Thursday, May 23, 2013


     This season has been a confusing one. See for years I have been waiting. Waiting for my husband, waiting for my kids to get old enough, waiting for my sanity, waiting to have enough time. Waiting to do what? To fulfill my purpose. I know that there is great purpose in being a good wife and in raising my kids well. And as much as I was waiting to fulfill some other purpose during those years of changing diapers non stop, holding my crying baby while cuddling my toddler while teaching my big kid writing, getting 2 hour chunks of sleep at a time, and camping out in survival mode, I clung to those moments that I knew would be over way too soon. And I still cling to the sweet moments now - the soccer games, teaching my middle how to read, playing board games, bracing myself to teach Latin and the occasional cuddles. But in the midst of all this fullness, I have felt that there is another purpose for my life besides supporting my husband and raising my kids. I won't say a bigger purpose. All of this is plenty. It's just that there is this stirring that I can't quite describe. I used to fantasize about joining the Peace Corp when I was in high school. And I always pictured my family being made up of biological and adopted kids. Living in a third world country never felt foreign to me and the idea of "doing unto the least of these" brings me tremendous joy. But the doors have not opened to move my family across the world or to adopt or even to dive into ministry. So I've waited. 
     Well, for the past year and a half, I've seen some doors start to crack open. It started with my husband reading Radical by David Platt, then both of us going on separate trips to Haiti, and then taking domestic adoption classes. But, as we were finishing our adoption class, chaos began with my husband's job. It started with his pay being unpredictable and ended with a drastic pay cut. We had to put adoption on hold, but I kept praying that God would open the doors for us to adopt. 
     After a few months of uncertainty, I started feeling like God began to speak to me. I distinctively felt God say Cambodia. Then later, I distinctively felt God say January of 2013. I started Googling Cambodia and reading about the brokenness in their country's past, their staggering number of orphans, the disgusting statistics about sex slavery among children in their country, and their high poverty rate. And then I came across article after article about Cambodia being closed to US adoptions until January of 2013. I just knew that God had some solution to our financial chaos and that by the end of January we would be sending in our application to adopt. But January came and Cambodia was still not open to US adoptions and my husband was still making the same reduced pay at the same job. So, by the end of January, instead of sending in our application to adopt, we were sending in our first payment to our lawyer to go bankrupt. I didn't get it. I thought I distinctively felt God tell me that we would start adopting from Cambodia in January of this year.
     My first instinct was to problem solve. We would just start fundraising and plow forward. Surely God would see how diligent we were and honor that. But as I brought plan after plan to my husband, he felt more and more weighed down. He had been dealing with the day to day stress of figuring out how to provide for our family and, in the meantime, our lives were getting busier and busier. We had some friends move in with us, I was busy trying to sell necklaces for Haiti, and I kept talking to my husband about praying about whether or not we should plug into ministry after ministry. My focus was not on him or his stress or the ripple effects all of this was having on our kids; it was on finding my purpose. In the back of my mind, I knew that I was acting like Sarai, Abram's wife, who took matters into her own hands and ended up despising the situation she had created. But I ignored that truth and plowed on. . . until Jon put the brakes on it all. 
     Yep, we had a come to Jesus conversation where we were a little too honest and voices were raised and tears were shed and the law was laid down. I have to admit, at first I was angry. I wanted a plan for us to adopt. I wanted to be taking care of the least of these. How could he say that we needed to focus on our family instead of reaching out? We had so much more than the rest of the world! We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ! We are called to take care of the orphans and widows! But when I stepped back, I realized I had become impatient, frustrated and bitter, Jon had become overwhelmed and withdrawn, and my kids were just little balls of anger. We were not producing fruit. How could we? We had not remained in the vine.  How could we adopt and bring a child, who had already suffered so much loss, into our home if our family is not in a healthy place? Plus, even Jesus set aside time to just be with His Father. At the beginning of Mark, we see that "while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." He does this right after driving out evil spirits and healing people and right before teaching and healing more people. He shows us our need to stop and go to the Father in the midst of serving. So, we decided to set aside one day a week as a family day. We also began reading family devotionals every night and are trying to be more intentional about having set prayer time and time alone with God. (Well, honestly, we still have a long way to go with these things, but it's all about those baby steps.) But more importantly, I agreed to wait. This does not mean that I am hunkering down in my house with my bible and waiting to serve until I'm Godly enough or something. God does call all Christians to serve, love our neighbor, and to take care of the helpless, hungry, naked, lonely, widows, and orphans. But He also calls us to sit at his feet and listen, to abide in Him, to drink from the well that will never run dry. These things have to be intertwined. There is no "becoming Godly enough to serve" without following the bible and going and serving. But I also have to remember that if I "give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:3). 
     I don't quite know what God was trying to tell me when He put Cambodia on my heart or if I even heard Him right to begin with. I don't know why I've learned about so many injustices in the world only to be able to do nothing about them. I don't know why doors were cracked open only to be shut again. But I do know that God is the one who has given me my heart that aches for the helpless. And I also know that pursuing God and His purposes are all that matter in this life. I  know that prayer can move mountains and that nothing I do matters if it's not done through Christ. And I know that I have a hard time resting in God's truths, even when I know them to be true. So, I may have to wait 20 years for God to reveal His purpose in my life like Sarai. Or He may have already revealed it. But, I will learn from Sarai's mistakes and (try to) contently wait. I will serve when I can and mother my boys and support my husband and love every person who comes into my life, but I will only be able to do these things if I first go to the Father.