Obedience has been on my heart a lot lately. I think because is many ways I am not so obedient at this whole mom thing lately. I have had a cold heart that has been full of anger. I have been that mom who has popped the lid so many times lately over the silliest of things. I have been very quick to yell and very slow to hold my children.
I just can't figure out why my kids have been so disobedient when their mom has been the biggest offender! So thankful how God works. I was given an opportunity to do a study and really it was for me. I hope that the other woman in the room were blessed by it, but I was completely blessed by it. Sometimes looking in a mirror is one of the scariest things to do but the best.
God is still working on me in this area of being patient and letting things role off. God is still working on me about handling all of Lydia's medical needs and "delays." I am a work in progress. But I am so glad that I am able to realize my short comings and now realize how far from obedience I am. No one gets a blessing when I am being so disobedient! My children learn from me and right now I am not teaching them such good things! I am glad that God is so forgiving and understanding.
But I couldn't help but reflect on our journey with Lydia and particularly Down syndrome. Often times her medical issues are wrapped up and lumped with Down syndrome. That is not always an accurate view on my view with Down syndrome. I do think it is such a blessing in so many ways. I do not think that she suffers from anything or it makes her any less of a person. I look in awe at all of the blessings I have received because of her.
Part of me is sad. Sad because too often people are scared of Down syndrome and what the road may hold. Fact is, no one knows what the road is going to hold Down syndrome or not. A car accident could make your child a vegetable, a child could go missing, cancer could be your new norm. No one knows but God. That fear or often times disobedience to what God has planned for us robs us of some of the best blessings. My heart aches for families that feel like their child is less because of Down syndrome and feels like they have to end their life before it even starts, before they even have the chance to get to know what it is like. They completely rob themselves of one of life's greatest treasures.
One thing in particular that has made me really focus and feel so loved on this journey is the amount of people Lydia has impacted. The lives that she has changed. I know we don't even know the half. I look at a school we were part of in Milwaukee and complete strangers offering their house to us for Holidays and sorts, reaching out to us and providing whatever we needed. Classrooms full of kids writing the sweetest notes to us. Strangers encouraging me on my blog and caring bridge site. People all over the world praying for us. People from all over donating to the Down syndrome awareness walk on her behalf. Friends that I have not kept in touch with very well joining our team. People we have just met coming beside us to show us that they support us. The list goes on and on. I am completely amazed and over whelmed. May seem like such a simple thing, but I look at the blessing this little girl has been in so many lives and think, we were obedient, we had her and she has impacted lives, changed perspectives. It is amazing. And please know that I am not trying to pat myself on the back, but I am just saying one simple act of obedience can change lives...just as it did Peter when he obeyed Jesus by casting his nets as instructed. God is amazing and I certainly have felt His good Hand on our life.
Down syndrome, so what. It makes her who she is and I am proud to be her mom. While there are still tough moments, the medical issues consume me most of the time, I am blessed. Today her therapist was laughing at her. She is so smart and knows just what she is doing. It is contagious. No matter what you just smile along with her. Life is better because she is in it!
Thank you all for making me (our family) feel so loved. I do appreciate the support. And I need it. You will never know how much it means to me to see a comment, see someone join our team, hear someone is praying for us, someone just loving on my daughter. Thank you!
I will include my devotion. I hope you may be blessed by it. God really revealed to me what it is all about. Walk on water and He will not let you fall. He is waiting to bless us when we are obedient. That is just so cool to me! Thanks again and have a very obedient day! (I am trying!)
Blessings through Obedience
I think that I firmly disagree with the statement “God only gives special children to special people” or “it takes a special parent to raise a child like Lydia.” To say that it has been an easy road may not be a true statement, but to say that I am a special parent because I am raising Lydia is also a false statement. I do believe that God will give us exactly what we need when we rely on His strength.
I do not consider myself to be a special parent simply because I believe that I am being obedient to what God has called me to do. I can look back to a couple years before I had Lydia and see that God has been preparing not only me, but also our entire family. We are being obedient to what God has called us to do.
I look back to our marriage and see that God allowed us to suffer to get to a point where we could be one when facing troubles. When we took our vows, we did not fully understand what they meant. I don’t really think anyone does. However, through trials and experiences, through opportunities, and studying God’s Word we begin to understand what it means to be there for each other through good times and bad, in sickness and in health and we start to better loving someone before ourselves. We understand what it is like when two become one flesh. Eric and I had to endure some very tough times to understand what marriage was all about, that love is a choice we constantly make to want their higher good and not our own. And to our surprise, that was just the foundation that God was creating. We had to fully rely on God to get us through some tough times, but in the end, we were both blessed, our family was blessed, and I think, even though we would not want to endure some of those trials over, we knew that we needed them. God was teaching us how to rely on Him, how to trust in Him alone, and be obedient to the plan that God has for our lives, not the plan that we have for our life.
And I was a fool to think that the worse was over! I know I thought …wow we endured some hard stuff the rest should be easy! I may have been being obedient to Him in my marriage, but I was not being obedient to Him in several other aspects of my life. My job soon laid me off. My job was everything to me. Yes, I loved Ellen dearly, loved my husband, but my job consumed me. Now what do I do? It did not take me too long to get another job. And I thought I was right where God wanted me, after all I was serving Him by being a ministry leader.
I was consumed by money. I had to work because we had to pay the bills. However, this was not His plan. I have to laugh now looking back at this and how tightly I held onto money. His plans are amazing. If I could only remember this all of the time and be obedient to Him more often. Through this job He taught me about my faith and truth. There were very lonely days of standing against a church trying to tell the Truth that the Word gives us. I do believe that God blessed me leaps and bounds by being obedient to Him. He blessed me with a close personal relationship with Him. It is a kind of relationship that you can only achieve by going through the trials.
And because I was obedient to Him, I found He had very different plans for my life. He wanted me to be a stay at home mom (my husband was so elated and shocked by this revelation). It is hard to obey Him and put aside my wants and needs (or what I considered needs).
I was just settling into this new role of being a stay at home mom to two wonderful children. Eric and I had tried for several years for another baby, but had come to terms that it was not God’s plan for us. We were accepting that this is what He had planned for us.
A late night trip to the ER suspected I had miscarried. I was saddened because we had tried for so long for another child and now there was a child that was gone before we even knew. Such a hard time for us, but we knew we just needed to pick up the pieces and move on. I was shocked when the next month I found out that I was pregnant. We were all so elated. God had once again blessed us. We were obedient in what He wanted, and He honored that this time with a gift of life.
20 weeks in and we learned that there might be something wrong with our child. Our child may have Down syndrome. After tears and getting use to this idea, we felt blessed that this was God’s plan for us. We fully felt like God had prepared us for this. After all, Eric grew up with a fine young gentleman who just happened to rock 3 21st Chromosomes and I had a cousin, who was one of my best friends who had cerebral palsy. We felt we were ready for this new chapter God had planned for us.
It was around 32 weeks that these years and months of preparation would come full circle for our family. We would see God’s plan in action. It was one of the most incredible things I have ever been a part of. Our child would have serious medical complications, medical complications that they were unable to diagnose prenatally. However, we did find out that our baby was a girl and would have Down syndrome. See, Down syndrome was a blessing…it meant very little to us. We would also find out that she had a hole in her heart and there was something wrong with her stomach.
Fear and worry set in, but very little of why God. The situation seemed so big and way far beyond our control, that we had on other option but to trust God. What else were we going to do? We relied on God that He had a plan far better than what we could imagine. We were ready for whatever it was He had planed (or so we thought!). There were hard days and there were good days. There were days when we just clung to God’s Word because there was nothing else to do. There were other days when we tried to walk, but we stumbled and always ended up in His arms. God was holding us and showing us a lot about our faith, our family, our friends, and ourselves. It was a time of great saddens, but also one of pure bliss…it still amazes me how God works.
We failed a thousand times a thousand daily. However, God never did. He held us, He cried with us, He carried us, and He was there always and never left us. He is faithful and true.
We are currently sitting at a place on this journey where I feel beyond blessed. We have a little girl that is thriving, that is continually teaching me and has made our family a much better place. We are reaping the blessings of being obedient.
Often times I think of obedience as a bad thing. Today’s society is not one for obedience. I see a lot of rebelling. However, when I looked to the Bible for the definition of obedience it is nothing what our society says. The general concept of obedience in both the Old and New Testament relates to hearing to a higher authority. One of the Greek words for obey in the New Testament means “to trust.” Another Biblical definition of obedience is “to hear God’s Word and act accordingly.”
Read Deuteronomy 11: 8-28
Once we understand obedience I think it is easier to apply it to our lives. Once we understand that God is commanding us to be obedient so we will receive His blessings, it is easier to obey.
The Bible has all kinds of good examples of obedience. Can you think of any?
A. Noah’s obedience saved his family from the flood.
B. Abraham’s obedience resulted in his becoming the father of a great nation, God’s chosen people, Israel.
C. Moses led the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage.
D. Joshua won the battle of Jericho by following God’s supernatural strategy.
E. David refused to harm Saul, the anointed king.
G. Peter obeyed Jesus’ command to fish in the heat of day.
H. Paul followed God’s will and took the gospel to the Gentiles
I would like to look at Luke 5: 1-11 and read about Peter’s obedience and how it blessed him and others.
None of these requests were large, but they ended up blessing Peter and Jesus and all of those people who heard Jesus speak. See, obedience is more than just doing it for me, but doing it because God calls us to. In doing so it also allows others to receive a blessing from your actions. As a result of just small acts of obedience large things can happen, our lives can change.
Often times it is so much easier to be obedient to the world instead of God. Sometimes, dare I say, I do think of what life would be like without Lydia. Yes, my life would be totally different, however, maybe easier, but I would have lost many blessings. Because of her I have been able to witness a miracle (I saw her dead and alive in the same breath) I have experienced things that I never would have been able to, I have had experiences that I could have only ever dreamed of before. We really do have to be obedient, suffer through our trial to learn. And if it were not for Lydia, I am not sure where my faith would be. I have a close personal relationship with God that has weathered the storms of life. He has never failed me and because of that there is closeness in our relationship that is eternal.
God gives us all kinds of blessings because of being obedient. He gives us peace, joy and contentment because we step out in faith and obey God. We trust Him and Him alone knowing that He will not fail us even if it is not what we want. We experience Spiritual growth. I have to say this is where I have been blessed the most through this trial. Through this growth we have more faith, which makes it easier to trust God the next time and the next time challenges arise. He also gives us Eternal blessings when we stand before Him on judgment day. He will reward our obedience.
As I had talked about before, there is the suffering before the blessing. Why must we suffer? Why must I see my child suffer? It is because of sin. We have the freedom of choice. There are a lot of consequences we must reap because of sin. Suffering is one of them. But through that suffering, if we rely on God and bring glory to Him, we always will receive a blessing. Sometimes it may take a long time, but there is always one there. If we look to the Bible there are two great examples.
A. Moses followed God’s command to lead His people out of Egypt. Not only did the leader experience difficulty in freeing the Israelites from bondage; the people also complained bitterly about life in the dessert once they were released. Despite these and other challenges, Moses is known as the most important leader in the Old Testament.
B. Paul obeyed God by preaching the gospel. As a result, he suffered tremendous persecution, danger, and physical abuse (2 Cor. 11:23-27). However, because he was imprisoned, the apostle had time to write his epistles to the Colossians, Philippians, Ephesians, and Philemon. His obedience resulted in supernatural blessing (see 2 Tim. 4:7).
Why must we suffer? If God is in control why can’t He just make me understand instead of making me suffer through something? There are many reasons why we suffer. And usually when I look at my life and see where I am suffering often times it is because I am being disobedient.
God allows us to suffer for many reasons. He allows us to suffer so we rely on Him fully. I think in our situation with Lydia it was so large that we understood it was something much larger than ourselves and we did throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus. For me, anyways, it was an easy decision to rely on God. I learned really quickly too when I would rely on myself!
God allows us to suffer to prevent becoming prideful. All good things are gifts from God and not earned by us. I know that is contrary to what our society thinks. But we must suffer to make sure that we are not full of pride.
God allows us to suffer so we are only worshiping Him. God does not want us worshiping idols. He wants us to rely on Him and worship Him alone. Romans 8:28 reminds us that He causes all things to work together for our good. Even if we are unable to see the good at the time, God has a purpose we just need to trust!
God allows us to suffer to bring us closer to Him, to better understand His ways. When the situation is one where we don’t understand we know that God will teach us something new about His plan for our life.
God also allows us to suffer to demonstrate how faithful He is. As I mentioned before, I stumbled thousands of times but He never did. He has always been faithful. It is hard because it does not happen on our time, but on His. However, His way always proves to be much better than our own.
Some days it is easier to see God’s purpose, His blessings, and His plan than others. Often times when I find myself suffering through life’s discontentments it is because I am not in good relationship with God. For me, I am not a special parent, but I try to be an obedient parent. I would like to think that any parent would love their child unconditionally no matter what. I know that is not the world we live in. But I am blessed in many ways because I have been obedient to Him. And many would look in and say that my life is not a blessing. However, the blessings God gives to us sometimes are not what we expect or want and certainly may seem odd to others. Remember God is not a God of this world, He is the Creator of all and often times His ways are backwards to what society thinks.