(When I recieved this book, before I had even read the first devotional, I decided to skim through it quickly. This was the first page I turned to, with this devo. written. For obvious reasons, I broke down in tears. I go back and read it often as it reminds me that (1) I am not alone and Stephen is not the only one and (2) I get easily overwhelmed and need time with God to make it through each day).
"A Special Gift: A Devotional for Mothers of Children with Unique Challenges"
Day 5: A Time to Refresh
"And He said to them, 'Come inside by yourselves to a deserted place, and rest a while.'" ~ Mark 6:31
In today's frantic world, it can be easy to overlook the necessity of quiet time to reflect, pray, and commune with God. There is so much to do, so many things that demand our time and attention. And parenting a child with differences can be an especially overwhelming and exhuasting situation. And yet, even in the midst of their ministry, Jesus called His disciples aside to be refreshed and renewed by spending time alone with Him.
Theresa had three young children when her fourth child was born. Keegan had several undiagnosed interruptions in his physical development. As a result, he was unable to eat. Theresa spend hours upon hours trying to feed her infant a minute amount of formula. But eventually he needed a feeding tube.
Alongside the demand this put on Theresa's limited time, her other children needed her as well. So did her husband. So did her house. As she struggled through each day, she fell further and further behind. She was physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally drained. Soon Theresa became more and more frustrated, prone to snapping at the children and her husband. She felt as though she were drowning in an endless whirlpool of activity - all of it necessary!
A turning point came one morning as she was cleaning out Keegan's feeding tube. Her five-year-old daughter rushed in, excited with a ladybug she had found in the backyard. Theresa jumped, spilling the cup of warm water she was holding. "How many times do I have to tell you to leave me alone when I am working with Keegan?" she yelled. Immediately her heart broke as her daughter turned away, her eyes brimming with tears.
That evening, Theresa went to her husband, who helped her come up with a respite plan. Theresa would spend one half hour each night with her Bible while her husband took over the chores. She would take one evening a week to leave the house and spend time with other believers in a Bible study.
In only a few weeks, Theresa discovered the strength that comes from spending restful time with the Lord. She felt refreshed and able to cope wiht the stresses of raising a child with challenges. She no longer snapped in frustration at her other children, and she didn't feel exhausted like before.
Her time didn't magically increase, and her chores didn't decrease. But Theresa found the key to reviving her weary soul - time spent with the Lord.
Prayer: Lord, in the midst of the whirlpool, You are a lifesaver. Help me to commit my time to daily fellowship with You.
Copyright 2000 by Carrie T. Gruman-Trinkner