…We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus… So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ. 2 Timothy 1: 9-10, 13 The Message
As I sit on the front porch, meditating on these words that Paul wrote to Timothy, the sun is setting. The fields of soy across the road glow a burnished gold. It is the seventh of October, and the sun is setting earlier and earlier each day.
We had nothing to do with it.
I have nothing to do with when the sun sets, or when it rises. Nothing to do with when the moon waxes and wanes. Nothing to do with the changing of the seasons.
Today is my birthday. I had nothing to do with when or where I came into this world. Here I sit, sixty-one years of age (impossible!), children gone, flown from the nest, my husband of forty-one years (again, impossible!) and I finding new ways of being together—new ministries, new passions—new wine in old skins!
I had nothing to do with the gifts and talents that my three sons brought into this world. Nothing to do with choosing the color of their hair or eyes, their height, their athletic, musical or mathematical abilities. I had nothing to do with autism entering our family with our youngest son.
…We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it.
What do I have power over?
• Accepting and proclaiming the saving power of Jesus.
• Listening to and answering the call of God.
• Saying YES! to this holy work of parenting two sons now in their 30’s (Surprise! Parenting never really ends!) and one son, twenty-eight, who, because of his autism, will always need me nearby and heavily invested in his day-to-day life.
• Saying YES! to God’s purpose and plan for me beyond my family: my ministries of writing, speaking, spiritual direction, and retreat work.
Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus.
Last night, the biggest and most exquisite rainbow I have ever seen shimmered in the sky above the fields across the road. A steady blaze of multi-colored light, illuminating the darkness.
This is the hope and beauty Jesus brings to my life.
Yes, life with autism is hard. No doubt about it. I get fed up with Joel’s occasional agitation and anxiety and the resulting behaviors; with doctor visits, psychiatrist appointments, ISP meetings and behavioral staffings. There are days I feel like shouting Enough!
So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ.
Knowing the difference between what I am responsible for and what I’m not responsible for is crucial. I am responsible for being there for my two older sons with love, and moral support when needed. I am responsible for being Joel’s best advocate in both his home setting and his day program. I am not responsible for my sons’ inner happiness or relationship with God; for making life choices for my (typical) sons, for re-wiring Joel’s brain, or for hurrying time forward or rewinding time to suit my purposes. Living as if I believe this frees up my energy to be who I am—beloved daughter of God—and to walk forward in my gifts, able to fully enjoy the beauty God sets in front of me every single day.
To revel in relaxing evenings on the porch with my husband. To drink in pink clouds at sunrise and golden fields of soybeans at sunset. To wonder at the rising moon, the fragrance and brilliance of autumn, and rainbows shimmering hope into darkness.
We had nothing to do with it.
Thank you, Lord, that you are in control—that you know what you’re doing—that your plan was set in motion long before I knew anything about it.
Question to ponder:
What are you holding on to, that you really have no control over? Sit, hands open on your lap, and practice giving it over to God.