Saturday, September 29, 2012

This is the Gift

An excerpt from A Praying Life, by Paul E. Miller, his observations after having taken his young adult daughter, Kim, who is autistic, with him on a speaking engagement trip:

As I sat there on the plane, frazzled, with Kim melting down next to me, I thought, This was a mistake. I will never do this again. What I didn't realize was that the kingdom had come. It is always that way with the kingdom. It is so strange, so low; it is seldom recognized. It looks like a mistake.

Later, as I reflected on the weekend and on the ways of God, I realized that I was in the middle of one of God's stories...

The Father was taking me on the same downward journey He took His Son. Paul invited the Philippian church to join Jesus, "who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:6-7). The downward journey is a gospel story.

All I can say is amen and amen. I can't even explain to you why this little passage rings so loud and true to me, especially of late. Maybe someday I'll be able to, but right now I'm so in the middle of learning the lesson of which he speaks, that I don't think I have the wisdom yet to hash it out here.

But how many times do I find myself in the midst of something hard, complicated, confusing, painful, or inconvenient and I say this to myself (or at the very least feel it, and allow my moods and outlook to follow suit), This was a mistake!

I am ever, always, being taught and retaught this lesson by Christ:

This is NOT a mistake.

This can be anything. Fill in the blank there.

Earlier in the week our family took a look at the passage in which Jesus was sleeping through a scary storm in a boat. You know the one. The disciples come frantically to Christ and shake Him awake, asking if He even cares that they are going to drown?! Mark 4:35-41

Thinking over that event got me thinking about the little storms I face hour by hour and day by day. The disciples did not believe that Jesus was aware of their crisis, nor that He was in control of it. They were sure, as I too often am, that their problem was a mistake.

Am I really going to walk in that lie? That Jesus is not aware of my issues? That He's not in control? And worst of all, that He doesn't care?!

He is aware.

He's in control.

He does care. Jesus loves me.

This is not a mistake. This, whatever it is, is a gift from a good, sovereign, loving King-God. Will I ever really learn it, deep in me: This is for His glory. It's to make me more like Christ. That which I called a mistake because of its unpleasantness is The Gift.

I've probably already said too much. It's an Upside Down Kingdom indeed, as I've heard Ann Voskamp say.
Photo theme today - Holding Baby H. I do hold him myself occasionally. Ha. I hold him as much as I can! It wasn't a banner day for awesome photography, but I think my girls look lovely, and isn't it good to see a dad doing guy-things with his little son?!

And for the record: H slept through one night this week. Hip, hip, hooray! And, as I barely-sort-of get my wits about me I'm seeing that he really is an easy baby, laid back, likes to sleep. Hooray, again! And he's just so dang cute that I guess we'd eat him and his dimples up anyway, even if he was high-maintenance. Wink.

Also, I've never had a child who stretches and arches like Baby H. He throws his almost-chubby fists in the air and grunts like a big boy, always stretching. He works hard at it. So funny.

He's taking about 3 ounces at each feeding and is smiling, smiling. We get lots of happy faces from him now, as he's become quite responsive. We all love this.

Y'all have a great weekend!


  1. If it's any encouragement, God uses even the thoughts that you call muddled to bless me. You're right, God uses what we mght see as problems to grow us and change us and none of it has taken him by surprise. Not that the things aren't hard, or problems - I still want my problems to change, for others' sake too, but I could do better to learn in the here and now.

    Also your family are as lovely as ever. I hope those nights keep getting longer!

  2. Thank you, I needed to hear this. I need to chew on it and apply it to my life. I am such a planner that it's hard for me to let go and accept a new viewpoint.
    I remember this quote from Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood when Sidda is talking about her difficult childhood: "I will give thanks for gifts, strangely, painfully wrapped." I think of that sometimes. Your post enlarges on that for me. Thank you, friend.

  3. AMEN!!! Oh how I needed to hear that. I recently starting reading Paul Tripp's book, "Forever," and it's been an eye-opener for me as far as my shallow, "here & now" perspective goes. It is so easy to forget that *this* is a gift from Him, and He is in every single detail. Thank you for this reminder! God bless you and your beautiful family, Beth!