Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

My purpose in posting this on Homeschool Mosaics was not to just brag about my younger son’s wedding day (which you know we, parents like to do) because if you aren’t involved in the wedding it can be boring hearing about it in great detail, but I wanted to give people a glimpse into my way of experiencing a memorable event, the hard work that tactile ASL interpreters have to do, and the importance of SSPs, interpreters, and people willing to understand the needs of the DeafBlind. I am sharing it now with you, my friends, in the hopes that you will enjoy it, too. Everybody told me they cried, which wasn’t my intent LOL, but I will give you fair warning that some say you might need tissues handy.http://homeschoolmosaics.com/the-wedding/

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I was watching a popular Bible teacher this morning, Joyce Meyer. I enjoy her. I feel she is anointed by God even if I may not agree with everything she teaches or believes. Today, she was talking about not having to be perfect and not having to be constantly worried about whether we are doing right or wrong. God loves us even though we are imperfect. He is pleased with us despite of our imperfectness because we want to do right. We are trying to do right. He also uses us despite the fact that we aren’t perfect. She told a story about when she thought she was hearing from God to be a preacher or Bible Teacher. She wasn’t sure if that was really from God. Many of us struggle with knowing if we are hearing from God. Often times, we have acted on something and made a fool of ourselves because it wasn’t from God, so we become afraid to try to listen and act on God’s will for us. Joyce went on to say that she took a tiny step in faith to test it. She started teaching a Bible study in her home. God blessed it. People came. It grew, so she knew that her desire had been God speaking to her. That was interesting to me. I have learned to do the same thing in my life as I try to follow where God is leading me.

What interested me more, though, was what she said next. Joyce Meyer said she taught that class in short shorts and smoking cigarettes. She smoked so many cigarettes, she said, that smoke filled the room where she and her guests couldn’t see each other. I thought to myself that I know some people who would have tried to shut her down if it was a church sponsored or advertised event or at the very least they would have stopped going and told everyone they knew about that woman who was disrespecting God by reading scriptures while dressed so inappropriately and smoking like a “choo choo”. I know in my own life that I have had people criticize me and tell me to stop doing something that I felt God was leading me to do because I wasn’t perfect. I had sin in my life. I sometimes sinned while I was doing what God wanted me to do. I wasn’t necessarily meaning to sin. I just did. I sometimes have a temper. I sometimes get passionate about something or angry and use certain colorful expressions or even profanity. I was trying to do right. I often failed, but I was trying. I wanted to be good at what I was doing for my Lord, though, so I kept trying. Doing it in the face of harsh criticism was very difficult at times, but I kept trying.

It is obvious though that God wasn’t disrespected. He wasn’t offended or angered. God was pleased with Joyce Meyer. She was doing what He wanted her to do which was teach His word to others. God was pleased with her even though she wasn’t doing it in perfectly the right way. He blessed her efforts and brought her more students and increased her borders of influence. God is still doing that today. God anointed her though she was imperfect because she wanted to do His will. That was enough. Along the way, God helped her to learn how to do His work in better ways. Eventually, He used her husband to point out that she really should dress more appropriately. Eventually, God showed her that she should stop abusing His temple, her body, by smoking and helped her to stop.

In the same way, God was pleased with me. My teaching improved. He sent me to various places to teach that were difficult in many ways, but honed my skills even more. God showed me patterns in some of the students I taught that were more of a challenge and helped me to develop better ways to teach them. When I was better prepared, God gave me the desire and life situations to confirm the desire was from Him to prompt me to begin teaching first just a few students out of my home to now a growing, accredited school that helps all kinds of students including some with needs that other schools haven’t been able to reach. God is helping us to reach those students’ needs successfully. He is even now using my more recent situation of being Deaf and blind to help me to understand even more the needs of people like myself and giving me the desire and resources to begin helping others like myself become more independent. Along the way, he has helped me with my temper to learn more how to control it when it isn’t appropriate, but given me the courage to use it to help fight what is wrong. I am still not perfect in so many ways, but God is pleased with me, and He is anointing me to do the work He has for me.

The criticism is often still there from those I don’t know to even those very close to me. It can still be difficult at times, but I have learned that it is more often the work of Satan in those voices and in the voices in my own mind trying to lessen my impact and weaken my spirit. I have to focus on the lessons I have learned.

From that knowledge that God is pleased with me and blessing my efforts of doing His will for me, I am learning a new lesson that I also see Paul teaching in 1 Corinthians 4:3-5.

3But [as for me personally] it matters very little to me that I should be put on trial by you [on this point], and that you or any other human tribunal should investigate and question and cross-question me. I do not even put myself on trial and judge myself.  4I am not conscious of anything against myself, and I feel blameless; but I am not vindicated and acquitted before God on that account. It is the Lord [Himself] Who examines and judges me. 5So do not make any hasty or premature judgments before the time when the Lord comes [again], for He will both bring to light the secret things that are [now hidden] in darkness and disclose and expose the [secret] aims (motives and purposes) of hearts. Then every man will receive his [due] commendation from God. Amplified Bible (AMP)

I am learning to let go of the worry about my mistakes and the fear that I will displeased God with my mistakes. That is true freedom found in knowing Christ as Savior and Lord. God is pleased with me in spite of my mistakes. He already knows my flaws and what mistakes I will make. He knows we aren’t perfect. He knows what we are going to do wrong before we even do it. He also sent His Son, Jesus, to live like us. Jesus understands what we go through. He didn’t sin, and He can help us to learn how to live right. We find these promises in Jeremiah 1:4-5 and Hebrews 4:14-16. He is pleased with me simply because I have chosen to love His Son and chosen to try to do what is right with the help of Jesus. I can be free because I am confident that God loves me and is pleased with me. I can be free because I am confident that because I am trying to follow that God will lead me in His way and bless my efforts.

This freedom can be found by everyone. It is found by choosing Christ and wanting to do right and allowing Christ to help us learn while we are also being used to reach others in spite of our imperfections. Part of that means we also have to learn that we can be blessed by others who are imperfect, but anointed, too.



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After awaking at 7:00 am and breakfasts for me and Joe, we went back to the room for our own worship service since I still had gotten a ride to a Baptist church. I told them I didn’t care as much about Baptist as long as it was a Bible believing, Jesus as God type of Church. Anyway, Joe and I read, sang, and prayed for over 2 hours. I don’t know what others thought, but I did it any way. I do feel sorry for those who had to listen to me sing, but God was ok with it, I’m sure. Lunch came quickly and then Joe and I listened to a Sherlock Holmes book for a while. I fed him at 3:00. Then Jerry and Nina played with Joe and I. Actually, we sat in chairs and the dogs played. The trainer helped us listened for the inappropriate growling and barking. When dogs play together, there is some growling and low barking, some mild playful nipping, etc. Anything over that and we have to correct quickly. I was glad for this training because while puppy raising we were never sure what the rules were about that.

After that, I groomed Joe for about 15 mins. He loves it. He turns around when he is ready for me to groom another side. I get about 5 mins. per area. He is sooo funny.

Then I got incredibly bored and hyper. We walked around the inside of the building 6 times. Then Kate asked if I wanted to play with Trigger. I said, “Who?” She said, “Trigger. Our very bad guide dog who has to be corrected an awful lot. I was game for anything, and she seemed to be glad to stop me from continually walking. smile With Trigger, a stuffed black lab with harness strapped to chair, Kate ran me through scenarios and helped me to learn and practice carefully all the different steps, commands and most importantly, corrections. You would never want to correct a real dog this much. He would probably get a low self-esteem and sore neck.
Ok, its straight back pop of the leash with the left hand for not heeling or for missing a curb. New things like overhanging trees is just a stop, touch whatever it is and say watch. If you give a direction command, the correction for not moving in that direction is a pop of the leash in the direction you want to go with the right hand.. Left with the right hand is hard. Down correction is a pop and release of the leash with the right hand in a downward direction.

Lots to get straight in your head, especially if you still get your left and right mixed up. :-< smile

Well, I made it to supper. I talked to Scott again, as most nights. I looked at the pictures of him, Brendan, Hartley, Kaz, and Dino from the security cameras around the house. Scott fixed a private page on our website for me to go and look at when I want. I get to keep up with what is going on. At least,some. smile

Well, bedtime for Bonzo and me. Good night.

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Those of you who may be joining this journey with me for the first time here on this public site may be wondering about my beginnings. I started a private blog on my school intranet a few years ago when after learning about my Usher Syndrome diagnosis and living with it quietly was no longer possible. It had finally become clear to me that I needed to get help with my mobility if I was to remain independent. I had been  aware of Southeastern Guide Dogs in Bradenton/Palmetto, Florida for many years as our family had been raising and continued to raise guide dog puppies for them as a homeschool project. God had quietly placed that job in my family’s life about 8 years before to prepare us for the journey unknown to us that was to come. God is awesome in that way. He always provides everything we need to sustain us. He always has the answer to our problems even before we know we have the problem. As I initially lost much of my sight so quickly, God surrounded me with these people who gave me the knowledge and support that I needed at that time. I didn’t initially want to get my own guide dog despite their encouragement, so I continued to plod along on my own raising puppies which actually gave some support initially when the vision wasn’t as bad and later eventually using a cane.

Finally, that time arrived that I knew would be coming. I needed my own guide dog to help me maneuver the world. I prepared my students and talked with them about the changes to come. They were so loving and supportive. Several asked me to write them about what I was going to be doing. The private blog on the Wynfield School’s private web site, WCA Online, was born to do just that. I told of my fears, joys, and activities in those pages during my 26 day stay in Florida teaching them about the guide dog process as well as the ways I was learning to cope with my blindness. Returning home, I continued to post occasionally about my adventures with my new best friend and eyes, Little Joe.

I had hoped that would be the extent of my story, but God was not through with me yet. What you may not realize yet and many of my friends at the time didn’t realize then was that I had been profoundly deaf for many years, but with hearing aids and my skill for reading lips, it had not been a problem. As my vision continue to decrease, I began to realize that I was losing my grasp on the world around me. Communication was now a real problem. I had friends who meant well, but thought that I should stop teaching and sit and relax. At 47, that was not an option for me. Sitting in a dark room alone for the next 40 years or so didn’t seem appealing in the least. In fact, it terrified me to the point of insanity. That was not how it was going to be. Besides, I knew God had a purpose in all of this. Somehow, He had a plan for me. I was just going to have to hang on and see where it took me.

As I faced the new realities of my life, I made prayerful changes in the school that would allow me to continue to work in the field that I knew best and loved the most. It soon became obvious that I was going to need help if I wanted to teach my special education students properly. For a while, I actually had to let those students  go completely while I concentrated on learning new skills and getting assistive technology to help me do my work. I switched to an online evironment entirely for teaching students and counseling parents. I prayed for the day when I would be capable again of teaching one on one where I knew I was so good with God’s help. I didn’t know if it would happen or not, but I hoped and worked hard at what I could do at the moment.

After a while, I realized getting the needed braille equipment and intensive training was going to be difficult if not impossible without help. I sought out help from Vocational Rehabilitation Services. They recommended that I first go to New York’s Helen Keller National Center for the DeafBlind. My time there would not be measurable in length until I actually went and studied. It could have been anywhere from a few months to a year or more. I knew that I didn’t have much choice despite dreading the change. I knew that I would have to decide what to do about the school while I was gone. God had the answer. He sent 4 dear friends who were also parents in my school to help me run the school. We worked hard setting up a system that delegated many of my tasks amongst them. It wasn’t easy, but God gave us the strength and the knowledge to not only keep it going, but also strengthened the educational process that I already had. I left in August 2007 to go to an unknown place, and I left alone for the first time since I had lost my sight. I was terrified, but God was with me, my Emmanuel.

I was there for six months, and I learned as much as I could while there. I continued my blog for my students as I finished my braille training which I had started on my own a year before. I  finally learned contracted braille and reading at workable pace. I also learned ASL becoming functional during that short time. I will be learning ASL for many years to come, but the instruction there was phenomenal. I also learned to cook, clean, use braille displays and printers, etc. as a totally DeafBlind individual. I often did my training without hearing aids and with a nightshade to simulate the total silence and darkness that would soon be my life. Two dear friends, Ginger and Elissa, who were my vocational evaluator and instructor helped me and my staff further align the school’s tasks to help me continue what I wanted to do so much which is teaching. I am so thankful for them and what they have done to make me more confident in my role as Principal of Wynfield Christian Academy. I made many other friends during my stay there, and my experiences changed me into a more abled person. I felt like there was a chance that I could finally belong for the first time ever. Being hard of hearing and then deaf, I got along fine in the hearing world, but I never quite fit. Not knowing ASL, I didn’t belong in the Deaf community either, so I was always hanging on the edge. I had not been really conscious of that fact before though I sensed it from time to time. Becoming DeafBlind made me see it with such clarity. At HKNC, I saw a chance at truly belonging in the DeafBlind community though smaller and not always as visible. This community exists sometimes more in the realm of the internet than in the actual world. DeafBlind people are spread all over the world, but only a few places like Louisiana and Seattle have enough to have a physical connection. DeafBlind conferences and the internet listservs are our connections. HKNC is often the first connection one would have to this world. Everything about the place caters to the DeafBlind person. You can feel safe there. You can fully communicate there.More importantly, you are not only heard there, but you are listened to there. As much as I wanted to leave to get back to my family and school and my life, I also didn’t want to leave. I wanted to hide there. Returning home, that desire became even stronger, especially after having  a bout of illness in February 2008 that took almost all of the remaining residual hearing that I had, and the vision loss which was decreasing seemingly almost everyday. No one in my family, friends, school, or church could sign to me. The Deaf at church could, but I needed tactual ASL more and more which they just didn’t feel comfortable with yet. I actually began to feel like I was becoming invisible to the world as people lovingly welcomed me home and tried to communicate, but become aware that it wasn’t possible. Soon, people tended to talk to people who were around me and not to me. It was really as if I had just disappeared from their view, and they had disappeared from mine.

God provided again. He sent me a Special Services Provider (which is an assistant to a DeafBlind person in interacting with the world in any way needed) in a way through a friend that had already volunteered to help with the school before I left for HKNC who I could still understand with patience and time. Sharon is my link to the world. She leans in close for me to use the last of my vision to read her lips. She is also learning to sign better each day. She speaks my words and relays my thoughts to a world untouchable. There is so much that I owe her and will never truly be able to repay.

Well, for now, my staff and I run my little school and are still trying to raise money for my assistive technology. My SSP, Sharon, and I seemingly fight the world one enemy at the time as we try to get the world to understand that I am still the woman I was and in some ways, am even better. Day to day I face the joys and struggles with my family, my friends, my Joey, and Jesus. No matter the problem, God is the Hope of my world. Let him be the Hope of yours.

In the very near future, I will bring a synopsis of my stays at Southeastern Guide Dogs and Helen Keller National Center to this now public blog. It was the enjoyment of the private blog that led many who were guests to ask me to make it public. It was a request that pleasantly surprised me but that I am more than happy to grant.

Now on this most blessed Christmas Eve I pause to thank my Savior, Jesus Christ, for all that He has done for me with the most important being his willing gift of death on a cross for my sins and the grace to allow me to accept his gift of salvation. He is my sighted guide, and I with my eyes through Joey, follow Him with all my heart on this journey though it be through the dark silence. I do not fear for He promised to be with me even through the valleys and the shadows of death. He fills my closed ears with his words of hope and strength. He shines his light of love through the darkening curtains of my eyes. I will never be alone.

I do not have any gifts in my hands for my family and friends this year because shopping in stores is a luxury these days and difficult at best. Internet shopping which has been my friend in recent years has become more difficult and even risky as I wait to gather the funds needed for my technology. The only gift I have is what is in my heart. I offer it to you freely. Most of you can’t read my hands when I say that I love you, but I want you to know that I do. I dream of the day that my ears and eyes will be freed at the gates to Heaven, so I can truly talk to you and see your faces, but until then accept the love that I offer and the prayer in my heart that you should know Jesus and find that you can see Him as I do each day. He is with you. If you don’t know Jesus, I pray that you will ask Him to become your sighted guide for all our spiritual eyes are blinded without Him.

Merry Christmas to all and may the peace and joy found only in Jesus Christ be in your heart. I pray for you to have His blessings in the coming year.

Renee’ and Joey

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