Tag Archive | challenges

How to Get Through It

mt.tunnel

How would you describe the insurmountable problems facing you? One mother raising a child with mental illness (MI) said, “It’s like a tunnel in the mountains: you can’t go around it; you have to go through it.”

Maybe your challenges are your Mt. Everest. You know you’re out of energy to take another step. You fear an avalanche of sorrow will drown you in a pool of tears (if you start to cry).

Christ used a mountain to encourage His followers. He assured them, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

Yes, we know that we serve the God who can do the impossible. But, how can we remember that His is able when daily struggles tempt us to forget His power and faithfulness?

I recently stumbled on a strategy. My pastor was giving a message on 2 Thessalonians. He gave a reference in Ezekiel to reinforce a point. I turned to Ezekiel and noticed I had put a box around the phrase ‘the Sovereign Lord.’ Then, I spotted another box with that phrase. And another. And another.

My pastor’s words faded into the background. All I could ‘hear’ was God speaking to me, “I’m sovereign. I’m sovereign. I’m sovereign. I’m sovereign.” Calmness flooded my heart.

I turned the page in Ezekiel and found ‘the Sovereign Lord’ in several more places. So, I boxed them. I found myself searching the entire book of Ezekiel. The repetitious act of boxing that precious phrase settled my heart.

Later that day, I searched the phrase ‘Sovereign Lord’ and found a great article in Christianity.com. In his article, Chip Ingram answers the question, “What does the phrase ‘God is sovereign’ really mean?”

If you’re world seems chaotic and out of control, uncertain and dark, take time to read his article. You’ll be reminded that God IS in control.

So, here’s my tip for the day: head to Ezekiel and do your own hunt for the phrase ‘the Sovereign Lord.’ I pray that the repetition will lead to your reflection of His sovereignty. That truth will relieve anxiety, fear, concern, and worry.

Jason Castro sings about the mountain crumbling faith of Matthew 17:20 in his song ‘Only A Mountain.’

As you listen to his song, reflect on God’s sovereign power that can remove all your fears and anxieties.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxWayfx3p2s

Advertisements

Assurances from a prisoner: God is in control

Pastor Saeed Abedini, Naghmeh and Family

Pastor Saeed Abedini, Naghmeh and Family

You don’t have to be in jail to feel imprisoned. Moms raising kids with mental illness (MI) may feel incarcerated by worry, concern, and grief. Chained to challenges with no way out. Is it possible to have joy in our hearts when MI is in our homes? The apostle Paul would answer, “Yes.”

Paul didn’t begin his letter (written from prison) to the Philippians by saying, “Pray for me. I’m in utter despair. My back has been torn open by beatings and I’m left to hang in this dungeon.”

Instead he wrote, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy (Philippians 1:3-4).”

How could he even write the words “thank” and “joy?”

Later in Philippians, Paul implied that he wasn’t always joyful in his circumstances. We read him say, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11).” Then we understand it was a process for him to find contentment in trials.

Likewise, the more we experience God’s faithfulness, the greater contentment we’ll find in our situations. We surely may not be happy for challenges and heartaches. But it is possible to rest in the knowledge that God is still in control. If you doubt that Truth, just listen to the words of another prisoner.

An American, Pastor Saeed Abedini, has been in an Iranian jail for over two years. He endures ongoing torture and beatings simply because he won’t denounce his faith in Christ. He wrote a letter to his eight-year-old daughter as a birthday gift. Listen to his wife, Naghmeh read that letter. Warning: Kleenex alert!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H1DlJt5mUw

Pastor Abedini assured his daughter that Christ is in control. His unshakable confidence, in the face of evil, comforts us as well. His God is our God.

To hear more of the family’s story, listen to Naghmeh Abedini making her plea to Obama to get her husband home. Her children describe what it’s like to have their father in jail.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/08/11/video-shows-torture-facing-kids-jailed-american-pastor-in-iran/

Pray for God to loosen your chains as you listen to Tasha Cobbs sing ‘Break Every Chain’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pD2zIuiC2g

How to Discipline

discipline.right.wrong

“Stop bumping into walls!” Would it be okay for a mom to say that to her child who is blind? Absolutely not. She’d understand it’s not intentional.

“How many times do I have to tell you to stop falling down?” Would a mother of a child who has cerebral palsy ever discipline her child that way? Never. She’d show compassion rather than give criticism.

It’s easy to know how to handle those situations. Disciplining children without special needs is fairly clear as well. Maybe not easy, but we have an idea how to respond.

A toddler’s constant talking can feel like torture at times. There’s a limit to how many words a mom can hear in one day. The young mother’s mind screams, “Leave me alone! Shut up! Please, for just one hour, stop talking. I’m begging you…I can’t stand it any longer.”

She replies with all the gentleness she can muster. “Mommy needs to concentrate on making dinner right now. Why don’t you go play with your toys for a while?”

Disciplining a child with mental illness (MI) isn’t so clear.

When a child is emotionally fragile and mentally unstable, how do you handle behaviors which would otherwise be unacceptable? Responding the wrong way could be dangerous. Or, an inappropriate reaction could plunge the child into deeper depression.

When Chris first started to unravel, he talked incessantly. Little did we know, his mind was racing. He continued talking even after our repeated instructions to stop. Finally Howie and I loudly demanded, “Stop talking!” Chris’s MI prevented him to comply. We couldn’t understand his disobedience. Until he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

In the throes of a psychotic episode, Chris barked obscenities at us and punched holes in walls. He often broke things. Reasoning with a delusional mind wasn’t possible. Shouting at him would have provoked worse violence. Punishing him would have enflamed the situation.

We needed to respond calmly. Often ignoring the anger and destruction. That was the only way to defuse the situation. Preventing incidents proved better than reacting.

Does the Bible help us know how to discipline our MI children? Christ is our example.

Christ individualized His responses to those who need correction. He …

  • Used a statement (telling Peter to put down the sword he cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest, telling the adulteress’s accusers that whomever is without sin should cast the first stone, telling the adulteress to go and sin no more)
  • Coupled an action with a statement (when He turned over the tables of the moneychangers)
  • Extended mercy (asking God to forgive those who were crucifying Him)
  • Gave a command (rebuking the demons in the man to come out in Mark 1:23-26)
  • Asked a question (when he responded to the Sadducees and Pharisees)

So, how do we discipline a child with MI? We follow Christ’s example. Considering the situation and the heart of our child. Seeking God’s guidance.

When Chris was a child with MI, it helped me to contemplate three things (in addition to talking it over with Howie):

  1. What must it be like for Chris to have MI? Are his actions deliberate? To what extent can he control his behavior?
  2. What would God have me do regarding a specific situation? If I lean on Chris too hard, would it be worth sending him over the edge? Is it time to extend mercy?
  3. Is Chris posing a risk of harm to himself or others? If so, what actions should I take? Is this a time to trust God for protection?

This was and is my daily prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Guide my thoughts, words, actions, and emotions. Help me know how to prevent unwanted behaviors and to respond to them. Give me Your wisdom to know how, when, of if I should react. Protect our family from any physical or emotional harm. Fill Chris with Your perfect peace and restore clarity of thought. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Let this song minister to you as it reminds you of God’s love.

Hallelujah (Your Love is Amazing)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWT3Hd6WqE0