At age eleven, I used my flash light to speak in morse code to Allison Noe across the back-yard — from my window to hers — after the sun had set and it was bedtime. Daylight wasn’t enough for this friendship between dreamers. We choreographed dances during the day, carefree, and talked for hours about who we would be one day when we grew up.
We were unencumbered by life, then.
It was ours to have and to hold and to wield. And to dream.
A few years later, that same back-yard witnessed my late-night hours with God. I’d just met Him and I couldn’t get enough of Him. I’d scoot outside, under the light of the moon, and read my Bible like it was a love letter. This time, I asked Him about His dreams for me. It was only natural. I was fifteen and full of expectations and wasn’t God providing me with the ride of my life?
2nd Corinthians 5:17 was my first memory verse and I wanted every ounce of that new life in Him that I could have. He was becoming my marrow. I lived hungry before I had words for it. I listened to Steven Curtis Chapman’s “The Great Adventure” and had no doubt that this very adventure is what I’d said “yes” to when I opened my heart to Jesus.
And then time and circumstance began to have their way. Life, for me, became reacting to both.
The “work” of the kingdom of God began to push away the hours I’d once spent before Him like a giddy school girl with my Bible cracked open, expectant. Soundbites from leaders and friends spoke louder to me than memories from when that Word spread open on my lap. The people of the kingdom of God began to pace me.
I still held on to my thirty minute quiet time.
Dreaming became doing. I wasn’t eleven and carefree or fifteen and naive (new in God and wide open with expectations and a heart that wanted the nurture of sitting with a God who thinks big thoughts for His children). I had expectations, but this time they were different. I was nineteen and twenty-one and twenty-three — able-bodied and sure of what He expected of me. There was no time for dreaming with God when I was so certain of what He wanted from me.
So when I walked through the door of that baby shower, twelve years into my journey with God and barren, my pace (and my bone-dry heart) tempted me to shut down. I’d filled my days doing what I thought God had expected of me. I’d loved Him well, according to my standards.
But I’d left no room to dream.
Dreaming was for the weak, for the ones who needed an imaginary thrill. It was for the undisciplined and the ones who wanted loud faith, not for those who had the gumption to walk out “the long and the quiet” with Him. Dreaming was for the eleven year-olds who wanted to stay up past bedtime, flitting about a whole lot of nothing and the fifteen year-olds who didn’t yet realize that life in God required some grit underneath your fingernails, not simply an uninformed “yes.”
Dreaming wasn’t for the ones (like me) who studied certain passages of scripture and not others — we were the ones who had God figured out.
Adoration is for the tired and the studied who are tired of being studied. It’s for the measured and the cautious. It’s for the ones who’ve spent a whole lot of their lives thinking they’ve figured out God only to find out that they barely know Him.
Adoration is for the barren, on the inside and out (for those of us who are finally desperate enough to admit it).
Adoration is for ones whose “barren baby shower” might be 7am and three kids under the age of six whose needs feel unending or 9am when you sit at your desk of the career that you thought would launch you but feels like a dead-end or 8pm when you’re having the same argument with your spouse after the kids are in bed. Again.
Adoration is for the forty year-old who wants to remember what it was like to be fifteen and in love. It’s for the fifty year-old who wants to find that great adventure in God. Again. Like it once was. Adoration is for the greying and jaded who have dismissed that He asks us to approach Him like children.
Adoration is for the one who wants to dream. Again.
So, what is adoration?
It is speaking God’s Word back to God, in your own words. It is making yourself open to seeing Him, with fresh eyes, according to His Word. Adoration is a conversation with God, that starts and ends with who He is as shown in His Word. It’s positioning yourself before God as one who barely knows Him but wants, desperately, to find Him. Um…it’s being who you were made to be — that little girl in pigtails with hunger and expectation and wanting the ride of her life with God and using His Word as your starting point.
And how do you start?
- Blow the dust off these notes from the archives and you’ll find some great tips.
- Join the ever-growing community of us, hungry for God, over here. Not to worry, you can be a lurker — external participation is not required. (But be prepared to have your insides moved towards Him.)
- Print up October’s monthly adoration guide and get your feet wet or download November’s adoration guide* to get ready for the month ahead.
- Ready. FIRE. Aim. The little-kid side of us needs some spontaneous jumping-in-the-water before we’ve figured the whole thing out.
Here’s a little taste of what it looks like in my world:
I read today’s adoration on the way out the door for my run. As I’m adoring God from Isaiah 51 and pounding my feet against the pavement, I’m remembering our little girl who weighed 17 pounds at age 3. She was a shell when we got her. We named her Eden after this verse. It wasn’t just for her, it was for us. Bringing Eden and Caleb home from Ethiopia was a physical representation of what God had been doing inside of us: making a garden out of what felt (for many years) like waste to us. They knew the orphan’s desert and we knew the desert of the heart. And then ….I come home from my run to this: she was waiting for me at the door all pinned up in scraps of white material. “Mommy I’m the bride!” This girl who was once a shell is a living garden. Of all days for her to dress up like this (!). The Lord makes the small ways we lean into Him so personal. His reach into me is so much greater than mine towards Him. Adoration just opens my eyes to it. #adoption #Octoberadoration #everybitterthingissweet
So this babe was the first time we’d ever done “baby”. We worked backwards with the others — former orphans — and bottle fed them when they were out of diapers and cradled their lanky arms and legs when it wasn’t natural. We tried to teach them the quiet of finding safety in Mommy and Daddy’s arms when the world had taught them that nothing was safe. But for this babe of mine, he nestled and cuddled and buried his face in me — from his first day on earth. For the others, they had to *learn* what is already natural to him. I’m like them — my former-orphans. I’m having to learn that He is safe enough for me to just.rest. On His chest. And we get to a place of quieting our soul when we know the One upon whose chest we’re resting. Today, the noise outside is loud, but His whisper feels like this: “it’s just you and me, Sara. Come rest on Me.” He’s safe enough to quiet all the noise. I can exhale on His chest. #octoberadoration #adoption #adoration #everybitterthingissweet
A photo posted by Sara Hagerty (@everybitterthingissweet) on
And have you heard about the book? We’ve been overwhelmed by the stories of how He is using this to crack open your hearts. For those not sure if they want to commit to diving in, we’ve made the first chapter available for you to download over here.
*We slid this here, at the end, for those of you ready to start adoring Him in November.