You, Lord, are all I have, and you give me all I need; my future is in your hands. How wonderful are your gifts to me; how good they are! I praise the Lord, because he guides me, and in the night my conscience warns me. I am always aware of the Lord’s presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me.

Psalm 16:5-8 GNT

DEVOTION – MAY 5, 2019

I can’t remember what year it was, or how old my four children were at the time, or even which child was at the center of this “moment” in my life–although, I’m 99% sure which one it was! I distinctly remember feeling the helplessness, fear, and despair at the realization of how hard parenting is. I remember asking my mother: “Why?! Why didn’t you tell me it was so hard?” I remember thinking to myself for a brief second: I don’t know that I would have had as many children if I would have known how hard this is.

At this point in my life, living by faith as a parent has been the most difficult and immense growth opportunity for me as a person and my relationship with Christ. There’s an intensity to parenting that I feel with every ounce of my being that is eloquently articulated by Debra Ginsberg. She says, “everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that–a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.”

There’s nothing better than living by faith. I’ve experienced many years where living by faith was extremely easy and other years when faith is all I had. Several months ago, I experienced a challenging time with one of my children and I mistakenly started trying to deal with the challenges within myself and not through faith in God. I analyzed and tried to resolve and neutralize the situation. I became completely fixated on my child and went full-throttle to help them.

Although I was spending time with the Lord in prayer and reading his word, I was still not completely trusting him. I was still focused on what I could do for my child. I lived many weeks feeling sheer desperation and I was on autopilot trying to “control and neutralize” everything that I encountered.

I reached out to prayer warriors to pray for my child, I prayed for my child throughout the day, and my husband and I prayed for our child. I was doing all the “right” things, but not with the right heart. Not with a heart that believes that God is sovereign and his timing is perfect. I wanted change now and I wanted to know that my child was going to be okay.

I thought this journey was about one of my children. Although it is still about that child, God has patiently and lovingly taught me that this journey is about me loving God more than anything. It’s about giving my children completely over to God. For me to live by faith. For me to come to the end of myself and completely trust in him.

I struggle with loving my children more than God. It’s not intentional, but when I fix my eyes on my children and not God, I love them more than God. God spoke to me through his Word, in his timing, to bring me where I needed to be.

Finally, brothers and sister, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think on such things. -Philippians 4:8

I have to admit, I had a brief pity party moment after I read that verse. I said, “Well! God–there is nothing lovely or right about this situation.” And then I giggled as I visualized God doing a facepalm at me. He leaned in and he gently and lovingly whispered: I am all those things!

Focus on me.
Trust in me.
Have faith in me.

I hope you’ve experienced that moment of complete peace and freedom when you finally let go and allow God to do what only he can do. That’s what I felt in that moment. Everything made sense and I asked for forgiveness, sat in his presence, and fully released my child to God.

I don’t know what the future holds for any of my children. I don’t know how it’s all going to work out. But I have faith that God loves my children more than I can possibly imagine and I have faith that God, “who began a good work in my child will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6.

Isaiah 60:22 says, “When the time is right, I, the Lord will make it happen.” God has a plan. I don’t know what it is–and God frequently says to me: Mary, don’t fret. You don’t need to know the plan. You know me. I’m enough. Love me. Rest in me. Trust in me.

Live by faith.

PRAYER

Dear Lord,

Thank you for loving us. Thank you for this day and for all that we have. You are a good Father and you give good gifts to us. Help us to walk in your ways and to be obedient to your will so we may experience your peace in all circumstances.

Amen.

Mary Thionnet

Crossings Nursery Pastor
mthionnet@crossings.church

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