It has been a couple weeks since we found out that we were going to remain undiagnosed. I have been through a plethora of emotions, and there have been good days and bad days. I think this will remain true forever while I’m in this earthly body. But friends, as I was reflecting on how I thought I would react/feel/handle the news versus how I’m actually reacting/feeling/handling, one thing was clear: When we step out in faith and ask God to make His presence near us known, He absolutely does. I say this because, when we first began this search to what was going on, I remember saying that I would “go crazy” if we could not get answers. I was like a toddler having a tantrum in the grocery store. I wanted the cookie, and if I wasn’t going to get the cookie, I was going to stomp and yell and make a scene until I was given what I wanted. But God. He is the Perfect Parent. He does not get embarrassed of His children and give in hastily, because His hands are never tied. He is always working, and He patiently waits for us to silence our own wants and come to Him for a heart change only He could perform. Which is exactly what He has been doing in my life for the past few months.
I always tell people that I like to think of this blog as “God heavy, family light”. Some of you probably read because you care about our family and want to hear some general news, which I appreciate so very much. But my prayer, even for those of you who read for purposes outside of this, is that in the words of this blog you would meet Jesus in either a new, a fresh, or a deeper way. That being said, I think it’s important, maybe most especially for those of you who read and also know me personally, that I share my inabilities in light of His abilities. I want you to know that I am the same person that you have always known, yet God is changing my heart and mind in radical ways as I look to Him to do so. I stumble in this almost daily. There are moments where you see more Morgan and less Jesus, daily even, but I am so comforted that this relationship is simply about showing up at His throne and asking Him to fill… not based on this fragile jar of clay, but based on The Precious Jewel of Christ. Friend-yes, you specifically- hear me on this: He wants this for you. If you are reading these words, He is calling you out of wherever you are in order to speak to you in your here and now. He’s pursuing you in the most sacred, real way possible. As time goes on, and as I see Him do the impossible in my heart and in the lives of those around us, I am more and more convinced that this is true. It is one thing to say you believe something, and a whole another thing to have it stamped on the depths of who you are.
“God uses plain brown packages like you and me to hold His priceless gem of the gospel of Christ. The container garners no glory. Rather, the inestimable value resides in the contents of the container. How much more so, when the container is characterized by brokenness, does the beauty of God’s grace and the hope of the gospel shine forth in all its glory”. – Michael S. Beates, Disability and the Gospel
I could not say it any better. I am a plain brown package, yet I am finding so much joy in watching God’s priceless gem empty me out in order to show Himself. As a kid, I remember sometimes thinking that the Christian life looking boring. I sometimes called it a, “turtle neck board game” kind of life. But readers, this could not be further from the truth. If you are truly trusting God and having a “blank check” attitude toward your fleeting days, as our friend and former pastor David Platt always says, this Christ following life is one adventure after another. And, sometimes, the biggest adventure is the one that you find going on within your own soul. Those of you who have chosen to trust Him in the midst of tragedies or hard things can attest to what I am about to say: this strength could absolutely, totally, never come from me. Yet, sometimes, His strength is shown most fervently through our utter weakness. So, as Paul says,
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.- 2 Corinthians 12:9b
Sometimes, the things the Lord is doing in a heart are too complex to verbalize, but as I was fumbling for some words the other day, I told a friend, “It’s not that I don’t still have hard emotions about the whole thing. But, the moment we didn’t get a diagnosis, I knew that I had already trusted that decision to God. And, I’ve seen Him faithfully work so much in this season that I was positive His mighty hand could hold our girls much more securely than my clammy, feeble grip. There is nothing left to do but praise Him for the suffering, because I’m trusting it truly is going to be His best.” Yes. And, as I look to the Perfect Parent to give me wisdom on how to be the best mom for our girls in light of this news, I have discovered that diagnosis or not, my job didn’t change. My purpose in our children’s lives has always been the same: to show them God’s love and pray, pray, pray that they will know and experience that all their days. Knowing the simplicity of this gives us the freedom to allow the therapists to be the therapists, the doctors to be the doctors, and lets us love our girls without any doubt that God will keep being God both in our lives and theirs. It takes away pressures and expectations that come from fighting God’s best for their lives. This is not Plan B, He is not withholding, and someone else’s normal is not to be desired. He is our portion. In light of that, I like this. Truly. I like the challenges. I like the lack of milestones. I like the atypical because above all else, I trust Him and His plans. And, as Jim Elliot once said,
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Tomorrow, we will have another swallow study to see what is going on with our girls and their feeding. There is a chance that we could find out the swallowing has gotten worse, and that would obviously mean different steps for our girls. But, this plain paper bag is not concerned, because,
“He is not afraid of bad news; His heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.”- Psalm 112:7
There is no such thing as bad news with Him. Hard emotions, days, moments, circumstances…they are passing. Our Hope and our Joy will stand forever. If you knew that your football team was going to win the Super Bowl, would you be concerned with a couple of bad passes or fumbles? Jesus. He has already overcome, the victory is His, and these things in between are merely His perfect, detailed provision for our brief stay here on earth. This world is not our home.
Friends, I am in awe of the way God works as we call on Him to do so. Today, instead of focusing on where we are all falling short, I want to ask you this: as you look back on the different seasons or situations of your life, where have you seen God show up, both tangibly and intangibly? How can you praise Him today for the miracles He is performing in your heart? And, if you have never trusted His faithful pattern for your days, who do you know that has and who can do reach out to that can help you begin this great adventure? (If no one else, ME!) Friends, this Gospel, this Good News- it’s real. It’s true. It’s life-changing. My desperate prayer for each of you is that the eyes of your heart would be all the more open to what a life lived in surrender to Him looks like. That you would experience the amazement we have experienced as we have stepped out in faith, handed him “our” story, and left it in His beautiful, scar-filled, loving hands. It is safe with Him. He can be trusted. And, as C.S. Lewis once wrote,
“Safe?…who said anything about safe? ‘Course He isn’t safe. But He’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”- The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
Let’s lift open hands to the One who is writing each of our adventures and has nailed each and every obstacle to the cross which He bore. He is worthy.