Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Changed For Good

I have written and rewritten and unwritten this post a number of times.  It's been a silent road of reflection for me lately.  My plans have been made to be not my plans. My dreams have been shifted to be not my dreams.  My life has been taken, shifted and returned looking completely different.  In May we met God in the throne room of prayer and he said go.  So we took in an orphan.  Not because it was what was good for us, because it was painful.  Not because we would get pats on the back, because people said mean things.  Not because this child would love us, because he hated us. But because God said go, we went.  We proceeded to have some of the highest highs and lowest lows we have walked through. There was so much good and so much bad that it became a roller coaster of daily uncertainty.  Some days I poured myself out into the ugliest text messages to my best friends.  They got to hear and see some of the deepest darkest parts of my heart.  It was the hardest.  Some days I prayed God would take this cup away from us and some days I praised him for the simplest triumph.  When it all went away, I begged for it back.  As the dust has settled, here are some things I have learned:

We are not called to things with the disclaimer God will protect us.  No where in scripture does God guarantee that if he asks us to step out in faith with him that he will protect us from harm. Sometimes he does protect us but his word clearly states "In this world you will have troubles..." of course he follows that up by saying "but take heart for I have over come the world".  Jesus is not talking out of both sides of his mouth here.  He is simply saying it's going to be hard, the world hates me, but I love you and we win in the end.  Here you will have difficulties, but in Heaven these will be no more.  Our call is to live in such a way that our lives reflect the light, there is risk and danger and persecution in that. But SPOILER ALERT, the good guys win! So hold tight to that! (John 16:33)

If you are not needy for Jesus, you aren't doing it right.  Ya'll i'm going to step on some toes today.  If you are sitting back comfy in your pew untouched and unscathed by the world around you, you may need to do some serious reflecting.  There are hurts out there, there are needs, there is famine and sin runs rampant.  If you are not shook up and clinging to the Lord for your daily bread sister we gotta talk.  Just months ago I was walking around with my sweet little Americanized Christian life "i'll pray for you" rolling off the tongue like Amen. That was not bad but not good.  Our lives should be set up in a way that we are dependent on God for everything.  That we pray for him to provide our words, our bread, our everything.  This looks different on everyone.  One mans needy is not the others.  When I pleaded to God to provide our daily bread it was not a literal bread to quench my hunger. I was pleading for him to provide me the spiritual fortitude and sanity to survive another day full of trials and uncertainty.  I have had times in my life where I have literally prayed for the provision of food.  I would encourage you to reflect on where you are in your walk. Are you needy for Jesus?  Is your life set up in a way that you are being extended?  Are you walking out of your comfort zone to be the light in dark places?  There is blessing in this neediness.

There is no perfection in me.  People would hear about our Fostering situation and they would either call us crazy or say what a great thing we were doing.  Listen closely here, there was lots of short comings on our part.  We are only human, the only thing good in us comes from having Christ in us.  The glory goes to God he makes beauty out of our weaknesses because he's amazing.  We should just be willing to give him the glory for what he is doing in our lives.  It is easy to become prideful, Satan plays that card out for us to use all the time.  On repeat in my head, this is God's goodness coming out in me, I am not doing this he is.  And guess what, when I tried to do it for my own glory, it was UGLY! God is the good. (Colossians 1:27)

Stop persecuting those who are stepping out in faithful obedience.  We have got to, as a body of believers, fight for each other not against each other.  When someone has met something with prayer, scripture and has even sought biblical council then who are you to question them when they are doing what scripture says to do.  Ya'll if you are attacking someone who is stepping out in faith in a call the God has place on their heart you may need to reflect on why.  Is it because you are not doing the same thing so you feel guilty?  Check what they are doing with scripture, pray over it and move on.  If someone says "God told me to kill this person" that does not match up with scripture and there may need to be an intervention.  But when a sister comes to you, raw from being up all night in prayer because God says take in an orphan and you fill her mind with second guessing and all the reasons why she shouldn't do that you may  need to re-evaluate your purpose.  God's word says "be fathers to the fatherless"  "take care of the widows and orphans". Why are you questioning someone who is answering that call? God calls us to do crazy things sometimes!  To be his hands and feet. Ya'll his hands and feet were dirty and scarred, what do yours look like? (1 John 3:24-4:6)

Love.  I've said it a million times this year.  Love is the only way to win.  Jesus won us with love.  He gave it all in the name of love.  Give it all in the name of love.  Be so bold as to love your neighbor gay, straight, stripper, preacher, alcoholic, porn addict, girl next door, whomever they are love them.  Judgement comes from God.  We are called to love, in that love there is a time for accountability, but if you are listening and leaning in God will tell you when it is time.  Love comes first.  I have had a hard time loving the parents of our Foster Baby.  I am actively wrestling and stepping in this daily. It's ugly, but it's necessary.  I cannot judge I can only pray love over them.  "The greatest of these is love" (John 3:16) (James 5: 7-11)

You won't always get to cross the finish line.  This is a heartbreaking revelation.  We are sometimes seed planters.  Sometimes we fight the battle but don't get to see the war won.  Often times that is the case.  The war rages and we are called back to the office job.  Adam and I were called out of our time as Foster parents earlier than we desired or planned.  Our Foster baby needed something we could not provide him and so his team of advocates put him in a facility that could monitor him and provide the environment that he needed.  We had no control over the situation and there were many painful details involved that I won't go into.  I am all the feelings.  What I do know is, we were called to this difficult, amazing, life changing experience for only a season.  It was a beautiful mess but we were seed planters and we were obedient. There is beauty in that. (1 Corinthians 3:6)

There is a favorite song of mine from the Broadway hit Wicked.  It's titled For Good. All the lyrics match all my feels, but specifically the chorus says "Who can say that I've been changed for the better, but because I knew you I have been changed for good". This is truth for me.  Because of obedience I knew what it was to step out and love the unloved.  Now because I know him I am changed for good.  My heart cry in this is that your life will be changed for good, that you will be wrecked and needy for Jesus too. It is there we will win souls and live out the true purpose for our time here on earth. 


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