Monday, May 5, 2014

On Future Olympians, Kidnapped Girls in Africa, and a Beautiful Adoption

So much is going on in my heart and head these days...

I am full of hope and dreams and joy.  I marvel at what God is doing and am brimming over with excitement about what He has yet to do.

At the same time, however, I am overwhelmed with sadness and grief and pain.  I am left not knowing exactly what to do, except pray.

Let's start with the good stuff first...

I can feel God's presence and power at work in my life.  He is on the move and bringing people into my life in ways I never imagined.  He is blessing me with new friendships and countless opportunities to impact people all over the world and change their lives in so many ways.  I believe He is taking my dreams - even the big, wild, crazy ones - and fulfilling them for His glory.  I read a verse recently and it seemed as if God was whispering to my heart, "This, THIS, this is what I am doing in your life right at this very time.  Keep trusting Me.  Keep living by faith.  If you think what I've done so far is good, just you wait.  I'm just getting started..."

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. 
May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. 
Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, 
and you will be honored along with him. 
This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.

May I continue to live in faith and watch with anticipation as God takes my crazy ideas, my high hopes, my impossible dreams and brings them all to fruition in His way, in His timing, and for His glory.

As I am learning to walk by faith and not by sight, I feel compelled to challenge others to do the same, so they too can experience God at work in their lives in a new and fresh and incredible way.  And so, last night when we talked with the Bible study kids about leaving a legacy, I wanted more than anything to instill in these young boys and girls the strength and courage to take God at His Word, to dream big and then pray bigger.  As we shared how Timothy set an example for others at a young age, we challenged them to do the same and asked them to think about how they want to be remembered.  Then, reminded them, of course, they needed to be living that way now.  One of the girls shared how she wants to be an Olympian swimmer.  Did I laugh at her huge goal?  Did I shrug off her audacious dream?  Nope.  I told her I would be there in 2020 watching her swim!  And I truly believe this girl can do it.  She knows that being an Olympian isn't just going to happen -- she will work for it.  She's already training and putting hours in at the pool, and loving it!  I am loving it too.  I am inspired by her.  At 11 years old, this girl is setting an example for ME!

I can't help but smile when I think of this young girl's dreams and aspirations.  At the same time, though, my heart is broken over the fate of so many other young girls.  Girls I don't even know.  Have never met. Probably never will meet them.  But I am praying for them, as if they were my own daughters.  You see, these girls live in Uganda and were kidnapped recently.  Abducted from their school by a terrorist group who is against education for women.  Most likely forced into "marriages" with men twice their age.  How can your heart not break?  How can your spirit not be crushed?  Things like this should enrage you.  And bring you to your knees.  I don't really know what I can do, other than pray (which is powerful)...but I will ask you to pray with me.  As we join together, may God hear our cries and pleas for these girls to be returned to their families, to be given the opportunity to live out their childhood and receive an education and dream their own dreams...

As I weep for these young African girls, I am also crying tears of joy for a little girl over in China.  My friends Jamie and Doug Becker became a family of 4 yesterday evening as they met their daughter Katie for the first time.  I look at pictures of them grinning from ear to ear, laughing and clapping and hugging and kissing each other, and can't help but praise God for His amazing goodness.  I rejoice with my friends and thank God for the way He brought this little girl into their family so they can introduce her to Jesus and shower her with His love.  And my heart is once again full...

Until I think of all the other orphaned and abandoned children...
Until I remember how many children are in homes, but not truly wanted or loved...

And that anger, that frustration, that despair moves me to start dreaming again.  Prayer is indeed powerful and our greatest resource, as it allows us to tap into the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.  I will pray, but I want to be able to GIVE too.  

Until God opens doors for us to adopt, I want to support my friends who are currently in that process or who are simply waiting on funds to make those dreams a reality. 

I have other hopes and desires and dreams as well.  They all revolve around helping others and making a difference in people's lives. All around the world.  As God blesses me and my family, I want to pass those blessings along to as many people as I possibly can.  Those hopes and desires and dreams require funding...quite a bit of it.  Good thing I serve the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  Good thing I serve a God who has unlimited riches.  Good thing I serve a God who delights in lavishing His children with His love and pouring out His blessings upon them.  Good thing I serve a God who specializes in taking the impossible and turning into DONE.

As I try to make sense of all that is going on in my heart and head right now, I am focused on praising God and thanking Him for all He is already doing.  I also implore Him to keep acting and showing Himself faithful and true in other situations.  I want to ask you to join me in both.  Let's come together and share the GOOD He is doing in our lives.  Let's rejoice together for those wonderful things.  Let's also do just as God asks and bring our requests before Him, trusting Him to work in our lives and the lives of those who need Him all around the world.  Let's watch in eager anticipation together for our prayers to be answered...

Let's dream big and pray bigger today (and every day)!!!!