We have had a week of adventure! Play dates with friends, trips to the playground with cousins, rides in the “little truck”, and lots and lots of swimming.
I have been having some reality checks this week and I am realizing that physically I may not be able to keep up with helping Malachi participate for much longer. He is growing so much right now and safely maneuvering him without accidentally hurting him is becoming a challenge. Both Jake and I are showing signs of wear and tear from overusing muscles we typically wouldn’t be using. But aside from our body whining, our greater concern is Malachi’s mental health.
Malachi is very aware of being excluded so balancing these things is going to be difficult. But for now we will keep doing the best we can to help him live life as a 9 year old looking for adventure and fun.
We had some hospital days this week and Malachi had to get some more blood work done to check his liver enzymes (which are perfectly normal). His ability to handle things that I even struggle with is so inspiring to me. And Levi cried on behalf of Malachi during the blood draw. Levi’s empathy is unmatched.
This week each year hits my heart in some special ways. Malachi spent 112 days in the NICU at birth and May 27th, 2013 was the day we brought him home from the hospital. It was the first time he was wire free. The first time we held him truly unsupervised and unmonitored. The first time we truly felt like parents.
Malachi had grown from a 1lb 12oz micropreemie into a 6lb four month old with a broken femur and a host of medical conditions. I remember staring at him the whole ride home, watching him breathe, as Jake nervously gripped the steering wheel. Then I remember not wanting to sleep that night, gripped with fear that something bad would happen to him if I closed my eyes. But the exhaustion took over and I remember saying a prayer to God and asking Him to send angels to watch over Malachi as we slept.
I had to choose surrender.
And I daily continue to have to choose surrender.
My body, my brain, and my heart are simply not strong enough to live this life apart from God’s help and guidance.
I have been reading Ecclesiastes over the last few weeks and I really feel like God is drawing me to do some digging into Ecclesiastes 3. It is a scripture passage that is cited and used in so many settings but as I have been reading it with fresh eyes this past month I have spotted things I 1) don’t understand fully and 2) never noticed before. That is a very clear indication that I need to spend some time studying the context and commentaries surrounding this chunk of scripture.
But there are a few of these lines that speak DIRECTLY at some of the things I am struggling with in my life right now. And I am confident that something will speak to you within these verses about a current situation you are dealing with.
Take a minute to read through the first half of this chapter and do any of the lines prick your heart and mind?
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
2 A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. 5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. 6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. 7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. 8 A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.
9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.
I keep asking God if there is something specific He wants me to share with you all this week, and He has led me to this scripture and nothing more.
When He does that I assume it is because the scripture alone (not Leah) needs to do some talking to someone reading it. If you haven’t spend time studying scripture before I want to encourage you to pick one of these verses and start there. Read the verse in several different versions and note the similarities and differences in the words they each use. Type the scripture into Google and put the word “commentary” after it and read several different links that pop up.
Spend some time in prayer asking God to help you be able to apply these verses into your own life and your own current situations. Trust that the Bible is living and active and watch God speak to you through it this week!
Malachi heads back to the pulmonologist this week to talk about his lungs and the new treatments we have been trying with him. Please continue the prayers for our family.
This week Malachi had his annual appointment with the neurosurgeon. As you probably already know, Malachi was born 4 months premature and had a very traumatic birth. During his delivery he was deprived of oxygen causing his brain to start hemorrhaging on both sides. They give a grade to brain bleeds with 4 being the highest you can have, and Malachi was given a grade 4 brain bleed on both sides of his brain.
This significant level of brain damage can cause a host of issues, but one of them that can often happen alongside of the bleed is hydrocephalus. In very basic terms this is when CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) can get into the ventricles (a gap on each side) inside of the brain but all the exits for the CSF are blocked. So the brain begins to fill with the trapped CSF leading to a larger than normal head and lots of issues.
When Malachi was 4 months old he had a VP shunt placed into his brain to give an exit to the CSF. The shunt is under his scalp behind his left ear and about 3 inches long. It has a tube that diverts the fluid down into his abdomen where it can be absorbed by the body.
Statistically these machines will fail. When they do it will present with lots of symptoms that mirror other illnesses so it is something we watch very closely. In fact, most of the times we end up in the emergency room it is one of the first things they like to rule out with a CT scan. If Malachi’s shunt were to ever stop functioning it would be an emergency situation, likely requiring a surgery.
They can adjust the machine using a magnet outside of the scalp instead of physically having to touch it which is really cool technology.
Malachi has had his for over 9 years now and we have been very blessed to never have a malfunction! We still meet with the neurosurgeon at least once a year to make sure we are all on the same page and we periodically do imaging to make sure things are still flowing as they should.
These appointments are less than 5 minutes long (not complaining) but it takes an hour to drive there and an hour to drive back (okay, complaining a bit). So I usually try to pair these with something fun for the kids.
The zoo is about a mile from the hospital, and Malachi loves jaguars. We created a narrative years ago with him that these particular jaguars must remember him because they come over to the glass when Malachi visits. This was all fun and games until a few years ago when the jaguars were asleep. They didn’t come to the glass and Malachi cried his little eyes out.
So we changed the narrative to include all the possible disappointments we might face. On the way to the zoo I rolled down the van windows and told the boys to yell loudly to make sure the jaguars knew we were coming. Much to my surprise Malachi started shouting louder than ever before. He shouted from that point…all the way into the zoo…and literally all the way to the jaguars. And by golly they were ready for him, immediately coming over to the glass.
Malachi was so proud. And I was so relieved. At our zoo I can get Malachi out of his chair and get him right up against the glass where he can track the jaguars with his very limited eyesight. We spent a solid 20 minutes with them before we packed up and headed out.
We spent almost every evening this week outside, trying to enjoy the cooler evenings before the summer heat hits. And we have the mosquito bites to prove it!
We played on the playground, swinging high enough to give momma a scare.
We swam in the pool- and you can tell from these photos exactly how Malachi felt about the experience.
Watching Levi swim stirs my heart so much. I can’t help but think back to those pivotal moments in the hospital, talking to surgeons about the need for a trach. Swimming like this would not have been possible for Levi with that device. Each and every time he splashed in that water I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of thankfulness to God for helping Levi live a trach free life.
Jake has one week left for the school year and our summer will officially kick off. We are back and forth to the hospital over the next two weeks to do our check ins with the epileptologist and the pulmonologist. But life is about to calm down to a wonderful crawl for our family.
Each week we meet with our youth group at least once for Bible study, relying on God to guide us to what He desires for them to hear. Some weeks I will prepare a lesson only to have God divert me a different direction.
This was one of those week where God took me from 2 Timothy to Hebrews 11 exactly one hour before class began. As I read the chapter so many things jumped off the page at me, but I could’t help but focus in on this chunk of scripture.
“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”
I don’t know that I truly understood our roles as dual-citizens, citizens of the world but also citizens of heaven, until after I had Malachi. I didn’t fully understand the longing for heaven that burns within my soul now.
As I have grown in my faith heaven is no longer an end destination, but it IS LIFE. Our walk on this earth is simply a prologue to a beautiful, heavenly story.
But as I read the scripture passage above so many truths popped off the page at me.
”Having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”
What beautiful conviction is held in these verses. The balance of living in this world but not conforming to it (Romans 12:2) should give us the feeling that we are strangers and exiles. Our movement with God should be so fluid that we are living each step according to His will instead of our own, even when that means we don’t get the chance to settle.
We are called to live as citizens of heaven while we continue to walk as citizens of the world. What a sharpening challenge for each of us to focus on. As Christians we are all pilgrims on a journey, much like those spiritual giants we read about in Hebrews 11. We aren’t driven by tangible rewards, but rather we are driven by a hope that burns within us.
C.S. Lewis states in Mere Christianity, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next”.
We can complete a whole lot of tasks on earth, but if we look honestly at the things we are putting our time and energy into can we point to eternal value in them?
“But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.”
Oh how I desire a better country. For myself and my children. But that desire has to simultaneously burn alongside this earthly journey God has placed us on.
Ephesians 2:10 ”For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Please continue to pray over our family, and specifically for continued wisdom over medical decisions with our boys. With major surgeon talks on the July horizon for both boys we have to start mentally preparing for some of the decisions we will have to make. And please pray for sleep. Malachi has been staying up until 3am and my mind is mush.
This week has been filled with so many moments of gratitude.
Over the last seven days God has gifted me with ”His eyes” and the ability to see the many miracles we have been given. I am thankful for a God that knows when I need these snapshots!
I am a member of a parental support group for Levi’s primary diagnosis (idiopathic bilateral vocal cord paralysis). This week I read post after post about the many significant issues that come hand in hand with this diagnosis…
Many children with BVCP cannot speak. Many cannot eat safely. And many have trachs and are continuing to attempt different surgeries to get the trach removed.
Scientifically the fact that Levi can breathe, eat, and speak with paralyzed vocal cords is absolutely a miracle. When we signed consent for BIG surgery at 4 months old we did so knowing that we were choosing trach free breathing in exchange for his voice and his ability to eat. My heart mourned that I would never be able to hear either of my children clearly say mama. The fact that he has been given all of those functions is such a special gift from God. And it is so illogic from a medical stand point that we can’t deny the miracle.
I watched today as he polished off two chicken fingers with ease and I felt such gratitude deep within the pit of my stomach.
Another reflection moment came at horse therapy as I watched Levi swiftly climb the fence to get a better look at Malachi on his horse. As I watched him navigate the fence with such ease I glanced back to those many moments in therapy simply trying to get Levi to stand up. I remember choking back tears as I watched him fight so hard to do simple things.
I think that is something special needs moms don’t talk about as often as we should…the emotional pendulum. We can find such pride in a single moment and almost immediately it can become a moment of sadness. Our frame of reference for success is such a different one than typical parents.
This week I was cleaning the bathroom and had turned on a movie for the boys. I could hear some faint commotion and I went out to investigate only to find that Malachi and Levi were not in the living room where I had left them. Levi had pushed Malachi’s chair into the master bedroom and when I questioned him on it Levi’s response was a very innocent: ”Me just wanted to hang out with Malachi.”
Malachi clearly loved the field trip and I made sure Levi knew he needed to get mommy’s help transporting Malachi next time. But their moment of just hanging out as brothers really touched my heart and I became overwhelmed with gratitude that these two boys have the bond that they do.
Malachi’s tummy aches have been keeping him up this week and we are still struggling to find a solution that allows him to rest at night and get good sleep. We meet with lots of specialists in the next two weeks and I am hoping one of them may have insight on keeping Malachi comfortable.
Speaking of specialists, Levi went to the eye doctor this week and the doctor said he is worried that Levi may have optic nerve damage in BOTH eyes now from his oxygen deprivation early on, not just the left one. There is a test that we can do to measure the thickness of the cortical nerve to see how much damage has been done but Levi is not cooperative enough at this age to do it.
At this point I have just had to give the issue over to God. There is nothing that can be done to reverse the damage if there is some inside this nerve, so I am choosing to not focus on that new information. This is an issue that glasses or a prescription cannot help so we are continuing to attempt the glasses to protect his ”better” eye from any potential danger in the world.
Every week in our lives has hard things hidden throughout. We have reality checks, disappointments, and lots and lots of unknowns. But even amidst the chaos there are so many moments of pure joy, that can only be credited to God.
The joy of me and my two amazing boys piled on the couch, giggling at a new episode of Peppa pig.
The joy of my four year old asking for a turkey sandwich cut into triangles.
The joy of Malachi giggling uncontrollably because he intentionally peed on me. And the follow up giggles from Levi when he sees what Malachi had done.
We travel a hard road full of emotions, but I am so thankful for the variety.
Psalm 1:3 ”3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”
What beautiful imagery! Our family has been planted- placed by God- in a very thought out place next to streams of life giving water. Sometimes feeling ”planted” can create a fight or flight in me.
But I believe that the more we embrace our planting from the Lord the more deeply our roots dig into the soil and drink from the Living Water.
The fruit will continue to yield in its season, and sometimes we won’t always see the growth that we long to see. But our season of growth is coming. And laying eyes on that fruit reminds us that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
We tackled lots and lots of phone calls, and have officially scheduled Levi’s Cincinnati week. He has to meet with surgeons prior to surgery day and they try really hard to get these appointments as condensed as possible to avoid us having to stay extra days. These are tag team operating room trips with several different specialists coming into the OR in the same block so he only has to be put under anesthesia once.
Unfortunately the surgeons did not have any June availability so we had to move it to July. This means that I will have to be in Cincinnati with Levi for a week then immediately switch kids and head to Vanderbilt with Malachi a few days later. Not ideal but we will make it work.
Last summer the surgeons mentioned possibly wanting to go ahead and take tonsils and adenoids out during this summer’s procedure but the nurse practitioner mentioned that they require a 10 day hospitalization/local stay after to watch for bleeding. Our schedule won’t accommodate that right now without having to reschedule Malachi’s big appointments with the spine and orthopedic surgeons, so we will talk with surgeons to make sure it is still necessary and will have to schedule that for another date.
A very big part of our life is keeping track of medical supplies and prescriptions. Every month I am refilling at least a dozen medicines from regular pharmacies and specialized pharmacies, formula and g-tube supplies, and diapers. Every three months I refill g-tube replacements and cough assist breathing masks. It requires me to be very aware of our supply and on my game.
It also requires lots and lots of math. Insurance won’t process refills until 5 days before it is due…and some of them take 3 days to ship so I have a two day window to get that refill ordered. And running out of these things is just simply not an option. One day without a seizure med can have devastating consequences on my boys.
This week I called our formula provider and they informed me that the formula the boys use is backordered and had been for three weeks. A similar formula had been recalled recently and all of those users switched to ours leading to supply issues. I was down to 5 cans, and we use one can a day between the two kids. For Malachi it is his only source of nutrition and calories and Levi gets 23 ounces at night (about 700 calories). It is a specialized amino acid based formula for older children that is considered ”elemental”. That means it is already partially broken down making it easier to digest. When we were trying to find the right formula fit for the boys this was the ONLY one that didn’t lead to vomiting.
The supply company told me that I could call the doctor and ask they to send in a prescription for something they have in stock, but the amount of drama that would create in the boys bodies made that an absolute last resort.
I found a very limited supply online but it is marked up to $70 per can (normally around $25 per can) and with the rate of consumption that would cost us $2,100 for a one month supply. So that route was quickly shut down. They do not sell this formula in stores, so I started to panic a bit.
And to be honest I got a little frustrated at myself…for several months we were getting a few extra cans and building a bit of a surplus stash. I felt guilty having insurance pay for something we weren’t always using so I had them hold the extras for a few months. Oh boy, how I regret that decision now!
Thankfully through Facebook I was able to track down another special needs mom in Pennsylvania who was willing to ship us some of her excess as long as we paid the cost of shipping. She will be sending me a batch tomorrow which will arrive on Friday. But that left me with three days without formula.
I planned to start rationing what I had left and watering it down so it would stretch a bit further, and I gave the situation to God. The mom guilt was thick that I didn’t have a backup plan in place.
Later that evening I received a text from someone that lives less than 5 minutes from me. Now let me stop and remind you that I live in a VERY small town. Not a big city.
She said that she ordered some formula for her baby a few months ago and the company accidentally sent her the wrong kind. She called them back to tell them and they sent her a replacement and told her she could keep the wrong order so she put it in her cabinets.
When she saw my Facebook post she went and pulled out those cans and BOOM they were a match. When she texted me to offer them I truthfully couldn’t believe it. The chances of her having the exact formula we needed were so incredibly small. But when she sent me a picture I felt chills pop up on my arms. I asked her how many cans she had and y’all…she had three cans.
The exact amount I needed to sustain my boys until our shipment from Pennsylvania comes.
This is such a clear and perfect example of the providence of God. God sees our needs before they manifest and He has already orchestrated the rescue. What a faith building moment these three cans of formula have provided for me. And hopefully for you too.
Matthew 7:9-11 ”Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
I love watching the Bible come to life in such a living and active way!
Little Levi heads to the eye doctor tomorrow (shhh don’t tell him yet) after the boys therapy appointments. These appointments oddly rank up there with being some of our most stressful and emotionally challenging.
Levi has been using his imagination so much these days and watching him enter his own make believe worlds is so much fun.
And we have to take a minute to talk about how amazing Malachi is.
On Friday he went to school for about two hours. Late that evening I asked him if everyone at school was glad to have him back and he signed ”No”. His reply was very fast and serious so I continued the questions.
Mom: ”Was someone mean to you today?”
Malachi: signs YES emphatically
Mom: ”Was it an adult?”
Malachi: signs no
Mom: “Was it a student?”
Malachi: signs yes
I kept the conversation going trying to get more details and narrowed it down to it being a girl in his classroom and she did something mean to him (rather than said something mean to him).
I then asked him if he was using his imagination and the question seemed to offend him as he angrily signed no at me.
The next morning I brought up the topic again and he verified all the details exactly as he did the night before. So I called his nurse to talk to her and see what had happened. I wasn’t mad at all…just really curious as to what had happened! I knew if it was something serious they would have told me right away.
She thought about the details and said that yes, one of the students had crawled under Malachi’s wheelchair and the teachers made them get out from under there. The student angrily punched the back of Malachi’s wheelchair in frustration and got in trouble.
But the fact that my non-verbal child communicated all of that with me brings me so much pride. What an amazing child Malachi is. And what a blessing he is to me.
We celebrated the moment big time, hoping the positive reaction would encourage him to tell me more things in the future. I just love him so much.
My very sweet friend has been hard at work, sewing new bandanas for Malachi and I have to share her handiwork! There is a company that sells these for $16 each and she graciously sewed us dozens at cost. Malachi loves being able to choose which one he wears each day.
This week has been incredibly hard on me. Back in 2020 when Covid started to spike I found myself having trouble breathing. It was so bad at times I thought I would pass out and I went to the doctor to have some tests run. After a few weeks of testing I was able to be cleared from all cardiology concerns and it was diagnosed as anxiety. I started a medication but it made me feel so loopy and I didn’t feel like I could safely care for the boys and drive them on it.
After a few months I stopped taking those meds and the big anxiety issues disappeared. But last Sunday that familiar breathing issue came back and has stayed with me throughout the week. In addition to the breathing issues my body started breaking out in stress hives. I usually get those during long hospital stays with the kids or the more intense surgeries when my body and mind just can’t cope with reality. But these seemingly came out of nowhere.
In the grand scheme, this week has been a vacation from some of the harder ones we have dealt with, so I have been having such a hard time figuring out why my anxiety has been triggered. Yes, there have been lots of phone calls and hiccups in the normal this week but that usually isn’t enough to throw me off like this.
There is a Corrie Ten Boom quote that says: ”Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”
What a beautiful quote that absolutely summarizes what this week has felt like for me.
Last week I ended the entry on this verse from 1 Peter 5, and as the week has gone on it has replayed in my head on repeat.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
I have been trying so hard this week to cast those anxieties onto Him and no matter how much a heap into my hands and toss at God it still hasn’t fully left me. So what do we do when we are casting our anxiety on Him but it still is very present?
Psalm 94:19 “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.”
Even in my most anxious moments this week, God has been very present and very gracious to me. He has given me so many reminders that He is working on my behalf. And I choose to believe that this anxiety within me is meant to slow me down to be able to really watch God work. And as the verse says, His consolations have delighted my soul and shown me the love of the Father.
God is absolutely able to remove this anxiety from me in an instant. So when He chooses not to it gives me a chance to evaluate thy “why” and look for the refinement that may be taking place within me.
Please pray for our family this week as we muddle through the mundane and try to sort through supply shortages. Malachi’s diaper company is no longer accepting his insurance and we have been paying out of pocket for those while we try to find a provider. With the new Monday, Wednesday, Friday antibiotic Malachi is now having diarrhea on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and we are flying through diapers to try to prevent skin breakdown. I need God to open those doors wide as well, as none of the 8 we have called will accept his type of insurance. I guess prayers of endurance for me are needed for those phone call days.
And please say prayers of peace over Levi tomorrow at the eye doctor.
I can’t help but get excited as we inch closer to summer and the luxury of having Jake home!
But with the entrance of summer comes the kickoff of our annual medical traveling. I have been working with Cincinnati Children’s this week to try to finalize surgery and specialist dates for Levi in June. And we already have our July dates established for Malachi to visit the orthopedic and spine surgeons at Vanderbilt. We try to utilize as many summer days as we can for the big appointments so Jake can preserve his days off from work.
In special needs families, medical equipment delivery days are like Christmas mornings! The process of getting approval and parts in is extensive, typically taking 4-6 months from start to finish. This week Malachi had a new activity chair delivered called a PPOD. We have had a smaller version of the same chair before and loved it but Malachi outgrew it and we needed the next size up. Here is a photo of the old one for reference.
The smaller version was shorter than a couch cushion so we expected the next size up to be just slightly larger. But when the new chair pulled up in the back of a pickup truck I couldn’t help but start laughing. It is absolutely ginormous. It even comes on its own push cart, complete with brakes.
The new chair sits Malachi flush with the countertops in our kitchen and he feels like royalty rolling around in it. We call it his Spiderman chair and it really is a wonderful chair. I am definitely not complaining, as insurance hasn’t ever covered these types of devices for us before. We are very grateful for the massive contraption and the comfort it provides Malachi.
Having multiple options for him to sit in is so important for positioning and pressure sores as Malachi grows.
I did have a bit of mourning creep in, remembering that the larger he gets the larger the equipment will also get. Just a reminder to me that the physical requirements of caring for growing Malachi are going to get more difficult. But I quickly pushed those thoughts out of my mind and raced him around the new track we have created in the kitchen and living room.
Levi is in a phase of life where he is also changing very quickly. His ability to speak in full sentences is so much fun. And he loves to learn new things.
He loves pretending to be a doctor and tries to do check ups on the dogs often. His doctor kit has a cast to put on broken arms which he likes to use on Malachi. A few weeks ago he went to put one on the dog, Tuck and quickly gave up, exasperated and saying ”Tuck has no arms.”
If I am being completely honest with you, this week has been a haze of monotony. Malachi’s mornings have been rough as he processes the pollen in our area, and neither boy is sleeping well. We circle our days around the same routines, each day looking a whole lot like the one before it. It is a hard phase of life, as I can’t point at my day and be proud of a lot of achievements.
On Friday I had the honor of getting to speak at the KDCCW Annual Convention, a convention for catholic women in east Tennessee that was held locally this year. I have had several months to prepare and God and I have been spending a lot of time processing exactly what I was supposed to share with them.
After the weeks of monotony we have been cycling through it has been such a good and welcomed distraction for me to dwell on over these last few months, and an excuse to immerse myself in the Word of God.
I used the framework of our testimony to drive the boat, but added in some of the major life lessons God has been writing on our hearts through the process. I thought it might be fun to share some of these with you over the next few weeks and allow God to develop them further on the blog. Many of these I have already shared with you in the past, but it never hurts to hear the scriptures again.
Lesson #1- Surrender.
Sounds basic enough, right? But surrender can be tricky. When you read that word does it strike you as a good thing or as a bad thing?
In many situations it can be a bad thing, like in the context of war. In war surrender is an admission that you are not capable of doing anything else to secure the victory. You have exhausted all other battle strategies without success and the only thing you have left to do is surrender. It is the last option.
But in a relationship with God surrender is such a beautiful thing. It is when you cloak yourself with humility and recognize that God’s power can be made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Surrender allows God to take ownership of a situation, acknowledging that we cannot do it apart from Him. It is a gift of love to God to surrender some of our most important decisions, stressors, and trials over to Him, trusting that God will carry them as He guides us.
In our walk into parenthood we have been called to surrender so many things to God…our visions, our expectations, our dreams, our timelines. We have had to surrender those things on the altar and we continue to fight the temptation to run back and snatch them up again.
The Bible is full of beautiful examples of other mothers surrendering their parenting into the hands of God.
Jochebed, the mother of Moses, placed him in a basket and trusted that God would intervene and protect her son.
Hannah, the mother of Samuel, who pleaded with God to give her a son. Hannah promised God that she would ”give him to the Lord all the days of his life” (1 Samuel 1:11). And when God blessed her with a son she did just that, surrendering him to the Lord to be used for His glory in the temple.
What a hard thing that must have been for Hannah. But there is a part of that story that has fascinated me this week. As hard as that must have been for Hannah, the Bible continues to walk us through that moment of surrender for her.
1 Samuel 2 takes us through her prayer after she took Samuel to the temple to stay with the priest, Eli. And it a beautiful song of thankfulness to the Lord that starts with ”My heart exults in the Lord;”
Her moment of surrender wasn’t done out of exhaustion, fear, or defeat. It was done with joy and gladness, knowing that when we place things into the hands of God that He is able to do exceedingly more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). She knew that God’s plans for Samuel would be so much greater than anything she could manufacture.
What are you needing to surrender to God today? What thing do you continue to lie to yourself about, convincing yourself that you can continue to carry it without consequence? I am sure if we self reflect we can all find one thing we have been hesitating to fully give to God. And I am sure if we think long and hard enough we can trace all of these back to an arrogance hidden within us.
1 Peter 5:6-7 “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”