But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
- 1 Corinthians 12:9-10
“Grant me Thy grace, most merciful Jesus, that it may be with me, and work in me, and persevere with me, even unto the end. Grant that I may ever desire and wish whatsoever is most pleasing and dear unto Thee. Let Thy will me mine, and let my will always follow Thine, and entirely according with it. May I choose and reject whatsoever Thou dost; yea, let it be impossible for me to choose or reject except according to Thy will.
“Grant that I may die to all worldly things, and for Thy sake love to be despised and unknown in this world. Grant unto me, above all things that I can desire, to rest in Thee, and that in Thee my heart may be at peace. Thou art the true peace of the heart, Thou alone its rest, apart from Thee all things are hard and unquiet. In Thee alone, the supreme and eternal God, I will lay me down in peace and take my rest. Amen.”
- Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
Oh, if we could pray that prayer of Thomas à Kempis and mean it. A month ago, I wrote a story about a schoolteacher with conversion disorder. I suggested that the story might be fictional, but it was not. I may have gotten a detail wrong here or there. Our younger son is on forced leave from his job as an elementary schoolteacher (music), due to having a seizure in the presence of a district executive, on a Saturday unpaid workshop – not in class.
He was forced to go to an out-of-network clinic. The clinic knew nothing about him, so they started pushing his buttons until they found what triggered his seizures. At times, he would lapse into a catatonic state several times each hour. Now, knowing what his problem was, they gave him medicine that has a side effect of creating suicidal thoughts and compulsive actions. In other words, the therapy, so far, has made things worse. And all this time without a paycheck.
Maybe it’s a case of needing to go through the worst before you can turn the corner toward improvement.
As for the finances, can our daughter-in-law approach her church for help? She already has. The benevolence team from the church suggested that she work a seasonal job once her semester at college is complete (a requisite to them helping), but she must stay home to take care of three children, one too young to go to school, and a husband that is hearing voices, voices induced by medication.
But with my feelings toward Psychology and the practice of it, I wonder if the therapy will leave him in a worse state in the long run.
My wife has PTSD from her time in the military during Vietnam. She did not deploy to Vietnam, but she worked in surgery as a technician (medic) on wounded soldiers upon their return, often working 36-hour shifts without getting time off the next day. Her commanding officer singled out my wife for second call every night, while everyone else, including her, took their turns with first call. My wife’s break from second call was when she had first call. My wife’s problem, other than undeserved abuse from the commander, was that she is empathic. She may not be able to absorb pain away from the other person so that they no longer feel the pain, but she shares in their pain. She was denied VA benefits for disability, even upon appeal. But we are still going to pursue it.
My wife jokes that she may be the only Psychological therapy dropout. Her therapist insisted that she forget all other people and put herself first. Just once! One day as we were driving home from therapy, she announced that this would be her last therapy session. Her therapist, a PhD in the field, was at his wits end and kicked her out of therapy. He could do nothing for her, because her Christian beliefs were too strong. She could not put herself first. Others always came before her.
Does she live the prayer that Thomas à Kempis prayed in the quote above? No. She still desires things, just things for others, especially a young family of five in a Southern state where they have no income, no money in the bank, and all this during the holiday season. Is it wrong to pray for worldly things, when those things are for another, another who cannot provide the essential needs for themselves?
That is where I come to our son. Will his Christian views get in the way of therapy? He cannot return to work until his therapists will sign off on his return. In the meantime, we are helping as much as we can financially, which is draining the last of our reserves.
We have faith that God will take care of us. Part of that faith is financial. God has worked miracles with regard to our health recently. My wife’s levels of minerals, hormones, and enzymes in her bloodstream are bouncing all over the place while her body gets used to half the thyroid and half the parathyroid that she used to have, but they anticipate a reduction in the fluctuations after another month. My shortness of breath is still the great unknown, but I now know that my heart is strong.
My wife was planning on flying down to babysit while our daughter-in-law takes the next semester of classes in the Spring, but we have decided to both drive down for the holidays to help out. I will return, but that may be short-lived if the financial drain is greater. If we had no stuff in PA, we could just move down there and maybe our income could feed a family of seven, us and our son’s family of five.
God never promised us all the answers to our questions. He told Job that Job did not create the earth and set the stars in place, so how could he demand answers. But it sure would be nice to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
As for now, we must trust that God is there at the end of the tunnel and that He is caring for us in every way imaginable.
May God grant us peace and a place to rest our heads. And today, my usual ending means even more.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.