Thursday, July 9, 2015

Been There, Done That!

Photo image courtesy of goodluz via 123rf.com
You must teach what is right and true. Older men are to be quiet and to be careful how they act. They are to be the boss over their own desires. Their faith and love are to stay strong and they are not to give up. Teach older women to be quiet and to be careful how they act also. They are not to go around speaking bad things about others or things that are not true. They are not to be chained by strong drink. They should teach what is good.
 
Older women are to teach the young women to love their husbands and children. They are to teach them to think before they act, to be pure, to be workers at home, to be kind, and to obey their own husbands. In this way, the Word of God is honored. 
~ Titus 2:1-5, NLV ~

There's a pervasive problem in the special needs parenting community.  It is happening everywhere.  I talk to my colleagues, so I know others are observing it.  

This is what is taking place:  Parents get to the point where their children reach adulthood, learn to cope with their chronic illness, or get situated in a group home, then the parents decide it's time for them to check out.  They walk away from the special needs community and never look back.  They figure that they have more than paid their dues, and it's their turn to coast to life's finish line.

Frankly, to someone like me, it is sad. 

Where in God's word does it ever say that we get to spend the final three decades of our lives doing nothing but focusing on our own pleasure?

What parents like this don't know is that they are throwing away a lifetime of purpose that God has poured into them.  Each of these mothers, fathers, and even grandparents are a treasure trove of  practical, spiritual, and emotional experience.  The Lord has fit them with specific experiences and personal stories that can be used to assist and encourage younger parents coming up the ranks behind them.

Of course, being passionate about mentoring, I can assure you that there are never enough mentors available to lead, guide, and reassure parents following in their footsteps.

It is to our own detriment when we decide to put our feet up and let our younger peers figure life out on their own.  Our entitled apathy is in direct disobedience to God's mandate to teach the next generation.

Don't get me wrong.   It is absolutely wonderful to relax and enjoy life as a couple when our kids are beyond the stage of acute caregiving.  We do have make-up work to do in learning how to relax and savor life apart from the serious role we have fulfilled for a large portion of our lives.

However, if we use only a small portion of the extra time that opens to us when our caregiving is done, the yield to God's kingdom can be exponential.  As an example, just an hour a week for a five week period can turn a fellow parent's life in a positive direction for the remainder of their parenting journey.  This is such a tiny investment to make a difference for a lifetime!

Which of us would not want to get to the end of life's road and know that what we did mattered?  Who of us doesn't spend days where we want to have value beyond just the ugly, thankless parts of parenthood?  God has given us that opportunity, if only we will take it.

PRAY:  Magnificent Maker, remind us that we are blessed to be a blessing.   Help us to get over ourselves and to give back to others.  Thank You for continuing to redeem our trials by using them to grow others as well as ourselves.

~ Barb Dittrich 

1 comment:

  1. 1000% agree with your assessment - love your insight- "Our entitled apathy is in direct disobedience to God's mandate to teach the next generation." I've been meditating on the verse Psalm 71:18 and Psalm 78:4- "We will not hide them from our children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done!" blessings

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