Jesus breaks through.
For months, I have struggled feeling like God is not showing up. Some days, life seems so dull, the outcomes seem dismal, and it feels as though we are circling the same issues over and over again. And yet, Jesus breaks though. I love the fact that despite what we see, He is working each and every situation for our good and for His glory. He is in the business of making all things new, all things great, and redeeming every situation. Sean likes reminding me of a phrase that I feel holds an eternity of weight and power. “The promise still stands.”
The promise still stands.
No matter what I feel on a daily basis, God’s promise of life abundant for myself and my family still stands; His promise of life and a future that will prosper us stands. His love of us is constant, never ending, never swaying. “Love is patient and kind. It does not envy or boast. It is not arrogant or rude; it does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Corinthians 4-7). “God is love” (1 John 4:8). If He Himself is love, and love is all the above listed things, that means that God is constantly those things. He cannot deny His character, and will always be all He says He is.
It’s amazing to see how God opens my eyes in simply preparing for marriage. Sean and I are currently engaged, and in taking time to read God’s thoughts on love, marriage, and life with another, my eyes are being opened to how Christ loves me, a part of His Bride. He loved us enough to give His life and to cry out in desperation, “Father, I desire that they would be with me, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17: 24-26). Jesus’ desperation for us is felt in every word He uttered in the garden. He desires us to be with Him, to know the Father through Him, to see His glory made manifest in the Son. We have the privilege as the Bride of Christ to make His glory known, to radiate Him, and allow Him to manifest the love of the Father through our hands, through our speech, and though our love. The unity of the Bride and her Bridegroom is a magnificent thing. We as the Church are currently in that engagement period, the time of waiting for the return of Christ, but Beloved, let us not grow weary in feeling as if He is not showing up. He is all around, constantly revealing Love to us in the greatest of ways.
These past few weeks, I saw the hand of the Father in some incredible ways through the love of others over Vanessa’s life. Many times I feel as though I am the only one fighting for her, advocating constantly and never being heard. I have definitely struggled feeling as though the world is against her, and while people may not be, systems can most definitely be. Children with special needs tend to fall through the cracks if they do not have people fighting the battles they cannot fight. We as the Church are called to fight this; to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8). Yet, with so many children, so many battles, systems do their best, but individuals can be left unseen. My biggest fight for Vanessa is that she is simply seen as a person with full potential. While she may be “disabled” in some ways, her “disabilities” in this realm make her far more able in other realms. Spiritually, her faith is far greater than many I have seen because of her childlike faith, nature, and joy. She excels in areas many do not, yet the world labels her and tells her she cannot do many things she truly can if given room to grow. I have a few customers I do gardening for, and I love the example of what happens when you do not pull the weeds right near a new plant. The new growth has no room to spring up, so it will be choked out by the weeds; pull the weeds and life will burst through. That is my job in Vanessa’s life currently; pull the weeds and put a cage around her so she can grow. Just as tomato plants do far better if given a cage around them to protect them, shelter them, and support the stem, that is the role Sean and I carry in Vanessa’s life. Give her a cage that protects her but gives her room to spring up. Pull the weeds, shelter her, and point her to the Father. Trust Him to provide the rain, the sun, and the growth.
Recently my biggest battle has been finding a good fit for a summer program for Vanessa. If asked by anyone what she wants to do with her life, her response is, “work in the bakery at Landis’ Supermarket in Telford.” She loves (beyond loves) baking, and excels at it. Sit her down with a book, and she cannot read it; sit her down with a recipe, ask her to make it, and she will battle through every word just to make sure she can bake it correctly. Tell her to be ready in ten minutes, she has no idea what you are saying. Tell her to be ready in the time it takes to bake a tray of cookies, and she understands it better. Baking is her passion, and when given room to pursue her desires and dreams, she excels. Through some research and phone calls I was able to find a camp for those with special needs that has a vocational training program for the summer. The program is called, “Vocational Baking Training.” How perfect! The camp has a bakery, and all week the four students in the baking program work together to learn recipes and bake for the on-site store they can sell their baked goods in. Sadly, after many meetings, the school district determined that the at school program they offer for the summer was a better fit for Vanessa and that is what they would pay for. I left the final meeting on the verge of tears, disappointed and struggling to see the logic. Vanessa would excel at the baking program and learn far more than anywhere else I could imagine her being. It is working towards her life goals all while teaching her, and it is full days where the other program is half days just four days a week. Discouraged, I emailed the director of the camp thanking them for their help and letting them know we personally could not afford it, but would try again next year. I received an email back saying someone has given Vanessa a full scholarship to attend the vocational training. Like what?! Just the night before I had been in tears telling Sean I feel like God isn’t showing up. I text him what the camp director said, and he texts back, “tell me again, does God show up?” I feel like this was God simply teaching a lesson. “I love her far more than you ever could, and I will always show up. ALWAYS.”
Jesus breaks through.