Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… Matthew 11:28(NIV)
You should be commended for the work you do in the life of another human being, no matter whom they are. Certainly, with our children, this is considered the most basic of responsibilities. However, when we find ourselves incapable, or unwilling, to step away from our parental or caregiver roles long enough to find even a moment of quiet time to connect with God, it may be worth asking ourselves how much we believe God is with us and working in our situation. Our emotions may tell us our dependents cannot last one day or even one hour without us, but the truth is they (and you) cannot last without God. Stepping away from a loved one for whom you are caring is not the same thing as leaving them.
We can become so engrossed in our service to others, whether it is for our own child or someone else, not only can we neglect our own needs, but also we can wear ourselves out rendering us incapable of giving them our best. Life can be overwhelming for anyone, but it can be especially so for someone caring for a child or an adult who cannot care for themselves. The call of Matthew 11:28-30 is to “come to Jesus”. The weight of life (anxiety about the future, finances, relationships, or anything else plaguing our mind), can be dealt with by pursuing what Jesus offers.
As a parent of a child with autism, I am always in need of the spiritual rest Jesus offers and the physical and emotional unwinding accompanying it. One of the ways I find it is by sitting with my Bible open, reading, and quietly listening. Afterward, I pray and trust God to bring about the restoration of my soul, which I cannot bring about on my own. In the end, I am in better shape to help those whom I love the most.
It would be great if life agreed to send us only one problem at a time when it was most convenient, but that is hardly reality. Numerous changes requiring our attention will occur—whether unexpectedly or planned. Admit it. It can feel as if life rolls over you sometimes, and then it puts the gears in reverse to make sure you are flattened. Inside, we worry about how it’s all going to get done. What will happen to my child(ren) if something happens to us? What school will they go to next? Will they ever be independent? Will I ever have a “normal” life again? These questions can lead to anxiety and isolation. God wants us to know and find comfort in the fact that He cares for us. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
The common misconception in our society that maintains we should be able to make it on our own or stand on our own two feet, does not represent how God thinks about us in our hour of need. He directs us to cast our troubles on Him. Who would say such a thing except someone whose concern for you is unrivaled by anyone else’s?
Depending on the situation, it is possible we may need to talk to a family member, friend, church leader, or professional counselor if we are continually feeling overwhelmed. However, we can also meditate on 1 Peter 5:7 and have confidence as we seek help that God cares about what we are going through, and He will work through people and situations to help us. God certainly does not want us to do it alone.