I wonder if she ever whispered, What if?
I’m talking about Nancy.
Maybe you can relate to a few (and hopefully only a few!) of the situations in her life:
Nancy had a houseful of children. Seven, in fact.
Nancy was well-educated.
She was also a devout Christian.
Nancy married young.
Her husband, a bit of a visionary, changed jobs and moved a lot.
The family struggled financially most of the time.
Only four of Nancy’s seven children lived to adulthood.
Her husband drank and gambled. A lot.
Nancy’s youngest child was hyper-active and “difficult.”
This same child survived a life-threatening disease, but it left him nearly deaf.
He struggled in school and was considered too slow to learn.
Despite his struggles, Nancy believed that her son, affectionately known as Al, had potential.
When teachers gave up on him, she removed Al from school and taught him at home.
Al loved to read, so Nancy gave him books.
Al was curious, so Nancy let him explore.
Al loved to experiment with things, so Nancy let him set up a laboratory in the basement.
Nancy lived long enough to see her son make something of himself.
When she died in 1871, Al had already begun to see moderate success as an inventor and an independent entrepreneur.
What Nancy didn’t live to see was her son, Thomas Alva Edison, go on to become one of the most famous and notable inventors in American history.
Many years after his mother’s death, Thomas Edison stated,
My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”
When I read the story of Thomas Edison’s mother, I couldn’t help but think of my own “Nancy moments”:
Those times when I surely can’t see how anything good can come of the road blocks, frustrations, limitations and disappointments that heckle my life.
Nancy Edison surely wasn’t the only woman in history to find herself disappointed with life, and the people in it.
And yet she refused to let life cripple her.
Because Nancy Edison chose to embrace life with determination and faith, she empowered her son to do the same.
And, as they say, the rest is history.
As inspiring as it is to read about women like Nancy, we can’t stop at the end of her story.
You and I are called to be another “Nancy” in our own corners of the world; to give the same gift of hope and determination to our children, to our friends and spouses and any one else God has placed in our sphere of influence.
We will all experience our own “Nancy moments.”
But whether or not we ever cultivate our own unique kind of “Nancy faith,” well, that is up to us.
Let me challenge you, my friend: embrace life with faith and determination.
Look past the small corners of your world and catch a glimpse of eternity.
What is God doing in your heart through the trials and disappointments?
How is He shaping you?
What does He have planned for your children?
Maybe you see a child who can’t talk, or won’t potty train, or who struggles to read, or who has a bad attitude.
Maybe you can’t see past a broken relationship, a strained marriage, financial struggles, a difficult pregnancy, too many disappointments, or a loss that is suffocating your hope.
Maybe you find yourself thinking, If only things were different.
If only I were different.
If only THAT hadn’t happened.
If only someone or something would change.
Replace your if only’s with what if’s:
What if I choose to trust…
to let go…
to face hard things…
to laugh out loud…
to smile through the tears…
to dare to trust again…
to say yes when everyone else says no…
to believe in a forgotten dream…
to get out of my comfort zone…
to not let my mistakes keep me from trying again… and again… again…
What if you just don’t ever give up?
No matter what else feels out of control in your life right now, you always have the choice to keep on being faithful right there in that hard place.
What could God do in your lifetime if you make the choice to just never give up?
Here’s to living and loving well-