“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (New Living Translation)
In life, we often have choices. Sometimes we have choices about mundane things–which food to purchase, which clothing to wear, what color of paint for the walls in our house. Other times, we have weighty choices–who shall I marry? What job should I apply for? Will this church be a safe place for our family spiritually and meet our needs?
Other times, it seems choices have been taken away from us. A child dies, a spouse divorces, a parent disowns us. Life throws us situations we really can not control and we can’t make a choice about.
But, in all of those things, we still have a choice. We can choose how we will respond to the things that are coming at us.
Right now, our family is facing some hard things. One child is struggling mightily due to some issues another child has relationally with them. In addition they are struggling with the massive amounts of time and energy that the other child needs from me, leaving much less left over for them.
Today after I dropped child “A” off for some happy play time away from home for the first time with a family who has offered to provide that break for our child, I had to think about choices as I drove away. I had a choice in how I chose to relate to this. I could choose to be angry and sad that child “A” needs a chance to play away from our home. I could choose to be angry that child “B” has issues that are impacting child “A”. I could feel helpless, hopeless, and overwhelmed. And boy, would it be easy. I really would not even have to choose to go down that route. It could happen easily. I could just slide right down that path, no effort on my part required.
OR–I could choose another path, deliberately, and thoughtfully. I could choose joy and thankfulness. I could choose to embrace this new step and view it as a positive thing not only for our child but also for our family. I could be happy that this family who we knew casually has stepped up to the plate and offered this great chance for our child to play with their children on a regular basis. I could be thankful that it will create a chance for our child to develop a deeper friendship with another family who we can see has a heart for the Lord and others. And who knows what doors this may open for mutual blessings between our families? We can be thankful that our child could go, have an awesome time playing with other children and come home tired and happy.
There is no need to head down the path of self-pity and feeling like we are failing as a family if our child needs to go away for “respite” from their sibling who has challenges due to their life before they were placed in our home. We can choose to embrace joy and thankfulness as we walk in this season. And we can make a choice to see that we are doing our best to meet ALL our children’s needs right now.
So as I drove home, I choose joy. I walked down the path of thankfulness for my Loving Heavenly Father’s provisions for our family, this child in particular. It was a good walk. I’m glad I choose that path.