I have been there. I know this truth in my life. Every one who as experienced it in some way or form must know that each one was never created to have this happen to us. It is the sin of mankind that has allowed this kind of evil to grow inside human hearts and be expressed upon the innocence of others created in God’s image. You are never too far away from God, there is nowhere that you can go and be out of a His presence. You CAN and WILL be found.

Abuse – when it doesn’t kill you (or when you are hanging on to that last breath), if it doesn’t drive you down to the depths of depression, addiction or destruction, compels you to find a way to live. Be a survivor. Even if you have been driven to those depths, it is evidence you are a survivor. You have found the best way you know how to cope in order to live. But there is more for you, Survivor…

Sing. Sing your song so loud and clear so the whole world will hear. You have conquered more than anyone will know or comprehend; except for those who have had similar plights. You speak the same language with them. You will be an encouragement to others so they will want to survive too. Sing your song. Be brave. Never let someone else tell you who you are except be it encouragement that matches up with who God says you are in Psalm 139: Fearfully and wonderfully made; purposefully knitted in a unique pattern in your mother’s womb. He knows your anxious thoughts before you think them. He knows your wayward ways and He will lead you in the way of everlasting. You are so loved.

Sing and tell the whole world about it. Even when the world turns it’s cold heart on you. Greater is the One who is in you, than the one who is in the world. You are more than what anyone says about you that is destructive. Sing. Because He quiets you with His love and sings over you. Fight to live. It’s okay if only some see. God sees and He hears. He is mighty to save.

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2 days left (sort of)… !!!

Track 9. Intentionally

It’s a good thing you can’t see me right now, because I am starting to cry as I write about this one. I am not sure if it’s because I know my CD is releasing in less the 48 hours or because of this song that I am going to tell you about.

I hope my son doesn’t read this…(jk)

Actually, this song was inspired by my wonderful son, Nathanael. He, like you and me, was born wonderful in God’s image. I always longed for a son and God gave us one on our last try! We call him our love child! We didn’t know it when he was born or when he was younger, but Nate is on the Autism Spectrum and was diagnosed later in life (6th grade) with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, NOS. Basically, Asperger’s type.

When we didn’t know for sure what was going on with him, he struggled to find his meaning and purpose in his identity. He LOVED Jesus at a very early age and accepted him when he was only 4 years old and baptized soon after. He loves to have deep theological discussions about his faith and God. But he also knew there was something different about himself. He thought he was stupid. He couldn’t have been further from the truth. He started being bullied in elementary school and middle school. In first grade we took him to Children’s Hospital in Seattle and they knew he had some type of cognitive impairment but they just

Nate when he was in 5th grade
Nate when he was in 5th grade

couldn’t put their finger on it. Nate also struggled with a developmental vision issue where he couldn’t see things in stereo if his eyes or brain were fatigued, and was also diagnosed with strabismus. He had balance and coordination issues and just wasn’t your athletic kiddo, no matter how much we had hoped. He was very down on himself and would get very depressed and angry.

I missed it as a therapist when he was little, but had started putting all the pieces together and by the time he was in 6th grade, we pursued the evaluation. Sure enough, the diagnosis was confirmed. It was hard to diagnose it though, because with our parenting abilities, we were able to extinguish some of the behaviors he had that would have been more identifiable in assessment (the eye contact, biting on the arm, banging of the head on the wall, rocking, etc.). It wasn’t until we had the firm diagnosis that he began to understand more about himself and actually how intelligent he really was! And it was at this time that we were able to help affirm him even more about who he was (and is) in Christ.

One day Nate and I were driving home from my picking him up from school. The leaves were turning their fall colors and he said something really profound. It was at that moment, I was inspired with these words. I said to him, “Nate, do you know that God made you intentionally and that He has a purpose for your life? He knew you were going to have Autism and that you needed parents like your dad and I to help you get everything you need to be successful in this world.”

Nate had been resentful from some of the ABA tutoring we had put him through the couple of years earlier, but at this time he told me how much he had appreciated all that we were doing. He spoke of insights he had about himself and how he noticed similar behaviors in other kids that he met, that were like him. I was so amazed at what he was learning. He was finally getting it. He was learning that he was just fine the way he was. He was becoming resilient in his identity.

After finishing the song (Nate had heard portions of it with me writing it here at home) and getting the ruff track back from Nashville, I asked him if he was ready to hear it. Of course, he was. We laid on the floor in the Great Room here and stared up at the ceiling while I played the track on the Bose speakers for him. After we listened to the song, he said, “Mom, that’s me!” I looked over at him and said, “Yes, Nate, that is you! And God made you so wonderful!”

This song is general enough in the lyrics to speak to anyone who has a developmental, mental, emotional or physical disability. For those who are broken-hearted, who feel worthless and believe that no one loves them. God loves you so VERY much! He gave you His Son, Jesus, so that you can become whole in Him. No one can take away who you are in Christ. He loves you just as you are. You have meaning and purpose and He wants to reveal that to you. Don’t ever give up. Don’t throw your life away or try to end it. You are a great treasure! Do not seek the praise of man or let others determine your worth, instead, believe what God says about who you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made! He knew you before He knitted you in your mother’s womb. He created you in His image and of all of His creations in nature (which He said were GOOD), He said you are VERY GOOD! Read about yourself in Psalm 139!

Ask Him into your heart today, by asking for forgiveness. Let Him show you how much He loves you. You are not your disability or your past. You are beautiful…a precious child of God.

9. Intentionally
©2013 Jen Haugland
Jen Haugland Music (ASCAP)

V1
What’s the matter on your heart
A little trouble in your soul?
I’d like to draw it out of you
And be there to help you sort it out

PC
I know He loves you so and I’m hoping you will know
Nothing ever happens by chance

Ch
For you were made so intentionally
There’s purpose in your life, ev’ry detail’s in His hands
With all the beauty of your intricacies
Nothing’s ever wasted, I know He understands
Because He made you so intentionally

V2
If you could step outside yourself
And get another point of view
See the precious child of God
That I see in you

PC
I know He loves you so and I’m hoping you will know
Nothing ever happens by chance

Ch

Bridge
Every hurt that you have been through, all the things you know you did were wrong
Can bring you one step closer to where you belong

Ch

Blair Masters
Blair Masters

Mark Baldwin & Gary Lunn
Mark Baldwin & Gary Lunn

Session Players

Mark Baldwin (guitar)
Gary Lunn (bass)
Blair Masters (keys)
Ken Lewis (drums)

God’s timing is perfect for this blog: Just the other day a friend posted on his FB a need for prayer for a young man who was suicidal. Fortunately the young man knew that this friend and their home was a safe haven. This young man is reaching out and grasping at any ounce of hope that he can find and he chose this friend who happens to be a mature Christian.

“The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” Proverbs 20:14, NIV

Like the young man who is struggling with suicide, his heart is full of deep waters at this time. My friend is the man of understanding. Would you please pray along with me during this urgent time that my friend will have the wisdom and discernment to be that man of understanding that can draw out these deep waters in this other young man’s heart and bring the hope of Christ to him during these dark moments?

We all have deep waters and it takes a special heart that can draw them out. Do you have someone that draws out your deep waters? Are you the one of understanding? This is the wise counselor. You are needed so much, look for those you can draw out. There is a light that shines in us as believers that brings hope to others when they see us. But they are seeing more than us because we reflect the radiance of Christ. It is His reflection back at them that tells them there is hope. You are that messenger of that Good News.

YouCanDoIt

Sometimes our sorrows and griefs can be so overwhelming that we wish we could die or have contemplated taking our lives in suicide. This is sorrow at its worst, when we think we can’t go on anymore. And then the Enemy uses our thoughts to attack us in these lowest times. He is the deceiver and destroyer of life. Don’t listen to the lies, you are not alone.

On a night of intense sorrows, and after Jesus had shared Passover with His disciples He went to Gethsemane to pray. He took three of his closest friends with Him: Peter, James and John. Jesus “began to be sorrowful and troubled and He said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.’ And going a little further he fell on his face and prayed saying. ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’ And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping.” Matthew 26:36-40, ESV

Jesus was indeed sorrowful and anguished. Luke tells us that He even sweat drops of blood in that anguish. Even the grove itself was a place where olives were pressed. And Jesus was pressed here, in this moment; even before He experienced death on a cross for you and me. He suffered greatly. He was betrayed and then beaten and humiliated unto death. He bore it all. His purpose from before time, when He was in the Godhead was the way of the Cross.

Yes, He knows our deep sorrows and griefs that we suffer. He went to death so that we would be freed from the bondage of sin and death. No intense grief or sorrow that permeates our souls could ever be greater than what He bore in His body, because He bore it all, from all of us, for all of us. When all the sins of the world were laid upon His shoulders as the One and only perfect sacrifice, for that brief moment, He was all alone. Intense heaviness, through and through. Even in that moment, Satan thought he had defeated Jesus in death. But we know, on that third day, Christ raised Himself from the grave and He now lives. This is our hope for all humanity! Because He lives, we live!

Jesus has promised us, He is with us always – forever! He will never leave or forsake us. He is God with us and now His Holy Spirit lives in us as a deposit and guarantee that He is coming back for us! Lift your eyes up to the One who rescues you and forgives you of ALL your sins. He bears all of your burdens and sorrows. He mourns with those who mourn. He draws near to the broken-hearted. He is the forgiver of sins and He is the giver of all LIFE!