Thursday, July 25, 2013

the adventure of following jesus.

since i started following jesus about 10 years ago, life has been quite an adventure.  and i am loving every moment.

now, if you know me, you know that i am not quite an adventurous person.  the only adventures that i generally like are adventures that are well planned out and written into my schedule well in advance. :)

but following jesus has been an adventure that is NOT well planned and generally defies the things that i have already written into my schedule.  in fact, most of the plans that i have made for myself since i have started following Him have not come to fruition.  but he has replaced those plans with better things and greater blessings.

late summer (usually august) has been a time of transition (and adventure!) for us, and i always reflect on it this time of year.  five summers ago we got married and started our adventure of following jesus together.  four summers ago we moved from ohio to california.  we thought God was bringing us here to work with a latino campus ministry, but it turns out that he brought us here to love on latino foster babies (five so far and counting).  three summers ago we got our first four aforementioned latino kiddos and soon thereafter moved from our tiny 2 bedroom apartment to a much needed 3 bedroom house with a yard.  the following summer they left us to be reunited with their mom, and then God blessed us with esther.  last summer, with got our fifth latino baby.  this summer, that baby will (most likely) be reunited with her birth mother and we will be open for another foster placement.

though summer is the most common time for these changes (ahem... adventures) we have also gone through many other adventures... several job changes for alex, a roommate who lived with us for almost two years, my mom coming for several extended visits and finally moving in for good, and focused planning towards alex going to seminary and then God dramatically veering us off to a different, very unexpected course last minute.

never a dull moment in our household.

i once had a mom friend tell me (when i explained to her than in the foster care system, you get a call one day and then later that day you have kids in your home all of the sudden) "i don't know how you do it.  i need to plan for these things in advance".

i don't know how i do it either.  well, i do know how i do it, but its not me.  its jesus.

you see when i decided to follow jesus, i decided that he is more important than me (because he most certainly is) and that his desires for me are more important than my desires, and that i would follow him where ever he may lead me.  and i can do these things because God's love is so massive (which i know because jesus was willing to die in order to know me) and he cares so deeply (because he is a perfect, loving Father) and because he is trustworthy (because he created me and will certainly lead me in what is best, even when that "best" thing may be painful).

and God has grown my trust in him daily since i started to follow him.  there have been times where i didn't know what God wanted beyond my very next step in life, but he proved to be trustworthy in where he was leading.  several times i haven't known where money for rent and food where going to come from, and God proved himself trustworthy by providing.  many days when we had our first four foster kids i didn't know where the strength or patience for the next day were going to come from, but God proved trustworthy and provided just enough of what i needed.

you see, as i alluded to above, i am an extreme planner.  but when i decided to follow jesus, i decided to put my own desires aside (like my desire to know/plan for the future) and trust Him to lead, provide and empower me the whole way.  so i don't need to stress about the future, wondering exactly what day our next kiddos will come.  because God will bring them in His time, and give us the grace on that day to make a major course change in life and start loving on those kiddos with the strength, grace and love that He gives us for them.

now, don't get me wrong.  i still plan.  i make a meal plan at the beginning of every week, i often schedule my days a week in advance, and i am already planning what to put in my garden in the fall.

but set-in-stone long-term planning?  nah.  i have an idea of what i think might happen in the future, but jesus will probably change that as he has done many times before.  and even my short term, week to week plans are in his hands and submitted to what he wants (because his will is much better than mine 100% of the time).

my life is submitted to God to do his will and honor him.  therefore i don't need to stress because he is the one empowering, leading and providing for my every step of the day as i follow him.  he does his job, so that i can do my job.

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