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Archive for the ‘Pivotal Moments’ Category

To read Part One of this post, click here.

About a month after my adoption conversation with God, our pastor, Craig Groeschel, gave a message about finding and living your Chazown (Hebrew for dream, revelation, or vision.) Craig was saying that each of us is a masterpiece and that God has a unique purpose for us to fulfill. He says finding your Chazown is important because “everyone ends up somewhere, but not everyone ends up somewhere on purpose.”

Craig mentioned how the things we experience in life play a part in the way that God intends to use us. In fact, I think he even said, “If you went to hell and back in your marriage and God brought you up out of the rubble, don’t think He did that only for you. He wants to use you to give others hope!”

I was sitting on the edge of my seat during the whole message practically waving a white hanky, shouting internally, “Yes, Lord!! Use us! Amen!” God has done an incredible work in Brooke’s and my marriage and we have just been waiting for His direction to help others in a tangible way. It is our heart’s desire to be right in step with Him and not run ahead or lag behind, so we are constantly waiting for Him to say the word and show us how to help other men and women find healing and intimacy in their marriages. I was certain that Brooke was feeling the same stirring during the Chazown message and that we were about to embark upon a new chapter of marriage ministry.

Well, he was feeling a stirring alright but it wasn’t what I thought.

We got into the car after church and he looked at me with big plate-sized eyes.

I asked him what he thought about the message and he said, “Well, I think God said something to me in there.”  Long pause. “Sarah, I think He wants us to adopt.”

SHUT. THE. FRONT. DOOR.

That’s actually what I said.  Cause that has never happened to us before. Granted, we are probably both more yielded and more open-eared than we’ve ever been before, so maybe that’s why we’ve never both heard the same thing from him before. I don’t know if the rest of you are walking around doing life confirming things left and right by hearing from God separately or not, but I’m telling you, it was a new and very powerful experience for us.

Here’s the thing:

Neither of us thinks this will be easy. We are excited about it because we are sure that God is leading this direction, but we do not have any illusions that all will be hunky dory. We love our life as it is, love our girls and the fact that we can go to the swimming pool without chasing anyone around trying to make sure they don’t drown. We love that we can watch movies as a family and the relationships that we have with each of our precious daughters. We are nervous about the prospect of bringing a child with deep emotional wounds into our family. We don’t know what adoption through the foster system will require of us and, no, we can’t afford to pay for even one international adoption. We don’t have all of the answers. But we have God.

And God is enough.

We trust that He will lead our children home and show us how to find them. We trust that He will supply the strength to meet their needs. We trust that He will provide for every financial need at just the right time. We trust that He will surround us with people who will support us and provide endurance to press on if there are those that don’t.

The banner on Amy Block’s website challenges me every time I read it:

Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it…but I’m afraid He might ask me the same question.  – Anonymous

We feel that He has asked us to step into the suffering of the world and do something about it.

We covet your prayers as we move forward from here.

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I know that God says that His voice is like a still, small voice, but there have been a couple of times in my life in which that still, small voice has resounded so loudly in my soul that it felt like a deep-throated bellow.

One such time happened to me about 6 months ago. I was minding my own business, perusing all of your facebook updates, and I stumbled upon a link that a friend posted. It was to a blog from a woman named Amy Block. Amy and her husband have four children “the regular old way,” as she puts it, and they have another five adorable children through international and foster-system adoption. That’s nine kids, if you needed help with that. I’m not saying you did, I just wanted to be clear.

As I read Amy’s post, and then about 17 others that she had written previously, God spoke clearly into my heart, “This is what I have for you.”

To which I responded, “Say wha…?”

“This is what I have for you.”

Don’t get me wrong, I have always thought adoption was amazing. Before I was married, I even thought: If I can’t have kids, I would definitely adopt. However, I’m telling you, I never really thought about doing it. My heart was never really stirred to lay down its own needs for children who need a family more than I need to stay comfortable.

Until that day.

What God sowed into my heart that day was the undeniable Truth that my life is not my own. My comfort is not His goal, nor should it be mine. He has given me resources–love, family, time, relationships, money, a home, food, Himself—and they are to be used for the good of others and to take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. He will allow me to spend those resources on myself if I choose to do so, but I can almost feel the palpable LACK if I choose that route: the lack of depth, lack of faith, lack of adventure, lack of reliance on Him, lack of a harvest, lack of purpose.

He is saying that we were made for more.

James chapter 1, verse 27 says:  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

There are approximately 147 million orphans in the world. Hungry, hurting, alone. That day, six months ago, I felt God saying that Brooke’s and my specific part in looking after them was going to include adopting some of them.

I know. Whoa.

My eventual response that day was to tell God, “Okay, but you’re going to have to talk to Brooke about this one” and I moved on. Later that night, I showed Brooke the blog and we marveled together over the Block family, but I didn’t tell him what I thought God had said.

For one, I didn’t want to be the one to lead our family down such a stretchy kind of path, and for two (and I’m not proud of this one), I figured if God didn’t talk to Brooke about it I was off the hook. Because, let’s face it, it would be easier not to shake things up like this and to instead just move on as a completely content family of five.

No such luck. God is nothing if not thorough.

To be continued tomorrow…

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I Am Esau

Is it possible we love and rely on food more than we love and rely on God? (Chapter 2, Page 28, Paragraph 8, Made to Crave)

Shot to the gut. Uh, yes. It is possible. I read that line and I knew a finger had just been put on the heart of the problem I am fighting. It was Lysa TerKeurst, the author of the book Made to Crave, that wrote it, but it was God who put His finger on it.

Sometimes you just know.

In my conscious mind I know that food is a sorry substitute for the one true God, but in practical reality I behave as though food is my (little g) god. I spend more time during the day thinking about food than thinking about pretty much anything else–even when I am eating healthy. I plan it and arrange it and anticipate the next snack or meal or treat. When my stress or boredom goes up, I head for a snack. When the weekend comes and I am happy and in the mood to relax, it is time for “fun food.” When I am sad or lonely, watch out—I’m on my way to the pantry.

Brooke said to me once that he accidentally forgot to eat lunch. I about fell out of my chair. How does a person forget to eat lunch?! I mean, I arrange my day around when it is time to eat. I look forward to each snack or meal with a ridiculous amount of anticipation—because the food gets me through the day.

Houston, we have a problem.

To be clear, this isn’t about losing weight or not liking my body. I have definitely felt that way before, but I actually changed the way I was eating and increased my exercise over the last year and lost enough weight to feel healthy and satisfied with the way my clothes fit. However, I got to the end of that journey and I found myself still facing the same problem: Food is controlling me.

I am Esau, who gave up his birthright (what?!!) for a bowl of stew.

The point of Lysa’s book is this:  “We were made to crave—long for, want greatly, desire eagerly, and beg for—God. Only God. But Satan wants to do everything possible to replace our craving for God with something else.” (p.20) That replacement craving is different for each of us—it could be material things, success, sex, or drugs or alcohol. For me it is food. And the fact that this book has become a best-seller leads me to believe that there are quite a few other women out there who are struggling with the same thing.

I’m on a new journey now. I’m tired of being Esau. I’m tired of being controlled by something other than God. It’s slow going and I’m not sure how I’m going to get there because my strength isn’t enough, but I am asking God to carry me where I cannot go myself. I want to want Him more than I want anything else.

Have you ever been on this journey?

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