(Posted November 26th 2018 @ 12:25 PM by: Melody Reever)
Will Rogers is quoted as saying, “I know worrying works, because none of the stuff I worried about ever happened.” I am not a worrier by nature. I am more of the glass is half-full, keep the faith, optimistic Pollyanna person. But, oh, how I have learned to worry!
Raising a child with autism and a seizure disorder will teach you very quickly how little control you have over life. Our son, Sean (now a young man), has epilepsy with grand mal seizures that occur on average once a week. Most often, there is no warning; he just goes down from wherever he is if he’s standing. My constant prayer is, “Please God, let Sean be sitting or lying down when these seizures occur.” Fear and chaos accompany every seizure. I then have a sense of deep vulnerability over what might have happened—then relief that it didn’t (this time).
I have lived this worry cycle for twenty-two years. Sean has had seizures at birthday parties, holiday gatherings, church celebrations, and important life events where he is not supposed to be the center of attention. It doesn’t matter what is going on; a seizure will steal the show every time.
When our eldest son, Aaron, announced his engagement, I was elated! He’d found the “one his soul loves.” But marriage means a wedding, and a wedding is a magnanimous event. My daydreams and nightmares began. I thought about every possible scenario of “what if” that my well-trained worrying brain could conjure up. Of course, I wanted Sean to be included in the wedding, but I was concerned (OK, worried out of my mind) that he would have a seizure “in the sight of God, and in the presence of these witnesses.”
As the wedding day drew closer and plans were made, my worries would ebb and flow with perpetual prayer that all would be well. I developed strategies for every “what if” scenario and backup plans for each. Seizures may trump, but Sean has a host of other issues to consider—like, toileting. Who would be handling diaper changes and bathroom needs? Sean has loud outbursts and makes weird noises. I feared the minister would be saying “Speak now or forever hold your peace” and “EEEHHHHH!” would come from Sean. Just getting him to sit down is sometimes a problem. He is over six feet tall and easily moves me around. What if he wouldn’t sit through the ceremony?
God began to comfort my anxious heart. As I prayed, He gave me ideas and insight for who to ask for help. I invited a staff member from Sean’s group home to be his “plus one” and take care of his needs throughout the day. I talked to my friends and my sisters about how they could help if necessary. I instructed the officiant to focus on the bride and groom no matter what happened on the second pew. A couple from our church, without my even knowing, planned to sit next to Sean to help keep him seated during the ceremony.
Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” Yes, Mark Twain, and most of us know that worrying is useless. I can never get back the hours I wasted over all my “what ifs.” Aaron and his bride, Janelle, had a beautiful wedding. It was their day completely. All eyes were on the lovely bride and handsome, happy groom. All ears heard their vows and witnessed two lives become one. Beginning to end, Sean was there as witness to his brother’s happiness, part of the wonderful celebration of God’s goodness and grace.
It is God’s grace that gives us the ability to feel peace through the times we are most vulnerable. I am trying harder to trust Him with everything that concerns me by replacing my worry with prayer. Worrying doesn’t really work anyway—prayer does.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV).
Denise Wynn is a licensed United Pentecostal Church International minister, the director of ABLE Ministry, author of the book When God Says No, and co-pastor with her husband, Gary Wynn, of Solid Rock UPCI in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.