In Philippians, Paul instructs the believers to approve what is excellent. Not what is good, but excellent. So often I fail to reflect on the good much less what is excellent, but as I stopped and read that verse over and over this week in my study I could not help but wonder why those words stood out to me. The excellent. When Jesus came over to Mary and Martha’s house to eat one day Martha got upset that Mary was not helping her but instead she was just sitting at Jesus’ feet apparently not doing much. Jesus gently rebuked Martha and reminded her that Mary was doing the excellent thing – listening to Him. There it is again the excellent, not the good. Jesus told His disciples He came to give life, and not just any old life but the abundant life. Over and over the Bible lists examples that God is not a good or just good enough kind of god, He is the God of abundance and overflow. He is the God of the most excellent way.
God knows we have a tendency to dwell on the bad. To dwell on what worries us and what has gone wrong with our day. We are people who lean toward the negative.
I would even claim to be a positive person but I still worry and think about the worse outcomes at times. But He tells us again and again to find all we need in Him. Do not fear, do not worry, do not rely on ourself. Why are these instructions in the Bible so much? Because we so often forget and worry, and do not trust the God of everything.
I often struggle with trusting God. With Abigail it is easy to dwell on the bad and the what ifs. What if it was my fault she is like she is? What if I had not taken that medicine while I was pregnant or been induced for convenience sake? What if it is a genetic issue with Jordan or myself? What if she never walks? You see, there is a lot of bad to dwell on.
There are also a lot of cannots in Abigail’s life. She cannot sit up. She cannot talk. She cannot feed herself. She cannot stand. She cannot do a lot of things. But I hate looking at these! These things do not define my child, they are simply a list for people to use to determine where Abigail is in life. But Abigail is not a list of what she cannot do.
My Abigail can make anyone smile. My Abigail can giggle and make you laugh too. My Abigail can drink from a straw, and has done so since she was six months old. My Abigail can tolerate tummy time now. My Abigail can clean out a basket of toys and make a mess in about 30 seconds. My Abigail can clap joyously. My Abigail can find her nose, ears, and hair. My Abigail is beautiful!
It is so easy to be worried and distraught over Abigail’s situation. It is easy to say what she cannot do. It is easy to think things will never improve or change. But I choose to make the harder choice. I choose to see what Abigail can do. I choose to have hope that her improvement will only continue. I choose to be my daughter’s biggest cheerleader and her strongest fighter. I choose today and all the days of Abigail’s life to keep working with her, keep making her stronger, and keep showing her that she can do these things. I choose the more excellent way.
Yes, she will probably always have to work harder than other children her age to do the same things, but I think Abigail will have a fierce little personality that will be hard to contend with. She will be a fighter, and she will know what hard work and determination are. She is already stubborn and independent, and these qualities will make her into a little lady who will make a difference in this world.
So my prayer for my child, myself and for my readers is that we would all see what is good and excellent and right in this world and in the people we encounter everyday. That we would not define people by what they can’t do or what they can’t give, but we would see what is good in people and desire only good for them. I pray we can all be fighters in a world where it is easier to sit back and watch. I pray we will intentionally love others and show them there is a battle to be fought, and that there is only one winning side to be on. May we be able to approve what is excellent in our lives!