How do I respond cheerfully and with patience to the challenges in my life?

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The past few days have rocked my foundation. I’ve questioned the amount of energy it takes to keep fighting the good fight. I often keep a running dialog going with my Heavenly Father. I truly know it’s only through His grace and love that I make it through each day with its specific challenges. The scriptures teach of people in bondage who are reassured by the Lord that He hears their cries. He strengthens them so they can bear their burdens with ease, and they “submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.” How the heck can they do that?

How can someone be “cheerful” in the midst of oppression, depression, bondage, and struggles?

Here are some of the thoughts that came to my mind today as I try again and again and again to submit and be cheerful.

  1. It wasn’t an unusual concept to have faith in something that would happen at an undetermined time in the future.

This people, and lots of others documented in the scriptures, had faith in a Messiah that hadn’t even been born yet! As I think about my faith in Christ, I think how much harder would it be to believe in something that has only been prophesied about? I have realized that I can choose to have faith that God has a future plan for my family and I.

  1. Those same people ‘rejoiced’ in that future event.

How often do I rejoice in something that hasn’t happened yet? I know that may sound wacky, How much of a difference would it make if I was rejoicing in the daily progress my sons make, if I was rejoicing in the opportunities that open up for me in any realm of my life, be it advocacy, professional, personal? And what if I took it a step further and was ‘grateful’ for those things that haven’t happened yet? I believe that leaves my heart and mind more open to actually receive those blessings when they do show.

Of course, these are ideas and concepts that take a HUGE amount of faith to keep close to my heart each day. But another thing that I have recognized today is…

  1. Whenever I get discouraged, despondent, depressed, those thoughts and feelings are magnified by Satan.

He would see nothing better than to totally undermine the progress I make each day, however small it may be, by whispering how impossible my situation is.

“There will never be enough services, or appropriate placement, for the boys to succeed; there will never be enough people with the right skills and connections to make my idea of a group home/day program a reality; there could never be another righteous man who would even think about shackling his life to the crazy train I call every day.”

 Guess what? When I give energy and time to those sorts of thoughts, I give up my power, and then I truly am bound by the chains of Satan that drag me into hell. Why would I want to do that? Why would I want to give my power away when I’ve had reassurances through the Holy Spirit that Heaven is rooting for me and mine to just keep moving forward?

The solution can be as simple as choosing to change my thought processes.

I can rejoice and be thankful for what each day, each hour, each moment presents to me. If I ask, “What can I learn from this situation?” then the possibilities become endless. I can learn something unique and wonderful in each moment instead of beating myself up because the same scenarios are playing out again and again and again. No, it doesn’t mean I’m a slow learner. Perhaps, instead, the repetition is a tender mercy to learn new and novel concepts in a pattern that has a certain level of familiarity. I know my sons learn better in specific patterns, what makes me think I’m so different from them? By choosing to have faith, choosing to rejoice and be thankful for my blessings and by choosing my thoughts, I can put myself in a better place to “submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.” As I do this, I know that he blesses me and enables me to get through those daily challenges.

How do I go on as a widow and a mother of 4 autistic children?

I choose patience and gratitude everyday as I accept the burdens placed upon me.  

Lynette and her husband, Tod, met in high school and married 7 years later. They were married for 16 years and have 5 children, one daughter and four sons. 15 of those 16 years were spent with Tod serving on active duty for the Army. While in Germany, their 3 year old twins were diagnosed with autism. Upon returning to Arizona, the younger two sons were subsequently diagnosed on the autism spectrum. In addition, when the twins were 7 years old, they both developed a seizure disorder. Tod passed away on 23 August 2010 as a result of a car accident when he was home on leave from his duty assignment in Texas. Lynette is passionate in her advocacy efforts for her sons and others who face the challenges of the autism spectrum.

 

spouse died in a car accident 8/2010, mother of 4 autistic sons

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