What a weekend of exploration. We headed north on Friday looking crazy with all out gear and a trailer filled behind our van. A few items we were planning to leave behind at the family and friends cottage we affectionately call The Lodge. The Lodge is campy and very rustic but to us it is the best quiet refuge where we can simply “be.” I watched my son Carter exhale a big deep breath and then smile as he entered the lodge with a load in his arms. The Lodge is familiar and so many memories are there as we recall our younger days, Bob and I , just the two of us getting away. Then as the years marched on and children were added to the mix, we struggled to figure out the best place for the pack and play or how we were all going to get the best sleep in new quarters. Now the Lodge represents a place to bring others, a place for one on one with our kids, a place where father son canoe trips are had and men get away to do what they enjoy most, fishing, floating, poker and pool. We have enjoyed Thanksgiving at the Lodge and many a quiet night of movies and falling alseep in front of the fire.
This weekend was no exception to the rule. We had our latest addition, sweet Ava, our tried a true pack and play, tons of food, new recipes to try, fishing poles and friends along for the ride. It was a wonderful weekend of retreat and sharing. We took walks, searched out hummingbird nests, visited the up north general store and watched as our kids spent loads of time teaching one another cards around the game table. Don’t mess with them now in the poker department. They are becoming rather good and actually know how to create a mean “poker face. ” Such fond memories but none fonder than God’s gift of time with our sweet friends who are sharing a similar heartbeat for the orphans of the world. The weekend away gave us time to connect and talk on a spiritual level that was so amazing! It is not the details I wish to recount but rather the joy I felt in God showing up and showing me that His story is always bigger and better than we might think. I felt God there, at the Lodge, directing the conversation and guiding us as we all grappled with our thoughts on the lost, the least and the marginalized. It is no accident that God is using the story of our adoption to influence and perhaps even help others. There is fear in understanding the call to care for orphans. There are many unknowns and frankly adding to our hearts and adding to our families makes us vulnerable and stretches us to the core.
For the last two weeks I find myself carrying around, reading and referencing the most amazing book, Orphanology Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care by Tony Merida and Rick Morton. It is an outstanding book and a perfect guide to explaining my heart. Over the weekend I opened the book to page 178 and read this:
“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16
This is such a perfect verse for me as I strive to understand my next step in this call to care for orphans. Sometimes my heart and my eyes see Ethiopia so clearly. I dream of the people I miss so much who are my daughter’s people. I think of the loud roosters and the crazy traffic. I smell the exhaust and see the the beautiful smiling faces. But then I also see the millions of children all over the world who wait for someone to come to them. Maybe they live in a place where few have been. Where is God asking me to go and to whom will He ask me to serve? I spend my time digging and learning but Proverbs 6 reminds me that the Lord will weigh my spirit. If the work is of the Lord then He will guide me. This same thing is true in the adoption journey. We lived through it so I know it to be true. We had to make choices and take actions to learn and search for the right organizations, we had to seek help and friendships to guide us. We did do lots of planning but ultimately we knew that God was leading our direction and our focus. It is the coolest feeling that I wish I could give away to others. Adoption taught us each day to surrender over and over again.
So today is back to life at home. There is work, final days of school, gardening, parenting, meal planning, etc. Today I see those jobs with fresh eyes, eyes that have rested and eyes that have seen God’s delicious beauty and unending bounty. I wish I had captured more photos but I was busying trying to be in the moment and busy dialoguing with God, sharing my thanks for sweet friendships and candid, heartfelt conversations. We ask you God to lead us. Direct us in the ways you wish us all to go and thank you for placing on my heart the very things that break your heart. Amen.
Have a wonderful week!