I read something really encouraging yesterday that increased my faith in our trial with Abbie. There are days when I feel hopeless, that this child is never going to change. It is then that I cry out to the Lord and He is always faithful to answer me. Yesterday, after I prayed following a particularly trying morning, the Lord led me to start reading "The Peacemaker" by Ken Sande. He book is described as "A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict", which is what I feel like I have a lot of with Abbie! CONFLICT. Although the book deals primarily with adult conflict, I found it applicable nevertheless.
I wanted to share a quote that changed my perspective tremendously:
"Contrary to what you may have heard, God's highest purpose for you is not to make you comfortable, wealthy, and happy. If you have put your faith in him, he has something far more wonderful in mind for you--he plans to conform you to the likeness of his Son! He began to change you the day you yielded yourself to him, and he will continue this process throughout you life. Conflict is one of the many tools that God can use to help you develop a more Christlike character. To begin with, he may use conflict to remind you of your weaknesses and to encourage you to depend more on him (2 Cor. 12:7-10). The more you depend on his grace, wisdom, and power, the more you will be imitating the Lord Jesus (Luke 22:41-44).
God may also use conflict to uncover sinful attitudes and habits in your life. Conflict is especially effective in breaking down appearances and revealing stubborn pride, a bitter and unforgiving heart, or a critical tongue. When you are squeezed through controversy and these sinful characteristics are brought to the surface, you will have an opportunity to admit their existence and ask for God's help in overcoming them.
There is more to being like Jesus than simply recognizing weaknesses and confessing sin to grow, you must also practice new attitudes and habits. Just as athletes develop their muscles and skills through strenuous training, you will see greatest growth when you repeatedly think and behave properly in response to challenging circumstances. . . .
God uses the problems found in conflict to stretch and challenge you in carefully tailored ways. This process is sometimes referred to as the "ABC of spiritual growth"--Adversity Builds Character. As you worry less about going through conflict and focus more on growing through conflict, you will enhance that process and experience the incomparable blessing of being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ."
This encouraged me that I am not going through this for naught. I am being conformed to the likeness of Christ through each and every conflict with Abbie. This reminds me that instead of seeing this trial as hopeless, I should instead view this as a time of growth and an opportunity for Christ to change me, to produce fruit in me. God IS in control of this "trial" and I believe we will come out on the other side one day. One huge difference is that Abbie is having good days intersparsed with the bad. Today was a good day. This is definitely a change. Thus, I know there is hope. I have to believe that these bad days will one day become fewer and farther between.
In Christ, Laura