Adela traced the letter with her pointer. Glitter stuck to her finger. She giggled.
We have spent tons of time working on writing her name. Learning how to write isn’t simply knowing what the letter looks like, it is also spending time teaching your muscles how to move to form the letter. A.K.A. muscle memory.
As the weeks pass, it has been interesting watching which symbols come easily to Adela and which are difficult to make her hand comply with her head.
I totally understand her pain. I have been putting in the challenging work of teaching my mind, heart, and head to give God unlimited space in my life. Day after day I work against ingrained habits like worry and being addicted to lists and deadlines. I push against what I have learned to do over three decades of living. Muscle, mind, and emotional memory are powerful things.
As I learn to be patient with Adela’s slow progress, I remind myself to live in God’s grace. The most important thing is that we are doing the work. We are putting in the time and energy so we can learn valuable skills. I would rather spend years of my life working to re-teach myself how to live in God’s presence than to give up because of how difficult the task is.
Some day I hope for this:
That my inner monologue becomes prayer.
That my days feel incomplete if they are not begun and ended in devotion time with God.
That I respond to feelings of fear and frustration by realizing I have stepped away from my trust and faith in Him.
That I no longer push for my own agendas when I feel myself outside of His will.
That I am content living in His timing and plans.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
What habits are you working on now that require you to push against what is already ingrained in you?
Her Life Liberated Me
All those tubes and monitors frightened me. Her tiny body lay a breath away from Heaven.
She pulled through. A new fear settled in my heart. We were bringing home a baby with special needs and an unsure future. Life would never go back to normal.
The first few months I battled terror and guilt. I was so scared. Her health was fragile and no specialist could tell us what her future would be like. Fears assaulted me in the quiet. Would she ever walk? Eat? Talk? Make friends? What would my life be like? Would I spend the rest of my life caring for a delicate child? Was there more that I could do for her? Did we have the right therapists? Doctors? Was I missing something?...
It became hard to hold our little Micaela and simply enjoy her sweet smile or the way she felt in my arms. And that, that inability to give her a single moment of pure love, scared me more than anything.
Desperate, I begged God to fix my heart. What kind of parent was I that I couldn't love her like I loved our older girl Adela?
God answered and He made a beautiful offer. If I would give up my tomorrows and live only in the day, then I could rest in His peace.
I've always been a planner. What I saw as a strength was an Achilles heel to my faith. I had lost that illusion of control and without it, I faltered.
Micaela's life liberated me. I had to let go. I had to give God all our tomorrows and rest in His provision of the day...day after day after day.
Today Micaela ate a Graham cracker in my arms and giggled when her favorite song came on. She is precious to me. Precious because she is my daughter. Precious to me because her life brought me freedom.
Are you clinging to control your future or are you resting in God's promises?
Bits of weeds, dirt, bugs, and sticks scattered. I walked and pushed, walked and pushed. Behind me fell a neat line of cut foliage.
I smiled. My shoulders dropped. If having an open mouth hadn't been a hazzard, I would have sang.
If only all of God's tasks for us were like this: One job at a time. Predictable outcomes. Visual progress.
Many things in my life require work of the mind, heart, and body with no confirmation of results. With faith I keep pushing against bricks walls.
Are you pushing brick walls, too? Are you fighting for a marriage that feels like it is crumbling around you? Are you attempting to teach manners to a defiant child? Are you battling a disease? Are you holding the hand of a friend deep in depression? Brick walls come in many shapes and sizes.
Have you read the story The Unmoved Rock? If you haven't, you must. To summarize, God asked a man to push against a rock all day, everyday. The man did so for years. Eventually he became discouraged and cried out to God. God showed him how much the man had grown by performing the hard task. He had grown strong and resilient. But, He told the man that God was the the one that could move the rock. (Read the full story here. From Bible.org)
Today I am thankful for mowing, for a task where I can see results. But for all those other things that I am struggling for, I must instead look at the progress inside myself. I look at the patience I have gained, the ability to laugh and shake off little hurts, the heart that is learning to run to God for completeness...
Thank you, God, for having me push for the impossible. I will do the work, but remember that it is You who moves the mountains.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
What are you fighting for today? Even if you don't see much progress out in the world, do you see the progress in you?
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"...and God was already there with me."