Where do you go when there’s no where to go? When you have been handed a life sentence of taking care of someone with mental or physical issues? When the doctor gives you the diagnosis, hands you some pamphlets to read and tells you “Good luck.” No “We’re here for you.” No “There’s a great support system in your area.” No “It sounds worse than it really is.”
None of that. Just “Good luck.”
This past week, I had conversations with seven people whose lives have turned upside down because of their children’s needs. The first call came from my dear friend (“Karen”) whose son has fought drugs and whose daughter-in-law has battled alcohol but have been doing well, off and on, for about three years. Then they decided to take their four, young kids to Las Vegas for a weekend of fun. When Karen got the call that her grandchildren were in Nevada’s protective custody because her daughter-in-law, in a drunken rage, had tried to strangle her son, doped up on cocaine, and the people in the hotel room next to them had called the police, she and her husband, Jack, were livid.
The only way the youngsters would be released into their custody was if they moved to Nevada, one state over from where they live and work. So, they moved.
The next call (#2) came from my “Job-friend” named after the Biblical character who endured indescribable pain. Parkinsons disease is destroying her ability to do anything for herself. Her youngest son and father recently died, and last week, her oldest son stopped breathing, his wife gave him C.P.R., and he underwent emergency surgery because his body was filled with blood clots. And she can do nothing to help.
When a former student (#3) texted and suggested my next book (ha!) should be about life being unfair, we set up a meeting so I could hear his story. I won’t share it here, but his life will never be “normal” because of the plate he has been handed.
Two days ago, I did a Podcast with #4, a Christian author/speaker who spent an hour discussing my book. When our Zoom call ended, I exited the call, only to realize that the taping was over, but she wanted to have closure to our conversation. When she called back, I had a chance to ask about her life. Oh, my! Her husband was in the Air Force, so she raised her four young girls with him absent much of the time. All four have serious hearing/speech disabilities and were made fun of in school. My heart ached for her, and when I prayed for her, she wept.
Two other young women (#5 and #6) shared with me the difficulties of adopting special-needs children who rank high on the autism scale. They can’t take their kids out in public because of their outbursts and inappropriate behavior. As they told of their daily sacrifices made to protect and love these kids, they didn’t stop smiling. I told them both how blessed those kids were to have parents like them. I can’t imagine.
Then last Sunday, I met #7 when I spoke at Rinehart Church. I was introduced to a kind, soft-spoken man who had been led by the Lord to start a class to help people addicted to pornography. I asked him about his family. He has twelve (12!) children. His wife passed away last year of cancer. I had prayed for this family when his wife was first diagnosed, but to meet this man who loves the Lord and is faithful to serve Him was a blessing I cannot describe.
Seven people (six Christians) in seven days who know that luck has nothing to do with their daily battles.
They rely on God and God alone, and they set an example for me to live with a grateful heart.
More than that, I need to pray for them. I hope you do the same.