We've all read about courage in history books, and once in a while we read an article, or watch a movie, or see a news clip where someone displays courage. But then there are those really unique times when we see courage right before our very eyes. I remember a time when I stood in awe of an act of simple yet profound courage...in an elevator!
My husband and I were at the time living in an apartment, before we had kids, with indoor hallways, and in a pretty bad part of town. One of the tenants, Carol, and I had been calling the authorities on a man who was abusing his small child, and we could hear it since we were in such close quarters in that apartment. So one day Carol (a slight young woman, not weighing much more than 100 pounds) and I got on the apartment elevator to go to our third-floor apartments and before the elevator doors closed, who gets on with us but this abusive big, strong man!
The doors closed. We stood in silence looking at each other for a while, when suddenly the man spoke to us in an intentionally gruff voice, "I want you to stop calling the police on me!" On my part, I was completely frozen not able to speak or to move. But Carol, not so. She looked this man in the eye and replied, "We will stop calling the police when you stop abusing your child!" That did it. I went from frozen to dizzy with fear thinking, "He's going to kill us right here in the elevator!"
It seemed an eternity before the doors opened to let us out at our destination, and upon leaving the man pointed his finger at us saying "You heard what I said." And as he walked down the hall away from us, Carol, shouted at him, "And you heard what I said!"
Courage. Living and bold courage. We all need it living in this world and parents who have kids with special issues need daily, active, and determined courage to face each moment's challenge.
We may not face a threatening and bullying man in an elevator, but there are other foes, some subtle and some boldly terrifying, that we need to look in the eye, so to speak, and confront unflinchingly.
A few examples come to mind. Such as my friend Ange who lives in Zimbabwe who is leaving with her husband Gorden this week to take daughter Amy in for orthopedic surgery. Amy's breathing is already compromised due to her significant orthopedic issues, and now a major surgery. Ange is facing this giant threat by memorizing Psalm 33 (which I'll share from in a moment).
Then there's Vicki and Tom whose son Steven has Down syndrome and who gets seriously ill each winter with respiratory challenges to his already weakened lungs. It takes such courage to stay up with him at night and to be continually available to give Steven what he needs to stay alive and to stay home and away from the hospital as much as possible.
I think of Karen, who speaks of "holding her head up high" and refusing to be embarrassed when her son, who has issues that make socializing challenging, attends social gatherings anyway, and meets this giant head-on.
I could go on, sharing about the parents of autistic children for whom it takes courage that others know nothing about simply to go into a grocery store or to walk through the doors of a school building.
I'd like to share some verses from God's Word that will give your heart the courage you need to face and to tackle your daily taxing circumstances as parents or caregivers of special kids.
I didn't mention the courage that the kids themselves need, and there's a reason for that. I focused on the parents because, humanly speaking, these special kids derive strength each day primarily from witnessing the courage of their brave parents.
Following are some truths to give us courage:
The king is not saved by a strong army; A warrior is not delivered by great strength; A horse is a false hope for victory...Behold the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him; On those who hope for His lovingkindness. Psalm 33:16-18 (the verses Ange is clinging to before her daughter's surgery)
David also said to Solomon his son, "Be Strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discourage, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you..." I Chronicles 28:20 NIV
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 NKJV
I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13 NIV
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, the comfort me. Psalm 23:4
This picture reminds me that we have courage because just as these dogs are held back by the authority of a master, our enemies are held back by the authority of our Master. But it's still scary!!!
Go to God's Word daily when you get afraid of the scary enemies. Let Him remind you that nothing can harm you or your children as long as He is in control! There is power in His Word. Memorize it and meditate on it and you will see your courage grow.