The Pitfalls of Control

I have a serious control problem. My husband and kids will be the first to tell you it is true. I would like to chalk it up to raising three kids, but unfortunately it began way before that. You can ask my mom (smirk here).

Complete control sounds heavenly, but it is so far from it.

Control has its pitfalls – just ask anyone in a leadership role right now.

Control allows me to make choices that I am in charge of – me only. It makes me believe that I have some sort of ruling ability over my environment. This what-seems-amazing skill allows me to mandate what happens all around me. It gives me a false sense of security. Being in charge often does this.

As a teacher, I often do have control over my environment, then walks in that kid that throws things for a loop. Somehow he/she reminds me that one move outside of my control zone can shake up the entire classroom. My world tumbles to the ground, and I have to go back to rework my control back into the situation which takes tremendous time and effort on my part. Regaining control is frustrating, painstaking work.

If I have learned anything through all this COVID-19, it is that control is a facade. You may think you are in control, but you are anything but that.

I may think I am in charge of my world, my household, my business, my classroom, but that is soooo not the case.

Control is not all that it is cracked up to be. Sure you get to make decisions, give advice, and assume leadership, but with that comes the consequences of making the wrong choice. The pain of admitting your decision may have been the wrong one. The exhaustion of building everything all over again, once again, falling into the falsehood that you are in control.

It is a endless cycle of control, lose control, gain control, lose control, gain control.

Control often involves battles. Most likely because control affects others besides ourselves. I make choices that affect others – like a domino effect. Sound familiar? I often tell my students that their choices have consequences. These are not just consequences for themselves, but for others too. Sometimes our choices affect an entire community. We can find ourselves in a bees nest really quick because when we pull control from others, they tend to fight back. Battle after battle after battle. It is never-ending.

So, how do we change this all up? How do we know when we are suppose to be in control and when we are suppose to be a follower? How can we stop this endless cycle that leads to exhaustion and false security?

We don’t.

You know why?

Because we are never in control. God is.

I have spent every morning in prayer since this coronavirus began. I have pulled and tugged God to let me take the reigns. Finally, I realized, He never wants me in control. That is His job.

It’s frustrating.

It takes obedience.

It includes tremendous amounts of prayer.

I have to confess….

I am not in control. I cannot handle the pitfalls of control. I am not equipped to be in control. I have way too much pride to be in control. I am not mentally or physically able to be in control. He is.

This is difficult and uncomfortable for me to say because it requires humility to say it. We are often given the opportunity of being a leader, but in the end, the ultimate leader is God, not us. It is a false title of leadership that we do not own.

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

We are to be followers of Him. He will lead the way. We are along for the ride and are to be open to what He tells us to do.

Talk about the ultimate lack of control – that is us!

We are here, on this earth, for Him, because of Him. He is in control. We can fight it all we want. We can pretend that we are the leaders, the decision makers, the rulers of our domain, but we clearly are not even anything close to that.

So, let it go. Let Him work through you. He doesn’t make mistakes. His choices are perfect. His leadership is exactly what we need right now.

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Standing Up for Jesus?

John 20:1-7

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.

Mary Magdalene was the first to see the empty tomb. Her response caused quite an uproar. When Mary went to the tomb, she noticed that someone had removed the heavy stone from the entrance. In her mind this only meant one thing – someone had taken him! In her quick reaction, she ran back to tell the disciples.

The disciples upon hear the news ran to the tomb. As they ran, I am sure there adrenaline was pumping. After all, they had all hidden away at the crucifixion. They had not taken a stand for Jesus – instead they just stood watching the horrible day unfold. I am sure their guilt had gotten to them all. They sat, hiding when Mary came and gave them the news, doubting all that had been taught to them.

So, as they ran to the tomb and Simon Peter saw the strips of linen that had been wrapped around Jesus laying on the ground, their first reaction was….THEY took him! How dare They do such a thing! The unfairness of it all swallowed them up. They were angry, frustrated, and I am sure they wanted to find who had done it.

So read on….

John 20:11-16

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

Mary was so overwhelmed with grief that she couldn’t quite see that Jesus was standing right in front of her. She had already in her mind jumped to the conclusion that They had taken Jesus, so she couldn’t see the Truth that was right in front of her. She jumped to stand up for Jesus when she saw the “gardener” begging him to please tell her where Jesus’ body was. This took courage for a woman to ask such a thing of anyone. But did Jesus really want her to take that stand? Did Jesus really need Mary to find Him? Or did He just want her to open her eyes to Him?

Here is the thing…..many times I believe that Jesus calls me to stand up for Him, and don’t get me wrong, I jump at the chance. But how do I really know that is what Jesus wants? Just like Mary at the tomb. She had in her mind that They had taken Jesus – and so she couldn’t see He was right in front of her. Her stance, while courageous, was not needed. In fact, she missed exactly what Jesus needed her to do – see Him.

It made me think – how many times do I allow my own judgment to cloud the fact that Jesus is right in front of me? When do I jump to stand for Jesus when He really doesn’t need me to do so? Am I really listening or am I just taking a stand because I believe it is the Truth?

I realized this morning that if my actions tend to take people away from Jesus – just as Mary’s actions did when she went and told the disciples that They had taken Jesus, then I might be missing the Truth. I might be doing my will and not His will.

The Truth is that Jesus wants us to see Him. He wants us to see that we can be part of His plan – the plan to draw more people to Him. When we take people away, when we bring our wrong judgments into the picture, then we cannot bring people closer to Him. We, in fact, turn people away from Him.

Don’t get me wrong, the Truth came out in John’s gospel. The disciples finally recognized that Jesus had predicted this all, Mary finally sees Jesus, and eventually everything is unveiled just as Jesus predicted. But Mary’s initial response slowed that all down.

What if Mary would have run back to the disciples that day and exclaimed – “The Lord has Risen – Praise Be to God – Our Lord and Savior’s Truth has arrived!” How then would the disciples reactions have changed?

We have these options every day. We can choose to be open to Jesus or we can choose to be open to sin. We can choose to bring people to Jesus or we can choose to bring people to our own judgments. It takes a lot of prayer to be open to Jesus. We have to find a personal relationship with Him in order to recognize Him and His ways.

So do it! Take the time! Stand up for Jesus by turning your heart, mind, and soul over to Him. Let Him lead you to the Truth. Most importantly, remember the mission – we are called to lead as many as we can to Christ, not away from Him. We are His disciples.

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False Prophets

As I sit here drinking my coffee this morning, I realized that all this division in the world stems from our inability to decipher real disciples of our faith over false disciples of our faith.

I scanned through multiple verses in the bible, searching diligently for the one that I was looking for. A couple of handful of verses showed up. So many on false prophets and warnings to beware. Nothing exactly explaining what I was searching for. Sigh.

What I do know is everyone is searching for God’s message in all of this chaos, in all this division. I know I am. I try to decipher who is really speaking truth with my faith in mind, and who is speaking hurtful, false teachings. It seemed like an impossible task. I guess because even those who I love seem to be spewing out hate, rebuking others out of spite.

I realized that we are all human, which in turn means we are all sinners. Our sinfulness cannot be denied. We have this amazing free will to do as we please. God gave us this, and he mercifully forgives us for our bad choices. I don’t know about you, but this forgiveness is a game changer for me.

Because of this sin, we will never truly be perfect. We will all make mistakes. We will all make poor choices. The good news is we all the opportunity to do better.

In my life, I can look back and cringe on things I said and did that were not well thought out. There have been times I took a stand for what I believed was good. Times I believed that God truly needed me to be his voice. Yet, I realize now that I spoke out for my own pride and for my benefit.

There have been movements and causes that I have backed with a vengeance, truly believing I was doing good in this world. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I did make great impacts, but was God really asking me to do it? I lacked prayer behind my decisions. I lacked guidance. I lacked patience.

Speak now! Type now! Respond now! Protest now! Immediate gratification that I was doing something to reform everyone to this grand plan that I was positive God backed.

All of the human-contrived movements on this earth are just that – human created. They will be imperfect. Even those movements with the backing of the highest clergy will be imperfect. Mostly because we are imperfect people. We sin. We make bad choices now and then. We don’t truly listen to God. We lack prayer and patience.

In place of just taking a moment to pause – we create noise. We pursue our right to speak freely. We protest. We make signs to post our belief to the world. We write opinion letters. These are all good things, but did we take a moment to clear the bad noise before creating more noise? Were we taking time to really pause, pray, and center our self with Christ? Do we give others time to pause and center themselves on Christ?

As a Christian I believe with all my heart and all my mind that prayer is action. It is hard to do – like exercise, but you need to do it every single day. Prayer is a game- changer. Prayer changes MY mind. Prayer allows ME to see my own imperfections. Prayer opens ME up to what God is calling me to do. Prayer gives ME strength to take on difficult days. Prayer removes my egotistical stubbornness into a love that God can only instill in me.

So are there false prophets out there?

You bet there are.

The key is seeing that all of us suffer from sin. The key is to find compassion, love, and empathy for these false prophets. We have to love them to open their hearts to God. Sometimes that love comes with a rebuke, but it better be well thought out. Rebukes come from a loving heart not from a hateful (your wrong and I’m right) heart. That is why Jesus’ rebukes were perfect, well-thought out, and planned to change hearts.

Let us all remember Paul. He certainly was someone who did much evil against God, but look what happened? And it wasn’t a human that changed him, it was God. So pray before you speak. Pray before you take action. Don’t get in the way of God’s plan. Don’t get in the way of God’s job. Our job is to love. Love even those who speak falsely because they are sinners just like me.

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The Fog

The fog set down over the community. As it made its way door to door, the houses slowly disappeared. There was no warning this time. No alert on my cell phone. No meteorologist telling me to watch out during my morning commute. Nope. Nothing.

It just came in out of the blue. Slowly it crept around each house and settled on the green grass. The houses all became engulfed by the dense fog.

It was depressing looking out my window. It was like no one lived in our circle. I was all alone.

I had this sneaking suspicion though that someone was around. There was a feeling of evil and sadness that had sunk deep throughout the neighborhood. It was horrifying. The anger the fog brought was polarizing to the community.

Some were mad that they were stuck inside. Others wanted to brave the fog and just drive away from it all. Many wanted to pretend the fog would just disappear. No matter what people thought or believed, the only way to communicate was by social media. So they did. They posted articles on the reasons for the fog and its affects on the community. They posted articles about their hatred for the fog. They posted articles on how the government should step in and do something about the fog. Then others posted articles about how the government should just stay out of it. They became more and more polarized. The split was evident. Love was lost.

Hatred had arrived with the fog, and it hung around for quite a while. The sadness consumed the community.

I just wanted to pull the blankets over my head and hide in bed. I wanted to shut down my computer and try to eliminate the hate by ignoring it.

Then I prayed. And I prayed. And I prayed some more.

Sometimes my thoughts would dwell on the hate, but as I prayed more and more my thoughts became more centered on one thing….love.

Love will get us through this. Hate will not. Love will allow us to be more mindful of what we say, post, and write. Hate will not. Love will keep us focused on Christ. Hate will not. Love will endure it all. Hate will only bring in more fog.

So as love filled my heart. I noticed the fog started to lift from my house. I tried my best to get out and start spreading my love to others. Slowly, I noticed the love began to spread. I looked across the street as the fog lifted house by house. The evil left with it. It seemed as if a huge weight was lifted off of our community.

Peace overcame the neighborhood. People filled the streets again, and the love kept the fog away. Our love created newness of life. Tolerance, empathy, compassion, and thoughtfulness took over. The people never let the fog return. When hate showed up in one person, another person took time to love them so the fog would never return again.

Take time to love your neighbor today. Be the change our world so desperately needs.

Proverbs 3:3-6 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. In all our ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

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Standing at a Distance

And his acquaintances stood at a distance including the women and saw these events…

If this wasn’t a blog about God, then I am sure you would be lost by this quote. So I will give you a clue if you are lost…crucifixion.

As I was praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet today, these words stuck out to me. It made a picture of that day come into my mind. A picture that brought great sadness throughout my body. It was so intense, so real, that it felt like I was an eye witness to the event.

The sadness, fear, disbelief, and uncertainty swept through my mind. I wanted to run away from it all, hide in the shadows.

And his acquaintances stood at a distance including the women and saw these events.

How many times do I sit back and just watch something unfold without taking action because I am in disbelief that something like that could possibly happen? Maybe because I am fearful of what would happen if I stood my ground? Would I lose my job? Would my friends be mad at me? Would I let others down because of my faith? Would I make other people feel uncomfortable?

When I think back to that day…the day of the crucifixion…I see the injustice of Christ’s death. But there were more injustices going on all around. The oppression of women for one. The oppression of the Jews. The morality (or lack there of) of the Roman officials. The leadership centralized upon fear. People in fear of practicing their religious beliefs. So much injustice….

And his acquaintances stood at a distance including the women and saw these events.

Where on earth do Jesus’ followers start? There was so much to change, so much to do. No wonder they stood in disbelief. No wonder they stood at a distance, far away from what seemed like complete chaos to them. No wonder they feared for their lives. No wonder they later went into hiding.

Today I feel this exact same way. Sometimes I just sit back because I don’t know where to begin. I don’t know how I can change any of these injustices happening around me. I mean, I am just nobody. Who am I to change the world?

And as these thoughts crossed my mind, I heard this song….

So, today after much prayer, I decided to tackle this problem by one change at a time. Stand up for one thing. Center my prayer on that. And when I feel I have exhausted that, then I will move on to my next challenge. One injustice at a time is what I think. I am not going to sit back and watch in disbelief, but stand up for what is right. I receive encouragement to fight this from Christ, and the belief that loving one another so much will encourage each of us to do better. If each of us took on this mission – to spread the love of Christ by demolishing one injustice at a time – consider the implications.

Loving our community so much that we stand up for injustice when we see it will make this uncivilized world (hopefully) return to civility. It will also remind each of us that calling out wrongs are not a bad thing, but a way to hold each other accountable for spreading the love of Christ.

After all, I’m just nobody, trying to tell everybody, about somebody who saved my soul.

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Look Harder

As the sun rose, the dark sky slowly turned pink, purple and deep blue. The colors were astonishing. The yellow moved in and took over. Light blue skies took over the treetops. It was a spectacular sight. I would have missed it all, if the cat had not crushed my deep sleep at 5am to be fed.

When I rolled out of bed, hearing the cat’s meows grow louder, I may or may not have grumbled under my breath. It was summer. I just needed to sleep in a little more. Seriously? Doesn’t this cat understand that sleep is a must-have for me.

I pulled the covers off and slowly moved my feet to the edge of the bed. Stretching out my body, I reminded my almost 50 year old frame that the time had come to join the living once again. Day by day I have found it more and more difficult to find a reason to move out of bed. The days were growing more and more like that horrible movie “Groundhog Day.” I remember the first time I watched it – I was so annoyed. I couldn’t figure out why that movie got on my nerves. Now, living it, I realize why.

When you live the same day over and over, not only does it become monotonous, but it becomes harder and harder to see the good. The days seem lifeless.

As I was listening to my Christian podcasts while walking, and I heard the song by Zach Williams and Dolly Parton, There was Jesus. I clearly heard this…

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing and the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Of where I been and where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it
There was Jesus

And I realized, even in my hurt, there is a blessing. If I can’t see it, then I need to look harder.

Then I heard…

On the mountain in the valleys (There was Jesus)
In the shadows of the alleys (There was Jesus)
In the fire, in the flood (There was Jesus)
Always is and always was
I never walk alone

And I realized, even when I feel alone, He is there. He is waiting for me to see Him. I just need to look harder.

The beauty of that sunrise was Jesus showing me what was in store for me. It was a way to remind me that life is still all around me. He is still creating, molding, and moving mountains. If he can create that amazing sunrise that I witnessed, then he can certainly get me through another monotonous day of uncertainty. How?

By showing me the blessings. They are waiting to be seen. I just need to look harder.

So, today I just might rewatch that stupid movie, “Groundhog Day.” I might have to tackle my annoyance head-on. The thing with reliving the same day over and over again is you get a chance to do things differently.

I get to learn from my mistakes and try to correct them. I get to see the same things, but in a different light each time I roll myself out of that bed.

It isn’t a curse to live a boring life, it is an opportunity. Jesus is still there. Guiding me. Nudging me. Changing me. Showing me the blessings – yes even in the midst of struggle.

I can be angry at the world for this do-over day, or I can see it as a game changer. It’s my choice to ignore Jesus or to look harder for Him.

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Yoke Me Up to Jesus

Yoke me up to Jesus for eternal life were the words that stuck with me this morning as I read Bishop Barron’s reflection.  One of my friends had once explained to me the importance and beauty of these words. This saying came from Jesus’ mouth “take my yoke upon you and learn from me (Matthew 11:29-30).  In pre-machinery farming days, a pair of draft horses or oxen were yoked together.  When a new animal needed to be trained, they would yoke it up to an experienced animal.  The older would patiently pull while the other learned.  The older one took the brunt of the work during this time: he pulled the load.  The yoke became a burden of the older one while during this time the young one learned.

So just what are you asking when you say, “Yoke me up to Jesus?”

Jesus, lead me through my day.

Jesus, let me follow Your lead.

Jesus, let me do Your will.

Jesus, be patient with me while I learn to do it Your way.

Jesus, I will make mistakes, but lead me out of those mistakes.

Jesus, I will want to follow my own path, but guide me away from it if it is not Yours.

Jesus, I am your servant.  You are my master.

Jesus, I strive to push back my pride and follow you humbly.

Jesus, I cannot get through this without you next to me.

Yoke me up to Jesus.

Yoke me up to Jesus, oh Lord!

I have been beginning and ending my day with this prayer.  Yoke me up to Jesus, Oh Lord!  It encompasses everything that I want out of my day.  It says it all.

Follow Jesus.  Let Him be Your guide.

Yoke me up to Jesus, oh Lord!

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Think Like God

This morning I read a reflection by Bishop Barron on today’s gospel. It got me thinking, what does it look like to think like God?

God loves each and everyone one of us unconditionally. His Grace is poured out to us with mercy. His heart breaks when one of us strays, and He will go to the end of the earth looking for us and calling to us to return.

So, God must think without judgment. He must make decisions selflessly knowing that His plan will be unveiled even when we work against Him – and trust me, we all do just that. He uses wisdom to hold back and allows us to feel as if we are free to do as we please. He finds sincere empathy in his heart for each and every one of us.

Pretty powerful when you think about it. Honestly, I am not sure why He still continues to care so much about me. When I think of all that I need to do to change my heart; I think God must see something in me that I cannot see. He must get so tired of trying to inspire me because I just cannot seem to let go of my selfishness. I certainly cannot seem to make decisions with anyone but myself in mind. Why on earth does he continue to put up with me?

One thing is for sure, God does not think like me. Praise God for that…

Imagine going through each day thinking like God?

Never thinking of yourself.

Always caring for others.

Never judging your neighbor.

Always seeing their perspective.

Never controlling situations for your benefit.

Always allowing others the freedom to live as they choose.

All this, knowing that everything will work out.

Romans 8:28 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.

In our human minds, we will do few if any of these things when we think. We cannot shake how this will effect ME. Decisions are made so that I can have what I need. We can somehow find a way to manipulate the truth in our mind because God would want ME to have it this way. Why would God want ME to struggle? Hmm….maybe that is a question we SHOULD be asking…why would God want YOU to struggle?

The thing is, in Matthew 5:20-26, Jesus is calling us to repent. Not just forgive. Not just recognize and confess our sins. Repent. Change our hearts. Change the way we think. Change our selfish desires into Godly desires. That means truly desiring what is best for our neighbor in order to make this a united Kingdom.

Using our selfishness to drive our decisions will divide God’s Kingdom. Let’s face it, we are called to UNITE His Kingdom. We are called to serve Him, to listen to Him, and to change for Him. We are called to shout his name in praise for all things. Most importantly, we are called to think like God.

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Shaming versus Loving

Writing has always been a way for me to work out my thoughts on difficult subjects. Sometimes things just pop into my mind, then writing those thoughts out becomes healing. Unfortunately in today’s social media craze, we see unhealthy writing strategies emerging everyday. Unhealthy ways of criticizing others, tearing others down, and trying to push our “right” belief over their “wrong” belief.

Them versus Us.

As you read this you may think, “My friend (insert name here) really struggles with this.” Yet, instead of pointing the finger at your friend, think about your own posts or spoken words. Do you say or post things to shame others? Or do you say or post things because you love others?

What’s the difference?

Shaming involves calling others out. Pointing the blame at their issues in front of others. This can be done passive aggressively (without names) because… you know who you are. Or this can be outright calling someone out by name.

Shaming was a long used tactic as discipline for many years. Calling out a kid in front of their friends would supposedly shame them into doing what was right. This horrible strategy would cause fear inside a kid each and every time they even thought about doing or saying anything. Fear is a good thing, right? After all, we are suppose to “fear” the Lord.

Nope.

Shaming does not involve loving someone else. Shaming lifts the person pointing the finger up in a higher position than the one being shamed.

Uh….you realize that means the person pointing the finger is actually the sinner, right?

Shaming involves pride, power, wrath, and sometimes a few other deadly sins.

Fear of the Lord involves respecting and loving the Lord so much that you want to do what will lift up His Kingdom. Shaming has no part in this.

Shaming and respect are exact opposites.

When we use love as our tool to communicate, things change. Posting with love means we truly want others to see the beauty of what we are saying. There is no calling out of another. We say or post things with a loving heart. Praying that we can all come to a reasonable solution.

Shaming divides our community.

Loving unites our community.

Shaming shows the differences in each other.

Loving shows the similarities in each other.

Shaming lives off of fear.

Loving lives off of respect.

With so much dividing us right now, how do we find love in our hearts?

Pray.

Pray more.

Understand and find empathy in another’s position and what that person is trying to get you to hear.

Stop putting yourself first.

Stop trying to win the conversation.

Listen. Really listen.

Stop thinking your way is the only way.

Find love for others. Deep in your heart. Just find love.

After all, Christ would find love. His rebukes were always loving, never shameful. He rebuked others because he loved them so much. He never felt anyone was beyond being loved. That is the truth.

For some deeper thought on this… watch this wonderful video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhDHYpvEHNw

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Hope in Healing

Isaiah 41:10 - Best Bible Verse - Bible Verse Images

The struggle continues. My soul is still in need of healing. Most importantly, my soul is in need of hope.

Thinking back to the days of Katie’s brain surgeries, I can remember her struggling. There were good days and bad days. Her first surgery by far was the worst. The surgeon had inserted 9 pipecleaner-like sticks into each section of her brain for testing. The epilepsy team needed to do something like an internal EEG to see what was going on in her brain. When they surgically placed the sticks in, they wrapped her head in cloth so she wouldn’t accidentally touch them. Katie complained of her jaw hurting, her head aching, and pain in her ears. We knew the testing could take up to 3 weeks for the doctors to collect all the data, but the team was hopeful it would only be a week because they suspected her seizures were happening all the time.

Each day was increasingly difficult. Some nights we had to keep her up all night, to incite the seizures to come. Pete would play cards and games with Katie to keep her up. It was the longest stay in the hospital that we have experienced to date.

What got us through it?

Hope.

Hope that Katie would be healed from her seizures that had wreaked havoc on her body for 13 years. Hope that Katie would be able to use her brain to its fullest potential. Hope that we could possibly eliminate seizure medications that had done little to help her seizures and so much to cause her learning disabilities.

I see this hope in my struggles today. The fear of the unknown has wreaked havoc on my daily life, just like seizures wreaked havoc on Katie’s brain. I feel this loss of control that is debilitating at times. I feel this great sorrow that this world is changing into something I don’t want to belong to. I feel like I take two steps backward every single day.

Through all this, there is still hope. Hope that I will see the beauty in the struggle. Hope that I will find peace in prayer. Hope that I will grow and become stronger because of what I have experienced. Hope is how I see the blessing in this struggle.

I witnessed the beauty of hope with Katie. After her last surgery in November, her reading level has increased by 2 grade levels. She has made remarkable progress academically. We haven’t seen a seizure since January of this year. It just took time. Two long years of surgeries and 14 years of seizures. Yet, each and every day throughout the healing progress, the hope began to shine through more and more vividly.

I chose to see the hope, and not the despair of the situation. That was a blessing. That’s the thing with struggles; we can see hope or we can choose despair. It is a personal choice. Finding God in the valley of life can be hard, but He is always there, offering us a ladder of hope.

I truly believe, hope is beginning to shine through this struggle too. It will take time. It may hurt a little. It certainly will make us all uncomfortable. I guarantee though, hope is there. Just like the sun rising on a new day; hope is shining through more and more. Hope is molding each and every one of us into a better Christian. Hope is preparing us for what is to come.

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