Rest

Ask and you shall receive.  I’m not going to lie.  For three months, it’s been sort of nice just focusing on the day to day, dreaming about just having one little baby to take care of next year, paying off our debt, and otherwise enjoying drama-free life.

You have to remember that I spent four months of this year believing that I would be having four kids at the same time.  I started off 2012 adopting two kids, then we added a third in March, and by May, we were pregnant.  As my friend put it, we were collecting kids like some people collect bobbleheads.  It was nutty, people!  At the same time, it was exciting.  It’s fun to be pushed beyond your limit by a God who can provide all you need.  I liked really being able to test his promises and had been looking forward to doing it more so once we got the kids home.

Alas, life has been a little boring over here.  We are ready to spice things up.  No, there are no more kids to add in 2012 (as far as I know).  But, God is back at work – stirring up the pot and giving me way more than I can handle. I don’t have any details or news.  I can just sense that God is working to throw another wrench in my life.  My sabbatical will likely be coming to a close soon.

Yesterday, our pastor spoke on the fruit of the spirit.  Galatians 5:17 says: “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”  My flesh wants predictability, ease, comfort, plans.  The Spirit is contrary to that.  The Spirit is fighting a war, bringing about big change in the world.  The pruning is painful and involves suffering. Rebirth is bloody and messy.

I don’t know for sure what God has in store for us (He never tells me his plans).  I’ve been “dating” a lot of different ministries for the past year.  I’ve got irons in the fire all over the place – waiting for my cue to jump in with both feet. My heart is on fire for about 10 different issues.  Last week alone I went to events on women in the sex industry, the church and the gay community and sex trafficking in America.  I’m ready for God to push me on one direction, and I think He will very soon.

I knew it wouldn’t last.  Rest on earth is always only temporary.  There’s work to be done, and I can’t sit on the sidelines (nor do I want to).  God has big plans, and I asked for them.

Eve’s Angels

How have I been so busy?  I feel like I’m barely home these days.  BB keeps nagging me about never being around – somehow I’ve been a busy woman.

On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a workshop featuring the ministry of Eve’s Angels  (http://www.evesangels.org/).  I met Anny in September when she spoke at the Moody Church.  Anny shared her amazing testimony about how she had been working in the sex industry for a number of years when God God radically saved her and rescued her from a very dark place.  Since her own rescue, she has made it her life’s mission to show the love of God to other women in similar situations.

Eve’s Angels leads Bible studies for women, visits them at the clubs, delivers gift bags to them, operates a booth at the national porn conventions, prays for the women, and helps them get out when they want to leave.  Anny’s passion is contagious, and she so clearly loves these women as children of God.  In fact, while at the conference, a woman raised her hand and asked for help getting out of the industry.  That night, Anny took her to clean out her locker, and she was baptized the next day.  I so believe in this ministry, and I can’t wait to see how the Lord leads me to be more involved.  Praise God for Anny!

Hearing Anny’s story and seeing her passion is truly convicting to me.  I left feeling invigorated and excited.  I was somewhat disheartened though, realizing that I just don’t get fired up for the Lord that often.  There have been times in my life where I was more regularly seeing God work around me, but lately, I haven’t been paying attention or putting myself in spots to see how powerful he and real he is.

It’s made me want to pray for him to keep pushing me outside my comfort zone and take me to places where he is changing lives.  It’s hard to believe in a God that you don’t see, and it’s hard to truly believe that he is real if you aren’t seeing him really work.  I want to keep getting stretched.  These are risky prayers because God usually answers them with a yes.  I think my rest period is coming to an end.  It’s time to get back out on the front line.

Be Like Him

I went to the dentist today, and there’s just no way that labor is worse.  The hygienist kept asking me if it was too much.  Here’s a hint, when you have to suction the pooling blood from my mouth over five times, it’s too much.  You shouldn’t need a blood transfusion after a teeth cleaning.

I digress.

This year the Holy Spirit has been teaching me about what it really means to be like Jesus.  As a Christian, we often talk about how God is forming us into Christ’s image, but as I look at my life, it doesn’t look much like Jesus’ life.  When we were in Congo and everything was falling apart, we took comfort in knowing that our sorrows were familiar to our Savior.  We reminded ourselves that we worship a homeless man who was betrayed by his friends and murdered.  We should expect no less if we want to be like him.

Right after I posted last week about struggling to find contentment, the Holy Spirit brought me Isaiah 53:3, which describes Jesus as a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.  I had to laugh at myself.  Here I was wallowing in self-pity about my discontent.  If I love Jesus and want to be like him, should I not expect to be a woman of sorrows and acquainted with grief?  In fact, I should be rejoicing in the honor of sharing sorrow with my brothers and sisters.  I should be so blessed as to feel a slight bit of the pain that Jesus felt when he walked the earth.

I don’t want to forget the world is broken.  I don’t want to be isolated from its brokenness.  As a wealthy American, my default is to flee – ignore the homeless, move to the suburbs, don’t watch the news, stay at a fancy resort in a developing country.  Pretend like it’s not there.  It’s easier to sleep at night.  It’s easier to rationalize my own existence.

On Friday night I was blessed to join with some sisters to go out on the street to meet and pray with women who were selling their bodies to men.   Each time I go out with this group, I am amazed and changed.  Just miles from where I sleep and in the late night/early morning hours while I am sleeping, there’s so much activity.  This particular night we were near Midway airport, a familiar drive that feels like a different place at midnight.  You turn down a street and see the women scattered around, getting into cars with these strange men.  It’s utterly heartbreaking, and it is absolutely where Jesus is.

Before we go out, I usually pray that I will see Jesus in the faces of the women, the pimps and even the Johns.  I can’t say I’ve gotten there with the men, but when I see these women, I do see Jesus.  While my whole body is telling me to flee, my Spirit knows that it is exactly where I am supposed to be.  These are the beautiful unique children of God caught up in a world full of darkness.

Then on Saturday morning, we cooked breakfast at a cafe for the homeless.  Another opportunity to meet with Jesus.  An opportunity to praise God that this world is temporary and falling away.  The brokenness is real, but so is God.

I don’t have any answers, but I do have hope.  I have hope in a Savior who comes to save the lost.  A Savior who has defeated death already.  One over whom the powers of darkness have no power but that which he gives.  I have hope that he will come again and wipe away every tear.  I am sorrowful, but so is he.