Lately, I've felt quite like the beggar. I feel like all I've done is beg people to buy a T-shirt, attend our Spaghetti Dinner, or purchase from one of our many Avon fundraisers - all so we can bring our son's sibling home. If you know me at all, you know how uncomfortable this is for me! I hate asking people for money. I hate asking for help of any kind! I'd much rather be self-sufficient. But, God has reminded me over and over that He did NOT put me on this earth to be self-sufficient! If I were able to be self-sufficient, I would not need to depend on Him - and I would become my own god...and what a poor, ineffective god that would be!
Last night, I went to church pretty much like every other week...and yet, God had greater plans for that meeting! He totally met me face to face in that worship service...it was like coming home! I'm humbled to admit that my church attendance lately had become just that...attendance. I'd check the box off my mental "to-do" list - yep, attended church this week - filled my chair, sang the appropriate songs, read along in my Bible, and listened patiently to whatever the pastor had to say before moving along to my Bible & Life Group to meet with friends, where we would read and discuss God's word. This all sounds great...after all, isn't that what a "good Christian" does?
Problem is, I knew it was supposed to be different. I knew there was supposed to be more. How did I know? Because I'd felt it! Growing up, there was nothing I loved more than being at church! My maternal grandfather was the pastor of my childhood home church and his love of God was contagious! If the doors were open, my grandfather was there...and I wanted to be by his side! At the conclusion of each service, I looked forward to walking out to the foyer with him and shaking the hands of the congregation by his side. Not only did I love God and His church...but I also loved His people! This was the highlight of my week!
Not only did I love being at church, but I also just enjoyed simply being with God, no matter where I was! He was always with me and I knew I could talk to Him any time of any day...He was always my closest confidant! I remember many times at night having long conversations with Him after I'd gone to bed. I don't know that I realized then what I had...but I sure knew when it wasn't there anymore! Somewhere along the lines, I "grew up" and lost my child-like faith.
But, last night, my faith was renewed! It was totally unexpected...and I couldn't have done anything to prepare for our orchestrate it! It started as we sang praise songs at the beginning of the service and the phrase "ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE" kept jumping out at me from the screen (our church puts the words to the songs on screens at the front of the church). Everyone else in the building seemed to think that the words just flowed with the rest of the song, but to me, they stuck out light bright lights on a billboard! Immediately, I began to think about our adoption and how impossible it seemed that we would be able to make it happen. Then I realized that WE are not the ones who will make it happen...God will! What is impossible in our own strength is totally possible with God! My heart soared as I, for the first time in a long time, fully worshiped God! I reached for David's hand and gave it a squeeze...he squeezed mine back. Without sharing a single word I knew we were one in our shared worship of the only One that can make the impossible possible!
During the invitation part of the service, where the congregation is invited to share with a pastor a decision that God has laid on their heart and/or pray at the alter, David leans over and asks me to go to the alter to pray. David had no idea how much this simple request meant to me! For several weeks, I wanted to do just that at the invitation, but I felt God holding me back. I felt like He was telling me that I needed to wait on David to lead in that area. So, I submissively prayed quietly at my seat each week, praying also that when the time was right, God would lead David to take the initiative. When David leaned over and suggested we pray at the alter last night, I knew in that moment that my prayer had been answered! As David prayed for our family and this adoption at the alter, though I could not hear every word he said over the music playing, I had a calm assurance that God did and that He would answer our prayer and give us this desire of our heart!
I cannot explain this faith to you...it's something you have to experience for yourself. But, I can tell you that Hebrews 11:1 defines it this way: "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see" (NLT). If that doesn't describe our adoption journey, I don't know what does! :) If I look only at what I can see with my own eyes, I see a bank account lacking in the ability to pay the adoption costs, I see numerous fundraisers that have failed to provide as much as we had hoped, and I start to lose hope. But, if I set my focus on God and His promises, and have faith that He will bring to completion the work He has started in us and our family, then I have to believe that He will provide a way where there seems to be no way. And when He does, He will receive ALL of the glory for it! For He alone can make this adoption happen! :)
So, as I conclude this blog post, I will not ask you for any money. If God lays it on your heart to give, then I pray you will follow His leading alone. But, what I do ask you for is your continued prayers. Some of you have shared with me that you wished you could give to us financially, but all you can offer us is your prayers. We need those most of all! God already knows how this will work out and He has a perfect plan. We trust Him to work out all the details. He knows who needs to give and who simply needs to pray. So, if you heart is to help us, and so many of you have already expressed that desire, then I simply ask you to pray and ask God how He would have you help. Maybe He wants to use you to pass the word along so that He can use someone we haven't met yet to meet the need. Maybe He wants to use you to sell tickets or promote our fundraisers. Maybe He wants you to give a specific amount. Or maybe, He simply wants you to pray for His will to be done. Whatever HE is calling you to do, that's what we want you to do! Nothing more, nothing less. God's resources are unlimited...and He loves to use His people to do His work...so whatever part in that He has called you to do, that is the most important thing you can do for us! :) Thank you for being a part of this journey with us! You are very important to us...and even more important to God!
If my blog post today seems a little odd to you, or you have no idea what I'm talking about...then I would love to answer any questions you have. If you don't have a personal relationship with God, then my prayer for you is that you will give your life to Him and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Without Him, we would have no hope! It would be my greatest honor if this journey leads to an opportunity to share that hope with you! :)
So in closing, if I may, I'd like to borrow a line from Tiny Tim in Charles' Dickens' A Christmas Carol (with a slight modification) and say, "God bless you, everyone!"