Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Drawing Near to the Father

 Our last couple months have been full.  We have been challenged by the Lord in many ways.  We have had opportunities to trust Him and to believe that He answers prayer in very real ways.  He hears the cries and pleas of His people and He responds.  God has placed some things before us and made us very aware of needs and He has asked us, "Will we go...will we respond...will we sacrifice...will we choose to step out in faith and trust Him like never before?"  We said "Yes!"  And we have never felt closer to the Father and His purpose for our lives.

This past month has been a time of drawing near to Him in a way that we never have before.  There have been times in my life where I have literally had to cling to Jesus because it felt like He was all that was there.  He has comforted me and lifted my head.  Yet, I have never felt as close to the God of the universe as I have over the past month.  The reason...I finally have fallen in love with the things that truly concern my Father!  As I have let go of things that have always been so important, I feel so close to the heart of God.

Derek and I have become increasingly aware that our time on this Earth is brief.  This fact resonated in my soul even more as I completed Chapter 2 of Francis Chan's book "Crazy Love."  He writes:  "Friends, we need to stop living selfish lives, forgetful of our God.  Our lives here are short, often unexpectedly so, and we can all stand to be reminded of it from time to time.  That's why I wrote this chapter, to help us remember that in the movie of life, nothing matters except our King and God."  I recently told Derek that I don't want to stand before the Creator of the Universe one day and give reasons why I didn't live the life that He has very clearly called me to.  Understand that this isn't a legalistic feeling or response, it is a response of wanting to wholeheartedly serve and sacrifice for the King of all kings!

Derek and I both began to feel this "stirring" in our hearts and souls during a series at our church called Traders.  This series really made us question our comfort level, our sacrifice, our passion to live loudly for the God who saved us and created us soley to worship Him.  I did not know then what God was doing inside of us, but now I see it and it is beautiful.  The way that He has intricately prepared our hearts has been miraculous!

Why God has chosen us, I will never know.  I truly feel precious in His sight...that He would call us to love so huge!  And can I just say that it feels so good!  Deep within every part of my being I feel true peace.  Incredible, indescribable, overwhelming peace...truly a peace that passes all understanding.  I have never comprehended His presence like I have over the past month.  This is the reason why........

This precious face has captivated us in every way you can imagine!  His name is Ivan.  He is in Rus*ia.  He is an orphan.  And God has called us to go and get him.  He is our son!  As much as Emily, Timothy, and Stella are is he.  We already have a love for this precious boy that is so hard to comprehend.  The story of how we got to him is a long one.  You can read part of it here. 

The important thing to know is that Ivan is currently in an orphanage in Ru*sia.  We know very little about his conditions.  Here is what we do know.  We know that he turned 1 in September.  We know that he has Down Syndrome.  And we know that in Eastern Europe (as is the case in many countries), children with special needs are not given any place in their society.  Children there remain in baby houses until they turn 4 or 5 and then they are transferred to institutions.  The things that God has opened our eyes to pertaining to these orphanages and institutions is incomprehensible!  Every day, God is making us more and more aware of the needs of these special souls.  The need is tremendous.

We don't know what his needs specifically will be, but we didn't with our other 3 children either.  We don't know how we will fit his therapy needs into our schedule, but we were busy before.  We don't know how we will come up with $25,000.00 plus, but God always provides.  We don't know how we will manage 4 children under the age of 5, but 3 has been training ground.  We don't know what daily life will look like, but who knows what each day will bring.  We do know that our hearts are open and that God is able.  We know that God has opened our eyes and made us aware of a need and we cannot turn back.  We know that we are called to love our God out loud, that we are to respond when we hear His voice.  We have heard Him and want to follow.

Please pray for our sweet Ivan!  Pray that God would move mountains to bring him home to his forever family a mommy and daddy that will love him unconditionally, to a brother and sisters that will embrace him and teach him about family, and to a life that is not in a cold lonely crib in an institution.  Our hearts are heavy thinking about his daily life and we ask you to pray for his caregivers and the other children in his orphanage.  We begin this journey to rescue our son and ask that you prayerfully join us!

If you would like to read about a child, much like our Ivan, a story of sweet redemption, I dare you to meet this family!  You will be blown away by how BIG our God is!