The Effects

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“The effects of the mission trip continue.”

This was said recently when we announced that we would be adopting a daughter from South Africa. Earlier this year we took 16 of our youth group kids to South Africa. We spent two weeks at a primary school. Loving kids who have literally nothing. Their joy and affection touched our hearts. The people who run this school are some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. As we came home I was grieved. It was true. It had affected us both greatly.

Months later, we agreed on an international adoption.

My husband and I met with our case worker to discuss country specifics and get clarification. We were able to pursue Hong Kong, Albania, Bulgaria, China and South Africa. My hands throbbed as we sat down. I am not very good at waiting quietly. With each decision, we felt closer and closer to her. And I was ready to take another leap of love. Our caseworker confirmed some countries were out, we did not meet their requirements. She wouldn’t be from China, or Albania. Hong Kong and Bulgaria were not an option. These two countries required things we weren’t comfortable with presently.

South Africa was staring me in the face.

I looked at the paperwork – our caseworker answered our very detailed questions. She clarified her answers, then answered them again. I wanted to make sure this was a fit. I didn’t want to make it fit simply because all other countries were out of reach. With each answer another blossom of hope grew. It was reasonable to hope for fairly healthy. It was reasonable to hope for under four. It was reasonable to wait 1-2 years.

My husband confirmed it.

Before we left that meeting, without talking to me in private, he said “Well, I guess it’s South Africa!” It was South Africa! I joined in easily and confirmed with all my heart that she was in South Africa! We would join the South Africa program. Another choice made. Another step closer. Another bit about her known to us. So much joy!

God is SO in the details.

Isn’t our God great? Our caseworker started to wrap up out meeting. It had been successful on all fronts. I smiled and said “God is in the details. Because we already love those kids. Our hearts are already there!” We serve a Father who loves to give gifts to his children.

I hugged my husband in the parking lot.
More like I threw myself at him. I felt like I had just gotten engaged. We had a plan. We were pushing forward. We decided to go out for lunch before we split for the day. I got a massive cappuccino which was stupid at best because I was already jittery from my excitement. I just wanted to revel in the joy of knowing this. She’s in South Africa somewhere.

So God choose our country for us.

He is telling us to run to South Africa. The effects of the trip? Yes. For sure. I was broken by the trip. I stopped thinking of impoverished children as someone else’s responsibility. My heart was torn out and stitched back in while we were there. But did we choose South Africa because of our trip? No. That was just God tossing an additional blessing our way.

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The Spark

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It started with a spark.

Adoption was on my heart since I was a child. Back then life was simple, logical. These kids needed families, and food, and love, I had all of those, so I planned on sharing it with them. But as life took over, it became a distant dream. It became something that I saw myself doing, but never now, not this year, not yet. Always later. I wasn’t ready yet. I thought things, and felt things and hated the part of me that spoke the honest but hurtful pains in my heart. I didn’t know how to resolve them. So I didn’t.

Then I got an email.

My husband and I had attended a screening of Find Me, a documentary on adoption featuring a family that attended our church. People I barely knew but respected from a distance. They were some of those uber-Christians. They had memorized the entire Bible. Backwards. I was pretty sure of it. The mom of this clan offered me an opportunity to ask questions, in what she promised would be a safe environment. I cautiously replied and we met a few days later.

We talked for hours.

I’m not sure I can remember what was even said. I know I feared not loving enough. I know I voiced my concerns, and my frustrations in lacking the ability shed them. I told her that I had recently come to see children differently. They were no longer distant strangers, but instead innocents who needed help. How could I turn away? Still I struggled with, what if I couldn’t love? What if my heart wasn’t big enough? What if it was hard? What if a child messed up our marriage, our ministry? I was so busy already. How was I supposed to fit a child in the mix?

At the same time, My heart ached for these lost kids. Kids without families, security, hope, love. I wanted to help them. I knew we would have whatever it took, I just wasn’t sure if I was willing to give it. I know now that so much of my fear was really ignorance. Ignorance to the process. Ignorance of a Great God. A lack of trust. A cord of disobedience. She said many things that hit my heart, but one that I will never forget,

“If you feel called to this journey then there is most likely a child waiting for you                                                                                                                                               at the end of the paperwork.”

 Oh. My daughter. She’s waiting for me.

 She waiting for us. She’s anxious for us. She looking for us. She’s hoping for us. How can I abandon her?

After hours of talking I pulled my coat around my shoulders, threw my head back, hands in pockets and groaned. “Ahhhh I think we’re going to do it.” Over the next few days the burden was lifted, my selfish desires fell away.

The spark was reignited. Life became simple again. Logical. That distant dream has become a real purpose. She’s out there waiting. We have to go get her.

I found joy in obedience.

Since that night my joy has multiplied a hundredfold. And I don’t even know her name….

Here’s to the Overflow

“Alright!” he said, “We have a domain name, a twitter account, and professional photos. Now all we need are some blogs.” That was my cue – Produce!

 There are very few times that I would use an exclamation point for something that my husband said. He’s a fantastic man and an incredible youth pastor, but the punctuation that describes him best? Not an exclamation point, maybe a semicolon. He has been patient, very, very patient.

Over the past year or so I’ve grunted and moaned at my desire to write. My lack of time, my ignorance of how to do it and my doubts at having anything to say. But yet we pushed on, more like fumbled forward, and now months later all my excuses are irrelevant and I just need to type.

I couldn’t get rid of this feeling these past few months that the Lord wants me to do this. Not for you, not for me, just for Him. Simply because He asked me to and I’m supposed to obey Him. It’s almost like He’s got this sharp ended stick that pokes me in the back every once in a while, nudging me forward. As much as I would like to take it from Him and break it over my knee, I think it’s going to work out better for me if I just trust Him enough to type.

 I know you have a million other voices talking to you. The last thing you need is another. Unfortunately for you, I can’t let this go; its been bugging me for too long.

So small and annoying and persuasive!

Talk. Chat. Babble. You have something to say. I will give you something to say. You’ve asked for wisdom – this is how you get it. Let go of your expectations and your need for perfection. I make you charming in your ignorance, so just speak.

And so, here I go. As you chide yourself at the thought of diving head first into your Easter basket, and decide to “get serious” about swimsuit season coming up. As you promise to spend less time online and more time reading the Word. Even as you decide to limit your distractions and focus on your real objectives in life. Here’s one ore voice coming at you, asking for your attention and hoping for your affection.

I just need the Guy behind me to stop poking me in the back. I hope this works.

 My news years resolution was to write more, to read more, to pray more and to love better. To live out of my overflow. Wanna join up? I’m a little late in the process, but I’m here. I can’t promise it’ll will be worth your time in wisdoms, but it’s bound to be entertaining.

Here’s to the overflow.