I’ve mentioned before that we are a family of faith. Since today is Sunday, I thought I would share with you how something abstract like faith gets worked into the Difficult Mind.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~Ephesians 3:14-19
Tony Atwood, author of books on difficult minds, mentions that people with such rigid thinking usually have extremely strong faith or none at all, not even an interest in learning or exploring faith.
So where does that leave us?
First, we can’t really choose faith for any of our children. We can talk about it, model it and take them to church and places where faith is talked about and lived out but, as they enter their own adulthood, they will each have to decide for themselves. In this way our sons faith journey is very much the same as most children.
We pray often that he would have a soft heart towards God and matters of faith.
Second, we can communicate faith to him in a way that makes sense to him. Many kids are caught up in the fun and feeling of faith. For a child with a difficult mind they just want to facts. If you can’t show them the facts, they can’t understand what you are saying.
For our son this means that we have implemented some very important faith factors into his day:
- He has Bible Time every morning. This isn’t a suggestion or nice idea, it is on his schedule and he has to check it off the list to get to the next item. We don’t do this to be rigid or controlling, we do this because reading is how he learns best. He can read at his own pace as much or little as he wants. Some mornings he reads for a long time and others just a few minutes. We hope that by including this piece he can feel free to explore God and faith and ask questions and find answers.
- We pray every night at bed. By “we” I mean my husband and/or I. We pray over him. We pray clear, honest things, like we would with other adults. Our son isn’t interested in what God can do for him and he isn’t impressed that we know how to pray. What draws him to prayer is the concrete act of specific conversation. We hope by demonstrating this, he will see God in his own life and be able to have his own conversations.
- Everything goes back to Scripture. Since our son needs something concrete we use the Bible for everything. We use it to talk about behavior and self control. We use it to talk about love and grace. We use it to make rules and help guide decisions. We hope by putting scripture and God in a practical, useful context, our son will see his own need for God and grace.
It isn’t a perfect system.
When he is angry and resorts to “Why don’t you just give me grace again?” and stomps of angrily we realize he may be able to define many aspects of faith but his heart doesn’t truly understand.
Faith has not yet permeated his actions. Part of me often thinks that if we could just get him to understand how much he means to God, to us, to the world, that he is beloved and has a purpose, then, everything would be better. It wouldn’t, but I hope someday he has enough emotional thinking to see that our hearts guide our actions.
We haven’t figured out how to differentiate between the law (just doing the right thing doesn’t get you to God) and grace (which doesn’t mean you do whatever you want). As a difficult mind, he is all law all the time. We try so hard not to make faith about rules, yet if that is how he understands the world, maybe it is okay.
“Hope and sorrow in all there’s rescue and there’s not.”
There’s Rescue: Our son has a deep desire to learn the tenants of faith. He excels at memorizing scripture, remembering Bible stories and truly desires to know more.
There’s Not: How do you teach someone about unconditional love and grace when they don’t understand emotions? How do you speak to someone’s soul when it seems to be made of stone? We don’t know but we are trying.
Today we are thankful for desire. Without desire and enthusiasm we wouldn’t even get a chance to try to help this little man see God. And, in the midst of all the trying, we are grateful to see a little more of God in our own lives every day.