“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:35,37 – NIV
When I was pregnant with Mia, and Jase and I found out that she would be born with a cleft lip and palate, we had an array of emotions that overwhelmed us for quite some time. We also had many more questions than answers. The biggest question I think we both can agree was, “What will her quality of life be?”
That question came in many different forms: “What will she look like?” “Will she be able to speak well?” “Will she be accepted by her peers or rejected?” “Will she have self-confidence or a negative view of herself?”
Mia is 13 years old now. As I sit here writing these words, I feel nothing but absolute pride in my daughter. In all my wildest dreams for her, I never would have imagined her as who God has shaped her to be. When I was a child, I was very shy and lacked self-confidence. Maybe that’s why I anticipated Mia to struggle in this area, especially with her physical challenges. But when I look at her now, I am literally amazed. She is quite the opposite of shy.
We have many people in our home on a regular basis. A few years ago, we entertained some missionaries from two different countries that just happened to be in our town at the same time. Two men from Africa and a couple from Georgia who were living in the Dominican were in the states for the holidays. We had a fish fry and listened to stories. There were quite a few people in our house that night, and I wasn’t sure exactly where Mia was at every moment. Toward the end of the night, one of the missionaries told me how amazed he was with Mia, that they talked for a long time on the back porch about school, gymnastics, faith and silly Robertson family stories. He said, “she just talked to me like we were old friends.” Mia had never met him before that night. I realized then that she had an inner confidence that I never had as a child (especially around adults) and that God was doing something dramatically different with her.
When she was nine years old she watched as Jase and I started speaking on a regular basis to crowds of people, telling them about our faith in Jesus Christ. She approached me one day at home and said, “When am I gonna do speeches like you and Dad? I want to tell my story.” The protective Mama Bear in me quickly dismissed the thought. I wasn’t ready to put my daughter on stage to tell audiences about her imperfections. She was only nine, for goodness sakes! What if people laughed at her? What if people wrote mean things on social media about her? Nope, not my child. But Jase quickly agreed. What? I can’t believe he just okayed this without my authorization! Mia jumped up and started writing her speech. Reluctantly, I read it. I was stunned. It was funny, referenced her favorite scripture, was encouraging and even challenging to the audience. But my favorite part of that initial speech was her honesty. Wow. My child not only had accepted her life with a cleft; she was embracing it and using it to expand God’s Kingdom.
Last weekend she and I were invited to speak and sing at a women’s conference in Lafayette, LA. While Mia was on stage giving her speech, a lady from the church and I were watching on the monitor in the green room. This sweet lady sat there mesmerized at what she was seeing on the screen. Finally, she said, “I’m supposed to speak tomorrow at a break-out session, and I’ve been so nervous. But now, after watching Mia, all I can say is, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’”
Isn’t that what this life is about? Using our setbacks, difficulties, flaws and imperfections to show others about God’s love? The devil would love nothing more than to thwart our confidence. He and his dominion try every single day. Hebrews 10:35-36, "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised."
Mia gets it. It took me much longer to understand what Mia understood at age nine. She understands the title scripture. She is a conqueror—“more than a conqueror” according to Paul!
What is holding you back? Do you think that because God has allowed you to go through terrible things or have an affliction or disappointments that He doesn’t love you? Quite the contrary.
Romans 8 continues, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (verses 38-39)
He allowed his Son to be tortured and killed all because of His love for us. Do you think He lacked a true love for Jesus because of this? Even after Jesus plead with his Father to let him pass on his impending death, Jesus walked that road. You see, Jesus understood that this life on earth was not about his health, happiness or financial success. Jesus understood that His role on earth was about furthering God’s Kingdom. Why do we think we should be any different? When we understand that “this life is not about me”, we see True Life in a new perspective.
Thirteen years ago, I had no idea what God’s plan was for me and my child. Now, I see it more clearly. He is using Mia in ways I could never have fathomed. If Mia’s cleft brings more people with us to heaven, it is more than worth it.
This life is not about me.
This life is not about my child.
This life is about Jesus.
This life is about True Life.
Have a Life-giving week!