When I was training for a marathon, I would fill my pockets with orange slices in Ziploc bags. As weariness snuck up, one or two slices popped in my mouth would push it back and give me strength to press on another few kilometers. God's words and His encouragement sometimes come in bite-sized slices -impressions, experiences, encounters - and are just enough to push weariness back and keep us pressing on a little further...

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Jordan Faith (August 28, 2009)

The house I’m sitting in was built in 1918. Its red tin roof sheltered families through the Great Depression, World War II, and my father’s childhood. I have photos of myself as an infant in the room next to this one, and countless memories of coming down the back staircase to the kitchen and my granddaddy’s biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast. He made wine in the basement and had a garden out back. He grew the best corn I ever ate.

This is where I live now. It’s strange to unpack articles from my adventures in other countries here, setting them on shelves and in drawers, finding their niches in this new old place. It seems I’ve travelled the world and come home again. I’ve come to a place I was hoping would be a launching pad for new sorts of adventures.

I thought I knew what they were. Very few of you know that we almost adopted a baby this week. The start of it all was very sudden - one phone call almost a month ago from a woman with whom we’d had a casual conversation about adoption two years back. She knew a young girl who could barely care for the daughter she had, aborted her second pregnancy, and was conflicted about the baby now growing inside her. The young girl was desperate to find someone to adopt her new child. We’d had a day and a half to decide if we were those someones, and although the whole idea sounded crazy, we knew that God has been known to have a crazy idea or two. We said ‘yes’.

A little bit of background. We work for a non-for-profit organization, and every cent we receive, we have to raise ourselves. Moving to the States requires us to double our monthly financial needs. Despite traveling all summer, we had barely managed to maintain our current financial support, let alone increase it. Having a baby would change the entire dynamic and actually put us in jeopardy.

Throughout this entire process, one Bible story kept coming to mind. Everyone knows the story of Moses and the parting of the Red Sea, how God held the waters back for the Israelites to cross when they were fleeing from Egypt. Not as many recall that 40 years later, the Israelites again passed through a body of water, finally entering the land promised to them. The water was the Jordan River, and this time, the waters didn’t part until they actually stepped in them. As they walked by faith into a river at flood stage, the waters stopped flowing (Joshua chapter 3).

I thought about this story a lot as I weighed the uncertainty in our lives. We didn’t know how we would live, work, or minister, but we felt that when we stepped out in faith, God would hold back the flood and provide a path. That belief was so strong that it became the name we chose if our adopted child was a girl - Jordan Faith.

Jordan Faith was born on Tuesday night. Her birth mother called her Kirsten and took her home today. That young girl changed her mind about the adoption.

My father grew up in the house where I am sitting. He ate at this kitchen table, stared out these windows, and survived adolescence within these walls. This roof has weathered many storms, and is now enduring the storm blowing inside my father’s daughter tonight.

I don’t know why God asked us to receive a child we would never hold. I don’t know why I’m living so far from the people who feel like ‘home‘ to me. I don’t know how we’re going to afford to live and work and minister to hearts who feel as restless and homeless as mine. There are many, many things I neither know nor understand.

None of those things, however, changes the fact that I am still my Father’s daughter. No matter where my foot falls on this earth, I am still in His house, and perhaps He brought me here, to the place where my own father grew into a good man, to remind me of that.

Trust is a funny thing. We talk about it a lot; people fall back on the phrase “Trust in God‘ when they don’t know what else to say to people going through difficult circumstances. I think although they mean it, they may not know what they mean. It tends to be used as a spiritual pat on the head; a broad spectrum band-aid for whatever ails you. ‘Trust‘ in the God sense (the way we usually use it) almost seems like a different word than what we think of as ‘trust’ in the human sense. Trust in other humans is almost a palpable commodity. It evokes feelings of vulnerability and caution - people must earn our trust, and when they betray it, it usually takes a very long time for us to offer it again.

I’m learning that ‘trust’ (in the human sense) is actually the right word after all when it comes to God. It’s that same quiet confidence in someone you know really well, the familiarity with their personality, the knowledge of their love; the unexplainable sense that they would never intentionally hurt you which has settled at the base of my heart. It was there when we chose to say ‘Yes‘ to the crazy idea of having three weeks to prepare for parenthood. It was there when we said ‘Yes‘ to living only by the generosity of others. It’s there now, when it seems like God is saying ‘No‘ to both.

I’ve known God a while, and even though I’ll never know everything about Him, I’ve seen how He operates, I’ve read what He said, and I’ve experienced more goodness by His loving hand than I could ever deserve. Despite all the uncertainty in my life right now, I know, I KNOW, that God is good and He loves me. Everything that has ever or will ever happen to me is filtered through those two facts.

I don’t know why we went through the whirlwind of this last month. I don’t know why we are without the money we need. I don’t know how to do this job or why I am living here. But I know my God. And that is enough.

It’s dark now, outside this old house. There’s no air conditioning, and I’ve become reacquainted with the blessing of a breeze. The noises of the street have softened to little more than the distant echos of the highway, but the crickets are as loud as I remember them. This house has endured difficult days, yet remains a refuge for those under its red tin roof. Similarly, I plan on weathering the storm quietly raging inside me, enduring difficult days no matter when or how they come. I can because I am still committed to living by Jordan faith, to stepping out when all my eyes see is a flood. The only reason I can is because I know the heart of the One who has called me. He is good and He loves me and I am my Father’s daughter. Nothing will ever change that, no matter where He chooses to launch my adventures.

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