Do You See What I See?

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This week has been a rough few days for me emotionally. It has been a “I do not like paralysis” kind of week. There have been three days in a row that I have been smacked in the face with something I really would have loved to do, but just absolutely could not do. I can typically handle the single episodes but when they stack up on me, it can get to me. Well, this week was just one of those weeks. I have felt a combination of emotions that ranged from feeling completely useless to just plain mad. I am afraid my poor husband has caught much of the brunt of it but I tell him to be proud because he doesn’t realize how much I DON’T say! I don’t think I have convinced him yet that he should be proud of that. I am afraid a negative attitude is still a negative attitude – even when you keep some of it inside.

During times like this, which thankfully are not very often, I always decide that I need counseling! So, I get my preachy tone going on in my head and I start chewing myself out and telling me to straighten up. I remind myself of the many wonderful things God has granted in my life. I tell me that my children are watching me so I need to be an example. I start thinking of all the things I am thankful for. This formula helps me every single time, but this time the thing that helped me the most was a line from a Christmas song.

“Do you see what I see…” made me stop and think about that question. I know what I saw. I saw two awesome boats that I would have loved to have toured with my friends and family but were completely inaccessible. I saw a downstairs basement that needs several handyman projects that I know how to do and want to do, but can’t do them very effectively because I can’t reach them! I saw my husband trying to catch up a mountain of laundry that should be my job. I saw an awesome door-to-door outreach going on at our church but know the reality of me getting to most doors is out of the question. I saw all these “problems” with paralysis that really frustrated me. I even looked in the mirror and saw a paraplegic with a rotten attitude and I don’t like her at all!

Through that song, it hit me how very self-centered I was. Do I see what I see? Yes, I do. Way too clearly! That is my problem. Then, I could hear the Lord asking me that question. “Alicia, do you see what I see?” No, I don’t and that is also my problem. My vision gets so nearsighted sometimes! I wonder what God sees. I have asked God to let me view this world the way that He does and to please use me to be a vessel to reach others. When He heard me pray and ask for those things from Him, did He see that it would involve the very things that have me frustrated this week?

When we ask God for these spiritual things, I am afraid we have visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads. Successful ministries, a perfectly ordered house, children who get tucked in every single night with a Bible story, high heels and aprons and the Martha Stewart award, and no miscarriages….or sickness….or death….or bankruptcy….or cheating spouses….or rebellious children…or paralyzed bodies. But God sees something different.

God sees His creation that is tormented with the effects of sin. God sees that Satan cannot have the victory in the life of His children. God sees that when we trust Him, He can take that torment and bring about a glorious victory in our lives. God sees that Satan’s vision of us will be blinded and He will turn our ashes into something beautiful. God sees His struggling child and He has pity on us and reaches out in compassion and mercy. God sees abundant grace that He loves to bestow on us when we need it the most. God sees a gal in a wheelchair down here struggling with a bad attitude and He lets the words of a little Christmas song touch her heart just when she needs it.

I am so thankful that God does not see me the way I see me. I am so thankful that He sees me through His vision for me. I am so thankful that He doesn’t respond to me the way I respond to myself sometimes. I am so thankful that He does not ride my emotional roller coaster. I am so thankful that when I am having a bad day week, He is not. And I am so thankful for a little Christmas song to remind me to keep my eyes on Christ and to focus on what He sees in my life.

Do you see what I have seen? I hope so.

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When We Pray For Our Children

I have an overwhelming desire as a mother, to see my children develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I don’t mean when they ask Jesus to save them. I mean an intentional walk with God. I do not want them to have a relationship with Mommy’s God. I want Him to be their own. The one they love and serve because He is their God. I pray passionately for this.

I remember the Bible story of when God asked Abraham to take and sacrifice his son Isaac. God had no intention of asking one human to sacrifice another but he was testing Abraham to see how far he would trust him. I guess, if you are about to make a man the father of a great nation, then the test of obedience and faithfulness might be a little greater than the average guy. Side note: Abraham did not know that so he was truly a man of faith! However, I don’t think Abraham was the only life that a work was being done in that day. I think God was working in Isaac.

Isaac followed his earthly father in complete trust up the side of that mountain. He did not struggle when he was being bound and laid on the altar. We have no record that he cried out in fear as Abraham raised the knife above his head and was going to follow in obedience the whole way. When God spoke and told Abraham to stop, and then revealed that this was a test of faith, Abraham was not the only one who learned something. I think the transition was made that day in Isaac’s life. God became very personal to Isaac that day. You see, God had rescued Isaac. God made a difference in Isaac’s life and Isaac had a new view of God. He was his Redeemer now – not just his father’s.

This leads me back to my children and praying that God will be their God. I desire that. I pray for that. But do I really want it? Do I really understand and accept what this may mean? I think to my own childhood. I remember my mother passionately praying for my siblings and I that we would also serve our God. Would you like to know something? All of my siblings are in church and serving God. My sister, Niki, is married to a pastor. I am married to a pastor. My brother, Nathan, is a faithful and strong leader in his local church. My brother, Nevin, pastors a church he started in the far northwest. My brother, Asher, has surrendered his life to serving God in ministry and is faithfully involved in his church. My two younger siblings, Cierra and John, still live at home with my parents and they love their church also.

Now allow me to share something else. My sister, Niki, and her husband went through 11 painful years of barrenness. The Lord did not give them children the way they thought He would. I became paralyzed and face the rest of my life in a wheelchair. My brother, Nathan, went through a divorce. My brother, Nevin, has faced loneliness and financial hardship as they have stepped out to live a life of faith far away from all their family. My three younger siblings are all adopted and have their own issues they will still face in life.

I am telling you that the awful things that have happened in our lives are in answer to our mother’s prayers. Did she pray that my sister would not bear children? Did she pray that I would become paralyzed? Did she pray that my brother’s marriage would not make it? Did she pray for my brother and her grandchildren to live far away from her? No. But she prayed that we would have a real relationship with God. These things have made each of us to seek for our God – not the God of our mother. We needed His help. We needed His redemption. We needed Him to be real and to show Himself to us. We all faced a place where we were at the end of ourselves and that is where we found Him.

When we pray for our children, we must realize that God will also write their story. They may face some terribly hard times and as a mother, it will be very hard to watch our children go through these things. We must keep our focus right where it needs to be though. We must keep praying for them and be encouraged! God is working in their lives to bring them to the very place we prayed they would be!

As the child of a praying mother, I am very thankful for God’s work in my own life. God keeps me in a place where I cling to Him and I am so overwhelmed with gratitude that He is my God!!

As a praying mother for my children, I am preparing myself. Because God desires them even more than I do, He will work in there lives to draw them to the place where He is their God. I am already praying for them that they will respond in running to the Lord and not away from Him.

May God bless all praying Momma’s and give us the courage to face the days when God makes Himself real to our children in answer to our prayers.