Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My sister and I were having a conversation yesterday about orphan care. We were sharing the challenges and the beauty....but what stuck with me was the confession of the hard. The hard places it sometimes brings us to. The ugliness it can reveal from within.

And for the first time in my life I feel freedom to reveal the ugly.
I'm so thankful for that freedom. I'm so thankful for the Word of God which has been showing me that I am not defined by what I do or don't do.
I spent so many years trying to protect myself from feeling 'less than' by performing perfectly and not showing any of my flaws.
When I don't understand that I am loved despite what I do, I hide behind a wall of self-defense.
And I have learned that I am called to something much greater than all of this hiding.

There is such freedom and beauty in confessing the hard. Talking about the ugly. Especially with the One who desires to use it as an avenue to bring about repentance, dependence, and gratefulness.
I'm learning that I can hand Him everything- the beautiful moments and the moments that come from something broken in me.
He wastes nothing. He orchestrates every moment. He leads me into the hard and straight into the ugly and He is wanting me to worship Him through it.

But it is in those moments when I stumble and fall that my flesh wants to shrink back. I want to find a dark, solitary place to put my own bandage over my shame.
And my Papa actually desires to stay close to me.
He wants to pick me up so He can wash the scrapes and cuts.
He knows there has to be a washing first to prevent infection and scars, and that it hurts, it's humbling, but it is followed by healing.
And He is asking me to stay right with Him in the light during that painful washing. To keep our relationship in the truth of who He is. He wants me to be in the heat of His presence, in the pain of the pruning. To stay faithful through the intense filing down of my flesh.
To remain, endure, persist.
To not withdraw into myself.

He desires repentance from me. It is beautiful to Him. And learning to own up to and hand Him the ugly, and then to allow Him to help me turn from it is life changing for me. The thought of it makes me breathe a little freer and fills my heart with gratitude for His amazing love.
And then gratitude for the circumstances that reveal my inadequacies...
Thankfulness for the child whose behavior shows that he needs a bigger love than I am capable of giving in and of myself. Thankfulness for the messy days of motherhood and marriage.

And I'm learning that sometimes it's in those moments after the scrapes have been washed clean that He gives me the grace to let Him hold me the closest.
No, I am not defined by my performance....but I'm either taken deeper into Him or deeper into myself by my response to it....

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything."
John 15:5

Friday, April 25, 2014

Last night Neiko wrapped his arms around me and whispered, "you're the best mom I ever had."
And my sweet boy has no idea what he is actually saying to me....
I smile.
I think about his first mom, the mom whose body bore him and whose features are reflected in his face....
I think of her, and I am well aware that the only difference between her and I is the gift of Jesus' righteousness and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
And so out of gratitude- gratitude for that imputed righteousness and gratitude for perfect gifts- I lift up my hands.
I raise my hands and my heart to the Best Father I ever had.
The one who brought in an orphan girl, washed her with His Word, covered her with His robe, gave her His Name, and is preparing a home for her.
He changed the whole course of her life, and changed her orphan heart to that of a chosen and beloved daughter.
And I am so very humbled and honored to be the one who through God's grace gets to reflect all of THAT to my son.
By ways and thoughts much higher than my own, that former orphan boy now has my name and my home and my heart forever.
I get to be the best mom pointing the way to the Best Father.
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.
Because I live, you also will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." John 14:18-20