Preparing for Life’s Harder Moments

With the help of my wife, Leah, we have told a little of our daughter Joy’s story involving birth defects, multiple surgeries, and God’s means of working and encouraging us during heavy times.

On Tuesday, Joy will be having another surgery. This one will be on her jaw and requires a bone graft from her hip. Recovery shouldn’t be much fun as she must be on a strict liquid diet and have very little activity.

joy and daddy 2

One aspect of my spiritual growth is an awareness of when I need help. When sticking to the status quo just won’t cut it and I need to be intentional and be willing to prepare, from a spiritual standpoint, for a difficult event. Here are some ways that I plan on preparing myself spiritually and emotionally for next week:

  1. Fasting – I have talked about fasting in this space before. The biblical use of fasting was largely to mark solemn occasions or times of repentance and returning to the Lord. Joy’s surgery, though routine for the doctor’s performing it, still will have deep impact on my daughter’s daily life for the next month and our family’s as well. This occasion requires me, as her father, to be at my best, and to be constantly in a state of prayer. In my recent practice of fasting, I have found deep moments with God and opportunities for spiritual reflection that has been life giving and a needed reset in my spiritual life. I don’t want to go into this time running on spiritual fumes, so I need something drastic to set the spiritual tone.
  2. Asking for prayer – Even though I have a blog and share some of my business, I am normally a pretty guarded person. I don’t like to talk about my own problems for fear that people would think I am fishing for sympathy or think my situation is more serious than someone else. But, in several of my church and work settings, I have specifically asked for prayer for Joy and that the surgery will go smoothly and that recovery will be light and free of pain. I have seen the power of intercessory prayer, and need that power in my family’s life this week.
  3. Surrender – I remember when Joy was just a few month’s old and had her first surgery on her lip. The dust had settled on the surgery and time in the recovery room. I made my way to the small chapel in the hospital where she was staying. I can’t remember too many times that I felt more reliant on God and aware of my lack of ability to control much of anything. I had come to a place of surrender of my child over to God. This is a terrifying yet comforting place to be as a parent. So, I find myself back in that spot again. I have to be willing to let things be for Joy and our family during Christmas. I have to daily pray for God’s will to be done for the surgery and for the aftermath. I have no control over how she will respond and what will cause her the most discomfort and irritation. I have to simply trust that God knows our deepest needs and will provide for those in a way that is best for all of us.

Surrender: The Great Forgotten Word

My tolerance for other’s tomfoolery, for disobedience, for not taking things seriously is not very high.

My friends like to remind me of the time in High School when we were organizing our first Fantasy Baseball Draft and I grew impatient with their lack of adherence to the rules and structure of the proceedings. I stormed off and sulked in another room. There was a old baseball bat in the room that I grabbed and started messing with. I just needed something to do with my hands in my frustration and irritation. I still had the bat in my hand when I went back into the “draft” room. I was not intending to use the bat for harm, I just was carrying it to carry it. My friends, though, thought in my anger, I was ready to use the bat to go after them or destroy some unsuspecting furniture. Their misunderstanding made me even more mad.

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Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

This story illustrates the problem I have with surrendering myself to God. You see, I desire to have every situation work out the way I envisioned or to have a positive outcome, or to make sense. If I get a sense of things getting out of hand or something creeping to a less than desirable result, I start to loose impatience and begin to worry and fret over meeting my expectations. I am often unable to surrender myself and situations to God’s provision and will.

In my humanity, I somehow think I have control over how my life will turn out and even have control over how other lives will turn out. One of the best signs of us Growing Up is our surrender of control over the outcomes of our lives to God. Then, we can move to surrendering the outcomes of other people’s lives to God as well. We need to work towards the ability to say, “Lord, you can have anything, ” “Lord, not my will but your will be done;” “Do with me what you will.”

Jesus says, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”

As a follower of Christ, I am called to a complete surrender of my life to God. This sounds daunting, and if we are planning on doing it in our own power, it is. But we can start by saying and praying these simple words:

“Lord, I want what you want. This is all that I want.”