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?

 

Be sure to subscribe to my blog to receive this series in your inbox!

Really Believe: Free To Embrace Wisdom

Really Believe Wisdom

Most of the time things aren’t the way they seem.

In my previous Really Believe post: Free From Worry, I wrote about how worry must flee when we really believe because of  God’s promises, like Proverbs 3:6.  Well, the verse right before that? Is Proverbs 3:5 (but you knew that, didn’t you. :). And in that verse, God tells us not to lean on our own understanding. It’s like saying, “Don’t believe what you see!”

Let me tell you a story:

Eight years ago, my 5 year old son with autism jumped out the window.  His bedroom was on the first floor, so he had a soft landing.  Five years ago, his bedroom was on the 2nd floor and he jumped out the window again. At first,  he threw some toys out the window and watched them gently glide down (he must have heard the “good angel” telling him not to do it!) Previous experience told him it didn’t hurt to jump out the window.  Larry-Boy did it in the movie, and he flew! These past events led him to believe it would be fun to jump out the window so he decided to try it.  And down he went, gravity chasing him until he hit frozen ground.  (Now he is is 13 and his room is in the basement, just in case!)

In his reality? It is fun to jump out the window.  In truth? He could have broken his neck!  Thank God he had his Baymax-sized angels at the ready! Sage walked away from it with only soreness and a mild concussion!

That is the way it is when we rely on our own understanding, when we believe what we see.

*We get hurt.

*We make bad decisions about relationships that “aren’t what they seem”.

*We walk around in false beliefs about the way situations are, and not even know it!

And by doing so, we are led into so many unnecessary negative experiences and emotions, like anxiety.

John Bloom puts it this way:

And by doing so, we are led into so many unnecessary negative experiences and emotions, like anxiety.

“You see, in order to handle the knowledge of good and evil, one must possess 1) the ability to completely comprehend all possible options and contingencies (omniscience); 2) the righteousness and wisdom to choose the right course; and 3) the power to make reality conform to the right course (omnipotence).

In other words, only God can handle such knowledge…..So many of the things that cause us the most difficulty and heartache in life, the source of so much of our anxiety, fear, doubt, and anger with others and with God, is the result of leaning on our own understanding.”

I know I need to be more intentional about using my spiritual eyes.  Even with goggle sized lenses, only our physical vision improves.  The only way to improve our vision to see true reality, is to lean on God’s understanding.

Then we will be transformed as God renews our minds.  That is why Rom 12:2 tells us “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

If I were to really believe God, I would not fall into the tricks and traps from the enemy, nor would I fall into false beliefs and the consequential reactions.  I would be free from confusion and chaos that misinterpretations of reality lead me into.

We were never meant to lean on our own understanding, just as we know it isn’t best for our children to lean on their own understanding.

Releasing our grip on the physical reality, allows a whole lot of mess to roll off our backs. And by leaning on God’s understanding, we are emotionally and spiritually cushioned by His wise words.

Releasing our understanding frees up our arms to embrace Wisdom. 

But that also means that I must humble myself in the sight of the Lord and let him lift me up (James 4:10) so I can have His view.

He will guide me, He will let me see with his eyes a little bit more than I did before.

Be sure to subscribe to my blog to receive this series in your inbox!