February 08, 2016
The morning came far too early. 4:22 a.m. blinked loudly on his mobile. I lay in bed, listening to him snore. Listening to the kids toss sleepily in their beds next door. Ultimately, helped out of bed several hours later with no added sleep, I started the day in a fog. As the smell of the coffee started to awaken my senses, I peered out our back sliding glass door. The new day was dawning grey, and a heavy fog clung sleepily to the trees in our backyard. Low to the ground, like a blanket, it wrapped itself upon our world and reflected back to my soul the very same emotions it was grappling with. Heaviness. Thickness.
At 38 weeks pregnant I went into labor and our miracle baby was placed into my arms. We were up for days at a time, but despite our exhausted bodies, our spirits were filled with awe and wonder as we spent four full days in the hospital cherishing her every breath, counting her fingers and toes and photographing her endlessly, as if we had never before seen such a tiny and perfect human-being.
Now four short weeks later, and just as exhausted, my soul knew that change once more was coming. I cancelled my best friends weekend visit, didn't schedule any play dates, and tried to make sense of the emotions I was grappling with. Later in the day, the fog burned off with the rising of the sun, but the wetness in the air remained. Humidity clung to me and the heat made me far less patient than I wanted to be with my tiny beloveds. Soon I received the email we had been waiting to read for years and the heaviness not just of body, but of spirit, made sense.
Our daughters were ready to come home. They were waiting for us to get them. Their Article 23 Letter was released. Their Birth Affidavits were sent. The orphanage received their passports. All was in place for their new parents to fly to India to bring them back.
I cried in awe of what God had done... years of prayer culminated in this incredible news. Our never-ending years of adoption headaches and paperwork and nightmares and financial instability were about to come to an end. So I should have been filled with joy unspeakable, but instead I realized- that the heaviness inside of me was not only depression and exhaustion from this season of rapid change- but recognition of what God was calling us to do.
The weight of it all settled on me, wrapped itself around me until I felt suffocated and unable to move. 5 incredible children ages 6 and under. All with the need to be loved-on and held. Rocked and believed-in. Advocated-for and encouraged. Built-up and taught. Fed and hugged. Sung-to and embraced. This is the heart of our family and the mission we have worked towards for over six years. But as the journey of adoption is about to end on a timetable that is not our own, I can't help but feel completely unequipped to raise the precious souls God has entrusted to us. The heaviness knocks the wind out of me. I stagger under the burden of what He is asking us to do.
But then I remember that He who calls, promises to equip. He who beckons the sun to rise and puts the world to sleep under the guidance of the moon, assures us that His timing is perfect. Birthing our daughter on April 13th and picking up our last two on June 6th doesn't make any worldly sense. But God created us. And He created them. And when He decided to put all of us together under one roof and declare us family, who am I to question His timing in doing so?
Thus with a timid voice and buckling knees, with a tear-strewn face and an exhausted body, with a depleted bank account and a myriad of questions without any answers, I am choosing to stand up boldly and proclaim that He understands the timing far better than I do and for now, that knowledge has to be enough. Our confidence in His scheduling must empower us to end our adoption journey well. As all 5 of our children look to us in the busy, tumultuous weeks and months to come for assurance and guidance, they must see us looking boldly to Him. In place of our weakness and fear, may they see His strength and hope, for they will weather this season of transition only as well as we do.
originally published in June of 2015
February 03, 2016
Jesus hasn't exactly given us an easy assignment. Take some of his last words on planet earth, for instance: "Go and make disciples of all nations [or people groups]." Now if Jesus would have just said, "Go and make disciples of Wheaton, or DuPage County, or even the greater Chicago land area" it would have sounded so much more manageable. But "go and make disciples of all nations"—or all of the approximately 12,000 distinct people groups on our planet? Whew, that's impossible!
Oh, and let's not forget that making disciples isn't like just dropping tracts on people who don't know Christ. Disciple making is more involved, more hands-on, more time-intensive, and more loving than just preaching or even just evangelizing. It takes one person being willing to walk beside another person over a period of time to truly make a disciple of Jesus.
But what if Jesus really meant it? What if Jesus really did want us to be part of his plan to reach all the people groups on the planet? What if that even includes the people who don't have the presence of the church, the Bible, or the essentials of faith in Jesus Christ? What if God really does want to use us—his imperfect people—to be part of this daring plan to bless all the nations of the earth, the same plan that the Spirit has woven throughout the big story of the Bible?
I believe Jesus meant all of that. Of course Church of the Resurrection is only one piece in God's plan to bring the gospel to all the nations. But God has asked us to do our part.
Right now we support eight missionaries around the globe. In a few weeks watch for more information about who we support and what they are doing. We also have two key global partnerships with Diocese of Jos, Nigeria and with the Diocese of Singapore, which oversees the Deanery of Cambodia. Again, in a few weeks watch for the exciting ways we'll be partnering with the Deanery of Cambodia for our annual Good Friday offering.
But also keep in mind that in our present context global missions isn't just from here to there. It isn't just about the "West reaching the rest." In the upside-down world of 2016, with global migration at staggering rates, the world has come to us in America. Church-based global missions models from 20 or even 10 years ago need to be scraped. Global missions may start right in your backyard.
How do make sense out of what God is doing in terms of global missions and how the church can respond? Here's one practical way to learn and grow and warm your own heart for global missions:
Join us on Sunday, February 21st from 1:00-3:00 PM for an afternoon seminar with missions expert Dr. Pat Krayer.
Pat oversees the U.S. operations for Interserve, an organization that sends hundreds of "global partners" into places that often have little to no Christian witness and support. So join us on the 21st. Then let's dream together about what God can do through us as we trust Jesus, the one who said, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age."