Susan Jane King

Thriving with Jesus in life's ongoing challenges

Putting Our Expectations in the Right Place

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“This is not how I thought my marriage would go,” Leah must have said. “I expected my husband to love and cherish me. Instead, he loves someone else much more than me.”

Poor Leah. Her story can be found in Genesis 29. “The other woman” was Leah’s younger sister Rachel. Modern-day soap operas have nothing on some of the real-life dramas found in the Bible!

My heart went out to Leah as I read of her plan to secure her husband Jacob’s love and devotion: “I will give him children, and then he will love me!” Isn’t that what we often do? Life doesn’t go as planned, so we work up our own plans to make it go according to our expectations.

“Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben [meaning, “See, a son!”], for she said, ‘Because the Lord has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.’ Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, ‘Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.’ So she named him Simeon [meaning, “hearing”].  She conceived again and bore a son and said, ‘Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.’ Therefore he was named Levi [meaning “attached”]. And she conceived again and bore a son and said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ Therefore she named him Judah [meaning “praised, celebrated”]” (Genesis 29:32-35, NASB).

Leah’s struggle contains some relatable truths:

We all carry expectations in life.

Leah had expectations about her marriage. Many of us harbor expectations about relationships, careers, and activities in which we participate. We anticipate that life will play out a certain way, thinking most likely it will. When it doesn’t, we cry out like Job, “Where now is my hope?” (Job 17:15, NASB).

We must look beyond ourselves, our plans, and our expectations in order find the Lord.

Leah tried to secure her husband’s love in her own strength. With the birth of each subsequent child, she hoped to garner Jacob’s affection. You can see her expectations in her children’s names: “See [Jacob], a child!” “God is hearing my plea, won’t you?!” “Please, become attached to me!” When her efforts did not achieve her desired goals, she finally said, “I will praise the Lord.”

I can just imagine Leah letting go of her expectations and seizing the greater reality: “The Lord deserves my attention and praise! My life is in Him and about Him.” I am certain the Lord met Leah in the middle of her expectations and made Himself known to her there. He must have whispered to her as He does to all of us, “Be still (literally, cease striving), and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, NASB).

When we get to that place, knowing and loving God overrides our other desires as we realize how much He knows and loves us. He becomes our reliable Father and Friend in an uncertain world.

Real hope is found in the Lord.

Psalm 42:5, NASB, says, “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.” I think Leah discovered that truth in her personal struggles. God met her there. God’s presence became real in her unexpected place. HE became her greatest joy and desire. She transferred her expectations from her husband to the Lord, and she chose praise over sorrow.

Life’s disappointments and unexpected events are not meant to maim us. They are meant to claim us for God’s kingdom and His purposes, instead of worldly pursuits. When that happens, we experience delight in the Lord and His will.

Even when we can’t see it, God is doing something. He was working in and through Leah, even though she couldn’t see the whole picture. Each one of her sons became a tribe of Israel. And Judah? He held a special place in the family . . . Jesus eventually descended from the tribe of Judah.

Our expectation is from the Lord (Psalm 62:5, KJV). Often, it takes unmet expectations to realize that important truth.

A:        What is the Lord teaching you about Himself in the midst of your unmet expectations? (Comment at the link below.)

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So Excited OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM is Best Seller!

Optimism for Autismfrontcover

We are thrilled that our book continues to do well. It is an Amazon Best Seller and a #1 Best Seller in Rowan County, NC, where we live. Thank you for your support and for helping to spread the message of hope in OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM.

Please consider sharing my website: susanjaneking.com, or encouraging others to go to amazon.com to find out more about OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM.

Blessings,

Susan

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Waiting on God

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Waiting can be so frustrating, especially when we want something to happen. I have spoken with several people recently who feel stuck waiting.

Why do we have seasons when it seems like someone hit the “pause” button and those things we hoped for seem more elusive than ever?

From my own seasons of waiting, I have discovered that when life seems to lag, I need to:

Embrace the now.

We can lose sight of God’s presence and blessings in the present if we look and long too much for our future goals and plans, or if we focus too much on how we wish our circumstances would change. We are told to “Be still, and know I am God” (Psalm 46:10, NIV). The NASB says, “Cease striving, and know I am God.” That Bible verse emphasizes not struggling in our situation, but rather relaxing and allowing ourselves to know and experience God where we are at the moment.

Jacob realized this truth when he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it” (Genesis 28:16, NIV). The Lord is with us in our place of waiting. When we can’t see God moving, it doesn’t change the fact that He is always at work and constantly with us (John 5:17 and Matthew 28:20).

Trust God’s plan.

David wandered in the wilderness for many years after the Lord told him he would be king. He chose to trust God during that time and never jumped ahead of the Lord, even though he had several opportunities to take matters into his own hands. During that time, the Lord grew David’s faith, as He gave him countless opportunities to trust Him. David learned many valuable lessons during his waiting time which served him well later when he was king. David embraced what God had for him in the waiting. Most of all, David discovered a great deal about the love, grace, power, and faithfulness of God in his season of waiting.

Proverbs 19:21, NIV, says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” That’s because God’s plans are meant to prosper us, not to harm us, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). His plans also aim to bless others and accomplish His higher ideals. We have to choose to trust His purpose in our waiting.

Hope in the Lord.

“The Lord will accomplish what concerns me” (Psalm 138:8, NASB). He is Lord, so He can move with power and authority to order our lives appropriately. We can choose to hope in the Lord while we are waiting. The Biblical definition of hope is “a confident expectation.” In other words, we can confidently expect God to be who He says He is and to do what He says He will do . . . even in the waiting.

Question: What have you learned from your seasons of waiting? Comment at the link below.

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Seeing the Fingerprints of a Loving God

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Patrick and I viewed God’s fingerprints all over a bunch of people this past weekend. They attended two different book signings for our new book OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM. We laughed, hugged, and smiled as countless friends from the past and present celebrated with us and allowed us the privilege of signing their books.

We got to see Grey Calvert, Patrick’s teacher in the transitional classroom, who prepared him to enter kindergarten. (See the photo above.) We visited with Sue Dodd, Patrick’s fifth grade teacher. We chatted with former preschool teachers, as well as church members and friends in our hometown community of China Grove. In the midst of all the activity, one thing became obvious: The people attending were covered with the fingerprints of a loving God.

We are told, “God is love” (1 John 4:8, NASB). Out of His love, He sends wonderful people into our lives to help us, encourage us, and show us His love. Patrick and I reflected on that truth as we greeted old and new friends on Saturday and Sunday.

The Biblical word for love is “agapao” in the New Testament Greek, which means unconditional and unrelenting love, a determined goodwill that seeks another’s best interests.

Unconditional love.

God’s love for us is not based on what we do or don’t do. He loves us. Period. The depth of His love was proven in sending His only begotten Son here to earth to suffer, die, be buried, and rise from the dead, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). God’s love flows from who He is, not who we are.

Patrick and I were swept up in a current of unconditional love through the sea of people He sent into our lives as we dealt with Patrick’s autism. Those sweet souls chose to love us like God does, with no expectations or demands attached. OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM chronicles the impact of their unconditional love on our lives.

Unrelenting love.

God’s love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8); in other words, God never stops loving us. As Patrick and I watched the flow of people at our book signings, we thanked God for the many individuals there who stood by us in our difficult times and kept loving us, especially when we felt discouraged or unlovable. Many of them have walked the autism road with us for years. They serve as a constant reminder that our Father loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

Determined goodwill that seeks another’s best interests.

God’s love is a choice. He chooses to love us over and over. He decides to have goodwill toward us, to act in a way concerning us that yields powerful and positive results. God is for us (Romans 8:31). OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM contains countless examples of friends, family members, teachers, and others who chose to act in a way that benefitted me and Patrick, often at their own personal sacrifice. Patrick and I remembered many of those moments as we welcomed these cherished individuals to our book signings.

Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34, NASB). God’s love defines us, and it compels us to reach out and love others (2 Corinthians 5:14).

Patrick and I have been overwhelmed by the love of God shown to us through others. Our book signings gave us an additional chance to reflect on God’s love and to thank Him for it.

We all have the opportunity to look for fingerprints of God’s love every day, and to express our gratitude for the people wearing the mark of His love.

Question: Who are some of the people in your life who bear the fingerprints of God’s love? Comment at the link below.

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Reflecting on God’s Faithfulness

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God’s hand has moved in a mighty way with the launch of my new book OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM just 7 days ago. Here’s what has happened:

  • OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM reached Best Seller status—number 3 out of the top 100 books in its category—the first day it was sold on Amazon.
  • WBTV Channel 3 Charlotte news anchor Jamie Boll interviewed me and Patrick about the book on April 2, our Book Launch day. (See our photo together above.) Jamie supports autism advocacy and awareness and serves on the Autism Speaks Board in Charlotte.
  • The Salisbury Post newspaper ran a major feature story about OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM on the Sunday before it was released.
  • Nearly 40 people have posted reviews about OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM on Amazon.
  • OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM was released April 2, World Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day.
  • Patrick and I have 2 book signings already scheduled for this weekend.

 

You can click on this link to watch the WBTV interview or to read the Salisbury Post story:

http://susanjaneking.com/news/

 

You can click on this link to learn about the book signings and other events:

http://susanjaneking.com/events/

 

Last Wednesday, as we released OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM, I told my husband David, “Who would have ever imagined all those many years ago, when Patrick was first diagnosed with autism, that we would be releasing a book today?!”

Well, the Lord did. He authored the story.

OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM contains a history of the Lord’s faithfulness to me, Patrick, and our family. It recounts how the Lord showed Himself to be “compassionate and gracious . . . abounding in love and faithfulness” (Numbers 34:6, NIV). As I said in the newspaper story, the Lord is the main character.

Of course, He is the main character in all our stories; in fact, He is writing them. Jesus is the author of our faith, and He finishes or completes our faith story (Hebrews 12:2, NASB). He is writing a magnificent narrative on all of our hearts, so that we will be a living “book,” known and read by all (2 Corinthians 3:2-3, NASB). When others read that book, the Lord wants them to see Him.

Let Him write His story.

Sometimes, we think we know how the story should go, but the Lord always has the best plan. We are called to trust Him and allow Him to do the writing. His plans aim to bless us and others, as well as accomplish His divine purposes (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28, Ephesians 2:10).

Share what the Lord is doing.

Writing OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM gave me the tremendous blessing of being able to go back and revisit many moments in our lives where the Lord moved with power, grace, and love. In my book, I got to share what He has done.

However, we don’t have to write a book in order to share what the Lord has done and is doing in our lives. We can look for the Lord in every chapter of our stories, and we can declare His mighty works to those around us.

Look forward to a magnificent conclusion.

Each one of our stories has the same ending if we have put our faith in Jesus and received Him as our Lord: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3, NASB). All of our stories have a happy ending if we belong to Jesus.

So let us run with endurance the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1, NASB), knowing that when we cross the finish line, then we will live happily every after.

Question: What is the Lord writing into your story at this moment? Share at the link below.

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IT’S BOOK LAUNCH DAY!

 

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Today is Launch Day for my new book OPTIMISM for AUTISM! It is also World Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day.

If you are planning on getting a book, please consider ordering one today off amazon.com. If we sell enough books on our Launch Day, we could become an Amazon Bestseller, which could help to open even more doors for distributing OPTIMISM for AUTISM.

Books also are available at local bookstores and (for signed copies) susanjaneking.com.

Thank you for helping to spread the message of hope and encouragement in OPTIMISM for AUTISM.

ALSO . . .

WE’RE GOING TO BE ON TELEVISION TODAY!

WBTV

BIG NEWS: Patrick and I are going to be interviewed live on WBTV Channel 3 Charlotte during their 4 p.m. newscast today. Watch on:

  • television (live or record it)
  • computer, via WBTV’s live stream at:

http://www.wbtv.com/category/259075/wbtv-newscast-live-stream

  • my Web site susanjaneking.com at a later date (I will post the link later.)

For now, visit my Web site for more information about OPTIMISM for AUTISM and free resources available there.

Thank you!

 

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