I like to be outside when it is cold; the wind is strong and the snow pushes over my knees. I love facing adverse weather, and beating it. I hunt and some of my most favorite times have been when I am freezing and shaking and wet; I know if I don't dig deep into my resolve and force myself to move and get back to the truck, I could be overtaken by hypothermia; I put my head down, stuff my hands deep into my pockets, and march against the wind. I start the truck and the heater knowing that I just conquered winter again.
I have been a Christian now for nearly 42 years; long enough to know that accepting Christ wouldn't/didn't suddenly eradicate all adversity from my life. I have faced challenges from day one, some I yielded to, while others I was able to have victory over. I have had disease, death, divorce, and devastation hit me smack in the face. I have heartache and headaches; I have had pain and pleasure; I have seen great days and I have seen dreadful days.
I am currently reading a friend of mines new book entitled , "A Different Dream For my Child". (www.Differentdream.com) In the book, Jolene Philo writes of her journey of raising a child with health issues from day one. Included are the stories of others whom have had similar challenges in raising children with special needs or medical needs. It has touched my heart deeply as I read the story of other friends of mine from the Boone area who have watched their children die from cancer or have children who have their life ahead of them in a wheelchair. You know what the reoccurring theme was from parent to parent? "The Lord has given us the strength each day."
Parents with children that will always need their care, parents with children who are facing a shortened life due to cancer or other infirmities say, "God is the Sustainer!"
Jolene wrote a book about families who have worked through heartache and pain because of children being born with huge physical needs; I look back over the 25 years in ministry at a Bible camp, and I see where some of the young people who started so strong in their faith, have faded in their walk with Christ. Not only faded, but have completely rejected the claims of Christ, and are now living lives of open rebellion; some have fallen into lives of homosexuality, others into lives of endorsements of pagan and empty philosophies. I ponder, "what storms of life threw this person off track and kept them from returning to the Sustainer of all life?" Want to know the answer? Compromise little by little, they fell from their faith. Little sin by little sin crept into their lives and consumed them into unbelief and rejection.
I write this to remind each of us to stay on guard. To grow strong in the faith. To be diligent in our preparations and our daily walk. To be faithful in our prayers for our children and grandchildren. To remind each of us that our faith is only as strong as we feed it with His Word. As the song says, "For when the strong winds blow, you won't fall down."
What are the dreams of parents? Is it to have children and grandchildren who, "do well in school", or do we dream that we can help raise a family that stays deeply rooted and well grounded in the faith, so, no matter how strong the winds blow and no matter how deep the snow might lay before us, we finish strong and victorious!
I am praying hard and dreaming big for our children.
I am the Director of Vision and Design at Hidden Acres Christian Center (www.hacamps.org) in Central Iowa. I have an M.A. in English Education from Truman State. You may follow my writing at the website listed below. www.hiddenacrescamp.blogspot.com
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