Thursday, August 20, 2009

God Provides

Okay, so the most amazing thing happened yesterday! But before I tell you that, I have to give some background. As most of you probably know, Michael & I are a one-income family. He's an RN on a cardiac surgical unit, & I - though once an elementary school teacher - am now a housewife. (Much to both of our satisfaction, I might add, though that's probably another post!) In our desire to add "parent" to our job descriptions, we've embarked upon a journey to adopt 2 children from Ethiopia. Being a one-income family, & not having a spare $27,000 laying around - shocking, I know - we're sometimes unsure how we are ever going to afford this adoption. Two days ago, we were reminded of how truly daunting this venture may be. You see, we had our first home study meeting with our fabulous social worker, Claire, who proceeded to lay out the next few steps that we will need to fund. We've paid around $2,000 into the process up to this point, and our next few steps will cost almost $2,400. Wow! Never mind not having $27,000 laying around; we don't even have this much! Here's where God steps in. He knows our need. He's placed this desire in our hearts & this call on our lives. We've both reminded each other a few times already - & will no doubt do so many more times in this journey - that because He's given us this desire & call, that He will provide the way for us to fulfill it. We know this to the bottom of our souls, & He has proven faithful. You see, on the way home from our meeting, we discussed our new dilemma. How are we going to come up with this amount of money? We are definitely going to have to sacrifice; that's part of being a parent, after all, not to mention being a Christian. (Although, it doesn't really feel like we're sacrificing anything when the end result in both instances is so rewarding!) Extra shifts at Michael's work are scarce, almost nonexistent. I can sew & sell some things, but probably not $2,400 worth. The money from our paychecks mostly goes toward bills & necessities with some left over to put back in savings. So, where are we going to get the money? Turns out, from God. We just got our paycheck & somehow, in some truly inexplicable way, NONE of that money is needed for bills. Seriously -- NONE! Amazingly, the large bulk of this paycheck can go into savings toward our adoption! So, whereas we were a couple thousand dollars short of paying for these next few steps, now we only lack a couple hundred!

*God, You are so faithful to us, & we are so grateful to You!  Thank You for giving us this desire to rescue orphans & give them an everlasting family who will love, nurture, protect, & disciple them. Thank You for giving us this opportunity to reflect Your love for us & to reflect Your adoption of us as Your children, by loving & adopting these children. And, thank You for providing the way to fulfill Your calling. We love You! In Christ's holy name, Amen.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Learning to Love as Christ

There is a difficult person in my life that I have to deal with. So often, I don't want to deal with her, so I try my hardest to avoid doing so. Or, I deal with her in a very begrudging manner, lamenting over what an inconvenience it is to me. Until today. Today, I saw her in a different light. I saw her through the eyes of Christ. I saw how lonely she is. I saw how wounded she is. I saw how selfish I've been. In avoiding dealing with her, I've exacerbated her loneliness & pain......and reflected Christ poorly. No, to be more direct, I've lied about who Christ is. I have felt justified in avoiding her as much as possible because, after all, her poor behavior deserves my shunning of her. "I don't have to put myself into an abusive situation", I said to myself (& my husband) just last night. "She has to learn that her bad behavior has consequences & she can't just treat people any way she wants to & get away with it" was my next statement. But today, I was forced to deal with her, & Christ brought me face-to-face with my sin. What if Christ had used the same arguments with me? What if He had said, "I don't have to die for her! She's just going to continue to sin against Me. She's going to take My sacrifice for granted as she chooses sin over Me time & again. She's not worthy for Me to die for. She has to learn that her bad behavior has consequences that she has to pay for." If He had taken the same approach with me that I've taken with her, I would be sent to hell. Thank God (literally), He did not do this! Thank God that He became incarnate, lived a perfectly sinless life, died for my sins - bearing God's wrath - & rose again all on my behalf -- even though I am SO unworthy! Without His grace & mercy, I would be hopeless & helpless. And as His child, as His redeemed & justified child, I am to serve others in the same way. Even when they're rude, arrogant, or simply irritating. Even when they ridicule, insult, & abuse me (as they did Him). Not begrudgingly, but with joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, self-control, & gentleness.

*God, please help me to love this person as You have loved me. Give me Your mercy & humility in dealing with her so that when she looks at me, she sees You. Please use me in any way You choose to minister to her. Heal her wounds & show her that she needs You, all the while continuing to sanctify me. Glorify Yourself through me, Lord. In Christ's holy name, Amen.