It’s been a tough year thus far. I don’t think there’s been another year that became an adjective, a negative one at that. “Ack, it’s so 2020!”
Even more depressing are the headlines about how the Pandemic is negatively affecting those with special needs.
Evidently, we are not “all in this together” as we were told back in March of 2020. If your family is faced with disability challenges, then I suppose you realized that pretty quickly. This past year I started a habit of telling myself “I’ll process that later” and just simply continued moving ahead. I tried not to think or feel things too deeply. Ahhhh, coping mechanisms.
Last month my daughter texted me some thoughts and validated that my spring had been stinky.
She also suggested I try to find someone who could unpack that with me. And, while I MAY “process that later”, it already brought me comfort. Somehow the simple acknowledgement that MY spring (during these times when we were apparently “all in this together”) WAS rough made my endurance feel validated. Most likely yours was pretty lousy, too.
As I start to process some stress from the past year it is against the backdrop of endurance.
The word pops up for me everywhere. I guess I should have followed that trend and chosen a word of intention on New Year’s Eve. Maybe I could have gotten “endurance” stamped on a bracelet! It’s not too late, I suppose!
I also notice how social media is filled with people who seem to lack endurance. Many are frantic at how this difficult time has gone on for too long (after 2, 4, 6… months). Guilty!
However we, families affected by disability, had a head start at our endurance training.
We’ve had lots of opportunity for strength and conditioning with all the ways disability has affected our families. We were already running a race, a marathon, and we have built up our endurance. For me it has been decades.
Recently I was asked to reflect on a passage from Psalm 17.
Through that I discovered my own reaction at the start of our journey, 21 years ago, was not unlike David in this passage from Psalm 17. Take some time to read the whole passage. You will find David wanted God’s attention, asked him to listen, asked him to show where he had sin, and asked for HIS protection. For any of us who are weary, frightened, frustrated or fretful we can find encouragement. David, in Psalm 17, showed us some good steps to follow.
1. First, stop what you are doing and call out to God to hear you.
Find a quiet place: by your bedside, in your closet, your empty car or maybe your 5 minute shower could be 8 minutes. Go ahead, acknowledge you need His attention and ask for His ear.
He’s not surprised, in fact in John 16 He says,
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
2. Now that you have His ear, acknowledge your sinful actions, ask Him to show you the error of your ways and confess any sin brought to mind. He already knows about them anyway…
By doing so, David prioritized the one thing that matters for this life: to keep in a right relationship with God and follow His ways. And how are we going to follow His ways? Glad you asked.
Get into his Word. Meditate on it. Play the Word as songs or listen to biblical podcasts on that constantly streaming media. Let’s change our focus. If we are really honest with ourselves (or check our ipad history…man, I hate how it gives me a weekly update of how I spent my time.) we know we have more time available for the important things. It may require us to drop some social media time. We can do it! We have had to drop more important things than that as we dealt with life’s tough spots, haven’t we?
Romans 15:4 reads,
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.“
Read that again!
See, He prepares us to receive our hope through the scripture and also THROUGH ENDURANCE. Remember, as someone affected by disability, you already developed some endurance. You CAN DO hard things!!
3. Finally, David told God what he needed. He asked him to keep him protected and secure.
Reverend Ted Giese from Mount Olive Lutheran Church wrote:
In Hope and Faith, with great Trust, David displays his desire to be hidden under His wings, to be safe and secure under the crucified arms of Jesus. David’s prayer is your prayer; if you falter in such hope, if you fail in such trust, if you worry that your faith is weak, look to Jesus, seek refuge in Him, for as the apple of God’s Eye, you are…
Protected: Forgiven: Restored: Saved: and God has hid you in the shadow of His wings, unto life everlasting, for the sake of His Son Jesus.
4. Let’s do one more thing: Write down those requests you put before God as you come to Him seeking His will and protection.
And as those prayers get answered, add those stories of restoration next to the requests in your journal. It may be next week, next month, next year, or until a time you can’t even imagine you have the strength to endure. But you do. You have endurance because of the promises of Jesus. You Can do hard things. Because you already have. Other hard times have come and gone. This will too.
And then, please share them.
I know from Facebook and Instagram people have been sharing all sorts of things. Let’s share the stories of His Protection, Forgiveness, Restoration and Salvation. Real life…first hand…good news.
We can build up our endurance and the strength of our family, our friends, OUR CHILDREN through sharing the ways He has rescued us and given us HOPE with his wondrous love.
Let me share Romans 15:4 again and this time add 5, 6 and 7…
“4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had
6 So that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
We bring praise to our God and glorify Him with the stories of His Protection, Forgiveness, Restoration and Salvation. Additionally we use those experiences to withstand difficult times and do not give way.
Endurance. We’ve got this.
Could we start purposefully sharing those stories today? Stories of How we called out to the Savior and HE met us and we increased our endurance? I’d love to hear some, it is so encouraging!
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