Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God? “John 11:40 (ESV)
I recall Christmas Eve several years ago suddenly waking at 4:30 am. I was about to learn it would be a morning of great surrender, something I will never forget. My morning routine was to fill a mug with coffee and then open my Bible. With Christmas lights twinkling, I continued with my routine, then lit the fireplace and began pouring out my heart to Father God. Sitting warm and cozy, I read Scripture and surrendered our youngest son, Mason, to our Heavenly Father. My heart ached with such intensity as I asked God to step in and care for him.
Just a day earlier our sweet Mason was hospitalized for severe depression and it was our first Christmas without all of our sons home. One would expect that first Christmas missing one of our sons would be due to a marriage and sharing time with new in-laws. How often our expectations are unmet when living with mental illness.
Early that same Christmas Eve, while seeking the Lord, I was given assurance that the Lord of Heaven’s armies held Mason in the palm of His almighty hands. That assurance affirmed for me God was writing the story for Mason’s life. Despite this mother’s pain, I choose to trust God.
Our family’s journey with mental illness has taught me to seek the Lord in other times when previously I would not have. That trust during awful circumstances has turned into something good, a lesson learned to listen and discern God’s leading. This lesson has proved to be valuable time and time again.
Just this week I was asking the Lord to guide me to make a decision to serve with an amazing organization that cares for young people whose lives are severely impacted by mental illness. As honored as I was to be asked, I sensed God wasn’t leading me here, so I prayed and searched further for God’s will. I dedicated a day to seek Him and His will — even asking a dear friend to join me in prayer on what I labeled as “decision day.” My need for God to show up with His clarity in this decision was at the forefront throughout that day. I asked the Lord to confirm or close this open door. If this work was not where He would have me go, then show me where, as I sensed God was guiding me to something new.
What I did not realize, God was at work behind the scenes in such a profound way during what I labeled “decision day”. Earlier in the week I had accepted an invitation to collaborate with a group I knew very little about. These individuals were executives from Cisco, Apple and the North Georgia Autism Foundation. They were looking to start a Career Bridge Program in North Georgia for young adults diagnosed as Highly Functioning Autistics. This was the same diagnosis Mason received three years ago after his hospital stay when I was so troubled on that Christmas Eve.
This second request of my time and resources tugged at my heart in a big way and I was immediately interested. The outcome of this meeting was one of shared vision. Within one hour a plan had been outlined with action steps determined; I was very inspired and had overwhelming clarity I should be involved.
Immediately following the Bridge Program meeting I was overwhelmed with God’s presence and His leading. What began as a wholehearted seeking of His will on my “decision day” concerning my time and resources ended with me clearly sensing God’s direction. He showed up in only a way God does. I sensed He was letting me know He is making something good out of that heartbreaking Christmas Eve morning 3 ½ years ago!
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
As I move forward and assist to build The Bridge program with the N. Georgia Autism Foundation ( https://www.ngafinc.org/ ) I will continue to seek His glory here on earth. When we set out to seek His glory we often see Him at work in our everyday lives in ways that only God can.
Once again God’s leading and the confidence of knowing it was Him leading produced real joy in my heart. That joy is not lighthearted fun or happiness but the assurance of being in the center of God’s will. That is seeing some of the glory of God. This is the desire of my heart, but honestly is only visible when I seek God. As a Christian there is no greater joy that leaves my soul satisfied as knowing I am following the path He has set for me.