Yesterday as I was talking on the phone with my Momma, something occurred to me. The Lord REALLY did a work in my heart at that retreat. I can’t tell you when, or how long it took, or where I was exactly, but the Lord changed my heart toward my children and toward their birth mother in a way I hadn’t experienced before. My parents have noticed it, my husband has noticed it and my children very clearly have noticed it, too.
It’s hard to know what to even call it. I’ve been saved from my sins, I’ve experienced the Lord’s sanctifying power and have been baptized with the Holy Ghost. And though I have no idea what to call this exactly, I definitely had another spiritual experience two weeks ago.
In the three previous posts, I detailed some very profound “Aha!” moments for me. But there were a couple of others that go hand in hand that I would like to share with you to close this series.
My friend, E’rma, was one of the keynote speakers. I had heard many parts of her story before, but it feels like every time I listen to her, I learn something new — about her, about me and about the Lord. Saturday was no exception.
As she shared part of her testimony, she wove into it the story of Jesus calming the storm. I’m sure we can all picture being in a boat in the middle of a terrible, life-threatening storm. Can you see the clouds? Hear the wind? Feel the rain? Describe the darkness? I can picture it clearly. She talked about how stuck we get staring at that ugly storm. We see it coming and it grips us with fear. “Where is Jesus? Doesn’t He care?”
Well, in the story, where was Jesus? As you will recall, He was asleep inside the boat. What she said next just blew me out of the water. Instead of staying in the top of the boat where we can see the storm and asking the Lord to calm it, what stops us from heading down into the ship and into the embrace of the Savior? It gave me a new perspective on those lyrics, “Sometimes He calms the storm and other times He calms His child.”
Am I actively seeking the Savior rather than the calm He can give? Will I serve the Lord even if the storm continues to rage? When I don’t understand? When I can’t hear myself think for the wind and waves? Lord, help me! That’s the kind of relationship that I want with Him. I want to serve Him because of Who He is, not simply for what He can do for me.
Several years ago I wrote a little piece that I posted on my Bebo page, (do any of you even remember Bebo???), called “We Are All Adopted!” I wrote about how the Lord adopts all of us into His family and how we can mirror our Lord in adopting a child. I was so excited at the prospect of adopting and was soooooooooo naive. (Maybe I should add some more o’s to that.) I was in love with the concept of rescuing a child, and no longer being childless. And I would be obeying what the Lord wanted me to do. What a perfect package of a calling this was!
Then we actually fostered and adopted our boys and that perspective was blown to bits. It was not this flowery, romantic, fairy tale at all. It was just plain hard!
After hearing E’rma again in a breakout session about attachment in fostering and adoption, I gained a new perspective on what we have experienced with our children, and what the Lord experiences with us as His children. I can now confidently say, “We are all foster children.”
God is a loving Foster Father who longs to adopt us, but we have to allow Him to be close to us. We are like so many children in the system today who have been so bruised and battered by the world. We need to be loved and sheltered and nurtured, but we have to want that and willingly choose to be adopted by our Heavenly Father. You may think that foster kids can’t make that choice, but they most certainly can. You may welcome them into your home, but just as importantly, you must be included in their trusted circle. And that can take a long time.
Romans 8:15 says, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
Abba…it means Daddy. Is the Lord truly my Daddy? Have I let Him be that to me? Do I choose to spend time with Him or do I put others, or worse yet, the world first? Is He in my innermost circle of trust?
Any parent can relate to this. Imagine that you have planned a special “date” with your child. Maybe a nice dinner, shopping or a movie afterwards, doing something, just the two of you. It’s on the calendar. You’ve been planning for this. The night comes and your kiddo says, “Oh, Mom, I forgot. I made plans with Heather. Do you mind if we do this another night?” Your heart is hurting, but you say, “Sure, no problem.” How many times have I done this to my Heavenly Daddy? How many times have I put off His divine appointments because I was “too busy.”
Here’s another example. You’re walking down the hallway to put laundry away and as you pass your child’s room, you overhear her telling her friend something you’ve never heard her share. You’re not trying to eavesdrop, you just happened to hear. And your heart is pricked because your daughter didn’t choose to share that with you. How often do I willingly share with my Heavenly Daddy and pour out my heart to Him? How often is He the afterthought? Lord, help me! I want a true Father-daughter relationship with Him. I want to spend time with Him and put Him first. He has brought me out of a life of sin, misery and heartache, and He did it just because He loves me.
This same Heavenly Daddy loves my boys’ birth mom as He does me. And I can’t help but think that if she would yield to Him, and choose to be adopted, that her life wouldn’t turn around for the better. She has faced horrific storms. She has suffered greatly. The more I see my Lord Jesus in this new light, the more desperately I want her to meet my Heavenly Father and the more I want so badly to be her sister in Christ. I have NO IDEA what that would look like, and I don’t have to know. But I’ve had to ask myself a tough question over the last couple of weeks. How can I sit every night during family devotions praying with my sons for their birth mom to come to know Christ and not be willing to be a part of that if He calls me to it?
The Lord has miraculously removed a jealousy of her that I didn’t really even know I had and has replaced it with a love for her that I cannot describe.
Dear reader mama, I don’t know what storm you are facing. It may look a lot like mine. It may look nothing at all like mine. But I urge you to join our Father down in the hull of the boat and rest in Him for a while. We all could use a closer relationship with our Heavenly Daddy. Consider this: what is the natural reaction for us when we’re close to and proud of our Daddy? We will brag on Him, we’ll want our friends to meet Him, we’ll take our broken pieces to Him to fix. And we will run to His embrace, where our true safety lies.