Friday, August 5, 2011

Decisions, Decisions!

The Lord has given you sorrow and hurt like the bread and water you ate every day. He is your teacher; he will not continue to hide from you, but you will see your teacher with your own eyes. If you go the wrong way—to the right or to the left—you will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the right way. You should go this way." (Isaiah 30:20-21, NCV)


One of the more stressful parts of parenting a child with special needs is the countless number of decisions you are required to make on an ongoing basis.  And these decisions aren't merely like choosing a hairstyle that can grow out once cut.  These are pivotal choices that seem to determine our child's health, well-being and future at every turn.

Amidst this life of determinations, often comes confusion.  Because of the weight we feel in making these decisions on our children's behalf, it is not unusual to find ourselves stuck, uncertain which direction we should move in a given circumstance.  Do we push for an IEP over a 504 plan at school?  Do I move forward with the doctor's protocol even though I don't feel good about the direction they are taking?  Do I open up about my child's difficulties or maintain their dignity by guarding privacy?  Which battles do I fight, and which do I let go of?  Questions like these are a mere drop in a bucket flooded with choices.

Add to that list questions of faith.  Is this the most godly way for me to handle this conflict?  Am I still being Christian if I assert myself?  Do I complain to the church about the insensitive way my child and I have been treated?  These types of questions will REALLY turn our brains to Jell-O!

But to our great fortune, we have a God who cares about every detail of our complicated lives.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we have amazing assistance with all of these involved decisions.  Wisdom is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  We merely need to take hold of that gift. 

How do we gain access to this unique tool that the Lord has bestowed upon those who trust in Him?  It is a matter of spiritual intimacy.  By that I mean we must quiet ourselves and sit at God's feet each day.  Immersing ourselves in the Word of God helps us get to know Him better.  We more readily see how His best for us is carried out.  We get a picture of how He operates.  And amazingly, the Bible is the only book in the world that reads us as we read it!  Our hearts are examined and our conscience awakened as we spend time in the Scriptures.  We learn to ask better questions of God as we spend time listening to what He has to say.

Prayer must also accompany our daily Bible reading.  Asking God for discernment is a prayer that pleases Him because we are seeking to do His will.  Years ago, I learned from a friend the prayer that I pray too often these days, "Lord, I'm a fool, so make Your will abundantly clear to me.  Spell it out for me!"  This has served me well, as I'm sure it would you.  Bringing your angst to Him and sharing your frustrations with God is part of the intimacy too.  Jesus suffered all the earthly things you do, so He has understanding to share with your troubled heart.

Look at this time as having a personal conversation with God.  You listen to what He has to say by reading His word.  And He listens to you as you pray.  This intimate gift will provide you the assistance you need in making these numerous, intense decisions for your child.

Even so, there are times where every Christian still does not have a clear sense of which direction to take in a situation.  One of two things can be done at times like these.  A person can wait on the Lord until they feel a confident path laid before them.  After all, that clarity is promised by God.  It will also stretch your character as you are forced to wait in patience.  The other option is to move forward with confidence that your Heavenly Father will cover any mistakes you make along the way and use all things to their good.  Your Savior already paid the price for the mistakes you will unintentionally make and God is the ultimate recycler using each decision for the good as promised in Romans 8:28.

Either way, know that you have a loving Father who cares deeply about every detail of your life as well as your child's life.  He's numbered every hair on your heads.  How will He not then guide you in making important decisions for yourself and the child He has entrusted to your care?

Pray:  Lord, you are my teacher and lover of my soul.  I anxiously wait to hear your voice on which direction I should go with my decisions.  Guide me!

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