A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

Which Flag Am I Flying?

posted by Linda G. Howard

With the world watching London for information regarding the royal wedding, trivia about the Royal Family from the United Kingdom seems to pour forth hourly.  One piece of information that you may have missed is that when Queen Elizabeth is NOT residing in Buckingham Palace, the Union Jack flag  flies over her London home.

However, if the Queen is in residence, her own flag flies over the palace.


In trying to help others understand ministry within the mentally challenged community, we explain that the social aptitude of our members is sort of stuck in junior high/middle school.  They enjoy all the things that would entertain anyone who is between the ages of 12 and 14.  Additionally, one minute they are making mature, rational decisions.  The next minute, they have reverted back to childish behavior.

In their walk with Christ, it isn’t unusual to hear deeply profound statements coming from two members as they discuss the Lord.  Yet, within a few moments, we may see the same two people fighting over a double-stuff Oreo cookie.

As I learned this interesting fact about the flags flying over Buckingham Palace, I thought of Special Gathering members. Their social penchant for flip/flopping makes them an easy target to illustrate an important Christian principle.  However, the problem isn’t isolated within the intellectually disabled population.  Too often, there are two alternating flags which fly over my life–over all of our lives.   One represents a holy life in Christ; the other shows that we’ve stepped away and we are somewhere else, fighting over an Oreo.


When we are in the middle of our friends who are Christian, it is easy to stand for what is right and good and just.  We fly the flag that says we are comfortable living within the kingdom of God.  When we are at work or among friends who aren’t aligned with Christ, we may nonchalantly slip to the flag pole to haust our worldly flag.

Compromise comes easily and quickly.  Yet, it means that for a time, I am turning my back on the life-giving Holy Spirit for a vacant life of recrimination and regrets.  I pray that the flag of my life will continue to fly high proudly telling the world the Christ is living in my heart.

When are the times that you are tempted to back away from the Savior?  Are we fighting over an Oreo, when we should be proclaiming Christ’s love to the world?


Humor from people who minister within the disability community

posted by Linda G. Howard

Photo by torturnedmommy

From Linda G. Howard of The Special Gathering of Indian River

At Easter, how can you tell the difference between a male chocolate bunny and a female chocolate bunny?

The male bunnies have hollow heads.

Tony Piantine from Camp Daniel says:

I had heard a follow up joke to that one…

If the head has already been bitten off a chocolate easter bunny, how can you tell if its male or female?

If it’s female, it is still talking!



Reality TV and my life

posted by Linda G. Howard

Wonderful, dreadful and insignificant, our lives are being recorded to be shown to every creature someday.  Is there a hidden camera waiting for us to stumble in order for someone to place it on UTube?  Is this a government plot to enslave all of us?

No.  This morning as my husband was watching Christian TV, I was reminded that every aspect of my life is being recorded.  Not for reality TV or UTube but where it really count, within the heavenly annals.


In the Bible, we are clearly told that on God’s Judgment Day, the books of our lives will be opened and we must stand before the Lord to answer regarding every aspect of our lives.  As a child, Saturday movie matinée at the Waylyn Theatre was a valued part of my childhood.  The $.14 entrance fee ushered me and a hundred other children into a wonder land visible on a screen so large that every aspect of my mind and brain was filled with the sights and sounds of an alternate universe.

Therefore, the recording of our lives never puzzled me because I knew God was more powerful than Hollywood.  I assumed that it was a supernatural thing that went on in those holy celestial halls.  However, now we see the lives of so many folks edited and shown in our living rooms.  It’s available every night of the week.  Reality TV has become common place.  “The Housewives” have taken over so much of what we see.  With 90,000 channels, there are only so many times that we can watch reruns of I Love Lucy. A cheap way to fill the hours had to be devised.  As a result, reality TV was born.


As some reality stars have found, filming every moment of your life is a two-edged sword.  It can make you a millionaire and give you public recognition.  Yet,  just as quickly, destroy your life.

What about us?  Carlos, a member of Special Gathering, is a high-functioning man whose disability is within the autism spectrum.  He has held a full-time position at an electronics firm for decades.  He is well-respected because of his work ethic.  He is paid well by the firm who employs him.  Years ago, he began bringing a video camera to record my sermons.


Then he would watch my sermons again and again.  It was a bit daunting because Carlos knew when I repeated a story; and he knew the exact date that I told the antidote.  He knew if I changed the facts a bit.  I could never slip in my devotion prep because Carlos was making a visual record of even my worst devotions.  Those days when he was recording probably made me a  better teacher.

This morning, I wondered if my life skills have been honed because of the reality that God is recording my actions and reactions.  Will I one day have to look at the shameful day that I pushed my husband aside in anger and he lost his balance and fell?  Will I have to see the way I’ve treated others on the days I whine the excuse, “I just don’t feel good”?


My life story will either bring glory to the Lord or eternal shame for me.  I praise God that the Bible also says that those missteps and sins that are forgiven have been edited from The Linda Howard Reality Story.  As each of us stand before God’s judgment seat, we will receive rewards for our deeds. Nevertheless, because of the blood of Jesus our sins can be hidden from view.

What is a time that you delighted in God’s forgiveness?  Will the recording of your life bring glory to the Savior?  What about your actions and reactions to your family, spouse or friends?  What is God’s reality show recording?


No royal wedding

posted by Linda G. Howard

It is my understanding that the Rowan William, Archbishop of Canterbury, has written two prayers for Prince William and Kate Middleton.  One is for adults to pray; and the other is a precious and simple prayer for school children.  Additionally, the Catholic Bishop‘s Conference has released a prayer for the nation’s Catholics to pray for the royal couple.

There is no doubt that the world awaits the wedding day on Friday, April 29.


The women want to see the gown, the flowers, the hairstyles, the carriage and the shoes. The men, who aren’t making money from the Royal Wedding,  simply want to see the entire thing to be finished.  This is the fairy-tale event for which every little girl dreams.  Conversely, it is the event that every red-blooded man dreads.

Most men and women in the world will not have a royal wedding when they marry.

For one reason or the other, they may even choose the simplest, least expensive way to get married.  I seen the wedding pictures of a good friend several times.  Now faded, they were taken with an inexpensive Kodak camera.  The photographer was a friend.  There are about 10 or 12 pictures.


The bride wore a lovely, white street-length dress.  She purchased it at a department store.  The groom wore a black suit.  There was one charming bouquet of flowers made of white daisies and fern.  The bride carried it.  The best man and maid of honor wore street clothes.

Only a few months before, the couple had been full-time students and worked 40 hours a week to pay their college expenses.  Together the bride and groom  planned every detail of the service.  Together, they pooled their meager finances to be able to give a small honorarium to the pastor conducting the service.  Because the couple could not afford an elaborate reception, there were simple refreshments after the wedding.  No champagne toasts were given.


The nation did not pray for the couple.  School children didn’t have a prayer to recite at the beginning of the day.  Yet there was prayer.  A lot of prayer had ushered this couple into holy matrimony.  Godly parents had prayed.  Friends, Bible teachers and pastors had prayed.  The bride and groom had prayed together and apart.


Even more, there was a great sense of mission that encircled the wedding pair.  This man and woman set into motion a great adventure as they founded a ministry within the mentally challenged community called The Special Gathering.  They began their marriage pouring themselves into the lives of people for whom few people in their city would appreciate or welcome.  Their members would never marry or have babies.  For the struggling pair financial benefits were forgotten and sacrifices were made again and again.  The ministry grew as did their love for each other and the community they serve.

More than 25 years have passed.  Now, at least 500 mentally challenged individuals regularly pray for the man they call their pastor and his wife.  With eight chapel programs, this ministry reaches from Walterboro, South Carolina to Vero Beach, Florida.


After the Royal Wedding, the royal couple may live happily ever after. I pray, along with their nation, that they will.   However, there is little doubt that Prince William and Kate will not be as loved as the two commoners whose simple wedding day was coupled with the birth of a ministry that would touch thousands of lives within the mentally challenged community.

What are the similarities or differences between what you believe a marriage should be and the Royal Wedding?  Will you pray for Prince William and Kate?  What event initiated your adult journey?  When you began your journey did you have a relationship with the Lord?

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