WFMW: Saying YES is Always More Than You Bargained For

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I’m happy to introduce you to this week’s guest poster Jennifer for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

When I said “Yes!” to my younger daughter’s life, refusing to discuss termination with my doctor, I had no idea what that would mean. All indications were, despite the doctor’s fears, that our daughter was just fine. Later we realized that she does, indeed, have medical and neurodevelopmental issues, and she is a struggling learner too. All of this information has come to us little by little, although we realized at birth that she was a bit different.

I had no idea that saying yes to my daughter’s life would mean an entirely different life for our family—other than the changes that come with adding another family member to our household. I had no idea that, nine years later, therapy sessions and evaluations, behavioral therapy sessions, specialist appointments, and weekly immunoglobulin infusions would be “normal” for us.

Saying yes to our daughter’s life also meant that my dreams for my writing changed. God’s plans were entirely different from my own. He has gradually opened up an entire speaking and writing ministry to families of children with special needs. He’s very serious about 2 Corinthians 1:4. He never wastes a single hard thing in our lives.

Saying YES is Always More Than You Bargained For - wearethatfamily.com

But saying yes also brought other changes to our lives that I didn’t expect. I never dreamed that I would rejoice over my child making eye contact for longer than a few seconds at a time. I never imagined that we would all get excited about our daughter wearing a different type of clothing or trying a different type of food. I didn’t expect to smell everything I come into contact with, trying to imitate her behavior and experience the world similar to the way she does. I never dreamed I would sit next to her almost every day for years, watching her persevere at the learning that comes so hard to her, watching her struggle, and then finally hearing her read a few words fluently.

I never dreamed that I could be so in love with a child whose future is so uncertain. I never imagined that God would give me an even clearer picture of His love for me in all my struggles and imperfections through this child He blessed me with.

I didn’t expect to grow even closer to God as I dropped to my knees over and over again, asking for wisdom to raise this child, asking for help to pay for the things she needs, asking for favor with therapy facilities, specialists, and insurance companies. I didn’t expect to be so comforted in the good times and bad, knowing that He’s walking alongside me.

I didn’t expect to see His miracles in my family’s life, over and over again. I didn’t expect my daughter’s struggles to cause both of my daughters to develop character traits and a dependence on God that will serve them well for the rest of their lives—and I can’t wait to see how He uses all of this to bless others.

And while I wonder about the future and what God might do between now and then, He makes sure that we’re filled with joy, even during the hard times. My precious daughter adds so much love and laughter to our lives. Like this morning, while we were doing her math lesson, I asked her to write the numbers 35 to 100, counting by fives. She looked at me and said, “To 100? Doesn’t that seem a little extreme?” After I insisted she could do it, she proceeded to count by fives to 110. So there.

Saying YES to God is a scary but exhilarating thing to do. No matter what your YES is or where it leads you, you can be sure it will be more than you bargained for!

 

Bio:

2013 headshot (1)Jennifer Janes lives in Arkansas with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys reading, writing, speaking, drinking iced tea, crocheting, using blue ink when she writes longhand, and spending time with friends and family. She writes about faith, family, and parenting and homeschooling a child with special needs on her blog, Jennifer A. Janes.


Saying Yes. Again.

Four years ago we said yes to the improbable. The impossible.

It seems like yesterday we sat down and planned out something we would call Mercy House.

It seems like forever ago.

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Several times over the course of the weekend, the audacity of this crazy idea would hit us. Terrell and I would pass a knowing look over our kid’s heads or he would squeeze my hand in reassurance or just whisper the name of Jesus in my ear. We waivered between extreme exhilaration and total nausea but we simply could not deny that we felt the undeniable presence of God in our conversations and the Holy Spirit leading us.

I’ll never forget sitting down with Terrell, our bills, monthly budget, and savings account figures in front of us and trying to decide how far we could take this dream before it financially ruined us if no one dreamed with us. While we knew this was a journey of faith, it seemed like a daunting task, especially since we were doing it alone.

“This could ruin us, you know,” Terrell said as we stared at our bank statements and 401k account. “I think we can do this for two years at the most.”

“We will get churches to help us and the readers of my blog. They know about Maureen and they followed my story about Africa,” I tried to reassure him. But deep down I was scared and he was too. “Let’s pray.” Again.

“God you know we are terrified. But we believe you have led us to this point. We don’t know how this is going to work but we are trusting you to show us.”

I spent hours laying awake at night during this season, trying to figure it out. I even jotted down a list of names of people I knew with money. I thought we had a good plan.

We were wrong. God had better plans,” from Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough

And that plan included you.

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Our Kenyan Director, Maureen, with her husband, Oliver, Program Director

God has done the impossible.

Saying yes has changed everything for our family. 

We are living wide awake.

This journey has been filled with big faith, big failures, big fears and an even bigger God.

And we are saying yes. Again.

After months of praying and planning, my husband, Terrell, has accepted the invitation from the Mercy House Board of Directors to become the CEO of Mercy House to help lead the vision for the organization to expand its borders beyond Kenya and empower women all over the world.

Last week, he resigned from the job he’s had the last 11 years, a corporate America job and all the benefits that go with it.

We are stepping into the unknown.

Because we know Who is already there, waiting for us.

We are excited. We are scared. (It’s a big pay cut and he will have to raise his salary).

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I wrote these words in my book last year:

“Do you have a dream today? Perhaps you’re wondering if it’s your dream or his dream for you? Here are some characteristics of a God-sized dream:

It will be bigger than your capability.

It will require hard labor. Even with modern-day medicine, childbirth is risky. Similarly, birthing a dream requires hard, long work. It won’t be easy.

It will look impossible. You won’t have the resources, details, or all the answers.

There will be a big gap between your yes and the reality of your dream. That space is God-sized. If we have all the answers, resources, funding, the perfect plan, it might be our dream and not his. But when we don’t know all the details or have all the answers, it gives God room to show up.

It will require great dependence on God. If it fails, he receives glory in our failure. And if it succeeds, he gets the credit. Our God-sized dreams serve two purposes: they grow the dreamer and they give God glory. Our dream starts with our small faith and ends with a Mighty Savior.”

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And today, we are trusting these words. Again.



How Are You? Really.

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My thoughts were a million miles away and I didn't even hear her call my name the first time. When she said it the second time, I realized I'd been lost in thought. "Hey, Kristen! How are you?" We were new friends. On the outside, I had it … [Continue reading]