|Photo Credit: FireFly Photography in Murfreesboro, TN|
That concept seems so simple, but when you really think about how it applies to our society, it's easy to see how we as a society really struggle to understand and apply it.
Our society is FULL of commercialization that tells the listener that they simply must have that newest, latest product, that they need to look like this model, that they need these clothes, this makeup, this body, this hair, this car. Then, they will be happy. They do this because it makes them money when we go purchase these things in an attempt to fill that void and make ourselves happy, right? What iPhone are model are we even on at this point? I can't keep up.
"Keeping up with the Jones" is a real thing. We envy other people and what they have. If only I had a house that nice, a family like that, then I'd be happy.
I have found myself even doing it in mom circles. I wish my children were as well behaved as hers. I wish my husband supported me this way like her husband does. I wish I could look that good while taking care of multiple children. Her life seems so perfect. I'd be happy if my life was more like hers.
We idolize those things, hold them up on a pedestal, and they become our goals to attain happiness. They become our gods.
But it's fleeting. Chasing happiness will always leave you chasing and coming up feeling unfulfilled. That's because while those things are nice and will probably provide some temporary feelings of happiness, that new car will get old, and then you will be right back to chasing again. That perfect partner will mess up, and then you'll be out looking for the next perfect partner again. Those perfect children will break your heart, and you will be left wondering what went wrong. That perfect body will age, and then you will be back to wishing you were someone else.
We think that if we could just make our lives perfect, we would finally be happy. But a perfect life isn't what creates happiness. A perfect life isn't really even possible.
I think one reason that people find my family so inspiring is the joy they see. They see this incredible joy mixed right smack dab in the middle of an imperfect situation, a child with complex medical needs, issues that take lots of work and that comes with lots of challenges and sometimes a lot pain.
I get it. I would've thought the same thing before Christian came along. I would've looked at someone like me and wondered how on earth they could be so happy. So, that's why I wanted to write this blog, to explain it a little bit to you guys. I hope that in sharing my heart, I can give a glimpse of the God we serve.
So, how can we be so happy and so full of joy despite such imperfect circumstances? Simple. Our joy isn't derived from our circumstances. Our joy, our strength, and our hope comes from God. Yes, we have so many simple moments of happiness that aren't "religious." When Christian and Chandler spend time playing together, the happiness in my heart overflows. When Christian tells a joke and giggles infectiously, I can't contain my smile. When either of my boys accomplish something, the pride swells in me. But it's because of the state of our hearts and the depth of the joy that God has given us that we are able to fully experience and enjoy these little moments for the gifts they truly are. "Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights."
Long before Christian was ever born, God called him fearfully and wonderfully made. There are no exceptions in that verse that say "except for people born with disabilities." That means it certainly applies to Christian, and to you and me.
And while I don't understand why Christian was born with his disability, and while I would certainly take it from him if I could, I have peace knowing that I don't have to understand it. God says that His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. I can believe that or not, but me personally, I choose to believe it. And so, I don't spend time racking my brain over a question that simply can't be answered.
I don't know why God didn't give Christian his eyes. I certainly believe that He could have done so had he chosen to. I don't know why we got a "No" from God when we prayed for Christian's physical healing. What I do know is that whatever purpose God has given to Christian for him to fulfill in his life, God has also equipped him to do it. Christian lacks nothing he needs to accomplish God's purposes for his life. God did not call Christian to some purpose and then forget to give him what he needs to complete it. Christian is whole as far as it pertains to his ability to fulfill his God given purpose and calling.
Personally, I believe that if God had his way, everyone would be born perfect and healthy. We pray the Lord's prayer that says "Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven," and we know that in Heaven, everyone is healed and whole. Yet, because we live in a fallen world, God doesn't always have his way. We have free will to usurp God's will and plans, and don't we do it so often? I do!
But knowing God and knowing His character, it only makes sense that whatever "deficits" we have, and we ALL have them, God is bigger. And in our weakness, God is stronger, because His grace is sufficient for us, and His power is made perfect in our weakness. I think that's something to boast about.
God takes those deficits and manifests His power and His glory in ways that we could never imagine or understand. In our humanly, limited scope, we might never grasp all that God is doing or working out for us, but we don't have to. We just need to trust that He is.
I have trusted God to work all things together for my good and he has done just that. I am able to share Christian with the world, and teach others about the God whose glory he reflects. God has allowed me to use my story as a living testimony of the truth and power of God. God has been able to use even me, someone as undeserving and imperfect as me, and a little boy who the world considers "not whole" for his mighty purposes.
When I was finally able to grasp all of this, how could I ever be sad or ashamed? How could I be upset about how God was working so powerfully in us and showing me just how much He loves me and my family.
The day God gave me Christian, He put his love for me on display, and then did it again when He gave me Chandler. It's easy to be joyful when my happiness comes from the One who gives true fulfillment and everlasting joy. It's easy to be happy when my eyes are on God and not on my circumstances. My circumstances may be difficult, but my God is good and He loves me with a love so powerful that He was willing to become human and die for me. That's powerful. So, I count it all joy!
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