It’s my birthday. Please keep the spankings and jokes about looking down the barrel of 50 to a minimum. I have no idea what you are like when your birthday arrives, but with every passing year I find myself increasingly reflective. I can’t help but look back at years past assessing my life, wondering if this is where I thought I might be at this road marker. Am I the woman God made me to be? Have I accomplished with excellence that which has been set before me? Many times as I look back at the past year I think, how in the world did I get through that? I shouldn’t even be upright after some of the years I have survived. Still, I can find myself believing I was a useless, hot mess these past 12 months.
It’s way too easy for people like me to be self-critical. Who wouldn’t get discouraged with the perpetual up-hill battle we parents of kids with special needs fight? I always feel inadequate. It always seems like I could be doing more for my children. I frequently wonder, “Why didn’t I challenge the school on that IEP?”, or “Why didn’t I question the doctor on that course of treatment?”. When I do assert myself, I think, “Why didn’t I just keep my mouth shut and trust the expert?”. It’s a no win situation, residing in the unceasing gray area and inexact science of my kids’ unique challenges.
Yet, I know what my Savior tells me:
- I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine (Song of Songs 6:3, NIV)
- “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV)
- “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)
- “I do not call you servants that I own anymore. A servant does not know what his owner is doing. I call you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from My Father.” (John 15:15, NLV)
- “For only a penny you can buy two sparrows, yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows!” (Matthew 10:29-31, GNT)
- “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, ERV)
And these are only a few of the precious statements of how much He loves me, no matter what. The last decades of my life have counted every second of the way, regardless of how the world views me. Focusing on such tender loving words instantly refutes any self-doubts that have set in.
I am not only esteemed, I am equipped to be the mother of some pretty remarkable children. I live that promise of Jeremiah 29:11 every single day. This makes even the tough parts of what we go through as a family worthwhile. The bullying our daughter with Asperger’s faces, allows us all to share in the sufferings of Christ. The unexpected and crisis bleeds our son endures instantly turn our thoughts to the blood Jesus shed for us. And our mission and privilege are to be lights to others in this dark world. Our challenges create the platform for us to reflect the glory of God to others.
It IS a wonderful life! Our lives are lives worth living. The darkness of our trials make God’s glory shine that much brighter. The authority we enjoy and the compassion we are allowed to share could only be earned through the school of hard knocks. The laughter we share is magnified because of any pain we encounter. Our blessings look enormous in perspective comparison with our sorrows. Life’s simple pleasures are ours because we take nothing for granted. This deep joy and contentment is not something you can buy, but every human craves. How blessed we are when we draw close to His heart!
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