Sunday, February 9, 2014

a mess

it's sunday evening and i'm on a plane.
heading west while staring out at the setting sun through a tiny oval opening.

just like with praise music in church, i get teary eyed on planes. almost always. i don't know why exactly. something about being completely out of control and held up and helpless and vulnerable. that stuff. i'm not scared, i'm just in awe. i'm a little more than overwhelmed by something i don't get and can't understand, but still want to trust.

aerodynamics make no sense to me. none.

like that sun setting off the wing of this aircraft -- not sure why it is so incredibly beautiful. and not exactly sure how it happens to be suspended out there. dangling in the almost dark. i don't get it. except i trust ... God holds it. i trust God has it.

you're getting the picture, aren't you?
weepy woman on a plane heading home.

a mess.

you see, you can't spend a weekend with 450 mamas who have adopted from every country possible and have encountered every story imaginable and walk away untouched. unmoved. unmessed.

it just doesn't happen.

God's power and His very presence resides in rooms with women-warriors like these. these ladies know what it means to be flat out on their faces, surrendered and vulnerable; torn open to the tenderness God has placed in their hearts.
they know the meaning of out-of-control.
they know the meaning of  dependence.
just like this airplane -- when it doesn't always make sense.
they know what it means to wonder and to want and to wish ...

most of all, they know what it means to wait on God.

and, friends, y'all know -- that's not always exactly easy for women -- warriors or otherwise!

it's not easy to wait on God and wonder what He has planned or how He's going to hold it all together. it's hard sometimes to see what He has in store and what in the world He is doing with us ... with our families ... with that precious child a million miles away.

so, spending a couple of days with ladies like this leaves a girl a little bit messy. it stirs up all kinds of stuff. it encourages and energizes. it prompts and it pierces.

i had the chance to speak at this weekend's conference and share a little bit of our journey: adoption and cancer. we talked about how Jesus walks on water even in the midst of life's messiest, most frightening, most out of control storms. we talked about how Jesus holds out His hand and holds the boat and holds the child in the storm. sharing that message with these women opened up opportunities for me to hear their stories.

and -- what a privilege to listen to the journey Jesus has many of them on! women told me stories of joyful homecomings and tearful endings. i heard about miracles occurring and mountains moving. i heard amazing story after amazing story. i also heard about heartbreak -- about disrupted adoptions and hurting children and unexpected illness. i heard about great love and i heard about great loss. and what i heard most, was women who gave God great glory and praise in all of it. all of it.

i had a chance to talk with these women, to pray with a few, to cry with a couple.

that's messy, broken and incredibly beautiful stuff.

you see, these are women who want to be stirred. these are women willing to sit at the feet of Jesus, hold onto the hem of His garment and listen for the whispers of their Lord. they didn't ask for easy. they aren't signing up for smooth. they don't pretend to hold it all together makng it all look picture perfect. no, these women are ready to let go and let God do what He wants to do with them, with their families, with their futures ... even with their frailty. 

i applaud the talented and passionate team of girls who put on this created for care conference. they came with hands to serve and hearts to minister.

i showed up early on friday for a speaker's meeting. the director, andrea, wanted to meet with those of us who would spend the weekend speaking. i knew i was in the right place when almost the very first thing out of andrea's mouth went something like this: "thank you for coming to speak, but ladies i want to remind you, you are here to serve. i want you to be in the hallways and between the breakout sessions connecting with these women. i want you to be searching for that woman in need, that gal who seems lost or overwhelmed. look into her eyes, take the time to stop and hear her story, get her name and, if it's not you, connect her with someone who can help."

isn't that awesome?
i mean doesn't that just rock your socks off?

that's real ministry, people!

andrea didn't want her speakers to show up and stand on a pedestal and preach ... she wanted us to come and wash the feet of the women who came to listen. she wanted our own hands and feet to be louder and lovelier than any of our voices ever could be.

she wanted us to get messy and messed up.

she wanted us to be part of the plane ride -- the out of control, vulnerable place of i-can't-do-this-on-my-own-oh-Lord-Jesus-help-me!

the place where God shows up.

because this gal, andrea, is directing this ministry under the direction of her Jesus and here's the deal --- that's how Jesus does it. that's how He did it when He walked the earth and it's how His church is to do it now. He came not just to preach, but to pursue. He came not just to save, but to serve. Jesus who didn't discriminate between the very religious and the most rotten. Jesus who saw worth and value and victory in all of it -- in all of us.

Jesus who always made time for the least and the lost and the little.

Jesus who had a heart for the hurting, for the helpless, for the orphan.

Jesus who said, "let the little children come to me." ~ matthew 19:14

these women this weekend represented almost 600 adopted kids with over 1200 children total. these 450 women will walk back into homes tonight refreshed and filled up because they experienced real ministry -- they experienced love. they will take it back to their homes and love even better the little children of the world ... all the children of the world ... red and yellow, black and white.

and sitting on this plane, heading home tonight, i love that.

i love that i could get away for weekend and get messy in some real ministry and refueled for what God has in store.

i even love sitting on my airplane ride home with a few tears trickling down my cheeks. (the guy next to me is probably not loving that part so much). i'm pretty sure i'm making him a little nervous, but i don't care. i think i'm going to stop writing now and try to tell him about how much Jesus loves him too!


DiJo said...

I can't wait to hear about your weekend!!!!! It sounds like God showed up in a LARGE way in Georgia!!!!

Welcome back to the Tundra!


Paige said...

Oh girl it sounds so great! I'm so happy you got to be a huge part of wish I could have heard you speak!
Hugs and welcome home to your own happy chaos:)

Owlhaven said...

Was that your favorite part too, the talking-in-between? My husband asked me, and that's what I said. I really felt like there were some God-made appointments, just in the visiting and the bumping into people....
Mary, momma to many

Tonya said...

Oh my goodness! That's me and my two sweet friends worshiping! I am so blessed (and happy) to have this picture. :)