Friday, May 18, 2012

An Alibis of Sorts - Part 2

The last couple of weeks we made a decision that I would not have made if God had not taught me a lesson recently. Isn’t that just the way He works? Preparing us when we aren’t even aware of it? He is so good. The thing He taught me (via a Beth Moore teaching) was that in that oh so familiar verse - 1 Corinthians 13:8 – when it says “love never fails” the Greek word translated to “fail” there actually means “to fall to the ground- to take no effect”. So when it says love never fails it doesn’t mean love never fails to yield the results we hoped for. And we know that, don’t we? How many of you have invested in someone who hurt you? Or loved a child who rebelled anyway? Or loved a husband that left or a friend who didn’t appreciate you? No, love doesn’t always yield the results we want. That isn’t what He said. He said it never falls to the ground, having no effect at all. That’s a big difference, isn’t it? The effect is something only God can predict. Maybe there are times He is the only one who can even see the effect. But it has an effect. He has a plan for us and He made it clear that it including loving Him and loving others. Actually, that pretty much sums up the WHOLE plan.

So that brings me to the sudden change in OUR plans. We had the opportunity to host a child from the Ukraine in our home for two months this summer. She lives in an orphanage and she will only be allowed to stay there until she is 15 or 16 (or in the 9th grade). After that she is on her own. And this week, she turns 13. I remember when my oldest daughter turned 13. Becoming a teenager was a bit of a milestone; a positive one. I have to imagine for someone in this girl’s shoes it evokes a fear and insecurity like I have not experienced before. Remember, this is a poor country. There are no college grants, no hope of education, and she probably has no life skills to survive after the orphanage. But I will share more about that later.

Obviously, we decided we needed to do this. The deadline to get paperwork in was only a few days away. There would not have been time- except we had already done home study visits and background checks and had references done. It had already been completed in advance- imagine that. We got lots of questions- most of which we can’t answer. People have asked what good two months will do. All I can say is that its two months to love her. And love ALWAYS has an effect. Isn’t that what He said?

I can’t say I didn’t have moments of panic where I wondered what we were doing. This is a complete stranger. We don’t even speak the same language. And I am embarrassed to admit all the things that concerned me. We had just decided to finish our Ethiopian adoption paperwork. What about those plans? This takes away time and money from our other plans. But God gently asked, “what do you want? Your plans or Mine?”

Brian with our kiddos- Most of which were not originally in "my plan". GREATEST GIFTS EVER.

My mind immediately flashed back to one of the hardest nights during this whole process. We were struggling with the fact that the domestic adoption was not going to happen and I was wondering where God was in all of it. I remembered sitting on the couch with Brian crying as my eyes scanned over all the books on our bookshelves. “Look at all those books…” I had said. We have lots of great books. Francis Chan, David Platt, Randy Alcorn, C.S. Lewis, Wiersbe, etc. “I don’t want to read one more. I can’t stand reading ONE MORE book about people who experienced God in such big ways. I want it for my own.” Don’t misread that. God has done huge things in our lives that ONLY God could have done. I have seen Him do the impossible. He is not the problem here. But I am not consumed with Him day in and day out the way I wish I were. I spend whole days thinking about other things. And I know that is not what Jesus meant by “abundant life”. So I thought about my typical selfish concerns- my plans. My house, my schedule, my my my. NO. It’s HIS house. HIS kids. HIS life. HIS time.

“You, Lord. I’d rather have YOU.”

         Great books about walking with God. Bad substitutes for actually walking with God. 

So, to answer those questions, I don’t know where we are headed.  But I believe with my whole heart that God longs to pour His Spirit out on all of us just like in the New Testament stories we read. If we would just surrender the pen and let God write our story, then we would get more than just Joy and Peace and adventure. We would have HIM. For our OWN. We could walk with Him every step of the way and we would know Him more than we know Him now. It doesn’t matter how much you do or don’t know. There is always more to experience. And it is always GOOD. 

He has no dark side. 

He has no flaws.

 He has no shortcomings.

There is no end to His love or His blessings or His comfort. 

There is no limit to Him.

So yeah, I’ll choose Him. Won’t you?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,” 
declares the Lord.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, 
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”   Isaiah 55:8-9

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