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Struggling to Love

Red heart on top of little white heart

What comes to your mind when you hear the word "love?" We've been brainwashed from the movie industry to think of love in terms of: exciting, easy, fun, intoxicating and pleasurable. This "Eros" type of love is the most popular type of love seen in the media.

The type of love that I struggle the most with is the "agape" love. It is unconditional love without benefit. Yikes! Putting our self last is not appealing, is it? Yet this is what we do as parents. We are often sleep-deprived and yet must learn to function despite our fatigue. I think fatigue and lack of finances are the two biggest struggles we face raising our kids. When you add in the struggles we face raising special needs kids, we see a dimension of harshness that can be especially stressful on our bodies, minds and our marriages.

Putting the needs of our child first is a balancing act as they become older, whether they have special needs or not. We desire to protect them long after they enter the adult world. Helping them gain independence while providing that umbrella of protection is the challenge. It's a game of letting go and leaning on, over and over.

Last night was a perfect example. I knew a storm was brewing. My son has desired something for over a year. We have been delaying this as long as possible because we believed it wasn't for his benefit. However, now that he is 26, we are loosening the reins a bit. He wants to feel like he fits into society like "typical" people. This is one of his strongest desires. We also need to protect him from decisions that might put him in peril. Hence the struggle, the battle.

As the struggle deepened last night, his anger affected his ability to maturely communicate. In fact his communication was so hurtful that I had to temporarily cut off communication until he calmed down. Thankfully my battle gear (especially the shield of faith) helped me see that this was a spiritual attack. I immediately sent prayers heavenward for protection and victory. Within one hour my son was communicating in his regular jovial and loving fashion. Was this a coincidence or had my prayer been answered?

I contend this was an answered prayer! We were able to come to a peaceful solution. I honestly could not have endured the many years of these spiritual attacks if it were not for the goodness of God and His protection. Because I draw near to Him each day, He girds me with wisdom to see past the ordinary. The Godly love that was planted in my heart nearly 40 years ago has helped me become a might oak, standing firm through the fierce wind.

Our daily struggles as parents, no matter what type of kids we are raising, is tougher than ever. They have temptations we never saw as children. Therefore, our strength must be deeply rooted in agape love. We see a description of this type of fierce love in the Bible chapter that is quoted from in most marriage ceremonies. Love must be patient, or long-suffering. It is not easily angered. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. This is a perfect blueprint of how to parent, and especially how to parent special needs kids and adults. Just remember that your agape love starts as a seed and grows over the years into a might oak.

I have been in countless battles. I obtain victory when I hand the battle over the One who fights for me. I am not as weary as most parents in my situation. This is one of my parenting secrets! I hope you will use this secret to your benefit. You can have victory over your struggles.

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