Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Job...My Hope

I have had a most amazing and encouraging job for the past 6 years, working for an organization of phenomenal integrity (where I started in a different role, in Year 2000). I have the opportunity to call people around the nation whose lives have been changed by the real & active power of Christ: some have come through some frightening experiences, even life-threatening; I've interviewed a woman who almost died giving birth; a man who shot himself in the face and lived to tell others about the dangers of meth use; two highly-educated women who were convicted of prescription-related-drug felony charges, and served time in penitentiaries; men whose drug addictions destroyed their families and themselves; and many who experienced physical healing that magnified their faith. In six years I have conducted a couple hundred interviews: a young girl who was adopted through a chance encounter with just the right person at the right place and time; the grandson of a famous multimillionaire wanted to tell us about the faith of his family, today; people in the music industry--names you'd know, and names you wouldn't. My job has flexibility: I can make my calls & write up my research in the evenings while my children settle into bedtime with Daddy.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Because the common threads in them all are REDEMPTION, HEALING, and HOPE. They share in common FORGIVENESS, GRACE, and CHANGE.

On my most difficult parenting days (like today), I think of some of these people I've shared moments with--a man who started getting drunk & hiding in closets at age FIVE; a man who was smacked over the head with a two-by-four by his father; people whose families gave them no introduction to faith at all...and I consider their childhoods. I consider the childhood I am attempting to give my children...

In each and every case, I am calling these people to hear their stories not because of where they've been, but because of how they've been changed by the power and glory of God! The ones who served time now minister to those in prison. The one whose husband killed a man in a car accident, now works with the deceased man's wife to share the truth of DUI's with people all over the world. Those who survived hurricanes talk about how much of a miracle their losing everything was, as it drew them to the one thing that mattered most! A man who never knew he was a father, now embraces his son. Do you see? Their stories are only 10% about the misery, but 90% about the glory!

What I take from this is that even if I am to fail miserably as a parent (which I wouldn't say I'm doing), the Good News is that I really am NOT in control. First of all, everything is in the hands of our Creator, God, and He can bring diamonds from ash and coal. Secondly, my children will some day be responsible for their own actions, and I will have to look at them, and their choices, and trust that same Creator God to move them as He desires. Thirdly, even as I simply speak the name, Jesus, into their lives, I am giving them one of the greatest tools they'll need--a name with power & authority. The Name above All Names!

In the cases I have described, Life was not good to many of these people--but God spoke into their ears anyway, and through it all. In some cases, individuals just chased after the "exciting" or "enticing" in life, more often than not just out of boredom--but they found no satisfaction there. I know one man whose job as a police office almost brought him down completely (literally--he was shot at by a criminal, whom he then had to take down), but he, instead, found a redeeming belief in the God who made and loves him.

All I am saying is that I have to let go of the really bad days--opening my own hands wide to trust God's hand over all.

I am not capable of overriding God's plan for my kids. I will do my very best to be a good mom to them--and some days I will soar as the best mom they or any child could have! But, some days I will be their worst enemy--and my own--even working against the plan of God! However, I am not capable of defeating God's plan. This is the hopeful message I have to share with myself today--and with you. Even on my son's most miserable day, he was still created with a Purpose. This message is for everyone!

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11*

What a wonderful load off of my shoulders! Parenting him is certainly not a responsibility I shirk, in any way, but I must not, on the flip side, carry it like a heavy and back-breaking burden. I will do my best, and then God will fill in my gaps.

What a relief!! Oh, this gives me cause to WORSHIP!!

I hope you see the same hope for your own children today!

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

Matthew 7: 7-12*

*New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Robynn's Ravings said...

Wow......that's such an encouraging testimony to God's grace.

Our family, and a family close to us, was touched by almost everything you can imagine and some of it EXTREME. Some died, some are atheist, some continue to harm but with their teeth removed, you might say.

My poor sister committed suicide but I have no doubt she knew the Lord and loved him. She was just too young to hang on.

But there are four of us from the two families who are followers of Christ and have changed history for our families, by God's goodness and grace. We are the survivors and God has a plan for us.

I always wonder, who prayed for me, for us, and when? I know I pray for my future grandchildren and my kids' spouses. But I know people who pray for generations to come. I wonder, did someone have us in mind and God honored that prayer? Just a thought.

Thanks for your beautifully written post. :)

ModMomMuse said...


First, I am sorry to hear about your dear sister--I am also a suicide survivor (grandfather, two friends from high school), so I know the unique pains & questions that follow that tragedy.

In my case, I was blessed with a family of babysitters who knew Christ. They laid hands on me as a child, and prayed over me--then we moved away when I was nine. At age 33 I was able to track them down & share the testimony of my salvation with them--it was thrilling for us all, and now we're Facebook Friends! (LOL). I know that the foundation I received from them was critical in my upbringing--as my maternal grandparents were church attenders, and did love the Lord, they just didn't "evangelize" their family much. But, you know what? God found me right where he wanted me exactly when I needed Him, and I really believe the same will be true for my children.

We want to train them up in the way they should go, of course! We must always remember, along the way, that they may choose differently. They may choose the path of David! Or of the Prodigal Son. They may rebel like so many of the Hebrews Heroes did! In the end, we read those names (Heb. 11) as the ones we are supposed to study--the men and women we are supposed to know & learn/grow from.

Thanks for following my writing. You are always such a marvelous encourager to me! I appreciate your comments so much.

God's Best to you & your family (those who know Christ, and those who have yet to know him!).

she just wants to be said...

What a great post! I know that once I 'let go' and started paying attention, things really started happening. It's funny how when we are so focused on our plan we fail to see the path right in front of us!

I have to say though, that lately I have had a much more difficult time letting go and listening. Your post is a great reminder!