Wednesday, January 20, 2016

IN EXILE TOGETHER

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

It’s a new year but autism meltdowns have followed us right into 2016.

Bummer.

This special needs life can feel like being in exile. Will Luke stay happy if we take him out to Chipolte’s or have a meltdown and bang his head on the table? Should we even attempt going to this party or will we just be chasing after Luke the whole time?

Seems like anybody’s guess. And so we often just skip even trying.

My American Heritage Dictionary defines exile as “the enforced removal from your native country or self-imposed absence from one’s own country.” Too often this is what happens to families affected by disability. Or at least how it feels.

In the book of Jeremiah God’s people were in exile; they were in Babylon instead of Jerusalem. Recorded in Jeremiah 29, the prophet sends a letter to the surviving elders, priests and all the other people who were carried into exile. What does the letter say? It tells them to build houses, marry and settle down in Babylon!

We can apply this “settling down” in our circumstances as parents and families affected by disability.  How?

Even in exile they had each other and so do we. We have each other; other special needs families who get it! I think this is one of the reasons why Joni and Friends Family Retreats, for example, can be so powerful. It reminds us that we are in exile TOGETHER.

Later, in Jeremiah 29 the Lord says after seventy years in Babylon He will come to them and bring them back home. And then? The often quoted verse 11—“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” After the exile Jeremiah gets to become the prophet of salvation and points towards the future when Jesus comes!

As special families we can cling to the fact that while often our lives take place outside the norm, we have hope and a future in Christ and will one day be with Him in heaven.

Prayer: Thank you Lord that you are always with us. Thank you that you have given us the special needs community to share our life with. Help us trust you no matter what.

--Deb Abbs

Photo from ShutterStock ID 317231903

3 comments:

  1. Oh, my, goodness...I used the same Chapter, just different verses. Whoa...mine is being published tomorrow. :)

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  2. Thanks for reminding me that we are not the only ones going through exile. Now that my daughter is older and bigger, we only go to doctor's appointments,church, and a bi-monthly support group. No social activities because it is so difficult to get her in and out of the car. This is very lonely and isolating. Glad to know we are not alone and there is hope for things to get better.

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  3. Oh Denise!! That is tough! But you are so right--you are not alone! I am glad you have your support group. Hang in there friend. And Tammie I'm thinking God is trying to get our attention eh?

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