Monday, April 18, 2011

When He Doesn't Show Up

This is a post I've been meaning to share for awhile now. I wanted to share such a wonderful time I had with the Lord recently.

Some time in December or January I was really aching to be a mom. I didn't care whether it was biologically or through adoption, but since I was nearing 39 years old, I was really feeling this desire.

It just seemed that biologically things were not cooperating and our adoption just kept progressing and progressing, the wait time increasing and increasing.

I remember as I laid in bed, in that state between awake and sleep, I cried out to God, not understanding why I could not be a mom now. I was sharing with my husband that I was not mad at God. I was hurt by him... If He loved me so much, then of course I expected Him to want to give good things to me as His word says. Yet, he did not seem loving to me. He seemed selfish. He was letting me down, disappointing me and hurting me. I hated feeling this way as I love Him so much and I know the Truth is that He loves me even more than I can imagine.

As I cried out to Him, I thought about a time in the Bible when someone else was deeply disappointed by Jesus. The story of Lazarus.

It starts in John 11:6 where it clearly states, "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister and Lazarus...". But then the very next verse does not seem at all to indicate that he loved them, "When He heard therefore that Lazarus was sick, He stayed two more days in the same place that He was." Now why would Jesus do that?! Common sense tells us that if you love someone and they are sick and you have the power to heal them, that you would RUSH to their side to SAVE them!

And that is exactly the same way Mary saw it! "Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died." (John 11:32) The next verse states that Mary was weeping. She was so hurt, so disappointed, so sad. If God had shown up, Lazarus would have been saved! All Jesus had to do was SHOW UP!

Have you had times like these? Where you have cried out to God to please come through for you? Whether it be to save the baby in your womb, or to hurry up and get your adopted child home, to healing someone you love.

What I love about this story is that after Jesus saw Mary and the other Jews crying and grieving over losing Lazarus, that Jesus was deeply troubled as well and wept. But Jesus did not weep because Lazarus was dead. He knew Lazarus was going to live again in just a few minutes. No, He wept because those He loved wept. It says in God's word that Jesus ONLY does what God, His Father, instructs Him to do. He CANNOT do anything that is not in His Father's will. I think He so wanted to have come through for them. I think He wept because He hated disappointing and hurting them.

As I cried out to God that night, I was comforted by this revelation. Jesus, one part of the Trinity of God, was identifying with my pain. He wanted to give me motherhood now, but God had a different plan. One that ultimately would bring Him more glory, which at the end of everyday is truly the cry of my heart. That my life would bring Him glory. He also, in His supreme wisdom knows what I can handle and what I can't.

Have you had times like this as a parent? Where your child wants something NOW, like a pony or a bike, but you KNOW they are not old enough to handle it yet. You SO want to please them, but you can't...not yet. And you really can't wait to give it to them....I think this is how Jesus was feeling as I cried myself to sleep that night.

And the best part of this story is that just a few minutes later they rolled away the stone and Jesus got to "loudly" cry out "Lazarus, come forth"! I honestly do not think it was a stoic somber cry. I think it was a gut wrenching, can't wait to see you LOUD cry. This is the same cry we will all hear when our hopes and dreams are finally in our hands. I can hear Jesus up in Heaven crying out in this way as our babies are born, or on our Gotcha Days or the days that our loved ones either come home to be with Him or wake up to new life here on earth.

Our Jesus loves us SO much! His waiting is truly His love for us! How hard this is to believe, but how awesome it is to share in bringing Him glory through our testimonies that are birthed through these hard waiting times. Be comforted knowing that God does love you and SO empathizes with your longings. He'll come through...hold on...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Refuse Video

This is a great video created by one of our mission team members, Jennifer Hanson. She was a member from our second March 2011 Uganda team. It's so wonderfully created! It is a GREAT representation of what one of our trips is like. The Song is entitled "I Refuse" by Josh Wilson

Pure Religion: Uganda 2011 with Visiting Orphans from Jennifer Hanson on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

When God Picks ME!

I wanted to share an email I received this week from Rebecca Brown, one our past Rwanda/Ethiopia team members:

I wanted to tell you myself what one Visiting Orphans trip did to my life...

Ok, lets see... on my trip we went to Rwanda first and it stole my heart. I really loved the Noel orphanage and wanted to do so much there. I really thought that God was going to bring me back there, until Ethiopia.

Most of the people on my team loved Ethiopia. I was already set that in my mind that Ethiopia was ok and wouldnt steal my heart b/c I was going to come back to Rwanda. The last two days of our trip some things got change on our agenda. The places we were going to didn't want us til like 3 afternoon. SO, we told Tymm, our team leader that we didn't want to sit around for the next two day waiting til 3 to do something - we wanted to help.

So, Nathan, another team member said, "would any of you like to take some street kids to lunch?" We loved the idea!! I thought that there was going to be like 4 boys that Nathan knew that would show up. We pulled up that morning and there were llike 30 kids. I remember thinking "OH my Goodness Lord, these are teenage boys." " I dont know what to do with teenage boys." I remember becoming a little scared of my stuff for the first time, thinking, "are they going to steal or beg from me?" I was the last one out the van and got out remember telling God a little prayer, saying... "I am definitely out of my comfort zone here Lord and I dont know who you want me to talk too. You are going to have to help me on this one."

As I was looking up from my prayer and looking back down there was this boy walking towards me. He grabbed my hand said MY name is Sami. Yes, the Sami everyone knows and loves so much. Sami asked me if I knew your hubbie Simon and that if I knew when he was coming back. That boy stole my heart! He never let go of my hand. He loved me so much for the next 3 days. That moment when Sami picked ME out of crowd God showed me that he always picks the weakest ones to do his work. That even though Sami didn't know me he loved me anyways, just as God loves us.

We go on these trips thinking that we will change these kids lives and they change ours so much more. I just fell in love with the street kids!!! I met Ephrem that day and later that night I have no idea what made him ask me but he asked me if I come for the summer to help. I prayed bout it when I got back and in the last few months God has made it his plan.

SO, I leave in 5 short weeks. I am selling my things and moving to Ethiopia. I had planned on the summer but as I am working with Ephrem ministry we feel that God is leading me longer term. So when I get there, I am going to try to find sponsors to sponsor me as a missionary to help Ephrem in his ministry, which God is about to take off with. So many doors are opening and very excited. I am going to get his sponsorship program up and running to get these kids sponsored by americans. I hope to get some kind of a tutoring program started and get a soccer tournment done this summer. I am so excited to see what God has planned b/c I could have never dreamed that this is what he had in mind for me.

This has been the most challenging thing having to give up so much and leaving what I do know behind, but I love a God who is great and awesome and see more potenial in me then I could have ever. So, I THANK YOU for Visiting Orphans and what you do for this ministry. I am sure I am one of many stories that lives where changed by God, but God used Visiting Orphans to do so. I hope that Visiting Orphans keeps the street kids close to them and continues to put it on the agenda so that kids lives can be changed through sponsorship. I am sure that we will be talking in the future as I contuine to grow in this ministry.

Its so crazy the connection you have being on a VO team. Loved that someone I never met came and supported me today. LOVE being a part of a VO Family :)