When God shows up

Few things in life leave me speechless. We could probably count on one hand how many times that has happened.

You know, as a childless couple we lived a pretty comfortable life.  Things were turned upside down when God brought us three little girls.  Part of my struggle in knowing if we should adopt or not was questioning how we will ever be able to afford raising 3 kids and everything that entails.

We are in the process of building a house that we believe will better accommodate our new family.  In the meantime, we need to sell our current little love nest.  The timing of the two needs to be nearly perfect… and I long for control.  Yet, God has invited me into a new level of trust.

During a day of prayer a few weeks ago I sensed the Lord giving me the word “abundance” and I began to practice believing for his abundance in our lives and not just his provision.  My last two blogs were pictures of his work in my heart as I am seeking to see his goodness.  I spent three days praying show me your glory.  I have been praying over a specific need for a few weeks, asking God for his abundance and to reveal himself in a way that I would never doubt was him.

I was hoping to see his provision before we needed to make a significant payment but I sensed he was asking me to step out in faith and trust that his provision would come.  I wrote my post on Wednesday and then took a big step.

Later that day we picked up the girls and went to our Chiropractor.  These people, man… they love us more than we deserve.  I had just shared with them by phone that morning that we had finalized adoption and when we walked into that office you would have thought we were movie stars.  We were met with such excitement and celebration, hugs and kisses… joy enveloped us.  It feels like home there.  They’ve known us almost 3 years, we started going immediately after a car accident.  They have seen us grow from just the 2 of us to a party of 5 in what felt like the blink of an eye.  They have loved our girls like no other.  So much patience, such kindness and undeserved love.

Even with all their goodness, I tend to stress out at the chiropractor’s office.  If it weren’t for our family that place would be the picture of peaceful.  But my family, we’re like a freakin’ tornado… I feel certain there’s a warning that goes out when they see us pull into the parking lot.  “Brace yourselves!”    When it’s our turn to see the doctor, we go in this small changing room that I am pretty sure sounds like someone is being murdered as we try to dress three little people and keep them contained until we’re called.

We step in and with as much excitement as three little girls can have they share the news that “we’ve been adopted! and my new name is…!”  We go through all the checks and balances, every little one is serviced and we’re moving on out.  I get them all buckled into the car when daddy tells me I need to go back in and talk to the doctor.

Somewhat confused I walk back into our exam room where I am met by our doctor friend and it goes something like this

We really love you guys and are so excited for you and the girls.  We have a patient that saw you in the office a while back and asked me about you.  So I told them your story, how you went from zero to three kids and … (it’s all really a blur)… but this guy just couldn’t believe that someone would do what you’ve done.  He has been waiting for your adoption to finalize over the past year and he wanted me to tell you that he is setting up college savings accounts and would like to fund them for each of your girls……………………..

Shut the front door!

Let me pause here while you pick your jaw off the floor.      Wipe those tears friends.

God just showed up.

My head was spinning.  I could not speak.  All I could do was say, what do you mean?  Who are you talking about?  Why would someone do something like this?

They don’t want us to know who they are.  They just want to play a part in this story.  They have been waiting to make sure that we got to keep the girls, but it has been on their heart for months.  And I don’t even know their names.               But God does.

Y’all, I am humbled.  I am blown away by God’s goodness.  I prayed for 3 days that God would show me his glory, and he just showed off.  All I could think while Dr. P. was talking to me was, you have got to be kidding me.  This cannot be real.  God just blew my mind.

I cried all the way home.  Have you ever tried to explain to 2 and 4 yr olds there is such a thing as happy tears?  I seriously cannot find words to express what I have felt the past 2 days as I have reflected on God’s faithfulness.

Earlier that morning my sister shared from Psalm 27, so I spent some time in this passage.  As I reached the end of the chapter I resonated with the psalmist when he said

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.    (Psalm 27:13-14)

I was given courage that morning as I faced what felt big, then chose to step out in faith that I would see the goodness of the Lord.  It’s almost as if he was just waiting for me to believe.

I know this is long… and some of you are ready to kill me for leaving you hanging Wednesday night.  It has taken me a little time to sort out the reality of this gift and I wanted to share in a way that is honoring, appropriate and gives God the glory.  I can’t comprehend what God is up to, or what stirred this couple to bless us in the way that they have.

I try not to get caught up in the prosperity gospel, or name-it-and-claim-it goodness.  I hope you hear my heart when I say that I have simply asked God to be all that he says he wants to be for me.  My faith has been challenged almost daily for the past two years.  I have reached new depths of what it means to truly trust that no matter what comes, his heart is good.  I have had to believe that he will not lead me where his hand will not provide and in the depths of my being face the question I have carried nearly all my life, am I really worth it? 

I have spent weeks waiting for the wind, bracing for the quake, watching for the fire, but as I lay my head down to rest I hear his gentle whisper say, I see you.




Show me Your glory

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”  Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.    (I Kings 19:11-13)

I have had a long-standing fascination with God’s glory.  I’ve said it before, but I am simply in awe of the stories where God shows up.  I live in a place of anticipation, hoping and wondering what he will do next.  The story above of Elijah and the story of Moses on Mt. Sinai, these are two of my favorites.

God told Elijah to go stand on the mountain, for the Lord is about to pass by.  {Whoo!  I get goosebumps thinking about it.}  Then a great wind came, but God was not in the wind.  The came an earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake.  Then came a fire, but God was not in the fire.  After all of these came a gentle whisper…. And he knew this was the Lord.

I don’t know about you but I tend to expect God to be somewhere in the wind, earthquake and fire… but I am learning, practicing and seeking to find God in his gentle whisper.  I’m tempted to think that when I don’t feel the wind and earthquake or see the fire that God must not be near… but I have found that he is longing for me to know his voice – that still small voice.

When the twins first moved in with us we could not tell them apart at all.  Seriously.  One of them had a white sun-spot-dot on her cheek and that was the closest thing that we could identify as a distinguishing mark.  Once summer passed that white dot faded and we were in trouble.  I promise you they heard “which one are you” more times than they ever heard their names.

But then something happened.  Over time I could tell them apart by their voices.  I kid you not, the first way I was able to distinguish them was by the different tone of their chipmunk voices.

I will say it was helpful one day when Elisabeth got a hair barrette stuck between her front two teeth that resulted in a gap… then we had a definite tell to distinguish them.  But still to this day, knowing their voices gives me the most confidence.

In the same way I have learned in relationship that knowing God’s voice is the key to finding him – in the midst or in the absence of the wind, quake and fire my heart must be tuned to hear his voice, even when it is a whisper.

Similarly to Elijah, in a place of frustration and desperation, Moses cried out to God, show me your glory.  I admire their determination.  That’s a pretty bold thing to request.  I find it interesting that in both instances God sent them to the mountain and honored their request.  The thing that is so striking to me about Moses’ experience is that God’s response to him is I will let my goodness pass before you and I will proclaim my name before you.  (Exodus 33:19a)

The next day Moses climbs up the mountain and did what the Lord commanded him.

Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness and truth;”  Exodus 34:6

All Moses could do was bow down and worship.  When he heard the voice of the Lord calling out his own goodness –  his first response was worship.

These two stories are so significant to me.  I haven’t yet comprehended all the reasons why this resonates within me, but it has something to do with two key things:  1) his gentle whisper and 2) his glory is known through his goodness.

Moses prayed “show me your glory”; God responded with, this is who I am.  I am compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness and truth.  You want to see my glory?  See my goodness.

Around this time last year I wrote the post, Name the Graces.  Obviously I’m still in the place of seeking to see God’s glory.  I’m beginning to see a theme here; maybe God is trying to show me something.  So I have been practicing asking God to show me his goodness, in everything.  Naming the graces, even when things don’t look the way I want.

When I have thoughts that say I didn’t get something right, an unanswered prayer is obviously punishment for all the ways I have fallen short, or who am I to think I deserve God’s goodness…. I am able to test them against his words in Exodus.  I am compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness and truth…  and I can hear his gentle whisper reminding me that he never changes.  His goodness is more than I can imagine, and his love for me is overwhelming.  Yes, I may miss the mark and need correcting, but he does so with loving-kindness. It’s in knowing his still small voice that I am able to recognize his goodness, and I’m humbled.

And from that place, I am motivated – not just to recognize his goodness but to be a channel of his goodness.  I don’t share my story simply for my own benefit… my sincere desire is that through our story you are able to see God’s glory.  Y’all, I fail, daily.  Some days I am embarrassed to even be called a parent.  Just the other day I found myself half-way yelling at a child that if I had to tell her one more time to do “something” I was going to eat her cookie right in front of her…. Because that is grace.  Clearly, that is grace.  I cannot tell you how many times I have to go back and apologize for my mistakes just from recognizing that what I am saying is not giving my girls a good picture of who God is.  I want to offer grace, I want to correct with loving-kindness, I want to ooze compassion….  But sometimes the best I can do is put me in safety break!

I am learning.  The more I spend time hearing and knowing God’s still small voice, searching out his goodness and experiencing his grace, the more I am able to offer these things to my girls.  Because when the wind blows, the earth shakes and the fire roars… I long for them to know his gentle whisper.


Still Smiling :)

Whew! It feels like I’ve been holding my breath for the past year… and all of a sudden I can feel air again.

What.a.year.  I took some time recently and looked back over many of my posts and felt the tears well up in my eyes.  Some tears were remembering the tension, the heartbreak, the disappointment and the pain that has surfaced in our story, but mostly my tears are of thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness, goodness and grace in our lives.

God is so good.  I cannot say it enough.  I’m not sure I’ve stopped smiling since that day.

Wait, I have… that one time that Annabelle tee-teed in her panties in Barnes & Noble and we walked all the way through the store with feet squishing as she told everyone “I peed in my Crocs!”…. but then again, I started laughing because this is forever my little girl.

We are two weeks post adoption and there have been moments where I remind myself, we fought hard for this life.  Sometimes I get so frustrated when things don’t go my way, when fits are pitched, when I can’t control little people or how much noise they make… and I have to remember… this is everything I asked for.  #savor

Other times I sit in awe of God’s plan.  I am humbled by the part I get to play in it.  I have been reflecting lately on the story in  1 Kings 17 of Elijah and the widow.  You’ll have to read it, but to keep it simple, Elijah predicted a drought, God told him to go live by the brook and the ravens brought him food.  After a while, the brook dried up.  Then…

God spoke to him:  Get up and go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there.  I’ve instructed a woman who lives there, a widow, to feed you.”

So Elijah does as he is told.  He met the widow at the entrance of the village and asked her to bring him some water and while she’s at it, something to eat.  (I’m certain he asked politely.)

The widow responds that she barely has a thing.  As a matter of fact, she is gathering the last drop of oil and flour to make a final meal for her and her son to eat before they die.  Elijah brings out the big guns in verse 13:

Elijah said to her, “Don’t worry about a thing.  Go ahead and do what you’ve said.  But first make a small biscuit for me and bring it back here.  Then go ahead and make a meal from what’s left for you and your son.  This is the word of God of Israel: ‘The jar of flour will not run out and the bottle of oil will not become empty before God sends rain on the land and ends this drought.'”

And she went right off and did it, did just as Elijah asked.  And it turned out as he said – daily food for her and her family.  The jar of meal didn’t run out and the bottle of oil didn’t become empty; God’s promise fulfilled to the letter, exactly as Elijah had delivered it!   1Kings 17:13-16 (MSG)

The thing that is so striking to me about this story is her obedience.  She went right off and did it, just as Elijah asked.  Oh ye woman of faith!  I would have had to talk to him just a little bit more before I “went off and did as he asked”.  Seriously, a lot more.  And prayed about it.  And consulted with my mom and sister. Then checked on Facebook to see if this guy is legit.  You know, all my due diligence.

As I read this story recently I realized that this woman was not just God’s way of providing for Elijah… he saw her need too… and his provision came as a result of her obedience.  They each had a need.  God’s provision was made to and through the other.

Friends, when God calls you to do something, he provides. You can’t out-give God.

I cannot tell you how many times over the past 2 years I have fretted, wondering how God would provide, or move in situations.  There were times that I finally had to shut-up and realize that a lot of what I was praying against in the timing was a means of God’s provision for us.  I am a slow learner, so take it from me, if God is calling you to step-in to something bigger than you can imagine, and lives are at stake, He very well has a plan.

I do not believe I was God’s first choice for my girls.  Honestly, I don’t.  I truly believe that God’s plan was to be with their family.  That’s hard to swallow.  I also realize that there is an enemy that seeks to steal, kill and destroy and families are what he is after.

The events that led to a need for my girls to have a safe home were not small.  My heart breaks for both what they have experienced and also for the loss that their birth family now knows.  My own celebration of God’s gift in my life is not untouched by the pain of others’ loss.  I do not hold that lightly.

But God, in his goodness, allows me to be a part of his provision; and in my sometimes-slow-to-respond obedience, I am seeing his faithfulness to me and my family.

And this story…. it just got real.

SneakPeek of the best day ever.

*photo credit to LittleMissCreative