|Photo image courtesy of Pixabay.com|
It's the 4th of July! Today we celebrate America's birth as a new and independent nation. There is something sacred in this celebration, not just mere national pride. The country's founding fathers were, in declaring independence from England, also declaring the human dignity bestowed upon them by God. They were declaring allegiance to their Creator and the life He intended for them.
Pondering this deeper meaning behind one of history's greatest events has inspired me to create some of my own declarations this holiday. In today's Bible passage, man declares his commitment to God and God affirms his allegiance and promises to those who love Him. Following the footsteps of these Israelites and the American founders...
- That I will love my family to the best of my abilities. Some days that may mean sitting at a hospital. Some days that might mean heroically conquering parental duties, household chores, and flawlessly executing a full-time job. Other times, it could mean ramen noodles for dinner and just hugging one another until we make it to the next day. Regardless, with God's help, I will know that each day was the best I could do at the moment.
- That I will immerse my family in prayer and God's word. Even though I find them too often interrupting me in my early morning devotional time, I will continue praying for them on bended knee and praying for them as I wash dishes. I will teach the gospel through biblical exposition, stories, and song. I will live it in word and deed with the help of the Holy Spirit. When their faith is flagging, I will point to Christ, even if it means bringing in extra help.
- That I will trust the experience and instincts God has granted me. Doctors and teachers will not cause me to question my judgment. While I humble myself, rejecting a self-righteous attitude, I will listen to their comments with a filter, examining how their words measure up to what I see and know. When the Holy Spirit helps me to discern that something is not right with one of my children, I will fight for them in the school and in medical settings.
- That I will fight the false guilt to which special needs parents are so prone. I will remember that when I blame myself for all of life's difficulties or embrace my inadequacies, I am doing the accuser's work for him. With increasing measure I will grow over time and put aside guilt for constructive solution. I will learn from my mistakes and accept that all humans are prone to them.
- That I will ask good questions in bad situations. Is there a medical emergency? I will not be afraid to ask for clear answers so I can make good decisions on behalf of my child. Are there problems at school? I will ask educators what they are seeing in the classroom and their thoughts on what they have seen work in such situations in the past. Is there a bully? I will ask my child how they think we can pray for that person. Are their difficulties in my marriage? Instead of biting my spouse's head off, I will ask how they see things and how we might come to a consensus.
- That I will treat other parents the way I want to be treated. I will not judge other parents and their treatment decisions, because I hate being judged. I will not make assumptions about other parents, because no 2 families are alike, and I do not live with them. I will offer tenderness, compassion, and validation when I see other parents struggle.
- That I will commend great professionals. Since struggles with teachers, doctors, therapists, and insurance companies are all too common, I will take note of those who rise above the average. I will let teachers know when they are doing an excellent job. I will tell doctors and medical staff how grateful I am when I see them going that extra mile. I will ask to speak to the supervisor of that insurance company customer service representative, not to report them for terrible service, but when they've been helpful.
- That I will give back to the special needs community. I could not be the mother and advocate I am today if not for the help of other parents who have gone before or beside me. Therefore, I will remain committed to passing on that same blessing to other parents who come up the ranks behind and beside me. God gave us the gift of one another. I will never take that gift for granted.