Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bob, Teklemarian, Maria, Phylis

Facing Life's Difficulties
Tuberous Sclerosis Complex
Persecution

I met three amazing people these past two weeks. The first was a friend in Phoenix whose son has *tuberous sclerosis complex, with the resultant developmental delay, retardation and autism. As a psychologist, a teacher and a pastor, I have observed many parents interact with disabled children. Never have I seen a parent use the level of understanding, tenderness and care with which this single mother interacts with her son. (Name omitted since I haven't asked permission.) She regards her son as a gift from God given in order to teach her about life. I learned much from observing her! (*Information about this condition is given below.)

The next two people are a couple from Ethiopia: Teklemarian and his wife, Maria. I first heard this story more than twenty years ago at a Conference in Louisiana at which Princess Sofia from Ethiopia spoke. Teklemarian was a pastor at a time when the church was being rigorously persecuted. Armed soldiers came to them demanding that he desist preaching the Gospel of Christ, and that he renounce his faith or face imprisonment. He refused. They then threatened his family. Again he refused. Then a soldier snatched their infant daughter from the arms of Maria and killed her in front of them. Steadfastly, they refused to renounce Christ. Teklemarian was imprisoned; his wife was left with their baby to bury and other children to care for. (And some days I think I've had a rough two years!) To this day, I weep at the retelling of this story. Maria, however, listened with serenity, having made peace with that portion of her life long ago. Her demeanor gives new meaning to the word serenity!

However, Ethiopia had a sweeping revival. Today millions of believers experience freedom in worship due to the sacrifices of people like Teklemarian, Maria and Princess Sophia who also was imprisoned at that time.

Understanding that choosing the path of faith does not always mean an easy road is central to maintaining faith in the face of adversity.

My prayer is that in reading these stories you are encouraged through whatever difficulty you may be facing. Meeting these people was an inspiration to me. Thank you Teklemarian, Maria and my newfound friend.

Blessings to you and yours
PJDH


*Info from: http://www.tsalliance.org/

*What is tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)?

Tuberous sclerosis complex is a genetic condition characterized by lesions of the skin and central nervous system, tumor growth and seizures. The disease affects some people severely, while others are so mildly affected that it often goes undiagnosed. Some people with tuberous sclerosis experience developmental delay, mental retardation and autism. However, there are also many people with tuberous sclerosis living independent, healthy lives who are enjoying challenging professions such as doctors, lawyers, educators and researchers.


2 comments:

Jennifer Johnson said...

Thank you for your post. What a blessed life we can take for granted. And how neat that you got your picture taken with the Teklemarians! I had never seen a picture of Maria. Very cool.

PJ said...

It was an honor to meet them. We arrived early to Steve's birthday celebration and were able to get several pictures. I had no idea they would be there.

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