Our now 2 year old son Caleb has recently begun speaking in short phrases.....it's one of the many amazing aspects of parenthood - being able to watch someone experience everything for the first time and develop a sense of independence even at this early age. Being mobile certainly contributed a great deal, however this increased ability to communicate verbally has significantly impacted his independence. He clearly knows how to let us know what he wants to do, where he wants to go, who he wants to see etc. While this is incredibly precious, and increasingly helpful in many situations, it can also bring forth many times of testing. It seems that his favorite new phrase is "dis way" (this way), combined with holding your hand and pulling you in the direction he desires to go. Of course many times I entertain this and allow him to lead me here and there, and he revels in the fact that he feels in charge for that moment. And then there are the times when "dis way" is just not an option! It may be that we simply have somewhere else to be and can't take the desired detour, or it may be that "dis way" is downright dangerous, harmful, or prohibited. Sometimes Caleb will allow me to gently share the reigns in these cases and with a slight adjustment to our direction he can continue to lead me elsewhere. Other times I have to completely alter our direction and a battle of control ensues. These are the times that prove more of a challenge, but that offer a great time to teach.
I think that in so many ways I am often that stubborn two year old.....wanting to be in control....sure I may be holding Jesus' hand but I'm the one trying to pull him in my direction, commanding him to come "this way." I so often have ideas and plans and then try to fit Jesus into them. Meanwhile at times he is gently pulling my hand to slightly alter our direction and remind me of where I should be going. Then there are those all too frequent times where a battle of control is suddenly in front of me.....Jesus is reminding me that I need to stop, allow him to change my direction and then follow him.....maybe because it's simply not the time, maybe it's not beneficial, perhaps it's downright harmful where I'm headed...or maybe it's just not His will! And then I realize, for maybe the millionth time....oh yeah....I want to be the one following....I really do want Jesus to lead me....I want to be the one responding to his command as he says "this way my child...."
So right now I am learning so much about what "way" Jesus wants me to be going. I am coming to realize that I need to stop ruling things out and truly, 100% depend on Him and trust Him. I'm not sure why it took me so long to see, but I am realizing how much our culture places incredible importance on making our lives more and more comfortable.....how it is crucial to get to a point where you are set and comfortable for the future.....all of this is exactly opposite of how we as Christians should be living. In comparing my life to the lives of those described in the book I just read I realize how all of the comforts and conveniences of my life continue to create the illusion that I can do everything on my own! I'm all set! What reason do I have to rely on God when I can just take care of everything myself and am living in such comfort and luxury compared to others. Why are we caught up in this tunnel vision of creating a secure future for ourselves rather than living for Christ NOW and relying on Him for the future. I'm not saying we should be irresponsible and not consider the future, spend every last penny and live in a box. I'm just saying I've begun to re-examine what I actually need and where I'm putting my security. I say I don't have money for this or that, but if all I really need is a home, food and clothes and my real joy is in Christ and in serving others....some things need to change. Why on earth do I not consider that it could very easily have been me that was born in Uganda...or anywhere else for that matter....in a slum to a poor family who struggled to even have one meal a day? Why do I act so privileged, as if I am more deserving of the blessings in my life just because I was born here. Why do I need five coats and countless pairs of shoes? Why can't I live without excessive luxury in order to help others who just happened to be born somewhere else and have a different story...not by any choice of their own. I don't think the God of the universe created a place where there just wasn't enough people to take care of the less fortunate...the widows...the orphans....the poor......I think we've distorted the plan, we've neglected our responsibility. I've neglected my responsibility.
I've done several searches through our house since this adoption journey began, taking all seemingly unnecessary things and putting them aside to be sold. I thought for sure I'd found every last thing we could do without the last time and then I read that book and my eyes were opened a little wider.....and suddenly there were more things we could do without. I'm wondering how many times God will have to tug my hand and prompt me...."this way....come on this way...." before I finally get it. I'm so grateful he hasn't given up on me. I'm incredibly thankful He has called us to adopt this child, who has already blessed me beyond words in all that I have learned in preparation for their arrival. I am also relieved that I did not miss what He was saying when He called....at least this time.....and I never want to miss His call again. My life has held so much more purpose and so much more joy just in these few months of surrendering to His call. In January when we signed the contracts with our two adoption agencies we had $4,000 in our savings, having just started really trying to save. We knew that this would be a step of faith, not just financially, but in so many ways and God has proven faithful. Just six months later we have paid just over $18,000 in adoption fees and still have about $2000 in our savings. God doesn't ask us to follow Him and then leave us to fend for ourselves. He is who He says He is and He does what He promises to do! I hope that you will experience the fullness of life with Him....follow Him wherever "this way" may be for you!
1 John 5:14-15 - This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that He hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of Him.