Wednesday, September 16, 2009

There is a way

(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 1 of Never Give Up! by Joyce Meyer. I've chosen to selectively address the points which impacted me the most. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Therefore we ask, if you feel like it please share in the comments section what you got out of the reading as well. We're sure you'll lift someone's spirit.)

Before I get into Chapter 1, I'd like to briefly talk about the introduction of Never Give Up!.
In the introduction, Joyce Meyer sets us up by reminding us that God truly does have a special plan for each and every one of us that we each have an equal opportunity to accomplish. We all have the potential for God's best in every area in our lives if we never give up. For me this means I should never give up on my children, my relationships, myself or my God. Even our failures can be used to get us to a place of victory. Joyce gives so many wonderful examples of some of history's greatest success stories of people who refused to give up, in spite of obstacles of every kind, until they realized their goals.

Joyce Meyer begins the first chapter, Never Say "No Way" by giving examples of situations that can seem impossible. When I allow myself the "There is no way" statements, this is what they look like: "There is no way I can meet the physical, emotional and financial needs of raising a child with autism and special medical needs", "There is no way I can keep my marriage happy and healthy under the strain of the stress we are under as a family", "There is no way I can keep my house clean and straight" (OK, that one was word-for-word, p. 1) "There is no way I can meet everyone's needs" and "There is no way I can keep myself healthy and whole while working to meet the needs of my family". Joyce reminds us that at times like these, we need to refocus: "Instead of dwelling on our difficulties, we need to focus more on the fact that God is for us and His power is at work in us" (p.2) It just dawned on me that the problem with these statements is that they are self-centered and Joyce is reminding us to be God-centered. This means that instead of dwelling on what we feel we can't do, we should be intentionally and continually reminding ourselves of what God can do. She gives us a good substitute statement, suggesting that we say to ourselves, "I don't care whether there seems to be a way or not. Jesus is the Way; His Spirit lives in me; and I will find a way!" (p.2)

Joyce Meyer identifies three key areas that people find to be most challenging and worth fighting for. She reminds us to never give up on our health, our finances and the people that we love. Our determination to have God's best in each of these areas is directly impacted when raising a child with autism. For right now, I'm going to focus on the section, Never Give Up on Those You Love. On page 7, she states, Love never fails. In other words, it never gives up on people. the apostle Paul describes what love is in 1 Corinthians 13 and mentions that love always believes the best; it is positive and filled with faith and hope. She also reminds us that "God is love (see 1 John 4:8) and He never gives up on us." (p.8) The first thing that comes to mind for me is to of course never give up on my children. I should keep a positive outlook and expectation about their future regardless of how difficult the present may be. It also means that I should not give up on myself, as God is continually growing and helping me, so that my potential in this situation can also be reached and exceeded by His grace.

Joyce gives a great example of someone who refused to give up in spite of what doctors said and received a great miracle. Her friend, Penny Shephard suffered a back injury and was later diagnosed with post-trauma arthritis and degenerative disk disease. While she prayed for God to heal her with a miracle, God told her "Run to your miracle" (p.8) For many months, she endured incredibly difficult and painful training to prepare for a marathon. The moment she stood in faith at the starting line, her back was completely healed and she was able to run the full marathon. I am reminded of other autism moms who have wisely shared that this journey with autism is a marathon and not a sprint. Every workshop, training, conference, therapy session, research effort, meeting and all of our day-to-day work is part of our marathon training towards getting our kids across the finish line-to God's best and their very best.

On a prayer blog, ( ), I found these wonderful examples to remind me of how throughout the history of our faith, God provided a way when there was no way. I adapted it by including the scripture verses that support each claim:

The Way of Holiness:

You led the children of Israel across the Red Sea and delivered them from slavery. (Hebrews 11:29)
You provide a way when there is no way.

You stopped the waters of the Jordan River so that they could enter the Promised Land. (Joshua 3: 14-17)
You provide a way when there is no way.

You translated Enoch and Elijah into heaven. (Hebrews 11:5, 2 Kings 2:11)
You provide a way when there is no way.

Isaiah prophesied a highway in the wilderness, (Isaiah 40:3-5)
You provide a way when there is no way.

Jesus healed the lame (John 5: 7-9), opened the eyes of the blind (John 9: 1-7) and the ears of the deaf (Mark 7: 32-37).
You provide a way when there is no way.

Jesus walked on water. (Matthew 14: 25-30)
You provide a way when there is no way.

Jesus rose from the dead and walked on earth. (Acts 2: 22-24, Romans 14:9)
You provide a way when there is no way.

Jesus ascended into heaven. (Acts 1:9)
You provide a way when there is no way.

You sent a rushing mighty wind and filled the disciples with supernatural words, prophecies, visions, and dreams. They performed signs and wonders. (Acts 2: 1-4, 17-19)
You provide a way when there is no way.


Patty Mullins said...

I found your blog this morning and am so glad that I did. I started "Never Give Up" a couple months ago, but have only read through chapter 2. I remember the story about Joyce's friend who trained for the marathon... thank you for so beautifully connecting it to our day-to-day struggles with autism. Also, I enjoyed the "Way of Holiness"... thank you for those specific examples of times when God provided a way when there seemed to be no way. I'm going to try to keep up with you as you go through "Never Give Up". Do you have a time table at all? I invite you to visit my blog to learn a little bit about me and my family. Many blessings, Patty

Chrissy said...

Jessica, this is a great post. I especially enjoyed the scripture verses to remind us that God provides us a way when it seems like there is no way. Thank you.

Welcome, Patty! We'll cover one chapter a week, with a new post added each Wednesday. We're looking forward to your input in our discussions.