Friday, March 25, 2011

accept it as a gift

Do you have special needs under your roof?  Special circumstances?  If so, rejoice.  

Yes, that's right.  I said rejoice!

You all get to live out the gospel in your daily life!  You get to.  Count it as a gift.

I want you to imagine something scary, just for a moment.  

Suppose you're diagnosed with advanced, terminal, inoperative cancer. You're told you have one month to live.

What work would you have to do in that month to prepare your children for your departure?  Could it be done in a month?  Would you panic, worried that your children would fall apart from the inside out? 

Yes, they would be devastated.  Any child would.  But would they know what to do next?  Would your children turn right to God, in their sorrow? Would they have that groundwork laid?  Would they even be aware that God is the ultimate Comforter?  The ultimate Healer?  Ever-present? 

Was there a time--many times hopefully--when they had to turn to God for comfort?  Are they acquainted with His faithfulness?  Do they have that personal relationship established? 

If you have special needs or circumstances under your roof, your children are well acquainted with the power of God.  They know the limitations of Man.  Of themselves.  They know Mom and Dad are not equal to God--not in love, power, or faithfulness.  No parent is.  

Success is impossible in the special needs/special circumstance home; crisis living is the norm.  Equilibrium is never felt for more than a few days. Sound preposterous?  Don't believe me?  Spend one week in my home, and you'll see.  My husband has ADHD, my son has that and a myriad of other special needs. Neither of these two have impulse control or mood control; complete inability to self-regulate is the reality.  The rest of us live in a constant dog-paddling mode, trying to stay above water in the fray.  We tire easily.  We get discouraged.  No matter what we try, we can't improve things for more than a few days.  The disabilities render us helpless, practically speaking.  Not spiritually speaking--just practically.

One of the hallmarks of disability is inconsistency.  What works one week, doesn't the next.  Therein lies the helplessness.

Many neurological or behavioural disabilities do the same thing to a family that alcoholism does.  The alcoholic rules the house, and no one escapes. It's a family disease, so to speak.  No, I'm not trying to vilify my son and husband with this analogy.  I love them both deeply.  I respect and admire them.  They didn't choose this.  We must daily, mentally, separate the person from the disability.  We owe them that.  Indeed, God asks it of us.

A Christian in these circumstances learns to escape spiritually.  Spiritual escape--the art of rising above--is learned.  It doesn't come naturally to anyone.

When brokenness is present daily, hourly, God must be present.  He cannot be forgotten.  He is needed too desperately. 

If you're a special needs or special circumstance family, you are ready for anything!  God has readied you.  He has revealed himself in miraculous ways. He's taught you to cling.  To lean.  He's taken you to the end of yourself.  

You know the truth. Without Him, you are nothing.

And your reward?  Is there one, on earth?


Read the excerpt below from Sally Clarkson, taken from her post Secrets to Miracles in Your Family.  She has four children.  One son has ADHD, OCD, and "a few other letters".  Two other children have OCD and three have asthma.  They are all grown now, except for her teenage daughter, Joy. Here Sally speaks of the rewards. I loved this. It was life giving to me. 

Since we know that God’s will is good and acceptable and perfect, then we know He has not asked us to do more than we are able to do. And so some of the requirements we are placing on ourselves are from fear of people, or rules of others that put pressure on us, or trying to win the hearts of our children by exerting our wills.
God brought me to the end of myself–3 out of 4 clinically asthmatic kids; 3 ocd kids, one adhd; 17 moves, church splits, fire in our home, car accidents, etc. There is no way I could do it all or be perfect.
But, God wanted me to walk by faith in Him. Every day I learned to give to Him my fish and loaves. Lord, I know I am not perfect, I cannot provide all my children need. But I am giving you my best, my heart—here are my fish and loaves. You make it enough. No child is the same. No family puzzles are the same. God, our devoted and ever-present Father, wants us to come to Him, to ask Him to work, to ask His grace to fill our homes, to ask Him who has access to the brains of our children, for Him to draw them to himself.
And so, miracles happen where God is the one we depend on to work. We acknowledge we are not adequate, but He is. We release our problems and sadnesses, and limitations and fears into His hands and leave them there, and then move to an attitude of worship—can’t wait to see what you do, Lord, sort of attitude of faith. We do what He leads us to do and live within our own limitations every day. Whatever we do not get done, we put it back into His file and have a go again tomorrow. He is the source of supernatural life, and He wants us to walk this parenting path by faith as we would walk all of the other paths of our life by faith. It is no different in parenting.
One of my friends recently said to me, “Sally, it seems like you have a lot of miracles strewn through your life. How do you account for that?” I told her that my life required miracles, for Him to work, or I wouldn’t make it. He is the ultimate source and answer and strength, but He is also the way of peace.
Read the entire post here.

So, that reward I spoke of?  It is peace.  Not outward peace, but an inner peace.

It comes from this:  "Every day I learned to give Him my fish and loaves."

Notice she said learned.  When you've learned to let go to that extent, you've attained peace.  Peace doesn't come any other way; it is a letting go.  

So, I say it again.  Rejoice!  If you have special needs or circumstances in your home, you are blessed!  Grab that blessing with both hands. Accept it as a gift.  


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