November 14, 2012

The past few years have been growing ones for Kyle and I: quitting jobs, starting businesses, fostering children, infertility, adopting children, missions trips, starting churches and ministries - all the time feeling good saying yes to God when he asked. Although at times we’ve been afraid and people have questioned our sanity, we knew that what God was calling us to was worthwhile.

But this fall, God has been stretching us even more.

I read a book called 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker that gave me some fresh and much-needed insight and perspective on my life. Our family completed one 21-day fast, eating like the poor around the world. Since then, we've continued to choose three days each month where we pick a country and eat like the poor while also praying for the people there. We also have sponsored two more children through Help One Now who live in an orphanage in Haiti, making it a total of three children in all, the same number that we are raising in our home.

All are very good things. And each time I felt as though God brought the idea to us and we responded by saying, “yes, Lord.”

But in the past few weeks, I began reading a book called Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul by Jennie Allen. It’s the account of a husband and wife who were feeling a little disillusioned with life and prayed one night, “God we will do anything. Anything.” She went on to say they brought everything to God, putting all they had in his hands, willing him to do with it as he saw fit. Some things he gave back to them, other things he kept, more he said not yet to, and even more he gave them back something completely different, new dreams and passions.

And again I feel my perspective shift.

You see, I’ve always been someone who says: If God asks, I want to answer yes! And I feel like I’ve done a fairly good job at this. But this past week I’ve been wondering about this idea of bringing everything to God, putting it all in his hands.

And it scares me.

What will he keep? What will he give back? What will he ask of me and my life? The thoughts go through my mind. I struggle with the reality that if I wait for God to come to me, there’s still some control that I have: I can choose to say yes or I can choose to say no. Although I may not always know the outcome, at least I know what’s being expected of me before I give it to God.

But if I place everything in his hands, I lose control. And I don’t like to not have control.

So, as is more often the case than I’d like to admit when I’m not sure I want to do something, I wait…maybe these thoughts will just go away.

Then on Sunday, Pastor Carl asks, “What if we measure generosity not by what we give to God, but by what we keep in our hands?” And I am reminded of my struggle. I’m reminded of Anything.

Sunday night, lying in bed trying to sleep, I bring my concern to God:

What if I give you everything and I don’t like what you give me back? What if life just stinks afterward? What if you ask me to move to Africa?!? I don’t know if I could handle that, Lord! You know me, I’m kind of a scaredy cat, and I like my comfort! What if, what if, what if?…

And then in the quiet, I hear this response:

What if what I bring is better than you thought? What if I opened doors for opportunities to adopt from other countries? What if I opened doors for ministry opportunities that you would never dream of?

Oh, well I guess those are all possibilities too.

I think the reason we sometimes expect the worst with God is because that is always a very real possibility. Sometimes God does ask us to walk through hard circumstances and often he does ask us to give up things that we’d rather hang onto. God is safe and secure and wonderful, but he is also dangerous and adventurous and wild. And we often look at what he asks us to do through the lens of the latter.

The next morning as Kyle and I are reading our morning devotions, I pour my heart out to him. I tell him the struggle I’ve been having. I tell him of my conversation with God the night before.
I tell him saying yes just doesn’t feel like enough anymore.

I ask, “Do you want to pray anything with me?”

And he does.

With no fanfare or fireworks we simply take hands together and pray, “Lord, we bring you everything, all our possessions, our house, our family, our business, our hopes and dreams. We place everything in your hands; do with it what you will. We’ll do anything.”

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
John 16:25

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