From the Publisher:
If you've ever felt life fling you into a raging sea without a life vest, you should read The Unbreakable Boy. It's the edge-of-your-seat, funny yet poignant, don't know whether to laugh or cry story told about an amazing boy by his dad who sometimes hid in the closet from a neverending ride on life's craziest roller coaster.
Scott LeRette, with the help of author Susy Flory, tells the story of his son, Austin. Auz, as his friends call him, is remarkably triumphant in an obstacle course of disease and challenges. He faces a trifecta of disease -- brittle bone disease, heart defects and autism -- with a joie de vivre that makes you realize what is truly unbreakable about this boy is his spirit. A lot of us would crumble into hopelessness facing just one of those challenges, but not Auz. He's our hero, living life to the fullest, wearing crazy hats, and making friends with everyone. His challenges? They don't break his spirit. They make him extraordinary.
The Unbreakable Boy is about Auz, but it's also about his dad. Scott is a man-boy at the start and emerges a noble, courageous, dedicated father at the end. The journey between the two has so many ups and downs, twists and turns that you're certain something will break. It's a true tale you won't believe and will never forget.
You want to read this book. You have to read it. LaRette is transparent. His mistakes are our mistakes. His feelings are our feelings. And Austin? You'll feel like you have a new best friend as you cheer him on through life, amazed by his capacity to be victorious over every obstacle and battle life throws at him. The story perfectly captures the trials and errors of our lives and the triumph waiting for us if we never give up hope.
This is LeRette's first book but he also writes a blog called Austintistic. He and his wife Teresa have two sons, Austin and Logan. Austin and Teresa both have brittle bone disease.
Flory is the author or coauthor of five books including Thunder Dog, a New York Times Bestseller. She's also written for Today's Christan Woman, Kyria.com, Guideposts books, and others.
The Unbreakable Boy will be available for purchase on October 28. Click the image above to buy yours from Amazon. Or, better yet, enter your email address below to win a FREE copy from Thomas Nelson Publishers.
WIN YOUR FREE COPY HERE! Enter your email address in the box below. Double your chances by also leaving a comment. Winner will be notified by email on Tuesday, October 28.
Earlier this week I had a doctor's appointment. Usually this means going to the naturopath I love so much but because my blood pressure is now affected by my comatose thyroid and burnt out adrenals, I had to go see a medical doctor to have a prescription refilled.
When I told the doctor about my blood pressure spikes, she began listing symptoms I should be having. I just smiled and shook my head no. Then I handed her my lab results. A knowing look came over her face and she said, "I bet you have protein in your urine. Let's see." She flipped to the back page. Shock washed over her face. "Oh, wow. No protein at all in your urine. I'm really surprised." I smiled but my patience was beginning to wane.
Then she asked me to sit on the table for an exam. After looking down my throat, she said, "You snore really bad, don't you?" Again I shook my head no and rather indignantly said, "No, I don't snore." Surprised she said, "Oh. Huh. I assumed with your small airway that you had sleep apnea causing your high blood pressure." I laughed dryly and said, "I don't have sleep apnea."
Evidently stumped, she asked me to come once again sit on the chair so we could go over my family history again.
When she looked at my family history, she was stunned to see my mom's perfect health. Even my dad's severe sleep apnea and high blood pressure wasn't enough for her. She said we needed to go back another generation and see what was going on there. She was on a mission to find something wrong with me, to find some skeleton in my medical closet that she could unearth. So I smiled -- a little less friendly this time -- and let her ask me about my grandparents.
By now I felt like I was on trial. I felt accused. Not believed. Sick until proven healthy.
When my grandparents' health history didn't produce anything dramatic, she turned her attention to my panic attacks and anxiety. "Why do you have panic attacks?" I laughed. If I knew, I wouldn't have them. Duh. I didn't say that. Instead I said, "Not exactly sure other than a spiritual attack on my emotional and mental well-being." When I looked at her, it was like I was speaking another language.
Then she conceded that indeed the naturopath was right. My blood pressure issues must be related to my failing adrenals, sleeping thyroid and extra estrogen. "So, now what am I supposed to do? Your visit didn't take that long and I have all this time before my next appointment." She laughed. Now it was my turn to be shocked.
A few minutes later I left with my prescription and an order for more blood work in a few months. As I drove home, I heard God whisper, "You are not your family history. You are not your high blood pressure. You are not your hypothyroid. You are not burnt out adrenals. You are mine."
I'd sat there in that appointment accused. Condemned. The doctor offered no hope. No light. Just a promise of more blood work, more (pointless) visits, and a life time of meds. (by the way, my naturopath is always encouraging, always credits my progress to God's healing)
And it occurred to me. This scene plays out every day in the spiritual realm. The enemy condemns. Accuses. Attacks. Questions. Scares. Judges. Criticizes. Laughs. Labels us. And if we don't guard our hearts, we fall under his attack. But God is there, whispering, "It's not true. That's not who you are. That's not what you are."
Oh how hard it is to hear His voice some times. Don't let the enemy's jeers stop you from believing what your Father is telling you. Someone out there reading this needs to know that she is not her diagnosis. She is not a lab report. She is not her weight. She is not her wrinkles or her cellulite. She is not her eating disorder. She is not her unbalanced hormones. She is His beloved. And He will restore her.
Deuteronomy 30:3 God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he'll have compassion on you; he'll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered.
Grace is not a hall pass. God is not that dorky, out-of-touch teacher you had in high school who would indiscriminately hand out hall passes. You know the one. We all took advantage of him/her, asking for the hall pass to go to the bathroom but really using it to go meet up with a friend or boyfriend.
God doesn't give us grace just so we can roam the halls of life, doing what we want, thinking, "Hey, we're covered."
There's a lot of talk about grace in Christian circles these days. And that is good. Grace obliterates the idea that we have to do something, be something, make something, go somewhere to be saved. Grace banishes the idea that we can somehow earn our way into God's mercy, into heaven. Grace looks at legalism, rolls its eyes and says, "How's that working out for you?"
Grace is, absolutely, 100% enough to cover everything we've done, are doing and will do. It's also 100% God and 100% available to anyone.
Grace isn't just for those of us who go to church. It's not just for one denomination. It's not for just the card-carrying church members. It isn't just for felons. It's not just for the sinner who doesn't know any better. It's not just for those stuck in a cult. It's not just for the poor in the inner city and it's not just for the orphaned in a third world country. It's for all of us. Every. Single. One. You. Me. That person who drives you crazy and the guy who just cut you off. It is for all of us.
Ephesians 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.
But there are a lot of ways people -- including myself -- are misusing, misnaming grace.
I think most of us innocently misuse grace. We casually toss it around. We take it for granted. We look at the cross that we've become so accustomed to seeing and forget what grace actually cost. (we Americans do that with the flag, too, but that's another post)
Grace is not an entitlement.
Though grace is for everyone regardless of "how bad" they are, we are not entitled to grace. God did not actually have to show us grace. He promised it to us, He gave it to us, but make no mistake, it is a gift, not a right. My kids are under the impression -- like most American kids -- that they are entitled to Christmas presents. Heck, I even think that. But they are not. I am not. A gift is something you have been given by a generous person out of their own free will. If they were required to give it, if you forced them to give it to you, it wouldn't be called a gift.
Ephesians 4:7-8 says, "But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men."
We should appreciate grace. We should thank God for His grace every moment. It's His gift to us. To us who don't deserve it in the slightest. When we behave as though we are somehow worthy of His grace, when we act like spoiled children on Christmas morning, we are treating grace as an entitlement.
Grace does not make it okay to be lazy or complacent.
When you get a really great gift, what do you do? Tell people about it! Wear it. Use it. Share it. Is there a greater gift than God's amazing grace? Is there a better gift than being given a robe of righteousness when all we deserve is muddy, scummy rags? No! So why are so many of us hiding it? Why are so many of us sitting on this gift? Why are so many of us coasting into eternity doing NOTHING with the gift God has bestowed upon us?
John 4:35 says, "Don't you have a saying, 'It's still four months until harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest."
Matthew 9:37 says, "Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few."
1 Peter 4:10 says, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
Grace is not a license to sin; it is not an excuse to remain broken.
Yes, without a doubt, grace is for sinners. Perfect people don't need it. But we're not perfect. We are sinners and so we need it. Every day. Sometimes even more often than that. But that does not mean that we should just sin, sin, sin and then beg for mercy later. Grace does not mean we can just keep sinning, keep hurting people, keep being stupid, keep acting like our pre-Christ selves just so grace will accumulate.
My 7th grade math teacher used to say, "True sorrow produces change." If we understand grace, if we appreciate grace, we realize that grace is way better than that sin we crave so much. We understand that we need to turn away (repent) from that sin and then avoid it. We need to change. Even secular 12 step programs teach this concept. Parents teach this to their kids.
The fact remains that though God has clothed us in Jesus' righteousness, we still slip into our old ways, we still sin. God's grace indeed covers that. But that doesn't mean we should start out with the intent to sin. We are supposed to turn away from our old ways because we are a new creation in Christ through His grace as poured out in His blood from the tortorous cross.
Can you imagine if Jesus came to you while you were in the middle of sinning, with blood dripping from his brow, his hands, his feet, his sides? Do you think He'd just shrug and say, "Go ahead with what you're doing. I'll wait." I think His heart would break, I think He'd say, with tears in His eyes, "I did that for you. Is this really what you want to do with it?"
Yes, we sin. Yes, His grace covers it. Amen. But sin no more.
Romans 6:1-2 says, "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"
James 4:7-8 says, " Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."
Romans 6:6-7 says, "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin."
Grace is not an excuse to hurt your brother or cause him to stumble.
There are things in this world that cause one person to stumble but not the next. Some of us can watch horror movies containing evil images or witchcraft and just see it as entertainment. For others, it is a foray into a world of unGodly spiritual treachery. Some of us can have a beer or a glass of wine -- or both -- and enjoy for it as a luxury or a treat. Others of us cannot because addiction takes hold and the drunkenness enslaves us. Some of us can listen to sexually explicit songs and not even hear the lyrics. Others hear those words and it puts unclean images in their minds or leads them to think unpure thoughts or do unclean things.
What is good for the goose actually isn't good for the gander.
Should we just make all of these things wrong? Should we call them all sin? Should we forbid them all along with every other questionable thing? No. But we should treat them and our Christian siblings with reverence. That means if someone among us is struggling with one of these things and we know it, we should do all that we can to not make their struggle harder for them. If that means I only listen to KLove when Moe is at my house, cool. If that means I don't serve alcohol at a party because Curly is attending, okay. If that means I turn off Hellraiser because Larry stopped by, no problem.
Just because something is okay for me doesn't mean grace makes it okay for someone else. Maybe, possibly, one day Larry will no longer struggle with witchcraft. But if that happens it will be through God's strength alone, by God's grace alone, and because Larry turned his back on his old self. The reality is, however, that day might not come until Jesus comes back and if I'm going to be Larry's friend, if I'm going to build Larry up, then you can bet I'm not going to watch Hellraiser when he's over for movie night. There are 364 other days in a year when I can watch that movie and not affect Larry.
If I beat Larry up and say, "Grace covers it, dude. I'm gonna watch this and you should be able to watch it too because grace covers it" well then, I'm using grace as a weapon. I'm using it as a judgment. I'm kind of being a jerk.
1 Corinthians 10:23 says "I have the right to do anything," you say--but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything"--but not everything is constructive."
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says "So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing."
Romans 14:13-21 says "Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let uspursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble."
1 Corinthians 8:13 says "Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall."
Grace. It's a gift. A gift for all of us.
Want to see grace in action? Look at Jesus. Study His life. Seek His heart. John 1:14 says Jesus was full of grace. His death on the cross was grace poured out. I need His grace every day, every hour, every moment. Every time something pops up that makes me feel entitled, I need grace. Every time I'm tempted to sin, I need grace. Every time I'm tempted to sit back and let someone else do it, I need grace. But I can't misuse it. I can't mistreat it. I can't call it something it isn't. Grace is too good for that. Grace. It's all I've got.
Before you read this post you need to know 3 things about me:
Earlier this week, a North Dakota school banned leggings and yoga pants. This dress code change has caused a major uproar across the media and social networking. Frankly, I think the uproar is more ridiculous than the rule.
The rule actually states:
"Yoga pants, leggings and/or tights must be appropriately covered by other clothing." Not quite what Salon.com and HuffPost are reporting, is it? Here you can read it for yourself.
Did you know that Cosmopolitan magazine basically says the same thing? Read it here.
CBSNews and Oprah agree. Read it here.
Say this with me: leggings are not pants. Leggings are meant to go UNDER something else, a top that covers most of, if not all of, your butt. They're a layering piece. Cosmo gets it. Oprah gets it. Why can't we understand this?
Now say this: nobody wants to see my butt. Well, perhaps some people do want to see your butt, but that doesn't mean you should show it to them. And NOT showing it to them is actually more empowering than showing it.
Being empowered, liking your body, respecting your body does not actually happen when you're dressing to get attention, when you're showing off your stuff. And that's the point of wearing leggings without something to cover your butt. Don't try and sugar coat it and tell me it's because they're comfortable. I agree, they are. But they're just as comfortable with a shirt covering your butt as they are with a shirt that doesn't cover your butt. Remember, I wear leggings almost every day. I understand how comfortable and easy they are.
But again, they're just as comfortable with a fingertip-length shirt as they are with a waist-length shirt.
Now, many of my fellow feminists are angry because they think they're putting the responsibility on girls for their own bodies and protecting boys from being responsible for their bodies and actions. Well, gee whiz, we want our girls to be responsible for their own birth control, we want them to have the right to choose, we are telling women all the time that they are the only ones in control of and responsible for their bodies. Except when it comes to leggings? Really? That's ridiculous.
Part of being responsible for and in control of one's own body is how one dresses. Duh. What's so hard about that?
And yes, I agree that a woman should be able to wear any provocative outfit and not be objectified or subjected to poor male behavior. Heck, I think a woman should be able to walk down the street nude and not hear catcalls, be ogled, groped, assaulted or raped.
What she is wearing or is not wearing should not matter. She should still be treated with respect.
But, hello? This is the real world. And it doesn't happen that way. And since I know that it's not safe for women to walk around nude or scantily clad, it would be horribly irresponsible of a woman to do it. Not because she should protect the man who cannot control himself but because she should protect herself. Doesn't sound like rocket science to me. I don't think I should have to wear a seatbelt, but I do because it keeps me safe. I don't think I should have to lock my doors, but I do because it keeps me safe. I don't think I should have to avoid certain neighborhoods after dark, but I do because doing so keeps me safe.
Dressing modestly keeps me safe.
I realize we're all upset because we don't want girls to feel any more shame about their bodies. But by telling them they are free to wear whatever they want even though it isn't flattering, we're actually setting them up for more shame. And by telling girls they should just go ahead and wear clothes that are sexy actually objectifies them more than teaching them to be modest.
And we're upset because we think we're protecting boys and teaching them they don't have to be responsible for their actions. Well, here's another newsflash: we can't control what people think. We can only control what they see.
I have a son. Luckily for me, he is still completely unaware of girls. To him, they're princess-obsessed, pink-dressed, giggling annoyances. Soon enough he'll notice their beauty. I don't want him to be distracted from a girl's kind spirit, sharp mind and quick wit by her tight pants and low-cut top. I want him to see the girl for who she is not for what she wears.
I also have a daughter. I want boys to see her for who she is, for her attention to detail, for her caring heart, and her wacky sense of humor. I want her to understand that she doesn't need to show off her body to be empowered. I want her to feel confident in and loved for who she is. I want her to understand that beauty fades, skin sags, fat accumulates, and stretch marks appear but that doesn't mean she isn't beautiful. If she's only been taught that she can dress however she wants, that she should wear what shows off her body, I'm setting her up for major disappointment and self-esteem issues when suddenly the tight pants don't look so hot on her aging, changing body.
So, ya, I'm pretty much okay with the new dress code rule at one high school here in North Dakota. Maybe they could have handled it better. Maybe we as moms should spend some time teaching our daughters that their bodies ARE beautiful and special and as such should be treated with respect not only by others but first by themselves.
As You See...
...I have an opinion on pretty much everything. Life is filtered through my rose colored glasses. It's just the way I see it.