It is weird to come back and post after almost a year! But nevertheless I have had some things on my heart and got the feeling that it was time to write. It's not that I haven't had other things on my heart over the past year, haha. But when i get this urge, i believe i need to write because there is someone out there who may be sharing in my struggles, so here we go!
I just got done reading a book called Kisses from Katie. I picked it up at the airport a few weeks ago because I had forgotten to take a book with me on our quick girls trip to Vegas to see Celine Dion. Amazing show, but that is another story. (Funny too, because in this book, Katie references Celine. lol) I didn't even read it a ton while there, but since I have gotten back, I have read it just chunks at a time. And it wasn't until I closed the book, that I realized how much it had impacted me, and a GLARING point that hit me soon after. I have been bitter toward God, and unthankful. There I said it. I didn't realize this until I read the Afterword of this book, and she shared her perspective on a very gutwrenching situation that she had gone through. I read the whole book, but i feel like it was the Afterword that God wanted me to see. To point out the attitude of my heart that I have been fighting and telling myself its okay that I feel the way I do. Or pretending that I don't in fact feel the way....... that I really do feel.
The real life story of Katie is that she is a 22 year old girl from Tennessee who moved to Uganda because she felt a call on her life from God. People didn't understand it, but she went right out of high school. She lives there, trusts God with everything, has adopted 14 girls, and goes wherever God tells her to go, and to help whoever he brings into her path. So inspiring!! I want to live like that. And yet I don't. I think I have gotten so focused on what i don't have (children), and my view has gotten VERY narrow! She has courage in Jesus, and knows that He will meet her every need. How else could you adopt 14 children, take in anyone who is sick, and feed and school hundreds of other children in the villages around her!? This is so familiar to me, because of my experience with Starfish Ministries and the amazing work that Bernie and Sheryl Bovenkamp and their team in Haiti do for the people of Haiti!! God just meets their needs! I have seen this kind of poverty in Haiti, that Katie talks about in Uganda. So overwhelming, and yet God just tells her to take care of the ones he places in front of her! What an amazing way to look at life. To not get overwhelmed by the need, but to do what is in front of us. To help those that God brings in our lives. Who are our neighbors? our friends? Our co-workers? We can do the same thing here too! So besides wanting to adopt a dozen kids from Africa after reading this book, I needed to ask God for forgiveness for my bitter heart. I have felt stuck, and stagnant and I think that my bitterness is why I have felt that way. How can bitterness and love thrive in the same place? Bitterness is like a weed, weeds take over!!
One of the girls Katie adopted was a little girl named Jane. She had been brought to Katie, and she needed help. They nursed her back to health, and after looking for her bio-mom and not finding her, moved forward to adopt her. Well, a year later, the mom showed up on Katie's doorstep and wanted Jane back. She fought for her, but legally there was nothing she could do. Jane went back to live with her mom. Katie was so heartbroken, having loved this child as her own for a year, and then having to give her back. I know a similar pain! But her response was incredible as she reflected on the hardest thing she had ever had to do up until that point in her life. She says, 'For a brief moment I wonder how God can be good when babies starve and people die cold and alone and children are ripped from their mothers. But only for a moment. Because then i look around and I know that I am nothing without Him. That none of this, none of this life I have, would exist without Him. "Surely just as I have intended so it has happened and just as I have planned so it will stand," He says in Isaiah 14:24. My good God gives only good things; He planned this and He will use this. In Him, even sorrow is Joy.' That hit me. Even in her deep pain, and not understanding of why Jane was taken away, she trusted God. And was so quickly able to say, that we would have NONE of this life without Christ! Oh that is so beautiful. So what I needed to hear. Who do I think I am??? And who am i living for? Myself, or Jesus? She mentioned in a prayer over a dear friend who was dying, that God had not forgotten her, and that she would be with him soon, and then I realized..... I do feel forgotten. I never realized that i felt that way before. I know it is not true, but it made me almost cry today as I was telling my running partners that. When it appears that EVERYONE else around me is getting pregnant and having babies, that is an easy LIE to believe, and it also appears that I have believed it. I know that is not true, as I know people who are struggling just as we are. But I have let the enemy take that and narrow my focus to only be looking at myself and what I DON'T have, rather than on Jesus and His plan, and not only what I DO have, but on what He has for us to do in this life. I have to remind myself of the truth. I know He has good plans for us. I know he is good, and loves us, and I am His favorite! That was another thing Katie talked about, knowing in her spirit that she is one of God's favorites. And in my spirit i thought to myself, I don't really feel like one of his favorites........
So there are my raw true feelings, and that is where I need to stop. I took a Freedom in Christ class earlier this year. And the truth is I have not been living Free. I have been focused on my feelings, (which are not THE truth) instead of on Jesus and what He says is true. Man it is a battle! I think I just got tired of fighting. Tired of not knowing how to pray, or what to pray for. Maybe I shouldn't pray for a child? Maybe that is not what God wants? So then why ask for it? Then I think I just stopped praying and in turn stopped believing?? I didn't stop believing in Jesus, but I think i stopped asking, and there for it jaded my hope in Jesus. Weird as that sounds, I thought why pray??? Oh that is a scary and slippery slope, where the enemy wants me to be, and I am sick of being there. I want to pray for anything and believe in the power of Jesus, to answer whatever it is!! And know that He has the power to do it. I know he does, but I was in a fog. I am praying that fog has lifted! I want to focus on being grateful! And thanking Him for every little thing. I am nothing without Him! I trust Him and I love Him so much, I am sorry I have wasted so much time being in a bitter pit! God has brought Romans 12:1-2 back into my life as I have prayed for my high school girls this year. I realize that the Lord wants to use that verse in my life too this year, as I trust Him to renew my mind. I am done conforming to the patterns of this world, and will trust Jesus to transform me!!!! So while I'm at it, I will thank Jesus for the MANY spiritual daughters the Lord has given me over 10 years, through the amazing ministry of Young Life, and the 21 year old Asian daughter He has given Brian and I to encourage and love and support, as she journeys through life. We are her Caucasion parents, and she is our Asian daughter. haha, what a gift. Definitely a God-ordained relationship. I can tell you more about her another time:)
Romans 12:1-2 says "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Amen to this truth right?!
So if you read this, i would covet your prayers! If you need an inspirational read, I highly recommend Katie Davis' book, Kisses from Katie. She also has a blog, www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com
In His Grip!!