I read the Lord’s Prayer this morning…
Matthew 6:9-13 New Living Translation (NLT)
9 Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
Verse 10 which says “May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” really struck me. Then I decided to look at all the references of the scriptures which tell us to “ask and you shall receive” (Mark 11:24); “seek and you shall find” (Matthew 7:7); “ask and it will be given to you” (Luke 11:9). And each time Jesus speaks not to a congregation of people, but to His disciples. Who were disciples? Disciples were men who GAVE UP their homes, their jobs, their families, their comforts and their lives – all to follow Jesus! What is so incredible to me is that it was an instant decision. They heard Him call and they instantly dropped what they were doing and followed. Disciples were men that Jesus asked to “deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him” (Matthew 16:24). Go ahead, pick up your instrument of execution and follow me! In today’s language it would be more fitting to say, “Pick up your electric chair and come follow me.” They did so instantly! I think today and especially in America, we look at our Christianity as something nice and pretty and comfortable. A safety harness to heaven. For some, even a cool label. But that is absolutely the wrong view! So do not be deceived – following Jesus is not easy! It is full of self-denial, self-sacrifice, pain, sorrow and giving of yourself. A giving to the point where it hurts. If we truly and honestly desire His will on earth as it is in heaven, our prayers will reflect this desire and relationship we have with Him. Our prayers will no longer sound, “Lord I want a nice house and a happy, healthy family, a good job, and a safe life.” I catch myself praying like this sometimes and it makes me kind of cringe when I think about it. If we truly look in God’s word on which we say we stand on, we cannot honestly say that we see this kind of example of prayer anywhere. I think we all must pray those bold prayers…prayers which will kill our will in this life and exalt His will above all else.
Some more back story on how our adoption came to be. For years Kevin asked if I would ever want to adopt. And I said “no way”. No way would I give up my freedoms of having grown kids who can do things for themselves. I am so young and to have grown kids is pretty cool! I had all these grand ideas of self-fulfillment for my life. I had dreams of traveling the world with my husband. Maybe have that honeymoon we never had; together on a beach somewhere in a hammock. I wanted to have a nice, clean house with comfy, cute furniture. I really wanted a white Mini Cooper – you know, the one with the convertible top that you can open and let the sun shine on your face; wind blowing through your hair. I like my quiet times where I can read a book or go shopping by myself. Everything neatly organized into its proper compartments of life. A baby would interrupt all that. So, I continued to say “no”. But Kevin continued to ask; he asked for a few years. He never felt like we were done having little ones. But from me, he heard “no, no, no!” The Lord finally broke my selfishness and stubbornness through a series of pretty loud and purposeful events. Now, I desire nothing more than to follow through on His will and plan He has for adoption. To open our hearts to a child who may have gone on to live a life of loneliness, abuse, neglect, and maybe even slavery. A child who may have never known what a mother and a father is; never known the love of a family. Now that my heart continues to be more and more aligned with His, I no longer care for beaches, cute furniture, or a nice clean house. Each day that goes by my heart grows more and more empty as I yearn to fill my home with laughter and giggles and toys scattered on the floor which belong to a little child who is Chosen for Joy! Ah! Somebody get me a Kleenex! Oh and did I mention, we are looking at minivans! And those of you who truly know me can chuckle at that.
It is such a peculiar thing to experience those empty, trivial pursuits as they continue to be removed from my life. Today, because of His will in me, I feel like I would take on a thousand orphans and sacrifice all I have for their precious lives. As God continues to align my will with His, He continues to open my eyes to the great needs which many of these orphan children carry with them. And although I have not experienced these needs yet personally, I can see from other adoptive families and blogs I’ve read that the process won’t necessarily be easy. These babies often come to you not knowing love, touch, or embrace. These little ones will not know what a ‘mama’ or a ‘dada’ is. This will have to be taught through love and gentle perseverance, even in the most difficult of times. Trust has to be earned. And these little ones often only know abandonment, loneliness and adults who come and go in and out of their lives. They often come with major delays and medical unknowns. People will ask questions and points fingers, which can prove to be painful for both the the parent and child involved. They will question your parenting style of a child who has a great need, yet they know nothing of it. Families won’t agree with your choices. The life of explaining to a loved child that they have a different birth mommy and a daddy somewhere in this world and the pain of the unknown. I have two biological children of my own, but raising a child who has been through so much is nothing like raising a child you birthed and held close to your breast since they entered this huge and scary world. I am sure there is plenty which I have no idea about yet. But today, working to continue giving myself fully to the will of God, I desire nothing more than to give my life to the least of these, no matter the cost. Jesus in the Scriptures tells us “‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:40).
We are confident this is His will for us! And through prayer, submission and obedience to the will of God, our hearts continue to be more and more aligned with His. His will is seldom easy. But He gives us strength for what He calls us to. There are and will continue to be great struggles, hurdles, disappointments and tears while we walk together as a family toward the will of God for adoption. But through times in the valley, He faithfully pours more and more of Himself into our family and grows us closer together, producing real JOY in the Joys! Happiness is superficial, but joy will be everlasting – even in the midst of even the greatest, blackest of storms which hit our lives. His joy gives us the strength and wisdom we need to see this journey through. The blessing of this kind of abandon is absolutely indescribable! It cannot be spoken with any words, but must only be experienced.
I believe that God demands that we deny ourselves for the least of these because He knows the growth and blessing it will bring into our lives. The nearness of God we experience in our sorrows and sufferings is absolutely beyond anything you could ever wish or ask for. He will blow your mind! Will I feel frail? Yes! Will I complain sometimes? Yes! Will I feel worn and torn? Yes! Will there be times when I want to quit? Yes! But He who leads us will never leave nor forsake us! He desires good for us and not disaster, even though we may not see the full scope of what He is yet doing. We must always believe and trust that He desires a full life for us and an eternity with Him, because He loves us so dearly.
The question I ask myself is if we aren’t stepping out and seeking those places not yet ventured, but only seeking comfort and happy, healthy homes, are we truly His disciples? Nowhere in the scriptures do I see where God says that a happy family is what God desires for us. He desires a Holy, sold-out-after-God family willing to die to self for His cause. I say we pray bold, scary prayers this week! To be made totally uncomfortable for God! To not store up treasures for ourselves here on earth, but store up treasures for all of eternity! Those which will never perish! I say this week we seek the gift Giver and not the gift!
Our family has hit a pretty huge bump in our adoption process. As we seek God for direction, we are being led to seek another adoption agency. He never promised this process would be easy and it hasn’t been! We were moving swiftly and we thought we had it all under control. Ha! Right? I’ve cried, I’ve mourned, but then I stood up on my two own feet and held my head up high because even though we are on a boat during a turbulent storm, I know the wave maker! Nothing will shake me. God has asked us to be fully obedient in following after Him through this process no matter what. And we will do so. He sees the beginning and the end simultaneously. It’s a wild goose chase as we seek the will of God. But we trust that our Joy is out there somewhere. Maybe she is in a different orphanage and for us to get to her we must follow a new path. Did we make a mistake? No. This has always been His plan. He needed to bring us to a place of total surrender and submission. We are exactly where He would have us – fully blind to the future yet fully obedient to his foresight. We ask that right now you pray with us for wisdom and discernment as we walk this new road.