There have been many times in the last 15 years I've asked myself, "Do I have what it takes?" Can I make it through this situation and handle it with grace while reflecting God's love?
I suppose in that moment when your first child is born, you face the most overwhelming sense of responsibility. . . yet I don't think any of us realize in THAT moment, what the coming years will hold. Any more than I realize right now what the future will hold for these eight very different personalities - kids that I am seeking to raise up to love the Lord.
I've always thought that it's God's goodness that He doesn't show us what's coming. He gives us the grace AS the trials come, building our faith, knowing that if we knew ahead of time we wouldn't have the strength to anticipate what the trial will hold.
Yesterday, while sitting with Daughter (#6) before and after her out-patient surgery to remove a cyst on her neck, my mind wandered to some of that "Do I have what it takes?" moments in the story of our family here at the troops.
The first moment my mind wanders to is when Daughter (#2) had RSV at 5 weeks of age and spent a week in the hospital.
Then the multiple trips to the ER with Son (#3) in the middle of the night before finally finding that he has asthma. I don't think we slept through the night regularly until he was three.
Son (#4) pinched the end of his thumb off in my mom's folding coffee table when he was nine months. I remember thinking (all the way to the hospital), "He will be just fine without his thumb." So grateful they were able to reattach it and he has all 10 fingers to this day!
Same son also broke his arm jumping out of a rolling chair - he was about two. But the broken arms had the biggest year last year with Daughter (#2) AND Daughter (#5) both breaking theirs.
When Son (#3) broke his nose and needed out-patient surgery to fix it, that was a difficult time. He moaned and groaned for over a week afterwards. Even though I did everything I could to make him comfortable, it just took time.
There have been other moments for sure. But none of these compare to the grace that is needed to face a trial of the SOUL. Our physical bodies are going to get hurt and they will get sick. Here at the troops, none of those physical trials have been lasting. I know for some of you, you are living in the midst of a physical trial that is a spiritual one, as well.
We've had a few "Soul trials" here at the troops, for sure. They aren't the kind of thing that one can blog about. But they have made me realize that most things aren't the "big deal" that we tend to make them. Most of the time, bones will heal, they will recover. . . the soul things will matter for life. How we face them can change our character. The choices we make. The relationships we have with the Lord and with others.
I didn't intend for this post to be so depressing! :-) But it's where we are living right now. Striving with all that we have (by God's grace) to shape the character of our children. Knowing that character is developed IN the trials. Not wanting the trials at all! But wanting them to (and us) have the Christ-like character that makes us a shining light in this dark, dark world.
I know these precious children will fail. They already have. And I know there is more of that to come. My prayer, lately, has been that their character development will come without life-long consequences. But I realize that our Lord and Savior bore his trials unto death. And unlike us, He didn't deserve it. Hadn't earned the consequences of OUR sin.
So in following Him, we choose a hard road. I don't except my children to have "easy" lives. But I do expect them to have blessed lives. If they choose to follow Jesus, the joy will be beyond explanation. Even if there are scars.
And now? A little girl who wants some hot cereal for her very sore throat. She's been amazingly brave, tough and sweet through her trial. And Lortab certainly helps! Ha!
May the God of all Grace fill you with His comfort and strength today for whatever trial you are facing. And as our BSF leader always says - if you haven't just come through a trial, or are in one right now, get ready - it's coming. It's part of being a follower of Christ!