Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Feet to Faith

Sitting in a foster/adoption class is a scary thing.  Sitting here as a single female...terrifying, yet exhilarating.  This may not be how I envisioned this all going down, but I'm sitting here nonetheless.  If I were to be transparent with ya'll, I had this pretty picture of my husband and I taking this adventure together, with our 3.5 children ready for new siblings, and our dog happily chasing squirrels in the front yard near the white picket fence.  But that's not what life has dished out to me; and instead of wasting more years playing the waiting game, I'm finally putting feet to faith and to my dreams.

And so here I sit.  Single.  Almost 36 (just three more days at 35...sigh).  With a cat who uses the wall as a trampoline.  And wondering how I wound up in a training class when I thought it was simply an informational class on foster care and adoption.  Must be God's sense of humor! HA!

Do I think this is an ideal situation?  Nope.

Do I want to do this alone?  Nope.

Do I have all the necessary tools and qualifications?  Nope.

Do I have an open heart and home?  Yes.  A resounding yes.

Am I willing?  Yes...by God's strength.

So here I am, venturing out beyond the shores into the tumultuous ocean waves of the unknown.  But I am willing and that is all He asked of me.  As Peter walked out onto the water, so I am stepping out.

Will I be perfect?  Not in the slightest.

Will I fail?  Every single day/moment.

Am I willing?  Yes, even in my weakness, I am willing.

There are kids out there in need of consistent, Godly love, and my heart is ready.  Will it break?  In a million pieces for these kids every single day.  But I am willing to be broken to give out what God has poured into me.

"Love isn't about how much money someone's willing to lay down for you, but about how much life they're willing to lay down for you."
~Ann Voskamp
"Pour out your life in small moments - because it's only these moments that add up to the monumental.  The only way to live a truly remarkable life is not to get everyone to notice you, but to leave noticeable marks of His love everywhere you go."
~Ann Voskamp
I'm not doing this for the accolades or the attention.  I will probably wind up with more gray hairs, dark circles under my eyes, bruises on my knees from constant prayer and a heart that is broken again and again by the pain these kids have experienced.  That sure doesn't sound attractive, and will probably put me on the "do not go near her list, she's too complicated and that gray hair is out of control" ...which means I may remain single.  HA!  And in all reality, this act of faith may not come to fruition for another year or so....which means those pesky gray hairs can stay in hiding a little longer.
But really, all God asked of me was if I was willing. 
Yes.  Yes I am.  So here I am...feet to faith.
"Real love is in the really small gestures - the way your hands, your feet, move to speak your heart."
~Ann Voskamp

Sunday, October 02, 2016

The Waiting Place

I have been blessed with the opportunity to be part of a book launch.  Not just any book launch, but Ann Voskamp’s!  If you don’t know who she is, well, you are missing out!  As part of this launch, I have been grafted into a community of other believers who have the chance to read Ann’s (we’re on a first name basis…she liked one of my posts, after all) new book, The Broken Way, which is being released later this month (October 25th to be exact).  With this community we are able to share our stories of brokenness and healing.  I’ve read stories from all of these women (and men) and my heart has grieved with them and rejoiced with them.  I’ve watched as they have posted about how the book is stirring new things in their broken hearts, how it has encouraged them and drawn them closer to God with a deeper understanding and meaning for their brokenness. 

And then I’ve waited.  I’ve waited for something to strike the core of me as I’ve read, because I knew it would come.  Books have that way with me.  Words have a way of piercing my innermost being, striking a match and lighting a flame of passion for God, and a flame where the ugliness inside of me can be laid upon a burning altar for God to purify. 

Then came Chapter 6.  Oh dear, sweet chapter six.  The words hit home…a home run to my heart with the battles I’ve been waging as of lately!

“Look, the whole lot of us are done with waiting room theology.  We are done waiting for some elusive future moment to say life is good enough.  We are done waiting for some big enough house, some big enough step up, some big, exciting enough experience to finally think we’ve arrived at the abundance of being and living enough…. we are done with waiting room living.”  (p.87)

I don’t know if you’ve ever read “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss.  If not, go to your local library and check it out NOW!  It’s not just a book for kids.  Trust me!  Anyway, back to Ann and her words.  When I read that quote, I thought about all of the times I’ve waited and I thought about the waiting place in Dr. Seuss’ book.  Waiting is hard.  Waiting makes me feel like life is stagnant.  You know, that quiet still pond that is buried underneath that green-smelly moss?  That kind of stagnant.  Blech!  And I feel like I’ve been waiting lately.

“Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go, or the mail to come, or the rain to go…. everyone is just waiting…NO! That’s not for you!” (Dr. Seuss)

I don’t want to wait around for life to find me.  I want to live an abundant life. It’s what has been my heart’s cry lately…ABUNDANT LIFE!  And I feel like this nugget in chapter six was written just for my heart! 

“What if instead of waiting for good enough things to happen to us, we could be the good thing to happen to someone else who’s waiting?  What if we could cure our own waiting room addiction by making room in our life to be the good others are waiting for? … What if abundant living isn’t about what you can expect from life, but what life can expect from you?” (p.87)

Ann goes on to say, “the world is brokenhearted and full of suffering, and if you listen to what life needs instead of what you need from it, you could fill the brokenness with your own brokenhearted love – and this will in turn fill you.” 

Ahhh…. the truth that I couldn’t put into words.  Living to give myself to others is when life becomes abundant.  Really, if you look at the life of Jesus, didn’t he do this?  Wasn’t He giving Himself so that others could have life.  He gave everything.  So why do I hold back giving of myself, giving of my time, my energy, my talents, my love?

“What if living the abundant life isn’t about having better stories to share but about living a story that lets others live better?” (p.92)

I want an abundant life that lets others live better.  I have been through things that have torn my heart to pieces.  I’ve watched friends go through difficulties that have rocked them to the core.  And I’ve watched those same friends give out of their brokenness, even though it broke them a little each time they did so.  Their pain and their brokenness allowed others to find healing and in the process they found healing, and abundant life.  I want to do the same, use my broken pieces of my past to help others find healing, find life.

“When you are filled to the brim with the enoughness of Christ, the only way you can possibly have more is to pour yourself out.  The only way to more life is by pouring more of yourself out.” (p.93)

Abundant life = pour out receive more pour out receive more repeat

“Live for something worth dying for.  Let love break into you and mess with you and loosen you up and make you laugh and cry and give and hurt because this is the only way to really live…Don’t waste a minute on anything less than what lasts for all eternity.” (p.95)

Eternity.  What is the one thing that will last for all eternity?  People.  It’s time for me to live that abundant life that I have been praying for.  It’s time to pour out on the people around me, at work, on the kids at the therapeutic riding center, at church, to the people I run into in the community.  It’s about people.  So maybe my prayers for an abundant life start with giving of myself.  Thank you Ann, for your words in chapter six.  They were exactly what I needed in this moment as I grasp the abundant life.

 “You are where you are for such a time as this – not to make an impression, but to make a difference.” (p.91)

For more information, check out the book at:  www.TheBrokenWay.com