“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim His salvation day after day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples.” I Chronicles 16:23-24 (NIV)
A few months back, Reed had the opportunity to write two songs with a current top songwriter in Nashville. He came home one weekend and was so excited about telling me about it. He told me that one was called “I’ll Be the One”, which he recorded and so many people love, and the other was called, “Pop the Bottle Top”. I looked at him and said, “Reed, I’m not so sure about that second one.”
“Mom, it’s a great song. It’s guaranteed to go to Number One on the charts, whoever records it!”
Being 20 years old, Reed is a grown man. I understand that he is past the point of my being able to tell him what and what not to do. So, I asked him a question.
“Reed, you need to ask yourself one question: If you choose to record that song, are you furthering God’s kingdom or yours?”
He stared at me for a moment, quietly nodded his head and walked away. A few weeks later, he called to tell me that he chose not to record that song. It was a proud moment for me.
This past Friday, I presented Mia’s story to speech pathology, physical therapy and some nursing students at Harding University. I showed them close to 30 pictures of Mia through her journey. I joked with them that most parents would love to be able to stand on stage and show numerous pictures of their children to a captive audience! But these pictures and our story is not one to brag about. Yes, our daughter has overcome much adversity, suffering, pain and disappointment. And it’s not over yet. But she did not do this on her own. Jase and I did not walk this journey on our own. I am able to tell this story of triumph, endurance and victory because of our Heavenly Father who carried us through every step on this path. He is the one to brag about. He is the one who gets the glory. Not us. While we are amazed at how Mia has handled each phase, we are not naïve to think that she did it alone. And neither is she.
Writing my new book “Blessed Blessed…Blessed” was very therapeutic for me. The purpose for writing the book was to share our story with those who may have, are and will be going through something in their life that seems overwhelming. I wanted to do this so that they may be encouraged by the triumphs we have experienced in our journey with Mia. Through our hardships, disappointments and heartache, Jase and I have pulled together in order to be there for our daughter. We didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know what to do. We didn’t even know what questions to ask. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. It’s difficult for me to let down my emotions in front of people. I like to be in control. I like to put on a good front. I don’t like to cry in front of strangers. Well, I quickly learned that, when it comes to watching your child suffer, emotions are almost impossible to control.I recently shared these concerns with a friend of mine who anchors a popular news show on television. She told me that I don’t need to worry about crying and showing my emotions to the public. “But I don’t cry pretty,” I joked. She encouraged me to be myself and to not be concerned about trying to look “put together”. She said, “Missy, people want to see the real you. They want to understand what you and Jase have gone through with Mia. There are many people out there who can relate to you. It’s going to be okay if you cry on national television.”
Over the next few days and weeks, I will be talking about myself, my family, my children and my book. While the purpose will be to market this book, the reason I wrote it is because I understand how God is using us to glorify Him and Him alone through our story. Writing this book has been very emotional for me. Even picking out the pictures to use in the book brought back so many memories, both good and bad, that I cried sitting on my bedroom floor with them all laid out around me. I am excited about this book, but I am also a bit apprehensive about letting down my guard. I am so proud of my kids and how they have handled life’s difficulties, especially Mia. Sometimes, I want to shout to the entire world just how proud I am! Don’t we all? Let’s face it. Facebook would go out of business pretty darn quickly if parents weren’t allowed to post pictures of their kids, right? Do we struggle with furthering our own kingdoms? Of course we do. I sure do. I’m human. I’m far from perfect. That’s why I try to ask myself that same question that I asked Reed when faced with a decision. “Will this further God’s kingdom or mine?” Most of the time, the answer is a no-brainer. Sometimes, it’s a bit murky.
Will you pray with me in asking God to direct my path over the next few days and weeks? I am asking that you pray for my family regarding this new book. If you see me struggling with my emotions on TV, pray that God gets the glory and not me. Pray that God’s kingdom is furthered, not mine.
Oh, and when you hear, “Pop the Bottle Top” on the radio, pray for Reed, too. He’ll probably be crying in a corner somewhere.
Have a glorious week!