The Scripture passage my pastor referenced in his daily video devotion was familiar: "Be still, and know that I am God."
The intention of the passage is certainly to convey peace and hope, even on days when life holds anything but.
On this day, like many days before it, one fervent prayer for one young adult child was answered yes, while an equally fervent prayer my other young adult child was (again) answered no.
I confess that in years gone by, I was guilty of the cultural sin of being excessively proud of my children based on their accomplishments.
After all, we measure our success as parents based on the successes of our children, right? I cannot emphasize enough how deeply it wounds when all of your child’s best efforts, coupled with your own, result not in accomplishment and growing confidence in your child, but in what the world deems failure. Again. And again. And again.
For that day, I chose not to wallow in despair. I confess, there were tears. Facing the no answer time and again makes you a little less sensitive to the sting, but the sting still smarts. But that day, even though there appeared to be no hope in this area of life, I chose to have hope. I forced myself to sit still, and know that even another stinging “no" is part of God’s plan. Even though I feel fear with every “no,” I still have a choice whether or not to trust God. So I choose to believe that He will nurture my child’s hurting heart, rather than allow this precious soul to disappear into hopeless despair.
An incredibly valuable thing I’ve learned in hearing "no" repeatedly with this young adult offspring is that the parental love my husband and I have for both of our children has become thoroughly separated from what they do, and is solely focused on who each of them are as humans. With a long delayed neurological and mental health diagnosis for one of them, and a difficult season for entirely different reasons for the other, the situations each has faced have driven me to the bottom of my motherly ability to make things better for them. I have been spiritually flattened.
The only thing that stands on a flat surface are words on the page. HIS Words on the page. Peace, Be Still. And know that I AM is still God.
God measures by faith, by overcoming, by working with what we’re given, not by results. Results are up to Him. Overcoming involves doing what we can with what we have. Blooming where we are planted. Even when what has been planted are mental health related struggles.
It’s not lowering standards, it’s understanding that one person is gifted and designed for certain areas, while another person is gifted and designed for a totally different way. Value is found in each, and real love seeks to find that value.
Proverbs 24:3-4 says “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” I think that finding the value in each individual is in part what the writer meant in this passage, when he talked about building a house—a family, a legacy—with wisdom and understanding.
The Church has the opportunity to show the world real love—love that is so very different from any other “love” that’s out there: love not based in feelings, but based in the belief that God’s Words are true. That digging in to love, understand and be patient with all people—even those with mental health struggles—builds my house, my spiritual legacy. Letting God build me this way lets my life be filled with flawed yet beautiful people and moments and wisdom that is far too rare—even in our churches.
Hope in my Jesus is not in vain. He’s working all things together for my good, and the good of my family, because we love Him and each other. With love and understanding as my measures of success, God can make anything happen.