I am a Chaplain's wife and mother of two boys with "special issues." I spend a good deal of my time taking care of my family's many special needs, and I work from home for a non-profit agency that helps wounded warriors and thier families:
The Coalition To Salute America's Heroes. I love to write, and recently had the opportunity to write a few devotionals for "Faith Deployed, Daily Encouragement for Military Wives", By Jocelyn Green. To be included in a book with women who have faced difficult life circumstances with grace and faith was humbling, and exciting all at once!
My calling is women's ministry. I love to teach Bible studies and speak to women's groups. I enjoy digging deep and finding rich nuggets of truth and new discoveries in the Bible stories I have heard since I was a child.
Currently my favorite authors include Beth Moore, and my husband, Roger Benimoff, who co-wrote "Faith Under Fire, An Army Chaplain's memoir" with Eve Conant.
As a stay at home Mom of two boys with medical needs, it is easy to feel isolated. I work from home, and some days I talk to a lot of people. Other days it seems like it's just me and the answering machines.
There are the days that are discouraging, and moments that are exhausting. I have a need to re-charge through times where I can draw apart and find quiet, yet I always found a great deal of fulfillment in ministry. And being a chaplain's wife, I was used to continually being involved in some sort of program-- or running one (or two... or three). The Lord called me into the ministry at a young age and has blessed me immensely through being a part of various children's and women's ministries over the years.
For now, though, the Lord has called me to a sort of "sabbatical", where my ministry focus has shifted to caring for the many needs of my family. My oldest son has type one diabetes and Celiac disease, my husband has a brain injury commonly known as PTSD, and my younger son was diagnosed with neurological disorder over the summer. (You can read about our family's journey at http://www.redbookmag.com/health-wellness/ptsd-after-iraq. )
While I miss being in ministry outside of my home, I know that I am continually making an impact on the lives of others, even if it is simply in the ten minutes I spent chatting with another PTA mom after dropping off my boys (and "checking off the boxes" with the school nurse.) Sometimes this ministry comes in the form of listening as someone shares a difficult transition, sometimes it is giving them the blessing of praying for me and the challenges I face daily. Sometimes-- and I am finding this more and more-- the ministry comes through simply "being" rather than doing. A lesson I learned years ago, but still need a reminder of now and then!
A pastor's wife recently wrote, "The act of obedience through patience can be overwhelming." Obedience through patience seems to be my life story-- at least the past few years. But I will say that walking in obedience and waiting for the Lord, while incredibly difficult at times, has brought me to a level of intimacy with Him that I had not ever known before. This is significant because I have been walking with the Lord since I was five years old, and I have known Him, and known Him well, in fact, during most of the seasons of my life. But there are moments when He lets me see a little more of Him than usual...perhaps because in those moments I need him more desperately than usual.
I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that He has never, ever left me. In fact, I am finding that He draws ever closer during the hardest places in the journey. I am learning to let His presence embrace me in those moments when I feel I just cannot handle one more thing. Some people say the Lord never gives us more than we can handle. My story has been that at times He does allow more than I can handle-- MUCH more than I can handle, in fact, because I am an independent sort of person, and sometimes I need to let go of my illusion of control, and simply wait in Him. And it is only when I come to the end of my rope that I can truly cling to Him and nothing else.
A lesson I was reminded of just this past Sunday morning when my ten year old son, Tyler, had a low BG episode and was "out of his head"... not unconscious, but not coherent either. It took about an hour for him to finally stabilize. My husband was gone and as I held my son down and forced the fast sugar into his mouth I felt very, very alone. While I held Tyler still on the couch the Lord drew my eyes to my cell phone on the coffee table.
I was restraining Tyler because he kept wanting to get up and wander around the room, and I was overwhelmed with the emotion of the moment- most particularly, fear. "Please pray for us!" I began to text some prayer warriors (one of which has diabetes herself, and knows intimately the challenges I face with my son). Suffice it to say that I was desperate. Terrified. The enemy would have had me believing I was alone, despite the fact that my younger son (Blaine, age 7) was bringing me what I needed for Tyler so I did not have to leave him unrestrained on the couch. Text messages and prayers came streaming in; comforting words of life, of hope... and my anxiety melted away as I was covered with peace. I was NOT alone. My Heavenly Father was with me. Holding me, and quite importantly, holding Tyler, too.
Sometimes life comes along and knocks me on my rear-- or on my face--but the Lord is always right there. Most stay at home moms say that they deal with feelings of loneliness and being overwhelmed. But the Lord continually reminds me that while I may at times feel lonely, I am never, never alone. Overwhelmed, but never overlooked.
Psalm 55:22 says, "Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."
He knows every care that would crowd into my heart... oh, yes, He knows! And what I know without a shadow of a doubt is that He is right there holding out His arms to me. Some days He holds me in His hands... and then there are the days when He holds me in His lap. Cradled by the King. Covered by His love. What better place to be?
It is my prayer that you will find rest, hope, and significance in Him this week!