“For our God is [indeed] a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29
I recently met a mom whose three-year-old has had health and developmental struggles since his birth as a preemie. For the first three years doctors said, “he’s a preemie so he’ll be delayed but eventually catch up.” But now at age three, the catching up isn’t happening and she’s on the verge of a new and more permanent diagnosis. Her words to me: “I am completely overwhelmed.” Drowning in a sea of specialist appointments, insurance verifications, pre-school decisions, and the endless list of emotional and physical issues that come with the new reality that she is becoming aware of, without really understanding it at all.
I did my best to reassure her that God will supply all that she needs to get through this season, spiritually, physically and mentally. The truth is, it isn’t just the diagnosis season that can be overwhelming. Special needs kids have a way of taking over every aspect of our lives. They take all our energy. They fill all our thoughts. They hijack siblings and spouses and demand every ounce of our attention. The truth is they can be all-consuming. The Bible says there is one who is all-consuming. Spoiler-alert: it’s not my son with his rare genetic disorder.
Problem: If I have something, anything, in my life that is all-consuming, God will have no room to work. Some days I can admit I’ve given everything I have to be burnt up at the altar of my child’s diagnosis. That’s not what I intended to do, but there’s just so much reality to the fact of 24/7 caregiving. But, dear friend, the Bible does not provide exceptions to its principles. There is not ever a promise or requirement that says it is for most people.
How do we re-shuffle our hearts, thoughts and schedules so that the all-consuming one has all of us to consume? It’s a basic process, but not a one-time fix. Even the great apostles, who knew Jesus in the flesh, said they had to do it every single day. Renew your mind.
Daily meditation on scripture (start with a 5-minute timer) will allow God’s word to displace the worries and weights of special needs life. Daily prioritization of God’s promises, peace and provision will yield very real results. Remember the fruits of the spirit? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. That’s what enters as we renew our minds and re-align the priority of our hearts to His presence
What to meditate on? Well, which of the fruits is most needed in your life today? Find scriptures on that and read them. Or just read one over and over until it feels real. When I find one that really works, I like to backtrack and do some research on the context. For example, “The joy of the Lord will be your strength” from Nehemiah 8:10 was something the prophet proclaimed to a crowd of people who were weeping! So when I need joy, i know it’s not too much to ask in any situation, because the original promise was made to a group of very un-joyful people.
The more you renew your mind – focus on God and His word – the more He will consume, and before you know it, all the other worries, fears and stresses of the day will be overtaken and overshadowed by the goodness of God. Yeah, you’ll still have all the therapy appointments, meds to dispense, and other work you do every day, but it will be surrounded and infiltrated by God’s presence.