And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord… Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. – Deuteronomy 8:2-6
It appears that we have entered into another challenging season of life for a while. I won’t recount all of the details because I have about an hour before I need to wake my youngest from her nap, but it’s been a challenging year so far.
The Lord answered our prayers (as I wrote about previously), and we have found out that our oldest has been diagnosed with ADHD. While she does show some concerning behavior patterns that point towards autism, ADHD is what we really have to be concerned about at this time. And my husband and I have already started the process of purchasing books to understand this better (trust me, neither one of us knows a thing about ADHD), and we will be paying for therapy as long as it is necessary for her.
In an honest reflection, the diagnosis was a hard relief for us. A relief because FINALLY (Thank you LORD) we know what we are dealing with and have some explanation for the behavior that has concerned us for so many years. But it is still hard. Hard to read and learn about all of the troubling ramifications if someone doesn’t get on top of their ADHD. Hard to accept that parenting for us is going to be a lot more difficult and far more stressful than it would ordinarily be. Hard to figure out what our parenting is going to look like given all of the therapy/clinical advice for children with ADHD weighed against our convictions to raise her in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Hard to see how we’re going to raise two daughters with very different “special” needs, one physical, and the other psychological. It’s just going to be hard, and we know that it will likely continue to be hard for the foreseeable future. But in all of this, the Lord has been most graciously keeping me and growing me up more and more.
My strong “planner” nature (like a polite way of saying a “control freak”) that likes everything to be mapped out with absolutely no surprises has groveled and wept inside over the uncertainty that looms ahead of us in the distance. Like mirages, sometimes it appears right in front of me, and other times I can collect myself enough to realize that it is still a good ways off in the distance. The temptations to fall into the sins of anxiety, anger, covetousness, bitterness, unthankfulness, and self-pity continue to be a present reality. And I will truthfully admit that I have fallen at times into these sins, lamenting as I find myself in a place I don’t want to be both spiritually and physically. But “many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21).
And so, the Lord has determined this walk for us in His good and gracious providence. No, the circumstances will not change. I’m not even looking for miracles. But I am looking for His grace each and every day, and I know that His grace is sufficient for this day alone. I’ll worry about tomorrow when it gets here, but even then, He will give me what I need at that time. But when I find myself being tempted into sin, I resist, and I do my best to put it to death. Someone’s going to die, and it’s not going to be me! But I also realize it’s not just in resisting sin that I have to be active, but it’s also in doing the positive things that are required of me. I mean, as Christians we know that we don’t just “put off” sins as the Apostle Paul tells us countless times throughout the Epistles, but we have to “put on” the graces of Christ Jesus. We have to be endeavoring to “keep in step” with the Spirit of God, pursuing holiness and godliness in this life.
And in spite of everything that is going on, I’m grateful. I’m grateful that the Lord is requiring more out of me now. I’m grateful that I feel that pressure, but at the same time, I have that desire to press onward (…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. – Philippians 2:13). I’m grateful that it does feel so overwhelming because it is causing me to live each day outside of my own strength. I’m dependent on the Lord. His grace and His hand are keeping me and sustaining me through each and every day. I can actually laugh and say that I have nothing else to give or add. I must depend on the Lord. And truly He is answering that prayer to “give us this day our daily bread.” He is all that I have, and His Word is the only nourishment for my soul.
And you know, my heart’s desire has always been to be in this place with the Lord. I realize that He has graciously answered this prayer through His providential dealings in our lives. Now, sure I pray that things will become easier over time, that it won’t feel like we’re trudging up a rugged hill the entire time, but if it lessens our dependence on Him, causes us to be exalted in the slightest bit of pride, or lets our love for Him wane in the least amount, then I pray that He would continue to be the loving Father that He is and keep us in this place. God knows, we are prone to wander, but may His goodness, like a fetter, bind our wandering hearts to His own.