Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Part I

I feel something bubbling up on the inside of me. It has actually been simmering all my life (since I was 12). At times, it is a simmer and at times it is close to bubbling over. The problem is that I have never allowed it to- to bubble over, that is. I have always seemed to keep it in check. Either out of fear or just plain laziness.

Let me start by back- tracking. I became a Christian at the age of 12 and always knew that my calling involved children. I knew that I would be an elementary teacher and I knew that whatever else I did would involve children. I don't remember the age I was when I decided that I wanted to adopt. I do, however, remember sitting in my church service one Sunday night in the mid- 90's when the African Children's Choir was visiting. I sat in that service with tears streaming down my face. I left that service with tears streaming down my face and cried for a while into the night. I decided at that time that I wanted to one day be in another country living (not just visiting) with the orphans of the world. Loving them as MY children.

Many of you know that Jeff and I went through 6 years of infertility. Adoption was always our first choice, but I am VERY hard headed and let the cost of it get in the way. I would always tell people that I would rather adopt to grow our family, but I could not afford to adopt... that was for "rich" people. I was limiting God and planning it all out for myself. I am a planner. REALLY. I . Am. God let me struggle and strive, but eventually we found His way and Isabella joined our family.

I am guilty of allowing the cares of this world, along with MY desire for things and such, to cloud God's plan for my life. Lately, I have been feeling like I am just missing "it", but felt so far-gone that I could not get on course again. I felt like my prayers were hitting a brick wall. You see, I struggle with the concept of 'grace'. I am a perfectionist and seem to require it of my self and others. This can be catastrophic to one's Christian walk. Defeat is inevitable for someone like me who will not rest in His grace.

Two weeks ago, I was reading blogs on my break at school. I left to go make a copy and when I returned, my computer screen was not on the blog that I had left it on. I have never read the blog that was on the screen! I scrolled down and saw a post talking about a book the writer was reading. It was called Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. My heart started to pound as I read about it. I immediately clicked on the book link to find out more about it. I knew I HAD to buy this book. I called Life Way Christian Bookstore to see if they had it and they did. I planned to stop after school, but when the time came, I was too tired and traffic was heavy. I just went home. I was up ALL night long that night, tossing and turning, hearing the words I read on the books website. God wanted me to buy that book and I knew if I didn't, I would be in direct disobedience to Him. I bought the book the next day!

Crazy Love is changing my life! The Lord has used it to rock me to my very core. It is turning me upside down! I have been a Christian since the age of 12 and I am now realizing that I have never fully served and loved Him as I should. Everything looks different, feels different and is different. I HIGHLY recommend you read this, but be warned that you will be faced with some major decisions about yourself and your walk with God. I have not made it through the book. I am an avid reader and can finish books in no time, but this one is different. I am having to slowly digest it and allow God's word to infiltrate every fiber of my being. It has not been comfortable, but it has been necessary. This "stumbling" onto this stranger's blog has set me on a course-- one that is prepared by God for my life!

Before, we began the adoption process, God gave my husband a dream. In it, he stood at an altar and Jesus approached him and told him "GO". Jeff asked "Where?" Again, Jesus said "Go". Jeff, again said "Where?" Jesus replied, "I have something for you, Amanda, Jake and Isabella to do." Jeff, of course, asked "Who is Isabella?" to which Jesus told him "It is the daughter am going to give to you. Now, GO!" Jeff waited a while to share this with me. In fact, he didn't share it with me until we were already involved in the adoption process. You see, at the time, we were trying to have another child and my endometriosis was getting worse. It looked like a hysterectomy was inevitable and he did not think the timing would be right to share that dream with a VERY emotional woman that was unable to have the one thing she desired most in this world. He was right. I would not have received it!

When we started our adoption process and Jeff shared this with me, we were both very excited! We felt that our adoption and Bella joining our family was going to be what God used to launch us into the ministry He has for us. Along the way, things got very rough for us with the adoption and we allowed the weight of it to overtake us. By the time Bella came home, we were so emotionally, physically, and spiritually worn out that we have just become stagnate. I KNOW that God led me to the book Crazy Love for a purpose. I believe that He is beginning to stir up my spirit, light a fire and passion in my heart, and turn our lives upside down!

I hope I have expressed what I wanted to without confusion. It is all jumbled up inside, but I HAD to get it out or I felt as though I would explode. SO much more needs to come out and I will be sharing much more in the next few days. Check back with me soon... Part 2 to follow...