Friday, January 20, 2012

A Word From Max

I received a devotional book as a birthday gift from my parents during my first "official" tour.  Well, my first tour ever.  A twelve city tour with the amazing Nichole Nordeman in 2005.  The book was Mocha with Max, a collection of thoughts from Max Lucado and to this day it is one of the most focusing little books I frequent.  This morning I read an entry I'd read a thousand times before, but today it was different: 

"One of God's cures for a weak faith?  A good, healthy struggle.  Several years ago our family visited Colonial Williamsburg, a re-creation of eighteenth-century America in Williamsburg, Virginia.  If you ever visit there, pay special attention to the work of the silversmith. The craftsman places a ingot of silver on an anvil and pounds it with a sledgehammer.  Once the metal is flat enough for shaping, into the furnace it goes.  The worker alternately heats and pounds the metal until it takes the shape of a tool he can use. 
  Heating, pounding.
    Heating, pounding. 
      Deadlines, traffic.
        Arguments, disrespect.
          Loud sirens, silent phones.
            Heating, pounding. 
              Heating, pounding. 

Did you know that the smith in silversmith comes from the old English word smite?  Silversmiths are accomplished smiters.  So is God.  Once the worker is satisfied with the form of his tool, he begins to planish and pumice it.  Using smaller hammers and abrasive pads, he taps, rubs and decorates.  And no one stops him.  No one yanks the hammer out of his hand and says, "Go easy on that silver.  You've pounded enough!"  No, the craftsman buffets the metal until he is finished with it.  Some silversmiths, I'm told, keep polishing until they can see their face in the tool. When will God stop with you?  When He sees His reflection in you. "

Thank God for His timely words.  I want God to see His reflection when He looks at me.  

ps.  Michael ate like a champ again this morning.  :)


Ashley said...

Thanks for the devotional thought. And yay for Michael, getting stronger! God has so many great plans for your family, I just know it! Stay strong, keep singing and know that God will be there every step of the way!

Lori said...

Thanks for sharing this!

Carol said...

Oh, this is good!
Yay, Michael!
BTW, big fan here. I recently featured your song, My Hope is In You on my blog - what a blessing. I sing that song regularly!
Glad to have found your blog.

Blessedbyfive said...

Way to go Michael! He looks terrific and I am so joyed to see more parents of babies with Downs comment. I know God has a plan for your newest. My prayers for a quick homecoming for your wife and baby.

Laura said...

So glad the littlest Shust is doing better! Still praying for y'all!!!

Amanda Yaple said...

I just wanted to say thank you for your encouraging words. I too have a son with special needs. His name is Jonah. He was born without his cerebellum. God is so amazing though how he works, my son is doing amazing and teaches me so much everyday. Thank you for helping me to realize more that God is shaping me and my family. Everyday is still a struggle though, wondering why my son can't walk yet and he's 2 and wondering why he just can't be a typical child? I'm learning to have faith. I've realized just how little my faith is. So, thank you for posting your journey so far. I don't really know any people with a special needs child with the faith you have. Lord bless you!

Jake T. said...

And's verse of the day was (which is on the side bar of this blog)? James 1:2-3

Susielyn said...

This is just the topic that God had me in last night before bed! He is hammering it into me again this morning. Thanks for sharing this devotional...and for the lyrics of 'My Hope Is In You' that i cling to while He is buffing me!

*~tRiStYn MiChElLe~* said...

my family is upholding you and yours in prayer everyday. I also have three children, my youngest being 3 months old. I cannot imagine what you are going through right now but hold to the promise that the keeper of the stars knows what He is doing. your music is inspiring and michael will be the definition of inspiration to many people!

Holly Fedele said...

Go little Michael. Eat, eat, eat! Grow, grow, grow. Heal, heal, heal. Oink oink. :) (I think y'all may have a nickname starting.)

Prayers are continuing! And for future referance, if at all possible, it is amazing to have a prayer feast during the heart surgery. (I think it won't be a problem evidenced by the amount of people supporting your family right now.)

Exact times and doctors' names are great.

During my son's surgery at 2 months old, I asked that people pray as often as they could during the surgery, even if it was just a quick, "God bless the Fedele family" during their busy day of work and school.

They prayed for my son, each doctor (that God guide their hands), and for peace for me, my husband, and my other kids.

It was amazing that I could almost feel a blanket of peace and prayer around me. I knew that my son was going to be fine.

The miracle in it was that I cried often but it was not sad, mindless tears. It was as though my muscles were sending tension out of my body through my eyes. (I tend to be a very tense person and have to struggle to release it. I suffer from neck and back pain and tension head aches when I get too stressed.) But God provided that release for me without a struggle. People that know me well were amazed at how calm I was even with the tears flowing. They could see my body relaxing and breathing in peace!!

I have not had such a strong experience since then, but I will never forget it. So when y'all have a date and time for surgery, be sure to let us know so that we can blanket you, Sarah, the doctors, and your other children with prayer.

amy said...

Yeah for piggy prayers! :) Coincidently (btw...I don't believe in coincidents) my maiden name is Smith...very meaningful and powerful post! Thanks for sharing! Praying Michael comes home for the weekend!

Emilee Kaye said...

Wow. :) Our God is faithful... Period.

ch said...

And sometimes, just sometimes and to an exalted few, God sends His reflection directly in a little bundle He designed especially for that purpose.

Go easy on your own heart now, and remember to treat yourself with the grace God has already showered upon you. There is a sharp difference between not welcoming a child and not welcoming hardship FOR your child.

You are already loving him just right. You are already setting a beautiful example for your wife, boys and the community around you now. The hammering and pounding have already happened to make you equipped to be the tool for this job.

God's blessings to you...and forgive me for commenting in a way that is easily classified as "EASY FOR YOU TO SAY, LADY". As a mom to two repaired hearts and 2 sets of beautiful almond eyes, I assure you these words couldn't be truer or easier to utter. I'm delighting in the blessings God holds in store for each of you.

Beck Gambill said...

What a beautiful testimony of how God is meeting you. Those are powerful words!

I was singing My Hope is in You Lord today and prayed that those truths would be living, breathing reality for your family's every moment!

Anne said...

CONGRATS on the birth of your son,!!!! He is BEAUTIFUL!! I have a 6 year old little guy with DS, he is very active, full of hugs and unconditional love! he is the joy of my life, He can be stubborn, but what child isn't?? LOL!! When he was born I remember a dear friend said, Anne, GOD does not make mistakes!! I have many friends that have adopted and are in the process of adopting children with DS.. You can see many of them on
My friend Andrea Roberts is doing Gods work!! congrats again and welcome to the family!!!!

Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing the story of your precious Michael! My husband and I have a 3 month old baby girl with Down Syndrome and an AV Canal Defect. We, too, spent many days (well, weeks in her case) in the NICU with her as we tried to maintain some stability for our 2 boys at home. We were so thankful for every comment, prayer, and message during that time. The Lord definitely uses His people to hold us up during these times! Our Stella will have the surgery to fix her heart this week. All of this is still so fresh and new to us as well, but I can tell you that we have been so very blessed and humbled by the grace and support we have received and overwhelmed by our love for our sweet girl! She has already been a testimony to others about the good and perfect gifts God gives! My oldest son, who loves your music (as we all do), was very excited to hear about your special gift and the connection we now have. :) Praying for your whole family! So happy to hear how well your little fighter is doing!!!

Kim said...

Hello Shust Family! Let me be the first to tell you that our kids are not carbon copies of each other and yes, their ears are smaller, tubes are smaller and shaped differently, but that doesn't mean they'll keep an ear infection. My Aiden.... almost 2 years old, has yet to have one, single, solitary ear infection. He's never taken an antibiotic. I couldn't say that about my 2 typical kids. I am glad to hear of little Michael's progress. He will bring you more joy than you could ever imagine!