First let me preface this post by saying that I'm glad you're reading my blog and it was started as a way not just to tell Owen's story but to share our family experiences. I have always loved to write but have found that I hadn't been doing it really at all in the past few years. This blog was a way to bring me back to journaling. Everything I write comes from my heart and most of what I write is extremely personal. Thanks for following our blog and I hope that you can gain some insights into your own heart through some of the posts like this one.
Typically the word pawn carries with it a negative connotation but this morning as I was drawing up medicines for Owen and preparing to give them my mind started turning and that phrase came to mind and really got me thinking. A day or so after we brought Owen home I was talking with someone and I said, as I've said months ago at the hospital - I believe that my entire life God was preparing me for this exact moment. Now, there's no way to know when you are strolling through day to day what exactly God is preparing you for or how he will use an experience from 3 years ago to help you tomorrow but that's what God does. It's like a chess game, and while I would only consider myself a novice at chess I know enough to know that it is a very strategic game and that every move you make is supposed to be a move to set you up for the best outcome. Now I'm going two places with this. 1) I believe that is what God does for us - he moves us, uses us, & places us in order to set us up for the best possible outcome - maybe not today but in the end. And 2) what if we lived our own lives and made our choices the way God wants us to - in a way that sets us up for the best possible outcome. I'm not suggesting that we know better than God, but I am suggesting that all to often we know that what we are doing, whether it be the relationship we are in, a friendship taking us down the wrong road, some conviction we can't shake, whatever it may be, we do things knowing that if we wanted the very BEST possible outcome for ourselves we wouldn't do it. Take for example money, we are all guilty of it, myself included (maybe even especially), we too often sacrifice what we want/need the MOST for what we want/need NOW. Choices.
I don't want to get off-track here so I'll just move on. What got me thinking about this in the first place (months ago) was remembering something that happened years ago. About 3 years ago I took a job teaching ESE Pre-K. I had never really wanted to teach ESE - in fact to be completely honest about it I was initially scared that it would be more than I could handle. But one day, I remember clear as day, as I was working with my students, and receiving hugs, and helping them understand things in their own way I had a revelation. It occurred to me in that moment that maybe just maybe God had put me in that position to prepare me for something down the road. I never could really shake that thought. When I was told of Owen's diagnosis and as the doctors were finishing procedures and telling us there was no way to know what if any brain damage Owen would have (early in his treatment) I immediately went back to that moment and I knew that God had definitely put me in that place to prepare me for this time in my life.
On the day we came home under hospice care it occurred to me again, how awesome our God is and how he had been preparing me MY ENTIRE LIFE for this right now. Ed and I had been looking for a church home since before we got married, we'd visited many different churches when we were able to go (his work schedule prevented us from going together many times on Sundays). Almost exactly a month before we found out about Owen's condition God sent us to Evangel, now you may not believe that but I know it is true. We were actually preparing to go to a different church that morning, but we were running late (imagine that), and so I said let's just go to Evangel this morning we can make it there on time, and that was the end of that - no more looking we were home. We didn't know then how much we needed a church home, we just wanted one, but God knew what was coming and he made sure we were where we needed to be to prepare for what was ahead of us. On the day we came home under hospice care our pastors were the ones who were so great to drive us home, we walked into the door and the admissions nurse was someone who knew us from church (several of the staff in fact knew us from church - the social worker at the hospital said it was the easiest hospice discharge she had ever worked they were prepared for us). The social worker at the house was a previous photography client of mine and had become a friend over time. The man who brought the medical equipment to the house was my good friend's dad (he had known me since middle school). We were not alone through this because God had moved us over the years in ways that put us right where we needed to be in the middle of a circle of people who genuinely cared about us through what will be the most difficult part of our life. And that's truly just a small example of how God has put people in our lives, and put us in moments to prepare us for today, and for our future.
I'm sure if you take a good look at your own life you will see how you have been God's pawn and he has put you right where you need to be when you need to be there. I know that not every day is easy breezy, it's hard to praise God when things are going wrong in your life, but all I can think is PRAISE God for the day they diagnosed Owen, that wasn't a bad day, it was a horrible moment in our lives but it was a GOOD day, God showed us what we shouldn't have been able to see and we knew ahead of time what we were facing. Every person you encounter good or bad influences your life, changes the fabric of who you are in some tiny way, the way you handle people, react to situations, treat others, they are all choices and I try to live by a quote about choices. It's a famous quote though few reference the beginning of it and I just don't see how it makes the same sense without it. William Shakespere wrote, "The choices you make dictate the life you will lead. To thine own self be true." Life is about choices - today I choose to be a pawn for God for there is victory in Jesus (checkmate).
I don't always have it together. I won't pretend like I always made the best choices because I know I didn't and those who truly know me know that too. But everything I have gone through has made me stronger for now. My greatest fault is probably that I speak too often before I have a chance to think and I used to be very quick to react first and I'm working on that now. This situation has helped me learn to think before I act as the choices I make today effect not only me but my son and husband as well. I think all parents should understand (and many do) that every decision you make after you become a parent directly effects someone else. But that's a whole different blog post right there.
I was telling my mom last night that I used to think that if I gave my life completely to God that I would miss certain things (I can't even think what that might be now). I would think, I will have to be good all the time, I won't be able to think bad things, and all these other things I thought being a devout Christian would keep me from but I was so wrong. Now that I'm here in this place spiritually there is nothing I can't do - there is such a freedom in living for Christ. I haven't gotten in trouble by anyone, I haven't had to do anything I didn't want to do, there's nothing I've wanted to do that I haven't been able to do - in fact just the opposite - I've had so many more opportunities, so many more blessings in this place than I ever did before. My life holds more joy even though I'm facing the saddest hardest moments of my life. We have been extremely blessed every step of the way because we serve an awesome God. Before now, I couldn't understand the power of God because things of the world had power over me, but now I know that there is nothing God can't do in my life, there is nothing that is more important to me than living for God. I'm not perfect, I will slip, I will get upset, and I may even get angry, but Praise God that my Lord is a forgiving God, he accepts me as I am, he loves me more than I can even comprehend, he washes away my sins, with God who can stand against me? Yes Lord I will be your pawn, every day of my life.
Lord, I submit to you, use me, move me, place me how you see fit. Lord only you know the future, guide my steps and my heart to lead me where you want me to go. Lord that your will may be done in my life. Thank you Jesus. Amen.