Saturday, October 9, 2010

Into Obscurity

"Take care! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give a gift to someone in need, don't shout about it as the hypocrites do--blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I assure you, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone, don't tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you." Matthew 6:1-4

The funny thing about doing "good deeds" is that our motives can get shifted, even just a tad. Sometimes it may be pure and righteous motives; but introduce an applause, a high-five, a wow-you-did-an-awesome-job...and it can tilt our motives. Sometimes we ourselves cannot even notice that slight tilt. Other times we can sway vastly between pleasing God and pleasing man.

Here's a question: That "good thing" you're dong... Would you still do it if nobody were watching? If you were the only one on the face of the planet to know, would you still do it? What if you were to drop to the bottom of the be the very least and be in an obscure place where nobody knew your name (and certainly didn't know you had a blog or a facebook page...and most definitely didn't know your every move twittered)? What things would you do then...if the only ones who knew your deeds were God and yourself?

I cannot even begin to pretend to know God's plans for me. I used to think I knew...then I thought maybe I could give an educated guess...then just a plain ol' guess sounded good. But now I know that I cannot begin to understand His ways or His plans for my life. I do know that the past several months have shifted my mind and heart into a different mode. I find myself thinking of how to further His Kingdom. It consumes my thoughts. I find myself less and less attracted to the things of this world...all the STUFF we have bombarding our every moment is crazy! I find myself asking every day, "What do You want me to do today? How do I further Your Kingdom? How do I invest in eternity?"

Full-time ministry is my field of view. Full-time servanthood is the target I want to hit. I fail daily (sometimes hourly or minute-by-minute!), but it's my aim.

But it is ever so easy to let my eyes slip from intently staring at that target. It's all too easy to be tilted to the left or be caught up in a million details that simply don't be swayed by the slightest breeze brought on by a pat-on-the-back or by an are-you-crazy look of disapproval.

"...Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends, from start to finish." Hebrews 12:1a-2a

It's time for me to drop into that place of obscurity where He seems to be leading me right now. As much as I love to blog, I am stripping this off of me as well. I cannot explain it in words, but I know when He needs me to do something. Maybe it's a test to see if I will continue to do the same "good deeds" while in an obscure place with nobody watching and clapping. Perhaps it's only temporary; and perhaps I will be back blogging sometime. I really don't know. All I do know is that I need to follow Him. That is the air I breathe.

So, for all of you very sweet people who follow this blog (both officially and all the others who are keeping up unofficially), I want to point you to my sweet friend's blog. She is a Down Syndrome adoption advocate, and she's a rare treasure in that she is REAL. She is also seeking to follow God, and she and her family just recently placed their house on the market with the aim of letting God place them where He wants. This will be a great "faith walk" to witness as she writes about it. If you are interested in following a blog that highlights adoption, this is one of the very best ones!

And if you stumble across my blog and just want to help on orphan somehow, I highly recommend starting here with Show Hope.

I've placed the Joshua Project on the side bar of this blog, and I encourage all bloggers to place this on their blogs and to pray daily for the unreached people groups that are highlighted. THIS is what truly matters in life...souls that will last for eternity. Not cars, houses, reputations, money, portfolios, insurance or even good intentions. Think on it. We all have a choice in how we invest our lives.

I leave with you with a quote from the book Crazy Love, by Francis Chan (which, by the way, is a book you simply must get your hands on, devour and act on)...

"How many of us would really leave our families, our jobs, our education, our friends, our connections, our familiar surroundings, and our homes if Jesus asked us to? If He just showed up and said, 'Follow me'? No explanation. No directions.

"You could follow Him straight up a hill to be crucified. Maybe He would lead you to another country, and you would never see your family again. Or perhaps you would stay put, but He would ask you to spend your time helping people who will never love you back and never show gratitude for what you gave up.

"Consider this carefully---have you ever done so? Or was your decision to follow Christ flippant, based solely on feelings and emotion, made without counting the cost?"

Be about His work, even if it seems crazy to the rest of the world!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Trip to Disney World!

When we were planning our adoption, we told our children that after we adopted, we'd plan a trip to Disney World to celebrate our new addition to our family. We waited a year after the adoption to give our daughter time to acclimate. Taking a child with sensory processing issues to Disney World was a big step for us! :)

The first night she had a very hard time with all the noises and craziness of the restaurant we went to in Downtown Disney. But by the first day in the parks, she did much better than we expected. We took it easy with her, taking her on only a handful of rides each day. Mama spent a lot of time pushing her in a stroller and seeing the more quiet things likes birds sharing her crackers and the gorilla who was eating his lunch while we watched (amazing creatures, those gorillas!). But, at Disney World, there's simply no escaping the noise and other sensory input...parades, music, people busy running here and there, screaming children. But she LOVED Disney World! By the time we left, she had grown very accostomed to everyone calling her "Princess" and giving her royal treatment! I'm afraid it's going to take some time to undo some of the princess factor over here. She's still waving at strangers and wondering why they aren't calling her by her royal title. :)

Here she is in the shadow of that towering castle. Some say it belongs to Cinderella, but this Asian princess thinks it's HERS!

Here she is at an African restaurant in one of the Disney resorts. They brought her a fun drink with a glow-in-the-dark Tinkerbell. Just look at the awe factor! For ME?!!

Here we are on a boat ride to the Magic Kingdom. Florida sun is something else! :)

Ahhh, and here's the crew at EPCOT (our favorite park!).

On the way to and from Orlando, I read a book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Ever read it? It will change your life and MESS YOU UP! :) I'll post more on that later. Go get that book!