~ By Amy Dunaway ~
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Those of us who are raising children with special needs know many places that those who are raising typically developing children cannot know. We have many more worries and concerns for our children. We spend an enormous amount of time in physician’s offices, deal with multiple health crises, interact with insurance companies, see that our children receive therapies they need, deal with challenging behaviors, IEPs…
The list goes on and on.
Friends and acquaintances often wonder how we do it all. I know you know the downward glance and the lateral shaking of heads – and sometimes wonder the same thing.
How do we do it?
We do – we do it as best we can at any given moment.
Not one of us is Super Mom. You might be wearing your Super Mom mask and cape but I know your heart. I understand your struggles. I wear the mask and cape too.
We wring our hands in worry.
We tend to ruminate about our present circumstances and about future unknowns.
We often have trouble sleeping.
We may suffer bouts of depression.
We often stumble, fall and weep in our weakness.
But you won’t see it. It usually happens when no one is watching.
In our struggles, we often forget that we are not alone. We forget to consult the One who walks with us every moment of every day.
In our weary, overwhelmed state, we cannot see, hear or feel our Lord’s presence.
We are blind to the One who longs to offer us comfort in the midst of our suffering and the chaos that swirls around us.
Rest assured, He waits for you. He longs to carry your burden.
In love, He wants you to give it all to Him.
People often wonder just how to accomplish such a task. I admit I found it a daunting task too. But I have a tool that I use which has really helped me to see that it is possible.
Mine is a small spiral notebook which goes everywhere with me. You won’t know it is special. You won’t know it carries much of my heart unless I divulge its secret.
I call this little notebook my prayer journal. The contents are what I have given over to God. It is a tangible reminder that I am never alone. It is immediately available just like our Lord is and it waits to hear my heart just like He does.
It is a tool that I can refer back to and see just how God is working in my life, the lives of my husband and children and in the lives of those I pray for every day.
I also find it helps me seek better ways to glorify Him along the journey. It makes me thoughtful about my words and actions for in the end, I must be held accountable.
In my prayer journal, I record the ways in which my children with and without special needs minister to others, make a difference in this world and glorify God in the process.
It holds my failings too. It is my safe place to pour out my mistakes, my grievances, and my pain.
The beauty of this prayer journaling is that as I write I know He hears and I can then let go.
My burden is lightened, if not lifted, and I am free to take on whatever comes my way.
I started quite simply with three columns in my journal – a simple plan for a simple girl. The first column was a date for the initial petition, the second for the petition and the third for thanksgivings. As I really began to see the works of God in my life it grew. My prayer life began to expand along with a deepening awareness of the Lord’s presence in my daily walk.
My prayer journal started out as a tool and has become a gift. What started out as a way to a more focused prayer life has become the way to give the Lord my burdens and my sins. It has become a place where I know profound gratitude for all I am blessed with and by in relationship with Him.
A little nondescript notebook transformed to a place where I know the love and mercy that springs from an ever-growing intimacy with Christ. This anxious mother and wife transformed into one who trusts the Lord in all things, has confidence in His plan and knows the peace which passes all understanding.
I walk in amazing grace – to God be the glory.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7
Amy Dunaway is a pastor’s wife and veteran homeschooling mom. Her oldest child was born with complex congenital heart disease and her youngest has Down syndrome. She blogs at “On a Joyful Journey”.