We do not baby him or protect him from things like this. It is our belief that he needs to work through these touch situations and if that means staying in the midst while we help him self regulate through it then that is what we do. Thankfully once I held him super tight he was no longer a distraction for the others, had he still continued to scream loudly I would have removed him from the room. He has a really hard time with worship and we only have the acoustic guitar and the electric guitar no drums, piano or other instruments beside my tambourine. Now let him beat the tar out of the drums he does fine...other times not so good.
Then yesterday he was under responsive. We could not get him to wake up for school, he was super slow moving and just in his own world. Took a bit of doing but a little tickling and deep pressure and he was up and moving. At night he has some how got in his head he gets to watch 2 movies before bed time. Which is not the case. But for 3 weeks we have dealt with outbursts of crying and screaming at bed time. He is only allowed one movie before bedtime. Last night it took him forever to calm down enough to get in bed. Then Sean got mister Tido (our rabbit) and did bunny stories for the kids. Eli was bothering Kris, talking loudly and touching him and Kris lost it and hit Eli in the nose to get him to stop. Which just made things worse cause then Eli was crying and Kris was in trouble and unfortunately Sean is still learning how to handle situations like this with Kristofer.
I ended up having to go in and hold him tight, get him to breath deeply and help him calm himself down. He was sobbing so much he could barely breath which was sending him into panic mode. Which is not good at bed time or any time for that matter. WE did the PBJ Jam. PBJ jam is when we pretend to make Kris into a PBJ sandwich. I smear on peanut butter pressing deeply, glop on jelly like karate chops, and then place the bread (blanket) on him and squish (the jam) out of him. He loves it. we always finish with me acting like I am eating him. It helps him calm down. Gives him the deep pressure his body needs to calm down and given a minute or two and he is so relaxed he falls asleep. Or at least that is usually what happens. Last night it calmed him down but he ended up trading places with Jaron so he could have personal space in bed (normally sleeps with Eli on the full bed on the bottom of the bunk bed). We placed all his bears around him snugly and I had to tuck him in tight. A few minutes later and he was out. I was exhausted and the house was finally quiet!
Bed time is and has always been a struggle with Kris. He can go like a tornado in a corn field all day right up to the minute its bed time and sometimes he falls o sleep so fast you wonder what happened to the energy and other times he is still like the tornado in the corn field for hours past his bed time. When he was toddler it was worse. Oh my gosh when he was a baby ..... no give and take had to be in his bed tightly wrapped no clothes just diaper and everything quiet. Once he was asleep we could add the noise but he had to be in his bed, on schedule or watch out we would have the Tasmanian devil on our hands! He still likes to be in his own bed or with his own blanket and bears. IF we stay in a hotel the tornado takes hours to fall asleep. Change is not something he adjusts to well. He does better now that he is older but when he was little, he just didn't like things to change.
SPD...doesn't just effect the child but the family! We do our best to help him and the other kids are still learning just like us on how to deal with his quirkiness. He is still such a blessing to our home! Do I wish he didn't have to deal with this stuff...YES! But God made him this way and there is a reason. We believe he is going to be used to glorify God though his life! For more info on SPD check out the like on your right for Sensory Processing Foundation.

May 18, 2008

A mighty wind...

Well this weekend has been full. Full of spring cleaning the church and a bit of things around the house. Yesterday the kids were outside playing and Jaron and I notice Snowbell ( neighbor cat that gave birth on our porch just 23 days ago) disappeared under the ramp my dad built for me. So Jaron took a peek to see what she was doing and surprise! Two little baby noses peeked back at him. So cute! They were wrestling each other. Snowbell walked out and they followed. We scooped them up and brought them inside. I cleaned up their faces. Covered in dirt but so cute. We took some pictures, both appear to be boys, healthy and so cute! Did I say cute?! Here are the pictures I took.

See I told you they are cute. Jaron has named them, Socksy and Mister Mickey. Mister Mickey is in the front. Socksy is the one we saw born, all four feet are white socks.
The kids have fallen in love with them. We put them back out with their mommy. I was sure she would take them off somewhere but she apparently feels safe with them under the ramp. She brought them out this afternoon and they were wrestling with her near the opening. The kids love seeing them play.

Then today... A MIGHTY WIND CAME!
I am completely honest I have no idea where the wind came from but it came fast, strong and at the most inopportune time! Sara was opening up our front door which has a porch door that opens out. As she was opening that door, the wind caught it and threw it back against the house with her in tow! She went flying through the air, hit the wall while holding the door and landed on the ground after hitting her knee on the wagon and hit her right check on the concrete porch!

She had a nice goose egg on her forehead and some nasty scrapes on her check. But thankfully no broken bones or concussion. She will most definitely have a nice shiner in the morning. Poor thing! She was so shaken up she just sat in my lap with tears rolling down her cheeks shaking!

I have to say God was watching over her. Had she fallen an inch in the opposite direction she would have landed on a shovel that had been used to plant some flowers. Thank you Jesus for watching over my baby girl, again!

May 16, 2008

A Small a huge plan!

This morning during my devotional time I turned to 1Chronicles 28. A bit of the story line...King David has assembled at Jerusalem all the leaders of Israel. Basically all who served him and had authority over the peoples of the nation. He is explaining to them why he has not fulfilled his promise to build a temple for the ark of the covenant of the Lord. He explains he had every intention of doing it and even has all the materials and the spirit guided plans ready to do so but God stopped him. King David had a plan, a desire, a dream to do something big for God and was ready to go forward with it but God stopped him. The Lord stepped in and said "nope this is not going to be about you! It's not about you getting the glory! Its about Me, David! You have been a man of war and have shed blood." (my version) It was as if God was saying I gave you the dream but its not yours to see it completed. It's as if God is saying, "I have started something in you but you have to let it go and hand it over to the Me and trust Me to fulfill the dream." Now normally the reaction would be, 'but I did all the work, I got all the materials, I have the plans, it is my plan, my desire, my dream.'

But this is not how King David reacted. You see as soon as the Lord said, "No to David He also said but!" You see David was favored by God and David had God's promise that it was through his family that God's kingdom was and is established. When God says, "but wait..." we need to stop and listen. You see even though King David was a man of war he also was a man after God's heart. So David listened and learned that although the dream of building the temple for the ark was his desire God showed David how He had plans to fulfill it. God told David although your hands will not build the temple your son Solomon will.David shares what the Lord has said to him to the leaders. He then looks at his young son Solomon and admonishes him. In verse 9 David tells Solomon,

"Get to know my God, have a personal relationship with Him, be acquainted with and understand Him and appreciate and heed Him, and serve Him with a blameless heart and a willing mind. For the Lord searches all hearts and minds and understands the wanderings of the thoughts. If you seek him (inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him as your first and vital necessity) you will find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever." (Amplified version)

Just a little bit later David tells Solomon in verse 20:

"Now be strong and courageous and do it. Fear not, be not dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail or forsake you until have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord." (Amplified version)

A few things stand out to me in these passages.

First, David's attitude. Instead of being angry at God for not letting him complete what he has started he willing said, "Ok Lord, I lay my plans down at Your feet and will trust You for the outcome." There are so many times we make plans even though they may be great and even God given plans, sometimes what we think will happen isn't what happens. David took time to seek the Lord for the plans for the temple. He took time to store up the provisions needed to build the temple. He has set in motion his plans to do this for God. But God had bigger plans. Sometimes we are the feet, the arms or even the head of a plan. Sometimes we play a small part and other times we play larger parts in God’s plans. It's not our job to question God what our part will be but to trust God for the outcome. It isn't always easy to do this. To lay your plans down and say, "Ok God it's Yours and I will follow what You want me to do." It's our human nature to say, " But I did all this work, why can't I see it come to pass, why can't I be the one to finish it!" God wants us to have a heart that truly seeks Him and is willing to lay it down!

Secondly, what stands out, is David's love and fatherly advice to Solomon. We see this greatly in vs. 9 & 20. He tells Solomon to not only serve his God but to cherish Him, "to require Him as your first and vital necessity" and if he does that Solomon will find Him. God's favor will rest on him. But if he forsakes (turns completely away from him or renounces Him ) God will cast him off forever. Those are some strong words David says to his son. Many people quote this scripture this way, "If you seek Him you will find him..." but what David is saying is not to just seek (search) for Him but make it your priority, make knowing Him a vital necessity. How many of us do this? How many of us make knowing God and His plans for our lives a priority and a vital necessity. Oh we may say, "God is top priority in my life." "God comes first above all else!" But does He really? Are you tithing? Are you reading the Word daily? Spending time in prayer daily? Serving in the church? Or do you give a little here and there and sit on the pew? Or maybe you say, "I love God and can serve Him without doing those things."

Would someone show me some where in the Bible that says, "You don't have to serve him, that says you don't need to go to church, that says it's ok to give just an offering and not your tithe?" No ,the Bible actually says, "Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves" (come together to worship the Lord - we do that by going to church!) (Heb. 10:25) The Bible says about tithing, "Will a man rob or defraud God? Yet you rob and defraud Me. But you say, In what way do we rob or defraud You? You have withheld your tithes and offerings.' 'Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse." (Mal.3:8 & 9a). In 1 Peter 5:5 it states, "Clothe yourselves with humility (as a garb of a servant) so that its covering cannot be stripped from you..." Basically serve others! You do this through a variety of ways but not by sitting on the pew when there is work you could be doing inside and outside the church!
David took this opportunity teach Solomon! To admonish him to make God a vital necessity in his life. As parents we have to do this. The Bible says, “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will return to it.” How many of us are doing this? And I am not saying, how many are sending your child to church expecting the church to teach them! The Bible does not say send your child to church and expect them to learn enough to return to what they have been taught when they are older. No! It says, “Parents teach them…” (Deut. 11:19). It is our duty to teach the children. It is our duty to lead a life that does not contradict what we tell them to do and live. I was watching Rachel Ray (I love her show!) yesterday (Thurs.) and Super Nanny (Jo Frost) was on. Rachel was giving some kids a chance to ask Jo some questions. One little girl stood up and asked, “Sometimes when the phone rings my mom tells me to say she is not there when she is standing right next to me. Why is it ok for me to lie then when my Mom tells me all the time to not lie?” I though it was a great question! I also liked the response that Jo and even Rachel gave. Basically Jo look at the mom and said you’re sending mixed signals to your child, that‘s what answering machines are for, to screen your calls. Then Rachel jumped in and said, if the phone rings and you just can’t talk, be honest and say I’m tired, I’m busy, I’ll call you later or tomorrow.
But just like this example how many of us are not teaching our children through our actions as well. Don’t expect your child to be perfect or learn everything at church. As a children’s church pastor I can tell you I have those kids for 45-60 mins a week! You as a parent have them 24 hours a day (minus school, work ect...t you get my point!) Its your job and mine as a parent to teach our children! Admonish them in the ways of the Lord! Not don’t make them feel wonderful all the’s what’s wrong with the world today! A feel good society, make me feel good or I will quit, leave or give up! What happened to common sense and discipline? It’s time we take back our kids from “society” and teach them morals, teach them the ways of God and encourage our children to make God a “vital necessity” in their lives! Parents….one last question… God a vital necessity in your life?”

May 11, 2008

Best Gift for Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful Moms out there! Especially to my mom! Mom, I love you! Thank you for all you have done for me throughout my life. I am truly blessed to have you as my Mom!

Today our family not only has celebrated Mother's Day but I received the best gift a Mom could get! My oldest son Jaron and two other children were baptized today. What a wonderful day in the house of the Lord today! Everything went smoothly and beautifully this morning during our worship service! Sara, Eli and Kristofer were so excited to see Jaron get baptized this morning. Kris wanted to be baptized too but he doesn't completely understand it so he will wait till he does. Eli was so funny, he said very loudly, "WOW, Daddy pushed Jaron under water!" Which got a few snickers around us. We are so proud of Jaron as well as Sabrina and Hannah who also were baptized. As Sean began to share how excited and what an honor it is to baptize his son, his voice cracked and I believe he shed a tear. What a fantastic day!

Next week we have a few more children who will be baptized. As the children's pastor and for Sean being the Senior Pastor it is our greatest honor to be a part of this wonderful experience with the children in our church. Watching them grow spiritually and step out in faith proclaiming their love and stand for Jesus is a wonderful thing to watch. All in all today has been a blessed and wonderful day!

May 8, 2008

"Prisoners of Hope"

A friend sent me this today and I found it to be very encouraging...hope you find encouragement through it as well!

"Prisoners of HOPE--What Feels like a Prison Cell to You, God Sees as a FORTRESS" There are times during the birth of your destiny that you feel as though you would like to give up hope, but God will not let you. It feels as though you are held captive by hope.

"Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope..." Zechariah 9:12

There are times during the development of your dream when your hope seems to have turned into a prison. You cannot make your dreams come true, and you find it impossible to stop believing in them. You cannot go forward any faster than God will let you, and you cannot return to where you once were before you became pregnant with the promise from God. God will not let you give up! During this time you might feel like saying, "Okay, God, this is enough! I don't want to hope anymore! I am tired of being pregnant with this promise! I want out of this prison of hope!"

It is during this time that your dreams feel so real to you, yet to others they are not. The conflict between what you feel in the Spirit and what is evident in the natural grates at your soul. You feel much like you are on a Ferris wheel. You have your up times when you can see your dream's fulfillment far into the future, but you also have your down time when you cannot see anything. You think to yourself, "Am I crazy to think that God could use me?" The enemy comes in like a flood and you begin to doubt, causing anguish to your soul. This is the time when God is doing His greatest work in you.

It is because He Loves You

You feel as though you are ready for your destiny, but once again God directs you back to the refinery for more tweaking. Oh how weary you are of the awful refinery and that seemingly endless tweaking. "Okay, God, You can stop now," you scream. But He does not stop. You are caught in a prison of hope and He will not let you out until He is finished with what He began in you.

It is like a child who has a sliver. They do not like the pain the sliver causes them, but they hate the misery of having that sliver taken out. Getting the sliver out is important, but they do not necessarily understand that. Even if they did, it is hard to keep still while it is being pulled out. Well, we all have spiritual slivers that we need God to take out, and sometimes it really hurts, especially when the sliver is way down deep in your heart. This is when the refining process REALLY hurts, because He is getting down to the very core of your soul, to the deep regions of your heart. He is developing things in you that you did not even know that you lacked; things you did not even know that you needed. You think, "Okay, God, this is deep enough." But every builder knows you must dig down deep to lay a proper foundation first, before you start to build upward. And the greater the height of the structure, the deeper the foundation must be.

It is because God loves us that He will not allow us to enter our destiny until our foundation is secure. If He has held you back and you feel like a prisoner, He has done it out of love for you. He does not want to see all that He has worked to build in you crumble, because He did not take the time to develop a sure foundation. He loves you that much! Even though it hurts you, He needs to hold you in the prison cell of hope until it is safe for you to come out. Even though you are sick and tired of hoping, of believing, of waiting; He will still make you hope, believe and wait even longer. And this can be the hardest thing He has asked you to do yet. But when you feel like giving up, but continue to carry on, you beginto sense a strength rising in you that you did not know you possessed. And really you did not possess it previously, because it was your reward for enduring this painful process. It is a gift from God that the enemy cannot take away from you, because you have earned it.

Held Captive by Hope

In the word of God we can find many people who have been held captive by hope. For examples, there are Moses, Joseph, and Abraham. But I think my favorite is David. It is his honesty in the face of misery that attracts me to him. God had promised David the Kingdom of Israel, and Samuel had anointed him for it (1 Samuel 16:13). But after he had been anointed as king of all Israel he had to go back to tending the sheep. It was many years before the promise ever came to pass for David, and he spent many of those years being chased by the man whose throne he would inherit. I am sure he never dreamed, back in the pasture on his father's farm, that he would have to hide out in caves or that he would pretend to be a crazy man in order to save his life. After all, God said he was going to be a king. A king does not have to do things like that does he? In Psalm 119:82, David cries out to God in song and says, "My eyes fail, looking for Your promise." I can relate to that. It feels sometimes as though the promise will never be fulfilled. But in fact, it was fulfilled for David and it will be for you too, if you do not give up.

Hopeless, No. Helpless, Yes! Do you feel sometimes as though you are hopeless? Well, you are not without hope; you are not hopeless, but helpless. God has put you in a position of helplessness or complete dependency on Him and you are helpless to help yourself. You struggle to gain back some measure of control over your life. But your pride (that you did not even know that you had) is being crushed, and the only thing for you to do is to surrender. You may feel hopeless, but really it is the condition of helplessness that is causing you pain. God wants you completely dependent on Him, and He will keep you a prisoner of hope until you are.

Return to Your Fortress

Your fortress is trusting in a loving God. Trusting Him in spite of all the reasoning of your mind; in spite of the circumstances that surround you. You were content to give God control of your life until He decided to do something with your life you did not like. You were happy to surrender all to Him, until He decided to give your promotion to someone else. You believe in His sovereignty, until His sovereign will conflicts with your will. Then you are sure He has made a mistake. You want to run from Him, but He is your refuge. How do you run from your refuge? How do you run from the only One who really loves you or understands you? The answer don't.

So, return, myfriend, to your fortress and remain a prisoner until He is done with you; until He decides you are ready for all that He has for you. What now feels like a prison cell to you, God sees as a fortress. And of course He is right. He loves you and if you give Him control of your life He will guard it for you. Perhaps what feels to you like a prison cell, may really be your place of safety and protection. David did not like being in a cave, but it saved him from King Saul. You may not like the circumstances you are in now, but do not run from it. It may be what is saving your life!

Double for Your Trouble

The second half of Zechariah 9:12 gives us the answer we are looking for. Why are we going through what we are going through?

It says, "Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you."God says, "Even now I announce to you that not only will I restore to you all that has been taken from you, but I will give you double for all the trouble you have endured." He says, "Don't stop now...keep trusting Me, because I can see your future and it is very blessed. Keep walking with Me and keep trusting in Me and I will give you rest.""Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest"(Matthew 11:28).

When we have learned to "rest" in God in the midst of our storm, God is mightily blessed. Because it proves to Him that we trust in His goodness no matter what our circumstances are. It pleases Him very much when we trust in Him, and when He is pleased He will burst forth blessings from Heaven. He just cannot help Himself, He loves to bless those who trust in His goodness. He, as He did for Israel in Zechariah 9:12, will stand up and announce to all that He is proud of you and intends to restore double to you for your continued trust in Him through all you have endured. And this is the beginning of your dreams coming true. Enjoy it, friend, because you have waded through the river of adversity and your heavenly Father is proud of you.

Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope...
Victoria Boyson
Speaking Life Ministries

May 5, 2008

Thoughts I'm grappling with....

Some of you may wonder where I have been the last few days. Some may not care where I have been. That's ok too! To be honest I have been grappling with what to write and if I should write. I have been grappling with if I am doing the right thing for Kristofer or not, as well. Some people when I tell them we are looking into evals for Kris to see if autism is a factor in his behavior look at me and say, "It's about time!" Other say, "He is fine, you just have to discipline more!" And still others say, " I am making up the behaviors and he is just fine!" It's the last two responses that really make me mad! They have no idea what it's like to live with a child like Kristofer. There are days that, "yes he seems like a normal little energetic boy" and then there are days that, "he seems to be somewhere else and you have to draw him into your world!" Many days it seems like the later.

Today was a mixed day. It was skate night at church so off we went to the skate rink. All of the kids grabbed a friend and off they were, having a blast! Kris loves skating and for not being the most balanced kid he does fantastic! But as I watched all the kids, he was alone most of the night unless Jaron went and got him. He pretty much skated alone to his own music in his head enjoying himself but alone. When I asked him if he had fun he said, "oh yes I like skating!" I asked him if he felt all alone since no one skated with him, he says " no, I like being alone, I don't have to talk to people then!" When he makes statements like that it breaks my heart. Yes I am happy that he is happy being alone but at the same time I wonder if he even understands what he is missing by "being alone".

I asked him once what his world is like, "its quiet!" was his response. He likes quietness, so do I but not all the time. He is a remarkable little boy! And so as I am filling out the GARS-2 assessment forms and filling out other forms for SIU I wonder what they will tell us about Kristofer. I know what the Bible tells us...He is wonderfully and marvelously made by the Creator of Heaven and Earth! He is our miracle and no matter what a piece of paper may say about him I know My God in Heaven has awesome plans for him! I hold on to those promises and will till they are completed in him.

Oh I should share, God has remarkably opened doors for us. Kris is being assessed for autism through the school district but is also going to be evaluated at SIU (Southern Illinois University) at their Autism research program! They also offer therapy services! We have been told that they are the top of notch when it come to this program in the state and in the nation. Whats better than that...the college is only 40 mins away! So God is working on behalf of our Kristofer! You see he is a child of the King of Kings and God's favor is upon our Kristofer! We hold fast to that and claim that for him!

SO that is what this momma of four is thinking and grappling about. Just trying to do my best for my boy and for his siblings as well. Man, motherhood sure is bad it doesn't come with some kind of written manual...oh's called the BIBLE!