Monday, July 25, 2011

Adopting Again? Are You Crazy?

Well, I guess the answer depends on how you define crazy.  If you define crazy as giving up creature comforts, sacrificing even more scarce time, accepting unknown risks, and pretty much assuring our children that we will never be able to pick up the tab on their college education then yes...we are completely insane!

However, my definition of crazy is a bit upside down these days.  I would define crazy as wasting even a single day when God has asked us to move.  Crazy would be sitting back and thinking we've done enough and that it is someone else's turn.  Crazy would be thinking that there will always be tomorrow or next year to act, when in fact next year is not promised to anyone.  Crazy would be thinking we could do any of this on our own when our heavenly Father has made it quite clear that we have done none on our own.  

Thankfully, God has made his loving presence known in our household and we rely on his grace, mercy, and provisions to get through each and every day.  Sometimes minute by minute.  On our own, we have been in over our heads for quite some time.  As Beth Moore likes to say, "Baggage attracts baggage."  Without God, our home would be one big luggage turnstile.  I believe the day we welcomed Larry into the world, God had a sly grin on his face thinking, "This unsuspecting young couple has no idea that they are about to take the ride of their lives."  Wouldn't you like to take that kind of ride?  Maybe it's not adoption, but some other risk God is calling you to take for his glory.  Go ahead, take the first step toward whatever God may be calling you to do.  Step out of your comfort zone, trust him, rely on him, and watch your life transform right in front of you.  Then, watch that transformation impact those around you!  It is miraculous...and that is a guarantee.  

The truth is, while I sit here in my comfortable chair inside my comfortable climate controlled building, drinking my safe filtered water, and enjoying a cup of coffee all while having the luxury to put these thoughts into words, 30,000 people will die.  Yes, that is correct.  Each day, 30,000 of God's children...children God loves no less than you and I will die of preventable diseases.  

As Luke 12:48 says, "...from everyone who has been given much; much will be expected.  And from the one who has been entrusted with more, much more will be asked."  Even during an economic downturn, slow job growth, rising unemployment and a host of other negative economic indicators, those of us in developed nations are living far, far better than the majority of human beings cohabiting God's beautiful creation.  If you have clean water and more than one meal per day, you are rich in the eyes of 925 million hungry people in the world.  Water + Breakfast + Lunch = Rich.  Have you ever thought about it in those terms?  Forget about the cost of extracurricular activities, brand named clothing, college education, and a host of other luxuries.  Let's stick to the basics.  Can you make a difference, a huge life-changing positive difference in the life of someone?  If you are reading this than the answer is yes.  A big emphatic Y.E.S.  If you cannot adopt, consider sponsoring a child.  If children are not your thing, help build a well.  If you don't like water, visit your local food bank and ask for ways to get involved.  If you don't like food...well, I'm not sure what to say about that. :-)

Bringing it full circle, my one request, God, is that the child or children you have planned for our home are over five years of age.  I know you like to scoff at my requests, but as a persistent control freak, I just do not possess enough self control not to ask.  If you do see fit to bless us with another preschooler, I think it will be safe to safe that we will, in fact, be crazy by every definition imaginable.  Please do not let that happen.  I trust you.  Amen!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bloom Where You're Planted

As I have said before, God's timing is rarely our own.  Just when we think we have designed the perfect plan, God comes in and after a brief chuckle, reminds us that when we are seeking him and are willing to live out our lives according to his purpose, we must be open and willing to follow his plan, regardless of what it looks like...whatever time, whatever place.  

When I was in grade school, we would sing a song in church called Bloom Where You're Planted.  It was a simple song and for whatever reason, it popped into my head at least half a dozen times last week.  While searching for a copy of the song, I instead found this video clip from the movie Facing the Giants.  It was as if God placed that old song in my head so that I would find this clip and be reminded that he is the one who opens doors that no one can shut.  In addition he is constantly seeking to use each one of us, right where we are.  However, we need to remember to first do the work that is required on our part, in faith and in deed, so that he can do the work required on his.  

With an eleven-year-old-new-to-America son and three rambunctious preschoolers in our home, I would have laughed (and trembled in fear) if someone had told me six months ago that two doors were about to swing wide open.  I have been preparing myself for the first door, cautiously yet optimistically in a neat little box;  however, the second door caught me by complete surprise. 

Through door number one, I will head to seminary in order to study God's Word and gain a better understanding of how to practically apply theology to today's generation and future generations.  Through door number two, I will immediately begin putting to use the knowledge gained through door number one.  Starting this Monday, I will retire my SAHM status and assume the  Director of Welcoming Ministries position at our church.  Through both doors, simultaneously and in ways unseen and unknown at this point in time, God will provide the opportunity to serve him, serve others, and grow in Christ.  While I can see a faint glimpse off into the distance, the operational and tactical details of his plan are still blurred.  Because he is a loving God who knows me most intimately, he understands that too many details all at once will distract me and cause me to be anxious.  So instead, he is whispering, "Put one foot in front of the other and trust that I am there.  When the time is right, more will be revealed."  I am excited beyond words to see his plan play itself out in our family, the life of our church, and the life of our community.  

Six months ago, I would have never imaged returning to 'work' this year because I was under the mistaken impression that God was going to keep me at home until all of our children were in kindergarten...because that was my plan, and why wouldn't God just fall in line with my plan and then I could just give him the credit?  Sounded good to me!  However, I completely trust that he is the one opening these doors because I feel his comforting presence and a peace that cannot be put into words.  Instead of worrying, I am acting and taking the steps necessary to make sure the daily logistical concerns are taken care of.  Instead of making excuses for why the timing is not right, I am trusting that he is always on time and praying that his strength is made perfect in my weakness.  

As Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, work at is with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters."  As our family prepares ourselves, yet again, for change and growth, we will continue to pray that God makes his desires clear and provides all that we need to be successful.  We pray that are able to view every day as an opportunity to serve with all of our heart and bloom where we are planted.  

Below are two verses and the chorus of the song Bloom Where You're Planted.  I have not heard or thought about this song since grade school, but as always God's timing is perfect.  

Look at the flowers, look at them growing,
They never worry, they never work.
Look at the way our Father clothes them,
Each with beauty all its own
Each with beauty all its own

Bloom, bloom, bloom where you're planted.
You will find your way.
Bloom, bloom, bloom where you're planted.
You will have your day.

Look at the love that lies deep within in,
Let yourself be!  Let yourself be!
Look at the gifts that you have been given.
Let them go free!  Let them go free!
Let them go free!  Let them go free!

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