Sunday, May 12, 2013

Jesus Calling

Here it is! This is the post I have been most anticipating; the one I have poured over most to assure I do the gravity of its contents the justice it deserves, the one I have stressed over in the late hours of night and early hours of morn, the one in which the weight of I fear will not be felt. The truth is, for many it will not be felt. My hope is that for many it will. It is heavy in its fullness, but even in the little piece being offer to us; it is heavy. My heart can finally purge what it has kept secret. Jesus is Calling. If you have tuned in to hear about a daily devotional by Sarah Young, you are in the wrong place (although I recommend it and the children's version). Instead you are privy to an intimate portion of our lives, just beginning, one that may even cause you to probe your own heart in response. The Father has placed a precious calling on our family. It can be argued that He places it on every family in different facets if you read the words written in scripture, but for certain we know He calls ours. And, after a bit of hesitation, momentarily losing our focus, and getting a grip on ourselves, because its huge...for us and any other family facing the same call, we have boldly accepted. We are expanding our family again. This time in a more unconventional way. WE ARE ADOPTING! More over we are adopting internationally from Ethiopia. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment we knew God was calling us to adopt from another country. God was gradual with His approach. He started to dissolve the hardness that had permeated my heart by this world and this culture in which we live. Third World poverty has never really been a second thought for me. I could watch a Feed the Children commercial, momentarily feel pity and by the next commercial, I had forgotten. Until God began this good work. God began placing us in circles with adoptive families and former orphans. We began to love these families and love these children. Little did we know, He was preparing us. My heartstrings were being pulled every time I turned around. Before I knew it, adoption was everywhere I turned. Many that we look up to spiritually we found, had adopted. David Platt: Secret Church pastor, author of Radical, adoptive parent. Toby Mac: christian recording artist (that we rock out to with reckless abandon on a daily basis), Grammy winner, adoptive parent. Jen Hatmaker: women's bible study author, church mobilizer, (kindred spirit), adoptive parent. Was God holding these fellow Christians to a higher standard simply because of their celebrity? The God I serve does not. We found adoption was in the midst of our scout troop, our soccer teams, our t-ball team. God definitely had our attention. Even before all of this, He had made it more intimate. My husband's sisters, my sisters-in-law were both adopted. One was an international adoption and the other was a domestic. It was already a part of our lives. Sometimes things just get lost in translation. We get too busy to even notice the little details. Does anyone feel that too? God even took me back to my childhood best friend. And I am not talking about an acquaintance that I am conveniently referring to as my best friend for blogging purposes. She was the real deal. I have some of the sweetest memories with her, and some of the most ridiculous. She was one of those that you could do some crazy things with and live to tell about them. God was showing me adoption had always been a part of my life and I had just never really taken notice. God was revealing all of these things but I dared not confess what seemed like madness to my husband. I just knew he would call me insane-in-the-membrane, crazy! When one day, we were driving home from church and he turns to me and says "Do you think we'd ever adopt?" DID HE REALLY JUST SAY THAT?! What was going on?

Do you know a sure fire way to know if God is calling? The mission will take you straight out of your comfort zone. Like when we hear that still, small voice whisper "Tell them about me! Testify to My goodness!" That is hard and we often cannot muster the words to tell a stranger or even a friend about our Savior, Jesus. No matter the direction He moves us or the task; if God desires it, it is always for His glory. If my beliefs are what I say they are, how can I say no when He brings a meaningful blessing before me? How do I just sweep it under the rug and pretend He did not just say what I know He said. He said "Go." It was not forceful. So simplistic. He just said "Go." Trust me when I say we went through every single reason why this did not make sense. And sometimes if I think to hard, it still does not make sense! Have you counted my children lately? I have. I know each and every little face by heart. The Spirit assures me that God knows each and every face as well. He knows my children's faces and yours. He knows every face of each little orphan, many of which do not have sufficient nutrition, clean water, or access to adequate sanitation. These precious ones do not have the loving arms of family. They do not have a voice. Many do not have hope. What if this was MY child? What if this was YOUR child? We prayed fervently over this and heard Him say to seek the least of these. We discovered there is a Waiting Child List, compiled of children who are not first choice on most parents' lists whether it be because of age, an impairment, or simply being part of a sibling group. We felt led to pursue a sibling group, possibly with an older child, which currently means merely above the age of five. These are God's children and He is asking us to go and take care of them. Could we make room for more than just the five we have? Excuses came. Well God, we would need a bigger home. Further observation revealed not one, but two empty beds in our home. We already have too much going on. "Be still and know that I am God." This will be crazy hard to bring children from another culture, of another race, who do not speak our language from all they know. "My grace is sufficient." God shot down every excuse we had. So, we abandoned the life we were planning for a much better one, His perfect plan. Do you know what happened next? The peace that passes all understand poured over us. And, believe me, Satan has been working overtime to try and change our minds. The evil one is good at what he does. If we take our eyes off of Jesus, we begin to sink just like Peter. We know, that we know, that we know, that we know God called us to save these children.

James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by this world.

We had to figure out from where in this entire world we would seek to adopt. Did you know that there are approximately 147 MILLION orphans in this world? We asked ourselves "Who needs us?" They all need someone. We felt drawn to Africa. Researching, we found that there are currently an estimated 53.1 million orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is greater than the total number of children in Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Canada and Sweden. We began looking to the horn of Africa, comprised of Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, and Ethiopia. There are approximately just over 100 million people in the horn. More than 86 million of those people reside in Ethiopia. That is more people than California, Texas, and New York combined, our three most populated states. Almost 6 million of those people are orphaned children which hunger and thirst for food, water, and love. One out of every ten children in Ethiopia will die before their first birthday, and one in six before their 5th birthday. Malnutrition contributes to half of those deaths. Ethiopia is one of the most impoverished countries in the world, per capita receiving the least amount of aid among the countries of Africa. In 2009 there were fewer than 2500 Ethiopian adoptions in the US. They are suffering. We will be their voice.

We took a leap (a monumental one) and applied with America World Adoption Agency! We were told to expect to hear back between 8-11 business days. We were apprehensive because we have an infant in the house, we are already considered a large family, and we are a one-income family. We were officially accepted into the Ethiopian program the NEXT BUSINESS DAY!!! And thus our journey begins! We will continue to chronicle this adventure amongst our typical happenings and shenanigans! We hope you will tune in and follow along with us. Most of all we hope you will pray for this adoption. Our hearts are invested greatly already, but the needs of these children, whom we do not know yet, are much more critical. Please pray for their provision, their safety, their physical and emotional strength. Please pray He will rain down His provision, paving the way to our children. Please pray God moves swiftly to bring them home.

          “It is a poverty that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” -  Mother Teresa

1 comment:

  1. I am so proud of you guys. What an awesome gift you are and will be to your new little one when he or she comes your way. Praying for all of you and missing you as well. Happy Mothers Day!