And I find myself , even though my heart bleeds for children without families, sometimes wanting to go back to the days when I lived oblivious to Gods calling for us.
See, when God wrecks you like he went ahead and did to us this January- you can't go back. I mean I suppose you can but things aren't the same. You can't unknow what he's revealed to you. You can ignore it for sure, God doesn't force anyone , but you can't ignore with blind ignorance now that God has shown you the truth, now that he's revealed his heart.
You could go on living your life in your own little world, providing for you and yours and making going to church the main spiritual accomplishment of your life- but always in the quiet recesses of your mind, your soul- you know.
You know that God has called you (as he's called all his children) to so much more. That sitting in a church was never his design for his followers.
You know that your hands weren't meant just to be folded in prayer but to heal hurt and sickness. To touch the untouchable.
Your eyes weren't meant just to take in the beauty of the world around you that God has created but to see need, sickness, pain. To look into the eyes of dying, the lost, the hurting.
Your feet not made to walk you to a pew to sit and be comfortable as you are affirmed by the pastor and fed spiritually but instead to walk among the people, to go where the whitewashed church won't go. You see the bible never says the lost will come to you - instead we are told continually to go. Go.
Your heart wasnt just made to love those around you it was meant to be broken for the things that break Gods heart. To beat with the passion for things that matter to Him- the fatherless, the widow, the outcast- the lost.
And no, your money wasnt meant just for mindless spending either.
But in America we are told going to church is enough. Doing Sunday school, or serving on a committee makes you an over acheiver in the church today. Only special Christians are called to more.
Or is it just that we've all shirked our responsibilities onto those with titles- pastor, missionary....
When we are all called to be these things. There's no special or ordained in Gods kingdom. While he calls some to that as an official job - we are all called to do the same in whatever life he has for us.
But we don't.
I guess because its so easy to skate by just on salvation.
We accepted Jesus so we will get to heaven anyway right? Why not live out these days enjoying the fruits of "our" labor, providing for our own kids and making life as comfortable or in excess as much as we can.
I'm not going to lie. I often want to go back to that. It's my nature. I want the comfortable life we had made full of Disney trips and shopping trips and whatever we wanted.
When I look at this adoption this is what I see:
That's me the tiny guy pushing the sumo of this adoption.
The financial requirements alone could be represented by that guy. In my own mind it makes me shudder and want to turn on Real Housewives of whatever new city bravo tv has invaded to silence the magnitude of what alone that financial burden entails.
Then there's the government hurdles in two countries.
The visiting of an unstable country just ranked the poorest in the ENTIRE WORLD for two weeks on our first trip.
Two weeks of leaving our children to meet another or the prospect of Injecting them with numerous vaccines with toxins to take them along.
Two weeks of living with a child we don't know but is ours, getting to know her and love her and then being ripped away from her without being able to say anything to soothe her little soul and reassure her that we are not leaving her like everyone else has always left her - we will back when the governments finish the rest of their job.
And then waiting indefinitely to return to a little girl who isn't just a face in a picture anymore - but a child in our heart, a missing part of our family. indefinite stretch lf time worrying, praying, missing.
I don't want to do it all the time. I don't.
I'm not special, I'm not extraordinary.
I'm just Mandy who likes to sit at home with her kids in flannel Santa pj pants making chicken nuggets and snuggling on the couch with fuzzy headed little loud creatures.
I don't feel like pondering the hunger of tiny bellies and imagining tear stained cheeks of children longing for a family.
But I don't really have a choice because for some reason God chose us to be softened to the most defenseless in our world - the orphan.
He wrecked us and our plans, made our hearts beat for what makes his beat and so I can't just ignore it.
Even though at times I want to.
Because let's face it: Reality IS ugly.
Now that some people know we are adopting and talk to us about it they always things like:
"That is so wonderful of you to do"
"I'm proud of you"
"You guys are incredible"
And.that.is So. Nice.
But it's not true.
I'm not , any of those things.
I'm flawed, I'm human I'm selfish.
I'm much more comfortable living life on my couch with my kids in my Santa pjs planning out our next vacation
The thought of doing all this
freaks. Me . Out.
It's not me at all.
It's God in me.
It's Jesus living through me.
It's his heart beating, him using my hands, my legs.
It's. All. Him.
Now don't get me wrong.
I want nothing more than to bring a family-less child into our home and give her family, to love her.
I want to find homes for all orphans.
I'd take 20 in myself.
If it were that easy.
It isn't the end result I'm afraid of or not desiring - even with all the uncertainties bringing an orphan into your home can bring.
It's the process, it's the money, the time, the pain, the sacrifice.
All that puts me into the frame of mind of breathlessly staring at the big sweaty stinky sumo of the adoption process- in a pilot program no less.
And I falter.
I back pedal.
I second guess.
But then I'm reminded, especially this week of someone facing their call.
Alone in the garden.
God if there's some way...
Let this cup pass from me..
But in the end.
Not my will but yours...
Jesus looking down time span of the next few hours in his earthly hours knowing full well what he was facing
Jeering hateful taunts
Desertion by devout followers
Spit in the face
Whipping - flesh ripped ; bone exposed gleaming white against the red of torn skin and muscle. The very humanity being torn from God incarnate.
Carrying the instrument of his own torture and death
Crown of thorns piercing his brow blood running down his face the metallic sting of his own life source trickling between parched lips
Crude nails tearing through muscle and ligament joining flesh to wood
Struggling for breath as an exhausted brutalized body struggles to support itself as iron rips flesh with every inhale.
His Father turning His back as the darkness of sin envelops the sinless.
The sting of death.
Jesus in that garden faced much more than you or I could ever be asked.
He questioned- if this cup could pass from me...
He could have said no.
Left earth and the constraints of man and returned to heaven and its glory.
But he continued on.
Because he was the kinsman redeemer.
His death paid the ransom to bring us- the fatherless into the family of God.
No price was too great for him to pay for our redemption.
I think like me when he asked if the cup could pass- it wasn't for lack of desire for the end result - our redemption, bringing us into His family - it was for the process that redemption cost.
How then could I - who has been given so so much deny this call?
A call that costs me , yes- money, inconvenience, patience, many various sacrifices on our family- but yet so little.
How can I ignore God asking me to pay the ransom of one of HIS children .
To give a home to a lost child.
To allow him to place the lonely in a family- our family.
So, even though I struggle at times looking ahead at what is required of us, what it will cost - the time and the money, when discouraged I do what I believe Jesus did.
I'm looking past the process, what it costs and looking at a face. In our case A beautiful Haitian child looking for love and a home.
In Jesus case-
I believe he saw you.
He saw our faces.
He saw us lost and alone in our sin.
He saw us and knew the cost was not too great.
He endured it all to give us a home.
I just want to encourage everyone to go after what God id calling you to do. He has SO much more for us than warming a pew in a church .
Church was never meant to be the totality of our Christian experience.
It was meant to be a place where we came back to for refreshment and encouragement after pouring ourselves into His work.
I encourage you all to take a step and look past the cost of what Hes calling you to and forward to the end result, the goal, the good you will accomplish by allowing Him to use you.
It's not us, it's Him in us. Let Him move in you and through you.
It's not easy, it will cost you your comfort in the very least.
Even though its trying emotionally and in every aspect of our lives right now - it's also amazing to have a passion about something- to be given a task by God and working toward it .
If you don't feel direction in your life seek God. Ask him to break your heart for what breaks him. To send you.
Your life will never be the same and though at times you'll feel like that tiny stick of a man against the hulking Sumo as you accomplish your task- nothing compares to actually walking out your faith .
And from this little stick man to all of you-
Any of you who have had a kind or encouraging word, who have shared a status or fundraiser link, have given of your time, prayers, thoughts or money to help us so far-
Any support we get is so appreciated. It's hard sometimes- we have close family who we thought would be supportive who have not even spoken a word about it, acting like its not happening.
Walking out what God has called you to is not always popular and sometimes you feel you walk alone.
So any gesture- great or small- is noted and warms our hearts and each one is like another helping hand to help puny us push over that big bad Sumo of this process.
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