Let’s face it….some days, weeks, months are just loaded with challenges, trials, hurdles, roadblocks, etc. What is your initial reaction in such situations? Is it anger, tears, anxiety, overloading on the chocolate?

For me, it just depends on the circumstance. I tend to engage in all the above. Lately, we have been dealing with honesty issues in college. Hope has been less than truthful on numerous occasions. Can you imagine your college student lying? Ha! I had to be reminded by my sister that most of us lied to our parents, professors, and others to avoid parental disappointment, unpleasant conversations, and the dreaded consequences for our unauthorized actions. It does make me giggle a little when I think about the intelligence it takes for Hope to know how to lie, and that lying may help her avoid getting in trouble. She amazes me how she uses the “Down syndrome card” to her advantage. She can be a very creative manipulator. The funny thing is that most people fall for it!

Ok, ok, so I guess Hope is a pretty typical college student. The unfortunate thing for Hope is that she has hundreds of eyes on her at Clemson—people that care and want her to succeed. So when she makes a mistake, I usually find out about it. I am thankful for that, although sometimes there’s freedom in not knowing certain things as a parent, right?  Integrity, trust, respect are qualities that all parents hope to instill in their children. Actions that are contrary to these characteristics are quite bothersome to me. Here is one apology note I received this fall from Hope after a “lying” incident.IMG_1052 copy

Yeah, yeah, very cute. She’s such a brown-noser! Yet, the dishonesty and sneaking around continues. I have not seen the remorse that you would hope to see from someone who is truly sorry and ready to make a change in her behavior. Reid and I have been praying for God to give us wisdom and guidance regarding Hope’s future. Maybe this behavior is a sign that Hope will need some additional supports when she leaves college. Sometimes the roadblocks and struggles along the way are God’s nudging—His way of telling us that maybe we need to rethink our plans. Maybe we haven’t been patient enough to wait for his answer, and we have made decisions about her future on our own. I’m beginning to see the dishonesty and rebellion as a signal to take a fresh look at this situation and be patient enough to wait on the Lord.

I was reading in my devotion today about “reframing your circumstances”—looking at a situation from a positive point of view. So could these struggles with Hope be God’s way of getting us to rethink our plans for her in order to provide protection for all of us in some way? This fresh look at unpleasant circumstances gives me great peace as we journey down this road. It has allowed me to replace my anxiety, frustration and anger with gratitude because I know God will use this for good. (Romans 8:28)

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3

Are you presently experiencing a trial that needs to be “reframed” in your mind? Don’t let your circumstances define you, let them point you to the One who will refine you with His power, wisdom and love.

And enjoy that piece of chocolate (dark chocolate, of course)!

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