It was one of those.
The room was thick with Him and I was bold, and shedding old, dead skin felt like no kind of loss.
I wanted Him more than I wanted what He might ask me to lose, in this one moment.
I prayed sincerely, “Father, I surrender. Another layer. I want to live with my insides devoted to You and You alone. What can I give? What can I release? How can I get from here to there?”
“More time in His Word”, I imagined the charge before me would be. “More quiet, closet hours”, maybe. “Less online, more looking up”, all things I might naturally assume my Leader would respond with to my question. Surrender by His standards, right?
Just as quickly as I asked came that still, small whisper. Except not at all what I expected.
Get a domestic home-study [the paperwork required for a domestic adoption].
What? Who interrupted this conversation? And how did my mind pull that out of thin air? That isn’t surrender, that is crazy.
As quickly as it came, my mind developed its defense. We’d not yet been home a year with the other two. And their wounds … they were big. Plus, my heart was for the crack-lipped child in Africa or India, parched and wasted. And, wasn’t this our year to pursue my health issues and pray hard for healing in the form of a biological child? This certainly wasn’t on our radar.
I recoiled. This wasn’t what I was asking, therefore this couldn’t possibly be what He was answering.
(Trust always seems easy when you can already sorta picture what the One who is Trust might ask of you.)
So, we sat on it. I penciled it into my moleskin journal and waited — not forgetting, but observing. Could this really be Him?
Like the day those ones came over, right smack in the middle of the afternoon, and stayed for hours and I sensed this was His plan all along. School books set aside and checklists undone. Dinner left as ingredients in the fridge, not cooked on the table. I was an irresponsible mother by my standards — but a willing daughter, by His.
Even the itty bitty details of one single day can be impressed with His unnatural ways.
I usually want to trust on my terms because I’m really not sure I want to trust at all. A lifetime of self-preservation has allowed for a mostly-subconscious response to anything outside of my grid. (As a dear friend says, what we often call “wisdom” is actually just fear.)
And I’m really not sure I want to trust at all, because I’m only just getting to know the side of Him as the One who is worthy of trust of my life.
The same year we feel led to get our paperwork in place for a potential domestic adoption, He tells my friend “no” to that baby with whom they were matched. She was willing. She had already said “yes” but when the day came to make the decision, He made His way clear: love the still-broken ones in your home. It’s not yet time for another.
Who is this mysterious God who calls one to a cliff and another to a trail back down and around — each hanging well out beyond what they might call “safe”?
His love is unnatural. It’s not often logical or even explicable. Sometimes it’s downright offensive to our flesh. Our God is not a set of principles to follow but One, alive, with intent to absorb all parts of us up into a story stretching wider and higher than we can conceive.
As December has closed on another year, I am more aware than ever of that tension between how I want to live in Him and where I really reside. Four children adopted from Africa — all outside of the birth order and full of years we can’t get back — might put me on the map as “one who trusts”, against the odds, but underneath it all I live cautiously. Tentative. Careful.
And the pig-tailed girl who lives carefully is sometimes that way because she hasn’t yet let herself know the safety of her Father.
This past month, in preparation for this upcoming turn of the calendar page, I’ve felt the tender hand of my Daddy against my back saying, baby girl, it’s time to know new Trust.
Thus, in both the big and the small, this will be my year to trust. Wildly.
But I can’t just will trust into myself. The purest form of trust isn’t achieved, it’s imparted. Because it really wouldn’t be His kind of trust if we earned it. To learn to live wild trust with my life — to say in the little mommy minutes and the big life decisions “Father, You have plans far beyond what I can conceive. And those plans are best” — I must first become one who beholds the One who is trustworthy.
[From my moleskin journal, dated 1/1/13:
When the children bristle and I see their wounds and want to wonder if they will be forever-scarred, I will look, long at the One who gave keys to unlock the captives. (Isaiah 61:7)
When I feel a nudge to do one of those “I will nevers” and the list of all the reasons to not do so runs like a ticker-tape across my mind, I will stare into the eyes of the One who called those fishermen to catch hearts, not fish. (John 14:12, Proverbs 3:5)
When someone slips behind that wide and tall fence I’ve erected around the places that still hurt, I won’t fight or flee. I will, first, adore the One who is the only shield I need. (Proverbs 30:5, Psalm 56:3-4)
When I find out another friend is with child and my threshold for waiting and expecting has become threadbare, I will let my mind and my words dance around the One whose way is perfect. (Yes, you read that right: perfect.) (2 Samuel 22:31)
I will go to the places I said I’d never go, if He leads. I will say what He has put on my heart to say, even if my heart wants to cower under-cover. I will trust people my self-preserving heart says not to trust if He says “go ahead.” And when I stumble (because I will!), when I armor up with self-protection and He has told me just to lean, I will pick up the pages of that worn Book and search for new treasures in Him to adore.]
I have dozens of reasons to refute the kind of leaning that requires me to take my body weight off my own two feet — planted here on this earth, steady — and lean it, hard and heavy and trusting onto another. But I’ve lived a lifetime of that kind of refuting and this is the year I am saying:
Father, I don’t want a natural, normal life.
I want a holy life.
For those of you picking up the new practice of adoring Him, of making His Word more a part of your minutes and your everyday head-and-heart language — sweet Mandie Joy has taken the chicken scratch in my moleskin journal and turned it into something we all can use. In a few days I’ll post a bit more about this, but for now wanted to give you a downloadable, printable sneak peak!
And every January I prayerfully dress up the new year with a theme. Here’s where I’ve been before now:
First, second, third and fifth photos compliments of Mandie Joy Photography. Fourth and Sixth photos compliments of Photography by Kamarah.