When our daughter was about three years old, I worked up the courage to verbalize what I had been thinking for quite some time: She was different. I had a nagging sense that something was off. She wasn’t walking. She skipped crawling and would bounce on her knees across the room (It was as strange as it sounds!). I ached when I heard other toddlers forming beautiful little words, like mama or dada, while she remained silent. I asked our pediatrician if this was normal, and he said she was probably just delayed and that her big brother did the talking for her. But still, as time went on, that nagging sense stayed there in my mind and heart.
When she turned four, I finally got her evaluated after tons of paperwork and searching for someone to take me seriously — “I know she looks fine, but it’s not fine. Something is wrong.” It turned out she couldn’t hear for the first several years of her life. After we fixed the hearing, I thought we’d get back on track for “my plan” for her life to move along. However, when her language did not arrive, the long, tiresome journey of advocating for our daughter and early intervention was just beginning.
Over the course of my life, I’ve found myself in many uncomfortable situations where I’ve had to sit in the discomfort of events in my life not going as planned. You know that song we all like to belt out as if we’re the next big American Idol star? Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander . . . wherever You might lead me. It’s fun to sing, but not as fun to live. Do we really want to be taken so deeply into the unknown, even if it’s painful and uncomfortable and we might lose some things along the way? If I’m honest, I’d rather sing the song than live the song.
But that’s not the call of the faith we profess. We often can’t understand what God is doing, but we are called to trust that He knows better and will work it for our good. We may know that in our heads, but God wants to capture our hearts instead. And that often happens when life is interrupted.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
There was a time (or seven) in our journey with Lila where I thought I could fix her with the newest therapy, the greatest miracle supplement, or perhaps if I prayed hard enough. But as I mature in faith, as I walk this road further, I have since stopped believing that if she were more “normal,” she would have a better life. My perspective, as I lean on His higher ways, has changed from needing her to be healed to believing that God is showing me something about Himself through all of this. He didn’t make a mistake when He weaved her genes together, when He knitted her, when He gave the word to make her just so. This leads me to believe He is showing a part of Himself through her, something I didn’t want to see at first.
But now I know deeply from watching her boundless joy and her intense happiness for others as she watches them open a gift and cries with joy. She jumps up and down. She hugs them, as if she were the one receiving it. Give me joy like that! She walks down to the neighbor’s house and asks them, with intensity, “And how was your day?!” — all because she really wants to know. Give me others-centered awareness like that! She wants to pet every dog, wants to know their name and what their favorite treat is, and she laughs hysterically at their features. “That weiner dog is smiling at me!” Give me the ability to find joy in the simplest things like that! She sings off key at the top of her lungs, and it is sometimes accompanied by a squeaky recorder, which has us all laughing so hard we cry. Give me a joy so contagious like that!
And I almost missed out on it by wishing my circumstances were more “normal.” The rest of the verse above continues on:
So is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11 (NIV)
So here’s what I’ve come to trust: Every circumstance is tailor-made for me, given to me by a good God, who refuses to let His good Word return empty. My life and its interruptions will accomplish His purpose for His glory and my good. And perhaps, once we start believing this to be true for us all, we can open our white-knuckled grip and receive a better gift than we could imagine: Himself. It was never about our circumstances. It was always about Him.Leave a Comment