Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Wilderness and wrestling

 But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.
Luke 5:16

In the ESV it says desolate places, the NIV calls it lonely places. I'm not sure what to call it.

This post is going to be scattered and raw so I'm just forewarning you...if you want to feel happy, deep or fluffy than please sign out now:) Everything is okay and I wish I could be Super positive Sally but that is just not where I'm at.

This verse hit me about a week ago.  Jesus is our example and when He was weary and needed to be with the Father He would retreat.  He would pull away to solitary places.  Now when I need a break and a place to plug in and refill I generally choose a nice hotel, or the beach when it is beautiful outside or my bed for a nap.  Not Jesus though.  Where did He go?  No hammock by the lake for Him.  He headed into the wilderness.  What?  Like where it is most likely hot during the day and cold at night and wild animals live and usually barren and dangerous?  THAT wilderness?  Yep?

Once again Jesus modeled a completely backward approach.  His choice was lonely and desolate.  When He needed to reconnect with the Father and gain strength He chose to go to the LAST place I would pick.  He sought intimacy with His Source and found the lonely, harsh, desolate, hard places. in this sucky season of endless waiting, uncertainty and frustration I certainly can and SHOULD find intimacy with Him?  I can seek Him and find Him in this place, not in spite of this season and my surroundings.  Sometimes my perspective is that I will find deeper relationship with Him in the midst of a hard season because of my greater need for Him...and this is true.  Sometimes I find sweeter intimacy with Jesus after a difficult circumstance because I am so thankful for the sweet release He brings....and this is true.  And sometimes when I look ahead and see a desertland in the distance that I may walk through, it drives me to greater communication with Him as I beg for His Presence and intervention...this is also true.

However, I am trying to sort through how, when I feel a need for more of Him....I may actually be called to GO to the wilderness....the lonely place....the desolate place...and that is where I will be refilled.  That is hard for me to wrap my head around.  But that is where Jesus went and it makes no sense to ME...but if Jesus did it, then it must work!  He was so backwards, dadgumit!  And where is that place?  I do know when I allow myself to be truly poured out in obedience, I find him there and it is good!  So maybe it does mean pulling away from the busyness and taking a break from relationships for a time...which can be hard, so I can be filled.  Or maybe it says yes to loving on someone that is pretty unlovable and investing in something that looks like it may have a poor return, simply out of obedience to His whisper...and that is where I will find my needed Source.

So I haven't figured all that out, obviously, but this is where I am at.  Right now we have been in the adoption process for two years and waiting for a referral for about 11 months.  We had NO idea it would actually take this long.  Most days I am struggling with this.  About two days a week I feel peace about it and firmly trust His timing.  Yeah...obviously I could use some help in the old faith and trust department.

I KNOW He has got this and His timing IS perfect and we just need to wait and trust.  However, getting my mind, my heart and my body all on the same page on the same day is like wrangling cats.

The good news is that YES this IS causing growth in me and is certainly making me flesh out and walk out what I believe.  Yea!!  I am learning to go back to what His Word says and bring my emotions into submission to that.  I am learning to wait with joy (some moments) and the gift that waiting can be.  I am developing relationships with AMAZING men and women that advocate for widows and orphans ALL over the world.  I love that part and pray that the Lord uses these relationships in my life in the future.

He has planted a passion for orphans and hurting children within me that just burns.  It is hard to explain and I am thankful for it, but honestly it can be really hard.  I know, cry me a river....but it is hard.  I want to bring children without a family into our home...children that are getting older every day.  I know the Lord will make it happen when He sees fit but each night I go to bed with them still not home it is just hard knowing that was another day that I missed the little things...and maybe the big things.  Thankfully the Lord has brought so many godly, passionate people into my life that also have a passion for orphan care so every day I hear stories about little ones desperate for families.  And I want to GO...I want to GO...but the Lord has not opened the right door yet, so I can't.  

He is their Savior and not me.  I believe this wholeheartedly and boy, oh, boy do I pray for these little ones.  So many that aren't meant to be Chapmans but I'm praying the Lord will raise up families around the world to bring these precious ones home.  He has pushed us WAY out of our comfort zones and I know this is just the beginning.  We are just at the bottom of the mountain looking up.  But isn't this how we are called to live as Christ followers?  To care more about obedience than our comfort?  To sacrifice our plans for His plans and be willing to lay down our lives so others can live?

I was challenged recently (this should be a whole other blog post) reading in Joshua and Judges how the generation that experienced the crossing of the Jordan and God bringing down the walls of Jericho and bringing them into the Promised Land...that generation failed to teach their children and grandchildren about what their mighty God did.

"After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel."  Judges 2:10

and so what happened?

"Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.  They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt.  They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the LORD to anger..."  Judges 2:11-12

Because the children were not taught of the Lord's faithfulness and did not see it...they forsook the Lord.  I was challenged to ask #1-what are my children learning about the Lord from me?  That He is the Creator and the Author of a lot of cool stories and blesses our food?  I want them to see His truths written out in my reactions, in the way I pray, the way I serve, the way I love them and the least of these.  I want them to know that He is mighty, Sovereign, faithful, tender, ever-present and awesome!! It is MY responsibility to LIVE that, not just say it!

And #2-and am I raising them in a way that they NEED Him?  Am I living in a way that I need Him?  When the Israelites were starving in the desert they needed God to show up with some manna...when they faced the Jordan River at flood level they needed a great big God to show up with a solution...and when they were facing the imposing walls of Jericho and marching around following God's crazy sounding plan...they needed God to do some shaking!  

Is my life so comfortable and risk free that I have it all under control and even though I worship God and enjoy my wonderful church...I don't actually NEED Him?  Oh my goodness!! I am so used to making sure my kids have the right food and the right vitamins and aren't too cold or too hot and don't get too thirsty or too tired...aaahhh when do they realize they need God?  Mom and Dad have it all taken care of!  Okay I'm not going to starve my kids I'm just wrestling through comfortable Christianity.  God didn't save us to be simply safe.  If I'm praying that my boys will grow to be warriors for Christ we may have to experience some battle training.  Do I know exactly what that looks like?  No, but I certainly don't ever want to face Jesus and realize I never lived in a way where I got to a place of actually needing Him.  He has so much more for us, I truly believe that!

I told you this would be scattered. I'm nowhere near polished at the moment.  Most days I feel so unprepared...but it doesn't change the passion and desire to be obedient and the calling to adopt.  So every day I beg the Lord to bring us a referral.  We are still #2 on the waiting list. There are many more uncertainties than certainties.  Please pray for patience and wisdom.  Pray that God will speed the days.  I pray every day for our little ones to feel safe, loved, protected and chosen.  I pray that deep down they will feel secure and wake up each day with hope.  I pray that He daily brings someone into their lives to bring them food, water, shelter and medicine if they need it.  And I pray that He will bring someone to wrap their arms around them and they will find favor in their caretakers' eyes.  Would you pray with me?  Would you ask God to make our next steps crystal clear, that we would have unity in our decision making and that He would get ALL the glory!  

One of my biggest prayers from day one is that He would be glorified and that He would give many, many of our friends and family a passion to adopt and for orphan care.  I am praying for many of you by name that He would spring up within you the calling to expand your family and give a child a home.  We were all orphans at one time.  The Father adopted us.  Where would we be without Him?  He rescued us.  So Sunday, November 4th is Orphan Sunday.  Will you be brave enough to just ask the Lord to give you that passion and desire...if He wants and wills? Just asking is so God honoring.  I know we aren't the poster child of happy endings....yet...but oh He IS faithful and He WILL complete this good work He has started in us.  I am confident of this.  Thanks for tracking with me:)