Where There’s a Will, He Makes a Way

by Deb DeArmond @DebDeArmond

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13 NIV

 My mother spent much of my third-grade year in the hospital. She suffered from terrible headaches that sent her to bed. There were no MRI’s in 1963, and there were few treatments for what we now call migraines. A brain tumor was suspected as she went from hospital to hospital.

I spent those weeks sitting in white-walled waiting rooms, with the bitter smell of antiseptic, fearing my mom would die. At eight, it seemed like a reasonable fear.

What was not reasonable was the fear that struck once a treatment was discovered and she was released. I would find any excuse to avoid being away from Mom. Every morning a new malady appeared: my head hurt, I was sick to my stomach, the teacher didn’t like me, or the kids were mean to me. Each excuse had the same motive: I wanted to stay home to make sure my mother wouldn’t disappear again.

Reassurance didn’t work, nor did stern conversations, pleading, or promising a treat if I’d just get dressed and go to school. When those efforts failed, the school psychologist became my new “friend” and Mom and I began a series of conversations and testing.

I recall it clearly: a very nice older man who seemed interested in me and what I thought and how I felt. Always pleasant. And eventually, either his conversations with us did help or I outgrew it, although I’m not sure which. Life returned to normal.

Thirty-seven years later, while sorting through Mom’s paperwork after her death, I found the report prepared by that school psychologist. The first line of paragraph three caught me off guard.

“Debbie has a tendency toward willfulness.”

It was not a compliment. It was not in the plus column.

It went on to suggest, “When fearful, Debbie may try to control the situation, which must not be allowed. You and your husband must assert your authority.”

Recently I heard a gifted pastor speak about willfulness. “When obedience to God’s Word occurs it’s always an act of our will. A choice. Willful obedience.” In other words, obedience never happens accidentally.

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13) NIV. Hearing those words reminded me of the assessment of my character by that nice man in 1963. Is it possible I can use my powers for good, not for evil?

Willful obedience. Willful mercy. Willful love, grace, forgiveness. Acts of my choice, fueled not by fear, but by my loving Abba father, who desires to see me walk in fullness of life as His daughter, and who delights over me when I do. It’s the redemption of something the Fallen One once twisted to torment me, and God has reclaimed it. Today, I’m all grown up.

Most days, at least.

Some folks seem to bring out the worst in us. Old hurts, fears, and resentment surface and my childhood version tries to emerge. The baggage of our past has the ability to turn even the most mature adult into a willful eight-year old.

Today can be different, by denying fear to determine our path. Choose peace. Refuse to pick up the offense. Willful grace, willful patience. Radical, willful obedience to love. This is my personal prayer, to act in order to fulfill his good purpose in my life. The amazing part is that He does the heavy lifting, when we submit our need to control to His plan and purpose.

Where there’s a will, He makes a way.

Where There’s a Will, He Makes a Way – insight from @DebDeArmond on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Deb DeArmond-29 copyAbout the author: Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship, and conflict resolution. Her books help readers create the life God meant marriage and family to be. Read her at:  Family Matters/Deb DeArmond.  Find her books online here

Deb’s book, Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay up and Fight is a must read for couples. In everyDon't Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight by [DeArmond, Deb, DeArmond, Ronald G] marriage, there is conflict. And with every conflict, there is a choice for resolution. Will you ignore the issue until it seemingly goes away? Or will you work together to find peace? Deb and Ron DeArmond give you permission to fight – and to do it right. Conflict isn’t the problem, after all; the real issue is how we deal with the conflict.

Join the conversation: What character trait of yours can God use for good?

2 thoughts on “Where There’s a Will, He Makes a Way

  1. I love this post so much. And I am counting on the Lord to “do the heavy lifting” as I write this summer. What an encouragement to read this–when we obey, what happens is all on Him. Thanks for this reminder!! It will be my prayer as I work this morning.


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