By Rebecca Holloway
PINEVILLE, La. – When we first received Evan’s diagnosis of Down Syndrome, I was in my 5th month of pregnancy. One of my first thoughts when we received this news was, “This cannot be. I am not equipped to be a special needs parent!” Yet here we are 6.5 years later. We have read a lot, gotten guidance from doctors, and I have received a lot of advice from other special needs parents. However, most days we still feel ill-equipped for the job. There is a steep learning curve and much on-the-job training.
But one thing I have realized over the years is that I was indeed equipped for this. My maternal grandmother was sick on and off most of my growing up years. Once my parents divorced when I was in high school and my mother went back to school to become a nurse, I helped care for her a lot – even taking her to doctor’s appointments and buying groceries for her when she was in the nursing home. As I said, my mother went back to nursing school when I was in high school, and I felt like I went to nursing school with her! She would teach me what she was learning, and after she was working full time, I got to hear many stories about her patients and how the doctors would treat them for various illnesses. Ten years ago I went through the difficult experience of caring for my mother in her last days. Through that, I got experience in dealing with someone in ICU. Never did I imagine I’d have to use that experience with my own child in ICU, as he was 3 years ago about this time.
You may not feel equipped for this pandemic that we are currently dealing with. None of us do. We’ve never done this before. Those of us who aren’t teachers have no idea how to teach our children. Those of us who are medical professionals have probably never dealt with a health crisis like this one. Pastors and other ministers have never served in days where the church was not meeting under one roof. These are extraordinary days. But one thing I know – God will equip us for whatever comes our way.
How do I know this? Hebrews 13:20-21 says, “Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus — the great Shepherd of the sheep — through the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with everything good to do his will, working in us what is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Did you hear that? The same God who raised Jesus from the dead is going to equip you with everything you need. He’s going to give you the skills you need to do what He wants you to do. He is working in you right now during this time – and every season of life – to make you into who He wants you to be. You see, God is not only doing a work in our world through this global crisis. He is desiring to do a work in you and in me. Through the power of His Holy Spirit, He will give us what we need so we can be the best teachers, parents, ministers, friends, and leaders or whatever we need to be during these days of constant change and upheaval.
I’ve seen so many of you doing such wonderful acts of ministry in the past weeks. You are doing a great job! Keep it up! But don’t let it stop when this crisis is over. Keep doing the work. God is growing new skills in you that He wants you to keep using for the rest of your life. Ask Him to grow you as you face these days. Yes, there will be a steep learning curve. But know you are bringing glory to Jesus, and that is our ultimate goal.
Will we be perfect at our new jobs? I doubt it. As I mentioned before, parenting Evan has been full of ups and downs. We know we have made mistakes along the way. However, God has always provided what we needed for the our next step of the way. I have no doubt that He will do the same for us as we continue to journey through this quarantine. You are equipped, friend. Just ask the Equipper. He is ready and willing to help you! May the God of peace continue to be with us.
Rebecca Holloway is a speaker and worship leader for church events and conferences, and is married to Stewart Holloway, pastor of First Baptist Church in Pineville. This editorial first appeared on her blog.