Author Archives: kris

Getting the Kid’s Involved

Worship-Grow-Serve is not just for the grown-ups!  ACC offers many great opportunities to get children and youth involved in growing in their faith as well.  If you’ve got a child, check out some of these awesome ministries:

  • Worship with your peers!  After taking a summer break, our middle and high school Sunday morning programs start up on September 9th.  High schoolers meet at 9:00 and middle schoolers meet at 10:30
  • For our younger members, be sure to take advantage of our Sunday school programs at both the 9:00 and 10:30 services.  All age levels will be using exciting new curriculum this Fall and our teachers are excited for the new season!
  • The Awana season kicks off on Wednesday, September 12th, with a fun family event.  Come make an ice cream sundae, race a car on our new pinewood derby track, connect with other children and parents, and register your child for Awana!  Awana is open to children age 3 years – 6th grade.
  • Pit Stop (middle school) and Oasis (high school) programs will be starting up in the next few weeks.  Pit Stop meets on Thursday and Oasis on Tuesday.  Come relax, de-stress, worship, hang with your friends and meet new ones!  Check out the online student calendar for more information.
  • Learn basketball and cheerleading skills while meeting new friends and learning about Jesus’ work in your life – join Upward!  Registration for our 2012-2013 Upward Basketball and Cheerleading season is approaching quickly!  Registration opens in October; the season runs Jan-March.  Upward is open to boys and girls 1st-6th grade.
  • For our service minded youth, Sunday morning Sunday School is always looking for dedicated teens to help out in our Sunday morning classrooms.  If you enjoy kids, think about helping out!

Get plugged in – you won’t regret it.

Kris

S.O.S. Service Over Self

S.O.S.  When I was in high school, the student service organization was S.O.S. – Service Over Self. As students, we went out into the community as well as participated in in-school projects in order to help those around us who were in need.  It was fun, and a great learning experience.  As Children’s Ministry gears up for our new school season, our focus is naturally turning to staffing our classrooms with volunteers.  I initially got involved years ago with children’s ministry because I had a teaching degree and no teaching job.  I figured why not hone some skills on Sunday morning?  Then, when I became a mom and was bringing my girls to church, I chose to get involved in their classrooms.

 

Although stepping into the classroom could be intimidating at first, I really loved it!  It can be scary thinking… “Oh boy, I need to not only teach these kids about Christ, but I need to keep them interested and engaged!  What have I gotten myself into?”  But I quickly found that one of my greatest joys of being in the classroom is simply building relationships.  I love hearing about the kids’ weeks, their interests, their challenges.  The teaching comes naturally after that, and it is truly joyful to me knowing these children.

 

Part of ACC’s Vision is our strategy of “worship plus two.”  What does this mean?  This means that as an attendee of ACC, it is our goal to 1) Have you worship with us as a body of Christ.  Come to services on Sunday mornings and rejoice and praise God with fellow believers and seekers; 2) Join a growth ministry.  Worship is a wonderful way to express our thankfulness to our Lord and Savior, but we don’t want to become stagnant in our belief.  Living a Christ-focused life is a process that lasts throughout our lifetimes.  We all go through good times and bad and need our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us on our journey.  Join a growth group, women’s Bible study (Coffee Hour), men’s study (FUEL); and 3) Find somewhere to serve.  Pray about your strengths and use them to serve within ACC.  Are you musical?  Think about joining the worship team.  Do you enjoy meeting new people?  Join the welcome team on Sunday mornings.  Are your strengths technical?  Working sound on Sunday morning may be a perfect fit.  Love children and seeing them grow and develop in their knowledge and belief of the Lord?  Get involved in children’s ministry.

 

Of course, I am going to focus on this last point.  We are in need of dedicated people to serve within our Sunday morning children’s programs.    As I noted above, I absolutely love getting to know these wonderful kids.  I love the quiet ones and the loud ones; the active and the calm.  I love the smiles I see every Sunday.  I love my current volunteers and their capacity to love and their passion to teach.

 

If you aren’t serving at ACC, prayerfully consider joining our children’s ministry team.  If children’s ministry is not your “thing”, get involved somewhere.  You won’t be sorry!

 

Blessings to you and your family,

Kris

School’s Out for Summer

Most kids are getting out of school this week. While I think that parents generally enjoy the freer schedule, absence of school paperwork and perhaps, some extra snooze time in the morning, summer break also poses a huge dilemma….what to do to keep those kids occupied?

ACC has some great activities going on this summer to keep the kids busy, out of the house and off the video games! Many of these events also offer a wonderful way for adults and teens to serve right here at ACC :

June 25-29: Join us for Halo Hoops Basketball Camp. Dave Davies and Co. will be traveling from North Carolina to engage children ages 6-13 years in a Christian basketball camp. Campers will learn drills, skills and fundamentals during their week of camp, along as hearing the gospel message throughout the week. Registration is still open at www.halosports.org

• How can you help? Dave and his crew of coaches will be hungry. Think about signing up to provide a meal for the coaches during the week of camp. Lunch should serve 10; dinner should serve 3-4.

July 9-13: Sky Day Camp is here! Register your child now to enjoy a week full of fun. In the mornings, children will be learning about the truths of God, while venturing through exciting and engaging stations. Each afternoon, campers will enjoy fun field trips. The week culminates with an on-site family picnic and closing ceremony. Camp is open to children entering 1st – 6th grade in the fall. Register online at www.acchurch.org

• How can you help? We still have a few openings for adults or teens to assist station leaders during the mornings from 9-12 each day. See Kris to find out how you can help!

Teens need to keep busy too! There are also exciting things happening this summer in the Middle School and High School Ministries:

June 22-23: Pit Stop kids enjoy a night of games, fellowship, campfire and sleep out in tents right here at ACC.

June 25-July 1: Oasis students will engage in a local mission trip, followed by a weekend trip to the Wisconsin Dells. Registration is open through June 10th.

July 15-21: Join your Pit Stop friends for a great camp experience at Lake Geneva Youth Camp! Open to students entering 6th-8th grade, LGYC offers great outdoor activities as well as meaningful time with God. Contact the ACC office for registration information, or register online at www.lgyc.org. To receive a discount and ensure our ACC children end up together, please note on the registration that you are from ACC.

July 27: Oasis students will venture up to Warren Dunes in MI. Kids will enjoy hiking, swimming and just relaxing and soaking up some rays on the beach.

August 1-8: High school students will join a group of ACC adults in traveling to Honduras for our 3rd medical mission trip to this impoverished country. Guaranteed to be a life changing experience!

• How can you help? Support our youth by attending the All-Church Cookout this Sunday, June 10th. All donations will go to help fund the trip for our high school students.

There is a lot going on at ACC over the summer for our children! Sign up your child, or volunteer yourself for one of these great opportunities! To keep up to date on activities and happenings in our children and youth ministries, please check out the monthly Children’s Ministry Newsletter, located at the Welcome Center (Infant – 5th grade) and the youth calendar located in the lobby or online.
Kris

Wisdom from James

This past winter and spring, our Wednesday night Coffee Hour group has been doing a study of the book of James. James was one of Jesus’ brothers, which gives him a truly unique perspective of Jesus’ life, especially prior to Jesus starting his ministry. I believe that James was most likely quite skeptical of Jesus claims to be the Son of God, and though he came late in his belief, he came on strong and sure. James offers believers a practical way to live for Christ. It has been a wonderful study, and I have learned quite a bit that should help me on my journey in this world. I would like to share a few of my thoughts:
• “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). How much do I thank God for what I have? How much do I take for granted? This is a strong reminder to me to be thankful in all circumstances, because without Christ, I am nothing. I also find it comforting that God does not change – He is who He is from the beginning until now – trustworthy, faithful to His promises and worthy of my praise. I don’t believe we can that about anyone in our lives – we humans are fickle.
• “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) Guilty. I am guilty of this. I wonder how many times I am able to pick out a verse that relates to how I should behave, what I should say in certain situations, yet I chose my own way – I chose what I want. Knowing Bible stories and verses means nothing unless they are applied to your life.
• “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism”. (James 2:1) How often do we judge others based on what they look like, what they wear, the type of car they drive? Does that then lead to our judgment? Or perhaps our envy? Jesus taught in Matthew 22, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” When we judge others, we do not love our neighbors as ourselves. I try to remember that regardless of a person’s looks, the money they make (or don’t make), the car they drive, we cannot know what is in that person’s heart. They may be full of the spirit, or they may not. Only by truly knowing that person and loving that person can we know where they are spiritually.
• “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17) What? Wait a minute! Don’t the gospels teach us that faith in Christ is all that is needed? Big discussion around the table on this night. I think here that James is speaking of deeds (action) as a natural outcome of faith in Christ. How do we witness to unbelievers on a daily basis? Most likely, through our actions – we are being watched, whether we know it or not. “I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:18). As James Stulac’s commentary of James states, “This is a justification through faith, with good works coming forth as the natural and expected expression of faith.” Am I living out my faith through my actions? Or am I living an empty life? Are you?
• “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord……the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5: 13-14, 16b). Pray in all circumstances! I personally struggle with this. I am a very task oriented person, and while I do often seek God in prayer for both myself and others who are struggling, how often do I just take a moment to say thank you? How often do I simply start my day or my work by praying for God’s guidance, and asking the Lord to show me what He wants me to do today? Not often enough. Instead of going to God for guidance before starting my work or my day, and having Him lead me, I tend to jump right in, then follow-up with prayer if I get stuck. I intend to change this, with His help.

This is only a sampling of James that really stuck out for me. If you have never read the book of James, I highly suggest it. It is a wonderful guide to leading a Christian life.

Kris

Our Plans or God’s Plans?

April is autism awareness month, which is near and dear to me. My oldest daughter was diagnosed with autism slightly before her 3rd birthday. This is a rather long article, taken from the March 12th edition of The Weekly Standard, entitled “Purpose in Life”, by Peter Wehner – a book review of “A Good and Perfect Gift”. It looks at a mother’s journey the first 2 years after her daughter was born with Down syndrome. It is a wonderful reminder for anyone who had a child that just didn’t quite meet their expectations. It is a wonderful article for anyone whose plan for themselves didn’t mesh with God’s plan for your life. I hope you take the time to read it.
Kris
The fear many soon-to-be parents face is the questions, “What if?” What if my child is born with a learning disability? What if my hopes for having a “normal” child are shattered? What if I find I can’t love my special needs child as I should? And what if my marriage and faith are broken by the stress and strain of caring for a child with severe learning disabilities?
For Amy Julia Becker, “What if?” quickly turned to “What now?”. She was a 28 year-old woman who, immediately after the birth of her daughter Penelope, was told that her child had Down syndrome. At that moment, “the world began to break into pieces, as if I had been looking at a scene through a plate-glass window that suddenly cracked, jagged lines distorting my vision”.
…….
A Good and Perfect Gift focuses on the first two years of Becker’s life with a Down syndrome child. Her account of those years is honest and introspective as she chronicles her emotions, which drift from fear and grief to sadness and uncertainty to anger. At the core of her struggles were unmet expectations; It’s not as though Becker didn’t love her child; it’s that this emotion was twinned with sorrow, “sorrow that you are not who I thought you would be,” as Becker wrote in her journal shortly after Penny was born. Sorrow that so many of the hopes she had for her child would be beyond Penny’s reach. Sorrow that her life was going to be so much harder than it is for most mothers. Sorrow that she didn’t get the baby she thought she deserved.
It didn’t help that several of Becker’s friends and acquaintances, in their effort to be helpful, inflicted inadvertent wounds. “Everywhere we turned,” she writes, “I found people with marvelous intentions and misplaced compassion.” Some tended to downplay the hard part and overemphasize the good; others portrayed Penny as either a rebuke or a reward from God; and still others referred to Penny as Becker’s “cross to bear”.
Then there are the encounters with physicians, genetic counselors, prenatal screeners, and even biology teachers, many of whom have embraced certain cultural assumptions about children with special needs. They are viewed not as gifts but as burdens, not children to love but mistakes who should be eliminated, with abortion the most efficient means. That was very rarely the direct message that was sent, but it was the indirect message that was conveyed in a dozen different ways. Becker and her husband, when contemplating having another child, came face to face with a culture that believes children with disabilities are not worth bringing into this world. It’s little wonder that women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of trisomy 21 terminate their pregnancies the vast majority of the time. The Beckers didn’t buy into the cultural presumption that certain children are more worthy of life than others, and now have three children.
The reason Becker and her husband didn’t embrace the assumptions of our modern culture has to do with viewing life through the lens of their faith. Both were devoted Christians when Penny was born; Peter, even-keeled and optimistic, never really wrestled with theological questions surrounding Down syndrome; he just loved Penny. “Two days after our return from the hospital, Peter finished grieving and walked outside and never looked back.” Becker, however, wondered whether God was trustworthy: She argued with Him, struggling to see God’s presence in the midst of raising a Down syndrome child. Yet she never lost her faith, and could never escape it. It was the only lens through which she could interpret the world.
One of Becker’s closest friends, upon learning the news about Penny’s Down syndrome, was upset. But she relayed that when she was praying for Becker, the words of Jesus came to her mind: “Whoever receives this child, receives Me.” At first those words haunted Becker; but over the course of two years, they gradually reassured her. What she learned is that what God values is often profoundly at odds with what we prize. We place tremendous importance on intellect, on outward beauty, on physical excellence. We admire people who can speak well, who dazzle us with their erudition, or their wealth, or their awards. And while those things are not unimportant in and of themselves, Becker discovers that they are not nearly important as we think.
Can [Penny] live a full life without ever solving a quadratic equation? Without reading Dostoyevsky? I’m pretty sure she can. Can I live a full life without learning to cherish and welcome those in this world who are different from me? I’m pretty sure I can’t.
What Becker also came to understand, amidst the pain and through grace, is that there is purpose in Penny’s life simply as she is and who she is – God’s child, His gift, an instrument of mercy and illumination. Her extra chromosome is not only associated with delays and impairments but also sweetness, joy, wonder, patience, and love.
Shortly after the birth, Becker was speaking with her mother about how she should think about Down syndrome in terms of God. Is it a manifestation of sin in the world? Her mother responds: “The only evidence of sin that I see in Penny’s birth is in how we respond to her.” Becker writes that is was as if she had been looking through a kaleidoscope, and it turned a notch: “All the same pieces and parts, the same colors even, but a totally new pattern. A new way of seeing.”
In the West we have succeeded in domesticating the Jesus of the New Testament. We have fit His ways into our ways, rather than vice versa. And so the person who told us that the last shall be first, that His strength is perfected in weakness, that the poor in spirit are blessed, and that it is the meek who shall inherit the earth, has been housebroken and diluted, made safe and reassuring, a ratifier of our cultural presuppositions and old patterns.
And yet sometimes, if we are lucky, we encounter people in our lives who remind us how fundamentally different truth is from the shadows we take to be real. They might even point out to us, in their particular way that a God who took on the nature of a servant and became obedient even unto death might also consider a child with Down syndrome to be of inestimable worth.

Kris

Why I Love Children?s Ministry

As the Children’s Ministry team prepares to move into a new season, I thought I’d share my “Top 10” list of why I love it so much:
10.  I get to color, paste, cut, and use glitter and stickers!!!!  As part of my job!!!!
9.    Guaranteed to get smiles, hugs and laughter each and every Sunday morning
8.    Where else can you watch an “official” Awana sporting event that involves kids sitting on balloons
??7.    I know every child’s name and they know mine.  I love that.
6.    The cutest babies EVER.
5.    I get to hear the best stories about school, pets, family, friends, super heroes, video games, etc.  I love getting to know each and every child.
4.    I am privileged to work side-by-side with some of the most talented, creative and dedicated volunteers.
3.    UPWARD!
2.    Awesomely supportive parents and co-workers
1.    There is no greater feeling in the world than when a child “gets it” about Jesus’ love for us and our need for salvation.   Watching these kids grow in the Lord each year is the greatest blessing ever.
That’s it.  I love my job.  I wouldn?t trade it for anything.  The kids, co-workers and volunteers that I work with bless my life each and every day, and I am thankful for them all.
Kris

Kid?s Korner

Wow, has it been a busy two weeks for Children’s Ministry activities.  During the week of July 11th, ACC was jam-packed with campers for our annual day camp.  We had 90 sign up, 88 show up, and when we add in the preschoolers and infants, ACC had 100 kids learning about how “God is Wild About You” through the VBS Pandamania Curriculum.
Each morning, the campers rotated through different stations, each of which focused on a specific Bible Point for the day:??

    ???
  • Day 1 – God Made You
  • ???

  • Day 2 – God Listens to You
  • ???

  • Day 3 – God Watches Over You
  • ???

  • Day 4 – God Loves You, No Matter What
  • ???

  • Day 5 – God Gives Good Gifts
  • ??

??One of the highlights for me as a director was a text message I received from a parent: “I really enjoy the parent letters that you send home each night.  (My daughter) answers me each night when I ask her the questions you provide.”  It’s so nice to hear when the kids get it!  The week would not have been possible without the fantastic people who helped both throughout the week and behind the scenes!  Thanks to all of you!
This week, the ACC gym has been full of children participating in the Halo Hoops basketball camp.  This is the 5th year that Halo Hoops has been here at ACC, led by Dave Davies and assisted by Dave Dixon.  What an energetic week it has been!  The children have been honing their basketball skills, while learning about the message of salvation through Christ.  The gospel was presented to the children on Thursday, and of 60 children participating in the program, 25 made a decision to follow Christ! Praise God!
Our goal in children’s ministry is to equip each child with the tools and knowledge needed to lead Christ-centered lives.  It is through wonderful programs such as day camp, Halo Hoops, and Upward Basketball and Cheerleading, that we are able to reach some children who may never otherwise hear about God’s love and desire for them.   It is through our Sunday School and Awana program that we are able to reinforce the gospel for the children who participate in those programs.  ACC’s mission is “To be a loving community where ordinary people experience the life-changing power of Jesus Christ”.  I am blessed to be a part of this process for children.
Kris
 

The Ten Commandments

What do you think about when you hear “Ten Commandments”?  Moses?  Maybe Charlton Heston and Yul Brynnar?  For me, I think about my Lutheran schooling, memorizing the Ten Commandments from Luther’s Small Catechism.  I think many of us may look at the Ten Commandments as antiquated rules that might have been relevant in Biblical times, but not today.  After all, who today is going to covet his neighbor’s manservant, maidservant, ox or donkey
?I think that the Ten Commandments are actually a gift from God, giving us, as Christians, a map on how to live our lives.  First, none of us, no matter how hard we try, will succeed in following the commandments 100%.  Do you worship a God other than the One True God?  Perhaps not, but if you place a priority on money in your life, your idol is money.  Who among us has not lied, or showed anger towards our parents?  The Ten Commandments reveal to us our sinful nature.  Through acknowledgment of our sin, the commandments point us to our need of salvation.  We gain this salvation through Christ alone.  Finally, the commandments show us the true holy character and standards of God.  We must be careful to understand that attempting to follow the Ten Commandments will not provide us a path to salvation – only Christ’s sacrifice can do that.  However, the Ten Commandments will provide us with guidelines on how we should live.
The Ten Commandments are actually broken down into two types.  The first four commandments focus on mans relationship to God; the last six focus on mans relationship to man.
1.            You shall have no other gods
2.            You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God
3.            Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy
4.            Honor your father and your mother.
5.            You shall not murder
6.            You shall not commit adultery
7.            You shall not steal
8.            You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor
9.            You shall not covet your neighbor’s house
10.          You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
(From Luther’s Small Catechism, NIV)

All of the commandments must be seen within the context of love.  When asked by the Pharisees what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all you mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.  All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
 
I think we all should take time to study the Ten Commandments.  Although they were given to Moses in the Old Testament, and many of the sacrificial laws and priesthoods were replaced when Christ came, they are still very much relevant today – perhaps more so.  Society is very much moving away from the Ten Commandments, as laws are written that clearly violate God’s law and much entertainment is made that glorifies behaviors in direct conflict with the commandments.  These are God’s word to us, not an opinion.
 
Over the remaining twelve weeks of Summer Sunday School, children in grades K-5th will be studying the Ten Commandments.   They learned the first week why God had the right and authority to give us these laws.  In the upcoming weeks, the children will be learning how they can take the commandments to heart and apply them within their lives.  As we progress with our study, we will be putting together a Ten Commandments banner – I invite you to check it out in the children’s wing.   My prayer is that the children will come to understand that God will bless them by keeping His laws; perhaps not in this world, but definitely in the next.
 
Peace to you,
Kris
 

God?s Grace and Tae Kwon Do

My daughter, Madi, earned her blue belt in Tae Kwon Do last week.  She’d been taking lessons at the park district for the past three years with a wonderful instructor, but I broke down and signed her up at the actual Tae Kwon Do school, since it appears she has every intention of pursuing it.  Her instructor is Master Kim.  A few words on Master Kim:  he is slight in stature, I cannot tell how old he is, but he has grey hair.  Among his accomplishments, Master Kim is a 9th degree black belt, was an instructor for the CIA and Green Berets, and is the American Tae Kwon Do Federation President.  In short, I believe that Master Kim could kick my butt in less than a second – he strikes an intimidating pose.
Master Kim expects respect in his class; he expects the students to listen and follow directions; he expects minimal distractions; he expects the more advanced students to help others.  I don’t know Master Kim well, but simply judging from his appearance, I stressed to Madi that she must listen and not horse around.  I have greatly enjoyed watching Madi in this class.  I have especially enjoyed watching Master Kim.  While I am not attempting to compare the Grace of God to anything worldly, I could not help but notice some parallels between Master Kim, principles of Tae Kwon Do and God’s expectations for us as Christians.
In Madi’s first class with Master Kim, a 6-year old orange belt was rather squirrelly.  After repeatedly asking him to be quiet and pay attention, Master Kim tied his own belt to the child’s orange belt; with a slight smile on his face; with a twinkle in his eyes.  He was not mean; he never raised his voice; he spoke very kindly to this boy as he told him he would now stay with him.  How many times do we go astray and God pulls us closer?  Like Master Kim, but much more so, God will discipline us with love in His attempt to draw us closer to Him; to get our attention; to cause us to listen.   Proverbs 3: 11-12 states, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in”.  What is our attitude when we don’t get what we want?  Are we thankful that we are corrected by a loving God?  Or are we resentful?  I think that often times, the trials that we face in this life are God’s way of showing us what is important; of drawing us near to Him so that we rely on His infallible strength rather than our own.  My family has faced several trials in the past couple of years – my mom’s illness, Sara’s behavior and school change, Jeff’s unemployment, financial difficulties.  But rather that being completely stressed out (although I do have my moments), I have been in relative peace, knowing that I am not in charge; knowing that God is insisting on my reliance on Him.
There are many principles of Tae Kwon Do, but a few that stood out to me as I sat in the waiting room include gaining good judgment, developing a sound mind, be honest and always stand by the weak.   2 Timothy 1: 7 states, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline”.   Jesus entire ministry while on earth surrounded the defense of the weak and to bring unbelievers to Himself.  In Luke 5:31-32, Jesus stated, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”.  Jesus raised the widow’s son from death, knowing that she would suffer without him; Jesus stood by the woman accused of adultery; Paul wrote to Timothy advising him to care for widows, treat older men as fathers and older women as mothers.  God wants us to stand by the weak.  Reading these principles automatically turned my mind to scripture and God’s expectations for us as Christians.
I know that Tae Kwon Do was not founded in Christianity.  That said, I am still glad that Madi has interest in a sport/philosophy that does reinforce many of the Christ-centered values that I try to instill in her as her mom.  I am glad that she has Master Kim as an instructor, who will teach her skills through patience, kindness and gentle correction.
Blessings,
Kris
 

Thoughts About a Special Girl

My daughter Sara has been on my mind a lot lately.  She’ll be transferring schools at the end of this month to a school that specializes in treating and teaching children with autism.  I’m nervous about this move, which will involve a 30-40 minute bus ride for Sara.  I’ll miss her teachers that she has now.  Sara loves them; I love them; they love Sara – but as we all admit, they are not set up to handle children who have the autism-related issues that Sara has.  I know we are doing the right thing.
Sara was diagnosed with autism shortly before her 3rd birthday.  The only memory I have of having a “normal” family was in those first 3 years with my beautiful blonde haired, blue-eyed smiley little girl.  She didn’t talk much, but being my first child, I didn’t think too much about it.  I had gut feelings and instincts that something wasn’t quite right (mom ESP), but no one confirmed my feelings, so I let them go.  After all, Sara was filled with smiles and laughter – she still is at the age of 10.  The year or so following her diagnosis was a whirlwind filled with reading everything I could get my hands on about autism spectrum disorders, arranging therapy – speech, occupational and physical, developmental pediatricians, neurologists, educational consultants, holistic specialists, private in-home therapies, tests.  You name it, we did it.
Jump ahead 7 years, and I still have my beautiful blonde haired, blue-eyed smiley girl.  But Sara has issues.  She has tantrums.  She gets aggressive.  I would be lying if I didn’t say that I would sometimes wonder what I did that God gave me this “problem”.  What would my life be like if Sara were “normal”? Sara often tries my patience.  I get frustrated.  Her dad and sister get frustrated.  It is not easy.  This IS our normal.
But I don’t consider Sara a problem.  Yes, I sometimes feel sorry for myself, but Sara has a way of curing that.  She often wakes me up at the crack of dawn with “Good morning, Mom.  I like you”.  She learned about “bathroom etiquette” in school, and wanted to see every man’s bathroom around to check out the urinal – sorry, but that made me laugh.  She communicates with our dog Rocky by growling at him.  She is extraordinarily outgoing.  She is extraordinarily affectionate.  She loves babies and wants to kiss them on the head.  She has a way of making people smile, including me.  Including Ziggy, who was in line behind us in Starbucks this morning.
I do believe that God put Sara in my life for a reason.  I do believe that God knows exactly where these special children belong.  I also believe that God loves Sara and that God understands people with special needs.  I don’t know exactly how much Sara knows about God, but I know when I ask her “Who loves you?” her first answer is not mom or dad, it is Jesus.  Out of the blue, Sara asked me who Charles Darwin was.  I answered simply that he was a man who thought that people developed from monkeys (ok – probably not the best summary, but one she could understand).  Sara’s response?  “That’s silly.  Jesus made us”.  Close enough Sara.  I love you.
Kris Milashus