Exactly how does that Bible verse go? Is it “in everything give thanks…” or is it “for everything give thanks…”?
I have to be honest and tell you that I don’t always feel thankful. On nights that homework with my daughter turns into a 3+ hour ordeal, I don’t feel thankful. When I was told that my daughter had autism, I didn’t feel very thankful. When strangers in stores and restaurants gave us angry stares because my daughter was too loud or too busy for their taste, I felt defensive and angry, but not thankful.
God expects us to cycle through different emotional states because we’re human and He understands us better than we do ourselves!
Cycling through strong emotions such as anger, fear and sadness is a normal part of being a parent or caregiver of a differently-abled child. In fact, many of us will cycle through intense emotions over and over again as our children grow up. At each age, our children will meet important milestones in their development.
With these successes, however, will come reminders of the milestones that they have not yet, and may never reach. Knowing in our hearts that all things are possible with God doesn’t mean that we won’t feel a twinge of despair every now and then. What’s important is that we don’t allow these emotions to dictate how we interact with and dream for our children.
The key to successful “faith-parenting” is to discover things about your child and family to celebrate and be thankful for. Though not always obvious, there is always something to be thankful for!
Maybe it’s the way your child smiles at you when you kiss him or her goodnight. Or, perhaps, it’s the reassuring hug that your spouse gives you, just when you need it most. For me, some of my greatest joys have come from “the little things” that have happened in our lives.
For example, I can remember being VERY thankful for a “Pat the Bunny” videotape that we’d checked out from our local library when our daughter was about 2 years old. Who knew that it would put an end to her almost daily 2-3 hour tantrums? She loved the songs on that tape and would ask us to play the tape for her at least twice every day. We were all too happy to oblige!
Use your faith to continue to give God thanks for all that He has done in your life, in spite of any difficulties that you may be experiencing.
I’ve often prayed and told God that even though I couldn’t see how He was working things out for my good, I was thankful for His presence in the midst of my circumstances. Though not expressing thanks for the actual circumstances themselves, I was thankful for the blessed assurance from God that He is an ever-present help to us all in times of trouble.
Faith believes and expects the impossible!