Monday, October 22, 2012

The Lord's prayer...

The Lords prayer has never meant more to me then during this season of my life.  I first learned the Lords prayer back in college when I would attend the church that David grew up going to in California.  It was a Luthern Church and they would recite the Lord's prayer in every service, so my initial reason for wanting to learn the Lord's prayer was a practical one...  so that I would be able to fit in and hold my own at his church.  I remember David and I sitting in the car one night while he taught me the Lord's prayer, so that I would be ready for church that Sunday.  Fast forward 12-13 years ...  It wasn't until the past month or so that I have fallen in love with the Lord's prayer in a new way because it is so simple, yet so profound.  As I have mentioned before, there are so many times I don't know what to pray because there is so much that feels so out my control from one moment to the next, so I have taken refuge in the Lord's prayer since God gives us the Lord's prayer as a model of how to pray (so, we can be freed from feeling like we need to come up with some fancy prayer) and it keeps our heart and mind focused on God, not on ourselves. Part of David and I's testimony has been experiencing the beauty of sitting in the center of God's will.  We have always said that it's "the best seat in the house."  We have experienced the beauty of this view when we have made big and small leaps of faith throughout our marriage, from moving from California to Texas, then to Indiana, and back to Texas; to David going to Seminary; to ministry opportunities, etc. Having a third child was another one of those huge leaps of faith as I felt the Lord calling me to trade in my comfort for His will.  During one of my many conversations with God, as I wrestled with why He was allowing us to go through SO much when I was just trying to be obedient, it was then that the Lord asked me a question that rocked my world...  He impressed upon me "You always say that you want my will, but do you still want my will even when it doesn't look "ideal" to you?"  I always thought that I wanted His will because I've seen first hand that His will is always better than mine, but how could His will for us to have a child with heart defects and Down's syndrome be better than my desire to have a healthy 3rd child (especially since I was being obedient in having a 3rd child to begin with :-).  Wow!  That sure sounds like I was trying to control God or control my life in such a way to "earn" God's blessings.  If someone would have told me that's what I was doing a few months ago, I would have thought that they were crazy.  I know better than to try to control God or my life...  It wasn't until I began reading the book "Pressure's Off" by Larry Crabb that I was hit square between the eyes, as I was confronted with the question, "Am I living for God's blessings or for true intimacy with God?"

How is it that some of the most influential people in the bible found true joy even in serious suffering.  Paul and John both were beaten and in prison at various times in their ministry and yet they found joy in all circumstances, even with failing health from being imprisoned and beaten, an uncertain future (or maybe it was certain- they knew that they would most likely die a martyrs death), isolation from the rest of the world, etc.  I believe that their joy came from the value that they placed on intimacy with God above anything else!  I'm learning that true intimacy with God really does trump any and all circumstances.  If you are someone that needs proof, just look at the numerous examples all throughout the bible, ultimately with Jesus being our best example.  If you prefer a tangible, present day example, look at my life.  I'm a born sinner who knows and loves Jesus, but still desires the "easy life" (even though David constantly reminds me that "easy" isn't good).  I wish you could see into my heart and mind so that you could see the mortified and heart broken person that I was when I found out about all of Grace's diagnosis' (especially "ups" syndrome) to the place that God has brought me (dragged me at times) in a couple months time.  I can honestly say that I think it's awesome that Grace has "ups" and I wouldn't change a thing about our journey.  Don't get me wrong, it's not like I have arrived and now I always experience true intimacy with God and don't desire His blessings or the "easy" life because it is still a constant battle, but I have experienced a radical change of heart, so now I know what I'm fighting for (in God's strength).

In fact I have full confidence that His will for my life has always included a 3rd child, named Grace, who has down syndrome and some heart defects.  I can already see how Grace was given to us to save us from ourselves, while touching the lives of so many others for Christ.  Her precious little life has humbled us and given us a new lease on life that sheds the desire to have the "good life," as Larry Crabb calls it, but to have a life that finds every ounce of joy in Christ and Christ alone.

Back to the Lords prayer...  I can honestly say that when I pray "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."  I actually mean it...  I really do want His will knowing that it probably won't be easy, but it will be good.  It is such a freeing feeling to release my clinched fists that are holding tightly to my will and desires and embracing God's refining, character building, and perfect will.  I am realizing the importance of not going over all of the "what if's" in my head (ex. What if Grace's left side of her heart doesn't grow and she has to have 2 more big surgeries), but instead, replacing it with "even if's" (ex. Even if Grace's left side of her heart doesn't grow we will trust God and it will be good).

A great test as to where our hearts have been throughout this journey is when we found out that Grace ALSO has hypothyroidism.  You see, I used to worry about my children's health down to the smallest detail.  How silly is this...  Abigail failed an eye exam at her 4 year old well check (thanks to the fact that Andrew was in the room for this test and distracting her so that she would frequently look away from the tv screen that was reading her eye movement, but that's a little brothers job after all, right?).  We had to go to the eye dr to have her eyes tested to see if she needed glasses, etc.  I was so sad and scared for her that she might need glasses as I thought about how inconvenient they would be for her to wear.  Would her eyes continue to get worse, would she get made fun of, would it impact her ability to play soccer or do gymnastics, etc.  RIDICULOUS, I know, but I was seriously worried about it.  Fast forward a year and a half to when our sweet Grace was born with a whole lot more going on than the prospect of needing glasses!  After weathering Grace's heart surgery and a number of scary bumps in the road, we found out that she also has hypothyroidism and would require medication for it for the rest of her life (Lord willing).  At some point David and I looked at each other and said hypothyroidism...  managed with a once a day dose of medication...  sweet!  No biggie!  It's amazing how my perspective has changed so drastically in such a short time.  At this point in my life, I can say bring on the glasses!  As a disclaimer...  I look at other kids with glasses and think that they are just precious, in fact there is something about glasses that makes the cutest of kids that much cuter, but for some reason when I envisioned the inconvenience of Abigail needing them, it invoked great fear in me.


Another sweet hug from God!  I began this post in the hospital the day before Kitty was discharged  and while I was in the middle of writing this post David walked into our hospital room with one of his dear friends, Cean, who he used to work with at DePelchin.  Cean has a pretty amazing testimony himself that, with his permission, I would love to share with you some time in the future.  David ran into him at one of the elevators in the hospital and when he and his Father came to our room to meet Grace he asked if he could pray for us and wouldn't you know that he prayed the Lord's prayer over our family.  It may not sound that profound, but it is those types of "hugs from God" that remind us that He sees, He knows, and He cares...


Here's what we have been up to since being home from the hospital...

                                 First play date with Noah Glass...


                                    Enjoying cuddle time with family...
Nana Lu Lu
Great G'ma Vee Bee
G'ma Crack (our personal Angel :-)
Aunt Becca (and Cousin Joe)
PAPA

My very favorite snuggles come from my Big Brother and Sister...

This is how I spend most of my time...  admiring Abby and Andrew

3 comments:

Phil and Delisa Wegner said...

The pictures are so cute!! Thanks so much for sharing them!! Love you guys!!
Delisa and Phil

Julie said...

We've been praying for your transition to your home! Looks like it's going well. Love, the Wigle's

Charmoin said...

Love love love...thank you for sharing your heart and the beautiful pictures! So thankful for Grace and can't wait to meet you all! Love, Charmoin Tatum