In a disagreeable age, I think that one thing everyone can agree upon is that tensions are running high. Government, particularly politics, is making civil dialog seem nearly impossible these days. It appears everyone has an opinion and that opinion is strong, to say the least.
TODAY’S PECKING ORDER
Having walked this journey of raising exceptional kids for over 17 years now, I know how we parents fiercely fight, advocate, and care for our children. Our passionate love for our children can deeply affect the way we prioritize our lives. I have found it far too easy to put my child first, the government decisions that affect my child next, my husband third, and God a distant fourth. It’s not intentional. I carry my prayers to God multiple times throughout the day. Yet, if I’m honest with myself, the thoughts that consume my motherly head occupy my brain in that proportion.
I have often tried to legitimize my flat-out anxiety for my child. “If I don’t worry about these things, who will?!” I reason. I have fixated on advocacy, traveling nationwide to make my voice heard. I don’t give my spouse the full credit he is due for caring for our family. He works hard at providing for us no matter the circumstance. All the while, I am also dismissive of God’s mandate to, “Be anxious for nothing,” or to trust Him, “in all things.”
This order of priority should be completely reversed. I have my pecking order all wrong when I allow my life to be focused in this order. It may make me feel empowered and like I’m truly doing something, but it's disobedient to God and holds little if any eternal value.
UP-ENDING THE SINKING SHIP
Author, CS Lewis once said, “Put first things first and second things are thrown in. Put second things first and you lose both first and second things.”
I have walked the emotional road of fear, desperately concerned that my son would not receive life-saving medication on time because of what far-removed politicians in Washington, DC have conjured up. It was my great honor to advocate for and sit in on House Subcommittee hearings on the Genetic Information and Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) that passed in 2008. Guess what? In the eternal scope of our lives, it made little difference. People are still discriminated against by employers and insurance companies based on known genetic information. The law is difficult to uphold because either the discrimination can be difficult to prove in court or people don’t realize that this law even applies to them.
Hear me when I say that I am NOT telling you not to engage in legislative advocacy for your child. However, as CS Lewis writes, putting things in their proper order yields a better result.
I had to learn the hard way that not relying on the care of my Heavenly Father first and my spouse second only resulted in futile worry when it came to advocacy. I don’t want you to make the same mistake. Allowing ourselves to become used as an emotional political football is not God’s best for us. The frustration and distress involved in these situations come between us and our Maker.
GIVING DAD AND THE FATHER THEIR DUE
In a month where we honor and revere fathers, let’s put first things first. Loving and trusting our Father in heaven to provide and care for our every concern is number one. Pray continually, without worry, but in grateful trust! The God who was big enough to speak the universe into existence is big enough to handle our biggest challenges. Seek the Lord’s direction on how He would have you join His work in the world. Does that mean writing a letter to your senator or attending a town hall meeting? Then do so and leave the rest to God.
Secondly, thank the Lord for the man He put in the role of father of your household. You may not always agree with him. Even so, be a good finder. Keep a gratitude journal of the small ways your husband (or even ex-husband) provides for your child. It doesn't only have to be financial with a job or health insurance. It can be funny expressions passed on, quirky habits, traditions, or hobbies that he shares. If he can put in an IV or use an Epi-Pen, as my husband can, give 3 cheers! If he does the heavy lifting with a non-ambulatory child, thank God! If he tends to the suctioning, feeding tube, and a large poopy butt, give praise! Unite in purpose with that father and set your sights heavenward.
In the final analysis, the government is not the father of your family. The father of your family is not God but an imperfect human like you. Only Jehovah Jireh can provide for our every need. Getting that straight in our hearts and minds can make life with exceptional needs far more joyful.