Monday, April 22, 2013

Stuck in Plan B?

Do you ever feel as though your life is stalled, stuck in “Plan B”?  And you’re swimming upstream desperately trying to revert to “Plan A”?

I, too, have felt this way and continue to feel this way at times.  Raising my twins together was Plan A.  Having healthy, talented, godly, charming children was Plan A.  Bumping along with normal, acceptable bumps was Plan A.  Being thrown off course entirely, not so much!  Having to say goodbye to a son on earth just as we welcomed him into our arms certainly felt like Plan B.  Struggling alongside another son… you guessed it: Plan B.  Miscarriage when we desire to grow our family and build a team around John and give additional siblings to Daniel? Also Plan B.    

Trying to fit John for a new head support and chest support strap for his adaptive stroller.

I realize that any of us can look around and quickly find someone who either has it “better” or “worse.”  But I want you to consider the ways in which your life feels like it took a detour, leaving you glancing back over your shoulder at the coveted Plan A you had mapped out?

Fortunately, we are not alone.  The Bible is full of people who share our plight… many due to their own wayward schemes and others by no fault of their own.  Again, I can relate to both scenarios!

Take Mary and Joseph.  We all know their story so well that it is easily taken for granted how their lives were certainly thrown into Plan B.  Yes, we know the Virgin Birth is wild.  We know Joseph was not expecting his fiancĂ© to become pregnant before marriage and certainly not from a source other than him.  But I am drawn to the nuances found later in their story, once baby Jesus enters the scene and his parents have to scurry from one place to the next to avoid the wrath of the reigning King Herod who sought to kill all baby boys age 2 and under. 

In Matthew 2, we learn Joseph trusted God as He directed them to the safety of Egypt… Just when it seemed the coast was clear and this family was going to be able to return home according to the very words of an angel, Joseph was later warned to actually withdraw to Galilee and settle in Nazareth. Plan B, right?  Not so…

Even when we receive messages from God’s very angels or feel led to an initial route, life can throw us curve balls.  But there is good news.  We serve a God who is in control.  A God who has it all planned out in His sovereignty and in ways that we may not be able to comprehend this side of heaven.  With our God, there are no Plan B’s

Jesus wound up in Nazareth, not because of a last minute change as it must have appeared to Joseph in his dream, but to fulfill prophecies dating back hundreds of years before Christ’s birth: that Christ would live in Nazareth and be called a Nazarene.  Wow!  Like I said, this may seem to be a small nuance, but this detail truly spoke to me, both humbling me and building up my faith in the One who only has Plan A in store for us. 

It may appear and feel otherwise, but I pray today that you and I both will trust the Lord with what appears to be our Plan Bs… trusting we are in “Nazareth,” just where we are intended to be. 

Nothing is impossible with God, not even what we deem Plan B. 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
-Romans 8:28

Monday, April 8, 2013

Through the Roof and Into His Arms

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.
Nothing is too hard for you.”
-Jeremiah 32:17

John in his new, fancy, adaptive stroller that belonged to precious Reid Hargrave who has now been with Jesus for 2.5 months.  Thank you Hargrave family for your devotion to John; your love for your sons inspires us!

There is never a dull moment having John as our son, a definite perk amidst the challenges!  We tell John that he has opened our eyes, educated us, taken us to new cities and states, expanded our hearts, and pointed us to Jesus with his natural joy. 

We are continually learning (struggling if we are honest!) to trust the Lord as John’s healer, sustainer, and the one who holds John’s future while we simply steward this precious gift in our care.

In our shortsighted moments, we run from one therapy/doctor/remedy/website to the next acting as if it is up to us to “fix” John.  But in the moments when God enables us to see with His lens, we recognize John is no more broken than anyone else in this fallen world… in fact, I’d make a strong case we are much more broken than children like John!  But that is for another post… 

We all reflect the negative impact of choosing our own way rather than embracing God’s.   But we also all possess the opportunity to reflect Christ’s redemptive reality as we participate in His restorative work.    

I am drawn to the story in Luke 5:17-26 in which Jesus is speaking to a large crowd in someone’s home, and a paralytic is literally lowered through the roof by his friends.  What a bizarre sight: this man is presented to Jesus in front of the chief teachers and religious men of the day on a mat most likely suspended by ropes as chunks from the roof the four men had to dig through probably fell all around.  Where they even found these ropes and shovels, I do not know!  The friends had planned to take their disabled friend through the front door but failed due to the massive crowd.  Yet they did not give up!  

Most importantly in this story, Jesus forgave the man’s sins.  But to the shock and wonder of this man and his friends, Jesus healed him, his atrophied legs became strong, and he walked home praising God!  I imagine he ran, skipped, and jumped!  This account is clearly crucial to the Christ follower, because it is included in 3 out of the 4 Gospels.  I believe Jesus longs for us to be like these friends as we participate in His redemptive work in the world.  I pray to have this kind of courage and faith!

Soon we have the opportunity to travel with John for a 6-day therapy intensive that we are truly excited about.  And let’s just say Jesus must be real if we can continue to have this kind of hope!!  It is not of us but of Him… His reality is one of great hope.  Where the impossible is possible.  Where death is conquered.  And shackles are destroyed. 

This therapy focuses on the reflexes most of us are born with or that are expressed within the first year of life. In order to develop and grow, our reflexes must be both expressed and also integrated.  For many kids like John, these reflexes are either never expressed in the first place or are expressed but not integrated.  They are “stuck” and limit development no matter how hard a child may work.  This is John’s story for sure!  He has come so far but I truly believe much of what is holding him back are his reflexes. 

Thank you for holding us up in prayer as we lower our son through the roof of disability — past our tendency to worry about tomorrow, despite the chains of our control — and into the arms of Jesus.  He is the one who can move mountains and He holds the future in His hands.   Amen! 

“But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.”
-Malachi 4:2

Easter Pictures!

An Easter basket from my parents to the boys complete with John's lab work results from my dad's health center!  Classic!

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