Made For Glory: A New Word for 2018

I reach under the covers to slip my hands under his warm arms scooping him up in one easy motion from the lower bunk bed. The sun is still escaping the day as I tuck him under my chin and carry him down the dark hallway, to our room. His legs dangle farther down today than yesterday or the day before.

He is growing faster than my other three did; I am sure of it and my mother's longing cannot slow it down.

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I snuggle him on the king-sized bed rubbing his back to try and waken him. I think of his orphanage days where he often shared his crib and all the affection the nannies gifted was welcomed but never just for him. I sing his good morning song while dropping kisses behind his ears and neck. I leave my face nestled there inhaling the deliciousness that is distinctly him and distinctly toddler-hood.

As he rolls off his side onto his back I whisper, "Who loves you Isaiah?" He points to the sky beyond my dark ceiling and replies, "God does. And momma. And Luke. And Annabeth. And Leela. And Daddy."

"Yes," I reply, "we do."

"Who made Isaiah?" I ask.

He reaches up again and I see that tiny brown finger reaching for glory. "God made Isaiah. God made me. Made fingers. Made ears." He smiles as he wiggles his fingers and pulls on his ears.

"Yes, "I reply. "God made Isaiah. God made all of you. God made you for glory."

"Gory?" He asks. "Glo*ry." I repeat slowly for him so that he can clearly hear the sound.

"Glory." He says, pronouncing it with more syllables than needed and my southern accent. "Made for glory." He laughs as he puts his face to mine holding me close to earth's heaven.

Part of my mission as a momma is to help my children embrace the wonder of who God made them to be. It isn't an easy thing to take hold of, believing you were made for glory, but that doesn't make it less true. It's audacious to have a core belief that says, "God made me because he wanted to. He loved me and made me in his image so part of me arrived bearing the glory of Heaven. In him, I'm able to live a life that gives him glory everyday."

But here's the thing about glory, it's not about me. Or you. It's all about God, all the time. It's a different concept than what the world pushes at us, there, glory is all about me. Rarely is it about anyone else. So, it's imperative that we learn early who glory is really intended for and how our lives display it.

For the last eight months I've been considering glory. What it means. Who it belongs to. How we get it. I've prayed over this word and idea consistently and I can tell you God has good things to say about glory. And he has good things for you involving glory. When it came time to select my new word for the year, glory was an obvious choice. I couldn't open my bible without God showing me the story of another person who brought him glory with their lives.

In fact, Every.Single.Thing. Jesus did was to bring God glory.

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Glory was more important than self, success, comfort, or pain. Glory became more important than his life. If begs to ask, "If everything Jesus did was to bring God glory then shouldn't this be our life's work too?"

Shouldn't glory for God be more important than anything else?

Yes.

That's my short answer. My longer answer will come as the year unrolls and I live out the word in my everyday life. I encourage you to consider reviewing your actions through the lens of glory. Is your job glorifying God? Are your hobbies glorifying God? Are your relationships glorifying God? If not, where can you start to make the changes?

I look forward to walking this year with you and writing all the things that God puts before me. I'm praying that each of us is reaching for the display of the glory of God.

God Hasn't Given Up

I'm lying on my left side with hand tucked under my ear and the other covering my face from the bright overhead light in our bedroom.  I could get up and turn it off but I've lost the strength to care right this minute.  I should be up and in that kitchen cooking supper but I've already been on my feet 12 hours and I just need three minutes.

Three minutes.

The phone rings.  I do not move.   Three and half years into our adoption journey and we are not one moment closer to our son.  Thanks to large amounts of international pressure and money Ethiopia has slowed adoptions to a grinding pace.  The agency we've been with emailed us four months ago and told us to expect another four to six year wait.

Four to six years.

That would be a total of 7-10 years since we started.  In our hearts we know our family can't wait that long.  We must start over.  We must look at the places who will accept us and figure out a way to make this work before we are too old for the guidelines and our patience evaporates in the August heat of Arkansas.  I've already talked to so many case workers and agencies I have to look at notes to remember who said what.   I lie here smelling Luke's honey shampoo that I just bathed him with on my hands and start to tear up.  

Where is our son?

I wonder to God, why would you lead us here?

And in my heart I feel the answer, so you will see what He can do.

I won't deny I feel somewhat betrayed (i am human) because I trusted him to take care of us, and I don't feel very taken care of at this moment.    I feel exposed and exhausted.  Of all the valleys we have been through I don't even recognize this landscape.  It's totally foreign.  I can't begin to think how we will walk it, but I feel comforted when I think of what Christ shared with his disciples,

"...in this world you will have trouble, but take heart I will overcome the world."   
John 16:33 

He doesn't say to accept trouble he says to expect it.  I'm so ready for Him to overcome it.  Any moment.  Even so Lord Jesus. Overcome it. Forgive me for ever thinking I could handle one step of this on my own.

At my weakest moments and on my worst days this small, quiet nagging voice in my head wonders if I could ever forget He asked us for this but I know I cannot.  Once God opened the eyes of my heart I no longer had the luxury of ignorance.  The images of these kids are burned into the folds of my memory.  When I'm hungry before mealtimes I can't help but wonder if my son has eaten yet that day.  I pray he has.  It's hard to breathe thinking he hasn't.  I pray wherever he is that God's hand is mercifully covering him with protection.  I carry that boy with me wherever I go.

Wherever I go.

 I know other people don't understand it.  I'm not asking them to anymore.  It's not necessary for them to.  I know some think it's crazy.  I have no problem with crazy anymore.  Or pride. Or self-sufficiency.  I do not have the time or energy to maintain them.  God has seen to that.  Every ounce of who I am is focused on the obedience He requires at this very minute.  I can no longer worry about whether others approve of our parenting skills or adoption decisions anymore.  I just have to continue doing what God has asked me to do.  It is not theirs to carry.  

This is my son.  He will look different than me.  He will speak a different language than me.  He may very well have a disability.  He may have called someone else momma first.  But he will be my son because God has made it so.  So I will keep filling out every form, researching every country, and just saying yes, Lord until He says I'm done.

Someone I love beyond words asked me last night, "Why does adoption have to be so hard?  I don't understand.  All we're trying to do is give a child a home."

And for a few precious moments I just pondered that thought.  My response was something like this, "Satan will do anything to prevent these kids from knowing family.  If he can take their hope, our hope, then he's already won.  He knows that God has great plans for these children or he wouldn't bother causing all sorts of problems in their lives.  They wouldn't be in orphanages or foster care to start with.  He's making it harder for us to care for these kids because he wants people to stop caring.  He wants us to give up on them, but we can't give up on them because God hasn't given up on them.  God hasn't given up on us."

It is my belief that Satan wants to prevent kids from knowing the love of family here on earth the same way he tries to prevent us from knowing God's great love for us.  When children know the love of family they are better able to grasp the concept of God's immeasurable love for them.  When we are separated from this love we are without hope.  And there is no worse state of being in which to exist.  Those without hope are vulnerable to the enemy.  They are easy prey.  Satan loves easy prey.  And he will tell any lie, he will orchestrate any situation, he will devastate any life he needs to in order to lay waste to our souls.

Some of you reading this may not really believe Satan is interested in you or you may not believe in him at all, but he believes in you and he believes in me.  And he believes in the future and the plans that God has for these children and these families and he will stop at nothing to destroy them.  The bible is clear that this guy is serious about the business of being a destroyer.  (John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy....)  If you don't believe it spend five minutes googling the children stuck in the Congo or Russia!  

The truth is this; these children have within them the capability to change the world for the better.  They have the ability to be Christ's greatest witnesses and humanitarians because that is what He has designed them for.  "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  Eph 2:10  If we, their parents, give up on them then what does that say about us?  Are we capable of  standing our ground and letting God fight for us?  If Ethiopia shuts down, what will we do?  This family will pray about it and then follow whatever path God sends us down.
  
It occurred to me as I was writing this that our adoption into God's family was so much harder.  All God wanted to do was graft us into His family.  And think of the sacrifice it required.  Satan spent thousands of years creating a mess within God's people.  We were absolutely without hope.  We could no more have joined God's family before Christ than my child could find me from Ethiopia on his own.  It was impossible.  Then Christ appeared and became our redeemer.  He stepped in and silenced Satan forever.  Through Christ's crucifixion our sin debt has already been paid.  And it was paid because our Father loved us enough to surrender himself.  "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16. 

It never ceases to amaze me how God continues to teach me about His family while building mine.  And Satan still tries to destroy us.  Everyday he tries.  But it is our choice.  We get to choose life and hope if we want it.  And I want it.  I choose faith.  Understand this.  Though I try, I never get it right.  But thankfully God has so much grace and mercy He just pours it out like a hurricane every time I cover my eyes because I'm too weak to turn off the light.  

And I want that for my son.  I want that for all my children.  I want that for for you.  I want that for your children.  I want them to be brave enough to choose God & His family.  I want them to see that choosing Christ is never easy but it brings life.  "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus...." (Galatians 3:26)  

And I cannot leave him behind.  

No matter what

I just cannot.

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