Saturday, April 12, 2014

Real Hosannas



This weekend is Palm Sunday. It's the time when we focus on the humble Servant riding into town on a donkey, and the people anticipating salvation...of some kind. He gave such hope, such power and such zeal for a cause. Then He died.

I often wonder what it must have been like for His disciples during that time. Ignoring Jesus' warnings that He would suffer and die, they continued to look for a different kind of victory. A more worldly, physical kind of victory. Hoping He would take over the world then and there, and they would be right by His side. "Hosanna" being shouted in the pep rally...save NOW! What disillusion must have been felt at His death. What doubts and fears must have invaded. When things die, or appear dead, we lose faith and give up. The impossible...miracles...don't enter our thoughts. Regret, confusion and fear seem to be our response of choice. Why can't we trust Him? Why can't we expect divinity and wait for Him to do the impossible?

We want good, righteous things...but we want them NOW...and we want them as we imagine them. This veil of humanity, our limited imagination, our carnal desires prevent us from thinking like Him. They prevent us form seeing reality...beyond this world and it's definitions of success and goodness. We are bound by time and perceptions. To see reality we have to trust and wait. When God speaks, it is as good as done. We have to learn how to press the hold button and listen to the elevator music until He delivers. Doubts are ok as long as they don't derail us from believing what God has already said.

That moment when our dream bleeds, moans and cries "It is finished", can be a defining moment for the follower of Christ. Did I hear Him wrong? Didn't He say "I have come to set the captive free"? I think that time between the crucifixion and the resurrection would have been emotional torture for me, had I been there. Sometimes I am there though. That time between the promise and the fulfillment. When we disciples often get depressed, hide and grope for direction. All we see is a grave, all we hear is silence and all we smell is mhyrr. I want the Easter story to remind me of unseen victory. To keep the invisible in sight and to learn how to walk through the lying images all around me, yanking at my faith. Palm branches make me think of a different world and a warmer climate...unlike the one I see now. Save me now Lord, from worldly perceptions and the captivity of it's lies.

God is never a liar. He cannot disappoint and will not fail you. No matter how wrong we are, how we mess up or how dead a promise may look. Shout hosanna, wave whatever party favors are in your reach and lay them at His feet. He is in town bringing victory...a kind of victory we cannot imagine.

 "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
 Ephesians 3:20-21

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cautiously Excited


I hesitate to write this post. I'm afraid it's too good to be true...that it'll stop being so wonderful as soon as I proclaim victory. I have to though. Some of you may need to know.

As many of you are already aware, my third child, now 12, took about three years to learn to read. I mean, just to be able to learn letter sounds and decode words. I think it took him a half a year just to learn his colors before that. I knew there was a problem, just didn't know exactly what that was nor how to deal with it. Having a degree in Special Education only helped be decide what it wasn't. Not having thousands of dollars to spare prevented me from going after an "official diagnosis"...plus a label wouldn't help him read better. With much prayer, determination and hard work he and I soldiered through the years and had him reading at about a grade 3 or 4 level (and not enjoying it) by the beginning of this school year. My creativity and scientific nature came in handy during these years as I attempted my own "therapies" and resources. 

Just after Christmas I came upon Dr.Dianne Craft's Brain Integration Therapy. I had been reading much of her information and was sure that my son had "disnomia" or some such glitch...and I liked her philosophy of learning and approach to these learning obstacles.Without writing any fancy name on a sticky note and pasting it on his forehead, I continued to follow the bread crumbs. A generous friend "happened" to own the BIT manual and let me borrow it for awhile. With my usual skepticism, we tried it out. The immediate effectiveness must have been a coincidence...he was just having a good day...or he wanted it to work. It has been two months of trying it out and he is still having a good day...every day...for two months. 

Reading is not nearly as labored for him. He yawns less. He corrects his own mistakes and laughs at them. He is reading an actual novel. He not only can spell the words on his word lists correctly, but doesn't need me to dictate them to him...he remembers each of them in the order they appear on the list. I'm a little dumbfounded. Now if he can finally recall his Sunday School teacher's name (that he has known all of his life), I'll nominate Dr. Craft for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The really nice thing about this therapy, is that it isn't a curriculum. I can still use all of my own material and just implement her methods into it. A tasty  DHA vitamin and about 15 minutes of her exercises in the morning and we are off to a great start. I'm thinking that this method is going to be more of a lifestyle than a program...like eating wisely and exercising daily rather than dieting. I may even try it myself so I can fight the mid-life memory loss monster.

I am prepared to humble myself and recant my position on this therapy if for some reason we fall back to the old usual...but this teacher-momma is feeling a little more optimistic than ever before. Although I'm not searching for gold and I do not collect Smurf's (anymore), I feel the cautious excitement of Gargamel and share his victorious, almost mad-scientist chuckle.