What are the hopes for 2022? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I want to let you all know that for the first week in January, there won’t be any new blogs. I will be in New Orleans for the Defend the Faith Conference. I have been invited to attend, though not as a speaker this time, and while there, I will also be discussing with them the possibility of my attending seminary as well there. My pastor informed me I can get a big discount at a Southern Baptist Seminary on tuition since I’m a member of a Southern Baptist Church and I know a lot of people at New Orleans so it sounded good.
I do have a Bachelor’s already, so this will be Master’s work. However, that’s a brief rundown of what’s coming. Check here after the first week in the year for updates, but I do want to share something else about it. This post is not just about future plans, but it’s also about Aspergers.
When I was growing up, my parents say they were told many things about me. After all, I spent many a time at centers for studying disability. It wasn’t until 5th grade that Autism was my diagnosis. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t there before that.
There was some concern, for example, when I went to Middle School. Why? The school had more than one story. That meant climbing stairs. I was scared of stairs then. To some extent, I still am, but my mother took me to the school beforehand when it was empty and they let me in knowing their concerns. I reportedly told my mother, “I have to do this” when climbing the stairs. Looking back at Middle School, I don’t remember stair climbing ever being an issue really.
Throughout my school years, I didn’t know much about my diagnosis and didn’t say much about it. However, my parents had been told that I would never finish school. I wouldn’t be able to hold down a job. Nothing like that.
I understand I was the first student on the spectrum in Knox County, Tennessee to go completely through the public school system. I don’t know if that’s right, but it’s what I have been told. For me, any time someone told me I couldn’t do something, it often became a challenge of “Watch me.”
Now if I was never to finish high school, surely I could never finish college. Nope. Did that too. Did a senior sermon before my entire graduating student body which consisted of about 1,000 people, including students and professors. Even months after that sermon, people who saw me in the halls would still compliment me on it.
One of my professors, David Wheeler, remarked about how when I came to college, I was quiet and not interacting with anyone. Then I found apologetics there, which became my passion, and soon I was dropping in on my professors and sharing jokes and everything He remarks about watching me come alive in college.
I had also been told I would likely never drive a car. Well, that’s been shot through of holes. I drive nearly every day and to this day, I still enjoy driving. I still consider it a remarkable gift.
One summer, I knew I wanted to get out and live on my own. I was looking for a way to convince my parents though. I knew they were protective. I had found a good place and I needed a good argument to be able to convince them to let me move in. I thought of one and one day came home from searching to find them on the back porch together and I made my case.
“I just put money down on an apartment.”
It was a very powerful argument. The next day, we started making preparations. I took this route because I wanted to attend seminary out of state and I knew my parents wouldn’t just let me go immediately. I needed a trial period, so I lived about 20-30 minutes away and fended for myself for the most part.
A year later, my best friend, David Sorrell, and myself, moved into an apartment together. David was coming from Missouri and I from Tennessee. He would be getting a Bachelor’s at the Bible College. I would be getting a Master’s at the Seminary. However, there was one thing that did change our plans.
I met a girl.
After I married Allie, the seminary chose to go after my then father-in-law and so I left there as well. I am sure the people who were the experts had told my parents I would never marry either. Well, that’s another one they got wrong. Even now after a divorce, I say I am still not stopping. I have plans to get my Master’s and to get remarried.
For me, every major success I take is something huge. It is a victory for those on the spectrum as well. I realize not all are high-functioning. There are limitations for all of us, but I want people to see what I can do and if they are on the spectrum to think, “I can do likewise.” Your dream may not be mine, but you can still follow it.
Last month I went to ETS and I considered that a victory. I am able to fly on a plane by myself, interact by myself, and to most people, I am sure I come across as a relatively normal person. When I am on a plane flying, I marvel at what God has done in my life and allowed me to do what I love here.
When I walked down the streets of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I was amazed still. Here the experts thought I would never do anything and yet, I am out on the streets living my life and making a difference. I am hanging out with scholars and not only do I know who they are, they know who I am. That still shocks me.
Next week, God willing, I will be in New Orleans. I will be discussing attending seminary and if things work out, I will be moving then to New Orleans into student housing. There’s a lot to think about, but I think the future looks good. Every time I do a debate or am interviewed or anything like that, I consider it a testimony of what God can do in the life of someone on the spectrum.
Many of you who know me know that I am a hardcore gamer. Tonight, I spent about an hour playing several games against both of my parents individually of Connect Four at their invitation. I won the overwhelming majority. When I play a game, I play to win.
For me, my own life is the ultimate game too. I am playing it to win. I want to be the best that I can be in it. I want to succeed and be somebody with my life. I don’t want to just hold a 9-5 position and have it be that. (Even though I was also told I would never hold down a job. So much for that.) I want to get a Master’s and a Ph.D. and to remarry.
Tomorrow, I plan to write something on the New Year coming and a look back. One final plea I would make here though is to please consider becoming a financial partner through Patreon. There is a link on this blog post below. Even a small amount means a lot. This is about my going to seminary, getting a teaching position, hopefully starting the podcast again, and making strides for the Kingdom of God. Whatever people donate means so much because it tells me you think my work is worth investing in. If you want to make a one-time gift for end of the year giving, that’s okay too.
Besides that, I owe so many of you thanks anyway. My family always believed in me and supported me and raised me to be the way that I am, even if sometimes they don’t like my sarcastic personality. My friends have stood by me in many times and while divorce has been the worst pain I have ever gone through, one blessing I have is I don’t think I have lost a single friend because of it. Thanks to you friends.
Please be praying for me in all of this. The future does look bright for me really. I hope I can make it bright as well.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)