Friday, March 22, 2013

Standing Firm as a Defender as Long as I Live

Defend weak people and orphans. Protect the rights of the oppressed and the poor.
~ Psalm 82:3, GW ~

Every day as I comb through information to share with parents of children with special needs, I am greeted by horrifying headlines like this:

This morning I silently thought to myself as I sadly read such headlines, when will stories like this ever end?  If I am honest with myself, I know the answer is "never".  After all, God tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV), "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?'  We fool ourselves into thinking it could never happen again, to us or to our children.  The depravity of mankind will not leave us until we leave this world.

If we are honest, every mother like me reads such stories thinking, That could have been MY child!  How do I keep this from happening to us?  How can I protect my precious one from such things?

While raising a child with special needs can bring such weariness, we parents must never tire of defending our helpless ones.  This means advocating for them at all times.  Despite feeling weak, we must speak up.  We must trust ourselves rather than letting our children be swept away in the current of either circumstances or what others think should be happening in their lives.  We know them best.  No one cares for them the way we do.

Being a defender of our children includes the following:
  • Reading all we can to educate ourselves on best practices and options for the treatment, schooling, and protection of our children.
  • Being an information hunter, talking to parents and professionals that we trust to see what they have encountered that works.
  • Courteously standing up to insurance companies and government programs that would deny our children the care they need.
  • A willingness to politely, but firmly confront the school when a current situation isn't working or bullying is encountered.
  • A strength to question our doctors and to politely, but firmly press for different treatment options when current protocol is not working.
  • Bravery to lovingly confront our pastors when our child and others like them are not welcomed and included in the Body of Christ.
  • Moving out of our comfort zones to educate and involve ourselves in legislative advocacy that will shape society's treatment of our children and thousands more who are just like them.
These are no small tasks!  This is a huge calling, especially in the context of exhausting daily care.  This requires Holy Spirit power!  Thankfully, that same indescribable power that burst Christ forth from the grave now lives inside each of us who believe.  When we lean in to God, relying fully on Him, asking Him to put the right words in our mouths, praying that He goes before, beside and behind us, there is nothing that will not be achieved for our vulnerable children.

I once had a man pray in a meeting that I was at with another woman of influence, "Thank You, God, for these warrior women to help in this situation."  I was shocked and even empowered by such a prayer.  Yet, I would tell you that it is only the Lord who makes me a warrior, equipping me as I put on the full armor of Christ each day. (see Ephesians 6:10-18)

Should my children grow and leave our home or go home early to meet the Lord, I know that I will remain a soldier as I obey God's call to be a defender of the defenseless. This is an incredible privilege to which each parent like myself is beckoned.  Parents, let us stand firm as defenders in the Lord for as long as we are on this earth!

PRAY:  Father, you have told us in years past to be strong and courageous because you go with us.  I trust that command and promise, especially in being a defender of my child(ren).  Guide me with all wisdom as I serve as your soldier.

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