Friday, January 15, 2016

Grief from brokenness

Our Story

I am going to keep some details out because this is a deeply personal story.  But, as your mama, I need to tell you some things that I am learning in this journey.  I need to write it now so that I don't forget.  I need to share this with others because the truths that God is teaching me can encourage others in the same or similar situations.  The older I get the more I realize that I do not understand.  In that state of grasping for truth and understanding, I have to simply trust.  Searching for understanding is a good thing, but trust is needed every step of the way.  And, in searching for understanding, I have to realize that the most important things to understand are eternal.  This world, and the brokenness in it, are temporary, and therefore not very important in the grand scheme of things.  

2 Corinthians 4:18English Standard Version (ESV)

18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
There is a very apparent brokenness and evil in this world, some caused by personal sin and some caused by the effects of that first sin in the garden.  This world is broken.  For us, right now, we have come face to face with one aspect of this world's brokenness.  We have found out information about our genes that reveal why certain things have happened.  In the midst of this and working through all of the feelings of grief that it brings up, I have to cling to truth.  It grieves me most to know that you will have to work through these things as well.  To know that something in me caused all of this for you.  So many hurdles that I would take away in an instant if given the opportunity.  So many losses that this one thing causes.  It would be much easier to work through this if it just involved me, but it very closely affects two people that I care so much about.  But here is the truth that I cling to.  
1.  God made you perfectly.  
I know that God is in control.  I know that He is sovereign.  I don't claim to have a full understanding of this truth by any means.  But I KNOW this is true.  I BELIEVE this is true.  If I focus on the circumstances in the here and now and forget the big picture, I can get caught in grief and forget this truth.  But God IS in control.  For whatever reason, He has allowed this to happen.  

Psalm 139:13English Standard Version (ESV)

13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.   

2.  God has allowed something to thwart His perfect design           

These issues, this brokenness, and the pain that comes with them was not God's design.  His design is perfect and complete.  Everything good comes from Him.  He allowed it, but I do not think He designed it.  He will work it for His glory.  He will work through it and make it beautiful because of His touch.  When we pray for healing in your body, we pray that it would function the way that God designed it to.  Because His ways are perfect.  Just like in the story of Job, God has allowed something hard and painful to come across our paths.  But He will work it for His glory.  He can turn anything hard into something beautiful.  And He is certainly making you STRONG, BRAVE, AND COURAGEOUS through all of this.  I have seen God work in so many ways in your personality and character.  I have seen great determination and tenacity in your spirit.  I have seen your delight and joy at every accomplishment.  I pray that you come to realize WHO is your ROCK and your STRENGTH.  I pray that you come to fully depend on HIM.  I pray that you grow to lean that you cannot do it on your own.  And I pray that you encourage others around you to look to the ONE WHO IS ABLE through all hardships and all circumstances, no matter what they are, to work GOOD.  

3.  God has chosen to leave us in a broken world

God will work this brokenness to His purposes.  He has a plan for your good and His glory.  But we are in a very broken world.  Everyone deals with this brokenness in one way or another.  We are all affected.  So, my son, you are not alone.  Your brokenness might look different than the person next to you.  But we are all dependent on God to get through much pain and evil in this world.  It affects everyone.  Look around you.  See the desperation of those around you and point them to the ONE AND ONLY SAVIOR.  The AMAZING GOD who has helped you and carried you from day one is the same God who is the only hope for the pain you see around you.  

John 17:15English Standard Version (ESV)

15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a]

4.  Eternity is what matters.  

This life, and the pain that it brings, will fade away in an instant when we see Jesus face to face.  In that moment only eternal things will matter.  What seems like a mountain today is small in the face of eternity.  So I pray that God works eternal good out of this temporal bad.  I pray that your heart and your character are shaped through these difficult circumstances by the one designer that can make your life bear fruit.  

5.  Our identity is in Christ

Even our genetics are temporal.  They are limited to this earth.  I cannot look to the things of this earth for my identity.  I have to look to Christ.  

2 Corinthians 5:17English Standard Version (ESV)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[a] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

There is a sense of pride and joy that comes from looking at a brand new baby and seeing that they have your nose or their great grandfathers dimple in their chin.  I cannot even begin to describe the pain of realizing that something that was hidden in you has caused pain for that precious little one.  But even this is temporal.  We are more than our bodies.  God wants to make us new in Him.  And all creation groans for God to make things new.  He is JUST and He is GOOD.  And He will right every wrong.  

Revelation 21:4English Standard Version (ESV)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”                                                                                                                         

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Try and try again

If I could choose one word to describe you right now it is "determined."  You don't let anything stop you.  You fall down and get back up.  You try to climb everything you see.  You go up and down the steps, trying to master your movement and balance.  You fight until you get it.  You make sounds and imitate words to try to talk and communicate.  You ask what things are over and over to learn everything that you can.  You, my son, are determined.  You thrive on the combination of encouragement, support, and opportunity.  You move from one stage to the next with a vigorous love of life and learning.
This focus that you have to keep trying until you master it is amazing and something I can learn from.  God wants us to look at problems as opportunities.  He wants to work through us.  We don't have to depend on our own strength to master something.  He is right there with the resources that we need to accomplish it.  I pray that the determination you have right now will grow and mature into a dependence on your Creator.  I pray that you will learn where your strength comes from and who gave you that amazing personality to keep going and not give up.  It is so much fun to watch you learn.  I look forward to the many times you will master a new skill.  And I thank God for the determination that you have to go after it.

Philippians 4:13   I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Two's - Terrible or Terrific?

Especially with years of experience teaching two-year-olds, I have heard the phrase "terrible two's" a lot.  When you were born, I started a two year break from teaching two-year-olds.  I am ready for this year.  I am excited about this year.  You are learning so much!  You are experiencing the fussiness and whining of discovering that you want your own way.  But what an opportunity it is to teach you!  As you discover your own will, you are learning that God wants you to think about others.  You are learning that sometimes you have to wait.  And you are learning to take turns and be patient.  So many discoveries and so much wonder and excitement!  Each thing you learn adds to who you are.  The joy that God placed within you is growing.  Oh how I pray that never stops!  God can use you in so many ways to spread joy and His love to those around you.  You take such pleasure in simple things.  We love spending time with you.  And you have so many people that love you.  So as we jump into this year of you being two, I say it is "terrific two's."  It's a terrific time of learning, discovery, and lots of laughter.  No terrible two's here.  Opportunity?  Yes.  Growth?  Yes.  Tantrums?  Sometimes.  But we move on.  We learn.  We are in training.  The funny thing is that sometimes those tantrums teach Mama that something needs to change in my heart too.  It's that way for all of life.  God is shaping and molding us throughout life circumstances, and there is always more to learn.  I once heard a preacher say that every home needs a two-year-old for entertainment, and now I know why.  Jedidiah, you are so much fun!  And we love you so much!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Health God's Way

Many looking at you today would say that you are a very healthy boy.  You are growing, learning, and constantly doing new things.  You love to play, walk, run, and especially do anything musical.  You love people, and you get super excited when you see your cousins or hear your Grammie's laugh as she walks in the door.  A lot of the health issues you had in the first year of life have been cleared up.  But Papa and Mama are still praying and fighting to see where God would lead us in making healthy choices for you.  You still have digestive issues that cause you some daily pain and a rather irritating case of eczema.  We know these problems are symptoms, and we need to find the cause.  We have tried many things, and we are currently working on trying more.  We are praying that you will not have to deal with these symptoms for long.  Even with all the research and brainstorming, the first place we need to turn is to the Lord.  He is your Creator, and He definitely knows what will help your body function the way that He designed it to.  God has been teaching me a lot through this.  Health is more than physical.  Even our physical symptoms have a deeper dimension to them.  We can get crazy and overwhelmed with all of the health information out there.  We can fight to make sure that everything that enters your body is locally grown and prepared at home.  We can work to make everything from scratch.  We can do all of that and miss the most important part of health.  The more that I read in the Bible about health, the more that I find physical health as a byproduct of spiritual health.  Spiritual health is by far more important.  The destiny of our soul far outweighs the destiny of this body.  I pray that as you grow, you will someday learn the importance of spiritual health.  I pray that you will seek God with all of your heart and have an outward focus to notice those that are in need around you.

Isaiah 58:6-8
Is not this the fast that I have chosen?  to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?  Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house?  when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?  Then shall they light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall sprin forth speedily: and they righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.    

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Disability transformed into His Ability

So today was the first time that I heard you labeled by somebody as "disabled."  As I think about it, it is actually quite nice that it hasn't happened sooner.  We have been extremely blessed with a pediatrician and therapists and eye doctors that are all very encouraging and see your determination.  So many have spoken over you words of life and encouragement.  Your lack of perfect vision does not stop you.  I see a very determined spirit in you that works at something over and over until you feel that it is mastered.  Others see it too.  At times it is often hilarious, as you go for the stairs again so that you can step up and down them or plop down on the floor so you can pull yourself up for the 100th time.  So as a mother, my stomach immediately felt sick upon hearing you labeled like that.  My first instinct was to try to say something to the adult that said it, but I quickly thought about the intentions of the individual.  I let it go.  The experience got me thinking.  
Disablity is actually the best place that you can be.  God wants to bring you to the point of realizing your weakness, your inability, your lack of resources, your sinful nature so that He can have the opportunity to save you and to bring glory to Himself.  If we are always able to handle it, then we won't ask Him for help.  If we have a defecit in strength, ability, stamina, patience, or anything else then we know our need for someone stronger.  We only look for help once we realize our need.  That is why the law is so important, and an understanding of the law and judgement can be used by God to bring somebody to salvation.  We cannot do it on our own.  We can never measure up.  The moment that we think we are good enough is a very dangerous moment that leads to destruction.  Our desire to be in control and to please God on our own will never get us there.  
What a loving God to use the law to show us our need for Him!  I think about this role of parenting as we have gradually moved into a stage involving a lot more training and discipline.  A parent wants their child to make the right choice.  There is such a desire to see your child succeed in what you are teaching them.  You do not want to bring that consequence for a wrong choice.  God, in His love for us, uses the law as a tool to help us choose life.  It points us to our Savior.  
So yes, the first time you were "labeled" by a well meaning individual may have stirred up some mother bear responses deep down inside, but I know that disability is exactly where we all need to be.  God can receive glory from our own disability, no matter what area it is in.  And that is the greatest purpose of life.  To glorify God.  And no matter who labels you as "disabled," whether their intentions be good or evil, I hope and pray that God will lead you to the point where you come face to face with your own spiritual disability and cry out to Him to fill you with His ability and use you for His glory.  

Friday, January 25, 2013

God as El-Shaddai

As you grow, you will learn and meditate on different aspects of God's character.  This word El-Shaddai means that God is all sufficient.  When other sources run dry, God is abundant.  When everything else fails, God is able.  The last few months of your life have proven this time and time again.  You have had numerous medical issues and seen many medical specialists.  All of the doctors kept saying something was definitely wrong, but they couldn't give us an answer as to what.  Every natural means of helping you was exhausted.  We needed to put you on a feeding tube because you were not taking in the nourishment that you needed on your own.  As Mama and Papa kept praying and trying new things to help you, nothing seemed to help enough.  Certain things would help at times, but nothing got you to where you needed to be in order to thrive and get off of the feeding tube.  We cried out to God and prayed for your healing.  Each feeding time was a chance for Mama to trust God and not any certain special formula, comfortable position, way of rocking you, medicine, or any other means of helping you.  Many times it would seem as if you were not going to drink anything, but God would intervene and the bottle would be empty by the end of the feeding.  God showcases His glory when we turn to him.  His strength is sufficient in our weakness!  There was nothing natural that could help you enough, but God is faithful.  He is more powerful than any sort of medicine.  We can rest and trust in God, even when our natural eyes see no signs of hope.  God gets all of the glory even for something as basic but essential as an empty bottle.  This detail of your life is not out of God's view.  He knows every detail, and your life is in the palm of His very capable hand.  

2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Learning to Laugh

This week was one of the hardest ever, but this is the week that you learned to laugh.  It brings such a joy to think about that fact.  God gave us a glimpse of your personality and a picture of another truth to teach you as you get older.  Only God can supply joy in the midst of trials and difficulty.  When we serve Him, we can put aside the temptation to despair and the emotions that flood our minds when faced with a difficult circumstance.  This world is temporal.  The things that we face in this world will not last.  But God is all-powerful and eternal.  He will last!  There is a joy and a peace that comes when we learn these truths.  I am so glad that this is the week you learned to laugh.  I am so excited every time I hear it, especially when you laugh at Papa talking and playing with you when he comes home from work.  You are learning and growing in so many ways.  Someday you will get to learn what it means to find heavenly laughter in the midst of an earthly trial.  It doesn't mean that the trial goes away or is suddenly easy.  But perspective changes.  Suddenly you remember that this trial staring you in the face and trying to look all big, mean, and ugly is in reality hardly anything.  You learn to pray like Johnathan Edwards, "Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs."  Then the things that God cares about become your cares.  Selfish desires turn into Kingdom desires, and you begin to see the lost and dying people around you.  They become way more important than the trial that at first seemed so big.

2Co 4:16-18  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.