By Julia Attaway
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” —Luke 9:23 (NIV)
Our daughter Maggie was being admitted to a psychiatric hospital. It wasn’t a surprise. Her mood hadn’t budged past “I’d rather not be alive” for months, and now she was flying into rages several times a day. My husband, Andrew, called from New York City with the news while I was trudging through snow in the Midwest from our daughter Elizabeth’s apartment to the hospital where she had been admitted.
After visiting with our 79-pound daughter, who was on an IV and a heart monitor, I stopped in at Elizabeth’s church to pray. I’d gone there the year before, during her first battle with anorexia. At that time I’d pleaded desperately, “What do you want me to do, Lord?”
The answer came back clearly: “Love her. Pray for her. Draw her close to Me.” It wasn’t what I expected, but it made sense.
This time I knelt without words, without thoughts, without tears. My whole being consisted of heartache encased in skin. I waited, but no sudden lightening of my load occurred and there were no messages of encouragement or hope. I didn’t feel stronger or wiser or comforted. I knew my children were hurting, knew they were God’s, knew things might not be okay in the end. That was it.
Yet in that nothingness I grew curiously certain I was doing all that I could, all that God expected of me. That was an enormous mercy. For to accept my limits and accept my tasks gave me freedom. It meant I could tap into the energy I might have spent railing against my sense of helplessness.
Lord, keep me from fighting the cross You have given me and help me to use that energy to carry it instead.
Taken from Daily Guideposts 2018: A Spirit-Lifting Devotional. Click here to learn more about this title.
Daily Guideposts, America’s bestselling annual devotional, is a 365-day devotional from the Editors of Guideposts that will help readers grow in their faith every day of the year.
Daily Guideposts 2018 centers on the theme “Unfailing Love” from Psalm 33:22, and is filled with brand-new devotions from 49 writers. Each day readers will enjoy a Scripture verse, a true first-person story told in an informal, conversational style, which shares the ways God speaks to us in the ordinary events of life, and a brief prayer to help focus the reader to apply the day’s message. For those who wish for more, “Digging Deeper” provides additional Bible references that relate to the day’s reading.
Enjoy favorite writers like Debbie Macomber, Edward Grinnan, Elizabeth Sherrill, Patricia Lorenz, Julia Attaway, Karen Barber, Sabra Ciancanelli, Marion Bond West, Brian Doyle, and Rick Hamlin.
In just five minutes a day, Daily Guideposts helps you find the spiritual richness in your own life and welcomes you into a remarkable family of over one million people brought together by a desire to grow every day of the year.
Julia Attaway is a freelance writer, homeschooler and mother of five. She is the editor of Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood, a book of devotions for first-time moms. She lives in New York.