My friend, Jennifer Dukes Lee, (I hope this sister in Christ and fellow grace chaser doesn’t mind if I call her friend even though we’ve really never met) has started a series titled, A November to Remember in which she challenges us to get into God’s word and ‘listen to what God says about us before we listen to what Facebook says to us.’ It’s also a challenge for ‘More Soul; Less Scroll’.
I love her challenge, but I’m taking it and tweaking it a bit and as I spend extra time in the word each morning making this a ‘November to Remember’, I am also taking a few minutes to look back and remember those epiphanies in my life when the Lord has opened my eyes to His love and His exceedingly abundant grace extended to me. And while I may be getting a late start here on day five and I will not post every day, I look forward to sharing several of those moments in hopes that they will encourage someone else who may be struggling.
And as for the second part of Jennifer’s challenge….
Unfortunately the challenge for ‘More Soul; Less Scroll’ may not be much of a challenge for me since it’s not my habit to scroll through Facebook first… or last… or often… in fact I rarely scroll at all, hardly ever post, and I had a friend create the page for my book which I’ve sorely neglected. I’m from a generation prior to the internet and I’m an old soul that struggles to keep up with my ‘techno-literate peers’ who post and tweet and chat and use cyber-jargon that sounds like a foreign language to me.
But perhaps my hesitation to post and my habit to silently scroll may be rooted more in fear and insecurity than in lack of knowledge or ability. What if I post before I proof a second or third time and miss a typo or misspelled word or say something that isn’t well written or doesn’t make sense? And if I take the time to scroll and post and learn more about this cyber world, what if I drop something else in this fragile balance of life I’m trying to perfectly juggle? I see the value in this world shrinking cyber space that has the ability to connect friends and soul mates from almost anywhere and maybe I could use it to open my heart and encourage another if I can just muster the courage to speak. Therefore I’m using this challenge to do more than just scroll but to take the time and step out there and like, share, encourage, and speak.
And as I stop and look back in this November to Remember, I am sharing an edited repost of a major epiphany in my life which is given in more detail in my book, My Journey with Justin.
When Justin came home from the hospital my world was turned upside down. He could no longer walk or talk. He couldn’t feed himself or even hold his head upright, and because of the damage to his brain and nervous system, he cried uncontrollably and inconsolably for hours on end. I remember becoming very angry at him after my efforts to calm him proved futile and my heart would seem to be void of compassion as I looked on him with detachment and wondered if I even loved him.
Then guilt and grief would come crushing down upon me and I would drop to my knees and cry out to God. During those early years my prayers were always that the Lord would heal my son, that he would restore his voice, his ability to communicate, and his ability to exert self-control; I wanted the Lord to remove this trial and to take it from me. I did not want to raise a handicapped son. I wanted my whole and perfect little boy back and I was angry that God had taken the child I once had from me.
Then one day after an angry outburst, I found locked in the bathroom on my knees in tears crying out to God in a prayer of complaint. I cried about how awful it was to have a child who would never grow up, who would never feed himself, who would never eat from our table and I begged the Lord to heal my son of his handicaps. Instantly, Paul’s words to the Corinthian church came to mind as he said to them, “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” I suddenly realized that I was the one who was handicapped; I was the one who was still unable to eat meat from the table; it was my heart that was immature and weak; I was the one who needed to be helped and healed.
In desperation, I began to pray that God would help me to control my anger, that He would replace my anger with compassion and love. It did not happen instantly and many times I would stumble and anger and frustration would pour out of my wounded heart, but I would run back to my Heavenly Father and once more ask for help and healing fully convinced of my own inability to change myself. Gradually, the Lord did heal my heart and slowly He replaced my anger with compassion and a deep love for my son.
This event was a turning point on a long journey; a journey which brought me to my knees many times and eventually my angry heart quit asking, “Why me!” and began humbly asking, “Why me?”
Dear friend, perhaps you’re traveling a difficult road and the path seems dark and lonely, please remember you are not alone. While we may not understand His plan, He really is working all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose and He is there in those dark moments whispering, “You are loved. Trust me.”
As Jennifer is encouraging us to spend more time in the word each day, I pray you will join us and visit her site where you can find prints to download to help encourage you as you get in God’s word. This just might be that day or month that births an epiphany moment in your life or it might simply be that gentle assurance that you are loved grows brighter each day like a peaceful sunrise until you are engulfed in His light and His love.
This week I’m linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee and sharing my story along with many others. Join us and read these amazing stories of God’s love and grace!