It’s Titus 2 Tuesday (T2T) and the topic is for the exhausted, discouraged parent.
I’ve asked my friend Christy Keyton to share her wisdom from Scripture and her own journey of exhaustion in parenting eight children, including one with Down Syndrome.
Christy and I met over twenty years ago through our mutual direct sales business, Creative Memories. We were immediate friends with much in common. We had the same upline in our home business who had actually been a college roommate to each of us, although at different colleges. We both homeschooled, enjoyed laughter and deep conversations, and both loved talking about the Lord. We became unofficial “pacing partners,” rising through the leadership ranks together and growing our families at similar paces…only she won…on both accounts. She reached the company’s top level a few months before me and went on to have two more children than me. LOL.
Thank you Christy for sharing your heart with us today. May your words and the scripture shared today be an encouragement to all who read.
A Gift of Dependency on God, by Christy Keyton
Sitting in my van, crying at a traffic light, I was on the way to buy nighttime pull-ups for my eight-year-old daughter with DS. It had been a long and difficult day. Through tears, I released my deepest emotions to the Lord, “I am tired of this. I don’t want to be a mom with a child who has Down Syndrome. It’s so hard.” He hears me. He is kind. He is good. And He continues to reveal and break down the idols of my life so that I worship only Him.
Hannah Grace Keyton, our eighth child, was born on May 7, 2006 when I was 44-years old. I felt like the proverbial “shoe had dropped” when she came into the world. My husband, Johnny, and I absolutely love kids. But I did NOT want to be the mother to a special needs kid. This would be the beginning point of a difficult, yet beautiful journey with God as my personal guide.
So what has God not done since that day in May of 2006? He has not made the road easy. He has not removed all the obstacles. He has not “healed” her. He has not improved her hard-to-understand speech. He has not stopped every child from making fun of her.
But, our faithful, trustworthy, all-knowing God has done many things including a tremendous work in my heart and in my entire family’s lives. Best of all, He is changing us as we lean on Him.
- He has shown me how much I need Him.
- He has given me the gift of faith to trust Him with Hannah.
- He has taught me the real meaning of “Do not worry about tomorrow.”
- He has slowed down my world.
- He has changed her siblings.
- He has shown me a naïve, beautiful love that most people do not have.
- He has shown me great kindness.
- He has made me more sensitive to parents of the disabled.
- He has tuned my heart toward heaven.
- He has broken idols in my life and drawn my heart to Him.
- He has allowed me to see His glory in the life of my daughter.
- He has taught me how to love another person without expectations.
These things, among so many more, have been blessings of depending on Him. They have resulted in a deeper relationship with God for our good and for His glory.
I want to elaborate on three from the list above.
(1) He has shown me how much I need Him. In my own strength, I can never parent Hannah well. I don’t have the patience, the kindness, the gentleness, the forbearance that I need. Imust seek the help of the Lord. And that is exactly where He wants me to be. I cry out to Him. He hears and answers. He is always there to help me.
Psalm 86: 6-7 , “Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.”
(10) He has broken idols in my life and drawn my heart to Him.
Psalm 86:8-10, “There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.”
I’m aware of my desperate need for His help in daily parenting. As He guides, my heart is drawn to Him, and something beautiful happens-my heart is transformed. The idols of my heart are confronted, revealing worship of myself by being dependent on myself. My desire for control, appearance of having it all together, image of perfect parenting, etc are broken before Him. He is a jealous God, clearly forbidding idols. Idols do not satisfy.
Exodus 20:3, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
Dependency on God creates a worship of God, which is why the Psalmist (in Ps. 86 above) follows a verse about asking for God’s help with a verse of worship. The more I call out for help, the more my heart is satisfied in Him, and the more I worship Him. Only He can answer our cries, only He can satisfy our souls. I need to be reminded of this daily and being Hannah’s Mom does that for me. I am grateful.
(11) He has allowed me to see His glory in the life of my daughter. John chapter 9 relates the story of the man born blind. The disciples asked Jesus if the sin of the parents or the sin of the man caused his blindness. In John 9:3, Jesus says this, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
Everything God does, He does for His glory to be displayed. Down Syndrome is how the glory of God is displayed in Hannah’s life and how God has shown His great works to my family and me. We have had the opportunity to tell her story locally and literally, around the world. I have been astonished as I have watched women from every walk of life be encouraged by this little girl in Dothan, Alabama who loves like nobody’s business.
Yes, the days can be long and tiring as I raise Hannah, but it is a gift to be her Mom. It is a gift of dependency on God and a privilege to put my weak hand in the strong and sure hand of God and worship Him as I parent my daughter.
Friends, may you experience this gift of worship through your dependency on God.