Thursday, January 7, 2016

Gotta be Flexible

Photo Courtesy of Supertrooper/
Rejoice always, pray continually,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for
you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

If there's one thing I've learned about being the parent of a child with special needs, it's that I have to be flexible.  Sure, all parents require a  level of flexibility, but I think, especially when your child has an anxiety disorder, you need to be ready to make your current situation "work" to minimize the impact of stressful situations on your child. 

For example, people may often think that my husband and I are "under reactors" to certain situations, but it's really that we have learned not to react to somthing until AFTER our daughter is no longer present so she won't be sent into an anxious fit.  We never respond to bad drivers, for example, because if we even mutter, "are you kidding me, you pull out now?" she will hear it and start asking a slew of questions about our situation.

We have also realized that we need to always have a Plan B or Plan C waiting in the wings and it needs to be equally exciting to Plan A.  Having lived in Wisconsin, we had many events called off or delayed due to we learned to always have a fun back up plan, and to not dwell in our own disappointment of missing an event.  Illness is often the culprit of a "change in plans" as well...we can't help when people are sick, so we acknowledge our disappointment, but then say, "but, this way we get to do __________."   

The thing is, as we read in 1 Thessalonians, we ARE supposed to give thanks in ALL circumstances because it IS the will of God.  Huh!  That flat tire?  God's will.  That stomach flu?  God's will.  The alarm didn't go off this morning?  God's will. 

While we were visiting family in Minnesota and Wisconsin this past Christmas, we ran into the issue of weather being uncooperative.  A four hour drive became a seven hour drive and we hadn't even reached out intended destination.  But, we stayed with my husbands cousin, which was unplanned and ended up being one of our favorite nights of our trip!  Did we have to reschedule our other plans?  Yes.  Did it mean shortening some of our other visits?  Yes.  But it was such a BLESSING, and it was easy to see God's hand in it right away.

It's not always easy to feel the joy in our life's derailments.  It's not always easy to thank God when we aren't getting what we want.  I'll often ask God to reveal his plan to me, or to give me peace when I find that we are looking at a Plan B situation, because I know I can't muster the gratefulness on my own.  That's OKAY!  God understands...even his own son asked at one point in the Garden of Gethsemane to have "the cup" taken from him. 

I have found Pinterest to be a great source of Plan B and Plan C ideas.  Slumber party game ideas, snacks to make with your kids, crafts made with household items, time-filler games are all great to search for and keep handy in case a friend is delayed, an travel plan is derailed, or someone becomes too sick to leave the house.

But...if none of that is possible, then try to take a deep breath and say a prayer like this:

Pray:  Heavenly Father, I trust that you are working in this situation, and I believe that your will is good.  I'm having trouble finding joy here, and I'm having trouble being thankful.  Give me peace in my heart, and show me this situation from your perspective so I can reclaim my joy.  Amen.

~Tammie Hefty


  1. Thank you. This touched my heart more than you know.

    1. OH, Denie...THANK YOU!!! Your feedback inspires me!!!