Friday, March 11, 2011
From What I Have Received
On my 20th birthday, I brought Lia home from the hospital. After a season of turning my back on the Lord and trying to escape the hurt of my broken family, God, in His precious grace, gave me not what I deserved but what I in no way deserved. He gave me a beautiful daughter. He gave me a reminder that my life matters to Him and that it is important to spend it carefully, and He gave me someone whose beautiful face reminds me of that love daily.
Last Sunday at an adoption/orphan care ministry meeting at church, I heard from a young woman who is receiving help for herself and her baby from an organization called Safe Families for Children. She said the couple who are reaching out to her have let her see what a family looks like for the first time in her life. She wiped away tears as she shared the hard places she has been in her life and how she has felt so helpless to know how to move into a better place. But now she has a couple investing in her life and helping with her son. Now she has heard that Jesus loves her, and more than hearing, she is experiencing that.
As an afterthought in her talking with our group, she mentioned knowing a couple of young ladies who are expectant mothers and are currently homeless. These women, whose faces I have not seen and whose names I do not know, have landed squarely in the middle of my heart. I called the area director of Safe Families, and I asked him to sign me up (and as it turns out, we need a home study for this, so all my pestering the Lord about why the heck we have this home study has been met with at least one answer so far! God's incredibly cool that way....).
My mother invested her life in me and Lia while Lia was tiny. My mother gave us a home, she took a night shift feeding her, she helped me plan and open my business. My mom put her own masters degree on hold for years, because she chose to sacrifice what was for her in order to invest in us. Because of her help, I was able to open and run a successful business for over 10 years (until my husband and I decided for me to stay home when our littlest one was born). I was able to have a job that afforded me the ability to go back to college and pursue my Art Education degree and to have the flexibility to use that knowledge to volunteer teaching art at our church's school. All of these good things are fruit of my mother's investment and sacrifice.
When I heard of these young women last Sunday, my heart responded, because I can't imagine being in a situation like that without hope, without resources, without a mama to come alongside me. So I'm praying for them. I'm praying that if the Lord would use me to be a mama-friend to them and to welcome them into my life and invest back some of the grace invested in me, He would open that door. I'm praying that if not me, someone will be put in these women's lives. I'm praying they will know the overwhelming love of Christ for them, and that they would have hope.
Right now, my life looks beautiful. I'm not perfect, so I'm not taking credit for the beauty. It's the Lord. It's His relentless pursuit of my heart through hard places that has brought about the change and the beauty. I am a work continually in progress until heaven. But here on this earth, I am very blessed. I am blessed to have a husband who is my hero. He works hard every day to take care of me and our kids. I am blessed to be able to be home full-time and pursue the ministry of making a home and being available to be used in different ways in our community. I'm blessed to have 3 healthy, precious kids. I'm blessed by the gifts my mother has given me, because I believe without question that had she not been there for me and Lia, our lives would look different right now.
Because I have received so much good, so much grace, I am compelled to give back to the Lord by sharing His love with others. The more time I spend with Jesus, the more clearly I see him, and the more clearly I end up seeing me. I don't deserve what Jesus did for me on the cross. But I'm so thankful. In my thankfulness, I am humbled.
I want to pour out my life in thanks to God for what He has so freely given me through Christ. I want to invest back into the lives of others from the good gifts I have been so generously given. My heart cries out, "Use me, Lord!" I'm like a little kid, waving her arms around wildly, shouting, "Pick me! Pick me!!! I'll do it!!!" I know that in saying that I'm agreeing to go into hard places and see hard things. I'm agreeing to share in hurt as well as in rejoicing. It's just that I'm so very thankful.
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:48b
Posted by Shannon at 9:06 AM