Unfulfilled dreams

Many years ago my mother gave me a tape that had recordings of Martin Luther King’s lesser-known speeches and sermons. They were fascinating and I discovered that behind the image of the great historical figure, there was a man who simply had a heart for God. He was a man who doubted, who got tired and discouraged in the face of indescribable adversity (- jailed over 18 times, nearly stabbed to death, his house bombed 3 times). But he always came back to trusting in His Lord and standing in courage on his faith.

His sermons continue to speak to me in the midst of my own journey.

Once he preached a sermon entitled Unfulfilled Dreams. I am there now, in the old country church of hard wooden pews and no air-conditioning, sitting in unfulfilled dreams. I am moving to the sounds of Yes and Amen, the tapping of feet, the flapping of cardboard fans from the local funeral home. I am hearing the voice of Jesus, say still to fight on.

Oh this morning, if I can leave anything with you, let me urge you to be sure that you have a strong boat of faith. The winds are going to blow. (Yes) The storms of disappointment are coming. (Yes) The agonies and the anguishes of life are coming. (Yes, sir) And be sure that your boat is strong, and also be very sure that you have an anchor. (Amen) In times like these, you need an anchor. And be very sure that your anchor holds. (Yes, Glory to God)

It will be dark sometimes, and it will be dismal and trying, and tribulations will come. But if you have faith in the God that I’m talking about this morning, it doesn’t matter. (Yes) For you can stand up amid the storms. And I say it to you out of experience this morning, yes, I’ve seen the lightning flash. (Yes, sir) I’ve heard the thunder roll. (Yes) I’ve felt sin-breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul. But I heard the voice of Jesus, saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, (Yes, sir) never to leave me alone. (Thank you, Jesus) No, never alone. No, never alone. He promised never to leave me. Never to leave me alone. (Glory to God)

And when you get this faith, you can walk with your feet solid to the ground and your head to the air, and you fear no man. (Go ahead) And you fear nothing that comes before you. (Yes, sir) Because you know that God is even in Crete. (Amen) If you ascend to the heavens, God is there. If you descend to hell, God is even there. If you take the wings of the morning and fly out to the uttermost parts of the sea, even God is there. Everywhere we turn we find him. We can never escape him.

~Martin Luther King, Jr., from Unfulfilled Dreams



The Speech Maker

A quick update:
We had a meeting with Rhema’s neurologist at Children’s Hospital today. He believes that the ongoing seizure activity is interfering with Rhema’s brain function. She continues to have significant “activity” on the left side of the brain – in the speech areas – as well as increasing activity on the right side. Her current anti-epileptic medication is simply not working.

At the advice of our doctor, we have decided to begin weaning Rhema from the current drug. Once weaned, she will start a new anti-epileptic medication called Keppra. In August, we will do another overnight hospital stay in which a 24-hour EEG will be performed to determine how well the Keppra is working. I had really hoped to avoid switching her from drug to drug. Hopefully, the Keppra will work for her.

It is hard to know what’s really driving the train here. Is it the autism that makes it so difficult for her to speak and process language or is it the seizure activity? Or both?

One thing I am confident of and that is, simply, God made her. He created her brain in all its glory and complexity, He formed her mouth and tongue. No matter how many doctors we see, or treatments and therapies we try, we know for certain that if our little one speaks it will be because of God and God alone.

I love a Bible passage where God is revealed to Moses in the Burning Bush. The Lord tells Moses that he will be the one to lead the people of Israel out of their captivity in Egypt. Moses is full of questions and objections, but can you blame the guy? He was just supposed to roll up into Pharaoh’s house and tell him that God said to let the Israelites – the ones who had provided hundreds of years of slave labor – just pack up and leave? This was no small task.

In Exodus 4:10-12:
Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent… I am slow of speech and tongue.” The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

Moses was literally saying, You’ve got the wrong guy. I am not a man of words. (Some believe that Moses did in fact have a speech impediment – Isn’t it just like God to choose someone like that to demonstrate His power?). God’s response is simple: I made your mouth. Don’t you think that if I made the mouth and created the gift of speech, I can give you the ability to speak? God gives those gifts, He can take away those gifts and restore them again – ultimately His purposes will be accomplished. In another translation, God literally says to Moses, I will be with your mouth and teach you what you will say.

Wow, there’s such a peace in that. And it doesn’t just have to apply to my family and our struggle with autism and epilepsy. For those of us who know the Truth of Christ, we must share it and live it. But we also have the gift of speech, and we must speak it. That is, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). If you’re the least bit fearful like Moses, let God be with your mouth.

By the way, slow-of-speech Moses later becomes God’s eloquent messenger, commanding plagues to come, and plagues to cease, and waters to part. In Acts 7:22, Moses is not remembered as a man of few words, but instead as “mighty in words and in deeds”.

**I have met so many friends and “encouragers” since I joined the blogosphere. Thank you for letting us share our lives with you, and thank you for rejoicing with us for every little “utterance”, every little victory.