I have realized recently parenting children with special needs is like standing in the water at the beach with a major undertow. Growing up in southern California, we frequently took trips to the beach. The days when the undertow was strong, we had to be very careful. They can be dangerous if you are not paying attention. They love to sweep your legs out from underneath you.
I have come to the conclusion this is a great illustration to our parenting. Our focus has to be squared up. When we begin to lose focus, sweep. Our legs go flying out from underneath us.
This is what we felt like last month when we learned out youngest son, Noah, has two holes in his heart, ASD and VSD. After our oldest daughter Fayth had AVSD and open-heart surgery, we never anticipated another open-heart surgery was in our family. Boy was I wrong.
With just a week away from Noah’s open-heart surgery on March 11th, we await another repair on one of our child’s hearts.
Lobbying For Our Attention
When Noah was born on August 30th of this last year, both my wife and I wondered about Noah. We both felt as though there was something not quite right. After we pressed the pediatrician in November, we finally started investigating. It only took another month and half to get a diagnosis.
All the while, Fayth who was born with Down syndrome, had started kindergarten and was requiring a lot of our attention. We have not been happy with her schooling this year. My wife and I have had to make numerous visits to her school to meet with her teacher. We have not been happy.
Both Noah and Fayth have been lobbying for our attention. Not to mention our middle “normal” son, Stephen, still needs attention.
Oh how easy it is to lose focus when you have your children needing your attention as parents.
Who wins for their parents’ attention?
All of this was leading to many battles. The stress was building and we experienced a few fights within our marriage.
But why the battles?
Finding The Real Battle
All of us who have children with some sort of special needs know there is a battle. This is not news to any of us.
But what is the real battle we are fighting?
When we encounter a crisis situation, our brain triggers a response to protect of a dangerous situation. We know this as fight or flight. When our brain registers this response, it sends signals to our body to open up our blood vessels to our muscular system, narrow our vision, loss of hearing, and increased heart rate.
Our mind is telling our body to prepare to defend.
I can’t help, but worship God for this design. GENIUS. Just think about it.
Our body is ready to fight or flight, but what are we to battle?
The Wrong Battle
God created us to fight or run, but sometimes our fighting is pointed in the wrong direction. We begin to fight with our spouse. We fight with family. We fight with co-workers. We even will fight ourselves.
However, Paul makes it very clear in Ephesians 6:12, our fight is not against flesh and blood, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
When we direct our fight at the physical realm, we are missing the mark.
The Right Battle
Our fight is in the spiritual realm. But what is the spiritual realm? Great question.
The spiritual realm is the unseen. Paul says in Galatians 5:22–23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
You cannot see these attributes. You can see the result of these fruits, but they are not physical in of themselves. They are spiritual. They operate in the spiritual realm.
Likewise, the opposite to these fruits are true. Such things as anxiety, stress, laziness, guilt, doubt, and etc.
The fights in the spiritual realm will be directed at our identity, relationships, and peace.
What I have realized over our family’s crisis moments in our life, it is easy to fight the physical. But it is when I focus on the battle in the spiritual realm do I experience God’s peace. I still struggle through many issues, but simply by knowing where the battle resides gives me clear focus.
The enemy loves to take our focus away from the real battle and focus on the physical aspects. Do not fall victim as I have many times. Fight in the spiritual realm and find the peace of God in His presence.
We are victors not victims, no matter the troubles.
My Victory Statement
With every passing challenge and trial we pass through in this life, we have a surpassing greatness gifted to us. Although we may feel burdened and broken, God has lifted us and mended us. Through God’s love, He sent restoration, redemption, and hope through Jesus Christ. When Jesus was crucified on the cross for all of mankind’s sin and the penalty of sin, the story was not finished. Jesus had part two. Jesus resurrected from the dead, conquering death. Jesus won. We are now are on the winning team as well. God has given us the guarantee of the Spirit. I may feel defeated and destroyed, but I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ who rose from the dead. I stand on the ground of holiness in Jesus Christ. I stand in faith and confidence in the one true God. My battles will not be directed in the physical realm, but in the spiritual realm. I come to fight every deception, accusation, and temptation with the powerful word of God. I will not be deceived. I will not be accused. I will not fall into temptation. Because I have the Savior Jesus Christ interceding on my behalf. For our present suffering is nothing in comparison to the glory that will be revealed in us. Praise You Jesus The True VICTOR!
WE HAVE PEACE AND VICTORY IN JESUS!
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Kathleen Bolduc says
Alleluia and Amen!
Melanie Gomez says
What a wonderful reminder! I just share this on my FB page 🙂
Laurie Wallin says
“it is easy to fight the physical. But it is when I focus on the battle in the spiritual realm do I experience God’s peace.” Just… Yes.