Just over a week ago we returned from our holiday to USA, where we met others from this web community - it is so nice to meet others in person who we've connected with online like Frank Klin, Rex, Morgan, Gary & Carolyn Hullquist, Jeff Wilson, Michael & Joy Delaney, Corey and others. It was such a wonderful break for me from the usual pressures at home. The break has been good for me - it has refreshed me with renewed energy to face the home challenges - praise God.
After the conference at Amicolola Falls, we went on a history and heritage road trip with Gary & Carolyn, Jonathon Otto and Andrew Cobbin. We had good times, but part way into the trip Adrian started to get sick. He was able to hold up for most of the road trip, but the last 2 days he was not good at all. By the time we got to Chicago airport to drop the car off and catch planes (for Gary & Carolyn to go home, and for us to fly to San Francisco), Adrian was not in a fit state to fly. We ended up going by Ambulance from the airport to a hospital and spent 5 days in Chicago at the hospital, rather than spending 5 days over in California - seeing some more history/heritage sites and Yosemite & Sequior National Parks.
To be on a trip of a lifetime, and have to miss things we really wanted to see - with a very slim chance (in my mind) of ever being able to come back! It has been such a big exercise to get Daniel (our son with autism) looked after for a 3 week period - I can't see how I'd ever get that opportunity again. So this really tests SELF!
Jeremiah 17:9 says "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" and Romans 7: 18 says "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not."
In situations like this SELF raises it's ugly head and a battle begins. I was concerned for what Adrian was going through, caring for him and praying for him; but also feeling self-pity and resentment rise up as I face the reality of our "nice" holiday being ruined. The first time ever Adrian and I have had a holiday together, away from the care of the boys; we've come across to the USA, a once-in-lifetime opportunity; and he has to get sick! I don't find in myself what it takes to accept the situation and place love for others above my selfish musings.
BUT the good news is - the freedom of the gospel in Christ - I don't have to find within myself the power to overcome the selfishness. Knowing who I am (one who has no inherent good; one who needs continual physical and spiritual life from God moment by moment) and knowing who Christ is (God's Son, who came in human flesh and took our carnal nature to the grave, to allow us to partake of His divine nature) - allows me to find the truth of where I can get the power to overcome my selfishness.
Romans 8:3,4 says "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Freedom: I find myself having very selfish and negative thoughts; But Jesus says in John 8:11 "... Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." God does not condemn me for these thoughts of my carnal nature. But He says (Phil 2:5) "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." The freedom that I could pray to God: "I don't have in me what I need to love and care for Adrian in this situation and overcome these disappointed, selfish and resentful thoughts. But Jesus has these victories - and I ask that I could have the mind of Christ - so I can have the victory in this situation."
Praise God for the simplicity of the gospel: I don't have the overcoming power and love I need - Christ has it (He worked it out for me in human flesh) - I can have His mind if I ask Him for it. Freedom and victory!!
Since coming home, both Adrian and I have had to face the same battle - as we take up the usual challenges of caring for a special needs child. The flesh rises up and does not want to do all the things we need to do to care for Daniel. We don't find in ourselves the love we need to have to unselfishly serve. But again the freedom and victory in Christ. He has what we need - His mind - and we can have it if we ask for it.
2 Corinthians 9:15 "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."