What If My Son Isn’t Healthy?

I hadn’t let it get to me before, despite the comments of others. “As long as he’s healthy…” I’d hear them say. But what if he wasn’t? It may make life harder, but would it make it any less blessed?

Then today, fear struck me. The possibility of Lyme disease being passed from me to my child paralyzed me for a moment. I mourned for the life he may encounter with such opposition.

Not that any other opposition is less of a fear, but the memories and possibilities of Lyme disease are all too familiar. If you don’t know about the prevalence of this disease in my life, you can read a bit about it here in my testimony. I’ve known a lot of people with this disease; I’ve seen people no longer able to keep their jobs, continue school, or enjoy former hobbies and activities as they are confined to their beds.  And of course, I know firsthand the pain of this disease and how difficult it is to treat, especially if passed from mother to child in the womb.

As these thoughts penetrate my mind today and tempt me with fear, they also challenge the foundation of my hope: Do I hope merely for that which is seen – the physical blessings of this world – or do I hope for that which is unseen – the reality of heaven?

Of course, I hope for my son to experience health and happiness. But beyond such a temporary hope, I long for Him to experience Jesus.

Hope in the latter brings me back to reality. This life passes quickly and Jesus is coming soon, so we persevere through present sufferings with our hearts and minds fixated on this unseen hope of heaven (Romans 8:18-25).

Because if I only hope for my son to be healthy and not suffer the pain of such a disease, or of any disease or ailment he may encounter, then my hope will be crushed because suffering and pain are prevalent in this world.

So I turn my hope to Jesus because He alone is able to redeem the sin and suffering we encounter in this world and the former fears fade in light of eternity and the joy of knowing Him.

While I continue to pray for His miraculous power to protect my son, I trust in His goodness and sovereignty, whether through sickness or through health, and I pray that my son would know Him who makes all things new.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us…” -Romans 8:18

Freedom & Life

An old friend of mine spent a couple of years in prison. I didn’t know exactly what happened to him. We lost contact and then it seemed he just disappeared. I knew he had stolen cars and gotten deep in drugs. He struggled with lust. He got involved with gangs. He was one of those old classmates that you wonder what ever happened to them.

Years later, he contacted me because he remembered our conversations about Jesus. Fresh out of jail, he still struggled with his old way of life. He struggled with lust and sexual sin. He knew that if the opportunity presented itself, he may not be strong enough to resist the drugs. We lost contact again as he stopped answering his phone. I’m not sure what happened to him.

I do know that though he was given a new opportunity at life, he remained in bondage to the old. Free from prison, but not really free at all. How true this is of so many Christians who have been freed from the eternal consequences of sin, yet remain in bondage to their old ways of life.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

The gospel is more than just a message of eternal salvation. Jesus paid our eternal debt through His death on the cross and set us free from the eternal consequences of sin. But if we accept & believe in His death and resurrection, yet remain in bondage to the old ways of life – to our anger, bitterness, jealousy, lust, pride, anxiety, and the like – then the power and intent of His death is not complete in our lives. He came to save us from our sins and to sanctify us in His truth for His purposes and glory (John 17:17).  

Our struggles with sin don’t end with salvation. But the hope of the gospel is this: He has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2nd Peter 1:3). He has given us the Holy Spirit who transforms us into the likeness of Christ as we yield to His work. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, there is HOPE for redemption and new life.

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you…For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:11-13

In light of this hope, may we deny ourselves and follow Him; take off the old and put on the new; stop walking in the desires of our flesh or the ways of the world and start walking in the Spirit so that the fruit of His Spirit can be produced in our lives and the hope of the gospel evident in our testimonies.

Praise Jesus! There is real power in His death and resurrection! We now stand resurrected by His Spirit – alive by His grace!

Happy Easter, friends. He is Risen!

Rags to Riches

I am unworthy to glance upon your Glory. I am unworthy to bow before your throne, O Holy God. I come before you as a tainted rag: stained, undignified, and lowly. A guilty sinner unable to wash what’s been stained, and there is no place for filth in your kingdom, for sin in your holy presence.

And yet you beckon me…

You beckon me into the inner courts of your kingdom, to approach your throne of Grace. Not because of who I am but because of who you are. Though I stood as a tainted rag, you washed my filth and you covered me with the righteousness of Jesus. You gave me life when I deserved death. You made me rich with the knowledge of Jesus, my Savior.

And that is the astounding and unparalleled grace of God.

He ate with the lowly. He embraced the lepers. He visited the outcasts. He gave sanity to the demon possessed. He stopped everything to heal a peasant girl without a name. He didn’t condemn the harlot. He forgave the sinner. He called us heirs and gave us life.

He bore our cross, and we wear His robe.

Jesus – I love you because you first loved me. I give you my life because you first gave me yours. I humble myself because you humbled yourself, and you are God. Though what I have to offer is nothing, I give it to you.

On the Path of Sacrifice & Joy

God, what if you don’t answer our prayers? Where will this leave my faith? How will I grieve the loss of a dream; of thought-out, well-intended plans; of a future I believed was your will?

I finally allowed myself to uncover these buried thoughts, and I wondered whether they came from Satan trying to discourage me or from God trying to prepare me. I’ve prayed for God’s will throughout this journey of waiting, but often in the assumption that it followed my will and my desires.

Then I heard God ask me a serious and single-answered question: My will or your will?

I only get to choose one answer, God? Are you asking because they are different?

So many “God things” have happened that I believed my will aligned with His will. Nevertheless, I humbled myself, I gave up those desires, and I yielded to His will…whatever that may be.

And In this moment, my heart changed. My desire no longer hung on my ambitions or pursuits or hopes or dreams; I actually yearned for His will.

It’s not that our desires are always wrong or even different from His will. But in our humanity, we are prone to be self-centered even on the path of His will. How can this be? Well, we are near-sighted — only able to see a short distance beyond our current situation — and our understanding is limited and somewhat self-consumed. I’m grateful He challenged my deepest desires.

It’s not about me. It’s not about my plans. It’s about glorifying the Eternal King; it’s about laying down my life to serve Him and to know Him more; it’s about living less for myself, and more for His purposes.

Because on this path of self-sacrifice, joy is found. And He desires us to experience the fullness of a life devoted to Christ — to His Will, to His glory — not our own. It is a path of sacrifice. It is a path of joy.

Singing at the Kitchen Sink

Tonight as I washed the dishes piled high from the week, I began singing a song that flowed from my heart and into the ears of my Savior. By the way, if you don’t sing to Jesus while doing dishes at your kitchen sink, I highly recommend it. A mundane task can become quite the sacred moment. So I wrote down the words to my song and thought I’d share it with you. Feel free to sing it to your own tune, or just read it as a poem. Either way, I hope these words flow from your heart and  into the ears of your Savior as you trust Him with your life.

Tomorrow

I don’t know what tomorrow holds,
But I know it holds You.
And Jesus, You give us hope for life,
We have nothing without You.
.
So teach us here, teach us now.
Give us hope, oh, give us life.
We can’t live without You, Christ,
So in Your Truth, God, we abide.
.
Jesus, oh, Jesus.
We call out, for we know You hear us.
And we know Your plans are good for us.
So we’re stepping forward, eyes gazed on You,
Trusting. Waiting. Hoping.
.
Cuz we don’t know what tomorrow holds,
But we know it holds You.
And Jesus, You are the light of life,
It’d be dark here without You.
.
Cuz we don’t know what tomorrow holds,
But we know it holds You.
And we don’t know tomorrow’s plans,
But we know You hold it in Your hands.

It Could Be Any Day…

We’ve waited 5 years for the opportunity in this moment. Years of hoping and dreaming for God to open a door to medical school for my husband are now contingent upon the response we’ll hear any day.

The response may fulfill those dreams. Or it may momentarily shatter them. Either way, it will shape the course of our lives and greatly affect our immediate future.

This seems grave, doesn’t it? See, this is how I’m tempted to view the situation. This is also an indicator to how I’ve handled future prospects in the past. In all honesty, I’ve gotten it all wrong. I’ve been hoping in this opportunity — this dream — for my husband. I’ve been hoping in something that is not certain. I’ve been hoping in tomorrow.

The problem with hoping in tomorrow? It may not come. The opportunities may not last. The dreams may not be met. Tomorrow is not promised us. So what do we hope in?

If we hope in the desires, dreams, or expectations of what tomorrow holds, we will ultimately be let down. If we hope in God in HIS love and sovereignty over our lives — we will never be let down because we’d know that we can trust Him with our lives.

While we may hope for tomorrow, our hope is not anchored in tomorrow. Our hope is anchored in God because we can trust Him.

Perhaps you’re waiting for an answer too. Perhaps you’re waiting on a decision that will affect your immediate and extended future. It could be a job. It could be a pregnancy test. It could be a school. It could be a diagnosis. Are you hoping in tomorrow? Or are you hoping in a loving God who holds it all in His hands?

Whatever tomorrow brings, my prayer is that our hope would remain steadfast in our God…anchored in Him, confident in His good purposes, certain of His sovereign love.

Her Sin Was Ugly

This past weekend I heard of and got to meet several women whose lives have been wrecked by sin: Anger. Jealousy. Abortion. Divorce. Addiction. Murder. Adultery. Lies….Sin is ugly.

But they’ve also been redeemed by grace….and Grace is beautiful.

For those of us who know the scriptures, we can be quick to condemn, can’t we? I’ll go first in the sad though honest confession: my heart didn’t condemn them… hesitant whisper…but my mind did. Because in my mind I know that scripture tells me these behaviors are wrong and against His commandments. So what then: Does our knowledge of Truth place us in a position as judge? Does it eradicate the power of Grace?

Religion causes rigidity in our faith. But His loves causes grace.

God totally rocked my faith this weekend as He reminded me of His character. He in His holiness bore our sin upon Himself. He in His love died the cruel and horrific death we deserved. Even in the midst of our sin and rebellion, He proclaimed, I love you!

And we’re supposed to imitate His character.

We can be quick to condemn, to point the finger in accusation, to gossip about the ugliness of another’s sin (even in the guise of prayer!). And the caution in this self-righteous behavior: when we take our eyes off of Jesus and look intently on another’s sin, we step out of His grace in our lives and step into sin. And sin is ugly. But grace is beautiful.

Have we all sinned? A profound yes! Have we all received grace? An even more profound YES!

Well, then…who are we to condemn, to judge, to hate? Since you have received His grace, walk in His grace. Since you have been forgiven, forgive. Since you have experienced His love poured over you when you were still a sinner, love as He has loved you.

Because outside of Christ we are ALL defined by our sin. But in Christ, we are ALL defined by His righteousness. Grace is beautiful.