In my 13 years of parenting a child with special needs, I've certainly weathered my share of ups and downs in my walk with Christ. Technically, it's more accurate to say that JESUS has weathered the ups and downs. HE is always the same in His relationship with me; I am the one who the tends to be wishy-washy.
Any trials and tribulations that I have tried to face on my own, with my wimpy human strength, those were my fault. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit were and are always with me, but I forget to turn to them, and that makes me an easy target for spiritual attack.
I can isolate the 3 things I do which make me an easy target and spell them out quite simply:
- I stop praying
- I stop fellowshipping with other Christians and/or stop attending church
- I stop reading Scripture
First off, I typically fall out of praying daily when I start to save my prayers for the end of the day. At that point, I'm too tired and I often fall asleep, and I know that even if I do manage to stay awake, my prayers are more of a laundry list and not a fully involved conversation with God. Then I justify myself saying things like, "God knows your prayers even when you don't have the energy to say them." TRUE. However, how many of us have friends who say, "Let's be sure to get together." But then when we try to schedule something with them, they never have time for us? We need to spend time together in order to have a relationship with someone...prayer is our way of spending time with God. So, rather than saving that time for the end of the day and then falling asleep on Him, wouldn't it show Him more reverence and respect if we actually scheduled time to be with Him?
Prayer is not just a form of communication with God, but it provides a hedge of protection around us and guards us from the spiritual warfare that goes on over our souls every day. When we feel moved to anger, we should pray; when afraid, we should pray; when desperately lonely, we should pray. All of those situations give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4: 27), and we need to pray for the Holy Spirit to protect us and guard our hearts.
The second way that I've made myself a target is by not attending church, or a Bible study, or a small group. We may be too tired, have too much to do around the house, have no childcare available so we can actually ENJOY a solid hour or two in fellowship with others. But it is SO, SO, SO important that we make every attempt to fellowship with other Christians weekly. Maybe it's even watching an on-line church service and then coordinating to meet up with other moms or dads who attend the same church for coffee and discussion. Maybe we could even organize a group discussion using Google Duo or Hangouts and discuss the message from our own homes! The importance of communing together and celebrating, exploring, re-telling God's Word is undeniable (Hebrews 10: 25) because we know that where two or more join together in agreement with His Word, HE IS THERE (Matthew 18: 20).
The final way that I have made myself an easy target for spiritual warfare is by falling away from reading the Bible. Yes, getting the "verse of the day" on our phones is well and good. Reading self-help types of books by Christian authors is fine. BUT, if those things have become a bandaid for our soul rather than really READING God's Word; His Love Letter to us, regularly, it's just not going to work. When I have looked closely even at a SMALL portion of scripture, it opens up a MULTITUDE of applications in my daily life (Isaiah 55: 11).
For example, I can read Romans 12:1-2 over and over again and it helps me through, EVERY day, the obstacles that I face. Offer myself as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God? Well, I guess I shouldn't complain about some of the daily tasks I do as a mother of a daughter who has some significant delays in her physical abilities! Do not conform to the patterns of this world? Well, I guess I shouldn't just go on Facebook and Instagram and fall into the "dead scroll" like so many people do in order to turn off my spinning brain. That's a pattern of this world that God has asked me NOT to repeat, and He tells me instead to be transformed by the renewing of my mind (a.k.a. reading HIS Word, not the "world's word.")
The first two verses of Romans 12 alone have given me countless ways to redirect myself when I feel Satan breathing down my neck. What are we missing out on if we are not exploring God's Word regularly as a way to guide us through our complicated lives and guard us from our fiercest enemy?
We have a lot of negativity to contend with as parents of children with special needs, and in order to have the strength, humility, and wisdom to do that, we need to be in touch with God DAILY. Let's not let the devil get a foothold!
Pray: Father God, I'm sorry that I become so lazy in my relationship with You. I'm sorry that I let this world take priority over my love for You and my desire to serve You and share Your love with others. I pray that I will continue to grow in my closeness with You so that You will be my FIRST resort in my complicated life rather than my LAST resort. Amen.