One of the first things I learned, when Hannah started an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program, was to be her greatest cheerleader. I would clap my hands and squeal with delight, “Good sitting!” or “Good ‘b’ sound!” She found my excitement and cheering very rewarding and I loved encouraging her.
When Hannah was about six-years-old, she was on a soccer team. In the middle of a game, which she wasn’t very interested in, the ball rolled to her and hit her foot. I was on the sidelines cheering like she just kicked the winning goal and yelling to her to run after the ball and “kick it again!” She didn’t run after it. She stood still, looked at me and yelled, “Mama, clap!” I erupted into gales of laughter! Yes, Hannah is definitely an ABA girl.
I must admit, I took to ABA like a fish to water. I’ve always loved to encourage people. I thrive on it. It energizes me. I love finding the silver lining behind a cloud.
So, what about when I get tired and discouraged? Just like everyone else, it affects the people around me. Then I feel guilty. This happened just the other day and it ended up with Dan, Hannah and I angry with each other.
I stepped out of the room and prayed the profound and timeless prayer uttered by millions: “Jesus, help!”
This question came to mind: “Do you have room for Me in this situation?” Up to that point, no, I didn’t. But I wanted to make room.
I remembered how King David commanded the angels in Psalm 103:20 (ESV). “Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do His word, obeying the voice of His word!”
I thought about Chris Tomlin’s song, How Great Is Our God. Many times, when alone, I sing the chorus and command the angels as I sing. I know they sing with me and it lifts me up every time.
So, in the face of frustration and anger, I took Hannah by the hand and we went to the kitchen where Dan was. I looked at each of them and said, “This frustration – this anger is not who you are and it’s not who I am.”
I asked them to sing with me. Hannah, of course, giggled and giggled; but we all stood in the kitchen singing with the angels about how great our God is.
The frustration was gone. The anger was gone. We went about our day in peace and harmony.
Later that evening, Dan began feeling stressed and I got discouraged. I went to my room and began thinking about all I have to be thankful for and I thanked God for each person in my life and all He has done. Discouragement left. Joy came in.
I realize this sounds simplistic, but I have come to love the simplicity of the Gospel. It works!