I have a new pet peeve; something that pains my heart to the core. I wasn’t able to verbalize it until this weekend when a light bulb went off. I am tired of comments, both from myself and others, that imply we are waiting on our girls to “get better”; as if whatever is going on with them is some kind of illness. It’s not. There are moments where I feel like so much of our life, both personal and in the various therapies the girls attend, is focused on their performance; the areas of their life that seem to be getting more “normal”. I am as guilty as the next, but recently it is a mindset that has become exhausting. There is a question in the back of some of your minds, a question those closest to me have asked, and I would like to address it: “Morgan, if you could wake up tomorrow morning and all of the girls’ struggles could be gone, would you choose that?” This is something I have thought a lot about in recent weeks. In my finite human mind, I will always have the tendency to choose the comfortable; to choose what the world considers normal. However, as I look back on the past 14 and a half months and see all that God has done both in my heart and the hearts of those around us, my soul cannot proclaim that I would change a single bit of it. Watching God get glory is addictive; and I am slowly learning that whatever He places in our hands is absolutely best. There was a time in my life where I might have said I believed this, but it wasn’t stuck to the core of who I am. Praise God, He is giving me the grace to have eyes that see through His lenses, and very truthfully, I am comfortable with this as His Plan A. This is a truth that I want us to explore today.
I quote the devotional, “Streams in the Desert”, by L.B. Cowman, often. It is a book that God has used to change my perspective on suffering altogether (thanks for the recommendation, Julie!). One of my favorite quotes is as follows,
“Faith does not say, ‘I see this is good for me, therefore God must have sent it. Instead, faith declares, ‘God sent it, therefore it must be good for me’”. (emphasis mine)
What a backwards attitude from that which we tend to think! So often, our pride gets in the way and we begin to think that we are “sacrificing” by letting God place a bad thing in our life. We sing to the top of our lungs at worship the lyrics of songs, belting out the line, “You give and take away”, but forgetting the focus of that song is Him. (I am speaking of Blessed be Your Name, Matt Redman). I have been unbelievably guilty of this during this season of our lives. It is as if I am saying to God, “You should be super impressed at me for not throwing a fit about this horrible thing you have brought upon us”. Friends, don’t we believe that if He has brought it upon us, it truly is His best? Don’t we believe that the Word promises us that He works all things together for good, and that simultaneously, His ways are not our own? (Romans 8:28, Isaiah 55:8). I am not all suggesting that it is not tough, living on this side of heaven in our flesh, to comprehend some of the things He brings. It is so easy for me to think the grass is greener on the other side. It is easy for me to fall into the trap of wondering why some people seem to be able to gallop through this life with comforts abounding, and to lust after what having children who are developing typically would be like. In the first year of life, we have already been to the doctor more times than many people ever have to go. We spend our days and moments in therapy, while many frolic from play date to play date. Oh, for my biggest worry to be what discipline is going to look like in our family. Here’s some real honesty: I even can get to a place where I believe that we are being allowed this suffering because we are on some level of closeness with God that the comfortable people are not. Ugh, the grossness of my sin! This could not be farther from the truth. The truth is, what is best for me is not always best for you. That’s why God is God and I am not. Yes, there are absolutely commands and promises in His word that are given to us all, but we must never fall into the trap of thinking that the temporary things of this world are included in this. It can be played out in so many ways in all of our lives. Think about the set up of a high school basketball game. I remember that more often than not, outside of parents and friends, most people would show up right before the Varsity began to play. The Junior Varsity was somewhat of an appetizer as to what was to come. Friends, whatever God’s plan is for your life, let’s stop treating it like we are at the JV game. This is God’s best for your life. Today. And, if tomorrow your circumstances change, those are now His new best for your life. We have to stop looking for our tomorrow’s as a source of satisfaction. I will not speak on Joel Osteen, as I have never met the man and am not the judge of any, but I can speak on the title of one of his books, “God’s Best for Your Life: Seven Steps to Living at Your Full Potential”. I am here to tell you that the Bible clearly lets you know there are not seven magical steps. In fact, there is simply one: Jesus; Putting our hope and our faith in His righteousness, His provision, His love. I don’t care what is going on in your life; whatever it is, this isn’t Plan B. There is nothing that is going to change tomorrow that is going to bring any more fulfillment than what He has for you today, albeit Himself. He is enough. We must refuse to live with an attitude of “I will make the best of today knowing that when x,y,z arrives or changes, things will be better”. No. The reality is this: no relationship, no job, no title, no amount of money, no weight loss, nothing material, no child, no change in health status, NOTHING is going to bring you any more eternal joy than what is already being offered to you today in Jesus. This is true with our girls. They are not on the B team and this isn’t God’s way of making the best out of a subpar situation; this IS His best. For them and for Hugh and me. For our entire family. For our friends. For God’s kingdom. For the world. Ally and Bailey Grace, you are perfect just the way you are. Seriously. This is not a cop-out, this is the truth laid out for you in God’s word. Fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. Exactly how He wanted you to be; and we rejoice in that today and always. Your unique qualities are not burdens; they are blessings that have allowed us to see more of the Lord in each and every day and we are indebted to Him and to you for being instruments in His all-wise, all-knowing hand.
So today, I am fighting to believe this truth even with the emotions within me tell me otherwise. Even when it is tempting to look into my neighbor’s yard and wonder what it would be like to live under those terms. I am praising Him for all that is, not all that I wish could be, because the reality of who He is frees us to live joyfully in the present moment without questioning why, without wondering if there is something else out there we are missing out on. This is my prayer for each of you as well: that you would be able to look at your current circumstance with gratitude and contentment, knowing that His plans for you are good. He is working in all things a beautiful tapestry of Himself.
“I thank You, Lord, You were too wise to heed my feeble prayers and answer as I sought, since these rich gifts Your bounty has bestowed have brought me more than all I asked or thought; Giver of good, so answer each request with Your own giving, better than my best.”- Annie Johnson Flint