Ava is obsessed with the boat song and is always saying “more boat,” and no matter what song we try to sing she always leads us back to row row row your boat. She is tenacious and so sweet in her reminders and as I sit in her room rocking her in the dark waiting for her to request her song yet again, I often hear God’s voice whispering the same thing… “more boat.”It makes me think of the story I heard long ago about Jesus circling us in a boat, asking you and me to come with Him on the ride of a lifetime. Maybe it is a time of very high tide or tumultuous challenging waters or maybe it is a time for change and growth when we need the circling boat most of all. No matter the reason I love the visual of the circling boat. God is so awesome in the way he shows us our next steps, His direction in our life all while circling in the boat, reminding us to do nothing more than hop aboard. All of this from Ava’s little words… Don’t you love what children can teach us?
During our years of work and prayer about adoption I did far more research than needed trying to undersatnd God’s nudges in the direction of the orphan crisis and the scriptural call to help. I remember so vividly needing to know and the more I learned the more I yearned to know about the plight of those enslaved, orphaned , diseased and stuck in gripping poverty. I can recall asking God very specifically to give me a life with purpose or burden if you will. I asked to be enlightened and changed, broken and bent for that which truly needs changing in the world. I began to ask to understand discomfort on a bigger level, not just the discomforts of my personal life and daily journey. As my prayers were slowly answered I began to feel like God was showing me more issues and hardships than I ever knew imaged through websites, fellow adoptive parents, mission organizations and friendships placed directly in my path. Then my visits to Ethiopia and I knew with every ounce of my being why God had pursued me and why saying yes would be life altering and ultimately beautiful fun.
Has this been true in your life? Do you desire a change in your heart? Maybe what you need is to look far beyond your routine and your daily life into the hardships of another. That may involve risk and that is exactly what God is asking of all of us. Be a risk taker in order to make change. Give up your comforts and ask for a burden of great magnitude. Leave what is familiar and easy to perhaps walk a different path. Seek to understand the heart of a lonely widow or the emptiness of an orphan. Ask God to make you a risk taker who will stretch and grow you through discomfort, challenge, knowledge, experience and yes adventure.
Of course not everyone is blessed with the same call… That would be rather boring, but what I so hope to do in sharing this blog is to encourage others. You see we all have something we are itching to do someday. Many of us say when the time is right I will take a mission trip. We all ask how to afford to make such a trek. We all ask if thinking about a journey to Ethiopia is crazy. We wonder who will care for our families and how we will make work schedules jive. I so get it. I were the same shoes and grapple with the same fears. I have four kiddos and in addition to parenting them I wear several other hats. I totally understand. But here is where the rubber meets the road… You have one life to live and God is calling us not to sit in the backseat in comfort and fear. God instead over and over throughout scripture shows us that risk and adventure are of great value to the Kingdom. We can be the hands and feet and we can make a measureable difference. We can become like the light of the noonday as we witness to other nations through word and deed. We can visit the orphan and the widow in their distress and we can walk humbly alongside someone who needs a life change and a friend.
Do you desire a ride in the boat? The boat Jesus is oferring will change your life in profund ways! The boat is circling and I can picture Jesus rowing and waiting at our feet to see if we will take the leap. If you need a change or desire to learn more about how we are called to care for the the least of these jump aboard and in doing so say yes to new adventure and a change of focus! Come with me through the One Child Campaign and Shine your Light throughout Ethiopia in Febraury of 2012. It may just be the ride of a lifetime! “More boat.” Can’t you just hear her words?
Have a wonderful first weekend in December and please contact me should you have any questions about the trip.
Peace and Grace,