Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Gift of Each Other

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV ~

Life has a way of beating us up...  Especially when we are raising a child with special needs.  Sometimes it can feel like we are fighting the war on endless, multiple fronts.  While we struggle with our child's cognition, emotional well-being or health, trying to responsibly manage their challenges, we can find ourselves having to advocate for their rights within the school halls at the same time.  As we attempt to provide for our kids by holding down a job, we can also find ourselves doing battle with the insurance companies or medical billing service.  The weight of the stress we bear can be crushing.  Yet, God has a priceless gift for us in the midst of these challenges.

I found myself praising God for that gift last week as I laid in bed with an unrelenting migraine.  

"Lord, thank You for the gift of each other in this storm," I whispered.  "I'm so grateful for my precious family."

It brought a smile to my face as I laid there feeling victimized by a stabbing headache that was surely triggered by some extra trials we have been facing lately.  I treasured the fact that I could feel such a deeply thankful, content heart in spite of how I felt physically.

You may not be old enough to remember the lyrics to Helen Reddy's 1974 recording "You and Me Against the World".  Although it may sound hokey if you do remember, one stanza captures the tender feelings engendered by having that shelter of one another in the storms: 
"You and me against the world,
Sometimes it seems like you and me against the world
And for all the times we've cried I always felt that
God was on our side."*

When everyone seems to be against us, what a blessing to at least have a family where we are loved.  When it seems we don't have a friend in the world, what relief to have a group of people where we always have that sense of belonging.  When all we can do is cry, how precious to be able to hug one another.  When the medical bills refuse to relent, how soothing to know that regardless of our finances, we have each other.  When the burdens are more than we can bear, what unspeakable relief it is to share precious memories or inside jokes with the few people in this world who "get it".

Regardless of how your family looks -- single parent or married, multiple children or only one -- you enjoy a remarkable gift that not every person in this world has the great fortune to claim.  As life's storms buffet you, hold one another close and treasure the fact that God has given you each other to love and strengthen.  It is a gift we take for granted far too often.  Thank Him for this blessing today.

PRAY:  Father, I am so grateful that you made us for relationship.  You never meant for us to go through life's greatest challenges or joys alone.  Thank You for the gift of my family.  What a blessing to know that although we may not have it all together, together we have it all!

*"You and Me Against the World" is a song written by Kenny Ascher and Paul Williams, recorded by Helen Reddy for her 1974 album Love Song for Jeffrey.

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