Saturday, March 21, 2009

Grace Amidst the Gloom of Guilt


“For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” (Revelation 12:10)

“Why is it that women always feel so guilty? We’re so good at beating ourselves up!”, my friend and I had wondered together during a Bible study. I was lamenting over how guilty I felt for not being able to adequately care for my family because of ongoing knee troubles. She was feeling bad about some people conflicts she found herself in the middle of.

It’s true, we are incredibly hard on ourselves, especially as special needs parents. So this is really a topic worth examining with all of you.
I can remember when Lexi, my eldest, was first born. I was always afraid that I wasn’t doing right by her. I had a friend who did the most amazing things with her toddler. One day, I’m walking into her house and she’s cleaning up from a lesson she had done that day on what sinks and what floats. I was convinced that I had ruined Lexi’s future because I hadn’t done anything like that with her. My husband, Steve, said to me, “Yes you have. It’s called A BATH!” I used to drive him nuts by informing him that “They say this” and “They say that” when it came to the “shoulds” of child-rearing. So he’d just shake his head at me and say, “Who are THEY anyway?!”

Now add to that guilt the stinging pain of a special needs child... You know that feeling. I know that feeling. And countless others like us struggle with it every day. This isn’t the kind of guilt you can just laugh off. These are questions that haunt us: What if I had just done something different in my pregnancy? Is God punishing me? And for those of us whose children have a genetic disorder: It’s all my fault.

Well, let me give you some insights.  Did you know that the meaning of the name “Satan” is actually “accuser”? Where is that guilt coming from? Challenge that enemy of your soul! Read Revelation 12:10 up above! That’s what we have to look forward to in heaven. Satan knows his demise is imminent, so he tries to derail God’s work in our lives while he still has the opportunity.

In Romans 8:28 we learn “...that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” You know what that means? It means that something good can come out of the sorrow of our children’s disabilities. That’s what God wants us to focus on and rejoice in.

The next time you are feeling weighed down by that parental guilt, re-examine it. Take it to the Lord and see if it is really true. If the guilt is well-founded, ask for your Savior's help with the issue and move on. If God proves it untrue, then blow it off like a feather on your hand. God wants to set you free, enable you to parent that child and strengthen you along the way. Spend more time in His words of encouragement and less time on the self-destruction of guilt!

(For Barb's full presentation entitled "Grace Amidst the Gloom of Guilt", contact SNAPPIN' MINISTRIES at www.snappin.org)

1 comment:

  1. I figure for every day that I mess things up with my kids, I have another day to make it right. I know about the guilt though, especially with a special needs child (my son Alex has Aspergers). If I'm too hard on him, is he going to handle it worse than my so called "normal" kids. So, I clump them together and don't look at him as any more special than the others. Age has helped me to toss the guilt aside, but I do remember those early days also with our first child. I would hear of women who wrote curriculums to do with their toddlers for the day. I didn't even have the energy to take mine to a playgroup. I figure I did the best I could with what I was given and that God will erase their memories or mine one day when I go senile. I wonder if my oldest daughter has any recollection of me dropping her on her head? hahaha!!

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