A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a review about a book I read called Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity. I’ve been a fan of Jen Hatmaker’s blog for some time now, so when she released the revision of the book a little early to bloggers, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on it. Little did I know that it would set my life on a course that I never expected.
The premise of the book is this:
It follows the author’s messy journey through life and church and into living on mission. Snatching Jen from the grip of her consumer life, God began asking her questions like, “What is really the point of My Church? What have I really asked of you?” She was far too busy doing church than being church, even as a pastor’s wife, an author of five Christian books, and a committed believer for 26 years. She discovered she had missed the point.
With each page that I read, a brand new conviction rose in my heart. I wanted more out of my Christianity. I love Jesus and I knew I was doing good things in my life, but God was calling me to serve in a far greater capacity. I read and wept as she talked about how the Lord was gently convicting her to step out and SERVE BIGGER.
It won’t suffice to claim good intentions. Saying “I meant well” is not going to cut it. Not with God screaming, begging, pleading, urging us to love mercy and justice, to feed the poor and the orphaned, to care for the last and least in nearly every book of the Bible. It will not be enough one day to stand before Jesus and say, “Oh? Were You serious about all that?”
Her husband, Brandon, shares a story about a church service they attended in downtown Austin. At the end of the service (which was on a particularly cold day), the guest speaker explained that he attended a church in San Antonio where a good part of the congregation was also a part of the homeless community. Many of them were in desperate need of good quality shoes and boots. He asked the congregation to consider donating the shoes and socks right off of their feet to be given to this community of homeless people. One by one, people laid their shoes at the alter. At the close of the service, they watched as people exited the church – barefoot. He felt the Lord speak to him in that moment:
This is how I want my church to look, a place where love and self-sacrifice are hardwired into the DNA of my people, of solidarity with the poor — a true community rallied around my gospel. I want a church where the altar is not only a place to take communion but also a place to leave your shoes. I want a barefoot church.
Frankie and I read this and it was at that moment that we felt we’d been awakened. We began to pray about how God could move in our lives this way. We want love and self-sacrifice to be hardwired into US. For days, we prayed together and separately about it. My prayer was that God would raise up in me a holy passion. We knew God was telling us that He wanted us to do something – we just weren’t sure what it would look like. After a couple of days, I felt that still, small voice of the Lord speak to me about adoption.
*Cue screeching halt sound.
Say what???!!!! Jesus…um…are you aware that we already have FIVE kids? Five very hungry, very loud kids. I tried to ignore it but it wouldn’t go away. God is a gentleman, but He’s also persistent. When I realized I could no longer ignore the burden on my heart, I got down on my knees and wept. I told God that if this is really what He wanted for our family, He’d have to tell my husband Himself. No way was I going to risk sending my husband into shock by telling Him that I thought God wanted us to adopt a child. We’d been praying for God to reveal His plan to us for about a week at this point, so a few days later, I asked Frankie if he felt any direction from the Lord. What he told me sent chills down my body.
The same night that I was on my knees in prayer, as my husband was rocking our extremely mad daughter to sleep, he began to feel a burden for the orphans of the world that would never feel the love and security of a mother and father. This is what he said, “I kept watching Mary relax in my arms as I sang and my heart got really heavy. I started thinking about all the children out there who would never know this security.” He was hearing the exact same thing that I was hearing, but we were scared to tell each other.
It has been a very emotional 3 days for us. The more we think about bringing a child home the more determined we become. The money is a huge hurdle and my husband even says this is the first time he feels like he has no control. I mean, we don’t have “adoption money” laying around so we will be 100% depending on God’s provision.
So here we are. Just a few days into our decision to adopt. We told our kids last night and they were ecstatic.
Our child will be adopted from Ethiopia. We have a long trek ahead of us in this process. We will be updating our progress frequently and welcome your prayers for us during this journey.
God is doing something big, and we feel privileged to be a part of it.