A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away….not really, but I feel like that's how all of my “before kids” stories should start. Prior to being a mommy, I was a meeting planner. Once for a large medical convention, I booked a New York Times bestselling author to speak to the group. Michael Lewis’ book The New New Thinghad just published. I have recently been reminded of that super catchy book title as I make my way through the special needs parenting journey.
I’m writing to you with 21 years of momhood in my rear view mirror. My youngest, who was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder 18 years ago, came with a shocking and disheartening prognosis for his future. But that, it turns out, isn’t the greatest challenge. The bigger issue is that we adjusted, acclimated, and became comfortable with our special guy. Then some years went by, and there was a new thing. So we adjusted, acclimated and grew cozy with the new thing. Only to be blindsided years later by the new, new thing.
I’m going to admit to you that I hate the new things. I am super great at status quo. Whatever my son’s issues, if I know them and know how to work with and around them, everything is ok. But the new things always shake me out of my comfort zone. Recently I was telling a friend about our current season of flailing helplessly at a new new thing we can’t quite wrap our arms around. I wondered aloud, “Why on Earth would God allow something new to slip into the mix?” And immediately this (partial) Scripture popped into my head:
See, I am doing a new thing! Isaiah 43:19(a)
I had always quoted that Scripture when I was in a season that I was ready to change and desperate to get out of. I knew it and had stood on it in faith in the past, but I wasn’t sure I was ok with new things I hadn’t asked for. I decided to look it up, and figure out why God was so excited to do something new that the writer put an exclamation point on there. Here is the whole verse:
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19 NIV
As I meditated on the whole Scripture, I saw that God takes pleasure in doing new things because they are the streams in the wilderness that we need. My comfort zone is not where I will find refreshment. My comfort zone isn’t going to make a way for me, it’s more likely going to keep me stationary. We are all on a journey, running a race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1). We want the way made for us, we want the new wine that is described in Jesus’ parable from Matthew 9:14-17. However, that requires that are stretched beyond our current capacity.
Being stretched and strengthened may look different for other people. But in my case, in this season, it has to do with the new new thing. It has everything to do with my ability to press into God in a new and deeper way, to rely on him to a greater degree than before. And within that new new thing, I find the ONE thing that will be my refreshment, my resource, and my strength through it all. I don’t know why, but I definitely have learned that God can always use the new new things for my good.