Friday, April 11, 2014

14 Years: The Death of Self, The Birth of Ministry

“Father, if it is your will, take this cup of suffering away from me. However, your will must be done, not mine.”
~ Luke 22:42, GW ~

The most horrifying part of the 15 hours of labor came in the final 90 minutes.  My epidural suddenly felt as if it was not working at all, and I could barely come down from one contraction before another one hit.

"I am going to die!"  

If only I knew how true and relevant my words were that fateful evening as I brought forth our second born, a beautiful son.

The day our son was born, I began a 14 year process of dying to myself.

Forever I will remember the tingling numbness flooding my face when the pediatrician announced the day after he was born, "There's no easy way to say it.  He has hemophilia."  Shock began the crushing of our dreams and reality.

Even so, in complete surrender, we found rebirth begin as we proclaimed, "God, we thank You for hemophilia.  We don't know why we are thanking You, but we thank You."

Fast forward 2 years later when the daily reality of a toddler with a bleeding disorder was weighing heavily on us.  There was another family at church who had a son in a wheelchair with visible challenges.  We approached them because we were "a big ol' bundle of need" and hoped to connect with another family facing the crisis of faith that accompanies special needs.  Little did we know that this couple was deeply involved in youth ministry.  God wasn't calling them to serve us in our brokenness.  He was calling us.  Like getting whacked with a 2x4 upside the head, the Lord clearly reminded us...

 "Even the Son of Man came not to be served but to be a servant—to offer His life as a ransom for others." 
(Mark 10:45, VOICE)

We were clueless and obedient as we answered God's call to start Snappin' Ministries.  But as I tell everyone, that's exactly who God wanted, so we wouldn't get in His way.  This organization offering compassion and hope for parents raising kids with special needs is all done by and through Him.  We just feel privileged to have a front row seat to watch our loving Maker redeem all of the hard parts of this journey that beset parents just like us.

There have been so many times since our son's birth where we have cursed hemophilia.  It is wicked.  It is painful.  And it has broken our hearts on so many occasions.  I have watched our son's will to play football or to one day join the armed forces die to God's permitting will.  I have watched our will to just have a nice, typical, financially stable life also die to God's permitting will as job loss and mountains of medical bills have beset our family.

There have also been countless times where I have wanted to throw in the towel with ministry.  Lack of funds, lack of volunteers, meeting with resistance from people still marginalizing kids with special needs all wear down a leader like me.  Even so, this young man who celebrates his fourteenth year of life today wouldn't let me quit.  Understanding that families need support for this journey while also viewing Snappin' as something redemptive to his suffering, his words, "You CAN'T quit, Mom!", were always enough to help me hang in there.

So today we celebrate 14 years, not only of a remarkable young man's life, but also the beginning of a transformative journey.  Without him, there would be too much of my own will and not enough of God's; there would be too much worry and the false belief that I have control.

Thank you, son, not only for being an incredible person, but also for helping me let go of my small dreams for God's much grander plans.

PRAY:  Lord, while saying "yes" to Your will and "no" to mine is so difficult, remind me that the reward is something much greater than I could ever ask, think or imagine.

~ Barb Dittrich


  1. Such a beautiful post, Barb!

    So many will never have the opportunity or the blessings that come with what we face or living the "let(ting) go of my small dreams for God's much grander plans." We serve an awesome God!

    Happy Birthday Charlie!.