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17 responses

5 10 2011
Daniel M.

Daer Vicky,

I learned of you through Rest Ministries devotionals. I am simply gobsmacked at how bravely you deal with your illness. I am relatively new to chornic pain and have given serious thought to suicide. HOw does one learn to come to terms that life is worth living even when pain takes everything you worked for away?

5 10 2011
Vicki Chandler

Dear Daniel,
I’m so sorry to hear you’re in that much pain (physically and emotionally). It’s a great question: how does one learn to come to terms that life is worth living…? My adult son who has schizoaffective disorder once asked me, “Do you feel like you’re in a cage because of your illness?” I told him that anyone who has a chronic illness could feel helpless – like their disease is controlling their life. But I added, “I know MS is not controlling my life. God is in control of my life.” Without that belief I don’t know how I’d come to terms that my life is worth living. But I’m able to face each day, pain and all – with all the losses – because I truly believe He has a plan for my life. It certainly doesn’t look like the plans I had for my life. But His plan is perfect. Sure, I have to grieve the losses. But most of the time I focus on the blessings. Because I don’t teach full time any more, I can spend time visiting my aging mother and aunt (among other blessings).
I truly believe God has a plan for your life as well. Look to Him for all you need: encouragement, strength to endure your pain, direction, and support. Do you have someone you can turn to?
On a much lighter note…your word ‘gobsmacked’ is hilarious (never heard it before)!
Please keep in touch.
Vicki

7 10 2011
Daniel

Dear Vicky,

Many thanks for your wonderful encouragement. I am temporarily in the UK close to completing a doctorate in theology. I so often pick on colloquialism and “gob-smacked” is such one. I simply meant that I was astounded at how someone with such a horrific disease lives with such determination and looks at life with hope. You partly answered why!
I have one of those horrific invisible disease which doctors can’t find the source of and which is marked by chronic debilitating pain. The only way to manage is with prescription medication. But I’ve been to feel guilty and fearful both by medics and friends that pain medication will destroy liver and kidneys and I will suffer even more. I am also concerned that this disease could destroy my marriage.
Since I do not have immediate family in the UK, except for my wife which I often prefer to spare my struggles, Its difficult to find someone who will always be there to support me everytime I needed. This is especially important with long-term afflictions as you often experience times of discouragement.
I know the Lord loves me and is always there with me but part of me is thinking this is a punishment for sins I committed since I became a Christian and I am being disciplined and have to suffer the consequences.
Its hard to have to carry all this burdens.

Thanks for your prayers,
Daniel

7 10 2011
Vicki Chandler

Hi Daniel,
‘Glad to hear from you again. I’ve had many people praying for you. Yes, the Lord does love you. When you mentioned that you think your pain is punishment for sins committed, it made me think of something I wrote recently for a manuscript I’m working on. The manuscript is being written for mothers of children with special needs, but I think this portion may speak to your heart (that’s my prayer). Here it is:
Why am I going through this trial?
“There is light at the end of the tunnel.” That’s small assurance to a mother of a child with special needs. Ours is a lifetime tunnel. For us, the assurance is, “There is light in the tunnel.” When there is a power outage and suddenly we’re thrust into darkness, we stumble as we search for a flashlight. Being in the darkness can be scary. Once we see even a tiny flicker of light, we’re restored to peace. Jesus is the Source of light which can bring us peace in the tunnel.
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’´ John 8:12 (NKJV)
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…” Isaiah 9:2 (NKJV)
His Word illuminates our path which seems so difficult to navigate.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)
Young children often go through the ‘why stage.’ They love to ask why about everything. That barrage of questioning doesn’t usually fit well into the parent’s goals of making dinner, getting toys cleaned up, bathing children, doing laundry…. As grownups, we are oh so much more mature. We don’t hit people with the same question over and over. But how often do we secretly ask God, “Why?” Why is my child sick? Why can’t I find job? Why did I lose my house?
Those of us who have a child with special needs have our own list of why’s. Why is it so difficult to manage my child’s behavior? Why is my child struggling at school? Why is my precious son getting teased? Why is my beautiful daughter excluded from her classmates? Why does my dear child have to deal with all these operations? Why is it so hard for my child to get around or to communicate? Why can’t other people see my child as I do? Why does life have to be so hard all the time? And the bigger why’s: Why was my child born with special needs? Why won’t I ever hear my child speak the words, “I love you”? Why did my husband leave me to deal with all this alone? The ultimate why: Why did my child die so young?
In the story of the man born blind, we learn one reason why God allows hardship. Jesus’ disciples asked Him the question we may have secretly asked. Does my child have this special need because of my sin? “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.’” John 9:1-3 Jesus’ response should offer some hope. We are assured that God has allowed it to reveal the works of God. God will be faithful to reveal His love and power in your life.
Children love show and tell. God loves you to show and tell of His love and power. In the midst of trials, suffering, hardships, pain and sadness we learn of God’s power and love. When we testify of His faithfulness, His love, His protection, His sovereignty, we become a living show and tell for God. This gives us another reason for our trials. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
we read that God uses us to comfort others once we have experienced God’s comfort. We can share tangible evidence of His faithfulness, power, and love. Our testimonies become irrefutable examples of how God can work in specific situations. We can hold one another up.
As parents, we often want to shield our children from the pain of trials. Isn’t life already difficult enough for them? We want to spare them from sorrow. That’s why our cry of ‘why’ is even more desperate. Why would God allow our children to experience the tribulation of a divorce? Why would God allow a child to witness a parent suffering with terminal illness?
Many of us have other children who do not have special needs. We often feel like our children who don’t have special needs get left out as we tend to the child with special needs. The passage in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 reminds us that the Father of sympathy – the God of every comfort – comforts us in every trouble so that we as parents will be equipped to comfort all our children when they are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted. It’s good to know that the siblings of a child with special needs have more opportunities to see faith in action.
We teach our children in many ways. We talk to them, we physically help them, and we show them how to do things. When we experience great trials, our children learn valuable spiritual lessons. They witness God’s faithfulness in answering our specific prayers in His perfect timing and in His perfect way. You have powerful lessons to teach them for their spiritual well being.
Life is not a cruise ship; it’s a battle ship. We are told in the Bible that we will have trials.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
There’s our challenge: To be of good cheer in the midst of our tribulation knowing that Christ has overcome the world. In other words, cheer up…life isn’t hopeless. The victory has already been won. Christ overcame the world. He’s more powerful than our trials.
We are told we can glory in tribulations. What? Glory in tribulations? Who enjoys trials and suffering? The Bible doesn’t say we have to like tribulation. It doesn’t say to sit back and enjoy the ride. In Romans Paul explains that through our tribulations we grow spiritually. The gift of trials is the blessed assurance of God’s love for us. It’s during our darkest trials that God’s love shines the brightest. We experience His faithfulness. When we look back on the most painful experience we’ve had to endure, we realize those were the times we learned the most of God’s love.
“… we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
Later in Romans, we read more about tribulation. “…rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer…” Romans 12:12
Paul challenges us to be patient in tribulation. Are you kidding? Isn’t it only natural for us to want the trial to end immediately? Isn’t it only human nature to avoid pain? As Christians, we know that God’s timing is different than our timing. If we continue steadfastly in prayer, we can be patient in tribulation. Through constant communion with the Lord, we can wait patiently to walk out of the valley back onto the mountain top. God will either improve our situation or change us. God sometimes chooses to do a greater work in us. If we pray without ceasing and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, we will understand more of His love toward us.
Little children have a hard time waiting to do something special. They may become impatient waiting for you to play a game with them as you promised. But they never doubt that you will do it because they are certain of your love for them. Likewise, we can ‘rejoice in hope’ knowing that our heavenly Father will work mightily in the trial. We can trust Him to complete His perfect plan.
Rather than ask the question, ‘Why…’ we should be asking, ‘Who…?’ Who is able to comfort? Who is able to provide strength, resources, peace…? Who understands what I’m thinking and feeling? Who loves my child with special needs even more than a parent? Who will help me? Who can I trust? Who has the power to work mightily in my situation? God can do all that and more. Consider all that He is.

With heartfelt prayers,
Vicki

16 10 2011
Elle (@Cleverlychangin)

This is beautiful, how your blog is supporting parents and teachers. Two groups of the hard working people in the world. I can’t see how to follow your blog. Visiting from the Blog Frog. http://CleverlyChanging.com

16 10 2011
Vicki Chandler

Hi Elle,
Thanks for visiting me here. On this ‘Welcome’ page of my blog, you should see ‘Follow Blog via Email’ at the top of the left column. You should be able to follow my blog by clicking on that button. Let me know if it doesn’t work.
I checked out your website and LOVE it! I even started a document of favorite sites for children and parents of children (with yours as the first on the list). I’ll recommend it to parents.

17 11 2011
Fawn

Wow, Vicki, this is awesome. My husband sits on the board of the Exceptional Children’s Foundation and we’re involved with the Special Needs Network. The love organizations like yours show these children is beyond words. Thank you for loving them so much.

17 11 2011
Vicki Chandler

Hi Fawn,
I love meeting kindred spirits like you and your husband who share my passion for children with special needs. Please give me the link for the Exceptional Children’s Foundation. I can add it to my community.

17 12 2011
Kim J

Vicki,
What a powerful reminder we should be focusing on Who rather than why as we go through our days. Thanks for letting Him shine through you to bless others.

17 12 2011
Vicki Chandler

Have a blessed Christmas, Kim!

25 01 2012
Vanessa Green

It’s been a blessing to be challenged while continually learning new things through life’s journey. How great God is in helping us endure those challenges through the innate learning abilities he has given us.
Praise the Lord, for he is worthy.
Vanessa

25 01 2012
Vanessa Green

It’s been a blessing to be challenged while continually learning new things through life’s journey. How great God is in helping us endure those challenges through the innate learning abilities he has given us.
Praise the Lord, for he is worthy.
Vanessa

25 01 2012
Vicki Chandler

Dear Vanessa,
Your words can only be shared by someone who has endured challenges. To be able to see the challenges as blessings tells me God has truly ministered to you through hard times. Yes, God is so faithful!

29 05 2012
Eleanor Jean Creasey (@Jean_05)

Great blog with a great purpose!:) Did you know that a gluten-free diet is helpful to some children autism?

29 05 2012
Vicki Chandler

Thanks for sharing that info.!

9 06 2012
Dorothea Love

Hi Vickie!

I read and was blessed by your Rest Ministries devotion, “What Is It Like to Have Cognition Problems with Your Illness?” Your scripture choice (Psalm 139:2) is a reminder that God has us no matter what we are going through and especially on those days when it feels like we’re too tired to put together coherent thoughts.

Have a blessed day and please continue to write!

Dorothea

10 06 2012
Vicki Chandler

Hi Dorothea,
Thanks for your encouragement. I’ve recently been writing devotionals for The Quiet Hour. I’m not happy with the two I wrote. Am trusting the Lord to help me write what would be most needed/helpful for the readers.
God bless!

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