Work of God Displayed

April is Autism Awareness Month.  The CDC recently announced that Autism affects 1 out of every 68 children; 1 in every 68!!  Each year this number seems to be getting lower.  I remember when it was 1 out of every 250.  I read some book early on in our journey that said 1 in every 10,000 (they were old books!).  There are so many people who are facing the same challenges we face daily.  It is a journey no parent wants to find themselves on, that is for sure!

A few years ago a friend asked me what she could say to another friend who just found out her child had autism.  She said this mom blamed herself for her son’s condition.

This broke my heart because I knew what this mom was feeling.  As a parent of a special needs child, you question EVERYTHING trying to find answers of why this has happened.  You second guess things, ‘Was it the immunization shots?’, ‘Sarah bumped her head on the fireplace hearth that one time.  Did that do it?’ ‘She had a fever that one time…’ and so on.   The Lord immediately brought to mind John 9:1-3 because this is what He used to encourage me when I felt this way.

                “As He went along, He saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned,this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

                Neither this man or his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

Work of God displayed!!!  Sarah is the vessel for God to show His mighty work!  When we are weak, He is strong!

I wonder what the man might have felt when he heard those words from Jesus?  Or how his parents felt?  It wasn’t anything they did (which their society believed), but it happened to show the work of God in his life!  I bet this mom had an overwhelming sense of relief.  As her son was now a grown man, how many years must she had questioned herself of what she could have done to have this happen?   I wonder in how many social settings she felt like people were judging her and now secretly felt justified?  This happened so that the work of God would be displayed!

Sadly, because they feared the Pharisees and being excommunicated from the synagogue his parents missed out on the fruition of God’s work. (John 9:20-23)  Their son, on the other hand, believed in Jesus as his Savior.  Everyone knew he was the blind man who can now see because of Christ’s work in his life.   I wonder how many people believed in Jesus because of this man’s testimony?

(And maybe his parents did come to believe in Christ later because of their son’s testimony???  These are things I will ask in Heaven!)

All I know is that I don’t want to miss out on seeing God at work in Sarah’s life (and ours!).

He is at work!  He has a reason and a plan.  If you find yourself or someone you love on a hard road like this, be encouraged! There might be a work of God getting ready to be displayed!

Bird Calls

The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”          Deuteronomy 31:8

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b

My favorite bird is the male cardinal with his bright red feathers.  I had one for years by my house that I could stand outside on my deck and if I repeated his whistle, he would come to me.  I am sure my neighbors loved it!  “Honey, close the windows!  There goes Jill with her bird call imitations again!” 🙂   As I whistled back his song, he would sit on a tree branch or on the fence looking at me and I bet pretty confused because I was not the female cardinal he was expecting!

I love that the cardinal is a year round bird here in Michigan.  I know that this sounds strange, but when I see a cardinal it reminds me that God loves me and He is here.  It is a code between God and me that when I see a male cardinal, I am reminded of His presence and His care for me.   There are days when I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed (Sarah’s non-stop crying can do that to person!) and I see a cardinal.  I know it is not by accident.  It is the Lord reminding me of Himself and not to be afraid or discouraged of what I am facing in life.

This was especially true just a few weeks ago.  While I knew God was calling me to leave my job, I was sick to my stomach the day I was to hand in my notice.   Going out on faith is not always easy or comfortable!  While my stomach sank, my heart was pounding hard inside my chest as I drove to work.  Every song, I repeat, every song on the radio that morning was about how God is with us or goes before us.  After the third song, tears came streaming down my face as I knew it was His way of encouraging me.  Then I arrived at work.  When I stepped out of my car I could tell my legs were shaking, and then I heard it, a cardinal singing his song.  It sounds so silly, but it meant so much to me as I stood in that parking lot.  Tears welled up as I whispered, “Thank You.”  It was just the reassurance and confirmation I needed before I walked into the office.

What I also love about a male cardinal is that he is easy to spot, if you are looking for him.  In this never ending winter of 2014, his red appearance stands out if you keep your eyes open.  Just like with the Lord!  If you quiet your heart and look for Him, you see His Hand everywhere!

I am on the lookout for this bird.  I repeat his words.  I realize he is always around me.  Funny, how one of God’s creations reminds you of what you need to do!  I need to be on the lookout for Christ in my daily activities; I need to repeat His Words (and apply them to my life) and remember that He, no matter what I am facing, is always with me!

Excuse me; I need to practice my bird call…. 🙂