“…[Jesus] cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.'” John 11:43-44 (ESV)
My husband and I stood at an impasse. He longed to move ahead with adoption. I wanted no more than the two kids we already had. My mind was made up after waffling for years.
It hadn’t always been that way. Steve and I had long envisioned a house filled with both biological and adopted children.
But a diagnosis struck during my second pregnancy, making any future attempts potentially deadly. Two kids, 16 months apart, the stress of two in diapers, two potty training, two requiring so much of me while I still reeled from a life-changing diagnosis – I came to believe even one more would be too much. Our dream needed to be buried.
Guilt pressed me. I longed for Steve to understand, to realize that the blessings we already had were enough, to grasp that anything more could push my health over the edge and literally kill me.
And so we lived for several years – teetering between our original dream he refused to release, all the while loving me completely, and the dream I’d placed in the ground and grieved. Disunity gnawed. Fear held me back from nakedly approaching God to hear His heart.
A friend watched my children one day so I could get some work done. After just a couple of hours on my own, I felt the Lord stirring me, drawing me near. It was my lunch break, but food was the last thing on my mind.
Walking to the center of my silent living room, I hit my knees, tears slipping down my face. I finally had the courage to ask the question I’d avoided for so long: “Lord, what’s holding me back from adopting?” His response was swift, kind and loving, yet holding nothing back.
“Fear. And your distrust that I will take care of everything.”
His words struck like a pinprick in my heart, piercing the deepest parts of who I am. A question hovered in that thin place: Would I continue to be ruled by fear, or would I choose to trust Him completely?
In a span of minutes, the buried dream came to life. Everything I’d known five minutes earlier fell away, adamant refusal transformed into exhilarated longing.
When my husband came home, I laid out my resurrection story, giving him the gift of a wife who refused to cower before fear. God performed a miracle before our eyes – hearts reunified, vision restored, hope uplifted.
The Lord knows where our children are. He’ll put all things together in His perfect timing. He’s got this. After all, He’s still raising the dead to life.
Is there a dream you’ve buried? Are you willing to place it before the Lord?
It’s almost too easy to slip into a sea of hopelessness as we face this complicated thing called “life”. For those who have found their salvation in Jesus, it can still be overwhelming just dealing with the day-to-day. But, what if it was intended to be simple? What if the complexity of trudging through our days was merely a deep-seated lie we’ve accepted as truth?
A thriving relationship with God need not be formulaic or complex. It can be very, very simple. But the complexity we bring to the relationship via sin shifts all that simplicity into seeming chaos.
All through the Bible, we are told to lean on Him, trust Him, come to Him. Basically, the simplicity of a relationship with God is that we live as though He is actually our life-source.
But then we’d have to release other things, things that we find comfort in, things that we’re used to, things we believe to be true. Perspectives, addictions, worldly comforts, the sense of having control…all these things we would need to let go of for the simplicity of a relationship that more than fulfills all we think we’re getting out of these temporal things.
What if it was as simple as saying, “God, here’s my concern, my hurt, my devastation. What do You have to say about it? What do you have to say about me?” And then stop…and listen.
What if we could truly trust that Jesus dealt with our sin once and for all and is, Himself, the living Truth which moves beyond our limited and skewed perspectives? What if He is the only Source we need? Things might begin to look drastically different. Life may not get “easy”, but it would certainly be simpler. No longer relying on “me” to fix whatever I think needs fixing. Just trusting Him with it, whatever “it” may be.
Honestly, I’m not fully there yet. Many times, I still turn to worldly comforts as a default. I turn to topical books and classes (which are often full of wonderful wisdom), but when I look to them to “fix” everything, I’m seeing the class or the teacher as my source rather than God. Or, I take the nuggets offered and I try to force them on my circumstances, therefore attempting to master my personal universe. Take a wild guess how that usually turns out…
But God is wooing me back to a relationship founded in simplicity. Founded in trust. Founded in love. Founded in actually living like He’s my Source. Bringing Him into my day-to-day, asking Him to sit with me at the kitchen table, inviting Him into the reality of my messy kitchen while we sip a cup of tea and chat…doing life together. Isn’t this the point of it all anyway? Relationship. One that opens the front door unapologetically while wearing pjs, with the kids’ toys scattered all askew, without fear of judgment or reprimand. Relationship with the One who loves me most.
What does He have to say to you today about where you’re at? About who you are?
Imagine what your life would look like if you knew exactly who God designed you to be? In my book, Refining Identity, you will dive into God’s Word, sift through the lies you’ve been living under, and discover God’s purpose and identity for you. For individuals as well as groups, Refining Identity is written as an interactive discipleship journey to help you walk in that relationship with God, coming to say for yourself, “I am who I AM says I am.” Discover more HERE!
Today’s post is by Summer Hoover, a guest contributor and dear friend, full of wisdom. This particular poem has touched me deeply and challenged me to closely examine what I may be holding onto that needs to be released to God. I know it will bless you today!
After a lifetime of living in neutrality,
The King took control.
Suddenly she was asked to take her steps in faith.
He asked her to give Him everything.
“Have faith in me, my child.
I will fulfill your every need,
Just have faith in me.”
“I will, my King.
I will. I’ll give you everything.
I’ll give you my work,
But I’m sorry…I can’t give you this.
You see, this is something
That has protected me.
It has shielded my heart from hurt and despair.
So let me keep just this one thing.”
“I’m sorry, my child,” her King said through tears,
“I’m afraid I can’t let you keep that.
I know it has protected you,
But that was in the past.
I know it has kept you safe
But that safety will never last.”
“Oh, but it will,” she persisted,
“I promise it will.
It won’t interfere with your plans.
You won’t even notice I still have it.
Once you provide me with the one thing I long for,
This thing will simply disappear.
I promise I will let it go.
I just can’t do that right now.”
“My darling, you must.
Please, try to understand.
The one thing you long for
I desire to give you.
But you cannot wrap your arms around love,
If you’re holding on to this too.
Please give it to me and I promise
I will guard you.”
“But, how can I, Father?” she questioned
As her eyes filled with tears,
“I’ve lived with it for so long,
I’m afraid I will feel so incomplete.
How can you ask me to give this up
And lay it at your feet?”
“I ask you because I know
All that the future will bring.
And this one burden
Will only keep you from my blessings.”
“But, I’m so afraid, Father.
I’m so afraid,”
She cried, quietly, barely able to speak.
“Do not be afraid.
I am with you,”
He whispered as He kissed her cheek.
With one long and deep breath,
She slowly looked down at her hands
That for so long had been clinched.
Her body trembled
And her chin quivered,
While tears rolled down her face.
Her Father and King
Wrapped his arms around her quivering body
“It’s okay, my precious child,
I know you are afraid,
But have faith in me.
Surrender all and enter my safety.”
He lifted her chin
And looked deeply into her eyes.
“I love you,” He said softly,
“I love you more than you will ever know.
You must let this go.”
Slowly she stretched out her arms
And looked down at her hands
And one by one lifted the fingers
That had held onto the past.
With a trembling voice and a hopeful heart, she said,
“Father, please take it.
I don’t want to hide anymore.”
“Thank you, my child,
Thank you for your faith.
I will take this far from here
For it is no longer your concern.”
And with the lightest touch,
Her King removed the past
And placed it with the other burdens
Of the life she had left.
A sigh of relief came over her
One like she had never known before.
“What is this that I am feeling, Father?”
She asked Him with wonder in her eyes.
“That, my precious, is new life.
It is the freedom that comes
From depending on me.
It is the hope you encounter
When you see what I see.”
“Why have I never felt this before?”
“Because you gave me your works.
You gave me your mind.
You gave me your will,
But you left one thing behind.
But, now you are a new creation
For you have given everything.
Now you live by faith, not by fear.
And, you see the world as a new place
Surrender all to me.”
Summer Hoover is proud to be a military wife to her wonderful and supportive husband, Jason. They have two beautiful children who have inspired her to pursue her passion for discovering beauty in unexpected places as a natural light portrait photographer. Whether she is home-schooling her children, speaking, writing or simply having coffee with a friend, passion for living fully in that moment best defines her style and rule of life.
Yesterday we (finally!) had some repair work done on our foundation. With the shifting Texas soil and now-decomposing tree roots under the house, the back of the house has gradually been sinking. So, out came the men with the tools and shovels and goodness knows what else for most of the day. It was loud and definitely unsettling as I stood in the kitchen feeling the ground move beneath my feet.
Once they left, we were able to shut doors we haven’t been able to shut in a long time, things were cleaned up outside, but inside there are quite a few cracks that will need some patching and a little repainting.
I got to thinking about how there are often times in my walk with God that I have to go back to my foundation: to the basics of Who He is and who He says I am. I will find myself looking around the walls of my heart noticing that things aren’t working as well as they used to…there are a few cracks that indicate some shifting beneath my feet. Maybe I’m getting easily angered and snapping at my kiddos with a harsh tone. Maybe I’m not as patient as I usually am. Maybe I’m worried about all the things I “need” to accomplish.
Whatever the indicators are, inevitably they remind me to stop and take a look at my foundation. Who is God? Do I really believe that He’s sovereign and fully in control? Do I really believe that He loves me without condition? Who am I? Am I walking in the truth of my identity in Christ? Am I following the guiding Voice of the Holy Spirit? Am I trusting in my Father to take care of my needs?
It takes time and intentionality to stop and ask these kinds of questions. And often it feels uncomfortable and unsettling. But without the asking, the foundation will continue to sink as I keep on denying the true problem. Any “patching up” I do is in vain if I haven’t worked on the foundation first. It will have to be done over and over again as the cracks get bigger.
But, if I fix the foundation first: trusting in Who God is and walking in who He declares I am…then the patching up will be done with the confidence that this will be lasting change. How can I possibly be patient with three individual kids declaring their individual needs at the same time if I’m not walking like Christ? I just don’t have it in me to do it on my own. But once I habitually walk in that secure relationship with God, trusting in His love and forgiveness, patience (and the fullness of the character of Christ) will be an overflow in my life as opposed to something I have to muster up.
How’s your foundation doing these days?