In 2017 like for any special needs families there were a lot of hills and valleys. We saw our most fruitful year in ministry in helping special needs families with Champions Clubs and in our own family we saw our son exhibit behavior with acting out like we hadn’t seen since he was a little boy. From the occasional what we would call "chin business" (pressing his fist very hard against his chin) when he got upset, to biting his wrists was very hard to take. The outbursts could become at times violent especially after we were trying to help regulate him so he wouldn’t hurt himself with medication. In the middle of all of that we saw God provide for us a new house, in the city, close to work and close to what we hoped would be a better school. For the first six months we saw so many good things only to see it shift again. Hills and valleys.
The truth is special needs parents are going to face ups and downs, turns and twists. There is a good chance in 2018 we will not be immune to the ebbs and flows of life. It’s how we respond to these hills and valleys that remind us that God is faithful and God will not fail us if we don’t give up. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
I heard someone say recently that faith and fear have something in common. They both ask us to believe something will happen that we cannot see. I have learned the more we stay dependent on God the more we can believe. We only have grace for today so if we can let go of the past, trust God for today, and believe God will take care of our tomorrow we can win the battle of faith over fear.
What we meditate on will take root. Job said, “The thing I feared came upon me.” What fears are you holding on to consistently? Are you letting them control your position of peace? When you are going through a difficult time learning to have short term memory and letting it go keeps you in a position of peace. I'm not saying to deny where you've been I'm asking you to recover where you are. Disappointment can be God's appointment. One little tweak can change everything. You may be closer than you think.
To have faith is to have wings. Wings that will carry you over your fears. When we turn to God and meditate on what God has done for us and begin to thank him for what’s right not what’s wrong in our lives it gives us the wings that carry us over the hills and valleys. You don’t know how many times my wife and I have had to practice this. It will turn into a faith practice that you don’t just do when your struggling, you will begin to do it all the time.
Some of us allow fear to illuminate our thinking. How many times in this past year have we let our thoughts believe things that never actually came to pass? How many times have we "thought" ourselves into depression. The enemy is a fear broker spreading lies to bring torment to your mind. When we believe the lie we empower the liar. There are times I have to detox my thinking. I've found our thinking will either limit us or release us.We tell our mind what to think but we renew it with what God says. Colossians 3:10 says, "Put on a new nature and be renewed as you learn to know your creator and become like him."
This year we have a choice to choose faith over fear. It will not be easy but if we will use our energy to believe instead of using our energy to worry we will see our thoughts move from the worst case scenario to trusting God for the best case scenario. It takes the same amount of energy to believe as it does to worry. I love people who even when they can't see Jesus in their circumstance they still trust Him.
I was in Colombia meeting with who they call the Mother Teresa of Colombia Sister Valeriana Garcia Martin. She is in her seventies and has over 150 orphans all with severe disabilities and special needs that she provides care and development for in one of the most impoverished areas of Bogota. She also educates or provides daycare in her school for over 850 children in the community. Hogares Luz y Vida orphanage translated is Home of Light and Life. Everything she receives is donated and many times she doesn’t know where the donations are going to come from. Many of the children are medically fragile with severe needs. There is a constant need for help.
She considers these children to be her children. It would be so easy for her to look at the overwhelming odds that are against her in caring for her children and let fear overwhelm her. Yet, when I asked her how she does it all she says, “I don’t know, I just trust God and he supplies the need. We don’t know when it’s coming or where it’s coming from but God has never failed us.”
That’s faith over fear.
I asked her what I could do for her in carrying this tremendous burden and she said, “For me I don’t need anything, God will supply all of my needs, do it for the children. If all that we are doing makes one child smile today it’s been worth it all.” If this simple but powerful faith gives her the power to overcome her fear how much more can we take from her example and apply it to our situations.
Practicing everyday to choose faith over fear will help you to not expect the worse but trust for God's best. It will help you find light even in the darkness. What you speak over your life and situation has tremendous power.
When fear says, Your child will never overcome this obstacle
Faith says, that all things are possible for those who believe.
Fear says, you’ve been through too much, you will never be happy.
Faith says, I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ and I choose to be happy.
Fear says, I will never make it financially with all I’m going through.
Faith says, And my God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory.
In our lives there are always going to be hills and valleys. What stops us many times is what we speak about our situation.
Let's not allow the seeds of doubt and fear to enter our minds today. You can't think negative and positive thoughts at the same time. Choose to speak faith over fear.