I have so many of my Christ-following friends who have been going through unbelievably HARD situations for LONG periods of time. You DO know that when one is in these kinds of situations that an hour feels like a day and a day feels like a month...a month feels like a year and a year feels like a lifetime. There have been moments where we have wondered what in the world God was doing. The deal with God is that He often doesn't make sense! The deal with God is that He often doesn't let us know WHAT He is doing nor why He is doing it!
For us, the first four of the past five months of our bringing home our son have been MOSTLY tough mixed with moments of HOPE, delight, joy, and pure amazing love being given! The Lord has given me moments where i felt like i couldn't move a muscle or else the moment may end as it was just so precious. Those moments had always been followed by some of the hardest and LONGEST moments of these five months. It got to the point of my knowing that the Lord was giving me a blessing to hold onto for the day ahead that was coming. I thank the Lord for those times but to tell you the truth this blog post is going to try to tell you why i believe and KNOW that we are ALSO supposed to thank the Lord through those HARD LONG days, weeks, months and even years. We, who follow after Christ and His teachings SHOULD NOT be shocked BUT RATHER, isn't that supposed to be the 'norm'?James 1:2-3 have been my 'life verses' since i was...well, a VERY LONG time...since childhood.
I have to tell you that i am appalled CONSISTENTLY by what i hear the average 'American Christian' believe and say what their lives should be looking like especially when i compare it to what the average American follower of Christ believed just one hundred years ago OR when i compare it to what believers in other parts of the world are going through on this very day (as i read ((with the LONG E) in the Voice of the Martyrs magazine or hear on the Mission Network News program on our Christian radio station). I am appalled by what I think that God should GIVE me or DO for me! UGH!
People are continually appalled that Scott and i adopted our son AND that he is having 'issues' that we will have to 'live with'. The idea coming across is that WE have taken on 'too much'...WE. Lately, my heart and mind freak out every single time i hear this idea (EVEN though there are many times where my flesh also wants to agree with them). ARE YOU SERIOUS??? SO, am i supposed to be EXPECTING that my life here on earth is supposed to ONLY be easy, happy and full of sunshine and roses? WHERE IN THE WORLD do we find that in the Bible?
What i am seeing is the Church (the American followers of Christ) is coming together to go golfing together, have swimming parties, have fun, just hang out, and do the things that just feel great and are thinking that "THIS is the life". It seems that THAT is what Christians in general are feeling that life is supposed to be like....as if God could ever ask US as believers to do something that would cause us to CHANGE OUR LIFESTYLE!?!?! Why would God ever ask us to be stretched? Why would God ever ask us to go through a serious health issue that could alter our lives forever OR end our lives for that matter? Why would God give a family a child that had health issues that made it so their lives had to be altered, not only for a few weeks but for the rest of their lives? Why then would God ask THEM to take on ANOTHER child that has health issues? GOD would NEVER ask a family such a thing, WOULD He??!
SERIOUSLY!?!?! Have you read any missionary biographies lately!?!?! We are reading a biography on Jonathan Goforth....so far this family has lost FOUR children to death that would probably NOT have happened had they stayed in North America but it DID happen because God had asked them to go to China as some of the very first foreign missionaries ever to enter China. This wife and mother was asked by God to have HUNDREDS of people go through her home on a DAILY basis (six days a week ever since THE day that they came back from their furlough back in Canada for SIX YEARS and from daybreak to dark- you may want to read this last sentence again).with people who would steal anything and everything that wasn't bolted down. On one day that was in the same month that she and her husband had buried their THIRD child AND in the ninth month of a VERY difficult pregnancy for her...they had the MOST people come through their home. On this particular day though, they had 1,800 men and 500 women who had gone through their home. Haven't THEY already done ENOUGH!?!? WHY would God ask such a thing of a family???
BECAUSE THIS LIFE IS NOT ABOUT THE THINGS ON THIS EARTH BUT ABOUT THE PEOPLE ON THIS EARTH!!! JESUS came to save PEOPLE NOT things!!!
For the most part WE aren't coming together to DIG in the Word, to meditate on His precepts, to help the widow on our streets or in our pews or the orphan or the single mother who has three children and no break, or the least of these or the untouchables of our day. For the most part, we aren't hungering for the things that are eternal BUT for the things that satisfy our flesh....THIS IS ME!! I could sit here and think that we have done enough of the changing our lifestyle and feel let off the hook BUT what i have realized is that....THAT is NOT true!!! There are SO many people who are hurting and need ME and our family to change our schedules to care for the hurting around us. THERE ARE SO VERY MANY too!
I have never in my life known how much i have been sucked into this American Christian belief that God would NEVER ask us to do "THAT" as i have from this adoption! I would give excuses and i hear excuses -THAT would be too hard on our family, too much money, too tough for us to handle, an area where i am NOT qualified, and the excuses go on. What is SO SAD is that we BELIEVE IT!!! We don't even give it a second thought! We hear God ask us to do something as simple as smile at the person in front of us or to open our mouths to be kind to a stranger even or to make a meal for a family we don't know or to shake the hand of a person in uniform and thank them for their service, tell someone about Jesus being the ONLY way to God/heaven.....the list goes on as to what takes us out of our comfort zone. You know, the areas where we KNOW that the Lord would NEVER ask us to go to! SO we just dismiss it and don't give it a second thought!
GOD HAS ASKED OUR FAMILY TO ADOPT!!! Yes, it IS hard! BUT, my goodness guys! LIFE is hard! Ethan is a child....a child i might add who was created with a PURPOSE....a child who had NEVER been into a HOME where there is a kitchen, a living room, and for that matter had never been in a church!!! Our son is NOT a burden even though he has brought me to my knees wondering WHY God has chosen ME....our family.....he is our son, our SON that GOD gave us! IF he had been born from my own womb would people be acting as if it is too much for us to take on? GOD is the One who chose our son! GOD is the One who gave us/ME this opportunity to realize MY selfishness, MY pride, MY concerns about the THINGS of this world as being more important than JESUS and the PEOPLE of this world! I have never been so convicted as i have these past five months and now a few days since we brought Ethan into our lives in Bulgaria and then home.
WHY is it that we think that when someone does something CRAZY that it couldn't be from God WHEN THE BIBLE IS FULL OF THAT KIND OF LIVING!!!?!?! When our forefathers LIVED that way!?!?! When there are men, women and children TODAY giving their VERY LIVES so that they can go and hear about Jesus with a group of other believers!!! There are churches that will be FULL here in the US where people can't WAIT for the sermon to be done so they can watch the football game and won't remember what the sermon is by the time the game is done. NOR will we take the time to digest and meditate on it long enough to have the words from our pastor that GOD HAS GIVEN him to actually CHANGE our lives! Again, THIS IS ME!
MY challenge to you and CONTINUALLY to MYSELF is how is my life acting like Christ's? How am i acting like the men in the Bible who were doing things that made NO sense to the world that they were in.....BUT GOD asked them to do it.....you know, let's see....men like Noah!!! Elijah, Abraham, Ruth, HELLO...MARY, the mother of Jesus, and the list goes on!? How am i being MORE like Christ and less like the world? How am i caring about the things that matter for eternity more than the things that will pass away? How am i changing MY plans to be what God's plan is for me!?!
My prayer is that if you and i were to hear that still small voice ask us to change the plans you or i have for the evening and to do something that TOTALLY takes us out of our comfort zone OR just makes our night NOT be what you or i were planning....that we would say YES! My prayer is that if God is asking you or i to change our plans for this week or this month or even for our LIVES...that we would say YES!!! I pray that the people in our lives who see our lives will see JESUS in us because we are living SO DIFFERENTLY than the rest of the world! Remember that the Lord told us that we are STRANGERS in THIS world! THIS is not our home so DON'T get comfortable! God asks us to take up our cross and follow Him! THAT does NOT sound easy to me!
My prayer is that people will ASK us WHY we are different and that we will be able to tell them that the things of this world are NOT what matters to us....but JESUS does and THEY do! I pray that we will be able to tell them about having a relationship with Him that isn't that it will save us from pain, hardship or heartaches but rather that there will ALWAYS be ONE who will WALK THROUGH those times WITH us! I pray that they will then be able to hear that we followers of Christ are SO NOT even close to perfect BUT we DO have a PERFECT Christ that we ARE following and who has brought us to Himself as His child AND He desires that for them too! I pray then that they will repent. Repentance isn't just feeling sorry that we made a few mistakes but actually understanding the depth of our sinfulness, disobedience, and pride and the amazing response of sacrifice, forgiveness and love that God has mercifully given to us. I pray that MANY will desire the Lord and His forgiveness and His work in their lives to be what He wants from that day forward. I pray that they will become followers of Jesus Christ.
REPENTANCE...something that i am convicted of lacking in understanding and pondering on-i wonder when the last time I(we) really thought about what REPENTANCE even truly is? I pray that i(we) who call ourselves CHRISTians would also repent of my(our) lack of zest, my(our) lack of passion, my(our) lack of taking Jesus seriously, my(our) lack of OBEDIENCE, etc....that i(we) would TRULY REPENT and turn from my(our) wicked ways and NOT listen to this world and its toys but instead listen to what GOD is asking me (us) to do! FOLLOW HIM! He did not call us to a life of ease but a life where we will be on our knees asking Him how in the world we can do it and He will respond...ONLY WITH me! GOD uses our weaknesses, our hardships, our heartaches, our struggles and will bring miraculously GOOD out of those times.....even death. We serve an amazing God who uses even our hardest moments to bring amazing good to Himself, to us and to others. Remember that God ALWAYS gives us more than we can handle OURSELVES BUT NEVER more than He can handle FOR(with) us!
THIS did NOT come out in the way that i have been wanting BUT i pray that whatever reason that it is out there will be for God's glory and for His good as i feel as if i have slaughtered THIS post! UFFDA! I pray that you see it as a heart of a mother who has been convicted and also prays that others will join me.
I'm just going to quit now.....
but know that i am ALWAYS BLESSED