New Every Morning

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Walk through any grocery or department store and you know right away that it’s New Year’s Resolution time, isn’t it? The front displays all relate to weight loss and home organization.  Everyone seems to be exercising more, eating less and cutting the clutter.  Admittedly, I usually jump on the resolution bandwagon, and take the opportunity to renew some healthy habits left off a few months back when life’s busy days got the best of me. And admittedly, the commitment usually trails off a few months in and we’re back to where we started.

My husband has a different perspective this time of year, and it got me thinking this week. He adamantly refuses to make any New Year’s resolutions and resists the concept entirely.  Here’s why: he says if a change is that important, then it should be that important any day of the year. It shouldn’t take a change of the calendar year to get you to do it if it’s really worth doing.

I see great value in taking the turn of the year to reflect on God’s blessings in the year gone past. And I see value in renewing a personal vision and commitment with expectation for the coming year. But I think the key may be in Chris’ thinking that this level of commitment should sustain itself throughout the year.

Maybe the opportunity to reflect and renew should be taken every morning, rather than just at year’s end.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:21-23

So maybe our New Year’s Resolution should be to make a “New Day’s Resolution” everyday.

And that new day’s resolution should start with a reflection on the LORD’s great love and compassion in the day before. Reflecting on God’s faithfulness for yesterday strengthens our trust to know He will be faithful for today. Then our response to His love, compassion and faithfulness becomes our vision and commitment for the day. We then go out to serve out of the overflow of our hearts, seeking His glory and not our own.

Our new day’s resolution may include a healthy eating and exercise plan, not to achieve body perfection, but to be better fit to serve God and others.

Our new day’s resolution may include a home organization project, not to achieve earthly praise, but to better serve our family and create order and peace in our home.

And our new day’s resolution should always include a time of prayer and Bible Study, not to check off a to-do list, but to better conform our hearts and minds to God’s will.

If you’re like me, the end of the day finds you pretty much beat. We’ve taken care of ourselves, our families (should we list all the laundry, carpools, and meals?), and our work and church responsibilities.  I love putting on cozy pajamas and climbing in my soft bed- and resting. Then, assuming no middle of the night dog or kid crisis, I awake in the morning ready to start a fresh day.

How about we try and make the refreshed start of the day a refreshed vision and commitment for serving Christ? Could we take our shower time and use it for drinking of the Living Water and letting Christ’s healing and forgiveness pour over us? Could we take our getting dressed and be reminded to put on our new self- clothed in His righteousness?

Be made new in the attitude of your minds and put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:23-24

Experts agree on the value of both short- and long-term goals. Maybe there is a combination of a New Year’s Resolution that sets a bigger direction for our lives and a shorter-term daily commitment renewal that keeps us moving towards that vision in realistic achievable steps.

I pray we would begin each day renewed- with a new song in our hearts and on our lips- ready to serve the Lord with fresh commitment.  I pray we would seek a fresh vision as this new year begins- watching on high for His guiding hand. And I pray we would rest at each day’s end to praise the One who is “making everything new.” (Revelation 21:5)

It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night. Psalm 92:1-2

Fit to Give a King

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes, as an adult, the songs I’ve sung since childhood take on a whole new “grown up” meaning.  And this week “The Little Drummer Boy” has been one of them.  I find myself relating to the little drummer boy in several ways.

Come, they told me. A newborn King to see.

Our finest gifts we bring, to lay before the King.

So to honor him, when we come.

This child was invited to come honor the King. I too was invited to join a procession of praise when Christ called me to follow Him. Like him, I wasn’t really sure where the procession would take me, but I knew I didn’t want to miss out.

 Little baby, I am a poor boy too.

I have no gift to bring, that’s fit to give a king.

This child recognized His shortcomings and felt his offering would be inadequate. So too do I feel an inadequacy with the responsibilities God has called me to. I don’t feel like what I offer could be fit to honor a holy King. My offerings seem broken and stained.

Shall I play for you?

Mary nodded. The ox and lamb kept time.

I played my drum for him.

This child loved the King enough to offer all he had. So I want to serve motivated by love for my Savior and King. May I offer all I am to give Him thanks and praise.

I played my best for Him. 

He took what He had- what he had been given- and gave His all to serve the King. I want to serve in this way, taking what God has given me- maybe a skill, a gift, a talent, a blessing- and offering it back to Him with all the strength I have.

Then He smiled at me.

He watched for the approval of the King. As a recovering people-pleaser, I so long to live only for the approval of the King. I think of the “audience of one” that I want to focus on, leaving the approval of man behind.

Several scriptures come to mind as I ponder the truths in this song:

Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

Hebrews 13:16 “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of man? Or of God?  Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Romans 12:1 “In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, this is your spiritual act of worship.”

I am also reminded of the widow told of in Luke 21 who gave two very small copper coins as an offering for the temple treasury. Jesus commended her, saying she had given more than all the others. “All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Lord, I come as the poor little drummer boy to offer all you’ve given me back to your service. I come as the poor widow with all I have to live on. May I serve you with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. Take all that I am for Your Glory. May my offering please the King.

To Be Like Mary

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I woke this morning on a pillowtop mattress under the warmth of my down comforter. She woke that morning on a bed of scratchy hay, covered loosely in dirty stable blankets.

My first born was delivered under medical care in a sterile hospital room. Hers came in a crude barn into the rough hands of her frightened husband.

My marriage followed a lovely ceremony with family and friends. Hers began in private surrounded by confusion and controversy.

In many ways, Mary’s story and mine are incomparable, yet I have seen several ways they are alike.

She was given a task greater than herself, and I too am unqualified for the work God has called me to do.

She delivered the Messiah to a dark hurting world. God asks me to bring light with my words and deeds.

She knew mercy would be given to those who would receive it. “His mercy extends to those who fear Him.”

She knew her greatest peace would come in surrendering to God’s will. “May it be to me as you have said.”

Her soul found strength in glorifying God. “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

And she knew only God could understand all of her emotions. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

These are all truths I long to be written on my heart as well.

Her journey was long with many challenges along the way. So, too, mine often feels overwhelming.

Her heart was fragile, yet fully trusting of God’s good will for her life.

Her faith was beyond her years, and her strength was from deep within.

I find in the Christmas story that I continually look to Mary. I want to be like her. I want my heart to trust like hers. I want my soul to be as strong as hers. I want my purpose, like hers, to be bringing Christ to a world in need.

May we share her humility and her simplicity.

May we have her faith.

May we follow her submissive heart.

May we find strength in rest and trust.

May we resign our will to God’s alone.

“For the Mighty One has done great things for me- Holy is His name.” Luke 1:49

Hope Rejoices in Trying

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Seventh grade volleyball tryouts are brutal. The stress of 80 middle school girls trying out for a team with only 30 spots is almost unbearable- for the girls trying out, and for their mothers. I remember this from my own middle school experience, and I have recently relived it with my daughter. I remember my father cheering me on by saying “all you can do is do your best,” words I spoke to my daughter as well. Go out and give it your best shot, and whether you make it or not, you will know you gave it all you had.

Unfortunately, this time around, my daughter’s best wasn’t enough to make the team, and she was devastated.  (So was I). Both our hearts were broken, but we could begin to find peace in looking back knowing she had done her best. She had tried her hardest, and she could wrestle back to accepting the outcome knowing she had given her all. Thankfully her young faith could begin to see that God must have had another good plan in mind. She could rest knowing she had learned from the experience, trusting God to bring her to a better place.

There is a line in the song “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman that says, “I will be here when the laughter turns to crying, through the winning, losing and trying.”  Winning, losing and trying. A simple view of our lives, but yes, sometimes we win and sometimes we lose, all the while we just keep on trying.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Colossians 3:23-24

Scripture clearly calls us to work, to try, to give our best shot at honoring Christ with our lives. As we are faithful to put forth our heart, soul, mind and strength to love and obey Him, He is faithful to carry us through.

On this parenting journey, I have definitely seen some wins, and I have definitely seen some losses.  I can look back and rest knowing I learned from those experiences, and grew in faith to trust God to bring me to a better place.  Even on days of defeat, there is peace in faithful trying.

We can sometimes look back and get discouraged by those days of defeat. We can be tempted to blame and doubt and heap guilt on ourselves wishing we had done something different. But we have to remember that we did all we knew to do at the time. When it comes to our children, of course we gave it our best shot at the time.  We have to trust the outcome to God, knowing He had another good plan in mind.

Our walk with the Lord is just that- a walk. Not a sprint. We have to settle in for the long haul of walking through life in His grace. Along the journey we will encounter many ups and downs. We can find greater joy as we see glimpses of His glory in small victories along the way.

Finally, brothers, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace and the God of love and peace will be with you.  2 Corinthians 13:11

The NIV translates “be made complete” with “aim for perfection.”  We are called to set our sights on following the holiness of God, while knowing that only He is holy. We can rejoice on the journey of striving to do our best, while accepting His grace that covers our sins and shortcomings.

I want to settle in to the long haul of walking with Christ through this temporary life. I want to be faithful to what He has for me here. I want to find joy in the journey of trying.

In Everything Give Thanks

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In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thessalonians 5:18

This week we are giving thanks. Thanks for family. Thanks for food. Thanks for faith.

For many of us the holidays are truly a time of thanksgiving. And yet at the same time, the stress and tension of family relationships or circumstantial difficulties can make this time a great challenge. Paul makes quite clear to us in this scripture that it is God’s will for us to give thanks in everything.

This is hard.

I’ve found on this parenting journey a great blessing comes in framing life’s challenges in thankfulness. I am learning to thank God in the struggle, even if I can’t yet thank Him for the struggle. Trials are easier to endure and find peace in if I can keep a close gaze on God. He is above and beyond the trial, yet chooses to come walk with me through the trial.

I will give thanks to God because of His righteousness. Psalm 7:17

In difficulty, there is always something worth giving thanks for. And we can start with the very character of God Himself. He is God no matter what we are facing. And He is still on His throne. He is still “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” (Psalm 145:8). He is still light, and He is still love. When we focus on His righteousness, we see our circumstances through very different lenses.

With this new perspective, then, I find three reasons we can give thanks in everything.

Glimpses of His presence and glory– Even in the midst of the most difficult times, God will reveal Himself and make His presence known. Our first born daughter was born with a blocked intestine and had to have emergency surgery on her 8th day of life. All of our family spent Thanksgiving Day that year in the hospital with her. One of those nights we left to get good rest in our own beds, and as we got in the car, the Christian radio station there announced a prayer for “a new born little girl Katelyn having surgery on her intestines tomorrow.”  God gave us a glimpse of His presence that night- a glimpse we needed to keep clinging to Him and to each other to get through the hardest time of our lives. Look around and see the beautiful sunset, a friend’s encouraging phone call, a Bible verse hung on the wall, a caring doctor as glimpses of His presence and glory to keep you going. And be thankful.

Gifts of His love and strength- In moments of fear, frustration, helplessness and loss of hope, listen for the whisper of God’s love over your life. Remember again His perfect heavenly Father love that completely and unconditionally loves you, His beloved daughter. Remember His Fatherly protection and provision. The Christian group Plumb sings the lyric “How many times have you given me strength to just keep breathing?”  Clinging to His love we can find strength to keep breathing and to keep walking even just one small step at a time. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). And we can be thankful.

Grace for today and hope for tomorrow- I’ve found on my hardest days that God’s grace comes in different ways. It is grace that brings comfort, wisdom and strength to the present, and gives peace in the midst of the raging storm. It is grace that reminds me who I am and whose I am. It reminds me that God has authored each day I face before time began. But it is also grace that gives me hope for a better tomorrow. Hope is holding on to the truth that this is not our home. Our eternal home is on high in the presence of God, and there with Him there is no weeping, no broken bodies, and no more sin. And we can be thankful- for the now and for the coming.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. Psalm 100:4

Of all the things we can give thanks for this week, we can give thanks for Him and to Him- for He created everything, He is over everything, He is in everything.

In everything, give thanks.

Hope Rejoices in Trials

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In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus is revealed.   1 Peter 1:6-7

Can we find a joy in knowing there is a purpose to our trials? Is there a hope in knowing God has a greater goal in allowing these trials into our lives? Does a peace come in the midst of the refining fire of life’s challenges?

There are two phrases of this scripture that can give us a better perspective for facing trials:

“Now for a little while”- The translation literally means “now for just a few minutes.” Elsewhere in scripture (Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8), we learn that “a thousand years are like a day” in God’s sight. If we work the math on that (which would be easier done on a white board), and say that 1,000 years in our time is like 24 hours to God, then we can work back and say 500 years to us is like 12 hours to God, and 250 years is like 6 hours, etc.  If we live an average of about 80 years, then we will only live about 1.9 hours in God’s eternal perspective. 1.9 hours. Then if we estimate how long a season of trial may be, we can see the perspective of “now for just a few minutes.” Even our greatest difficulties last just “a little while” in light of the eternal time we will spend worshipping God in heaven- free from all pain and suffering.  Seasons of struggle can seem endless, but in light of eternity, their time is short. We can hold on through the hard, knowing the hard lasts only a little while.

“Praise, glory and honor when Jesus is revealed”- I see two meanings for the end of this passage. First, we can rejoice in knowing that in the end, when Jesus is fully revealed and reclaims His Kingdom reign here on earth, we will overflow with praise, glory, and honor that will overshadow all of this life’s temporary sufferings.  Paul writes, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) When the glory of Jesus Christ is fully revealed, we can be assured our sufferings will pale in light of Him.

A second meaning for this passage that I see is the revealing of Christ that happens not only in the future, but in our present circumstance. The word “revealed” here literally means “to be laid bare, to uncover, to lay open what has been veiled or covered up.”  In the midst of great trial, Christ can seem hidden. We can struggle to find Him in the hard. But if we hold on, He is faithful to unveil Himself to us, and bring in peace and joy. His light can penetrate even our darkest moments, and the revelation that He is with us restores hope. His presence can bring us to a place of praise, glory and honor even as we “suffer grief in all kinds of trial.”

My soul will boast in the LORD, let the afflicted hear and rejoice. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:2, 18

We can rejoice in our afflictions because of God’s nearness. He does not leave us to suffer on our own, but rushes in close with His great strength and comfort. I can look back on my most challenging seasons as a parent, and can testify that those were the times when God was closest. He was there growing my faith, leading my steps, working in my life as He worked in my child’s life as well. And for that awareness of Him, and the work that He did deep in my soul, I would not trade those times. He really can bring us to a place of rejoicing, a place of thanking Him for the trials.

Let me hear joy and gladness, let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  Psalm 51:8

Bones that are broken heal up stronger than they were before. So too are our hearts made stronger by God’s healing hands when we have been through grief, disappointment, loss and hurt. Our faith is refined, our peace is restored, and our hope is renewed.

Because They’re His, Not Mine

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I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of Him.  For his whole life, He will be given over to the LORD.  I Samuel 1:27-28

Because my children belong to God, and not to me, I can find freedom, peace and rest as I trust them to His strong hands and perfect love. If I live in this faith and keep this perspective, my parenting journey is changed for His glory and for my good.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I know He loves them even more than I do. The great love and endless grace of their Heavenly Father are poured over each child as He protects and provides for their every need.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I can trust them to His care. Whether they are sitting close at my side, or travelling far across the world, our omnipresent God is with them. His eyes are always on them, even when my own are not.

Because they’re His, and not mine, my own worth is not based on their choices. Whether they are shining in righteousness or struggling with sin, I resist taking the credit or the blame. I choose rather to set my own worth on who I am in Christ, which has not changed since my children were born.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I’m free to serve them with unconditional love. Each one is a gift placed in my care by their Creator. May I love them as He would have me. May I serve them with His patience, His grace, His discipline and His wisdom.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I can be their parent and not their best friend. Seeking to please God, and not to please my child, I can keep my place as parent in their lives. I can parent with purpose training their hearts and minds for Christ.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I can see past who they are today to who He is shaping them to be. He has begun a good work in each one of them, and I can rest knowing He will be faithful to complete it. I see His hand working even in the hard. Each glimpse of His presence gives me more patience and grace.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I can live with healthy boundaries, respecting their emerging independence. As they grow, may they take on more responsibility for their own decisions. May I model that responsibility as I live my life before them.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I can keep myself healthy to best serve Him in this role. I can seek to be healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually. In doing so, I am best fit to honor God in this role. I can live with balance and an eternal perspective.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I can parent for His glory rather than for my own accolade. I can resist the temptation to compare and compete with others. I can seek the contentment that comes in living for the Lord, and not for myself.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I can stand in awe of who He has made them to be- today. When I set aside pressures to perform and pretend and be perfect, I see each child as an amazing creation shaped not by my will, but by the will of God. Each heart, mind, body and soul is a treasure who is worthy of great care.

Lord, forgive me for where my parenting has been centered on me, or centered on my child, and not centered on You. Make me a faithful servant of the children you have placed in my care. Give me your heart to love them as you would. Renew in me the wonder of who you have made them to be. I want to be faithful to you.

 

Hope Trusts God’s Compassion

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The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all. He has compassion on all He has made.  Psalm 145:8-9

We have seen that God’s character is trustworthy. And we have seen that He created all things for His glory, and is faithful to care for all that He made. He is worthy of our full trust for all that He is and for all that He does. We see more of His heart for His creation as we look at God’s compassion.

One definition for compassion is “to see, care and act on another’s need.” God who is the all-knowing Creator of all sees every need that we have. And when He sees those needs, His response is one of compassion- He cares about what He sees. But His response goes beyond seeing and caring, to having the power to act on the need.  He moves towards us to help with power and love.

We have all passed a homeless man or woman on a busy street corner. We may have seen the need, but did we really care? And if we cared, did we do anything to help? If not, then our response was not one of compassion. Compassion is seeing, caring and acting on another’s need. I’m so thankful God has compassion on all He has made. He doesn’t glance and keep driving, but instead He stops and extends His mighty hand of help.

Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. Because of the LORD’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in Him.  Lamentations 3:21-25

In the scriptures above, we see several characteristics of God’s compassion that are closely related. We see that God is gracious, slow to anger and rich in love. Gracious means that He gives grace and favor to those who don’t deserve it. He is slow to anger- He doesn’t look at our sin and react hastily, but moves compassionately to respond. And above all else His love for us is great.

A mother’s love for her child is to me the closest taste of God’s love for us that we can experience here on earth.  As we experience the rich unconditional love flowing from us to our child, can we feel God’s love flowing towards us in the same way? When our child makes a mistake, commits a sin, or otherwise acts in a way we wish he or she wouldn’t, and we feel that faithful love and forgiveness still pouring forth, can we accept it from God when we fall short? When our child is hurting, and our heart sees, cares and acts with compassion and help, can we trust God to move towards our hurt in the same way?

Another aspect of God’s compassion is empathy. Empathy is the ability to share someone else’s pain. It is knowing and understanding another’s pain, usually gained from having had the same experience.  Scripture assures us that through the incarnation, Christ experienced the same hurts as we have.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin.  Hebrews 4:15

Though Christ did not have a child with special needs, we can be assured He experienced doubt, fear, grief, loneliness, disappointment and loss, just as we have. And we can be assured He is able to help us respond to those hurts in a way that grows our faith and honors God.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  Hebrews 4:16

God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. We can trust His tender response to His children. He is good to those whose hope is in Him.

 

Hope Trusts God’s Care

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Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come?

Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,

When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He.

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.       

The words to this gospel hymn are more fully experienced sung in an African American worship service by a talented soloist who can belt it out in full emotion. But the words alone speak a message for all of us struggling along life’s challenging road.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Don’t be afraid, you are worth more than sparrows.  Luke 12:6-7

God cares for His creation. And He especially cares for the creation that bears His name. We are worth far more to Him, and we can trust that He will watch over us.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they?  Matthew 6:26

We can trust that God will take care of us, and in that trusting, we can come to rest in His perfect provision for our lives.  We face many needs and challenges, some physical, others relational or financial, many emotional and spiritual. God our Creator knows us, and knows each of those needs intimately. And He is able to care tenderly for them.

My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

We teach children the difference between “wants” and “needs.” They may say they “need” a new toy or new bicycle, but we help them understand that those are really just “wants.” So, too, we as adults sometimes need reminded of this difference. How many of my hopes and expectations are “wants?” And a scarier question is- how many of those “wants” have self-centered motives?

If we are honest, I think most of us will admit many of our “wants” come from worldly pressures and our own selfishness. We want a perfect house, a perfect car, a perfect marriage, a perfect child. Hopefully we can also admit that God has used difficult circumstances to whittle away at those “wants” and mold them into God-centered desires. We can agree that we don’t “need” perfect houses, cars, marriages and children to live. We need God.

God works in our “wants” and “needs” to bring us to total dependence on Him. He promises to meet all of our needs, and carve away at our worldly and selfish desires until we align with Him.

Command those who are rich in the present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  1 Timothy 6:17

Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:4

This promise tells us that if we will delight ourselves in God, He will place within us new desires. The desires of our heart become the desires of God’s heart and we seek after all the fullness of what He has for us. We place our hope in His care, trusting Him to meet all our needs physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually.

One of the deepest fears for a mother of a child with special needs is the fear of what will happen to her child if something happens to her. We can trust God’s care for our child- whether we are here to help or not. God will provide for all of his or her needs.

Trusting God to take care of all our needs frees us from the worry and stress of thinking we have to come up with all the answers. We are free to lay all our fears at His feet and place our confidence in His faithful provision. We are free to enjoy the many blessings He has given. We are free to delight in His faithful, watchful, caring hand.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free.

For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

              

 

Hope Trusts God’s Creation

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Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:3

In the story of creation, we learn that “God created man in His image. In the image of God, He created them.” (Genesis 1:27). Human beings are the only creation that bears the image of God. All human beings have been uniquely created by the sovereign hands of Elohim- our Creator.  Each one fashioned to bring glory to God.

Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory.  Isaiah 43:7

Jesus teaches us in John 9 that God seeks to glorify Himself through all people, even those with a disability.

“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”  John 9:2-3

As parents of children with different kinds of disabilities, we may need to wrestle out this issue with God and with ourselves. Can we trust that God uniquely created our child- just as he or she is- to bring glory to Himself? Do we trust His divine design- or are we tempted to consider this an “accident?”

For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well.  Psalm 139:13-14

Trusting God’s creation means trusting God with how He created my child.

Moses wrestled out this issue with God when God called Him to go to the Egyptians and lead Israel out of captivity. He was “slow of speech and tongue” and didn’t feel equipped to take on this great task.  God made clear to Moses that even with this disability, He was exactly who God created Him to be.

The LORD said to Moses, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I the LORD?”

We can come to rest in knowing that it is the Lord who creates each of our children, with their unique physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual development. We can turn our hearts to His great plan and trust Him to work all things for the greater good. We can focus on the beauty of God’s handiwork and be thankful for what we have, not discouraged by what we don’t have.

Friends of ours lost their third child late in the pregnancy. It was a very difficult loss. When God blessed them with a fourth child, and sustained them through the pregnancy, she was born with club feet. Their attitude has been a great witness to trusting in God’s perfect design for her, even with this challenge.  Their experience through the miscarriage gave them an attitude of thankfulness for this new life, in place of discouragement that could have otherwise come. They are focusing on what they have, not on what they don’t have.

Trusting God’s creation for my child moves me beyond “Why, Lord?” to “Be glorified, Lord.”

Trusting God’s creation also means trusting God with how He created me.

As “fearfully and wonderfully” as our children are made, so too are we created uniquely by God to bring glory to Himself.  He fashioned us to be the mother our children need us to be.  He uniquely placed us together in our families, whatever shape they may take. We can trust that our personality, our education and experiences, our passions and our interests, our strengths and our weaknesses have all shaped us to be used in our ministry to our children as mothers.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.   Ephesians 2:10

One of my favorite quotes for ministry is “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.”  We may not feel equipped for this calling, yet we can trust God to pour into us exactly what we need to do the work He prepared for us to do. After He reminded Moses of who had created him, He made a promise.

Now go, I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”  Exodus 4:12

Hope trusts God’s creation- how He created my child and how He created me- all to bring glory to Himself.  He will help us, He will teach us, He will equip us for all He has called us to be.

Creator God, Lord of all, may I trust you with every detail you have fashioned in my child, and in me. Be glorified as your hands continue to shape us into all you’ve created us to be.