Have ever suffered deep loss or disappointment, felt weary or hopeless? Of course, the answer is yes. We all have, in one way or another. How do we navigate the negative parts of our life? It’s hard to know how to properly handle them sometimes. It’s where I screw up the most, I know. It’s easy to be reduced to a toddler, or throw our fist up to God. Today’s guest blogger is an extremely inspiring one. She gives us insight into how she is able to navigate the negative in her life, and in fact, make it positive. Andrea Foster’s entry came to my inbox at just the right time. I needed every word of it. Her story and her outlook are truly incredible – and humbling. I read it on a day when I was feeling “done” – done with the kids, my chores, my responsibilities, done with the problems of life that wouldn’t seem to resolve, although in reality they will. Andrea, on the other hand, is “pressing in as she presses on”, knowing she has a very long road ahead of her, and that some things may never resolve until the other side, unless there is a miracle on this side. She has figured out how not to just survive, but thrive in the life she’s been given, and find joy in her circumstances. Andrea, thank you for your faithfulness, for helping others understand how to love on people with disabilities (what a blessing!), and for sharing with my readers today. Thank you also for your coconut square recipe! I know for one, that my mother is going to be all over these! Here’s Andrea’s story….
Let’s face it, disabilities can be hard. Caring for my 15 year old twin daughters who both have tuberous sclerosis complex, epilepsy, autism, anxiety and global developmental delay, is exhausting. I want them to be whole of course, but who am I to judge that their spiritual condition is not already whole, in spite of the many physical, emotional and cognitive limitations they possess? Is it really my place to discern whether their relationship with God is more or less intimate than most?
I love Annie and Audrey just as they are and fully believe they are made in God’s image, as the Bible says we all are. Annie and Audrey’s disabilities are an inconvenience for those who care for them and perhaps uncomfortable for them personally at times, which makes my heart ache. It also spurns me on to look after their needs as best I can, to serve them with my whole heart and to fight their rare disease, TSC, with my entire being. Of course toileting, bathing, dressing, and feeding are all duties I wish they could do independently but for what purpose? Presently, all of these tasks humble me and allow me to continually thank God for the many ways my life has been spiritually blessed, right in the midst of fulfilling these needs and serving my girls.
It has been over 14 years since Annie and Audrey were diagnosed with TSC and I have always felt I should pray for their healing, in spite of my being at peace with who they are, as they are. It’s another illogical piece of this puzzle I have been asked to put together. A section of study in my Beyond Suffering-A Christian View on Disability Ministry(Joni Eareckson Tada), course, helped me better understand why God has placed healing for my twins, in my heart. Not because I expect my twins to not have TSC here on earth, but because they are human beings who need to know Jesus more intimately every day, no matter how much they appear to be unable to comprehend such complicated concepts. (They both function at a toddler level at best). I agree with Joni Eareckson Tada that, “God is more interested in our spiritual wholeness than He is in our physical wellness”. It’s not for me to decide whether my girls need prayer for healing/wholeness, but it is up to me to pray as Jesus taught us- to call on His name when my girls have difficulty with self-regulation and become aggressive or when I need wisdom for the next decision to be made. To pray for healing when healing doesn’t make sense. To pray in a tongue given by the Holy Spirit which I can’t understand and to expect great things because God is great. It takes the pressure off, knowing my job is really quite simple. To to pray for healing anyway and to expect a healing which is something far beyond my own imagination. Trust and obey, pressing in as I press on.
Andrea Foster lives in Brampton, Ontario with her husband Kirk and their four teenagers. She holds her MSEd (Disability Studies). She is passionate about equipping leaders for Disability Ministry.
Low Carb Coconut Squares
Melt in saucepan:
3 C Peanut butter and/or Almond butter (or more)
1/4 C coconut oil
1 tbsp molasses
4pkgs (200gea)Unsweetened coconut
2 C Almond flour
*Hemp seeds, chia seeds if you like too.
Press into 9×13 pan
Sprinkle Low sugar/dark mini chocolate chips on top and spread once melted.
Cut into squares and store in air tight container in freezer.