Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Let's go CRAZY in 2013!



"You're crazy, you know? Oh my gah. You're so crazy. I can barely handle two. You have four and you want MORE? Oh my gah. You're crazy!"

I barely know her, but run into her regularly. She seems nice - except for this. Every time, I get the same speech.

Some people, I get the "you're so crazy, and it's so cool" vibe, but not from her. From her, I get the "You're just batpoop crazy" vibe.

I reposition my large behind in the little chair made for a little preschool behind and smile a little forced half smile and nibble my little Christmas tree cookie. She looks at another mom and says, "Do you know how crazy she is? She's already has four kids and she's adopting one more! From Africa! She's crazy!!"

Inhale. Exhale. Half smile semi-sweetly.

"Oh," the other mom says, with the raised eyebrows I know so well by now. "Why are you adopting?"

Now is the moment when I could launch into my informative, yet unoffensive, convincing, yet demure speech, as might be expected of me, Current Available Reigning Ambassador for All Internationally Adopting Mothers.

But today I'm tired. And irritated. And crazy!!

So instead I state, "Because I just can't stand the thought of kids in orphanages."

And then I take a bite of my cookie as the room goes silent. Because evidently no one has an answer to that crazy!! statement.

Nibbling, enjoying the silence, I decide that this might be my ever-ready-answer. Because yes, I can tell you a slew of statistics and quote some hardcore bible verses at you but really? You really wanna know why we're adopting?

We're adopting because I can't stand the thought of kids in orphanages.
Amen. The end. Dig in.

This is my Passion, this kids-in-orphanages thing. This is the thing that makes my heart race. This is the thing I lose sleep over. This is my thang.

Looking back, I've had several passions at given times throughout my life and still do, but Unloved Children has remained consistent, and and I am delighted that it has been nailed down very specifically and proactively to "Unloved Children in Ethiopian Orphanages". Because specifics are our friends, y'all.

This doesn't make me a saint, and contrary to what she fervently believes, it doesn't make me crazy. I just think it makes me that much further along in my journey with this God I claim to love. I think it makes me that much more in tune with this God I declare to worship.

Because I believe that as we cease to be conformed to the world and are transformed by the renewing of our minds, and as we are transformed into his image with every increasing glory, God's heart becomes our heart, and God's passions become our passions.

And God's got a thang for orphans.
Me too.
(A lot of y'all just said Me three.)

What about the rest of you?

It doesn't have to be orphans. Because our God, our Father, Son and Holy Spirit God - He is a God of many Passions.

Which of His passions is reflected in your heart? In what way has He conformed you to His being? How, as Richard Stearns says in one of the books that messed me up this past year, how has God broken your heart for the things that break His heart?

Your Passion may be for AIDS, cancer, homelessness, unborn children, education. Child prostitution. Poverty. Teenagers. College kids. Haiti. Africa. Italy. Inner city Dallas. Suburban Nashville. I've yet to meet a Christian who didn't get very riled up about something that was a direct reflection of God's heart.

Problem is, I think the problem is that many of us - in America, I'll just come flat out and say most of us - let our worldly passions override the godly passions.

Like, a passion for shoes, for instance. A passion for cars. A passion for golf or Big 12 football or music. A passion for looking like we're 25 forever. A passion for the "one sanctioned Christian idol", our children (touchy one!) A passion for looking like the perfect family. A passion for looking like the perfect church. A passion for sports trophies or grades or popularity or the absolutely best looking lawn on the whole block.

I'll tell you right now that at stages in my life my passions have included Pergo floors, breastfeeding, Project Runway, abused children, granite countertops, youth ministry, Words With Friends, and eliminating the gray from my hair (I admit my strong feelings regarding the latter remain.)

Many of these passions, while perhaps not inherently evil, can quickly become so noisy that they drown out the life-changing, eternal consequence making PASSION that God has placed in our hearts to reflect Himself and expand His kingdom in this evil, messed up world!

I have found my big P Passion and let me tell you, it feels good to have it nailed down. So many times over the last year I have said to myself This is IT. This is my THANG! and I get welly every time. I've got my marching orders. It's a wonderful feeling to be in the middle of God's will.

So I'm asking you right now, sisters, as we begin this new year.

What's your Passion?

What's the thang that is gonna make the rest of the world call you CRAZY? (Oh my gah! So crazy!!)

Do you even know?

I've been all over. I've had passions, but they've been undefined. Or I've had passions but gotten off course. And I've had passions that only lasted a season.

Based on my own history of Passion Deficit Disorder, I speculate that there are four places you may camping right now:

Camp 1
You love Jesus, but you feel like you have no passion and no place in this whole Expanding-the-Kingdom stuff.

Okay. We need to talk.
Because you do have a place. A very important place.
God did not claim you from the miry pit so that you might spend the rest of your time on Earth de-sanctifying yourself via Bravo TV while jamming only occasionally to Casting Crowns, as tempting as that may be. 

My biggest advice, aside from reading your bible (oh, please, please don't get sidetracked by a passion that is directly contrary to God's word! Pleeeease!), would be to read one of two books. 

The first is Interrupted, written by Jen Hatmaker, who messed me up in a big way, and took me out of the suburban slump I had fallen into, and reignited the fire I had in me before sleepness nights and mommafear stole it away. Just trust me, order it, read it.

Jen had already gotten in my head before Radical came out and restated all that she was saying. You can pick either book, up to you.

Then tell me you still don't have Passion. Go ahead. Try.

(There's a serious revival going on in the Church, my friends. It's the most exciting thing I've witnessed in my life. Don't be late to the joyride.)

Camp 2
You don't really know what your Passion is. You are willing, and able, and probably more than a little emotional, but can't pinpoint exactly how God wants to use you for His glory. 

If so, here's what I suggest you do. It's complicated, so you might want to write this down. I'll wait while you get a pencil. Ya ready?

ASK HIM.

Aha!

Pray. 

Often the last resort, always the best resort. Just ask Him! Ask the Lord to reveal to you in what way He wants to take your gifts, your resources, your personality traits, your natural inherent passions to further His kingdom. Ask Him to make it clear and make a commitment to submit to the direction He leads you. Reflect on areas that have kept you motivated for years. Then just wait, and don't get impatient if He doesn't email you back by dinner.  It will become clear in good time. He will send people and books and TV shows and podcasts and magazine articles and blogs and facebook links and billboards pointing in a certain direction. Then you may start crying a lot more. Essentially you might begin to think that God is stalking you. (He is.)


Secondly, ask others what they think your Passion is. It may be so obvious to everyone but you, that you get some strange "are you serious?" looks.

(Husbands are especially gifted at those looks.)

Thirdly, test it. If you can't find bible verses that directly reflect God's heart on this issue - no gray areas, no interpretation thunk up in the last fifty years, but black and white God's Word confirming your passion beyond a doubt - then pray for discernment. Rinse, repeat.

Camp 3
You know what your Passion is in the big picture, but you haven't specified it yet. And therefore, you feel scattered and are having trouble being proactive.

Yeah. I pitched my tent here for a while. So many causes, so little time. You get all fired up about something, but then you have this like, life that keeps interfering.

Same thing applies. Pray.

As my life became busier (read: ridiculously demanding offspring) I had to develop a "don't ask don't tell" policy regarding serving God. What I mean is, I don't really volunteer for anything, because my eyes are always bigger than my stomach and I end up over committing and under delivering.

Instead, I keep my big mouth shut, and ask God to send me the opportunities, and when the present themselves, I prayerfully consider each one. This has kept me out of a lot of trouble and made it easier to narrow my focus on what God wants me to do, instead of the cool fun things I think I want to do - until I get in the thick of them and hate myself for volunteering.

Maybe you are the opposite who never volunteers for anything. Are you a bushel hider? Same thing applies.

Ask God to shut down the noise, and to focus your eyes and heart directly where He wants you to focus. Pray for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him (her) ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him (her).” That would be James 1:5.

I do so love me a scriptural guarantee.

Warning though, praying for wisdom can mess you up.

Mess you up good.

And by good, I mean, Good.

In fact, I dare you to Scotch tape that James 1:5 verse to your bathroom mirror. Hang it in a ziplock from your shower caddy. Postit note it to your dash.

I double dog dare you.

(duck!)


Camp 4
You know exactly what your Passion is and exactly what you want to do and you believe wholeheartedly that God is calling you to this, but the timing isn't right.  Oh, sister, this is an especially hard place to be. I know. This is when you must remind yourself constantly and loudly that God's timing is perfect. His ways are sovereign, and your's - are not. Even though you think they are, cute little control freak that you are.

In this case, you must do the hardest thing of all, that is, sit and wait on God. I know, wait is a four letter word, I know!

But one thing I have been blessed to learn is that God's timing is perfect. Take comfort in Psalm 40.
Sing it. Download it. Know that the Lord does intend to use you, when you are ready, when He is ready, when the world is ready.

Until then, immerse yourself in the Word. Prepare your heart, your mind, your soul for the journey ahead.

Go fold a load of laundry while you wait.

Be still. Know, that He is God, and your time - His time - is coming.

And - brace yourself. Fasten your seatbelt. Every other cliche you can call to mind.

Because it's gonna be a crazy ride. Crazy!! Oh my gah, crazy!!

A good, good, crazy ride.


Happy New Year, my precious invisible friends.

I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us.

** For those of you who are wondering where you might be needed, may I please point you to Child Advocates/CASA (click here for the Houston program), one of my favorite, hands-on ways to help hurting children. **

From 2011

Related posts:
I don't want my children to be happy
Blessed to be a weirdo
The Theology of Adoption

39 comments:

  1. I get the "Why are you adopting internationally when there are kids in America" question. To which I respond, "Because there are international kids without parents. And we send missionaries overseas to tell them about Jesus, so...." There's no response to that, either. So happy your baby girl is almost home!! I've been in Camp 4 for a long time...knowing we were to adopt, but waiting on the timing. It's been a hard camp to be in, but that camping trip is ending this month as we start the process!!

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  2. ohhhhh, God used this post a couple of years ago to literally change my life and the culture of our home. I loved reading it again. THANK YOU!

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  3. If you had posted this yesterday, I would say it was my FAVORITE post from ANY blog in 2012. Chances are I will feel the same way in 364 days! Sharing it everywhere:) I'm somewhere in camp 3 and 4:) Thanks for sharing your passion and wisdom!!!

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  4. Thnak you SO much for your posts. They always make me smile or cry or both. That is how you know something is successful in my book! I have followed your blog for well over a year now. It helped fuel my passion. My passion is orphans and foster children here in the US. God called my husband and I to be foster parents at a Children's Home 6 months ago, and you are so right. There is NOTHING more wonderful than being smack in the middle of God's will for your life. We are 24 and 26 and we raise anywhere from 1-8 kids, depending on what the need is at that moment. Thank you for being an encouragement to a young girl from Alabama who was in the middle of finding her passion and is now smack in the middle of doing it.

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    1. I'm so happy for you Haley! You are a rock star girl.

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    2. No, not a rockstar. Just a beloved child of the King who is learning what it means to love like Jesus. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I wish you lived in Alabama so I could hug you in person and thank you but this comment will have to do!

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  5. Loved reading this again. God has continually used your words to change my heart. If I ever meet you in real life, I'm buying you coffee.

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  6. Beautiful - so well written and specific! I'm smack dab in the middle of my passion right now, and although it is exhausting, it is in God's will so I am so very blessed. So thrilled for you and your craziness :)

    Nichole
    nicholeinantwerp.blogspot.com

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  7. Several years ago, I was in a church van coming home from a "Purpose Driven Life" conference. I told the people in my van that I didn't know what my "purpose" was, but I really felt like it had to do with babies. I told my pastor that I wanted to volunteer to be the nursery coordinator at church. Well... as usually happens when I try to put God in a box, He let me think that working in the nursery was my thing. For a little while. Then He hit me over the head with what he REALLY wanted me to do. Long story short, my three biological children now have two adopted sisters and a third adoption should be finalized this summer. It's my purpose and it's my passion.

    Thank you for this post!!

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  8. I guess I'm in camp 5... plenty of Passion, working on it every day, but not a Christian :)
    My Passion is also children in orphanages (although in my case, I live and work in Japan and get to spend at least a day a week volunteering in orphanages). I am also in the process of trying to adopt an institutionalised child, so please please don't take what I am about to say as criticism of international adoption (I believe international adoption is overwhelmingly a force for good, in the host country as well as the origin country). What I want to say is just that I don't think "I can't stand the thought of kids in orphanages" is necessarily the best thing to say. Although international adoption is most definitely in some ways altruistic, it is also something we do for us (to love and raise a child in our homes according to our beliefs and values). If it were just about getting kids out of orphanages, the hundreds of thousands of dollars parents spend raising one child to adulthood in a first world country could have saved dozens of lives and provided vastly improved care for hundreds in developing countries. We don't spend that money because it doesn't have the same benefits for us that gaining a child does (well, I want to raise a child but would not donate an equivalent amount of money, I suppose I shouldn't make assumptions about other people). Of course, you can say whatever you like ;) I really hope you don't feel that I am criticising or attacking you because I think what you are doing is fantastic and as I go through the process myself I am loving reading about your family growing. I'm just suggesting that as an explanation it has some flaws. I wish you and your family the very best in 2013 :)

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    1. Well, it's my reason, anyway. Orphanages suck. I can't care for an entire orphanage but I can care for one (at least, for now).

      What is the orphanage situation like in Japan? I'm rather shocked to hear that they even have orphanages, I would assume they had some sort of foster care program similar to ours. Although there are still some orphanages left in Americam,, sadly.

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    2. It's shocking. It is largely impossible to sever parental rights, even ion cases of serious abuse or abandonment, so the kids are unable to be adopted and foster care is very rare. When kids who are raised in orphanages grow up they face social stigma and discrimination in employment, renting apartments, marriage etc. Very miserable situation for a first world country. As you say, orphanages SUCK!

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    3. So sad. I have a dream about doing a report on orphan situations in each country. Like, this shocks me about Japan.

      In Muslim countries, adoption is completely illegal, so orphans are completely vulnerable, to the extent that in Egypt they were literally being sold and murdered for their organs. And this was just recently - like 5 years ago. Shocking.

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  9. So my passion is one, that according to prior blogs, is one that might make you say I'm crazy. It's homeschooling and parental rights. We as a nation are giving the govt. so much control of our little ones, and younger and younger, too. Being in the middle of God's will is wonderful and wonderfully exhausting, full of sanctification. Praise God for His gift of passion for His glory!

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    1. Oh I do not think homeschooling is crazy, at all! I have many dear friends who homeschool and rock it. I, however, would NOT rock it. And I don't think my kids would either. Which is why I don't do it.

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  10. I have a question for you and hope it's not too personal. Were you and Walker always on the same page regarding your Passion? You have such a clearly defined, specific Passion but you generally refer to international adoption as "MY Passion" or "MY thang" rather than "OUR Passion". The reason I ask is because my husband and I are generally on a vastly different Passion Plains. He is always ready to take the Passion Leap, but the places where he has desire cause me to panic. When God confirmed your Passion to you, was Walker always on board with how the next steps and decisions would affect your family and life? Is it realistic to hope/desire/expect God to reveal a common Passion for us as a team?

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    1. Probably the same night that Walker and I got engaged, I told him that if he married me we would be adopting a little girl out of a Chinese orphanage. So I didn't have to do the convincing that so many other wives do - this was always the plan. The details have changed many times over before we landed on Ethiopia but adoption was always on the agenda. And at one point, when Walker told me to table all adoption talk, I disagreed but he was right. I think we got surprisingly pregnant again the next month.

      Is this Walker's PASSION? I would say probably not. He doesn't go to adoption conferences, he doesn't read books or blogs about orphan care, etc. He's kinda overwhelmed with work and me and you know, 5 kids and all that stuff. He wants to glorify God, and he could have gone down many paths to achieve that goal, he just happened to marry the orphan care chick. He's sort of coat-tailing my passion. I think his passion is truly being a family man, however that looks.

      I can't tell you, Ann-Marie, without knowing you. It may be that you should pray for passion-alignment, or it may be that God is calling you to submit on this, because the Lord typically calls us to submit on the things that terrify us, in my experience.

      I have an ex-boyfriend who is with IJM in Africa. I have no desire to be living in Rwanda so I have often thought about, what if I had married him? I think I would have gone - terrified - and I know I would have been blessed. But would I have ever chosen that? Heck no!





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  11. I do love reading this blog, Missy :-) I am very definitely crazy, and passionate, and God seems to think that's great, so...

    My passion is the broken. And as all of us are broken, my passion is also to teach people about the gentle, tender Christ. I have a notion of fostering or adopting troubled children, in the future, but not yet. God will make it happen, when it is time. After I finally realised that God was definitely pointing me in this direction, I expected it to all come at once. "YES GOD! LET'S GO!" No such luck! God has His own timing, but I sense He is using me already, in little ways that may go largely unnoticed by the world, but that make a difference to a small group of people. It took me a while to notice, but I was so humbled when I did. It made me realise that all my seemingly-lost years of pain and struggle - well, maybe they weren't lost after all. Maybe God is using them for His glory.

    I love this blog and I love your passion. It matches my own. God bless you, crazy lady. You are inspiring!
    Sandy

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    1. Oh Sandy, all those years of pain and struggle are what made you the empathetic person you are!

      "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God"

      2 Cor 1:3-4

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    2. There's a blog post in that ;-)

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    3. I think that's the theme of my whole blog!

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  12. Who gets to define crazy anyway? My cousin is currently adopting their second special needs child from Eastern Europe. She has 10 biological with one more on the way. They are a great testimony to what God can do when we listen to Him instead of our culture. http://theblessingofverity.com/

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  13. Okay, Camps aside, what is it about people feeling free to question others sanity for having a herd and adding to it though adoption? I don't question their sanity for all the things they do that are crazy, so why do they get to?! We have the fab four, adopted another one and got the crazy comments. Then we started announcing the next adoption and I get the gasps and dropped jaws and comments ALL THE TIME.

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    1. Girl, you'll get used to it, I promise. If the world at large approves of what you're doing, you are most likely NOT in God's will!


      “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
      the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
      I Cor 1:19

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  14. I was SO HAPPY to see CASA mentioned and recommended on your Blog!! I am A CASA in So Calif and we are always in desperate need of people and funds! Thank You!

    I am so enjoying your blog, btw!

    Doreen

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  15. I remember reading this when you originally posted. I'm really glad you posted it again. I needed it. Feeling adrift. Thanks.

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  16. Great post! I share you Passion - with a capital P - to orphan care/adoption. I have a daughter from China and a son we just brought home from Ethiopia. I also liked how you narrowed that Passion down. I have watched the Lord help me do that in my life - and for us - it is Awassa, Ethiopia - home to 400 beautiful children that I get to Coordinate Sponsorships for and go love on each year. Did I mention, the Lord also crated that out beautifully. He gave us that CarePoint even before he gave us our son ... and well .... as God would have it - our son is from the area of our CarePoint and we have now gotten to see his birth Momma again on our visits because she is TEN miles away. God is Big ... he'll definitely narrow down and direct what he has in store. And it is SO SO GOOD!

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  17. YES! For me, it's kids in need, and right now, that means foster care. Crazy, crazy foster care. But this post was a wonderful reminder that, as difficult as it is, it's far better than being in any one of those camps. I remember those days, and I'm grateful they're behind me. Thanks for the awesome post!

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    1. I am so, so thankful for your crazy foster care people. If we can't adopt again from Ethiopia, we will probably be one of you.

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  18. My sister regularly shares your posts with me, and they are without fail encouraging in my spiritual walk. Thanks for your transparency and willingness to share your journey with the world...it helps me along.

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  19. My sister shares your posts with me quite regularly, and they are always encouraging to me in my spiritual walk. Thanks for your willingness to share your journey. It helps me along in mine.

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