Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Testimony of How God Helped Me See A.D.H.D Has A Gift (Part 1)

If I was to ask you to paint a picture of what my life was like growing up and I told you I have learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Hyper Active Disorder, how would you paint the picture of my life?  Would you say that I got into trouble all the time, that I was an unfocused daydreamer who could not sit still and that I forgot and lost things all the time?  You probably would have thought that I wasn't that bright in school since I mentioned the words learning and disability in the same sentence. I bet the picture would include me having some sort of drug addiction or alcohol addiction. Maybe the picture could have even included me probably growing out of ADHD like it was some kind of phase in my life. It's a challenge to tell my testimony without mentioning how God helped me take my proverbial thorn in the side and see it as a gift. However, I have done a great job of avoiding the subject because I'm afraid that doors will be closed and the picture mentioned above will win out over my testimony. I hide the disorders like they are some kind of dirty secrets to be locked away. Recently, Christ has invaded this part of my life and told me to share my testimony. Christ has always been my trusted guide throughout this life, so I will leave this testimony in His capable hands.

After mentioning how I thought most people would paint my life, let's see how close my life matches up with society's depiction. Being a daydreamer is something I cannot deny, I had, and still have, a lively imagination. My parents have always told me that when I was little I could play with anything and be satisfied. Everything from a blade of grass to a cardboard box. The bad part about daydreaming and having an active imagination is that you live too much inside your own head.  Sometimes, I liked the reality I created inside my head more than I liked the reality outside of my head. I hated having to limit myself by focusing on school work, I could not wait to get home and do what I really wanted to do and that was to lose myself in my imagination.  Often this excluded playing with other children unless it was someone I knew like my neighbors, brother, or cousins.  A.D.H.D has a tendency to make you socially awkward because your mind and impulses have such a big influence over you that sometimes uncensored thoughts are shared that are normally restrained. I was often the source of entertainment for students because I was known as the kid who would say anything. This made me the class clown but the laugh was often at my expense. My mouth would always be getting me into trouble, which made students laugh but not the teachers.

Throughout my school years, I was in and out of Special Ed. classrooms. I would spend part of my time in a normal classroom setting in the subjects that I could keep up with the regular students and then go to special ed.. class for math and reading. I was always told that I was just as smart as other students, it just took me  longer to process information in some subjects. Having A.D.H.D did not make learning easy for me, especially when my brain can go into daydream mode without warning, which meant that whatever the teacher was saying was not being heard. This kind of daydreaming is like having a blackout moment and then finding yourself  coming back to reality only to find you missed out on an important conversation or lesson. I would usually do the best in classes that I could study the text book at home and learn what I missed in class. Having to work against a brain chemistry that was not wired for a long period of focusing, made me work harder than most students to do well in school.  I also tackled school life without the help of A.D.H.D medications like Ritalin. Mom thought that the medication made me space out too much and turned me into a zombie. This thought was actually positive for me because I became more resourceful at figuring out how to deal with A.D.H.D. Home life could also be a challenge at times because I was prone to break things and misplace my farther's tools. I was also bad for grieving mom about keeping my room clean.

Most of the time, I was the very opposite of someone who has  A.D.H.D with behavioral problems.  I hardly ever got into fights. I was quiet in most settings, if the people in the room were not familiar to me.  Most of the time I was shy, and I got bullied a lot which made me hate any situation where I thought that was the potential that someone could pick on me. I was kicked, punched, verbally abused, and picked on because I went to special ed classes. Kids don't know that the abuse from bullying can last a lifetime. I can still remember wounds being inflicted like it's yesterday. One of my most painful wounds came from some kids in class telling me that LD (Learning Disabilities) stood for local dummy. I even hated the boy scouts because kids would often throw rocks at me. Deal weed was a  favorite name they liked to call me because my last name is Deal, and I daydreamed a lot which made some people think I looked high.

The two places of safety where I knew I would not get teased was at home with my family and at church. I have been going to church ever since I was little. Believing in Christ was not a struggle to me. My active imagination often translated into having little difficulties with faith. I used to imagine that Jesus sat beside me on the school bus. I can always remember talking to God as if he were standing right beside me. I started my relationship with Christ at the age of seven after watching a Billy Graham movie called A Man Named Norman. I remember the characters in the movie saying a prayer to ask Jesus into their lives, and I repeated the prayer with the characters.  Later on, God spoke to me while I was walking down my aunt's driveway and told me that it was time to make public my decision to make Jesus Lord of my life. That Easter, I was baptized at North Catawba Baptist Church. I remember naively thinking that day that my journey with Jesus started after I came up out of the baptismal waters. I thought that I would never sin again the rest of my life.The litmus test for determining whether or not my idea of the Christian life would checkout is whether or not I picked on my brother. Needless to say, I failed the test miserably. Staying focused in church was always a challenge for me, especially when I started to think about all the things I wanted to do when I got home. I had a very sporadic relationship with Christ. I would feel like I was growing as a Christian every time the Church would have a revival or when I heard an inspirational song.  My relationship with Christ however, did not grow very much until after my senior year of high school.

During my senior of high school, I started to make more friends, and I was getting into sports. I remember thinking more about the meaning of life during this time. My mind as always processed an overload of information. I have a tendency to take apart and analyze just about everything. My wife is always annoyed  that I analyze movies and give away the plot. One person described A.D.D this way: if you went to a football game you would notice the game being played and the players. The individual with A.D.D would notice the sounds going on, the vendors going back and forth, the images moving across the score board, and the game being played, all at the same time.  I was excited during this year to graduate high school and finally gain my independence. The picture of adulthood for me always included me finally getting respect and being treated as a capable adult. Because of my sometimes slow reacting mind, I often did things very slowly and often people would take over whatever project I had started. They often would ask why I would pick the hard way of doing something. Therefore, I would spend a lot of time daydreaming of the day people would let me do life on my own.

During Christmas of my senior year, my mom got me a brand new Bible. This Bible had all kinds of features like a dictionary, devotionals and commentary. With a new Bible in hand, I decided to read the entire Bible for the first time. I loved the idea of taking on a new venture and growing in my understanding of God. This process was like flipping on a spiritual light switch in my life. My relationship with Christ increased with my desire to get to know Him more. A daily quiet time with God became the highlight of my day. At this time in my life, I also began college to study Horticulture (a form of plant science). At community college, I started attending a group called Students for Christ. This group of people showed me how authentic Christians acted. They hung out together, did Bible study, and respected me. Finally, I was getting respect and God was giving me a deep sense of self worth. Thus, began the process of God making me into a more outgoing person. God was starting to encourage me  to minister and share the Gospel. Church also became a richer and deeper experience. Instead of struggling to focus during church, I started to look forward to Sundays. A few years later I became a deacon at North Catawba and started going on mission trips.

In 2000, I graduated college with an Associates degree in Horticulture. This degree enabled me to get a job managing a greenhouse which served as a therapy tool for people with developmental disabilities. This job started a new passion in my life of ministering to people with developmental disabilities.

Part two of my testimony will tell how God called me into full time ministry and took me on the adventure of going to back to school at 29 years old and getting married. I will conclude with telling how God has given me control over ADHD and allowed me to see it has a gift.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Video of my Favorite Paintings of Art and Christianity

Previously, I discussed Jesus in art and described how little the bible spoke about the appearance of Jesus. I also showed the scriptures that mention his appearance. Today, I decided to post a video I made to show some of my favorite paintings of  the stories in the bible, enjoy. The music in the video is by Rebecca St James.

Post that are coming soon:

My testimony of how God helped me deal with having ADHD

Debunking the myth of all religions are the same that follow same God, watch out Oprah!

Taking on issues hot button issues

Can God be a loving God and a just judge.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Poem of Insecurity to Security and the Importance of a Spiritual Journal

While cleaning out my storage room today I came across an old spiritual journal of mine. If you have not started a spiritual, I would definitely recommend  you get one. It's funny how I will write something in a journal and read it years later and find that God will use something I have written to minister to me. That what's great about a spiritual journal God can take an entry in a journal and remind what he has done in your life. You can also see how your prayers are answered. There is also a therapeutic quality to writing down your thought, this process will help you get thoughts out of your head and on to paper. When you do this you can pray about these thoughts and leave them in God's hands. This process is especially good if you tend to have a lot of worry and anxiety. Written below is a poem I wrote in my journal years ago but still ministers to me today.

I see you standing there 
Eyes downcast avoiding my stare
What's hiding beneath your exterior
Have your dreams gone awry
Do you wish had wings to fly
Are you looking for a place to cry
Do wish you tried
Please put down your pride
You are not meant to keep that inside
Do you have a secret sin or secret lie
Maybe a secret feeling inside
That wasn't meant to hide
Does love confuse you
Maybe your searching for the meaning of life
You got to get Christ on your mind
So you can clean out your cluttered mind
And sort out all those insecurities inside
Then your eyes will look into mine.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

12 Different Ways to Pray / Talk to God

There are many ways to communicate with God and many reasons to communicate with Him. Do not lock yourself into just one way to talk to Him. If you think about it we have many ways we communicate to each other. We can sykpe, talk, tweet, sign, use body language,email, mail,text and call each other. God designed us therfore, it only make sense that we were designed to commuicate with him sereval different ways.

1. Petition- Bringing a need before the Lord (Matthew 7:7)

2. Confession- Confessing your sins before God (James 5:16)

3. Adoration- Prayer of Praise (Psalm 34:1)

4. Intercession – Prayer on behalf of others (1 Timothy 2:1)

5. Meditation- Being still and Knowing He is God. A prayer in which the individual praying sit's still and waits for God to speak to them. Meditation can also be simply takeing the time to think about God and his promises (Psalm 119: 148). Note: this completely different from the act of meditation associated with other religions in which an indivdual is looking for a spiritual guide which takes them to a place of spiritual enlightment or nirvana . Christian meditation focuses primarily on Christ.

6. Thanksgiving- Prayer of thanks to God ( Psalm 118)

7. Surrender- The point of giving in completely to God ( James 4:7)

8. Flash Prayers- Brief prayers directed at people passing by or people you know

9. Scripture prayer- Using a scripture has your prayer

10. Recited prayers- written prayers that are recited to help formulate a prayer to God

11. Conversational Prayer- Talking to God like a friend

12. Prayer Walking- Meditative prayer used while walking , or intercessory prayer aimed at a particular group of people or cause.

Friday, March 2, 2012

There Are Two Kinds of Works in the Bible ( Don't Confuse Them )

God just gave me some wonderful insight tonight. In the bible the word works is used in two different ways. One usage of the word is in a negative context. This a works done to gain the approval of God. Also the negative usage of works is almost always paired up with the word law. This is the usage of works in the book of Romans. Romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. The other kind of works is done has a spirit motivated action. A christian puts his or her faith in Christ, that action prompts their heart to listen to God which inspire them to action, which equals a spiritually prompted action ( Christian Works). This is the works discussed in the book of James. James 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do. The trouble with works comes when we do not take the time to put works in right context when we read scripture about works. Getting the two uses of the word works mixed up is the root cause of legalism.