My little butterfly, Addie, has grown into a beautiful complex amazingly smart young girl. Little C has grown into Big C and is as wild as ever...yet with a sweet silly spirit that is blossoming in him. And now the newest butterfly J....At 6 months, he's all smiles and drool.
Because of our new little J...I was fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my children all summer. It was truly the BEST summer of my life! The Lord blessed me beyond measure with this sweet unforgettable time with my kids. Working mom's know this is PRECIOUS precious time. It was also a time of reflection on all that we have overcome and continue to be challenged with.
This summer we had as many play dates as possible (since this is something we typically don't have the opportunity to do while I'm working). Most days I laid on a blanket under our trees with a sleepy newborn.... watching Addie and C interact with neighborhood kids & friends. Sometimes it was like watching two worlds collide...reactions and exchanges between a typical kid's world...and Addie's own butterfly world. Sometimes it made me giggle...sometimes it made me cry...but most of all it showed me how determined Addie is. She keeps trying even when I know how hard it is for her.
As a frequent visitor in her world...sometimes I feel like a translator. I knew what she meant to say (most of the time)...I knew she wasn't trying to be rude...I knew her heart...and I could see when she was misunderstood. So I found myself wanting to somehow aid in her social interactions and struggles. I found myself constantly questioning whether to just watch and allow her to cope and try to resolve things on her own or to step in as my "mama bear" instincts kicked in. As I sat there and prayed over her...the Lord began to work on my heart. He actually had a much deeper lesson for Addie to teach me. A lesson she could teach many of us who are stuck in our own little worlds...
First let me bring you into Addie's world for a moment.....
- "you're quiet"...means "I like you"
- "you're too loud"...means "You're too over stimulating for me to process, therefore, I don't like you"
- "I'm not trying to sing a song, I'm humming (stimming) because I can't handle this situation right now, so I'm tuning everyone out and calming myself down"
- "I silently run inside in the middle of playing a game with you because I'm done playing but I don't remember that socially I need to tell you"
- "I constantly ask 'how many more minutes' because I am anxious and transitions are hard for me, so I cope by being prepared for what is going to happen next"
- "I may laugh when you get in trouble or fall down because I'm over-stimulated and upset...and I don't know how to handle the situation...not because I think it's funny"
- "I prefer running around with the boys most of the time...because I don't know how to have a conversation like my girl peers...I'm just not there yet"
- "If you don't follow the rules...I'm going to be very upset. There is only black & white, and no gray...I can't understand the gray...my brain doesn't work that way."
- "When I make a "craft" for you...treasure it...its a BIG deal...it's hard for me to step out of my world and be in yours...it's like a peace offering"
Often the Lord uses Addie's challenges to teach me...He works through her struggles in ways that always catch me off guard. This summer He began to show me that we all have our own world that we need to reach outside of....and many of us may need translators...or maybe we need to become one for someone else. As I look at Addie bravely climbing into our world everyday...I want to strive to be more like her. My prayer is that I will follow her brave spirit...and reach farther out to those not in my small world. To build true relationships that cross all borders...to begin to better understand those that are different from me. Whether it's racial and cultural differences, economic difference, religious barriers, someone that's angry hurting or broken,....or maybe someone with special needs like Addie. I should let that stop me...Addie doesn't.
The biggest lesson of all .....the Lord actually commands it!
Jesus first crossed over into our world ...He came to those who may not fit in...He came to the outcasts, the prostitutes, the adulterous, the unclean & unfit, the liars, the hopeless & destitute, the beggars, the cripple, the criminals, anyone that the world didn't accept (and that includes me and you). By crossing earthly barriers He reached the unreachable. It's a realization that His kingdom is so much bigger than my little world. Jesus is our Kingdom Translator...bringing His heavenly kingdom to earth for all to receive & understand.
In the Bible, Paul knew how to step out of his comfort zone. He knew how to teach the gospel across so many cultural earthly barriers. He often conformed the content of his teaching according to his audience...Greek, Gentile, Jew, etc... He changed his examples, his language, his method of communication. Paul wasn't "watering down" or changing the gospel...he was "watering down" himself so that the audience could be reached for the gospel of Jesus Christ. He climbed out of his own world...stepped fully into theirs, and brought the gospel to them. That is so different than many of our churches and circles today where we ask people to come meet us in our world. Paul wasn't perfect, but he spread the Kingdom wherever he went, to whomever would listen...he was a Kingdom Translator.
It's my prayer that the Lord will teach me to be more like Paul, to be more like Addie, ultimately to become more like Christ. To become a Kingdom translator in my neighborhood & community...for the child with Autism, the homeless woman that lives behind our local Target, the Muslim refugee family that has been through atrocities that we can't even fathom, the single mom that struggles with addiction, the co-worker that I have nothing in common with, the lonely, and the lost.
Lord tear down my little world...and let me enter into your BIG Kingdom!