On Saturday, April 11th 2020, we had to rush our 4th child, Elijah, to the hospital. A few hours after being admitted, they diagnosed him with type 1 diabetes. As difficult as the news was to hear, we were confident that God would not forsake us in this process. As parents, we wanted to take the pain for our son, but we knew that was not an option. Our job is not to shield him from pain but to teach him how to cling to Jesus. From the beginning we prayed for healing despite being told that type 1 diabetes is not something you get cured from; it is a disease you learn to manage because type 1 diabetics don’t produce enough insulin and that’s if they produce any insulin at all. Your body needs insulin to survive. Since a type 1 diabetic’s beta cell does not produce the insulin needed on its own, you must inject insulin the rest of your life for survival.
While I know it is my responsibility to always pray for healing, I must also accept the sovereignty of God and understand that healing may not come when or how I want it. This approach doesn’t mean I lack faith, it just means I have given up on trying to manipulate God to perform when and how I think He should and call it “faith.” It’s freeing! So we prayed for healing despite what we were told, and we left the outcome in God’s hand. For the first month after his diagnosis, Elijah had to take insulin. However, since May 12th he has not had to take insulin and his blood sugar levels remain in normal range. This lets us know that his body is now producing insulin on its own. Praise God! The medical professionals label this as a “honeymoon phase” and they say that inevitably it will end, and he will have to return to taking insulin. So what’s my response? I praise and pray. I praise because I see God at work and His wonder on display. I praise because I see how he has breathed life into those beta cells that were dead and the ones that were dying. I praise because I see that he can reverse a diagnosis. I praise because I know it is all in His hand! And I pray. I pray and ask God to make this so called “honeymoon phase” last forever. Will He do it? I don’t know if He will and I am ok with admitting that. I pray that Elijah will never have to return to taking insulin, but if he does, does this make God any less good and faithful? Will I continue to praise God only if this ends the way I want it to? The answer to these questions reveal my heart and motives for serving God. As humans we love to know the beginning and the end of the narrative and we can easily walk away from our relationship with God when the narrative doesn’t end the way we think it should. How tragic! I continue to learn that it’s not my job to determine the outcome, because my understanding is finite. Instead, my job is to pray and trust the outcome God chooses. It is a journey to get to this place of total surrender, but the consistent faithfulness of God makes the journey possible and worth it!
If I do not submit my gift to God, it can be a burden. A good thing if used in the wrong way can cause a lot of damage. Technology is a perfect example. I love that I can communicate with my 92-year-old grandmother who is thousands of miles away. However, that same technology can be catastrophic if I scroll and look at inappropriate things on the internet. My choice on how I use the gift of technology will determine if it is a gift or a burden.
The same is true with the gifts God has given to us. My gifts when submitted to God can prove to be a blessing, conversely, if I do not submit them to God they can prove to be a burden. I will use myself as an example. Looking back, I can see that I have always had the gift of encouragement and faith, though I didn’t always have the language to describe it. By God’s grace on my life, I am a “the glass is half full” kind of girl even when others see no water in the glass. Having faith was not an area of struggle for me because I can see and believe for the best even when circumstances say otherwise. These are great to have, HOWEVER, these same gifts created problems for me when I did not submit to God.
In my desire to help and encourage, I did not understand healthy boundaries. I would often allow people to take advantage of me because I couldn’t say no to their request for help. I became stuck in the “say yes to everything” prison even though I didn’t have the bandwidth to do it all. I saw the good and the possibility of fixing certain people and their problem, I wanted to help. However, I lacked discernment and often helped others based on my emotions instead of the leading of God. I was very gullible and believed in things that were sinking sand; I had faith for things that were not God’s will for my life. It wasn’t wrong for me to be nice and want to encourage and see the best in others. However, it should be by the leading of God.
As I grow in the Lord, these gifts are still present but because I submit them to God, they are proving to be a blessing and not a burden. As opposed to trying to fix everyone’s problem in my strength, I am quick to encourage people through prayer. If you are feeling down, it blesses me when I pray and share the word of God to encourage you. I still see the glass as half full, but I now realize it’s God that does the filling and not me. I still have faith, but I place it in God and discernment is now present.
What is your gift? We all have AT LEAST one. If you don’t know, pray and ask the Lord to reveal it to you. Is that gift proving to be a blessing or a burden? Have you submitted that gift to God?
1 Peter 4:10 NLT
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
Jesus had a cross that He had to carry. The cross is symbolic of the suffering that one must go through.
For today’s lesson I have learned that I can’t insulate myself against suffering, but I CAN CONTROL my response to it. My pain may be different from yours but the reality of living in a fallen world makes experiencing pain inevitable. I don’t have to deny the pain that is associated with the cross I have to carry but that pain doesn’t have to consume me either. How is that possible you ask? While I will have seasons of difficulty, I have found that I can go through it with grace. Not in my own strength but drawing strength from God through prayer. Listen, Prayer is where it’s at.
Prayer Helps me to have the mind of Christ when the heaviness of my cross makes me feel like I’m about to loose my mind.
Prayer stabilizes me and gives me the ability to mount up with wings as an eagle when the weight of my cross makes me feel like I am going to faint.
Prayer gives me faith to believe that it will get better when everything in my sight says it is O.V.E.R.
I’m not talking about the kind of prayer that you just say in cases of emergency with no sincerity. This is not the get out of jail free kind of prayer. I am talking about prayer where you bare your soul before God and ask Him to transform you and make you more like Him. In this kind of prayer, you are not the only one talking. You stick around long enough to hear His response, and that’s if you talk at all. This is not a one-time give me what I want or else kind of prayer. Instead it’s a consistent everyday kind of prayer, one that builds intimacy between you and the one that will give you the strength to carry your cross.
What cross do you find yourself carrying in this season of your life? Is it health challenges, broken relationships, deflated finances, etc. Are you attempting to carry that cross on your own or have you gotten to that place of real prayer? Leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.
1 Peter 5:10
In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.
I am not perfect…surprise! In today’s lesson, I have learned that I don’t have to wear a mask of perfection. I quit my day job of trying to always present a perfect image. The song and dance was exhausting and certainly not worth the pay. The load was just too heavy to carry. Somehow, I became convinced that I needed to always present a perfect image to others, never willing to expose my flaws. The driving force to being perfect was pride, let’s just call it for what it is. I wanted to present perfect because I wanted everyone to think highly of me.
However, on my road to 40, the Lord has helped me to be more vulnerable and share my weaknesses, sometimes more than I care to. Many times, as of late, I come to the end of a conversation and ask myself, ‘did I just tell them all my business, with all the warts and wrinkles?” However, the more transparent I become about past and current areas of brokenness in my life, the more I see the power of God on display. When I am transparent, I realize that people are more willing to open up and share their areas of struggle with me, and I in turn am able to point them to Jesus, the PERFECT ONE! God’s grace is indeed enough, and His power works best in my weakness! No, I am not perfect, but I am clinging to the one who is in the process of perfecting me. How about you? Do you struggle with always trying to present a perfect image? Leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
There are some processes that you can’t pray away! Some seasons you can’t fast your way through. There is no bypassing it. The struggle will not end nor will the fire cease until you go through it. Some seasons of difficulties are not meant to be looked at as mountains to be prayed away but more as stepping stones to fulfill our God given purpose.
Jesus’ primary mission when He came to earth was to reconcile mankind back to God. He came to make a way for us to be in right relationship with the father (2 Corinthians 5:21). The crucifixion and the shedding of Jesus’ blood is what made reconciliation possible (Hebrews 9:22). Jesus’ crucifixion was not a mountain to be prayed away, it was a stepping stone, it was a necessary process for Him to fulfill His purpose. He had to go through it!
We can learn a lot from Jesus’ approach in the Garden of Gethsemane right before He was to be crucified in Mathew 26:39-46. Jesus was feeling the burden of what was to come. He was in agony. What does Jesus do? He goes to His father in prayer, not once but three times. He is honest with the father, and He asks Him if there is any way He could bypass what was awaiting Him…the cup, the judgement for sin. Jesus however, does not stay stuck on how He feels. Despite His feelings, Jesus submits to the will of God and concludes, “not my will but your will be done!”
This lets me know that it is through constant prayer that a submitted will is formed and maintained. I don’t have to feel bad about praying the same prayer more than once. Prayer gives me the strength and obedience to do the HARD THING! If you find yourself in a place of difficulty, don’t be quick to assume it’s a mountain to be prayed away, it could very well be a stepping stone to fulfill your God given purpose!
I don’t like when I give my children a command to do something and they are constantly asking why? Let me clarify, I am not speaking of the times in which they are asking “why” for the sake of learning or to get clarity. There is a difference between asking why because you want to sincerely gain knowledge and asking why because you really don’t want to do what is being asked of you or you are filled with doubt. As a parent, I can tell the difference and so can God.
God may tell us to do one of the following: change the course of our life, cut off relationships, change our diet, change jobs, or move to a different location. His request disrupts our way of life and makes us uncomfortable. Instead of responding in obedience, we stop and ask, “BUT WHY GOD?” Sometimes what we are really saying is, “WHY DO I HAVE TO OBEY YOU WHEN I AM HAVING FUN DOING THINGS MY WAY?”
Our questions may also reveal a heart filled with doubt. A heart that lacks trust in a creator who has never failed His creation. It takes a great level of trust to not ask questions and just respond with a yes. Today take a leap of faith and say yes to what God is asking of you. In the long run, it will be well worth it!