This blog is a chance for us to tell our story and shine the light on the God who wrote it.

It is also a place for me to bring into the spotlight the millions of orphans around the world who are waiting for the Body of Christ to fulfill God's command to "care for orphans and widows in their distress" (James 1:27)

Soli deo Gloria... (All Glory to God Alone).

10.08.2012

Don't Stop the Madness

You know how sometimes a song just says it all?

This one Scott played for me a few months ago.  It was one night after I had begun to feel weary under the weight of some things that were just breaking my heart.  And this song... well, it made me remember.

Remember that I had asked for God to break my heart.

Remember that I don't want go back to the way I was before.  When I thought that my life was "more than I could handle" (and it wasn't fair), and I was so busy "helping myself" (because who else would?).

When I was overwhelmed by my own weaknesses and clinging to control...

Before sweet surrender ... and a broken heart... and a joy that only comes from knowing you are held.  Right here.. in the madness... in the brokenness.  And yet you are not broken.  No strangely, you are whole.  More complete and whole than you have ever been...


So, please, Lord even when I seek my solace in a bowl of ice cream and say I just want to run away from it all... Please, Lord, don't stop the madness.  For here I have found You to be everything you said you would be.
Amen.



(click on image below to hear "Don't Stop the Madness")



10.07.2012

A Holy Cry for Help (Part 2- read yesterday's post first)


Back to the book of Baloney, Chapter 18.  And that verse we’ve all heard even if we haven’t ever cracked the pages of a Bible…
And this one is called- “God-helps-those-who-help-themselves.”  I know people who think this is honest-to-goodness gospel truth.  I did for far too many years.  No, my friends, this one is hogwash, too. 

Verse after verse of the bible cry out this gospel truth- “God helps those who cry out to Him for help”.     

“For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.
Psalm 72:12 

You have been a refuge for the poor,
    a refuge for the needy in their distress,
a shelter from the storm
    and a shade from the heat.  (Isaiah 25:4)

     

If you need wisdom, ask!  For He gives it to all without finding fault  (James 1:5).  If you need strength, ask (Isaiah 40:29)…  If  you need provision, ask (Mt. 7:7)…

God does not applaud independence.   A go-get-‘em, “just believe in yourself” mentality does not honor Him. 

Yes, God will allow us to undergo “more than we can handle”, so that we will cry out to Him for help.  So that He can do what He has been doing for all time- reveal Himself to be God.  A personal God who wants to be known- who is good and loving and merciful and powerful.

Isn’t this the first step to knowing Him… admitting we need a Savior?  And yet, when I’ve been walking this walk so many years, am I any less in need of that Savior who died for me?  Is it now up to me after grace got me this far?

What I fear is that so many of us have bought into this idea that “God helps those who help themselves” that we are so busy “helping ourselves” we miss the abundant life of sacrifice and service that He has really called us to.  (Yes, that really is the abundant life!  Where you decrease and He increases.  It is the secret to true joy.)

We feel the nudging of His Spirit calling us out into something scary, something that might require more of us than we feel we have to give… and we shrink back, afraid that we might not be “enough” or we might put ourselves or our family in a situation where we desperately need God.  And we miss out.  We miss out on seeing Him for who He really is.  We miss out on seeing that all those things He said about Himself in the bible… they’re all really true. 

Our adoption journeys have been this for us.  (We’ve shared about that quite a bit on the blog, so I won’t elaborate now.)  But there are so many other examples.

 For several dear friends, it has been a broken marriage that seemed beyond repair.  They stayed in and did the hard work when it was only ‘hard’, and most would have found just reason to give up.  But at the end of the day, they knew they were beyond their own capacity to love and forgive- it was “more than they could handle” it hurt so much.

 So they cried out in desperation and with a flickering hope that God would come and bring the healing that all their work and efforts could never bring.  And He did.  Now they know their marriage is a miracle… When they could not “help themselves”, God came and did the impossible.   (I smile inside to think how these will dance a little closer, laugh a little longer because they know it might not have been.)


Friends, we are the redeemed… He is the redeemer.  We are sheep… He is the shepherd.  We are the clay... He is the potter.   We are children… He is our Father.   Notice a theme here?! 

Oh, what wonderful things He has in store for us when we submit… surrender…  allow ourselves to be redeemed… to be sheep, clay, children… to be brought to a place where we need Him.  Where much of our lives can only be explained by the presence of Christ… where our lives are full of “more than we can handle” because who can handle so much grace… so much love and mercy and adventure?

And I wonder, do I really want a life I can “handle” without His help, moment by moment, day by day?  And who will see Him if I spend my whole life “helping myself”?

10.06.2012

More Than I Can Handle


             “God will not give you more than you can handle.”   You’ve heard this bible quote before, right?  I believe it’s found in 2 Hogwash 3:43.

                For the longest time I believed that this principle was true.  (It’s really a verse about temptation taken way out of context.)  So whenever I felt overwhelmed with life or that it was becoming more than I could handle, I spiraled downward into a place of anger and shame.   One moment I would be angry with God because I felt He had given me more than I could handle and it wasn’t fair… because He had promised never to give me more than I could handle- right?  I felt abandoned by God.

The next moment I would remember how faithful God had been to me over the years and I would be filled with shame.  Surely, I reasoned, he had been faithful to not give me more than I could handle, but I was simply so weak and sinful that I buckled even under pressures that I should have been able to handle.

Shortly after our son Beniam came home and I became a mother of three, my migraines kicked into high gear.  They were frequent and would last for several days each time.  They were often debilitating, and there was nothing at all that worked to treat them.  My newly adopted son needed much attention and again I felt angry, abandoned, and shame-filled.   I cried out to God- “Why would you give me these children and not give me the ability to care for them?”

                Looking back now I can see that my cries to God were accusations, not pleas for help.  And I am learning now, when God gives me more than I can handle (because He does), it is because what He wants from me is more than a servant who will fulfill His purposes… more than a good mom who can ‘buck up’ and make it through the hard days with a smile.  He wants me to need Him (because He knows that's where I'll find my greatest joy).  He longs for me to surrender to Him in my weakest moments and let Him show me that is really is who He's always said He was-- my Strength, my Joy, "a very present help in trouble", my Shepherd, my Comforter, my Friend.

                Let me be clear- God has never given me anything that I could not handle with his help.  And by ‘help’, I don’t mean a cheer from the sidelines or a little push here or there.  I mean the kind of help He really likes to give- where I surrender completely and His strength is made perfect right there smack dab in the middle of my weakness.

So what kept me from really receiving His help all this time?  I believed another lie from the book of Baloney, Chapter 18.   I hope you will come back and read tomorrow about this often-used phrase that propelled me so far away from the grace that God was offering me.  And how the truth opened the door to hope and joy—more than I can handle, really…