Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Where Weaknesses Become Abilities

Do not drink water only, but take a little wine to help your digestion, since you are sick so often.
~ 1 Timothy 5:23, GNT ~

One of the hardest parts of loving a child with unique challenges comes when that child feels the weight of being different from others.  All they want is acceptance.  Kids want to fit in with their peers and have the same things as their friends.  Too many times we parents have to hear the tearful words, "Why me, Mom?  Why don't things ever get any better?  I can't take this any more."  It's enough to smash our hearts into a million pieces.

My son had some days, dangling at the end of his rope this fall.  Having missed the first 3 weeks of school, volleyed by inattentive doctors in his misery, only to end up in the hospital with an NG tube down his throat, he suffered tremendously.  His color was horrible.  He was in pain.  There was so much to catch up with at school.  I spent hours trying to comfort him emotionally and spiritually as he tried to make sense of all of this chaos through the eyes of a young teenager.

Recently, I have been studying the book of 1 Timothy.  I was blessed to learn that young Timothy also suffered from some sort of stomach malady.  He struggled with confidence because of his youth.  Yet, he was fortunate to have an amazing mentor like Paul to encourage him on to the greatness of relentlessly sharing his faith.

I was able to for my son just what Paul had done for Timothy.  It was a gift to be able to share that one of the early leaders of the church shared some of his same health challenges.  Those challenges were where Timothy's weakness became his ability.  His physical suffering gave him a platform to share his faith in remarkable ways. 

This is no less true of my son or any other child who suffers like him.  When people see children like ours, carrying heavy burdens, with every reason to be angry or hating the world, they stand up and take notice when instead, the simple joy of the Lord is on display.  That very weakness becomes a unique ability to reflect God's glory.  It is an opportunity to tell another person, "Here is the reason for my hope."  Even if we do not say it in words, people notice merely by watching that child living a notably different life.

The next time your child feels discouraged by their own illness, differences or suffering, point them to Timothy.  He is a model of relentless faith that can spur our children on to all that God intends for them to become.

PRAY:  Lord, I know that Your power is made perfect in my weakness.  Now help my child to learn the same.  Continue to send good role models into our lives.  Help us to know that we are not alone, and that there is great purpose in all that we endure.

~ Barb Dittrich

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