Today we welcome Andrea McMillin as she shares more of her story and tries to answer the question “what does Jesus want of me?” Be sure to read the first part of this two-part series, God is so Good.

Losing my mother

In June 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, my mother went home to be with Jesus. In the year before she died, I could feel the Lord urging me to go and visit her often. But after giving birth to my own daughter, be it snow, exhaustion from feeding an infant, or a lingering cold, there was always something that kept me from making the half hour drive as often as I felt I should.

In spite of this, my mother’s amazing care team kept her home safe, clean and cared for her as if she was their own family. This was a beautiful gift to me and my family. Thankfully my sister, my dad and I were able to visit my mom one more time before she took her last breath. After witnessing my mother fight for her life for 10 years, I was ever so happy to know that the confident warrior I knew would be at home with Jesus. I found joy knowing that her wonderful personality and faculties would once again be restored. 

Loving my daughter

As my husband and I were preparing for the loss of my mother, we would also learn that our beautiful daughter (born in spring 2019) has a disability. Though we are just learning what all this means, I am shocked to discover that as I meet with doctors and learn of the challenges, we may face, I feel calm and ready. I can already see the Lord working in and through our daughter. I can see that despite the fact that she struggles with speech and gross motor skills (the areas of her development where we see the most need at present), she has already made great progress. 

On my way home from a meeting with my daughter’s geneticist the Lord reminded me of all the students I have helped navigate through college and all the interviews, facing court, and other battles my mother faced for me before I was even old enough to be aware of her courage. I know that I am ready to help pave the way for my daughter just as my mother did for me. 

Learning patience and presence

I wish with all my heart that I could watch my mother and daughter play together. I can just picture how she would be on the floor on all fours finding whatever means to get her granddaughter excited about moving. But as I learn to trust Jesus more and more, I also don’t want to doubt his timing.

a black and white photo shows an elderly grandmother reaching out to a baby granddaughter who is laying her head down.  The two are touching and both look happy.
an image of what might have been
Photo by Paolo Bendandi on Unsplash

I am limited in my humanity to understand why it took me 37 years to find my husband, and why it took me 9 years to learn teaching was not for me, but I also know that in those times of waiting the Lord was doing important work. Teaching me patience, I know that is no small task! It is for that reason that I do not want to wonder why my mother lost her personality so long before she lost her body. When I visited my mother, I did not want our visits to be about what I was missing, but about the joy of being in her presence, not wanting anything in return. It was a lesson I did not expect to learn. 

What does Jesus want of me?

How often do we value our relationships in terms of what we can get out of them? Perhaps it is a bit like us wanting Jesus to do so much for us, but when we turn the question to ourselves and ask what does Jesus want of me?

The answer is simply to love him and to accept him as Lord and savior, period! In our world today we wonder if that is enough, but the example that he left for us shows that all we need to do is say “yes!” All the pain, all the risk, and all the sacrifice shows that Jesus LOVES us sooooo much that he sent his son to die for us! It is such a precious gift. Only through knowing him and seeing how he works in and through the world around us can we come to be in awe of such a gift. When you are able to see it with your own eyes it is too precious to keep to yourself and too valuable not to seek after. It is this lesson that I pray I can pass on to my very own daughter.

Andrea is a white woman with blond hair.  She is wearing a navy blue dress and is smiling at the camera.  She is outside and is holding a bouquet of flowers.
Andrea was born and raised in Calgary Alberta. She holds a B.A in music from Augustana University College and B. Ed. From the University of Calgary. She has worked locally and internationally as an elementary school teacher for 9 years and spent 7 years working with young adults with disabilities helping them transition from high school to adulthood. She has always had a deep heart for individuals with dis-abilities. She has been enriched and encouraged to see how God works in and through disability through, personal, family, church, out reach and professional experiences.