Wednesday, October 13, 2010

God in the darkness of my past & rebuilder of my future

My friends keep bringing up the song Our God is Greater by Chris Tomlin because the Summitview worship band has led us in it a few  (a lot) of times. It's a pretty epic song!!!! That song came just in time in my life to remind me that God is bigger than any limitation I had. I think I had newly been diagnosed with my autism spectrum disorder when we sang that song. Of course, I ended up crying profusely upon hearing the song & digesting the lyrics.

Thanks to having a 'specialist mind', I can hone in on one concept and just go with it. The part of the song that really made me cry initially and has resonated with me every time I hear it is, "Into the darkness You shine / Out of the ashes we rise / There's no one like  You / None like You ..." THAT LINE HAS SO MUCH MEANING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First of all, God is the source of energy and in the beginning He made electromagnetic energy shine out of the void of nothingness as His first act of creation!!!!! Second of all, God shines light into man's heart which is dark due to sin (2 cor 4:6) and this light is the Gospel. Third of all, God shines light into dark circumstances - not just in general, but He is with us through each individual circumstance & shines His light in a specific way so that we see it. This is backed by Psalm 139:11-12 "If I say 'surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day for darkness is as light to You." I read that and eeeked and then cried because I can see God's light shining in my own circumstances. Yes, I didn't always have someone who was consistently there for me emotionally, but I had a ton of other adults I could go to. I attended a church that emphasized works-based gospel, but I had a grandfather that showed me what it truly meant to trust God as an example to keep my heart close to Him.

Second of all, God brings us up from the ashes of utter destruction. Back to.... GENESIS again! Thanks pastor John Meyer for this :) Adam and Eve blew it with eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, but God didn't annihilate them on the spot. He gave them the promise that the woman's seed (Jesus) will crush the serpant (Satan's) head right there afterward. He clothed them and told them that they would still work the ground and be fruitful, but there would be pain now. Yet He didn't completely leave them. Isaiah has a bunch of references about freeing the captives and restoring them, with the clearest proclamation of bringing them out of the ashes in Isaiah 61. He brought Ruth from being a young widow in a hostile nation to marry an awesome kinsman-redeemer & bear a son that would be in the Messianic line!!!!! He brings Paul out of being a super-fanatical persecutor to church-planter / New Testament writer. He has brought me out of being an abandoned traumatized child with a bleak developmental outlook to being His child - His daughter whom He is using to reach the next generation & people in FoCo - by His grace. And He has turned my whole ordeal with discovering that I have an ASD from pure crushing dissapointment/grief/anger to an area where He can show His sustaining grace when/if I let Him :)

Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There's no one like You
None like You

Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is healer
Awesome in power
Out God
Our God


Monday, October 11, 2010

Is this a veneer of academic musing?

Expanding outside my current fixation can hurt sometimes. Not because I'm expanding outside it, but because of what I might find. Today I began reading Nobody Nowhere by Donna Williams who shares her experiences living with Autism. She appears to have more severe sensory issues than Dr. Grandin and more severe delays in speech. However, the aspect of her life that struck me the most even in the opening pages was the trauma she experienced at the hands of a physically abusive parent. She understands the origin of her abuse in adulthood when she is able (as best she can) to examine this parent's life. Another thing that struck me was Donna's writing is raw experience and emotion while Dr. Grandin's is a blend of personal experience that is generally coherently backed with the research that has been done as of the publishing of that particular book. APA style citations dot Dr. Grandin's narratives. In a sense, Dr. Grandin's life is told in a nice orderly way and polished by an academic lecture-style veneer that isn't too obscure for the general population to see through.

As I read Dr. Grandin's work and listened to her lectures (both on YouTube and LIVE!!!) I could touch this veneer (figuratively speaking) and trace the logical flow of her life and how the research explained it. I could stand on it and begin walking out my life as a person who newly discovered she was on the autism spectrum. Yet, there are parts of my life that are too painful to be ordered as nicely and laid out. There is still pain from parts of my childhood that come out and are too painful to try and really analyze and put into this nice life-backed-by-research framework.

Donna Williams doesn't try and fit her life into a nice research-backed narrative. She lets us see the pain and experience the pain she experienced. I hurt when I read how she hurt because she touches those pieces in my life that are too painful to handle just on an academic level. There is no academic veneer to hold her life together or hold back any of the pain. In defense of Dr. Grandin, she also is honest about her painful experiences. They came in different ways than Donna's did, and her pain is just as real. However, it's easy for me to see how Dr. Grandin could focus on academically analyzing her experiences rather than accessing the pain if her style is to emphasize how her life connects to autism and neurological research rather than just a pure narrative of her life.

In that moment of that realization, I cried. I had checked out the book from the CSU library and was reading it under a tree outside the CSU Animal Sciences building and ended up laying on the grass with my face buried in my sweatshirt crying. Because I did that exact thing that I could see Dr. Grandin doing. I would rather write a nice semi-academic book on attachment, autism spectrum disorders, and sensory deprivation and weave in my own experiences than write about my pure emotions and experiences. I would rather see my life and experience my life the way Dr. Grandin presents her life: Protected and presented behind an academic veneer. The pain is still too hard and I don't like to cry. I do cry, but I wish I didn't hurt after 20+ years since some of these experiences. Yet I know that God doesn't want me to hide my pain behind any sort of academic research. He was there and sympathized with every pain & psychological trauma I have felt. God wants to reach behind the academic veneer of all of us that have our experiences as inspiration for our research because He doesn't want our theses, dissertations, poster-presentations, and peer-reviewed publications. He wants what we feel deep down in our souls - He wants to touch the deepest pain we have so we can feel His love & healing there. That's what He taught me as I began to read Donna William's unabashed account of her life. He wants me to open my life up like that - not just for the world to see & learn from - but so I can feel His hand.