I know many of you are getting ready to start your school year, or have even just started. I thought I'd share something I wrote several years ago. I wrote this during the time that we were having our son tested and diagnosed with ADD/Gifted... I actually gave this at a talk for a small group. I re-read it tonight, and thought some of you might find it encouraging.
When I was asked to speak here, I said, "sure," willingly, thinking no big deal this should be easy. Then we started having some struggles with our oldest, and I became EXTREMELY discouraged. I thought, Lord, I am not the right person to do this talk… right now I have nothing encouraging to say… Well, you know how God is! He worked in me through those struggles, and well, now to encourage you, I am going to talk about… being inadequate!
Pretty much that’s what I find encouraging these days…the fact that I AM inadequate. Well meaning loving friends tell me that I am quite adequate or FINE, but we all know we really aren’t. Now that I have you all squirming in your seats about my backwards view of encouraging, I’d like you to take a moment to really ponder where you struggle the most with not feeling good enough. Is it with cleaning your home? Being a mom? A wife? Teaching your children? Anything else? Really think about it.
Lord, please show us where we really don’t measure up. Help us to be honest with ourselves about where we aren’t good enough. Lord, please help us to place our confidence in you. May you personally show each of these women where you fill in the gaps in their inability to measure up. And Lord, even though it may seem backwards, I pray that you’ll use each lady’s inadequacy to encourage them, and to help them have hope in You, and to glorify You! We love you Lord, Amen.
Ok…so, that oldest child of mine that I alluded to…well, he’s been challenging since he could speak! Strong willed, defiant, needing constant attention, talking without ceasing, know it all… Oh my! He’s in 4th grade now, and still not really able to do independent work…so, we had him tested, and it turns out…he really does know it all! He’s gifted and ADD-fortunately, not the hyperactive type. So- the entire week prior to and after the diagnosis I kept thinking…God why would you give me a kid who is smarter than me??? I can’t raise this kid! I can’t teach this kid! While at this point, I may have more knowledge, I certainly won’t for long…not at the rate he reads! I can’t do this, I’m not ready, I don’t know how, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t!!! I walked around for about a week and a half ready to give up the fight for my kid’s soul, thinking there is nothing I can do, because I’m not enough!
God really showed me how discouragement, and feeling inadequate, are a good beginning… God knows me. He knows Bean Boy. He knows what He’s given me and how He made me. AND, despite how I feel, Bean Boy did not get switched at birth, nor did God make a mistake! So now what? Prayer! And, relying on God’s promises. I’m not sure which came first, but along the way God reminded me several things. First, He said, “Kristy I know you; for I have created your inmost being, I knitted you together in your mother’s womb.” In that same chapter (Psalm 139) He declares that He knows when I sit down and rise up, He discerns my thoughts from afar and before I utter a word, He knows it! This isn’t a God who knows me from afar. He knows me intimately…and He knows where I am in my walk with Him, and just how I need to be challenged, strengthened, stretched, and loved.
I’ve learned over the years to pray about everything. I mean EVERYTHING. I guess I’m actually still learning…but God cares about the little things, so I talk to Him about them. I’ve prayed about everything from schedules, to naps, to lunch, to patience, strength, faith, and the hearts of my children. God has given me insight on the small things. He says in His Word for me to cast all my anxieties on Him, because He cares for me. I’ve heard many of you talk, and aren’t those the things that make us anxious? Shouldn’t we pray about them too?
A couple of years ago, we had a huge medieval feast for my son. I spent months gathering decorations, sewing costumes, planning a traditional medieval meal, researching how to roast a hog, and even practicing with many chickens! I bought shields (cardboard ones) and spray painted them gold. I had asked a friend to paint the virtues we were learning on them, and said that just plain black was fine. Well, I had the table set with real silver candle holders, real silver goblets, and as much gaudy silver and gold as I could find. We had a throne for King Jesus, and I had decorated it with a red table cloth…it looked like a red backed throne! When the shields arrived, I was amazed. Theresa said that no paint would stick. She tried several different kinds. The only thing that would stick on my gold shields was silver glitter paint…it proclaimed valor, humility, teachable, honorable, etc. were our virtues! And, on the shield that would sit on the throne…red glitter paint saying King of Kings! Now- I know that in the scheme of things, all of that isn’t important. I certainly did NOT pray about the letters and their colors…I was busy praying the hog would turn out edible, and that Baby T would behave (she was very sick that day). But I honestly did think about it quite a bit…that black really wasn’t going to look great… BUT- God KNEW! HE KNEW!!! It was very important to me to have it all beautiful and magnificent and even matching. I felt so loved, and was convinced that He cared about the little things!!! He discerns my thoughts from afar and before I utter a word, He knows it! What kind of God is this? What kind of love is this? Not even my husband cared about the letters!!! Now I have more boldness in asking for even the little things. Mentally make a list of what they are, and test Him…see if those things that seem little but are important to you, aren’t important to Him as well. God calls us His friends, and the little things are a HUGE part of our friendship with God…
The next thing I’ve learned through being inferior; is that it’s ok, because in my weakness He has been made strong. There are just times when I can’t. I don’t have the words, the strength, or the wisdom. I grapple with these feelings of inadequacy the most when I think about my children’s hearts and souls. Oh how I long to be the mom with the right attitude, words, touches, and perfect sentiments all given at the perfect time… But, I’m not. I’ve come to realize though, that even if I were the BEST mom out there, it still wouldn’t be enough! My kids need the Holy Spirit working in them and working in me, more than they need me to be perfectly capable of handling everything. There was this one time when I thought Bean Boy might be cheating on a spelling test…he just kept looking down and I thought that was weird. When I questioned him saying, “What are you doing,” he said nothing, and we went on with the test. I didn’t notice it again. All tests were done in the same spiral notebook so I wouldn’t lose them… When the next week rolled around, and I had him go do a practice test, he came to me crying. When he began to tell me why, I could feel my anger rising up, and began to pray (very unlike me by the way). He confessed that he had indeed cheated on his last spelling test because he had never gotten all of them right and he really wanted to. Somehow, the Holy Spirit overrode my fleshly desire to pummel him, and turned this into a moment neither one of us would forget. I was able to say that he was forgiven. I tore that spelling test out, which had been a reminder to him of his sin. Then, I threw it away, and told him how when we confess our sins, they become like this paper and are thrown away and forgotten!-
Ladies…I must reiterate that I did NOT plan that ahead or come up with it on my own. My short little prayer of “Lord, what do I do, help me not to kill him…” was enough for the Holy Spirit to take over in my weakness.
I want to take this opportunity to say we aren’t perfect. We aren’t all going to be like that person in our mind…you know the homeschool mom whose house is always picked up, kids are perfect, has a great husband, has all the fun during school…I think we all secretly have someone specific we are thinking of right now! I have 2 and one of them is here tonight!!! It’s ok if you’re not like that mom! In fact, there’s no room for improvement when we are already perfect or perfectly competent… we are supposed to be in the process of sanctification- we are being made to shine, not already “shiny”! There will be challenges this year in school. Everything will not go according to plan. Our kids, our husbands, our friends, and ourselves, will all let us down! But God won’t. Take time to pray. Pray about the BIG things. Pray about the SMALL things. Trust Him. He knows you. He loves you. He wants what is best for you. Allow yourself to be weak so you can rely on Him more.
One last thing… God is faithful. Did you hear me? HE IS FAITHFUL, and hope does not disappoint. There is a cycle of suffering here. We suffer in feeling inadequate…it is a painful feeling. But, as we learn to pray and look to God, we learn He is faithful. We learn He is trustworthy, and we have a little more faith for the next time! Record God’s faithfulness in your life, and look at the record or put special markings…Romans 5:4-5 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
My feelings of inadequacy could really keep me down. They are discouraging! Until I remember, that this is an opportunity to see God work…and the work He is doing, is usually for me and in me…to make me more like Him, to bring me closer to Him, to strengthen me, and to glorify Himself. And, well, as hard as it is I love Him all the more because of it.
In this time of challenge with my son, I would love to see God just totally redeem the situation…either by making me gifted and ADD too so I can understand him, or by making his brain normal. BUT, I’m ok with the fact that instead, this is an opportunity for me to persevere and for God to produce character, for me to hope in Him, and for His faithfulness to be proved. While the outcome is certainly uncertain, I am already seeing Him do a work in me. He is so good!