The Crippled Lamb

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.

 

What then will this child be?

Yesterday, I wrote about Zechariah and how God brought good from his unbelief when his new son, John, was baptized.

Because of all the miracles surrounding John’s birth and baptism, the people wandered about John. “What then will this child be?” John the Baptist lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel. His dress and diet were typical of a poor desert dweller. His fiery words wouldn’t score him any popularity points. John was not rich in the things of this earth, but he was “strong in SPIRIT” (Luke 1:80).

John the Baptist was no earthly good, yet God used John… MIGHTILY to prepare the people for repentance and faith in Jesus.

This is so typical of God’s Kingdom. The economy is different. Money, power and fame don’t get you very far in God’s Kingdom. His currency is humility, compassion and obedience. Whenever I think about the “upside-down-ness” of God’s Kingdom, I think about Anne…

Anne’s brain injury has stripped her of all earthly good.  But she is STRONG… in Spirit! I take great comfort in this truth. It makes me wonder, “What then will this child be?”  I don’t expect her to be the next John the Baptist!  But I do hope that God has big plans for my simple little girl :-)

I love the body of Christ!

I was raised by a single mom who (inadvertantly) taught me the dangers of trust and the benefits of independence. Asking for help is not something in which I’ve had much practice. My tendency is to build a bunker, grit my teeth and ‘tough’ my way through. The bunker mentality leads to isolation which ultimately leads to despair… It’s impossible for me to be everything to Anne and to the rest of my family. In my weakness, my independence only leads to failure.

Because of the public nature of our tragedy, we’ve been surrounded and uplifted. But a year and a few months after the accident, we have slipped out of the forefront, and I find myself in the uncomfortable place of asking for help. Needing help is another paradox in God’s Kingdom. I am greatly blessed by the help of others…

One example – a teenager in our church who has suffered much loss in her own life has an extra dose of compassion for special needs children. She will be Anne’s ‘guide’ during VBS this week. I can’t help but think that God hand-picked her to help before the creation of the world. She is a blessing.

Another example… One of Anne’s Sunday school teachers just out of college has been struggling with joblessness and a sense of purpose. But in this season of uncertainty she has built a network of single girls in her same season, organized a babysitting club, and because of her connections – has found me help for the summer. She is a blessing.

And lastly, a dear friend who is experiencing a season of freedom after years of financial hardship was sharing her wisdom with me. I lamented to her, “I want wings, but I feel God’s hand pressing me down.” And she reminded me… even though her newfound freedom is a gift, it is also a temptation to fly away from the nearness of God. “Slow down, Kathryn. Cherish His nearness.”

Where would I be without the body of Christ? Thankfully, I do not have to live in isolation. God has a better way!

Upside-down-ness…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the upside-down-ness of the Kingdom of God.

I remember back when I was a very young Christian and working in a Christian bookstore. The owner of the store was a grandfather and had been walking with Jesus for a very long time. He was so learned and wise that most of his conversations involved answering questions about the bible from customers, friends or fellow church members. I would stand at the door of his office and listen to these conversations – hoping to glean wisdom or understanding. A lot of his answers to others centered on the Kingdom of God. This concept was so new, and so abstract that I understood very little of what he said.

Now, I find myself thinking more and more about the Kingdom. Everything about it is upside down… Death brings life; the humble are exalted; the weak are strong. I could go on and on. Continue reading

Spirit Night at Chick-fil-A

Tonight, Anne’s school had a scheduled “spirit night” at the local Chick-fil-A. It’s a way to raise money as 10% of the revenues from the evening go to the school.

Well, most of you know that ACCA decided to donate all of the proceeds to Anne – which is a major sacrifice! On the surface, this just seems like a bunch of nice people doing something nice for a local family (for which we are very thankful, by-the-way :-). But I see much more… I see a slice of God’s kingdom on earth, and I LOVE IT!

God’s kingdom is filled with paradox. Check this out…

-When the Chick-fil-A operator caught wind of Anne’s story, he offered two locations with extended hours and also included drive-through. His response to the possibility of large numbers of people: “We’ll be ready.” That’s humble strength and joyful service…

-The leadership of ACCA gladly donated their spirit night for our family. We’ve only been in this school one year. It seems foolish for the school to sacrifice so much for our little family, but “God chooses what is foolish in the world to shame the wise.”

-This whole idea came from an ACCA student: a girl that the world would think of as insignificant. She’s not powerful, wealthy or famous. Kelsey’s just a girl with a LARGE heart. God multiplied her idea into a community EVENT – which is a witness of what the body of Christ should look like: a unified body that loves sacrificially and joyfully.

-Lastly, and the most paradoxical of all to me – is the little girl that has caused this kind of unity. Anne is a shy little girl that has a hard time looking people in the eye, much less speaking to them. And now, with her brain injury, she is truly: “the least of these…” How can this awkward and shy little girl make such an impact? “God chooses what is weak in the world to shame the strong.”

I had the honor of going to Chick-fil-A to see this picture of God’s kingdom. What I saw was Jesus. Humility, Compassion, Joy, Self-Sacrifice, Love – these are the characteristics of our precious Saviour – who personified the paradoxical nature of God’s Kingdom on earth… Isaiah 11:6 talks about this mystery…

“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.”

I’m thankful to see a little child lead us into prayer and dependence upon God as never before…. -kathryn