Run Your Own Race

I love to meditate, quiet my mind, be still—whatever you may want to call it. I do this so I am better able to hear the still small voice of God. Some may call this intuition. I do this as often as I can. I depend on this guidance and seek it out, but you know on those days, those hard days when you feel defeated in every area, those are the days when I need to quiet my mind more. But those are the days it is so much harder to push back all the noise in my mind so I can hear clearly.

On one particular day, a couple years ago, I was struggling intensely. You see I have a son who has been diagnosed with mild/severe autism and severe expressive and language disorder, and on this particular day, I felt like a complete failure as a mom. I was comparing my son to others. I was comparing myself to other moms. I thought for sure I was doing everything wrong. I was distracted by all the negative opinions and looks from others. My mind was filled with doubt, fear, frustration, and confusion. I couldn’t find that deep place of stillness, but I knew I needed to. So I kept pressing in—that is what I like to call it when it is harder for me to quiet my mind and connect with that still small voice—that deep intuition. My mind became quiet and then, there it was, the guidance I needed that would forever change me as a mother. I listened intently as it unfolded within me.

Abby, everyone is running a race in this journey we call life. Picture yourself on a track running the race I have called you to run. Do you see yourself running around the track? Do you see the spectators in the stands, some cheering you on, but most of them are commenting in some negative way about the way you are running your race with your son?

Every single person has spectators as they run their own race in life. What is happening right now within you is that you are listening too much to the negative spectators. You care too much about how people view you as a mother and how they view Shia as your son. You feel as if you need to explain to everyone why you are doing what you are doing and why Shia is the way he is. You are trying to make them understand why you are running the way you are running. Stop doing that!

What you do in that very moment is you stop running the race completely to go up to the stands to talk to these negative spectators. Do you see the danger in this? You will always have people in your life that have something negative to say about your race. Their purpose is only to distract you, to cause you to stumble, to make you feel like a failure and bring feelings of insecurity, to make you feel defeated and weak, to cause you to fear and doubt, to make you feel frustrated, even angry at times, and ultimately to take your focus off the race I have called you to run. I want you to ignore them and keep running! Or if you must, give them a shout out as you run past them that lets them know you are not concerned or affected by their opinions or thoughts and then just keep running. The only power they have is the power you give them. When you focus on them you are giving them your power.

As I sat in that moment of stillness pondering these thoughts, I felt more guidance coming to me from that still small voice.

You also often struggle with comparing yourself to others and comparing Shia to other children. Again, picture yourself running on that track. You are running the way I have called you to run right? There are times you feel completely confident in how you are running the race as a mother and how Shia is running his very own race, but then something happens. Instead of staying focused on your race, you find yourself looking at the person running next to you. You become so focused on how they are running and how their kids are running that you completely lose all motivation to keep running the race I have set you and Shia on. You wonder what is wrong with you? What is wrong with Shia? You think your race isn’t fair and you long to be running their race. You become so insecure and you start trying to run the way they run, thinking that will make you and Shia better. What happens when you have thoughts like this is you switch lanes and get in theirs, and you pick up Shia and put him in a different lane as well. Do you see the danger in this? I didn’t call you or Shia to those races. I didn’t equip you for someone else’s race. I equipped you for yours, and I equipped Shia for his.

Comparing your race to others is just as bad as focusing on the negative spectators. It is very unwise to compare because it will cause you to become distracted. You will stumble and feel like a failure. You will become weak and weary. You will be filled with doubt, insecurity, and fear. You will become frustrated and angry, and you will ultimately stop running the race I have set before you. Do not do this! Stay focused on the race, your race, Shia’s race. It is unfair to Shia to compare him to others. It is unfair to you to compare yourself to others.

I have fearfully and wonderfully created both of you for a unique purpose—for your very own race. Run the race I have set before you. And know I will provide everything you need to run the race victoriously.

Wow. What an eye opener. Boy, did I need to hear that. That guidance was so powerful that I felt an immediate shift in my heart to start doing life differently. And to this day, over two years later, I am still living life differently. I am running, but more importantly, I am embracing the race that has been set before both myself and my son Shia. I have found such freedom and have gained so much more confidence in myself doing life this way. The negative spectators are still there, but they no longer have my power or my joy. I took it back that day!

I hope this guidance that spoke so deeply to my heart, also speaks deeply to yours. Thank you for letting me share a piece of my journey and heart with you. I hope you were blessed by it in some way. Please share so others can be encouraged as well.

Be Love Give Love
Abby Lewis

Attitude Adjustment and Autism

As my son’s birthday rolls around again this year, I am reminded of the mindset I had just two years ago when Shia turned five. I woke up heavy hearted on his fifth birthday. I remember being up before everyone, just sitting alone in the quiet with my thoughts. I found myself focusing on all the things I thought Shia lacked and how I thought he would be further along than he was by the time he turned five. At the time Shia had very limited speech. He was now five and I still had yet to hear, “I love you, Mommy.” He had never expressed his thoughts, wants, desires, or needs verbally. I desperately wanted to hear him speak. I wanted to know what was going on in his little mind. I just kept thinking about all the things Shia lacked that morning and I became very sad, to the point of tears.

Then a thought came over me, I would hate it if someone focused on all the things they thought I lacked as a woman in this world.

Shia was diagnosed with severe/moderate autism and also severe receptive and expressive language disorder some time ago. He is an amazing child. Unique and different for sure—but so amazing—and my mind that morning was forgetting about all the things Shia did not lack. I was forgetting about all the things I loved about him.

I continued to sit with my thoughts and my heavy heart for a while. Through my tears, I prayed and asked God to encourage my heart as Shia’s mother. A few moments later, I felt led to write out all the things I loved about Shia. After the first five things, I could feel the heaviness starting to lift, so I continued to write. I wrote everything that I could think about that I loved about Shia, just the way he was. Here is what I wrote that morning on his fifth birthday:

I love his pace in life.
I love that he is never in a hurry.
I love that he stops to take life in fully.
I love how he slows me down even more in life.
I love his love for stillness.
I love that he is an explorer at heart.
I love his carefree spirit.
I love that he doesn’t care what other people think about him.
I love his quiet nature.
I love his simplicity.
I love his independence.
I love his natural leadership qualities.
I love his passion when he is focused on something he enjoys.
I love his laugh.
I love his kisses.
I love his hugs.
I love his fearlessness.
I love his courage.
I love his love for trees.
I love that he loves to be outside.
I love that he loves to be barefoot.
I love his love for building forts and obstacle courses.
I love his love for learning.
I love his love for music.
I love that he is not a follower.
I love his sensitivity to the Spirit.
I love how God has used him to teach me so much.

After completing my list, I sat with it and read and reread it. As tears streamed down my face, with a deep joy in my heart, I felt truly blessed to have a son just like Shia. My prayer was answered. I felt deeply encouraged as God lead me to shift my focus to all the great qualities and things I loved about my son. Nothing about my son actually changed that day; however, my perspective, my mindset, and my attitude changed, which allowed me to walk in peace and joy.

If you are struggling just as I was, I encourage you to write your own list today for your child. I am confident the shift in your focus will bless you just as it did me.

Thank you for letting me share a piece of my journey and heart with you. I hope you were blessed by it in some way. Please share so others can be encouraged as well.

Be Love Give Love
Abby Lewis

Your Family Is Your Number One Ministry

I heard it once said, “The condition of your home life is a direct reflection of your spiritual maturity.” I fully agree.

How is your relationship with your spouse and your children? What is the tone of your home?

Your family is your number one ministry. Be sure you are putting in the effort to strengthen your marriage, your relationships with your children and to develop a loving and peaceful tone in your home.

It is easier to serve other people than it is to serve the people who live under the same roof. Do you think that is what God truly wants?

We can’t push our own spouse or children to the side while we go and give all our time, energy and efforts to something or someone else…leaving nothing or very little for our own family…and expect God to really bless whatever we are doing. It might seem like it is all going good but it will eventually catch up with you. I know from personal experience and I have had the privilege of mentoring others who have felt the effects of living with misplaced priorities.

Your family needs you. My family needs me. Let’s keep our priorities balanced and in order.

God-Spouse-Children-Career

Be Love Give Love
Abby Lewis

Strife Hinders the Anointing of God

Strife hinders the power and anointing of God to freely flow and gives an open door for the enemy to work. James 3:16 KJV reads, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” Strife is defined as angry or bitter disagreement. Other names for strife are: conflict, discord, dispute, friction, argument and quarreling. You have any of that going on in any area of your life? I heard Joyce Meyer say in one of her conferences that she could not have strife in her home or marriage and expect to see a mighty move of God in her ministry. She is very careful to keep all forms of strife out of her life. If you truly want to see a mighty move of God’s power and anointing then you must get rid of all strife. Period.

Speaking the truth in love. Ephesians 4:15

Be Love Give Love

Abby Lewis

Don’t Waste Your Suffering

When I was struggling intensely a few years ago due to some possible severe health issues, I heard on the radio a pastor say, “don’t waste your suffering. Embrace it and learn from it.” That spoke loudly to me at the time, as I felt I was resisting everything in every way. I was terrified of the what ifs and could not embrace the season at all. It is so hard in the midst of pain to count it all joy like the Bible says to huh? But God wants us to trust Him and remember that He is sovereign and in control and He causes everything to work together for the good. I did eventually surrender to it and embraced it and I learned so much about some deep rooted stuff that was still within me that needed to be worked on. God was using my pain to refine me and purify me…the refiner’s fire. I endured it for 2 years and grew so much in my faith and trust in the Lord. I am sure we can all look back at a difficult season in our lives and say I gained some wisdom and maturity in the midst of that hard time. I encourage you, if you are in the midst of one of those seasons, to embrace it, keep focused on God, persevere in the midst of it all, trust Him deeply and learn from it. He will work it all out for the good.

Be Love Give Love

Iron Sharpens Iron

I use to be a VERY controlling fearful person. Now don’t get me wrong those tendency can still pop up now and then because I walked that road for many many years. It is easy to slip back into old ways if I am not careful. That is why I think it is so vital to have people in my life that aren’t afraid to speak the truth in love to me. You know that tough love. My husband is one of those people. For years I resisted anything he would say due to my own fears and my desire to want to be in control of everything and everyone. I was prideful and thought I had it all figured out. Well that didn’t get me very far in life. I have learned the value of having people speak the truth in love to me over the years. It isn’t always easy to hear…the truth sometimes hurts, but if I remain humble and teachable then it tends to always penetrate my heart in a way that causes me to want to change or push ahead. I have also had the privilege of having close friends at different times in my life, that I truly trusted and respected, who would do the exact same thing. I am so grateful for those friends and my husband. Iron sharpens irons and I need them in my life to keep me sharp. [Read more…]

Be Strong and Courageous

God says in the Bible, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

For years fear paralyzed me. I would never move forward in life when I felt fear. I believed it was a warning that there was danger and I needed to stay were I was…where I was comfortable and safe. So that is what I did. And for awhile it seem to work but eventually I felt unfulfilled in life, in my career, in my marriage…in everything really, but I was safe and comfortable.

Something is wrong with this picture. Is the goal in life to be safe and comfortable? Is that was God is telling us to do in this verse? [Read more…]

Jesus Is About To Spit You Out

Hot, cold, lukewarm—which of these describes your relationship with Jesus?

Over the past few weeks I have been pondering a couple verses in the book of Revelation. More accurately, I have experienced deep heartache over the verses. Jesus, speaking to the church in Laodicea, says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).

That’s a pretty dire warning. Let’s break this down a little more. [Read more…]

I’ll Never Be Free From This Financial Mess!

At one point in my life I didn’t believe financial freedom was possible. My husband and I were $250,000 in debt including a mortgage, two school loans, another small loan, two car loans and $40,000 in credit card debt. We were struggling to make ends meet even though we were both working two jobs. No matter how much money we brought in, we could never seem to get ahead. Life was very stressful. We were drowning in debt and were exhausted from living life this way. We were in an overwhelming financial disaster and had no clue how to get out.

Can you relate?

We started praying. God could have answered our prayers by performing some sort of financial miracle, but He didn’t. And you know what? I am really glad He didn’t. Instead, He answered our prayers by revealing to us some important truths about the situation we were in, and how He was going to guide us out of it: [Read more…]

Submission…Is It Worth It?

What do you think when you hear the biblical command, “Wives submit to your husband (Colossians 3:18)?” How does it make you feel to be told that you are supposed to submit? If you have a negative reaction, you’re not alone. I spent many years of my marriage resisting this biblical command. Thankfully, God has changed my heart, and I have come to recognize that biblical submission is truly beautiful.

As I look closely at my past mindset, I can see four primary reasons I resisted submitting to my husband:

  • I thought I was more spiritually mature than my husband. I was the one spending more time with God and studying the Word. Tim wasn’t seeking the Lord like I was. It is safer if I lead, right?
  • I liked being in control and was determined to have things done my way. I thought my way always made more sense, or was better, or I would manipulate Tim into believing my way was best. I felt more peaceful if I was controlling everything and everyone. God wants me to feel peaceful, doesn’t He?
  • I wanted independence and freedom to live life and make my own decisions without having to “ask” for permission. I am an adult, and I should be able to do what makes ME happy…right? Doesn’t God want me to be happy?
  • I was fearful of submission. I didn’t trust Tim to be the leader. I had a list of all the things I needed from him, or to see flowing out of him, before I would dare submit to him. I mean, who really submits to someone who is a jerk at times or who is consumed with things other than God. God wouldn’t expect me to submit to someone like that, would He?

After many years of discontent, struggle, and distrust in my marriage, God began to reveal the truth about submission: [Read more…]