As always, going to church resets my thinking, cools my temper, helps me get on board with God's plan. Hey, sometimes I even let God know I'm not keen on his plan, you know what I mean? And I think He's big enough to take it. After all, when it comes to a relationship with our Heavenly Father, after having been "abused" by the other humans on this earth, I think we're all a little bit RADish, don't you?
That said, today's message was about Thomas (who was a twin, did YOU know that? It was a little tidbit I learned today). Thomas the twin doubted Christ had risen. Thomas said he needed to put his fingers in the nail holes in Jesus' hands. Doubting Thomas who said he had to put his hand in the wound of Christ's side. Seeing is believing, Thomas said.
Then about a week after the resurrection, Thomas saw. And believed. And Christ said, (I'm paraphrasing so don't ya'll go pullin' out your Bibles and leavin' nasty comments about how I misquoted the scripture) Blessed are those who believe but have not seen. Of course, that would be the followers of Christ, post resurrection and ascension that accept the truth of the whole gospel having never met the Christ or witnessed his crucifixion and resurrection. Christ was even thinking of us, in the year 2010. We are blessed because we believe but we have not seen.
The pastor began waving a dollar around, asking the congregation, "Is this currency? Is it? Do you BELIEVE it is?" He waited until he had our attention and it appeared as though we were all in agreement, we believed it to be a form of cash. Then like a bait and switch salesman, he said. "Wrong. You do not BELIEVE this to be money. You KNOW it is money. I asked you if you BELIEVED it. There's a difference."
He went on to say that Thomas had to know to believe, that he doubted until he had the knowledge he needed but that Christ asks us to simply believe, without the knowledge. That the blessing comes to those who make this leap of faith.
And that's when I stopped listening to the rest of the sermon and began my internal dialogue with God. The mental health professionals do not know children like Sissy can be helped, they only believe it to be so. Their "knowing" is nothing short of a sliding scale interpretation of years of patchwork guessing about what might and might not work to help these kids! How can I believe it if the professionals don't really KNOW it?! The issue is I can neither know nor believe it. I don't have a restored wounded child that I can touch for myself. Have I lost hope that I can help Sissy? I need help to restore my belief, that there is a hope for Sissy and that hope is not me, not professionals in mental health, there is only one hope that is secure, Christ
Some where in the middle of that internal dialogue, the pastor concluded his message and it was suddenly time for communion. I contemplated not partaking because I just didn't feel like I had my heart in the right place. But I did anyway because there's peace and hope in that too. As I took the elements I prayed, "Let this begin the restoration of my hope for Sissy, for me, for my family."
I have to also find a peace that no matter what choice Sissy ultimately makes about seeking and accepting healing, it will not be because I failed to help her find that path. It will not be my lack of patience or determination that prevents her from a restored life. It will not be because I abused her in like kind or ceased to love her because of the abuse she bestowed upon me. It will not be my fault. Sissy's current and future reality is of her own choosing, as is mine. I have and will continue to fulfill my role in her life with unfaltering consistency, patience, acceptance, kindness and love. I will be true to myself and when I become a doubting Thomas (perhaps I'm his twin?), I'll cry out to God once more. After all, He's Sissy's Creator, too.
 you might say that Sissy's dual diagnosis prevents her from being fully capable of embracing and accepting her ability to make the choices for her life that will net her a good future. I say otherwise. Yes, allowances must be made for the challenges she faces but she's not cognitively impaired. She has an above average IQ. She has the mental acuity and acumen to internalize the therapeutic techniques that she is being taught and to use those skills to overcome her disadvantages. It comes down to choice and choice alone.