Thursday, June 24, 2010

When the storms come

Last night as the storm rolled in ..... it got me thinking. Storms, much like life, are unpredictable. We might have some warning through weather reports, or circumstances, but when we're right in the midst of the storm everything can seem so out of control. I watched the trees out my front room window wondering if they were gonna come crashing to the ground with the extreme winds that came through. Shortly after, the winds took down a great big branch from the tree to the east. Yet the tree still stood. It got me thinking about our lives. Each of us have had times in our lives that we experienced broken branches. Just like that big 'ole tree that is rooted so very deeply and broadly into the ground .... I need to be deeply rooted in God's truth. If I'm not, I won't stand when the storms come.

Just as the winds were coming from every direction, swirling about, taking plants, lawn furniture and anything loose to places they didn't belong, that is exactly how it can feel when our lives are ripped up and blown about by tragedy, heartache and despair. God is still God even in the storms of life. His goodness does not change. He is just as good when we get to see the amazing miracle of new birth as He is when we lose a loved one to a sudden death. He is just as loving when a child is welcomed into a family as He is when another child becomes an orphan. He is just as faithful when we land a new job, or get a house sold in record time as He is when there is month after month of unemployment and we fall into financial despair.

I want to be like the tree outside my front room window that is still standing today in spite of yesterday's storm. I want to stand strong when the storms of life come crashing around me and the Enemy of the universe tries to get me to give up. I want my roots to be so firmly rooted in God's Truth that NOTHING of this world can destroy me completely.

You and I will have broken branches as we journey through life on this earth. There will be things in our lives that are completely out of our control. Sometimes our trees get out of balance and need pruning. But if we are rooted in Truth, we will weather the storm.

How about you .... are you feeling like the storms of life just leave you feeling out of control? Are you frightened when the high and unpredictable winds come? Do you wonder where God is when you see destruction? Be encouraged, that He is still there ... He is still the same loving and merciful Father that He has always been. He is worthy of our absolute trust.

Lord help me to weather the storms well, being rooted in your Truth. Help me be a tree of LIFE.

Proverbs 3:18 (NIV)

18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
those who lay hold of her will be blessed.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Caring for Orphans ...

James 1:27 NIV

27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

There's a certain boy that lives far, far away whom my heart both loves and breaks for. His legal status is orphan .... but his love status is son. In my heart, he is my son .... no different than the sons who reside here in my home with me. It was over two years ago now that I met him in an orphanage in Ethiopia. He's been there many years. No doubt he went to bed many nights over the years wondering if he'd ever have family again.

He has dreams and ambitions. He longs to make a difference for his people. He works hard to flee from the immorality that surrounds him. At times he finds a way to write to me. One morning this week after talking with our kids at VBS about orphans I got one of those emails. Part of it reads ... "you are not like Ethiopian mother you are from somewhere that God only sent to me. I swear to God,Mom you are so special to me." Oh how TRUE, my son ... only God could have brought us together. He wanted me to know he's waiting on his testing scores which determines if he can get into the university .... his only hope for a future there.

We're called to care for orphans. That will look a little differently for each of us. Caring for orphans doesn't give you some "warm and fuzzy" feeling. Caring for orphans breaks your heart .... it shatters you ... it leaves you feeling like you can never do enough. We can't do enough. We can't solve the orphan crisis over-night. What we CAN do is obey what God gives us to do EACH day.

There is so much I want to do for Getahun. I want to provide a home for him. I want to hug him goodnight. I want to wash his clothes. I want to cook him a meal and provide enough food for him to feel full. I want to hold him in my arms. I may never get to do any of these things this side of heaven. There are times I lose heart and wonder why God ever had me meet Getahun if I cannot do these things. If I cannot fix his situation.

The painfully hard reality is that not all orphans will be adopted. (at least not yet!) Will I trust God to show me HOW to CARE for ORPHANS? Will I trade in my fleshly desire to have a heart that feels content and warm and fuzzy ..... for one that BREAKS? Oh Lord that I might TRUST you more and understand more clearly HOW to CARE for orphans. Caring for orphans is not to be about ME ... it's to be about HIM! Because of what Christ did for ME ... how can I not care about His children?

This last week we had the amazing privilege of sharing with our VBS kids about orphans. Their questions and interest were so awesome. I smile just thinking about how God was honored as they gave sacrificially to make a difference.

My heart is so grateful that this precious one is no longer in an orphan bed. Yet so many still are.

I would love to hear about how "caring for orphans" is being lived out in your life. Link your blog in the comments below. :) Maybe you've never given much thought to your responsibility in caring for orphans. What do you think God is asking you to do?