Thursday, September 22, 2011

Keep dancing

She said it over and over.

"Keep dancing."

Monday was like most all Mondays.  Busy with laundry, cooking, cleaning, paying those joyous bills, the blessed Wal-Mart trip, just those mundane things we all do.  I call it catch-up day.  No matter how much I try to keep-up during the weekend, on Monday morning it looks like all we've done was partied like rock-stars without a care in the world!  In addition to the everyday stuff, John Luke had his first soccer game.   The Sav-a-Life Banquet was also that night, and I had previously gotten tickets.  Throughout the day, I debated on whether I should just skip out on the banquet just because of the busyness of the day, {and we all know I don't handle too much busyness very well. And not much can be too much for me.}   I decided to go on.   

I'm SO GLAD I did!  What a blessing! 

 Emily was the speaker. 

Emily Colson, is the daughter of Chuck Colson, a popular and widely known author, speaker, and radio commentator, and former presidential aide to Richard Nixon. He has now founded the international ministry Prison Fellowship.

Emily is an artist and author, but most importantly she is a mother to Max. 
She wrote the book Dancing with Max. It is the true story of how she persevered and triumphed over life's toughest obstacles. After her husband walked out on her when Max was very young, she became a single mother stuggling to hold onto anything. She learned how to cope with life alone and raise a child who is autistic. She learned what it really meant to "get up and live", to break free of the barriers that threatened to constrict their life.

That night at the banquet, she reminded me that EVERY person is of great worth in God's eyes.  No matter the ability.  No matter the strength.  No matter the "quality".  No matter the view from others' eyes.  No matter the worth on the world's scales .  We are all a gift.

She told us of a time when she was struggling to know whether Max understood anything she was trying to teach him.  Whether he could grasp the meaning of Jesus' death on the cross and what it meant for us.  Finally someone told her, "The Holy Spirit speaks his language."  Wow! I loved that!!! I love that even when we can't explain it, and they can't "get" it, the Holy Spirit breaks all language barriers!

She writes in her book, "In those dark days of separation, divorce, and Max's diagnosis, I knew my faith in God had become real --- although I can't point to an exact moment when that happened.  It was as if trusting in God placed me in the only possible life-sustaining atmosphere, a spotlight that followed me through the darkenss in which I could move and live and breathe and see. As Paul, the pastor of our church, once said, "Our faith in God doesn't remove us from the challenges of this world, but it will equip us to cope with the challenges of this world."

Emily made a friend.  A true friend.  The kind of friend that listens to your every word.  The kind that wakes in the middle of the night to hear your desperate call.  The one that hurts deep in her soul when you hurt.  The kind that speaks in love words of encouragement, comfort, truth.  The kind that passes no judgements.  The kind that prays for you, with you.  Emily's friend was named Patti.  Max called her Peppermint Patti.  She reminded Emily that she had a gift.  His name was Max.

Emily writes, " Thereafter Patti was on speed dial when I needed an understanding friend, my throat often hoarse with emotion, as I told her of my fights and frustration with the school system or the parties Max didn't get invited to or any of our other daily disasters. Pattie knew the Bible front to back and was always pulling up a Scripture to encourage me, even when I was really looking for a verse about locusts and plagues descending upon the enemy.  Most friends would hear my tales of woe and express their empathy by jumping into the frenzy....but that wasn't Patti.  She would listen quietly, pensively, letting out that familiar gentle sigh, telling me she heard my words deep within her soul.  And when I was finished, she would say only one thing: "They don't see the gift, Emily.  They don't know Max is a gift."

Emily lost her dear friend to a miserable battle with cancer. She remembers back on those days throughout her illness.  Patti would say to Emily,  "Breathe out me, breathe in Jesus. Less of me, more of Him."

I am reading  Dancing With Max , and it is awesome! It is not a fairytale with a magical ending.  It's a real life story of grace and second chances.

Dancing with Max: A Mother and Son Who Broke Free

Emily's father once told her, "It's not what happens to you in this life that matters, Emily.  It's how you handle it that determines your character."


Lori said...

This was a wonderful post. You said it all beautifully! I'm going to send my bloggers over here to read your account of the night and the book. Thanks so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

It was such a blessing to hear Emily speak! She has incredible Joy! Hate I missed seeing you!