How we perceive things is often done through the lenses of the world. We look through the lens of experience and often the lens of emotion. We so often forget the heart and even more often forget the reality that God is so BIG and so MIGHTY and beyond our eyes is a world that is more vast than we can even imagine (Ephesians 6:10-12).
Over the last 4 years we have been on a roller coaster ride. We lost our baby before we ever got to hold her, before she ever breathed her first breath, before her eyes ever gazed into mine. That miscarriage was the hardest thing we have ever been through and every year on that day the world keeps turning and we plaster a smile on our faces and face the day knowing that our little one is with Jesus. After that we tried to adopt, you want to go on a wild ride, sign up to adopt through the system. The next 2.5 years was full of heartaches and pain, empty promises and lies, several possible placements, and two little boys that continue to hold our hearts as they tackle life each day without us.
We never got to adopt our legal risk boys that we were told were adoptable and it is a daily reminder that we are not promised tomorrow with our loved ones. June 2016 we closed our home (terminated our license that gave us the ability to foster and adopt) and began the process to heal from the hurt of yet another failed placement and the weeding of the roots of bitterness and anger that longed to take hold of our hearts and minds.
Perception is often limited to a small amount of information.
Our situation and what we have gone through hardened our hearts in one way and softened and refined them in a completely different way. I have a deep empathy and sorrow for the children who are in the system knowing that no matter what, their voices could be drowned out or ignored, that the trauma they have endured at the hands of adults will leave a lasting effect and wound that only God can heal.
1 Samuel 16:7 “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Our prayers changed last December, our hearts were still for adoption, and I asked God to bring the child or children He had for us to adopt to our doorstep. We still did not understand why any of the previous summer had to happen. We just decided to trust God with our future and our comfort and the loss of all our dreams of a family and find contentment in just being a family of 2. The phone rang in June 2017 about a possible private adoption of two wonderful little boys. Luke and I had become comfortable with being just the two of us with our pugs and truly felt contentment in seeking God through the call He placed on us to serve and teach others. We prayed and sought God’s will instead of our own selfish desires or seeking counsel from others. Fast forward to today and here we are walking through each step allowing God the room to do all that He pleases. We are trusting Him to move us forward and praying that our eyes stay focused on Him.
26When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
28Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
Peter cried out to Jesus for Jesus to call him out on the water to Him. Jesus does call Peter and Peter bursts forth over the boat and out onto the water. He doesn’t sink and He is focused on Jesus. Suddenly Peter sees the wind and becomes afraid. Peter had to take his eyes off Jesus in order to SEE the wind. I picture Peter standing firm on the water’s surface with eyes longingly gazing on Jesus until the wind pushes his body and this is the moment his eyes SEE the wind. The physical knocked him into fear because his eyes saw something and his body felt that pressure of the atmosphere and he lost his focus and began to sink. Fear and Faith cannot exist in unison.
The hardest part of this whole thing, in some respect, was choosing to focus on Jesus and the call and not allow the fears of the world to knock us off-balance. We have to trust God and allow His perception and His calling to be the only thoughts and desires that matter to us. We have to care more and worry only about how He sees us and if we are following Him. Others opinions and perceptions over our actions and lives do not matter. Let me say that one more time, “Others opinions over our/your actions and lives do not matter.” This is not a grace abuse free card, this is not an opportunity to push your agenda card or a seek the fleshly desire you think you need card. This is a seek God and His heart with all you’ve got card; if you do that your life, your mind, and your heart will be transformed and the race you are on will look different.
One of the strongest winds that blew us and continues to whirl is our friends and families’ opinions along with the thought that they could get hurt again. It was and is a burden on our hearts; thinking we could be the cause of more pain and wounds to our friends and families can be paralyzing. It was incredibly difficult to think that those who do not know the story or the circumstances that surrounded the closing of our home would view us or judge us with assumptions about our motives and our hearts. There is a deep anxiety that tries to take root that we have to come to our village and ask for support and help.
We do not know what the future holds for our family but we are firm in standing on the waves together with our eyes focused on Jesus because we know He holds our future.
There are so many questions we have been asked through this process. If you know Luke and I we are typically prepared for anything that is thrown at us and we always try to avoid conflict along with flying under the radar. Attention is not something we handle with comfort or ease.
James 1:27 ”Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
My heart tends to take root in the idea that it is NOT okay to ask for help. I should be able to handle anything emotionally, physically, or financially on my own. This thinking is wrong, God created us for relationship. We have a deep yearning for relationship with Him and we are told to love others. Part of loving others is taking part in their burdens…not just the emotional ones, not just the sin ones, not just the joyful ones. Following Jesus sometimes requires asking for help and then allowing the Church to be God’s hands and feet. This process has taught us that God uses all details, small and big, to refine and mold us to look more and more like His if we allow Him.
There is only one who knows our hearts, and I mean truly knows our hearts. He is MIGHTY, He is our PROTECTOR, He is SOVEREIGN, He is the heart we chase and seek! Go out and seek Him knowing that His attention and opinion is the only one that truly matters. Don’t let the winds throw you off-balance and distract you from where you should be looking and who you should be seeking!