Finish this sentence: when it starts snowing, I …
Maybe you find delight and:
- Pray for a day off from school
- Go skiing
- Earn tons of money removing it
- Take pictures
- Make a snowman
Or maybe you dread it and:
- Scream, “Not again!!!”
- Search for a sitter for the kids
- Hurt your back shoveling
When I taught 2nd graders, faint snowflakes would spark an avalanche of excitement. Teachers would dread it. Students would love it.
The invasion of the frozen precipitation would threaten to sabotage my lessons. It often seemed as if the winter storm had blown their attention right out the window. I’d have a choice: to maintain my dismal perspective of the situation or join them in their delight.
I found it helped to adopt my students’ perspective. Rather than fight to win back their attention, I’d embrace their exhilaration. They simply needed the opportunity to release their enjoyment.
“Boys and girls, it’s snowing outside. We’re all going to celebrate at the same time. I’ll dismiss you row, by row. Once everyone is assembled by the window, I’ll open the curtains and we’ll all explode with enthusiasm. Get it out of your system so you can concentrate on your lessons when you return to your desks.”
Recently we got hit with another snowstorm. My first reaction was disgust.
Great. Now I’ll have to clean the snow off my car so I can get to the store.
With my car finally snowless, I was ready to get on with my errands. I grabbed my purse and also my camera.
Maybe I’ll want to take some pictures.
At first, all I noticed was the filthy dirty snow that lined the street. Definitely not a Kodak moment. I had to force myself to look beyond the cinder-splattered snow to find spotless snow scenes.
I wondered. Can we force ourselves to view our circumstances differently? Is it possible to find pleasant thoughts among the unhappy experiences of raising a child with mental illness (MI)? I think so.
If I was able to deliberately ignore the dirty snow and focus on the pure white snow, I can make a conscious effort to view my trials in a new way. I can occupy my thoughts with of MI, or look for God’s pure and perfect purpose in allowing it. I can search for His hand in the situation.
If we searched for Him in the trial, what would we find?
Like the Israelites, we’d become more certain that He is the LORD our God who brings us out from under our burdens.
“ ‘I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.’” Exodus 6:7
Like the Israelites, we’d discover others seeing God’s power in our lives.
“for the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” Joshua 4:23-24
Like Christ’s disciples, we’d witness His works in afflictions.
“Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’
“Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.’” John 9:1-3
Like the Mary and Martha, we’d see God glorified through the trial.
“When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was…Then Jesus said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.’” John 11:4-6, 14-15
May God help you find Him throughout your day today.