From Columbus to Columbus

I was shocked when my kids told me how horrible Columbus was to the natives here in the Americas. I had been simply taught that he accidentally ran into some Carribean islands while trying to make it to China. But after coming across an excellent modern biography about Queen Isabella, written by Kirsten Downey, I saw that much of what my kids had been taught was true.

Queen Isabella asked Columbus to treat the natives respectfully. He was to recognize them as the rulers of a foreign nation equal to Spain, and to seek to set up trade relations with them. She also had priests go along to share Christianity, but everything was to be done carefully and diplomatically. Because Columbus botched things so badly, he was pulled from voyaging to the new world after just a few trips, but the damage had been done. Wave after wave of Europeans came to the Americas, wreaking havoc and destruction on the native peoples.

“Why, God?” I questioned. “Why did you allow such atrocities to come to the Americas through Columbus and the following onslaught of European explorers?”

A number of months later, I noticed this National Geographic article in the sidebar of my browser:

Exclusive: Ancient Mass Child Sacrifice May Be World’s Largest
More than 140 children were ritually killed in a single event in Peru more than 500 years ago. What could possibly have been the reason?

The ritual killing was dated to 1450, not even 50 years before Columbus made it to the Americas. Immediately, I knew this was the answer to my question of why.

My family had recently read Leviticus 18. Most of the chapter is about laws governing sexual relations. But the following verse is thrown in there:

Leviticus 18:21 “‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.”

At the end of the list of things not to do are these verses: Leviticus 18:24-25 “‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.'”

No one is certain why these children were killed, but archaeologists believe it may have something to do with El Nino. Research shows that weather had been tough for some years before the sacrifice, so most likely the people were trying to negotiate with their gods. The children were killed for the economic benefit and comfort of the adults. Innocent lives were snuffed out for selfishness. And God could stand by no longer.

This civilization in Peru was actually demolished by another South American people in 1475. But the Aztecs were also known for their child sacrifices.

God allowed the Europeans, who were at least trying to fear Him, as imperfectly as they did, to conquer the Americas. The land had become defiled with the blood of innocent children, so the land vomited out its inhabitants, some of whom are my ancestors, making room for the past 500 years of immigrants.

Which brings us to today and the toppling of Columbus statues around the nation.

Leviticus 18:26-28 says, “‘But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, for all these things were done by the people  who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.”

We are defiling the land with the blood of the innocent children we are aborting for the economic benefit and comfort of adults. And don’t forget all of the people of color being killed by those who are supposed to protect them. The land is now trying to vomit us out.

The day that China shut down 80 of its cities at the beginning of the pandemic, I happened to be reading in Job and ran across this verse: Job 37:7 “So that everyone he has made may know his work, he stops all people from their labor.”

God is trying to get our attention. He loves us and wants to bless us. Let’s stop defiling the land. Let’s protect the life of everyone. Young, old, white, black, brown, everyone.

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Less Wind in the Storm

All of this forced togetherness can build us or break us. I must admit that, while I want to have a good relationship with my family, the hustle and bustle of our old lives made it so that I could get by with being less and expecting less than I should’ve.

Now, they, and I, never go away!

So, I have learned to act more calmly in trying situations. Before COVID-19 I didn’t feel like I had the time to wait for a situation to stabilize. I was busy, or they were busy and needed a resolution now! Or, I knew they were leaving soon, so if things got a little dicey, they would be gone and things would feel peaceful, so why put in the extra effort to find peace while they are still around?

I pray that you, too, would find the time to learn how to have better family relationships.

And for those of you in abusive situations, my prayers are with you. I don’t understand why God is allowing you to go through this, but please know that He sees, He cares, and He has a plan to turn it into good for you. He promises.

Am I perfect now? Hah! If only! I will always have a long way to go. But is my family life better.? Thanks to the power of God working in a willing heart, yes.

Why am I not afraid of the phone?

Usually, I avoid making and taking phone calls, like the plague. Now that there actually is a plague going on, I love the phone. Why?

#1 There are not a lot of other opportunities for social interaction, so phone calls are now a welcome interaction.

It used to be that normal life afforded me enough social interaction, so the addition of a phone call was more than I could take.

#2 The likelihood that someone is available when I call is very high. In the past that was not generally so.

In general, people with autism don’t like ambiguity, so we like to spend our time on things that we are pretty sure will work out as planned. So making a call that ends in no connection is not something we want to spend our time doing.

#3 Because of #2, I generally don’t need to leave a message.

People with autism are generally poor at leaving messages – either we ramble way too long or leave a message that is so short and cryptic the other party is left wondering what is going on.

#4 Because of #3 I don’t have to wait to be surprised by a return call.

People with autism generally don’t like surprises, even good ones.

#5 The phone calls now are mostly just to connect. There is only one agenda, not several that need to be woven together.

People with autism like to focus on doing one thing at a time.

Typical phone calls used to require several agendas to be woven together. For instance, there was the agenda of connecting personally with the other person. Then there was the agenda of the ulterior motive for the call, e.g. planning an outing together. It is challenging for a person with autism to know how to navigate between those different agendas in a “normal” way.

While I am not enjoying the fact that the world is fighting a pandemic, I am enjoying how simplified life has become.

May we all use this time to really conenct with those we love.

I feel for those with littles

How are you parents with little ones with autism doing?

I was at Sam’s Club the other day – we needed some oranges and apples. I decided to grab a bag of rice for good measure. I had wanted to do order pickup, but they wouldn’t let me order almond milk, so had to go in the club.

Once I got home and was putting groceries away, I realized that we are down to one spare box of Honey Nut Cheerios. And I remembered noticing that there were absolutely no boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios at Sam’s Club – usually there are pallets. We have plenty of other food in the house, but my autistic son has had a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast every morning since he was old enough to have Cheerios for breakfast. That’s a little over 17 years!

That made me immediately start praying for all of you with young kids with autism. I remember how I always had to have the exact right brand and exact right flavor of that brand to make sure that my son would eat. When a food manufacturer made the smallest change to a product, my son would be able to detect it immediately, refusing to eat the altered edible.

When he became four years old it was a little easier to cajole him to try new foods. We were able to bribe him with computer time. Also, he was old enough to understand feeling hungry. I could tell him, “Well, you don’t have to eat this, but you are going to be hungry.” That, thankfully, often got him to at least try a newly updated variety of food that he used to like.

Praying for miracles for you! Praying that you can find that pack of their must-have food. And praying for miraculous growth in your little one’s ability to be flexible and in your ability to patiently cajole.

I am not looking forward to helping my son figure out a new breakfast routine in a week or so if I can’t find more Honey Nut Cheerios. But he has learned how to move on, after a moment of freaking out. So hopefully it won’t be too bad!

And remember, God knew that you and your child would be on earth at this time. He will help you through it. He has great plans for you and your child, and all of us!

The feeding of the four

A couple of days before the first COVID-19 case was detected in Minnesota, my husband came home with a suggestion he had heard on MPR. The advice was to prepare for at least two weeks of quarantine.

Ironically, I had just spent the previous two months whittling down any extra supplies to the bare minimum. I had been feeling convicted of hoarding and felt God was asking me to be more reasonable on what I had on hand. Especially since some things, like food in the freezer, can end up getting forgotten in a corner, becoming unfit for anything but the compost bin.

However, since my husband generally has to be begged to go into the basement during a tornado warning – he would rather watch for it from the deck! – I figured, if he wants me to stock up, I’ll stock up. So to Sams Club, Target, Cub and Fresh and Natural, oh, and Walmart, I went. I prayed about how much to buy, as I come from a long line of hoarders (on one side – quite the opposite on the other). Now I know why God had me practice having less on hand. I hate to think of how much I would have bought had he not already been prepping me.

So I made sure that we had at least two weeks of supplies on hand: toilet paper, paper towels, a lot of Kleenex due to spring allergy season, Zyrtec, canned fruit and vegetables – haven’t eaten those in years, Spam, frozen and canned chicken, rice, dried and frozen potato products, you get the picture.

I tried not to break into any of those stores until this week. But as soon as I started heading down the stairs to the basement pantry in pursuit of the first can of fruit, tension started building in my gut.

Based on how things went in China, we will most likely have to practice social distancing for at least two months, not two weeks. I was feeling woefully underprepared. Based on the food I had on hand before the stock up buying, plus the extras I had just bought, we had enough to get through at least three weeks, probably a month, but two months?

Grocery stores near me come and go on what supplies they have and when they have time for order pickup or delivery. I just don’t see the point in going to the store with hundreds of other people when we are supposed to not meet in groups of more than 10. But lately delivery or pickup options are 3-4 days out and teenage staples like tortilla chips are getting hard to come by.

As I looked at the boxes of canned fruit and veggies, my natural instinct was to run up the basement stairs, jump in the car and run around trying to get another month’s worth of supplies. But God said, no, trust me.

So I thought, well, God, if you aren’t going to let me buy more food, maybe you can work some miracles like you did in the feeding of the 5,000.

Wouldn’t you know, as I opened the box of canned oranges, I realized that I had not understood exactly what was in the box. I thought it was 10 single-serve containers of oranges, when actually it was ten 3.5 serving cans of oranges!

God tripled my canned oranges!

Ok, so He didn’t actually triple the cans, but He showed me that I had more on hand than I thought, which produced the same effect on my nerves as if He had physically tripled them. As I write this, I am realizing that maybe He did actually change the cans, since I really thought I had bought a different amount.

Regardless, God showed me that He truly will care for us during this challenging time. I really don’t need to fear.

He did allow me to order some fresh fruits and veggies, that will be ready for pickup in three days. Oh, and, to my husband’s horror, we had run out of Miracle Whip, so that and some Cholula sauce, another new staple of my husband’s, got added to the order.

So we’ll continue to see what miracles God works with the supplies He asked me to buy and enjoy new, fresh items when He oks that, too.

Do I still feel nervous at times? Definitely. But I am slowly learning to trust and obey and let His peace fill me.

As He was able to miraculously feed the 5,000, he’ll be able to feed us four.