Monthly Archives: January 2018

Fishes and Loaves and All That I Lack

I never get tired of the story of the fishes and the loaves. It is so full of truths, and every time it touches my heart. I revisited this story this week in preparing Sunday school material. And what jumped out at me was a reminder that I very much needed.

In case you’re not familiar with the story, Jesus is teaching a large crowd of people (around 20,000) in a remote place. Evidently it’s been a long day of teaching, and the people are getting hungry. The disciples want to send them on their way so that they can get to the neighboring towns and buy something to eat. But Jesus says, “You give them something to eat.”

Of course all the disciples can see is their lack: “This would take more than half a year’s wages!” they exclaim. We just don’t have enough.

Jesus simply tells them to go see what they have and report back with it to him. He then miraculously turns the five loaves of bread and two fishes into a feast for 20,000 people. The disciples even have to gather up the leftovers!

So what smacked me in the face this time? My own lack. That’s often all I can think about. I simply am not enough, do not have enough, cannot be enough.

This can hit us financially, when we literally don’t have enough to pay the bills. Or it can hit us emotionally, when our kids (our our spouse!) are taking such a toll on us that we’re not sure if anyone will be alive at sundown. Or it can hit us physically when we just don’t have the energy to do what needs to be done. There are so many ways that we find ourselves lacking.

We try so hard to be enough, to fool ourselves and everyone into thinking that we’re enough. But the truth is we’re always inadequate on our own. All we need to do is what the disciples did — bring what we have to Jesus. He will see that it is more than enough for the task he has set before us. Instead of focusing on where we lack, we need simply to see what we have. And in faith, we bring it to Jesus, trusting that he will make it enough.

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Sophie’s Story: Mommy’s Silence

My faithful Sophie’s Story Readers,

I’m so sorry for the long silence! I’m sure you have wondered where I have been these past six months with Sophie’s Story. My silence has, in large part, been due to the birth of my daughter Hannah. New babies do require a great deal of time! And they are really good at not letting mommies sleep very much. So what used to be mommy’s free time turns into mommy’s nap time.

But in addition, I felt an undeniable check in my spirit last fall when I was sharing about Sophie’s upcoming appointments with the developmental pediatrician. A dear friend of mine once wisely shared with me how she had at times over-explained, and over-shared her own life, in an attempt to justify herself, so that she would not be judged, to the point that she felt stripped down, bared to the world, with nothing left of herself that was private. She reminded me that I don’t owe anyone any explanations for my decisions as a parent. I valued these words, probably more than she knew. I felt I needed to take some time to ponder and treasure Sophie’s moments in my heart and to really search out my motives in sharing Sophie’s Story, because perhaps they had strayed from where they began.

Sophie’s Story began as a way for me to share the beautiful things that my Father was doing in my life and in Sophie’s through her journey, full of challenges and triumphs. But in doing that, I wanted to consider carefully if I was now over-sharing Sophie to the point that she would someday feel stripped bare for the world to see. She is young yet, and she cannot read, but someday she will be able to read, and she will probably read what I have written about her life (hopefully it will be a book!). I would never want Sophie to feel like we were only focused on what could possibly be “wrong” with her. There is so much right about her life!

As I shared Sophie’s Story with a new friend over coffee recently, tears filling my eyes, I remembered the heart of why her story began. It began because I wanted the world to see that even in the very hard things in life, which Sophie will someday have to embrace about herself, Jesus is there to be trusted. Through every doctors appointment, though every goose chase of a medical test, through all the heart-wrenching moments and the ones where my heart just soared, Jesus has been there.

As I tried to explain to my friend in a nutshell about Sophie’s Story, I was reminded of the words my brother shared with me quite a few years ago now. When we first began a search for any over-arching diagnosis that would explain Sophie’s muscle tone, and we kept coming up empty handed, he said, “Maybe it’s because God already healed her.” When Sophie was four months old and was diagnosed with low muscle tone, we brought her to church and our church prayed over her. Many have continued to pray over the years.  And I truly believe that in those moments, everything changed. Yes, Sophie has still suffered delays because of her muscle tone, and that may forever impact her body. But we’ve never found a cause — from brain tumors to genetic conditions to syndromes, nothing has ever been found. It was important to search these things out because they could be indicators for more serious problems that she might have had that were invisible to the eye, but God, in his mercy, has blessed Sophie with health and wholeness in every area we’ve searched. And so we’re pretty much done searching.

Sophie has her issues, yes, but so does every child. I’m tired of scrutinizing every little flag that pops up because maybe it will point us to a new idea. Done. I’m tired of chasing down theories. Done. I’m tired of over-analyzing her behaviors. Done. Sophie is doing really well in all areas, and we are rejoicing that she is where she is on the cusp of her sixth birthday. When her low muscle tone was discovered at four months old, we really didn’t know what six years old would look like, but here we are, in perfect health. Thank you, Jesus.

There’s a lot of freedom for me in this decision to cease searching and analyzing, and just enjoy parenting. Sophie feels less like a puzzle to solve and more like a kid to enjoy. I’m letting go of the search, and I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the ride. I’m going to treasure her kid years in my heart, soaking in the days of make-believe with the doll house, the puppies in my pocket, the barbies, the Paw Patrols, the baby dolls. She’s a great kid, and I’m forever thankful for her journey and all its challenges because it has taken my faith to new depths and strengthened my walk with Jesus. But I’m done looking for what’s wrong, and I’m just going to soak up all that is so very right about Sophie.

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