The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet
– Frederick Buechner
Until recently, this quote probably wouldn't have meant much to me. I didn't think much of the world.
I live a pretty insular life here on the farm. We homeschool so that takes a lot of our time and outside church commitments and dance, we stay home.
I haven't thought far from this farm let alone to other parts of the world. I mean I'm well aware that or life does not mirror the life of most but I haven't had time to ponder that let alone feel deeply for it.
Having three kids home 24/7 pretty much occupies all my mental and emotional energy and leaves little room for philanthropic daydreaming.
The last few months God has change that.
Ironically, the biggest change in my and I'm fairly certain my husbands Christian life came during a month we were absent from church.
Through mid December to mid January my family took turns being sick, with the the main event occurring starting Christmas Eve (of course ) through Christmas week.
That combined with family visits , we were out of church for a least a month.
Being absent from a church building doesn't mean anything, because in that time God wrecked us.
(To those not in with contemporary Christian speak ;) we young people often say God wrecked us when he really moves on us, Changing our hearts our minds. Kind of wrecks you off the course you've been plodding upon so to speak)
He began pounding and tenderizing our hearts, breaking us.
I don't know why. I honestly find formal prayer times - where I get alone and seek His face to be rare. *See above homeschooled children.
My prayer is more casual conversational throughout the day with Him.
I haven't had big "God moments" lately, except maybe sometimes at youth (we were youth helpers until the last week or so) at the altar just soaking in His presence and praying some.
I imagine during one of those times I offered myself up to be used by Him as he sees fit, as I have throughout my life. Idk, maybe He was cashing in on previous offers Ive made. My Christian walk hasn't required much of me since entering the motherhood portion of my life . Basically helping out with things In church Sunday school, youth - things I consider entry level duties of Christians in church - despite my pledging my all to His disposal continually.
I have a feeling God may have a sort of coupon book of my pledges up there and is starting to tear off years worth Hes stockpiled and he's Beginning to cash in.
However it may be, He began to wreck me, soften my heart. I found myself hurting for people around the world.
Heartsick. I know what that word feels like now.
I spent the majority of December and January crying daily. Sobs. Copious amounts of tears rushing down my face.
Hurting for those he cries for.
My Facebook status a few weeks ago was
"We often ask God to break our hearts for what breaks His. But be warned - when he actually does - it is overwhelming"
I think we all go on our Christian walks thinking we feel for the causes we are called as Christians to be sensitive to. That we "care"
I've learned in the last month that we don't. At least not me- at least not in the way we need to. I think it holds true for most.
When God really breaks your heart for the things that break his it's hard to ignore. Impossible actually. I can't even explain it other than during the last two months God has been so near and so persistent and so heavy that it was almost too much! I even said I'm only a person I can't take more. At one point.
God really was at work in a major way in rending our hearts into something that could be used for his purpose.
Through much of it - I was clueless.
Ok God I'm utterly broken over your making my heart sensitive to this plight. What can I do?
I felt trapped by living in a prospered country. I wanted to really give it all away and move my family to some third world county and make a difference in lives for God.
Softly ( which was strange being that his working thus far was no less than overwhelmingly relentless) He began to speak to my nearly pulverized heart.
First in thoughts, that I passed off. Then in pictures posted by a friend living out the Bible in a foreign land.
A tiny beautiful face , in a dirty pink shirt. No smile.
A little girl in a Haitian orphanage, sick with severe malnutrition and anemia.
After her a tiny 10 lb boy. 2 years old.
I cried all evening.
My husband was away on a youth trip in Ohio. I stayed behind sick with a sudden flu. Left with updates on missionary life in a Haitian orphanage to keep me company.
I felt God speak.
I tried to ignore Him.
He doesn't take well to that.
The next day when Tony was home I asked if he had seen the pictures I had sent to him (and about ten other people. That little girl deeply moved me, but I didn't know why) and he said yes. We talked about how awful the situation of the children in the world are. Just baffled by such suffering.
Seeing an opening and feeling like I needed to say it, I told him what I felt God had been speaking to me.
He agreed and that was it. No definitive talk just a sometime thing that we both felt led to.
Over the course of the next week I feel like God really we t into overdrive. There wasnt a moments escape from thoughts of suffering, lonely children. It brought me to tears continually.
I couldn't get any peace from the thoughts. The Western worlds normal escapism into mindless reading, net surfing and trash tv provided no respite.
God wouldn't be ignored.
In the meantime Tony and I didn't really talk more of it. I believe there was one more two minute conversation, promoted by me sharing some stuff from a book I was reading.
With trepidation I broached the topic again that God had laid on my heart. Again tony agreed and again no specifics were discussed other than perhaps sometime in the next couple years this would come to fruition.
With more of a sure footing that Tony was feeling the same thing I began to pray to God for clarity and specifics.
I began to feel certain that He meant this for the immediate future not a distant one.
That following weekend was Ella's birthday party and after the haze of decorating and kid wrangling was over I feel exhausted into bed .
I was praying and telling God a multitude of reasons why I must be hearing wrong. How this wasnt for us and detailing the ways it would not could not work.
Satisfied I'd convinced not only myself but the Almighty Himself that we were both mistaken in this prompting, I finally fell asleep.
The next morning was Sunday, and I would find that not only had He not been so convinced as I but also Sunday does not mean he rests from working on mans heart!
The whole way to church I didn't speak. Sometimes God just comes on me in a way that I feel like I'm just kind of not plugged into what's going on around me -I'm present but absent. And quiet.
That morning was one of those times.
I sat watching out the car window as God quickly and decisively dismantled EVERY. SINGLE.ARGUMENT. I had made the night before .
Every argument was dashed by bringing a scripture to mind proving the opposite.
The whole way to church I cried.
I felt him working on my heart and I felt like a fool with trying to not only convince myself that I hadn't heard clearly before but that He wasn't really telling me what he was telling me...
I managed to pull myself together before getting into church despite knowing the course of my family's life had just been drastically altered.
In fact it wasn t ignorance nor lack of clarity that had led me to the previous nights denial of call and listing of all the reasons it could not be so-
It was selfishness.
What he's called us to do is going to take a lot from not just me, not just my husband - but from my kids.
It's going to require from all the resources we give our children - time, money, housing, emotional energy and the list goes on.
But he has called is all to sacrifice.
That day in church while i was able to gather myself in the parking lot, I cried all through the worship service. God kept speaking to me, more in the loving father way this time reassuring me he works all things for the good of those who love him and while what he was asking seems to be monumental and impossible it will be such a blessing.
I was ok again by the time the preaching portion rolled around and in the middle of the sermon, I had a sudden coughing fit. I left for two minutes to get a drink of water, and when I came back Tony was crying.
I was Completely confused by the emotion from my husband, the lack of any from anyone else during what was not a tear jerking sermon - preaching about various things he sees as signs of the end times.
I couldn't figure out what was going on with Tony.
And he wouldn't tell me.
So when the service was finally over and my husband had composed himself which was a refreshing change for me to be the dry eyed one I immediately started asking him repeatedly in the car what had him so worked up.
Finally he quoted to me a passage in The first chapter of Isaiah which had been apparently said while i was getting my water.
Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood!
16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
Wow. That is one powerful passage of scripture.
I'm not sure how much attention I've paid to it in the past because I've probably just read about it in the context of God being frustrated with Israel.
But it applies to us all.
What good are our offerings, our church services while we ignore the world around us.
We have blood on our hands.
We don't seek justice for the oppressed.
We don't care for the widow or the orphan...
After tony recited the verse I don't think I waited a best before hearing the last word before declaring (the first time with certainty)
"We are supposed to adopt"
At which point he started crying again, as did I. Full I emotion and clarity of purpose.
To which I added - "soon"
And so after a day of starting with me crying, then Tony crying, we both sobbed the entire way home.
I later came to find out Tony had felt this call for us awhile ago , but was praying God would reveal it to me because he knew how much stress Layla can cause me and I'm the one home with the kids so a big portion of this will fall on my shoulders and he was hoping he wouldn't have to be the one to break it to me!
Maybe that is why I felt God so strongly on it , I don't know.
All I know is this is what He has called to.
It's nothing we sought out.
We weren't planning on more kids bio or otherwise! Layla while adorable is the kind of child that ends your desire to add more!
This was all God. It's His plan.
As I've read more on adoption - in his word and elsewhere I've really begun to question church in the way we do it here in the US.
Even a rudimentary reading reveals that God calls his people to Go and do serve and give all.
What do we do?
We build buildings in His name .... And then we sit in them. And then we build additions. And we sit in those too.
And that's about the extent in a majority of church people's lives today.
And yes churches do programs and outreaches for time to time but I think for the most part we are all missing so much of what God has called us to do.
All of us.
Caring for orphans is one majorly neglected area.
147 million orphans.
If only 8% of Christians adopted one orphan- there would Be. No. Orphans .
We need to do more.
And now my Family is going to be part of that 8%.
I don't say that condescendingly or as though we are better.
It quite literally took God ripping my heart to pieces to make me even open to this call.
We didnt come into this because we are so spiritual and so sacrificial.
This was God.
If He didnt pursue so relentlessly I'd still be living in my own littler world.
I'm glad He doesn't tire out quickly.
We would have missed what He has for us.
It's been just a month now since we came to the realization that this is what we were being called to.
Our next step was to seem Him for clarity on country.
That came quickly.
Also we got clarity on gender- a little girl.
I was (although everyone knows I have no Desire to have a Boy based on the fact that everyone who has me me has asked this because I have three girls) open to either gender it as I'd pray for our child in a gender neutral way I felt God saying "her " she" when I'd say "him or her" or "the child"
I told Tony and the poor guy admitted he had felt the same.
So within a week we got confirmation on being called to adopt, from where and what child (gender/age wise) .
We are now in the process of choosing an agency. I have it narrowed down , I just have to finish phone calls. Most have been in haiti recently due to many legal changes concerning adoption and its been hard to finalize details.
So within a couple weeks we will have signed with an agency and be on our way officially.
Isaiah 58: 6
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?"
We would appreciate your prayer through this time as we make decisions and raise funds.
We will need those prayers
I've read that adopting is paying a ransom.
Just like any prisoner, the orphan is bound in chains- chains made of poverty, abandonment, pain, loneliness, despair, sickness, and more.
Just like any prisoner a price - or ransom - must be paid.
For the orphan this is paid through the obvious - the high monetary of cost paid to governments for fees- but also every adoptive family I've spoken with or read experiences from say they pay a ransom through the pain and heartache of the adoption process. Add onto that our enemy the devil does not want to see precious children being loosed from their chains of despair and placed in families by God - adoptive families become a big target.
For that reason please keep us covered in prayer and pray for our child, yet unknown to us but loved even still.
The cost- monetary, emotional and spiritual- is worth it.
How could we not when we ourselves had a ransom paid for us.
God sent his son Jesus to die a brutal death on the cross to pay the ransom for our so and death.
Adoption is a reflection of that as in His sacrifice our ransom was paid and we were adopted into the family of God.
So much more could be said but I will close with this verse that has been burned into our souls over the last month
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
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