“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Sometimes I have faith that seems like it could move mountains. Other days I second guess that same faith. The thing with faith is that it is, by definition, not about what we can see. It can be very hard to keep moving forward when we can’t see what’s ahead.
Recently, I made a significant decision out of faith. But then, I started to look at all of the things that could go wrong (kind of like Peter having enough faith to step out of the boat, but then sinking when he took his eyes off Jesus and started looking at the waves), and I started second guessing that decision.
When we make a decision in faith, though, we shouldn’t second guess it. We really can mess up a lot of things when we do. We should simply walk forward, in the knowledge that God has good plans for us, “plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11)
So, thanks to some wise counsel from some very patient advisors, I am making a decision to continue on the path of faith, trying hard to keep my eyes on Jesus, rather than the waves, for “the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6). James goes on to say that the man who doubts is “double-minded, unstable in all his ways.” (1:7) That’s a pretty harsh pronouncement, but it’s absolutely accurate. I know how it feels to make a decision in faith and then to second-guess myself. Only, if a decision is made in faith, it’s actually God I’m doubting. When I do this, I feel very unstable. I don’t imagine it’s pleasant to be driven and tossed by the wind. Sounds terrifying and excruciating. But this is what happens in an emotional sense when we don’t exercise faith. There is no rest for the mind and our thoughts are all over the place. Sometimes we lose sleep, but we always lose valuable time for ourselves and for nurturing relationships.
OK, doubleminded detour time is over. It’s time to get back on the path of faith.
Mental illness is no respecter of persons. It doesn’t care how good or godly one’s family is. The enemy came to steal, kill, and destroy, and mental illness is one way he does this.
Rick Warren is the pastor of Saddleback Church in California, which is the eighth largest church in America. Warren authored the best selling devotional book, The Purpose-Driven Life, which I found to be life-changing.
One might expect someone like Warren to have a near-perfect family. However, Warren’s son, Matthew, 27, took his life yesterday after a lifelong battle with depression. What a tragedy this family is going through and has gone through for Matthew’s entire life! I really feel for them. I have been through depression and I know how serious it can be. But I can’t imagine battling it for 27 years.
I also know what it’s like to have children with special needs. I know how much of an impact it can have on a family. Though the Warrens are in intense pain right now–unimaginable pain–their pain didn’t start yesterday. I know they have struggled for 27 years with the pain of watching their son battle an unseen enemy and with the family dynamics that come from having a child with special needs.
Here is a link to the letter Warren wrote to his congregation concerning his son’s death: http://twitpic.com/chhl8v
I will be praying for the Warren family. I also will be praying for people I know who battle with mental illness. Will you please join me?
Today I took the boys downtown to go to the science center. I was bummed when I started to park and realized that I’d forgotten my purse, which meant we couldn’t park anywhere within a reasonable walking distance and we didn’t have our membership card. Then I remembered that there are some very nice playgrounds near the river, so we went there instead. We had a fabulous time, unhurried by the demands of the regular school year schedule.
Hanging out with my kids this week has confirmed my decision to return to homeschooling. I have enjoyed having the time and energy to play games, take them places, and just listen to them. Even though I have a job that gives me 16 weeks off each year, I still feel like I miss out on so much with my kids. I realize that homeschooling has its own challenges, but I sure am looking forward to spending quality AND quantity time together.
I’m not against medicating for ADHD. I am opposed to it, however, as a way to keep children in educational situations that don’t work for them. That’s a major reason why I’m returning to home education. I’ve had two of my children diagnosed with ADHD in the past couple of months (one of them just today) and I want to provide them with a more individualized education that considers their personal learning styles, talents, and bents. I don’t want to medicate them in order to have to sit still for 7 hours a day learning in a way that doesn’t fit their learning style. I want them to love learning, not dread it. One day recently, my 6 year old came home from kindergarten and said, “Mommy, I HATE learning! Learning is boring!” What a heartbreaking thing to hear from anyone, especially a Kindergartener! I’m a teacher, and I know how hard teachers work to provide lessons, so that makes it even more heartbreaking for me. I’m confident that I can reverse my son’s opinion of learning as I provide an atmosphere more conducive to him.