"It's scary at the top of a slide. I have to go down. I can't get back up and go down the ladder again. I have to put on a smile even while I shut my eyes. It seems like such a long way down to the bottom of the slide!"
Only God (or perhaps Kyle's guardian angel) knows what my two-year old great-grandson is really contemplating at the top of the slide? For him it's a major decision!
I am bountifully blessed with 13 great-grands in addition to 10 grandchildren! I don't expect to be around on Planet Earth when the little ones are grown and making much bigger career or marital decisions than Kyle's at the playground. Some of the older grandchildren have made or are making them. When Kyle had barely started to walk, his decisions were age appropriate as, "Shall I go down that strange road and explore where it leads without Mommy knowing where I am?"
We who are navigating longevity sometimes wonder why God is allowing us to stay on earth so long when Heaven is so much better. Some of us have concluded correctly from experience and insight that we are survivors because we have an assignment from the Lord. My family is at the center of my world. Part of my sacred assignment as a survivor in my longevity years is to pray for our "special needs" children.
At this writing our four sons are now in their fifties and sixties; two are already grandparents themselves! Our grandchildren range in age from seventeen to forty-two; our great-grandchildren are newborn infants, toddlers, in elementary grades, and in middle school. Thank God none of them is mentally or physically challenged; nevertheless they are all “special needs children” in the sense that whatever their age they each have "special needs"--personal, relational, educational, financial, physical—and at the top of the list—spiritual needs.
I feel a heavy spiritual responsibility from God to shepherd my family flock primarily through prayer. It seems that I'm continually praying one or another through one crisis or struggle or situation after another. As a “single parent” (widow), I’ve carried that prayer burden for our extended family circle by myself for 25 years. Not really alone, however, since our Catholic faith teaches that our loved ones can intercede for us from Heaven. I believe my husband is continuing to pray for our family as he did while on earth. And I thank God for friends who say, "I'm praying for you and your children; please pray for me and mine." "Blessed be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love!"
There are times when as I pray I sing with joy for some happy occasion they are going through. At other times I am groaning and sighing and shedding a few tears. Children, no matter how old or how young need my prayers. It is a matter of the heart. Our children eventually leave our nest, our home, but they never leave our hearts.
There are times when I’m not sure whether what they face is an assault from the enemy against which I should take spiritual authority on their behalf, or a test from the Lord through which they should persevere and grow. Or whether their physical affliction is a call for faith and healing prayer or is permitted by God for some divine purpose and they need courage to go through.
The most I can do, in fact, the very best that I can do, is to present to the Lord each situation, each person, and each family and ask Him to carry out His perfect will in His perfect way in His perfect time for his or her good and for God's glory.
Ultimately, the answers to my prayers come from God. They don't depend on me. I really don't know how and for what God wants me to pray, so the Holy Spirit picks up my imperfect prayer and presents it with His “groanings," (sighs too deep for words) to God perfectly "edited" to be acceptable to the Father's will (Romans 8:26-27).