Wednesday, February 01, 2006

El-Shaddai--God of the impossible

This has been a very difficult week. Life has gotten very busy in the Lewis household. The classes that I teach are getting busier in terms of grading. I will be receiving my mid-term test in my Finance class today and it will be due in one week, along with the regular weekly assignments (plus I am working on a 15 page paper). I have dissertations that I need to review, and the church database to install on the computers at the office. Brian has a big weekend with the youth group including a late night ice skating trip in Little Rock on Friday, movie night on Saturday, and a SuperBowl party on Sunday. Then you have to throw in that one of David's friends has a birthday party on Saturday. Who knows what else will pop up.

Sometimes when life starts going fast, I tend to lose sight of the important things until something or someone brings me back to our real purpose in life. The little things become very overwhelming and I start to get frustrated a little more easily and my tolerance level shrinks quickly.

Well, several reality checks have hit me this past week. On Monday night, a good friend of ours lost her mother. Her mom had recently been diagnosed with ALS, so her passing was a blessing in terms of limiting her suffering. However, it is devastating for her family. My friend has said several times that it has just gone so fast and there wasn't time to talk about all the things she wanted to talk about with her mom.

In addition, one of my cousins left for the Mayo clinic because he has been suffering from excruciating migraines, numbness in his face and extreme pain. They are having a difficult time finding the cause, so now he is just waiting to be seen by doctors at the mayo clinic.

And there are so many other things that are far more important than a finance test or a super bowl party. I hate that these things have to be reality checks to make me hold my kids tighter or tell my husband how much I appreciate him and love him, but that is what events like this do. It makes us lean on God and offer numerous prayers and pleas for those we love and for ourselves. Thankfully, God is a loving father and he listens.

I know this is a long post, but I want to share one more thing with you. This was another reminder that I received from my cousin. Her daughter, Kristen, was born prematurely, suffered a stroke before she was even born and has mild cerebral palsy. She has faced many struggles that are just too numerous to tell about in this post, but Kristen is the most determined little girl I know. She is 6 years old and in a regular kindergarten! Here is my cousin's email:

In Bible Study Fellowship this year, we are studying Genesis. This week we are learning about how Abraham and Sarah experienced God as El-Shaddai. Our notes said, "El-Shaddai conveys the meaning of God as "the all mighty One to whom nothing is impossible."

One of the questions in our homework asked, "In what way has the Lord been your El-Shaddai (God of the impossible) this week?" I had an immediate answer!

Kristen started reading this week. Not just recognizing a few words, but she hit that "magical" time where all of the sudden they are reading! She was sitting on the couch reading her "Biscuit the Dog" book, and I was struck with a memory. I thought of when she had just turned two and we took her to St. Louis to the third leading pediatricneurologist in the U.S. who specifically worked with children who had had strokes. Kristen was only saying a few words, and was unable to eat solids. At the end of the appointment, we asked him when he thought she may start eating or talking. He said that based on the MRI and based on her current physical development being grossly delayed, she may never eat solid food and may never talk normally.

I was so sad! I cried off and on during our ride home. Jenna, then seven, asked why I was crying. I told her that the doctor had said Kristen may not eat or talk normally and that it made me sad. She said,"Well, when she was born the doctor told us she wouldn't walk until she was five. We didn't believe him, but we prayed. Why do we believe this doctor?"

Matt 18:2-3 "He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

I was amazed at her statement of faith! I was ashamed that it wasn't my first response. I had focused my eyes on our circumstances instead of looking to God. My attitude was transformed in an instant. We prayed right then, and didn't stop!

God honored the faith of a seven year old. He honored the faith of a tired mom and dad, who temporarily took their eyes off of Him. And here she is, reading on her own. Eating on her own. He is a God of the impossible. I wanted to write this to all of you, because maybe there is something in your life that looks impossible. Don't focus on your circumstances, but have faith in who God is and what God can do!!

Isn't that amazing? I know this isn't one of my usual funny postings, but this is what is on my heart. This is what I want my kids to know most...that God is their God of the impossible. He is always there, always listening, and always preparing us for His service. Maybe it is not always in the way we think or the way we want, but He is using the situations we encounter to mold us. I hope you will pray for Brian and I as we teach this to the boys, and I hope you will help us teach them.

I also challenge you to think about the question that my cousin was challenged to think about..."In what way has the Lord been your El-Shaddai (God of the impossible) this week?"

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