Don’t just stand there

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My son, Coltrane, is 9 months old and he still hasn’t mastered crawling yet. He manages to scoot back or “wounded soldier” crawl forward. As a new mom, I have to remind myself that every child has a different timeline for achieving  certain developmental milestones. In this case, I thought that maybe he would start walking before he crawls. We’ve been practicing how to stand with his walker. His legs have become really strong and he’s working on his balance. He’s gained quite a bit of confidence and all he wants to do now is stand. I can see the pride on his face. However, when I try to move his feet, he is less likely to budge. He doesn’t really understand that there’s more to standing. He’s perfectly content to just stand there.
How many times have I just stood without any intent to walk in my spiritual life? Sometimes, I block myself from progress by believing I do all that I do in my own strength, instead of giving God all the glory. It’s as if I’m saying, “Wow, I’m a great writer! Look at me!”, without demonstrating my talent and using it for Kingdom purposes. Isaiah 42:8 NLT states,  “I am the Lord ; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols.”
There are other times when I stand without walking because fear paralyzes me. During these phases, I recognize that there is a purpose, but I don’t believe that I can accomplish what the Lord has called me to do. Jesus encouraged his disciples, “Jesus called the Twelve to him, and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority and power to deal with the evil opposition. He sent them off with these instructions: “Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple”
Mark 6:7-9 MSG.
There are still other times, when I don’t move in my faith walk because I’m not diligently seeking Him or studying His Word. How are we to know when to move or how many steps to take without direction? The Word says,” My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord , and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go
(Proverbs 2:1-9 NLT)”. And also, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path (Psalms 119:105)”.
Coltrane will be ready to walk when he realizes that his legs are meant for more than standing, loses his fear of falling, and realizes that I’ll be there to guide him every step of the way. I have to remember that God is lovingly doing the same thing with me.

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Never Say Never

“I will never live in NY! It’s dirty, there are no trees and it’s just too busy!”

I’m from the Eastern Shore of MD.  I enjoy crabbing and fishing.  I love to garden, and I love the water.  These hobbies not only make up the background of my childhood, but they allow me to debrief and meditate on God’s goodness.  How in the world was I going to be able to be my complete self in a world without green spaces and tranquil places?

When my husband and I were considering future places to live, I was not willing to compromise on his hometown.  He is originally from Brooklyn and is like a fish to water when there.  We were visiting some friends about 3 years ago.  They were all trying to convince me why Brooklyn would be a great place to live.  In order to appease them, I said, “Yes. I would live in Brooklyn. IF, I can be a stay-at-home mom, live near Prospect Park, and do ‘bourgeois’ stay-at-home mom things with Charisma (one of the friends trying to convince me to live there)”.  I was convinced that this would never happen because 1)New York is too expensive for us to live there. How was I going to be a stay-at-home mom? 2) I really didn’t have that close of a relationship with Charisma at the time and didn’t expect it to go anywhere.  Why would we be hanging out doing bourgeois mom stuff all of a sudden? and 3)If we could afford to live in NY, it wouldn’t be near Prospect Park because that would be even more expensive.  I’m realizing now how selfish it was for me to set up these parameters knowing how vital Brooklyn is to my husband’s ministry and sense of purpose.  I may not have understood it then, but setting up these “impossible” parameters was not going to get in the way of God’s plan!

Fast forward to Spring 2015.  My husband graduated seminary and accepted a job as a NYC Teaching Fellow. We constantly prayed that God would open doors and make it possible for us to live comfortably and that I could stay at home with our son (to be born early June).

Well God opened doors. He also opened people’s hearts.

Charisma knew of someone who needed a tenant.  It was an affordable place and was just a ten minute walk to Prospect Park. Parameter one and three had been met.

Charisma and I bonded over the past year because we wanted to be mothers.  My husband, Charisma, her husband, and I started a weekly prayer call to pray for our unborn children; their conception, healthy pregnancies, and healthy babies.  Our babies were born one week apart.  We have hung out with our babies numerous times since their births.  She has been an awesome friend and ambassador to the city. Parameter two had been met.

Friends and Family continued to pour out and bless us.  We have not wanted for anything since moving here in June. The part of Brooklyn we live in is not that bad. Prospect Park is my green space.  There is even a lake there where I can sit and admire God’s goodness in His creation. I may not be able to garden in my own back yard, but there is a 24 hr fruit stand and a community garden within walking distance.   This may not be my hometown, but God has placed so many things here to help me feel at home.  At the same time, the many different things will allow me to grow.

This lesson has taught me that I cannot change God’s plan.  If something is supposed to happen, it will happen for His glory. I praise Him for knowing what’s best for me better than I ever could.