And gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Forgiveness Is The Fragrance The Violet Sheds On The Heel That Has Crushed It" -- Mark Twain

"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it" - Mark Twain

We all carry stories of people being cruel to our children, of treating them with prejudice, marginalizing them as outcasts. But none sting our mothers' hearts more than when these experiences come at the hands of our churches, our priests, our ministers, or other religious leaders.

Jesus' words on extending the supportive community of acceptance are crystal clear: "But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they can not repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Parish priests, ministers, rabbis, and religious people are human. They are going to make mistakes and say things and do things they shouldn't. When this happens, we have two choices: we can speak up, or we can go away. Speaking up will not necessarily bring victory, and "going away" might feel more like defeat. Therefore, we must discern what the Lord wants us to do when we encounter these battles. When anointed by God, we can do all things through Him who strengthens us (Phil 4:13).

As children of God, we are going to be called to forgive our offenders. Forgiveness of those who have hurt our children does not justify what they did, and it does not undo it. But it is a commandment. God's Word says, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins" (Mark 11:25).

So let us not permit hurtful circumstances to take our precious energy, or sway us from a right relationship with God. We must put on the armor of the Lord as we go forward. With Him, we will be able to stand when the arrows are sent our way. He will protect us and our children in battle.

PRAYER: Father, I need your help today with forgiving those who have trespassed against my child. I want to forgive fully from my heart, and I ask You to forgive me for hurting others. Please heal the pain I carry from the arrows' onslaught. Heal all wounds, especially those of my offenders. Help us all to do Your Will. I pray all of this in Jesus' precious name. Amen.



Below is an article about a priest, a church, a community and a special needs family who are in desperate need of our prayers. I do not know the details or the different sides to this story, but it looks like all parties are in need of healing.


A Catholic priest has filed a restraining order against the parents of a severely autistic 13-year-old boy in an effort to keep him from attending the church in Bertha on Sundays.

Church officials claim he is too disruptive.

The Rev. Daniel Walz alleges that Adam Race's unruly behavior endangers others who attend the Church of St. Joseph.

Race's parents have ignored the restraining order, calling it discriminatory, and Carol Race, Adam's mother, was cited by police and is due to appear in court on Monday for violating the order.

"He said that we did not discipline our son. He said that our son was physically out of control and a danger to everyone at church," Carol Race said. "I can't discipline him out of his autism, and I think that's what our priest is expecting."
Carol Race said it all started last June, when Walz and a church trustee visited the Races at their home address the behavior of Adam, who stands taller than six feet and weighs more than 225 pounds.

In an affidavit, Walz said the church "explored and offered many options for accommodations that would assist the family while protecting the safety of parishioners. The family refused those offers of accommodation."

Carol Race said the family of seven, which has attended St. Joseph since 1996, typically sat in the cry room or in the back pew to keep avoid disrupting the services and did not hear a complaint from the parishioners until Walz showed up at their home in June.

Even after the restraining order was served, the family continued going to the church and would leave during the closing hymn to avoid contact with others, Carol Race said.

The Diocese of St. Cloud issued a statement saying the petition was filed "as a last resort out of a growing concern for the safety of parishioners and other community members due to disruptive and violent behavior on the part of that child."
Walz said the boy's behavior worsened over time, telling authorities that Adam has been "extremely disruptive and dangerous" since last summer.

According to Walz, Adam struck a child during mass, nearly knocks elderly parishioners over when he hastily exits the church, spits and sometimes urinates in church and fights when he is being restrained.

He also one time assaulted a girl by pulling her onto his lap and, during Easter mass, ran to the parking lot and got into two vehicles, starting them and revving the engine, Walz alleged.

"There were people directly in front of the car who could have been injured or killed if he had put the car in gear," Walz wrote.

Adam's parents have to sit on him and sometimes tie his hands and feet to get control of him, Walz wrote.

Carol Race has an answer to each complaint.

She said her son makes spitting faces but doesn't spit and acknowledged he has occasional problems with incontinence. She says that she and her husband sit on Adam because their weight calms him down, which is why he pulled the girl onto him.
She also said they do use soft straps to bind Adam's hands and feet on occasion because it calms him, as does the revving sound of engines, which is why he started the cars.

Some disability advocates are getting behind the Races.

"It's unfathomable and concerns me that we've taken a situation with special needs and we're making it into the criminal matter," said Brad Trahan, the founder of the RT Autism Awareness Foundation in Rochester, who has asked the bishop of St. Cloud to rescind the restraining order.

Carol Race just hopes the ugly back-and-forth doesn't tarnish the image of the church.

"The church isn't bad," she said. "But it's what some individuals do within the church."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


D Herrod said...

Ty, for stopping by my site.

Based on the way the Races deal with Adam (ie sitting on him) it really sounds like they need support.

Special Needs Mom said...

Thank you for your comment.

I am not an expert on autism, but it is my understanding that autistic children will often seek out deep pressure sensations. As was written in an article I found on deep pressure and autism: "At various lecture meetings of parents of autistic individuals, parents have reported to me various types of pressure-seeking behavior of their offspring, such as wrapping arms and legs in elastic bandages, sleeping under many blankets even during warm weather, and getting under mattresses. In my case, I used to crawl under sofa cushions and have my sister sit on them. A high functioning autistic woman stated, "I need heavy blankets on me to sleep well, or else my muscles won't calm down."


Brandonscottsmom said...

What a sad situation to be in. I would think at a church no less, there would be more understanding and less judgement

Special Needs Mom said...

Yes, it can be devastating when the "closed" sign gets hung out by the people and institutions that are supposed to be there to help us, to accept us, to love us. It can make us turn away, even run away in anger and despair.

They are painful reminders that ultimately, we can only look to our Father in Heaven to meet our needs. And we must not let anyone keep us from our relationship with the Lord. He has us in the palm of His hands. He will make something beautiful out of the ashes.

D Herrod said...

Brandonscottsmom: Churches are often the most judgmental. Especially in regards to children with ADHD.

Specialneedsmom: Yes, many with autism need deep pressure but the way the Races deal with it is the problem. From interviews I've read and heard I really think the family isn't getting all the support they need.

Philomena said...

Well, being a mom of two beautiful children on the Autism specrum and respite provider for many others I feel that education is KEY. We have been asked to leave places and my 7 yr old was even slapped by a man in a WalMart who felt he was "in the way". This definitely opened the door for a conversation on forgiveness which these children seem to accomplish better than most of us. In the case of these children there is not ONE right way to help the child as each are an individual blessing from God and much constant effort goes into plannning and meeting their ever changing and intense sensory needs.I like to remember that ALL is God's Will and have learned to embrace sufferings and humiliations as the way to earn merit for Heaven : ) .Perhaps a little community education would go a long way towards understanding in this case?
God Bless