- Monday, September 10, 2007
Maybe you've been approached about your child's behavioral problems and the need for "discipline." The easy "solution" is offered. You already know there are issues. You try. You dread another incident where you overhear whispers. Maybe your medical bills are so high that you are broke. Some parents have personalities that advocate well, maybe even push. Some tire of pushing and some say no, this is mine to deal with—alone.
Fatigue makes everything worse. Not all days are difficult, but when they come they are heavy. You hate feeling like the martyr, the victim, but some days you are not a cheerful person of faith. Your entire family suffers from your discouragement. There are many problems with your fatigue. Find solutions.
Find Rest in God
We must remember our children are equipped to do all God has called them to do. And so are we.
When we are weary like David, we remember his lament:
"I am weary with my groaning; all
the night make I my bed to swim;
I water my couch with my tears"
God will give us rest as He promised:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour
and are heavy laden, and I will give
We are weary, but He is not:
"Hast thou not known? Hast thou not
heard, that the everlasting God, the
Lord, the Creator of the ends of the
earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?
There is no searching of his understanding"
He will enable us to be refreshed:
"But they that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength; they shall
mount up with wings as eagles; they
shall run, and not be weary; and they
shall walk, and not faint"
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee: because
he trusteth in thee"
He will strengthen and keep us.
Jesus is truth, and the enemy is a liar. We must abide in God, because the enemy will come to us without invitation. He will come at the most opportune time as he did to a hungry, tired, weary Jesus. If we possessed the ability to always stay "up," Jesus would not tell us, "do not be weary." The implication is that we will be weary. We are going to be tired, or He wouldn't need to give us rest.
It's easy to feel depressed and frustrated. It's hard to be patient. Patience is not a carefree personality. Patience is hard work, tiring work. We need to learn to abide for rest, for peace, for hope. We must hear Hebrews 4:16: "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Find Physical Rest
Sleep well, exercise, eat healthfully, relax. Bitterness can be disguised exhaustion. Rest will optimize your coping ability.
Find Rest with Others Who Understand
Find a friend or a group whose child or children have similar disabilities. Understanding can bring courage, laughter, solutions, and ideas. One parent said, "With these families, I feel normal." My son agonizes over high-pitched sounds. One Sunday a solo at church unnerved him. He sat curled up, tense, fingers in his ears. Some will criticize. A person who understood approached me, saying, "Your son was really in pain. Look how he sat, quiet, tried to deal with it." Instead of feeling uncomfortable, I felt pleased that my son did not leave the service running, and I felt God's grace and encouragement. People who have experienced a particular difficulty are often best at comforting and encouraging those with similar difficulties.
Find Rest in Christian Community
The feeling of isolation is not uncommon for families with special needs, even in church. The parents whose autistic son cannot attend Sunday school because "He doesn't follow directions" can explain it. On the other extreme, you find a child sitting on the floor in the corner, biting her nails, not moving or speaking, for two hours. Smiling, the VBS teacher says, "She was no trouble." Parents have been told, "Your child is no different from any other child and needs to be treated the same way." Tell that to the parents of the 11-year-old who left Sunday school class to go to the bathroom and was found walking down the road a quarter mile away.
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