ometimes it’s hard to see God’s faithfulness in the midst of a life that is challenged by things out of our control. Sometimes it’s easy to despair.
And sometimes God displays His perfect love and care for us right in the midst of these challenges. This is one of those stories. It’s a story of victory; but it also involves difficulty, hardship, and temptations to despair.
I went away on my first business trip this weekend…two nights and three days of being away from the family. Ben stayed home with the kids.
I was nervous. Ben’s seizures have been escalating and he’s been much more fatigued than usual. His fatigue can often lead to confusion. While I was gone, we made the decision that Ben would take the kids to the annual school Square Dance, a fun Friday night event to raise money for the High School seniors.
I wanted the kids to enjoy this yearly event. I didn’t think things through enough to realize that everything about the Square Dance was going to be bad for Ben’s brain: Noise, crowds, lights, loud music, teenagers…all of this stimulus overwhelmed Ben’s brain and made it hard for him to relax and respond with grace and sound judgment.
The evening went well, until the end. Ben was tired and he misinterpreted some events. The kids ended up fearful and worried. They texted and called me, crying on the phone, obviously shaken and fearful.
I felt defeated. I tried to trust God. I will need be traveling for two to three nights every month or so, and all I could think of was fear. I questioned God…how could this be best for my kids? How could this be best for me?
The next morning I found a text on my phone. Ben told me that he knew that his brain wasn’t functioning right the night before. He was heartbroken by the fear that his disability put on our kids. That morning, Ben went over to our neighbors’ house…they are dear friends and they moved in knowing all about our unique family situation. Ben humbly told Craig, our neighbor, that his brain wasn’t functioning well and his behavior was making the kids uncomfortable. He told Craig that he gave our kids permission to go next door the moment they felt uncomfortable in the house with Ben. And then Ben led our children in a long family discussion about his brain. He led them in a devotional from the Psalms, helping the kids to know that even when our flesh and our strength may fail, God is the strength of our heart and our portion forever.
When I read Ben’s texts, my heart lifted. I felt God’s lovingkindness in my heart and in my life. My husband’s humility in the midst of this very challenging situation put my mind and heart at ease. We can’t change the fact that Ben’s brain gets overwhelmed easily with too much stimulus. But we can change how we respond when these issues arise. Ben’s humble, God-glorifying response to a very difficult situation helped me to respond in greater faith.
The weekend ended with Ben having two small seizures. We both napped for several hours when I got home while the kids played outside with our neighbors (oh, we are so thankful for our wonderful neighbors!). Instead of ending in fear or frustration, the weekend ended in rest and a deepening walk with God for all of us. For this, I am so very, very thankful.
O fearful saints new courage take, the clouds that you now dread
Are big with mercy and will break In blessings on your head
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face
God Moves in a Mysterious Way
Music and additional lyrics by Bob Kauflin
Lyrics by William Cowper