Tonight there is a lot on my heart. I wasn't going to post anything. We've been absent due to baseball games every night and I am so thankful that I have a family to fill each moment of the day with such Joy. Anyway, Lola Joy was re-adopted today. This along with a few other things has brought me to really search the word for God's view of adoption and God's Purpose for me. I was searching verses and found a blog with a post that summed up my heart's feelings since experiencing Ethiopia this summer. I have been unable to due it justice and put it into words. This person did so beautifully. So, here it is...
"It has been three months since we returned from Africa. In many ways it seems like we were there only yesterday. In others, it seems like an eternity ago.
I liked my first taste of Africa and my processing of it these last few months to someone who is going through the five stages of grief. I honestly think while I was there, I was in a state of shock. Being slightly numb is about the only way I could keep from weeping at every moment. I was carried along by the rhythm and flow of life in Ethiopia-the sights, and sounds, and smells. but I didn't know how to feel. I was overwhelmed by the need and my lack of ability to do anything about it. And certainly didn't know how to reconcile everything I was seeing with my life back in American.
Which led me to anger. At injustice. At rich, spoiled Americans. At myself. Some justified anger, sure, but mainly my anger was misdirected. I wanted someone to blame. Surely someone else was responsible for all this death and sickness and disparity, and so it must be all those people who don't know, who don't care, who don't do anything. If they would just listen. If they would just care. I was ready to point my finger at anyone and everyone.
And, of course, at myself. Because Africa, like a magnifying mirror, reveals more of yourself than you really want to see. Thing you hide well in a land of prosperity--like selfishness, laziness, greed, arrogance--get exposed in a land of want. when you see a woman who has nothing but her meager supply of water and injera to serve you tea--you can't help but think of how often you've opened your overflowing pantry and sighed that there is just nothing to fix for dinner. When you meet a man who walks 3 miles back and forth to work for 12 hour days, 7 days a week, all for about 2 dollars a day, and he counts himself as blessed--you can't help but think of how often you've complained you needed "me time" after a day "stuck" in your comfy house homeschooling your well-fed kids and folding enough laundry to clothe an army. when you give a child a piece of gum, and you look back to see them sharing it with 6 other children around them--you can't help but think of the overflowing Easter baskets and Christmas stockings stuffed full of goodies. And you feel fat. Regardless of how much you weigh, you just feel like soft, flabby glutton.
And so I entered the stage of bargaining. Ok, God, I can still live in my house as long as I speak up for orphans and bring one home to live in it. I can still have 25 pairs of shoes as long as a couple of them are TOMS. I can still spend hours online doing nothing productive, as long as I occasionally post something thought provoking on facebook. I can still own way more than I need as long as I donate some of the stuff I know really want anymore to Goodwill.
But that leads to depression. Because you can never really reconcile owning anything with having given enough. I think of the story where the man came to Jesus and said, ok, I'm ready to follow you, and Jesus said, only one more thing: go sell everything you have and GIVE IT TO THE POOR. The man walked away sad. He could not do it. His heart was not willing. while I certainly believe it's ok to own things, I can never again rest in a place of knowing, ok, I've given enough, I'm good now. It will never be enough. And that can be deeply unsatisfying for someone who wants a simple black and white way to deal with abundance. It just isn't simple, people!
And I am finally accepting that. There is no easy answer. Really, I am finding we here in America have a lot more in common with my new friends in Ethiopia than I originally thought. Our countries, yes, different indeed. But we are all people, created in God's image, and in desperate need of the Gospel. And redemption. What Africa wears on the outside, laid bare for all to see, we hide underneath layers in America. they wear physical disease, hunger, poverty, and need. Here our layers of "stuff" hides emptiness, brokenness, despair and a hunger that is never satisfied deep within our hearts. Their need is easier to identify, but ours is still there. Underneath it all are human beings with gaping wounds and fatal bleeding. we need a remedy. We need a remedy. We need to be rescued.
And with my acceptance comes HOPE. I believe in a Remedy. I believe in a Rescuer. I serve a King who loves Africans and Americans. I believe He will use me, if I will daily seek to obey HIS leading in my life. I will NOT prescribe to you what you need to do, and what that will look like for you. I will not pretend there is an easy solution or that one needs to be in one country. But for me, I cannot forget what I have seen, and now I am responsible for it. Under the viel of earthly things is a spiritual reality, one we sense when we close our eyes and stand still long enough to feel. we were meant to live for so much MORE THAN THE AMERICAN DREAM!!!
And so I will NOT doze off in the sleepy shire, I will engage in the battle. I want blisters on my hands and fatigue deep in my bones and scars on my heart form all I've seen and experienced--because too much is at stake. Lives are at stake. Physical and spiritual. I don't want to cling tightly to anything, but JESUS. I want to spend myself, my life, my time, my resources--WITH RECKLESS ABANDON. So that one day when I stand before HIM, I have NOTHING left. Nothing wasted. Nothing squandered.
SO--GO and SEE. Serve. Share. But don't wait to engage in the battle until your feet hit African soil. Start today. Start here. Because too much is at stake.
Join me in this conflicted state, where my sin and my obedience wrestle daily. Choose to live with eyes wide open. Stop spectating. Suit up, get on the field, here you strive for the goal but often meet resistance and sometimes fail. '
As I read this I felt like this girl was feeling with my heart. I pray that I will NEVER get so comfortable with the AMERICAN DREAM and with what is ACCEPTABLE to the world, but live with RECKLESS ABANDON because JESUS SAID SO!
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