Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Romans 8, Our Burning Bush

"I know we're all sinners," she said, "but I'm especially wicked."

I've been reliving that moment I shared with my dear friend since she spoke those words months ago. She examines her inner black with a crinkled nose and tears and I know she lives deep in His clutches. For I know, in the mysterious ways of heaven, holiness begins when we find ourselves filthy and in the dark. And as we continue to talk about God's light and our adoption journeys, I start to feel the strange sensation of antiseptic, like we're swimming in salt.

Adoption, especially foster to adoption, is an ocean. It is an overwhelming, vast, stormy, Red Sea of salty sanctification. We stand at the shore where God called us with the world and our doubt bearing down and become disappointed that it's taking so long for the dry ground to appear. Our flesh cries out for miraculous signs and wonders. We forget that Moses didn't begin as the great Jewish leader. He began as an Egyptian, drenched in the culture of heathens, especially wicked. And even after God gave him the staff, the leader of God's chosen people was fearful and frail in faith. Its funny how we haven't changed much. His story still an ancient picture of ourselves.

The Bible tells us, "God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." And Christians often cling to this verse for comfort and sustaining encouragement, but we forget to see this humbling truth from the other side. Yes, all our trials, all our stumbling blocks and disappointments will be weaved into a beautiful God glorifying work for our good. But within that luminous promise, lies the salt. We are also being worked out for the good of the others who are called according to His purpose. Perhaps our heartache is the good work. Maybe that is the sign and wonder. It is both the drowning of our Egyptian roots and our deliverance. Only an almighty God could use the especially wicked for any good work. Only my God could use me for any good end. Oh that we could pray to be pursued to the bottom of the sea with wall of salt on our right and left and the world at our back.

We have been called to look after the orphans, to receive children as we would the Father, to be doers. In fact, we are commanded to be fruitful and multiply. Yet we pray, "Lord please show us if this is the baby you want us to love. "Lord please don't let me be cheated." "Lord please spare my heart." We too dare to approach God with doubt. And though he burns in anger against our young Moses ideas, His grace still promises a good plan. He still uses us. Maybe the heartache of adoption is the Romans 8 promise for our individual exodus, conforming us to the likeness of His Son. As we sacrifice and ache for the life of another woman's baby the good work of heaven is being worked out. The Lord in his Grace frees us, slaves to sin and especially wicked, to bless others.

There is dry ground under the salty sea. We need not be afraid, but "stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today."

Romans 8:28
Exodus 14:13

Friday, August 5, 2011

Love is an alter. Stained.

Today I sat in the driver seat of our new used passenger van and felt very small. Three rows of back seats extend beyond my reach. Beyond my dreams. As I surveyed this giant box I was overwhelmed. And as I laughed to mask the panic rising up, I realized there was a familiar lesson being driven home on this small bus. "Many are the plans of man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21 Never could I have imagined myself here. My plans did not look like this... Not five children, not a relationship with adoption agencies and attorneys, birth mothers and strange babies. My plans included smaller, prettier pursuits. But isn't it just like the Lord to laugh at our silly plans. Surely this beast of vehicle is nothing short of heaven mocking me, having a chuckle at the sight of such a small creature deluded with ideas of control and arrogant presumption. I have to laugh at myself even.

Our adoption journey has been a wild ride wrought with lessons and reminders that we are completely carried through this life by Grace. As I look at my little foster guy, Gods grace is glaring and blinding. How He provided for the both of us is astounding. Like the lilies, he kept this little one in his perfect timing until he grew me in his perfect timing and brought this alien pair together to share a most profound and fundamental connection of mother and child. One of helpless, one of us faithless, both of us carried by His plan. And now it would be hard to breathe without each other. Wasn't I an alien to heaven, yet made a citizen in HIS plan?

As look at Adam, I wonder about the illusion of parenthood altogether. I watched an amazingly selfless woman deny herself even a glimpse of his face so as not to waver in her hopeful future for him. One she can't give him. So she gave him to me. . . even now I have to pause to absorb such an act. Didn't the Lord look away as he gave Christ to us on a cross? As he gave us a future we could never make ourselves. When people speak of God as love do they understand this is the picture?... a slaughter of everything you hold precious as the world goes dark? Abraham knew. Birth mothers must know.

How can I bear such a heavy responsibility? Such a gift? How will I ever be worthy? The truth is I have never been worthy and will never be. We're dealing in souls after all. Aren't we all parenting infinite beings planned before the foundations of the earth and fearfully knit together by the hand of an Almighty God? Really we had nothing to do with it. All our children are but on loan to us. Isaac's under our roofs. Our only hope of a job well done is to accept this and give it back to the Alpha source - on an alter. Trust that ram in the thicket to do the planning, for he is also the Omega.

" Many are the plans of man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." I will sing that proverb as a psalm as look at my new future and fill this green monster van with precious cargo. May I remain small in His hands I pray, continually carried down this road by nothing more than grace. We planned the cross, Jesus planned salvation. Beyond our reach. Beyond our dreams.