Saturday, April 16, 2011

back to the basics.....

So, recently my husband and I were challenged with a situation that resulted in an outcome that was not exactly what I was hoping for. (how's that for vague? :-) In the midst of the situation and all the wrestling that went along with it, I had some revelations. God was using this situation to bring about something else in my heart and work on some things there. I read an article about how the church has really left a bad taste in the mouth of the world. I know that is obvious to many of us that we see and hear how non-believers have been burned, hurt, etc...and now don't want anything to do with the church or Christianity. THere are days worth of discussions behind the whys of this, but what I was intrigued by was our response in my own heart. It seems many, in an attempt to try and not offend those around us who are among the numbers of hurt and burned, that our approach has been to remove the mention of Jesus from our conversations. "Let's talk about God's love and acceptance and purpose for their lives, but let's not mention's too controversial and offensive." I know for me, I have in many conversations danced around the topic of Jesus for these very reasons as well as the huge obstacle of really not wanting to be rejected. After hearing a sermon recently from a minister from a few years ago, though, I had a revelation....and that is, that when you seek the approval of man, you are exhibiting a man-centered view point (aka "supremacy of man"). I know there are times when I have served the interests of man (others and self included) by my attempts to "share God" or hope with others and all the while serving the interestes of man, as if others opinion of me is the first priority. I was challenged to rethink this approach with a "supremacy of Christ" mentality. How would it change my interactions with others if instead of being worried about offending them, or being disliked, I was more concerned with sharing the life-saving hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Jesus did what He saw His Father do. He had his eyes fixed on the Father at all times. And as He walked out his ministry with His eyes fixed on God, He didn't have to worry about how people would receive (or not) the truth. I am not trying to give a blanket approach to evangelism, and say that we must always give every step of the Romans road to every person we meet, but instead, I am making statements regarding the attitudes and motivations of my heart. I don't want to shrink back from sharing His truth out of fear or concern for what others will think. The bottom line is, eventually, in order for someone to come to God, they must first go through the Door. There is only one door to God and that is Jesus Christ. I want people to come to know the love of God desperately, but at some point, they must choose to accept the way that God provided to get to Him. I am not completely opposed to the idea of seeker friendly be honest, I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it. But the attitude I sense a lot is this, "Whatever you do, don't mention the name of Jesus, don't talk about sin, and don't tell them they need to repent of anything." Wait a minute.....isn't that the crux of the gospel message???? We HAVE all sinned...we DO need to repent (that was the message of John the Baptist who "prepared to way" for Jesus to come). And then it occured to me again....if the gospel isn't for the lost, then who is it for?

The implications of this aren't just for the lost though, the idea of being afraid to speak truth also applies in situations where we are addressing believers as well. There is a kingdom at stake....there are people walking around in broken relationship with the Father or not in relationship at all. As I ponder all that God means to me, and especially as I have been reflecting on Jesus as we approach this Easter season, I am overwhelmed at his love for me! And what hope I have been given, this is the hope I have to share :-)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You GOTTA be you!

Well, in case you haven't noticed, this blog has morphed out of the realm of just focusing on adoption, or our adoption story, to just a place where I can jot down my thoughts on life, God, and what it is to live where I am right now. I guess it isn't necessary to really post anymore, but unlike journals, I can't lose the internet, so for now, it seems this is the most consistent place for me to keep up with this!

Idols. Alot comes to mind when I hear that word....old statues, food, sports, Billy...(haha:-) Today on the way home, though, God began to talk to me about another idol I have in my life. (No, not Billy). It was someone. Someone very dear to me who has my respect and is a fellow lover of God. However, as God began to bring this into the light, I began to ask myself "why" questions. Why do I look up to this person, even sometimes to the point of envy? There were many answers I won't share but what it boiled down to had to do with the PERCEPTION that this person really has it altogether. They seem to be able to handle life so much better than me--having it all together, never being in want, always on top of things, never looking like they have a need or need to depend on anyone get the picture. I capitalized perception because even as I listed these things that I was becoming aware of, I realized that this is NO ONE. This isn't even really true of this person. Secondly, what I find attractive in all of this is counter to what God has for me, and really is the root of what caused the entire fall of the human race to begin with===PRIDE. Despite knowing in my head this is really destructive, I have often times in my life found myself trying to emmulate others who fit the "got it all together" description.
Let's just put aside the fact that this sin took down the entire human race in one bite, and consider this as well: we are all truly image bearers of the one Living God. He has put unique expressions of Himself in EVERY individual. In the history of humanity, there has NEVER been one repeat. Not one person who is exactly like another one. What this says is that the ENTIRETY of the human race has STILL not COMPLETELY reflected the FULL image of this amazing God we serve! To me, this serves as reason for me to really seek to be me! I want to reflect, as much as I am able to, who He in is a piece that if I don't steward well and take care to discover and show, the world won't get to see...or at least those in the world I am supposed to show. You have to show who He is in you. I want to see as much of Him here as I can and if you or me or any one of us is spending time trying to be someone else or someone we aren't or some image of what we think we should be, we will never be who we really are and those around you will never experience the part of God's heart he desires to shine through you.

Friday, December 31, 2010

December 30, Jesus Calling Devotional:" I am leading you along a way that is uniquely right for you. The closer to Me you grow, the more fully you become your true self--the one I designed you to be. Because you are one of a kind the path you are traveling with Me diverges increasingly from that of other people."

For the last two days, I have been chewing on this and trying to determine why it speaks to my soul so deeply. Today as I once again sat down to spend a few moments with Him, it hit me (He learned me :-) I look to identify with others on their paths... sometimes, even trying to immulate the path they are on in my personal walk with God. Whether that be through how I express my faith, my "causes", or just how I view the specifics of how I relate to Him. The devotional goes on to say, "However, in My mysterious wisdom and ways, I enable you to follow this solitary path while staying in close contact with others." I and I think I could say "we" here (sneaking suspicion I am not alone in this) are constantly searching for who we are--we want our value, purpose, and call to be very defined. I want the Lord to define me and how I should handle life, what I am to do and who I am to be so that in any and all situations, I will know what the right thing is. Here is where I ask myself, "why?" "Because," He says, "you resist being soley dependent on Me." Guilty. I do....we do. Just give me the instructions. I want the plan because I don't want to screw things up. I don't want to be wrong. I want to be independent and self-sufficient. "But that is not how I designed you." He says. I MADE you to be dependent on Me. "My abundance and your emptiness are a perfect match." --J.C. "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." I am truly just a pot. It just hit me this morning that the only hope of being what I long in my soul to be, my only hope of loving others, helping, knowing what to do and how to live is to cleave to the one who made me, walking my solitary path, listening, asking, depending on Him at every turn and in every moment. Our journey is one of increasing dependence. In that, all that we need and were designed to be can come into fruition. Outside of dependence, self-righteousness can rule and we miss not only what we really are and are called to be, we miss true fellowship with Him.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The risk of close relationship....

What does it look like to truly live your life before God? Big question, I know, with no quick answer. However, I got a revelation today about a little more of what it looks like for me. God gave me a picture once in my head. It was me standing in a completely white room, with Him as the only one in the room. He said that one day I would stand before him just like that without anyone else there. That is how he wanted me to live my life today. Just like that--before him as if there was no one else in the room. Easier said than done. I realized today that I HATE to disappoint anyone! Even if I can see that what I did to upset that person is really not a big deal, it makes me want to crawl under a rock and feel very sorry for myself. "Are you that arrogant that someone else can't feel the freedom to share that they were disappointed by you in a good way? Don't you want to know that and want them to feel like they can share those things if they need to?" Is what I heard the Lord say. Ouch. Yes, Lord, I do. "Rest in my grace for you. Rest in my favor for you. Then, you will be able to respond in a way without shame or condemnation that is humble and seeks forgiveness." The risk then? being "found out". "I am not perfect and because I am letting you in my life, you are going to see it and I really don't want you to!" Is what my heart says. "It's time for you to move into this kind of relationship. You have what it takes in the fullness of my favor to be able to take responsiblity when you wrong someone and not be flooded with shame." Is what He calls me to. And because I don't stand before him condemned, I can stand before others wrong but still not condemned. My identity is in him not in what others think of me. Whew. That was a load off...So, all my precious friends, I love you and I am going to disappoint you. There. I said it. I will try not to do it intentionally, but if I do, let me know so I can ask for forgiveness. Then, I am going to stand in the forgiveness of Christ the same as I did on the first day I knew him. :-)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Such an easy word to spell, but why so difficult to say? Having grown up as the youngest sibling in my family (and in my husbands), I have had to privelidge of watching my older siblings and in laws raise 20 nieces and nephews right before my eyes. Some of them are young still, like mine, but a couple are in college with a handful more just on their heels. I must say, my older siblings have done FABULOUSLY with raising their kids. I have witnessed how to do things and how to patiently respond; what things to worry about and what to let go; balancing acts and most of all that things go by SO fast and make sure you just enjoy the moment, for it truly is fleeting. Needless to say, I felt pretty confident about my knowledge and preparedness going into parenting. Don't get me wrong, there were many things I was not prepared for and have learned a long the way. I have been stretched as a wife and a mom with each new addition, and have seen so much of my own sinfulness and inadequacy. However, despite these challenges, I have always somehow managed to juggle all the balls myself, with little help from friends, and occasional help from family. So when we brought Mia home, I anticipated change (and maybe got more than I bargained for:-) and transition, and a new level of busy but I didn't expect to have to ask for help consistently.

As of this year, I went back to teaching on a very part-time basis (teaching one class twice a week for 2 hours). The timing and all plus the way it worked out was truly a God thing. I have loved every minute and as far as I can tell, my little ones at home are still doing great and thriving, not really missing out on too much mommy time. However, to say that I am on a faith journey is an understatement. I am truly in over my head and I do NOT know what I would do without the friends in my life right now. Hear me in that I am not desperate or overwhelmed. On the contrary, I don't recall feeling this much peace in the midst of this much chaos ever in my life. Between two boys in two different schools on two different schedules, extra weekly dr. visits for one child, then two toddler girls at home and one more small child home half the time, and one teaching job, house work, a good marriage to tend to, a new health plan to implement and trying to relax and have fun and just enjoy my life and my family I can honestly say I have never in my life been this busy. But it is a good and necessary busy. But I have had to learn how to say one really difficult word. Help. God has been gracious to make it a little easier on me to ask in that he has introduced our family to another one (the McKinneys) who are at mine and Ben's new school. To say that I am blessed by the servant hearts they have is an understatement. Not just willing to take ALL of my kids when I need it, but asking to. We do trade off and I get to reciprocate the favors, but I'd have to say it isn't quite even. :-) Yet, as I have been in a constant state of receiving from these friends (and others) I find myself questioning whether or not I am supposed to be doing what I am doing. Then the Lord started to show me something. Our culture pushes on us the idea that if you can't manage it all, all by yourself, you must be doing something wrong. Self-sufficiency is glorified, and it just so happens that my flesh tends to fall in line with that. I really am dependent on others right now. Not in a "if you don't come through for me I am going to die right now" kind of way, but in a way where I truly see my NEED for others and for relationship with them. I am living the life I believe God is calling me to live and yet I am seeing that this life necessitates that others come along side me in this journey. I would be ignorant to think God isn't accomplishing other things through my dependency beyond the needs of our family being met, but at the same time, it is quite evident that He is teaching me something and shining a light on my pride. I love even this, though. I don't have time to tell you how many times the Lord has worked out things in my schedule that proved to be more than I could "plan" for. There have been many mornings that I have woken up with "more to do than I had time for" and though filled with some anxiety, watched the Lord work the details of my day out for me in ways that I just couldn't despite my best efforts. So, thank you Lord, for your faithfulness in the little things. Thank you to my sweet friends who have selflessly come along side us to walk with us and share some of the load. Hopefully, if you find yourself in over your head, yet sure you are walking into something you believe God has called you to, you can learn how to say a humbling little word that crosses my lips frequently. Help.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I was recently asked to write our adoption story to share for a women's retreat at our church. Having experienced so much since the beginning of it and not wanting to submit a book about it as opposed to a short synopsis, I just asked God to lead me what to say, and it was give the nutshell of the how and what and then just write what I have learned through the process. 13 years is a long time to journey but as I began to write all that God had shown me through just this journey, I was suprised. Just thought I would share, forgive the spacing issues, copy and paste was easier than retyping:-)

Some days just stick out in your mind. Moments that upon entering into them seem quite mundane and regular
can in an instant become markers that put you on a different path, some how becoming etched in stone in your mind and heart.
Walking into our university library as a 19 year old college student to write an english 101 composition paper was one of
those times in my life. Given the freedom to chose our topic, I non-chalantly picked up a recent copy of TIME magazine,
and thumbed through articles on current events. Intrigued by one of the titles, I turned to a story that explained
the then recent policy institued in the nation of China that limited couples to bear only one child. I read on
about how culturally speaking the family in China was very much centered around the paternal figure, elevating and
valuing him above the female members of the house. This cultivated a strong desire for male children, and thus in
turn conversely resulted in many baby girls born only to face abandonment, rejection, or death. I read the accounts of
people who had stumbled upon these precious infants in garbage dumps and allys; stories of babies being aborted and
thrown into rivers. But I also read that there were some baby girls taken to orphanages. Babies allowed to live, but
without a mom to hold them and a family to care for them. And in a moment, as if upon my eyes being opened an invitation
had been extended, I instinctively told my Father, "I'll take one." In my mind, as long as there was breath in my lungs and
love in my heart, there was no reason why I couldn't adopt one of these baby girls and love her. My heart broke for the rejection
these little girls were feeling just because they were little girls. I would do it. I would step into this senseless horror
and love a child. I knew I could at least do that. Nearly 13 years and three biological kids later, I found myself along side
my husband in a taxi cab being shuttled quickly through the bustling streets of Kolkata, India, where we were lead to a small,
white, unsubstantial, building in the middle of many more buildings. It was all a blur as we were hurried in and up a flight
of stairs that suddenly opened up to a room full of cribs. Moments later I found myself staring down at two big, tear-filled,
uncertain brown eyes belonging to the daughter of my heart. Thirteen years I carried this child in my heart and all of a
sudden, here she was. To say this moment was surreal would be an understatement. However, the journey in between was anything
but. What I haven't shared was the twists and turns and the emotional ups and downs we encountered along the way. I will spare
you these details, but I will share what I learned as a result. First, life is NEVER about the destination, it is always
about the journey. It is not about where we go, how we get there, but WHO we go with. Moses and the people of Isreal did not
wander through the wilderness, they were lead through the desert with a purpose by God's Presence. Logistically it didn't need to take
13 years to bring home the child God planted in my heart as a teenager, but it was his best for us. I have learned that long-
suffering can't happen in a short amount of time. I have learned that I am more sinful and selfish than I ever realized I was
and that He is more wonderful and I could ever possibly begin to fathom. I have learned that while a desire to adopt may seemed
to have come from me, it indeed originated in the very heart of the Father. I have learned that as sons and daughters of the Father,
created to immulate His heart, and in the likeness and nature of Christ "do what we see our Father do", we should
not be suprised when our heart responds with a desire to care for the abandoned and orphaned children of this world, but instead
should be suprised when we don't. I have learned that God will finance what He favors. I have learned that to follow Christ is
at times inconvienient, uncomfortable, exposing, impractical, scary and unsafe. I have learned that to be misunderstood and
criticized is par for the course. I have learned that I was invited to go on a bus ride but not asked to drive or plan the details
of the trip. But, in all of this, I have seen deeper parts of the Heart of God and I ever even knew existed. I have come to
know more deeply the intimate love and grace he has for us and the lengths He has gone to to be with us. I have learned that
when I looked down into the eyes of this child whom I had never met and did not birth, I saw myself, and as I watched my
own arms reach down and draw her to myself I saw God's hands reaching out to me.

Monday, July 12, 2010

If God is for us....

So, I cannot stop listening to this song (should be playing right now if you are reading this blog) "Our God" by Chris Tomlin. I think the reason I like it so much is because I am really coming to believe with all my being that indeed, my God is for me. That doesn't mean He always wants what I want (or that I want what He wants) but He is ALWAYS for ME. He roots for me. He cheers me on. He has got my back. He won't leave me, mislead me, take His eyes off me, and surely if there is anything ANYTHING in my life that I face that is overwhelming, whether I got to that place by choice or not, I am sure that He goes before me, is my rear gaurd and walks beside me to see me through. There is nothing our God can't do and if there is nothing He can't do, then there is nothing I can't do with Him beside me. Too often we face our future not with a sense of who He is and what He is calling us to, but with who we are and what we are capable of. I recently have been bombarded with stories of marriages that are in trouble. Everywhere I turn I am hearing of another couple who is struggling some very seriously in this area. I have been talking to God and asking for clear pictures of marriage in general and for wisdom as some of these couples are asking us for advice. Two things I feel God shared with me are this: one, a better understanding of our roles in covenant marriage as defined by God, and two: HIS role in a covenant marriage as defined by Him. First, He brought me back to the garden. To Adam and Eve and what it was like for them when He first breathed life into the dust that they were. The single greatest gift He gave to them was Himself. Communion with the Father on a DAILY basis in the garden. Oh to walk in the cool of the day, in the garden with my Father at my side, talking, lauging, having him explain all that He had made to them, fellowshipping with no shame guilt or walls of any kind to get in the way. This was man's greatest loss when we chose to sin and rebel against Him. Thus surfaced our deepest need which is to regain what was lost. Without the Love and fellowship of our Father, we are lost, broken, hurting, beings with no purpose or direction and no Hope of ever being the glorious display of His image He designed for us to be. Redemption and reconciliation of man was the ultimate plan. Marriage plays a HUGE role in this. AS a spouse to another broken hurting human being, my role is unique and unlike any other. I have the Holy and sacred honor of loving as my Jesus loves and was poured out for me. NO OTHER PERSON IN MY SPOUSE'S LIFE HAS THIS OPPORTUNITY. For it is in truly seeing my husband and all that he is, both broken and all that he was designed to be, and TRULY loving him in spite of all this, do I even begin to walk out the same kind of love that Jesus shows me and showed me when He died for me and continues to pursue me with loving kindness on a daily basis. Many people can show love to my husband, but no one has the opportunity to show him as deeply as I do or in the same ways as I do. I am the only one with the honor of stepping in Christ's footsteps in this way. And when He is not being easy to love (like me a lot of the times) is when my opportunity to be like Jesus is the greatest. It is an honor to choose to love in the face of suffering and persecution or rejection because that is the purest form of the love of God I can display. In doing so, I am playing a key role in my spouses life in the story of redemption of His soul and reconciliation of himself to God. We must stop seeing our spouses lives and their offenses in terms of only what that means to our lives. There is a MUCH bigger story going on. It should break our hearts for our spouse when they are going down the wrong track because that means they are getting further away from HIM. HE is what they need and our job is to listen and obey God in how we should respond so that that holy relationship can be restored. Marriage should be a glorious display of the intimate, committed, long-suffering love God has for his people played out in our lives. Marriage has a kingdom purpose that is bigger than just the story we are living in our short little lives. Second, I have heard ALOT of people regurgitate the lie that has been fed to them, that they never should have married in the first place, that they weren't the right ones for each other, and that they should just divorce and begin their new "search" for the "right" person. Can I just boldy say now, with a full heart of love, THAT IS A COPOUT!!!! What this discounts is the second thing God taught me. When you stand before God on your wedding day, and commit your selves to one another, there is a third person committing themselves to you at the altar. GOD. When you step into the covenant of marriage, God commits himself and every resource in the heavenlies to making your marriage work. HE IS FOR YOU and is FOR YOUR MARRIAGE WORKING. If two people seek God even at the depths of a pit for help, He will move heaven and earth to help because He is for us and not against us and He is for marriage. Notice, I did say TWO people. One willing person is not enough, although it may start with one heart who is willing and brave enough to walk and wait for the other person to come along. NO MARRIAGE is beyond saving if both parties will humble themselves before God and ask for his help. If your God is for you, NOTHING can stand against you!!!