A book I’ve been reading, A Praying Life, uses the concept of story to paint how God chooses to answer or not answer our prayers.
Many times we get discouraged by unanswered prayer – but if we take a wide angle view, we begin to understand that God is weaving His story into our lives… if we let Him. Each day we have the choice to join the BIG story of God saving the world and us along with it – or to put blinders on and just survive the day. If you’re anything like me (and let’s hope you’re not) I jump in and out of the story throughout the day.
I typically start the day in a stupor – feebly asking for help to get through the day – and then carpool begins, and then my real challenge begins… Kate. I’m homeschooling Kate this year because she’s been neglected since Anne’s accident – and it shows. Every day is different – except for the tears. I think one of us has cried every day since school started… except for last Thursday – and that’s just because she was gone on a field trip all day.
Kate’s stubborn and angry heart is like hitting a wall – which leads me to pray. There is no way I can change her heart – that can only be done by God. And then other times, the same wall that causes me to pray – makes me frustrated and angry, and I feel like screaming (which I have done a few times). So, I’m jumping in and out of the story – I jump in – and admit my helplessness and beg God to give me wisdom.. and patience. I need lots of patience… and then I jump out and fail miserably – which leads me to jump back in and ask God for forgiveness and help.
The good news is that God is gracious – and during this time of wrestling with both Kate’s and my own heart, He is patient and waiting for me to turn to Him. I find when I start the day admitting my desperate need to shepherd Kate and begging Him to give her a soft, teachable heart – well sometimes, Kate is her old, sweet self again, delightful, joyful and fun. And other times, she is hard, but we are able to work through the stubbornness and find submission. God is there, waiting to help me.
A little consistency would be nice. I need help staying in the story.
Hi All :-)
The Jackson household is battling germs. Anne and I are both sick. Canon and Kate are getting over being sick. Now Eric feels sick.
I’m not feeling very eloquent… so here’s my random thought for the day :-) One of the things on my life “bucket list” is to publish a book one day. I know that being published won’t make me any more satisfied than I am right now, but I still dream about it. But, this is not my season. I’m too busy taking care of my kiddos…
But somehow my friend, Josh Irby, (who has three children younger than mine) has found the time to write and publish a book. And it’s really good! For those of you with e-readers, his book, Meeting Miss Irby, is greatly discounted this weekend… It’s very worth the few dollars and time it will take to buy it.
Meeting Miss Irby is only $2.99 on Kindle (this weekend only!) http://www.amazon.com/Meeting-Miss-Irby-ebook/dp/B007V4MMAO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1347515559&sr=8-2&keywords=meeting+miss+irby
And it’s only 99¢ on Nook (this weekend only!) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/meeting-miss-irby?keyword=meeting+miss+irby&store=ebook
Curling up with a good book sounds really good to this sick soul – but it’ll just have to wait until the kids are in bed :-)
I’ve been struggling with the amount of time and energy it takes me to care for Anne. It’s just so demanding and exhausting. But I think what I’ve really been struggling with is that caring for Anne reveals the sinfulness in my heart. It’s hard to care for Anne because I’m selfish and don’t want to sacrifice my time and energy to do for Anne what she can no longer do for herself. I struggle with self-pity, self-absorption and a lust for freedom to do what I WANT TO DO. But. If I can surrender – if I can dive deep into the life God has called me – a life of sacrifice and service – then my life will be full. I know this in my head…
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” Matthew 10:39.
Do you know how many times these words of Jesus are quoted in the gospels?? Six times. Twice in Matthew and Luke – and once in Mark and John. That’s a lot. Jesus expended much energy in teaching the disciples the lesson of self sacrifice. He knew it was the key to eternal fulfillment. He knows the end of the story… when this world will be turned up-side down and the first shall be last and the last shall be first. He knows. He knows.
I’m reminded of a scene from a novel written by Randy Alcorn. Randy has spent years studying eternal perspective, and back in the ’90’s he published, Deadline, a novel that weaved together much of his research and study. It is the story of three good friends who share different beliefs… an atheist, an agnostic and a believer -and they are in a serious automobile accident at the beginning of the story. The agnostic is the only survivor – but the novel continues to track all three men. As we follow the believer into heaven, the images are breathtaking. One scene in particular deeply impacted me… The believer who died left behind a son with Down Syndrome. And as we see the dad in heaven, he notices the most amazing music – coming from the largest and most beautiful orchestra and choir he had ever seen. It was HUGE – with countless numbers of people making music for Jesus – and he looked to the podium and saw the choir director – and he was surprised to see – a man – with Down Syndrome.
The last shall be first and the first shall be last. I consider it my greatest calling and honor on this earth to serve Jesus by serving my disabled daughter …But I struggle with self-sacrifice. I feel like Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – as Aslan tears deep into his flesh to pull away the dragon’s skin. Just as Eustace was unable to peel the skin off himself, so Jesus has to help scrape away all of my selfishness… He does it because he loves me… and He knows the end of the story… and it’s good.
I pulled a book off the shelf the other day to read to Kate and Anne. We hadn’t read it in a while…
The Crippled Lamb is a story about a lamb named, Joshua. He was born with a crippled leg, so when the shepherds prepare the herd to travel to the next field, he is left behind as he is unable to make the long journey. The shepherds leave Joshua with his only friend, Abigail the cow. Abigail is old – and wise – and as they make their way to the barn, she gently reminds Joshua, “God has a special place for those who feel left out.”
And then Anne started crying. My sweet Anne, my crippled Anne, identified with Joshua, the lamb.
The story continues as Joshua and Abigail are in the barn asleep and are awakened by a baby’s cry in the night. The baby is cold, and there is no blanket. Joshua offers to lie close to the baby to keep him warm… and then the shepherds appear, excited and proclaiming that this is the Savior, the new born King. And Joshua looks at the baby snuggled against his wool and realizes that this was his special purpose. If he hadn’t been born crippled, he would have missed the Savior.
And Anne cried. and cried. and cried. And I held her close and prayed… thanking God that He has a special place… for Anne.
I’m reading three books right now… This seems all too common, but it’s new ground for me. I’m not used to having three different authors competing for my attention. It just leads to lots of unorganized thoughts swirling around in my head, but I think the clearest voice right now comes from Nancy Guthrie. Her book, Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow is excellent.
She lost two infants to the same rare genetic disorder. She knows sorrow. And her questions are the same questions I’ve grappled with. Why doesn’t Jesus heal today like He did when He walked the earth? How do we reconcile His promises of protection and peace in the midst of hurricanes and terrorists (and brain injuries)? Who is responsible for my sorrow… me? Satan? God? Did God just allow the accident to happen – or did He ordain it?
These are hard questions, and she gives satisfying answers. She writes that it is our eternal home that is most important to God. My honest reaction to that reminds me of Kate whining when she has to wait ’til after dinner to get her desert. Seriously, child? Don’t you have any concept of delayed gratification? Well, I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from… me.
Which leads me to the 2nd book I’m reading… Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. Her book is all about how to “Live Fully Right Where You Are.” It’s a great book about how thankfulness opens the door to joy, but I’m too busy whining (like Kate) to experience very much gratitude- at least for now…
My third book is a Romanian pastor’s doctoral thesis on suffering, matyrdom and the rewards of heaven… He argues that suffering on earth advances the Kingdom of Heaven – the prime example being Jesus, Himself. If we are called to suffer and/or die for the Kingdom, it is a great Eternal victory! There’s that word again… eternal.
I’ve actually learned alot about eternal perspective from Canon. I think I’ll write about that tomorrow. Good night for now…