Being a parent is really a full time role. You have a child and along with the gift comes a lifetime of responsibility. It may not end at a clear cut time when you think or expect. But with God’s help, you persevere.
Sometimes when you think your responsibility may lessen, it does not. So, again, you move forward. God can and will equip you as you persevere and put one wobbly step in front of the other. You realize, too, you can accomplish feats and tasks you never expected to face.
This is all part of what I call The Journey, the span of time from cradle to grave as you make your mark on life — or maybe just meander through at times.
Rest assured, as a believer in Jesus Christ, I know He is with me and will never leave me nor forsake me. If I were to explain my daily life, some days would not make sense to anyone else. I think that’s somewhat true for most folks, though.
I truly thank God for this journey and seek His guidance, blessing and strength. When I’m older and grayer, I may be able to make sense of what I’m going through, but then again — maybe not. But I can assuredly say, “He is God. He is good. He really does know what He’s doing.”
I’ve been collecting resources to help with the wonderful ministry of prayer. Here is one resource that I came across some years ago. Please feel free to print this out and use it in your prayer time. Did you realize that even if your children and/or grandchildren live 1oo’s of miles away, you can pray for them regularly!
Assurance of salvation. Lord, lead my children to trust only in Jesus’ sacrifice for their eternal salvation; assure them that their souls are secure in Your hands. (In. 3:16, 10:28- 29; 1 In. 5:13)
Intimacy with God. Draw my children face to face with You, that they might taste Your goodness and long for more of You. (Ex. 33:11; Ps. 27:8, 34:8,42:1-2)
Spiritual blessing. Father, remind my children that You have adopted them in love. Enable them to experience all the spiritual blessing they have in Christ Jesus, especially Your measureless love. May they act, speak, and think in ways fitting for a child of God. (Eph. 1:3-14, 3:17-19, 5:8-10)
Confidence in prayer. Assure my children that You hear their prayers and that you always answer as a caring Father, even when they do not receive what they want. (1 In. 5:14-15; Mt. 7:7-11)
Repentance. When my children sin, quickly lead them to confess and repent so that they
might enjoy a clear conscience and unbroken fellowship with You. (Ps. 32:1-2; 1 In. 1 :5-9)
Sanctification. Transform my children into Christ’s likeness. Use whatever circumstances You, in Your perfect wisdom, deem necessary to produce a harvest of righteousness and peace in their lives. (2 Cor. 3: 18; Jas. 1 :2-4; Heb. 12:5-11)
Hope and rest. Bathe my children in restful, confident hope as they trust You with their self-worth, relationships, life’s work, and (other concerns). May they overflow with Your peace. (Jer. 29:11; Mt. 11:29-30; Ro. 15:13; Phil. 4:6-7)
Comfort. Through every hardship, may Your Spirit bring tangible consolation to my
children so that they will know that they are not alone. Right now, they need Your comfort
to get through (pray for specific trials or losses). (Mt. 5:4; In. 14:16-18)
Freedom. Guide my children into truth so that they will enjoy genuine freedom. (In. 8:31-32,36)
Friendships. Provide my children with friends who are supportive and truthful. Keep them from relationships that would draw them away from You. (Eccl. 4:9-12; Provo 27:5-6; 1 Cor. 15:33)
Effective parenting. Help me (and my spouse) to be the influence my children need at every stage of their growth. Keep me willing to listen to anything they want to discuss. (Prov. 20:7; Eph. 6:4)
Marriage and children. If it is Your will that my children marry and have children, guide them to godly spouses with whom they will enjoy flourishing relationships. May they pass along a rich heritage to future generations. If they are to remain single, may they experience the joy of living in undivided devotion to You. (Ps. 127:3-5, 128:1-4; 1 Cor. 7:32-35)
A healthy church. Provide my children with a unified prayerful, Bible-teaching church family that will draw them into community, give them a hunger for Your Word, and involve them in Your work. Bless them with spiritual leaders who are trustworthy and humble. (Acts 2:42, 4:32-35; Eph. 4:15-16; 1 Tim. 3:1-13)
Holy Spirit. Fill my children with Your Holy Spirit. Show them how to exercise their spiritual gifts, and enable them to bear all the fruit of Your spirit – love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Eph. 5: 18; Cor. 12:4-31; Gal. 5:22-23)
Influence. Lord, may my children attract many to You as they influence the world with truth and righteousness. (Mt. 5:13-16: Mk. 1:17; 2 Cor. 2:15-16)
Success. As they study and apply Your Word, may my children bear much eternal fruit. Grant them success in (specific God-honoring endeavors). (Josh 1:7-8; In. 15:8; Jas. 1 :25)
Wisdom. Bless my children with wisdom, and give them a constant hunger for more. Fill them with the knowledge of Your Word and Your will. Grant them a life-giving fear of You, for that is where all wisdom begins. (Prov. 3: 13; Jas. 1 :5; Col. 1 :9; Provo 9: 1 0)
Guidance. By the Holy Spirit’s power, lead my children along paths of righteousness. Specifically, guide them in (circumstances your children currently face). Prov. 3:5-6; In. 16:13)
Protection. Keep my children physically safe and healthy, and guard them from the evil one. Help them resist (specific current or future temptation). (Jas.5:14-16; In. 17:15; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Cor. 10:13)
Provision. Supply my children’s earthly needs. At the moment they need _____ (Mt. 6: 11, 25-33; Phil. 4: 19)
Eternity. Remind my children of the eternal rewards You promise. Let this perspective motivate them to lay up treasure in heaven. May they seek first Your kingdom and righteousness by living with integrity and investing generously in the lives of people. (1 Cor. 3:12-14; 2 Cor. 5:1,10; In. 14:2-3; Mt. 6:19-21, 33)
The unimaginable. Gracious Father, shower my children with blessings that exceed my
dreams. May Your love flow abundantly into their lives. (Eph.3:17-20)
My friend recently gave me a book by Michael S. Beates called Disability & the Gospel. Although I’m not quite finished reading it, I highly recommend it. Everyone could benefit by reading this book.
Our world and culture cries out for us to highly regard the status symbols of the day: health, wealth, nice car, the popular person. Christ calls us to embrace the lowly, the least of these, the blind, the crippled, the lame…the forgotten ones, the ones we want to overlook or shoo away. But Christ says, “Come to Me.”
When I was in grade school, the teacher wrote this on the board: chURch and asked what it means. I can remember saying, “The church you are.” She said I was close. “You are the church,” she exclaimed. We, the people, are the church. And we all really do need and benefit from one another. When someone with a developmental disability or mental illness comes to church, we must embrace and love them. We actually learn more of His great love as we learn how to best love each and every person.