Home-schooling my son has been a lonely and daunting journey for me for the last three years. I can’t tell you the number of times I wanted to quit as there were times I just couldn’t make it successfully through the day.
I had always felt inadequate being his teacher. My graduate studies are incomplete, which made me doubt even more my abilities as a better educator. I had tried my best to teach him but I was always concerned that he might miss out on the essential things in his studies which only a proficient teacher can teach.
He is being home-schooled by me because he was denied admission in schools due to his inattention issues. It was disheartening to see him being rejected. The rejection could make things even emotionally difficult for a 6 year-old. I didn’t want his gifts and skills to be trampled on before they blossom. So, I needed to take initiative to continue his studies despite my challenges.
These years I have been in a fog of confusion. Even as I felt lonely, my son felt lonely too, as he couldn’t be a part of any school and have friends. I have been praying and searching for a suitable school, or an experienced home-schooling family which might guide me along. But there wasn’t any evident result of my persistent search or answer to my prayers.
A few weeks back, we as a family, shifted back from Maharashtra which is in the northern part of India to Kerala in the South. For safe and swift travel, we considered flying, as it takes just 2-3 hours. Also during this pandemic time, it felt more convenient to fly – especially for our 7 year old daughter who has special needs.
But, sadly, our flight kept getting cancelled for some or other reason. This happened three times in a row. It was very frustrating the third day. Every morning when we would do all the preparations for travel and announce that we are leaving, the very next day the notification of flight cancellation from the airline would pop onto my husband’s phone. It was a puzzling moment.
On 9th April, I received a voice mail from my friend Sheetal in the morning. A couple of months back, we were talking about God’s healing and about the same topic, she had shared her beautiful and deep insights with me. I listened to the mail and thanked her for her thoughtful message.
But little did I know that I would need her words in the next few weeks; or maybe, the voice message was preparing me in advance for the worst that was headed my way.
The very next day, my parents and my younger brother were tested positive for Covid -19. And within a few days’ time, my husband too was found infected by the virus. My biggest fear came true as the deadly virus had reached my dear ones when I least expected it.
No anticipated results + No pat on my shoulder + No favourable circumstances = I quit
This has been my equation for so long. I have always needed evident results to carry on any work. For me to stay encouraged and not to give up on anything, I always need someone to cheer me up and believe in me so I can trust in myself. Good outcomes keep me motivated to go ahead and the opposite of them makes me give up.
So, on one particular day, when I noticed that I had been getting few views and visitors on my blog posts, I came to the conclusion that I probably should quit writing as there are not many people who are relating with what I want to share. Writing and sharing a blog post has always been a lonely journey for me but at this very moment when I couldn’t see many views on the view bar, I felt I am not making a big difference through my writing. I felt unqualified and uncreative in running a blog.
I sat in the doctor’s cabin with my daughter Jennie in my arms and an expectation in my heart that the doctor we were meeting may suggest some better treatment plan for her. After all, he was the expert, a well-experienced and renowned Neuro physician in the state. It had taken a lot of effort to reach him and get the appointment which seemed difficult to get initially.
“Jennie Livingston – No. 7” was the call from the hospital staff and I rushed carrying her in my arms, adjusting my mask and holding her previous reports in my hand to see the doctor I was keen to meet.
Today, I am inviting my dear friend Sheetal Thakker to share her story of faith with us. She lives in Banglore, India. She is a wonderful person and a woman with a strong faith in Jesus. She will be sharing with us about her journey of her life’s unexpected storm and her experience as she chose to trust God amidst all the challenges. Welcome Sheetal!
As I was making her sleep around midnight, looking at her innocent face in the dim night light, my heart melted. I felt a sudden heartache and I cried for my daughter as I held her close to me and kissed her on her forehead. I recalled all the struggles and pain she has been through in the last seven years of her life. I felt a deep pain for her remembering about her diagnosis. I thought, I was much stronger emotionally but I was not. The pain seemed still fresh for the situation my child is in.
According to the Swiss-American psychiatrist named Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, there are 5 stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
When we go through grief of a certain kind, our first reaction will be denial. We will be shocked and won’t be accepting the realities.
The second stage will be anger. We will feel angry at the situation, at people around us and sometimes at God for allowing the crisis.
The third one is bargaining. Secretly, we may make a deal with God in an attempt to postpone the crisis and the related pain.
The fourth stage is depression. The reality slowly sets in and we often feel sorry for ourselves and wonder why something like this could happen to us. The feeling of depression is often accompanied by the feeling of self-pity and of being a victim.
The fifth stage of dealing with grief is acceptance. We come to terms with the grief and begin to look to the future.
Once we have reached the acceptance stage in dealing with our grief, we move towards resurgence. In this phase we take full control of ourselves, our emotions, and the situation and begin to think about what we can do next to move ahead.
In relation to my daughter’s medical condition, I have been through almost all these stages and I was pretty much sure I was in the resurgence phase, as for quite a long time I could maintain my emotions, keep myself motivated through each day and keep my constant faith in God for her life. But a few days back, I had a relapse and it felt sudden and severe. I couldn’t hold myself anymore in the resurgence phase. I felt shattered.
My heart pained for her to the extreme that all I wanted to scream was; “God, why does my child have to suffer? why does she have to live such a difficult life? What is her fault? It isn’t fair that she is suffering? Why she gets to have such a dependent life and struggle every day?” As I held her close to me, I let my tears flow for her. For a moment, I couldn’t accept the hard realities of her life and I kept crying through the night. It seemed like I had almost gone back to the denial stage – all the way back….
However, in the midst of this sudden surge of grief, as I prayed for her, I remembered Jesus on the cross and the agony He had to go through. Was it fair that God had to send His son to die for my wrongdoings? Nope! It wasn’t fair that Jesus’s innocent blood to be shed for me, it wasn’t fair that He was mocked, stripped off His clothes, whipped, beaten and crucified on the cross ruthlessly. But it’s God’s love for me which caused Him to see the painful sight of His child suffering on the cross. His heart pained just the way my heart pains seeing my child suffer. But this was the way I was going to be accepted, forgiven and loved. God definitely cared for my pain and understood how I felt. This insight into my heart made me surrender to His sovereign plans for Jennie and to know that He loves her more than I do. Though I don’t have all the answers and can see only the half picture but I know the ONE who sees the full picture of her life. I just need to have faith in Him.
I fell asleep and woke up the next day with swollen eyes and a headache but relieved and consoled heart. And I no longer found myself in the denial stage but the resurgence stage again with a renewed hope and His just enough grace on my life for the very day. I am not sure if I will ever be fully in the resurgence stage. I may have the emotional relapse from time to time but this is where I will always need God’s mercy to carry me through. With Him by my side there will be His hope in between all these stages and no matter which stage I slip back to, I will always come back to the resurgence stage and see my pain in the light of His glory!
I pray, you too find His strength and assurance in those most hurting and questioning moments of your lives, experience His deep and abiding hope when you are weak in your burdens and see your pain in the light of His glory. And when you question ” why me Lord, it isn’t fair?” Let God’s mercy carry you through revealing each moment His greatest & painful sacrifice and selfless love for you!
“Weeping may remain for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning”. Psalm 30:5
Recently I came across a beautiful story of a father and a daughter. A dear sister has sent the video to me as an encouragement and it truly touched my heart to the core. It wasn’t just a story to watch and forget but it also spoke an assurance to my heart.
Once, a father and a daughter were driving home in a night and the father let the daughter drive the car. While they were on their way, a bad storm broke out. And the daughter being a new driver, felt a little bit scared.
She looked over at her father. She said, “Daddy,you think I should pull over to the side of the road and the father said, “No, no baby! Just keep on driving” so she kept on driving.
Most new things in his life are very stressful for him but this camp however was not. My 8 years old son, Asher, joined a three days kids’ camp online and seemed really excited about it. To my amazement, he did participate in it very well. There were action songs, games and Bible-based activities which he did with my help and actively involved himself in learning.
Whenever the winners’ names were announced, he waited with hope that his name would be called out too. Each time they announced the winners’ names he would turn to me and ask in excitement, “Mummy, will they choose me?” Consequently, in three of the activities he participated, his name wasn’t in the winners’ list. Seeing his gloomy face for not being chosen, I would assure him that among two hundred participants, they chose only the first 10 or 20 kids, you see the rest of the other kids aren’t winners too. But he was too determined and hopeful to be chosen.
Have you ever felt unqualified for certain tasks which you have been appointed for or certain responsibilities which you ought to carry or certain roles you are expected to fulfil in your life?
I am not talking about educational qualifications but about feelings like when you thought to yourself “I am a misfit”, “I am not enough”, “someone does it better than me” or “I don’t have the right skills set” or maybe “I don’t have what it takes”. Such thoughts probably have rattled your mind especially when you failed to do certain jobs perfectly.
I have also been feeling unqualified lately and the feelings are intense. I feel unqualified when I hit the publish button on my site to share my blog post. Comparing my writings with other wonderful bloggers and their crafting of words and the consistency they have in posting blog after blog every week, I wonder if “I am a misfit” in this brilliant world of prolific writers.
I feel unqualified when I teach Asher all his subjects and often get stuck at some of the lessons which I find tough for me to teach him. I doubt if I am the right teacher for him. I sometimes feel “I am not enough” and wish that he could be accepted in school and taught by well-qualified teachers.
I feel unqualified being a mother to my daughter. I do love her, and do everything to make her feel at ease but I still see her with no milestones and struggling hard even to sip water from a spoon. I feel “not the right mother to her” as my efforts, prayers, and tears aren’t gaining the desired outcomes for her.
In the midst of all my feelings of being unqualified, I am reminded of a person from the Bible who felt unqualified too. When God told Moses that He was sending him to Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of the Egypt, Moses’s answer clearly revealed that he felt totally unqualified for the task.
“But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11
I love the way God gently assured him.
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” Exodus 3:12
God promised Moses that He was with him. All Moses had to do was to show up, be available and trust God’s power instead of worrying about his ability of being the qualified candidate. We all know the remarkable outcome of Moses showing up and making himself available for the task: He was able to take the Israelites from Egypt with a magnificent victory.
And the same God assures us today with the same promise He made to Moses.
As I ponder on the beauty of God’s promise, I realize that it doesn’t matter how qualified I feel or don’t feel for the tasks which God has entrusted to me, because it’s not about my qualification but His strength which will sustain me at the end of the day. All I need to do is to show up, keep sharing my words with the world, be consistent in teaching my son, be there for my daughter and trust God with the rest.
Maybe like me you too have felt unqualified. Maybe it’s in your marriage, in your parenting journey, in your spiritual walk with God, in your workplace, in your attempts to reach your dreams or acquire new skill, or maybe in certain responsibilities which seem bigger than you.
Showing up may seem a painful process, feelings of inadequacy maybe real, the road you walk on may seems unending and the journey may feel tiring and challenging every single day. But let your heart be encouraged with the this beautiful truth that you aren’t alone. It’s not you who decides your ability but it’s Him who believes in you. And being unqualified will only show His power more and more through your life. God promises you that He is with you. Will you keep showing up and trust Him with the rest?