The Table Connection Week 19


More Lessons from Layla

By Shannon Laning

Matthew 21 (NASB)

My daughter, Layla, turned one the week (read her story here). I’ve been reminiscing on all we’ve been through this last year: 53 day NICU stay, 3 major surgeries, 10 smaller procedures, months of physical and speech (for feeding) therapy. Couched in between each of those stats is the countless list of ways that God has showed up for us.

As the list of what I’ve learned this year continues to grow, I am emboldened to tell others about what God has done. You’d think this would be easy for a woman who’s been a Christian for almost 30 years. But, since my natural bent is to not offend or make others uncomfortable, my boldness for Jesus has been masked by fear of what others might think. The minute that Layla was taken from my arms and loaded onto a helicopter to be flown 100 miles away the night she was born, something in me shifted.

Stuck in a hospital bed with my 4-pound newborn taken from me, I felt my desperation turn to prayer. I could tangibly feel the power that night. Something in my subconscious said, “Be bold, because your baby can’t be.” I began to tell any nurse or doctor that came in the room about Layla and how we needed God right then.

In the NICU, I found that the more I talked about Jesus, the more others wanted to talk about Him as well!

What does this all have to do with Matthew 21? Jesus is more intentional in His behavior and speech. We see Him boldly entering into Jerusalem while crowds proclaim Him to be, “Hosanna, Son of David, He who comes in the name of the Lord.” He overthrows the tables of money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He harshly criticizes the Pharisees and predicts the acceptance of Gentiles (whom Jews hated) into God’s family. His boldness seems to know no bounds; Jesus is always harsh toward the religious leaders and truthful with the crowds. But it’s that “truthful” part that I sometimes miss out on.

Since my goal should be to emulate Christ in everything that I do, I want to be more and more like Him by boldly proclaiming His goodness and grace to others. Layla has taught me a lot this year, but I never want to lose the sense of urgency that I have felt to let others know why Jesus is so good.

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