My head down, arms drawn close, the lump in my throat causes me to swallow hard while the tears sting my eyes. I try to blink them back yet one escapes and leaves a watermark on my pants. I fear the floodgates that will come if I let the emotion loose. I fear the waning of my strength, yet know it is only a facade, set there to give the impression that I am stronger than I am.
I have cried so many tears, and almost given up so many times. Well, no not really but I have wanted to. The road has been so hard but the Lord has brought me a long way through all the turmoil. I know that we will face turmoil again in the future but I also believe it won't cause me to fall as it has done in the past. Oh how he has brought me a long way!
Our kids hold a place so dear in our hearts that the troubles they face affect us personally. We long to solve all their problems and battle the giants for them, to see them succeed. I know that if God allowed me to do that very thing, it would never be of benefit to them. They need to walk this path, as I have, while it moulds them into the people they are to become. So, I try to teach them to battle on themselves, and I cry at their pain.
I cry when we have to deal with behaviour problems again and the kids reject them because of it. I cry at them not being heard and the frustration mounting, that which should be controlled springs forth but their immature bodies and minds struggle to do that at the best of times. I long to soothe their hurts when their words don't come out right or they can't hear with all the distraction or noise around that others are able to tune out. I cringe when I hear the labels they are given, causing people to bypass who they really are. My kids have problems, they are not a problem.
In a way we have created a little hide away, a haven. It really isn't an apt name as at home we each deal with our own issues and clash in the real world that is our haven. Each day we repeat the same lessons and hope they better grasp self control and all the tips and tricks they are taught in their therapy classes, and then we try again. We pray the Lord would intercede and they would have a better day, that interactions wouldn't exhaust them, or me as I watch carefully for all their little signs of something starting to go awry.
Those with special kids know exactly what I am talking about. It is the walk you learn to walk by falling over many times. Writing it all out sounds stressful, and it is, but really it is just my kind of normal and the Lord gives me strength and wisdom each day to start the day fresh with hope, and on those good days I tuck happy kids into bed, say prayers and thank God. That is my reward, my medal of honor, those smiling faces that laugh and giggle and say 'I love you'.
It is in the times of discouragement or exhaustion that I require an outside source. To help clarify my thought processes and make sure they are all aligned with his word, to encourage me to continue on my way. My sister is great at stopping me when I am on the road to a pity party and encourages me to step out in faith when times are tough. So how do you sift through the emotional turmoil that is a human mind and filter out all that is not helpful? How do you do this without the benefit of someone to talk it through with?
God calls us to commune with our fellow believers but he needs to be our first port of call. Continually renewing our minds helps us to start in a better place, to continue to feed ourselves with truths to meditate on throughout the day. Yet, even with this we will all face times of discouragement, and it is not a reflection of our level of faith when it happens. It is a season and it will pass. It is a time when we need to hold on tight to the promises of God and not our emotions.
During these dark times we grow stronger, we learn to hold onto his words, which enables us to tackle future challenges with greater peace and a greater assurance that he stands by our side through it all. It is through these times that revelations grow and our heart is impacted with his word. Pain that comes with walking in the valley, seemingly far from God, seems to open up those long closed wounds, to break down those walls and reach into the areas that matter the most.
With the journey I have walked, I see the trials around me and the stressors mount in my mind, but God's hand reaches into my heart and delivers peace in the midst of the turmoil. I know how I would have reacted to the daily grind, my heart heavy and my mind clouded with fear and stress, the peace of the Lord far from me. It is a learnt behaviour, resting in his peace. I still require much practice, yet am enjoying some small pieces of fruit while walking the long way home.
N.B. I have been blessed enough to have this post published in the June/July issue of Indulge eMagazine. This magazine is a great source of encouragment, faith challenge, recipes and fashion. If you haven't seen it, you can still check it out here. You can also connect with them on their FB page here.