Really Believe: Courage to Serve God (with Mary-Courage)

 

When God first called me to be an autism mom, my insides ached like someone was stretching my heart out as far as they could, then flinging back inside my chest to bounce around, bruise my soul.

My mind raced with anxious thoughts about the future. Every child I saw reminded me my son was not like them.  I may never have a conversation with him, or even hear him speak. My heart quivered inside as I wondered what our lives would be like.

Grappling to understand God's plans for us, I pleaded with Him: Please do not let this be!

But God inspired me with His Goodness, and with gentleness guided my heart to say, “Yes” to His plan. I drenched my will in His Word until it dripped with trust in His ways.

I had to decide: Did I love God for who He is or for what He does for me? I believed children are a gift from the Lord, but I needed to realize children with autism are equally a gift from the Lord.  I became convinced that raising children with autism is part of His Good Plan for me.

In order to be released from the dark cloud that was storming an inclement future, I needed to really believe:

Special needs children are good and perfect gifts,

crafted intentionally by a good God,

 for a great purpose.

Believing that took courage!

Sometimes releasing the plans we have to embrace God's plans for us, requires great courage: Mary-courage.

Bible Art Journaling on Mary-courage: immersing our will into God’s plan

This past Christmas my 4-year-old was fascinated by the Christmas story. She thought it was a big secret, knowing the truth about Mary and her baby. Every night for many weeks we read the story and I wondered at Mary’s courage to accept God’s plan. Talk about having surprising (but good!) plans dumped on your life! Mary faced many challenges when she agreed to God's plan. By being single and pregnant, and pregnant by someone other than her betrothed:

  • The punishment could be death by stoning.
  • She would have to face her family’s reaction.  Their society would bring shame upon them all.
  • Her friends would no longer associate with her.
  • She had to tell her future husband she is pregnant—no doubt she worried!
  • She had to cope with the gossip flying around her, no doubt.  As a girl who was faithful to her God, she would not want to be thought of that way!

How could she give these concerns (and more) up? By believing “… that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” (Luke 1:45) Mary’s courage to really believe God was fueled by trust and love.

What would happen if we really believe God, and trade in our worries for deep trust in God’s calling on our lives?

We would have “Mary-courage”:  Courage to abandon ourselves—become a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1)—and immerse our will into God’s perfect plan. I love what Mary says, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”  (Luke1:38)

God has called each of us to assignments that require this brand of courage.  He will call us to face challenges that seem impossible. His plans may make us squirm as we wrestle to understand His goodness in our reality. But when God calls us to a task, He also equips us to carry it out.

He took care of Mary and empowered her through all the struggles she faced. He will also care for us and empower us to carry out the magnificent plans He’s called each of us to fulfill.

My older son with autism is now 13, and my younger son is now 10. God has kept His promise to protect and empower me as their mom, and them as His children. He is Fully Able. We will not fail in our calling when we place our trust in Him.  Indeed, with God we will flourish!

Pondering Points:

1. In what ways have you had to have courage like Mary?

2.. What dream is God placing in your heart— birthing in you?

3. Mary’s “Yes” to God changed the world. How would your yes to God change your world?

 

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The Gift and the Giver: Merry Christmas!

A couple weeks ago, Dash was in such a hurry (and believe it or not, fighting with his sister) that he left on the bus without his bookbag (insert quivering lip of Dash here).  Knowing how much this would upset him, I drove the bookbag over to the school at my first opportunity.  Dash had just arrived and he & his (wonderful) Ed Tech (we'll name her  Ms. Best) were just about to call me when I walked in the doors. He saw me come with his bag and his face lit up with the biggest smile and arms open WIDE. For a minute, I thought he was going to give me a big hug...but no, that was for his beloved book bag. "My book bag!" he said as he grabbed it.

Oh well... His smile defied his actions and hugged me anyway.  Pretty amazing to be able to give someone that much happiness with just one small action, one gift.

I was thinking about this and how Dash seemingly noticed the gift more than the giver of the gift, and thought about how often we do the same thing with the Giver gives us gifts. He wants us to seek Him first, not his gifts.

But when God gave us the ultimate gift, Jesus, He gave us a gift work seeking.

James 1:17 says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights..."  Today being Christmas Eve, as I read this I think of the lights on the Christmas tree.  May the lights shining down on the gifts below, remind us of the Father who's give His perfect gift in the form of a baby on Christmas morning.

While looking for that verse in James, I found a couple other verses that are worth pondering as we open gifts this Christmas.

The first is Deuteronomy 26:11 "Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household."

The second is 2 Corinthians 9:8:  And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."

This Christmas, let us rejoice in the Giver, the Gift, and rejoice in the good things God has given us, so that we will abound in every good work.

Merry Christmas everyone!  May our smiles and lit-up faces hug our Savior this year!