Before I blog on the subject, here's a glimpse back at our Christmas season... It was truly a beautiful time for our family as we were beside our youngest daughter as she experienced the wonder of the season for the first time in our home! SO many neat "firsts." This time last year we had just submitted our paperwork and were waiting, waiting, waiting for word on whether we were chosen as her family. I think of those many nights when I went to bed knowing that my daughter was on another continent where I couldn't tuck her into bed or hold her when she cried (or comfort her when she broke her arm last year!), and I find myself hugging her more tightly and being so appreciative of her presence in our home. Sometimes at night when she is asleep, I look at her and think, "Wow...she used to be on the other side of the globe, and here she is asleep under our roof." It's a miracle. I am beyond thankful that we didn't miss out on this. I'm thankful that, for once, we didn't make a decision based on our comfort or convenience. Words cannot express how truly thankful I am that God led us "over the edge" out of our comfort zone and into a faith journey...and we followed. Talk about finding hidden treasures! This little girl is one of the most incredible treasures on the planet! God is really so good. Why do I ever doubt????
So, here we are in January, and we've headed into our month of focused prayer for direction in this new year. If you've never done a season of fasting and prayer, I highly recommend it. It will change your life! Click here if you have interest in that.
God speaks in amazing ways. Sometimes it's in Scripture that speaks to everyone...like "Do not be afraid" or "Love your neighbor." And sometimes He has a very specific message for just me. I believe He has messages for all of us, and sometimes we are too busy to hear Him. I know I've probably been busy way too many times and have missed his precious voice in my spirit. I have found that as I've slowed down my pace and have become more still and quiet in my inner being, I hear Him more. One day last year as we were waiting for news on our adoption (the waiting process is just so hard sometimes!), I was walking to the mailbox. It was very quiet outside, and I was having a conversation with Jesus (he's my best friend, and I find myself always conversing with Him). I was asking Him to please hurry along our adoption process...please place this child in our home SOON. And He stopped me...I mean, I literally felt compelled to STOP moving and just stand there. I became very quiet, and I heard His voice in my spirit. All I heard was, "Look," and I began to look. Straight ahead of me was a little branch hanging down from a tree, and there was a drop of water hanging from a point on the branch. It just hung there and never dripped. I was fascinated (we're homeschoolers, so this would have been a great time to gather everyone around for a lesson in gravity :)...but I just stood still and watched). The drop of water grew little by little...it was getting heavier and heavier and still not falling. I kept thinking, "Surely it's time for that drop to fall...it cannot hold on much longer because it's getting so heavy." Still it hung on. Then DRIP. Phew! I felt like I had waited forever. And then I knew the lesson He was giving me: wait and watch, and in HIS time our daughter would join our family...it cannot be hurried...it's in HIS time...and even when we don't see it, He's working and bringing it closer. See, this is the ongoing relationship I have with my Savior. He DOES still speak. He cares about each of us dearly, and He has individual lessons and conversations He wants to have with us. I believe that with all my heart. Sometimes we just miss it in our busy-ness of life.
Anyway, recently He gave me a Scripture that intrigued me. It was Ezekiel 36. Ezekiel isn't a book I typically open to. :) But He gave me a chapter to read. I always know that when He gives me a passage of Scripture, He has a lesson or word for me. He spoke to me in verses 25-27 about Him washing me and taking away my stony heart of sin and giving me a new heart with right desires. Now THAT I need!! And then in verses 33-36 He had this wonderful message: "When I cleanse you from your sins, I will bring people to live in your cities, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The fields that used to lie empty and desolate--a shock to all who passed by--will again be farmed. And when I bring you back, people will say, 'This godforsaken land is now like Eden's garden! The ruined cities now have strong walls, and they are filled with people!' Then the nations all around--all those still left--will know that I, the Lord, rebuilt the ruins and planted lush crops in the wilderness. For I, the Lord, have promised this, and I will do it."
This Scripture is talking about the restoration of Israel. But because God led me very specifically to that Scripture, I knew He had a message for me in there too. I was overwhelmed when I saw the words "the ruins will be rebuilt." I thought He was just confirming our vision to rebuild the wall of orphan ministry. I was thankful for that, but I didn't think anything else of it.
Fast forward to the past several weeks... People began to approach us. Some emailed to say they wanted to know how to help orphans. Others emailed to ask if they could set up a prayer ministry to have a group pray for certain orphans. Some told us they collected money for orphans at their Christmas party. Some have asked us to have dinner with them so that they could talk about adoption. Some have asked to have dinner so that we could talk with them about opportunities for working at orphanages. People at our church have asked how they can get involved. Even people we don't know have approached us and shared their new burden for orphans. People are starting to ask, "What can I do to help?" And I was truly caught off-guard.
To be honest with you, the "fields of the fatherless" have seemed very quiet at times. Sometimes I feel that we can hear our echo echo echo when we speak. There are other workers in those fields, but it hasn't been often that we've come across them. So, when people started coming to us and asking, "How do I help? What can we do? We have a burden for these children"...well, I wasn't fully prepared. I was surprised at so many "workers" in the field all at once.
Yesterday as I was in focused prayer, God brought Ezekiel 36 to me again. And this time my eyes saw what He was saying. The ruins WILL be rebuilt. The fields that used to be desolate will be filled with people. God Himself is busy rebuilding the wall of orphan ministry, and I am to simply be His vessel. Wow...how do I miss these things so often? He speaks...do I EXPECT to hear Him?? He answers prayers...do I EXPECT that He really will rebuild these walls of orphan ministry? He said He will bring people...do I really believe Him? Forgive me for not being as prepared for all the wonderful responses and questions and support many have shown. I believe He's bringing many people into these fields to work...some to adopt, some to work in orphanages, some to give financially, some to pray...many many to work. And now that He has refocused me, I'm back on track with His vision.
Really...if you want to help...if you feel your heart moved but don't know what to do, please contact us. We're now expecting you. :)