Not My Own: lifting my eyes to his worthiness, work, and power

Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd.

“People of Israel,” he said, “What is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this.”

Acts 3:12-13

I’m going through a Bible study about parenting in the power of the Holy Spirit right now because I’m 8 weeks away from my second son entering the picture, and what I feel is: “Oh my word, there’s going to be two!!! Lord, please help me learn how to do this, quick!” 

The study has been going through examples in Scripture of the Holy Spirit working through regular, flawed people with the gentle reminder that what made their work actually work was Him, not them. And so it must be in our homes.

When we let the Holy Spirit do his work in us, we make much of Jesus to our children. But instead, we often end up trying to step into the role of Savior to our kids and then we feel absolutely overwhelmed by needs we cannot meet in our own strength. I have felt this a thousand times! In our striving, we may not even realize that we’re actually working to steal glory that belongs to Christ, to substitute our hard work for what He is able to step in and accomplish as we yield to Him and wait on Him.

The author of this study asked the question: How does Acts 3 speak to your role as a mom? I loved this question because it helped me to put into words this thought: I am just as helpless to bring about the change and growth in my kids’ hearts as I would be to take a crippled man by the hand and tell him to walk. If it’s going to happen, it will never be because of my own power or godliness. And that’s where relief enters the picture.

I could never, by my own power or godliness, do the work God has laid out for me: not in my home, not out in the world, not even in my own heart. But just as his Spirit changed everything for ordinary Peter, He is able to lead me with certainty and work through me impressively as I yield to him.  No barrier, hurdle, or limit is too much for him.

The minute I say “not my own:”


“but yours alone, Lord,”

is the minute that opens the way for His limitless and awesome work. 

“So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God perfect in their relationship to Christ. That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.”
Colossians 1:28-29

Oh Lord,

As I yearn to walk well in this confusing season away from our ministry and displaced from our home; as I long to teach my son about you and instill in him a desire to know you; as I wrestle with my own heart to trust what you are building with my life and to be faithful in whatever work you place before me, my inadequacy becomes very clear. May it lead me again to the cross. To your worthiness, work and power, not my own. 

May these moments strengthen my heart to run hard, looking to you and believing you whole-heartedly for all you are able to do in and through a life like mine.

The Cereal Game: a glimpse of how cherished we are when hardship hits hard

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation…So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father…He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word.

And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.”

James 1:12, 16-18

I have been overwhelmed lately. I am torn between hysterical tears and stuffing it all down (“this is fine, this is fine, just keep swimming!”). I am wishing with all my heart for this to be OVER already.

The nausea, the pregnancy, the many appointments, the hospital stays, the tubes and wires coming off of me, the 5 pound fanny pack of equipment I tote around everywhere, the alarms in the middle of the night, the gallon ziploc of medications. The waiting to go back to being useful. I have 13 weeks left of growing this baby. I don’t know how long sorting out the heart rhythm problems will take afterwards. I am so eager to get past this and onto the next thing.

But this transition IS my next thing.

I can’t just grit my teeth and hold on until it’s over when it lasts this long. There is a way, in the midst of the inconvenience and the discomfort, to choose thankfulness and contentment; to do this season whole-heartedly; to wait willingly; to find joy in my Savior. There has to be. Lord, help my unbelief.

Abishai asked me to play “the cereal game” with him the other day. He then proceeded to thank God for something with every bite of cereal until his bowl was gone. “Thank you, God, for the camper.” He grinned. “Thank you for my cousins,” he took another bite, “thank you for our truck,” and another, “thank you for the doors.”

The doors?,” I asked.

He kept going without explaining, “Thank you for mommy and daddy.”

I shrugged and joined in, thanking and eating spoonfuls of Trix, and I was both humored and floored. From the mouths of babes.

A few days later, I heard him at it again with each piece of an orange I had peeled for him. I think it comes from a few weeks ago, when we decorated our tree. We taught Abi to thank God for something with each ornament we added. He had to think of something before he could add another ornament, and it was exciting for him to put on each new, shiny decoration (all in one clump was his style), so he got pretty quick at it.

We had wanted to be intentional to look back at our year and see how we had been cared and provided for, to mark our Ebenezers. But I was blown away to see Abishai translate our little family tradition into something so daily – thanking God with each ornament, each bite of Trix, and each segment of orange. Step by step thank you’s. He is aware that God has been lavishly giving things to him, and oh what fun it is to him to name them!


Thank you for this little glimpse into my son’s happy heart, into step-by-step thankfulness, into the badly needed belief that, in the midst of the hardship, I have all these good things because you cherish me. I cannot afford to be misled – to think that a single perfect and beautiful thing in my life is there by happy accident. Your word steers me, in my testing, to recognize that every single one of them is there by specific design. They are intentional pick-me-ups selected for me from a Father who is near and invested and working to remind me that, even though He is allowing difficulty, I am his most precious possession.

Redeem this waiting in my heart, Lord. Teach me to combat the unknowns, frustrations, stresses, and complaints of this season with one thank you, one bite, and one step at a time. And teach me to mark every good and perfect thing you have given as coming from your hand, for my heart, because you see my struggle and you care so deeply.