Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sanctuary

Our daughter takes an art class at a local church which is a sprawling and captivating mix of tradition and innovation. Every Monday we penetrate the sights and sounds of fellowship in the welcoming lobby before class. It is warm and neighborly. I want to soak it all up and prattle with my friends who are homeschoolers like us.

But autism shows up, habitually changing the normal into chaos for millions.

Lights become nagging and cause dull pain, friendly commotion becomes echo chambers, the hubbub of bodies is claustrophobic,  and decorations are a dizzy swirl. All are distressing at best and painful at worst for our daughter. It is unbearable for Izaiah.

Having spent most of the year regressing, it became impossible for Izaiah to enter this house of God. 

I had failed at my feat of entering the building with Ashi while not entering the building with Izaiah so I employed Daddy to help. As if he is not already employed somewhere else, namely his J.O.B., but such is life with autism.

Once the pandemonium abandons the foyer in favor of assigned classrooms, the great lobby becomes sedated and lifeless. Daddy can then bring Izaiah inside the now hushed space to re-organize his senses. Izaiah meanders about, exploring the cavernous expanse with my husband in tow for safety and camaraderie.

Their adventures were secrets until Izaiah shared one with me this Christmas Season.

On this particular Monday, Izaiah had been able to manage the lobby din, go upstairs to a room just outside of Ashi's art class, and play contentedly with Daddy until class was over.  Progress!

Class then finished so everyone departed, descended stairs, and breathed life back into the sleepy lobby. Izaiah was still doing well so we had an odd chance to visit with some friends. Progress!

He became insistent on taking me somewhere and pulled my hand until I reluctantly went with him. I kept asking, "this? Is this what you want to show me? Here? Is this where you want to go?" I spotted a sofa he might want to posture on or perhaps he fancied a young girl's hair to stroke. But my guesses were all wrong.

He tugged me along looking back at me. His sweet face had a different countenance. He was aware, he was determined, and he knew something I didn't.

We bobbed and weaved through chatting people and cut paths through mazes of furniture. It thinned and he confidently hauled me through a corridor and then through a doorway. Then he stopped. We were there.

My mouth gaped open and I stared before me. Then at him. He was already awaiting my expression, my reaction, wondering:

"Do you love it, Mommy? Are you surprised? Look what I discovered! Isn't it amazing, Mommy! Come! It's beautiful, like you. Sit with me, Mommy. Are you proud of me?"



Yes! It all came together. I understood. His insistence, his expressions, his motions, his heart! 

My eyes welled with tears that would not be held back. Izaiah took my hand and we remained seated on a soft pew in the sanctuary. He wanted me to appreciate it the way he did. He kept checking my expression, my approval, my level of awe. 

We sat in the peace of the sanctuary. We could hear nothing outside the room. It was so still, the silence had its own sound. Even my wheeling tears quietly obeyed. It felt Holy. 

We were enveloped by massive and exquisite stained glass windows announcing the powerful story of Christ. I was overwhelmed by Mary holding her baby boy, unaware of the life they would endure before her Son would conquer our enemy.  The elegant Christmas decor swallowed us entirely and the Christmas tree on the shiny, marble altar extended straight to Heaven.

We felt God's presence. I smiled at Izaiah through weeping eyes and thanked him repeatedly for sharing his majestic sanctuary with me. Over and over I communicated how thankful I am to have such a loving and kind son who recognizes such beauty and desires to share it with me.

We hugged each other tight and held hands and we prayed together.

This moment was enough to fill the gaping holes autism has dug into me and scarred me with this year. The whole moment is a sanctuary in my heart and mind and I've been there often since, to soothe my soul.




I have been doing a study in the book of Daniel. In Chapter 9 we read Daniel's prayer and confession of sin. He uses the words 'we' and 'our' and 'us' as he confesses the sin of Israel. He includes himself. Even in verse 20 he says he was confessing 'my' sin referring to himself.


This was during the Babylonian captivity and nowhere in the book of Daniel do we learn how he sinned or what his sins were. Instead we see him as an incredible pillar of bravery. He stood firm for God as an adolescent boy straight into his very old age. Even so, in Chapter 9, he confesses his sin. I can promise you, if Daniel confessed his sin, you and I need to as well.

To stand in front of our LORD defending ourselves is to slap the face of God, so plan now to not do so, ever.

There is one who kept every commandment and that was Jesus. He was the innocent lamb, led to the slaughter for the sin of all of us. When we repent, that is turn from our ways to follow Him, we do not return to our sin and we do not justify our sin, but we begin our journey of becoming Christlike. Becoming Holy. God doesn't care if we are happy. He wants us to be Holy. The Gospel has gotten very mucked up in apostate churches today.

The best any person can say of himself is that he is Saved. To rest in this is Sanctuary.







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