Monday, June 7, 2021

God Speaks-Special Needs Edition: Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of a series highlighting how God speaks to people. As a Christian mother raising a child with special and medical needs, I have to hear God's voice. I need God's wisdom and encouragement to raise my daughter and serve my family well. 

As a Christian, I understand God wants to have relationship with people. He wants to speak to those he has created. The Bible tells how God has spoken to people in the past. It also provides insight into how God communicates to people even today. There are numerous examples to look at in the Bible. In previous posts, I have discussed how God speaks through dreams and other people. In this post, I'll share some ways that God has used things in the world to speak to me. 

Photo by Adam Kontor from Pexels

There are many examples in the Bible of God using things in the world to speak to people. After the flood, God put a rainbow in the sky to convey a promise. Moses saw a burning bush that wasn't consumed. It caught his attention, and then God spoke to him. When Saul ripped the robe of Samuel, Samuel had a message for Saul from God: “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to someone else—one who is better than you." (I Samuel 15:27) These are just some examples of things happening in nature or in real life that carried a deeper meaning. Here are three examples from my own life on this topic:

An Annoying Bird
In 2006, a bird was tormenting me. I suppose the first thing you need to know about me is that I dislike birds. For weeks, a cardinal bird was repeatedly banging into windows at my house. My displeasure for birds only made this situation more annoying. The internet suggested that the bird running into my window wasn't too uncommon. From what I read, it seemed the bird was seeing its own reflection in the window and, thinking it was another bird, was defending itself. The bird just didn't peck and run into one window. It seemed to follow me around the house. It would run into Jaycee's bedroom window for hours, my bedroom, the basement, or the kitchen. It drove me crazy. 

At the same time, Jaycee was just a few months old and getting ready for her first open heart surgery. I was dealing with a lot at that time. I was a few months in to adjusting to the news of Down syndrome and a heart defect. I was giving medications and bottles around-the-clock. I was exhausted and stressed, as anyone would be in my situation. I was also tormented in my thoughts, and I struggled with fear with the health situations we were facing as a family. 

I am a person who looks for signs of God in my everyday life. After a while, I wondered if the bird meant something deeper. It certainly tormented me-much like all the other stressors in my life. I have a Christian signs and symbols book I reference from time to time. I recall looking up the meaning of a cardinal and discovering it can represent Satan. It seemed like the perfect explanation of what was happening in my life. Much like that bird attacking my innocent house, I felt like I was being attacked (and my daughter) out of nowhere. I had never dealt with so much stress in my life. My mind was being battered with thoughts that didn't come from God. I know they weren't from God because they were full of fear, worry, and anxiety. I felt a parallel with the bird's persistence at my windows to Satan's persistence with my thoughts and faith. 

Interestingly enough, when we came home from the hospital from her heart surgery, the bird was suddenly gone. 

Smoke Signals
Probably somewhere around 10 years ago, I picked up Jaycee from my mom's house and headed home. As I left, I saw smoke in the distance. I live in a rural area where sometimes people burn brush piles or farm fields, so smoke is not uncommon. The smoke can be seen from miles and miles away. On this particular day, the smoke seemed to be in the direction of my grandma's house. I had a bunch of thoughts come to mind with concerns about my grandmother and the fire's location. I sped up as I made my way down the road that passed by her house. As I got closer, I realized I had clearly misjudged where the fire was. The fire was miles and miles away from grandma's house. She was safe, and my worries for her were unfounded. 

As I continued on my way home, God spoke to me about what I had observed. Smoke does not always mean danger and loss. Sometimes, fires are planned and controlled burns do good. Smoke can look threatening to outsiders far away but it may not be. In fact, sometimes the smoke is a large puff, high in the sky making one think the fire is a huge disaster, yet the fire is quite small and contained. 

At that stage of my life, Jaycee's medical diagnoses were causing me to freak out completely. I easily jumped to worst case scenarios in my head. The congestive heart failure, Down syndrome, open heart surgery, oxygen use, and other issues were weighing on me. I was worried about so many things. Any new issue that popped up felt gigantic and too much for me to process. I blew some symptoms or issues out of proportion. I worried about Jaycee passing away; it was a real threat in my mind. The fact that doctors are required to give you odds, risks, and chances of death in procedures most likely fueled that fire (so to speak). 

God used my reaction to that smoke as a way to recognize my own reactions and fears with Jaycee. Not everything that seems horrifically out of control is. Not every symptom or issue was uncontrollable or untreatable. Jaycee's conditions weren't necessarily an impending disaster. I was over-reacting and jumping to poor conclusions much like I did when I saw that smoke in the direction of my grandma's house. Ultimately, God wanted me to examine my thoughts, start taking some of them captive, and not let fear run my mind. 

A Re-Occurring Date
October 19th is a "sign" that I didn't see right away. In 2013, Jaycee survived a 4 week nightmare battling septic shock, ARDS, respiratory failure, pneumonia, and rhinovirus. She required a ventilator for 3 weeks and was touch-and-go a few times. It was a happy day when she was discharged from the hospital on October 19, 2013. 

A year later, Jaycee was baptized at our church on October 19th. This date just happened by chance; I didn't plan it at all. It wasn't until later that I realized her baptism and her discharge date were the same day. When I discovered the linkage, I felt like God was redeeming her life, especially after all she had been through medically.  

A few years later, I was standing in Jaycee's room gazing at the picture of her baptism. My eyes were drawn towards a memory box hanging on the wall too. The memory box had her newborn hospital bracelets and ultrasound that indicated that Jaycee would be a girl. For some reason, I noticed the date on the ultrasound. And there it was- October 19, 2005. 

I had to laugh when I saw the date. To me, it was a sign that God had many things lined up in our lives. There was an order in all of the chaos. The pictures on the wall were taken 9 years apart on the same day and brought me comfort knowing that God was working behind the scenes all along.  

There are dozens of other things I could share on this post, but I will leave it at this. I believe there are things that happen in this world that we can learn from and God can use to speak to us. I hope you are willing to stop, see them, and hear God. I hope you visit back for part 4 in this series. 
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