Liz Abdalla: God first then do everything else through His lens
Published 7:46 am Saturday, May 21, 2022
Liz Abdalla grew up in a Christian family knowing God was “there.” She remembers thoughts of wanting to work in full-time ministry as a child. However, it wasn’t until she was in her 20s that her “faith became her own.”
“I think that says a lot about what we experience as Christianity, as people of faith,” Abdalla said. “It is absorbed and not really our own. It’s an experience we’re in, but it’s not in us. So, I think going from being in it, to it being in you is a very important step to take.”
In college, majoring in architecture – because her parents weren’t keen on the earning potential of the Bible College degree she proposed – Abdalla felt the least focused on God.
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“I began to question my faith, which I actually think is a good thing. You know, for me, it was like, why do I believe what I believe. Until I questioned it, worked out the legitimacy, it was just something I did.”
Although none of her five children – the oldest is 14 – has gone through such a transformational experience, she acknowledges that it could be scary for some parents.
“You have to remember God’s promises, that the God who began a good work in your child will carry it through until its completion (Phillipians 1:6),” Abdalla said, “that God is not slow as some count slowness. He’s long-suffering, wishing that none would perish. So, remembering that and remembering that God loves your kid more than you do, He wants more for your child than you do, and not just loves your child more than you do, but knows who they are better than you. You, and you have been with this child since he or she was born. Who better than God to manage their fate?”
Thirty-eight-year-old Abdalla wasn’t born with this insight. The family had a beloved pet that would, on occasion, wander across a busy highway.
“I had gone with my daughter to the highway to get the mail and when he saw me, he didn’t pay attention and he ran toward me.”
She watched as an 18-wheeler ripped him apart. Even though I’ve never been a super-attached-to-a-pet kind of person, it introduced a certain fear that hadn’t been there before.
“My home isn’t safe. My environment isn’t safe. It was like it broke a bubble of protection that never really existed in the first place. I began to fear that my children weren’t safe. I began to worry what would happen to them if my husband and I were taken away from them and they were left to fend for themselves in some type of apocalyptic environment where they would have to hide in the woods, and in that moment with the world in turmoil and fear piercing my safety bubble, God spoke to me. He told me I didn’t need to be afraid. Don’t I think that if I’m going to care for you, I’m going to care for them? Our only responsibility as parents is to point them to Him, not point them to Him through us. We’re not that good. They can only go to God through Jesus, and so if we can help them make that connection, they’ll have everything they need no matter what they face. I am not their provider. God is.”
When asked how her faith equips her to handle a career, marriage and five children, she takes a minute to respond.
“I don’t know that I have a good answer for that,” she said. “All I can say is I have five kids and they are five incredible kids.”
She has helped develop their independence because of her personality and acknowledges this might not be right for every mother and child.
“So, I think that kids need some independence. I believe that God gives us the kids that he does because he knows we need them and he knows they need us. I can’t give them everything they need. I can only give all of myself to Christ and let him refine me and trust that’s going to be everything my kids need. Everything my husband needs as well. It’s not that I’m an expert at this and Lord knows I fail at this all the time. But remembering to make sure that God is my priority, that my kid is not my priority. My husband is not my priority. And my job is not my priority. None of them. God is the priority and then you order it from there.”
Abdalla said often in today’s world mothering is looked at as number one.
“We like to look at mothering number one, and we’ll do it through a Christian lens and that’s the wrong order. It’s God first and then let’s do everything else through the God lens.”
She is quick to admit she is not perfect.
“But that is what I want to do,” she said. “That is what I aspire to do. And I believe that’s the best way to keep everything in proper balance.”
Her favorite Bible verse is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“And this is the second part that some forget, the part that I love so much. ‘The Law and the Prophets on these two commandments.’ In other words, every commandment in the Bible is taken care of. If all you do is focus on God and love Him with everything you’ve got and love your neighbor as yourself, it releases me from feeling like I have to check all these boxes. Oh, I passed that one today, but I failed these two. I don’t have to check the boxes. All I have to do is enjoy and make time for that relationship with God that he made a way for. That’s what grace did.”