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Baby Hope (Part Two)

If you’ve followed my blog for a while you might remember my post called “Baby Hope” about saying yes to God when he asked us if we would adopt a child in the future. We called that unknown baby: Baby Hope. As a family we have held Baby Hope in our hearts for nearly three years, but my heart has held her since I was about thirteen years old.

The call came on an ordinary day last week. Actually, not ordinary because I had been up in the night and rushed into work and missed reading my bible and praying. I felt a little thrown into life that day. Discouraged that I hadn’t been more organized, more disciplined. I was digging through the back of the store, narrowly missing having a heavy box fall on my neck.

Then the phone rang. I heard my sister sound excited at who was on the phone.

And that day changed our lives forever.

If you’re on my personal Facebook page, you have seen that we have been contacted to adopt a baby at birth.

I shared with our friends:

I realize saying this out loud is like announcing a high risk pregnancy. Why do it if it could fall through? Well our family has been challenged to say a brave yes to everything God sets before us with courage and strength and TRUST that he is making away, because:

“But we are certainly not those who are held back by fear and perish; we are among those who have faith and experience true life!”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:39‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I’d rather RISK having my heart broken from being open to loving well then protected from pain and miss out.

I’d love to spill so many details because God is literally doing miracles every single day (like providing all the aeroplan points needed for both our round trip flights in 24 hours!), but I need to wait until the time is right.

Here is what I can say. It’s vulnerable, scary, exciting, wonderful, hope-filled, and extremely faith testing in a “this is the bravest thing I’ve ever done” kind of way.

It challenges the idea that we were meant to just live to create comfort. It pushes us to step out and live for others. It partners with the words of Jesus who said:

“The person who loves his life and pampers himself will miss true life! But the one who detaches his life from this world abandons himself to me, will find true life and enjoy it forever.”

John 12: 25

I said yes to God was before I was ready. And trusted that he would bring it all about in his perfect timing. And he has done it. He has really made a way and my heart explodes with gratitude.

I will be flying out of province late July to attend the baby’s birth and take immediate responsibility in love and care for her, my husband joining me soon after.

The time has come for baby Hope to join us. Almost three years after that post. It’s His timing. He can’t be rushed. He won’t be delayed. 

A few weeks ago I walked into my shop and told my sister:

“I don’t know what is happening, but I know I can’t manage the store in the fall. I need you to come on as my manager.”

He was already making a way.

I will be gone for a large part of the summer. I potentially will get home as school is starting again.

But he led us to homeschool this year.

He was already making a way. I will get that time with my kids.

Father’s day I cried out in church to God asking him why I was so desperate to hold another baby in my arms.

He told me he was preparing my heart.

He was already making a way.

Until we see the way he is making we can’t alway see that he is a making a way. Sometimes it looks like a bunch of random unconnected pieces. We feel foolish and afraid. Did I misunderstand what you were saying Lord?

Then just like that, a big area of the puzzle comes together.

Oh yes, you do know what you’re doing, God. You are weaving something so intricately complicated together for my good and the good of many others.

Is he leading you to say yes and it doesn’t make sense? Do the dots seem random and impossible to connect? The holy burden on your heart getting to be too much to bear?

Don’t despair. Don’t give up.

Hold on to hope. He is making a way.

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My friend did this picture for us a couple of years ago of our kids as the animals we lovingly call them, staring up at a butterfly who represents baby Hope,
waiting to land with us. 

 

 

 

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I will never arrive at my destiny (you won’t either!)

In my zeal for following after what God had for me as a young adult, I had this picture in my mind of one day entering into my destiny. It would be almost like a magnificent “aha” moment that would confirm the dwelling place for the remainder of my days.

I spent many hours dreaming of that thing that God had for me. Was it speaking? Was it writing? Was is rescuing orphans?

Some of this was good and it kept me focused through some of my hard years and tough decisions.

Over the last two years especially I have begun to see destiny more as a path we walk on, rather than a place we arrive at.

What happens when you enter into something that you saw as your destiny or your purpose, and then God leads you on from there?

Or what if you aren’t “doing” what’s on your heart for the future?

I am learning that I will never arrive. There is no final destination for my life. I have had people look at me with great envy that I started a business and say things like: You have found what you were made to do.

But this is not true. I found another way to express my love for God. But this isn’t it.

In fact I believe that my “destiny” is simply to learn how to walk out this verse in my life in a greater, more meaningful way each day.

Jesus answered him, “‘Love the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.’ 

Matthew 22:37

Destiny is not a moment of fame, fortune, ministry or success. It just isn’t. I thought that when I became a pastor that I had entered into my destiny and I would then just continue on with that. But no, God had other things for me. He had more ways for me to show my love for him, if I was brave enough to give him my yes.

When I opened the store I wondered what new land he was leading me into. Then I wrote a book that sits in a publishing office waiting to reveal to me what’s next there. I started homeschooling my kids and suddenly motherhood is the long lost gift that I get to unwrap more of everyday and I simply cannot get enough of it. Simultaneously the promise of adoption aches heavy inside and I know the path will lead on.

Destiny is saying yes. It’s saying yes each and every day until we breathe our last breath. For some that will take them into the spotlight. For others it won’t. But it will bring impact. Impact on others in every single season of life. It’s being faithful with the little that God’s has given you until you look back years from now and ask yourself “how did I get here?”.

Destiny is not a place. We never arrive. If we believe we have arrived, we stop dreaming. If we stop dreaming, I believe we may stop hearing God’s voice. And if we stop listening to God’s voice we can’t say yes to his promptings. IMG_7306

And a life without yes, is not a joy filled adventure. It is a fear soaked trudge.

The greater the glimpse of God’s plan for my life I realize that there is no end, no limit when paired with my yes to him. He will be forever expanding my heart, my influence, my passions. He will shock me with desires that I would never have expected. He will fulfill some promises in an instant for some, and years later for others.

If you have lived believing that you would “arrive”, I challenge you to relook at this. Where you are now is vital to what God is doing in your life. If you see it as only a stepping stone to some mysterious event that will take place landing you square inside your destiny, I believe you are mistaken.

Love the Lord your God.

Every day. With the energy he gives you. With the passion that wells up inside you. With the talents buried within you. With your creative ideas.

With your time. With your priorities.

Entering into your destiny, is entering into a mindset that says “I will trust, and obey.” And then seeing where God takes you, in an ever growing, ever changing, ever beautifying display of HIS glory.

This is a key to peace. It is what allowed me to resign my pastoral position when I needed to. To step back a bit in a my business. To pick up a role in my kid’s lives that I didn’t think I could do. Because I’m just called to be faithful to where He has me. It won’t hurt my future, because I’m listening now. It won’t slow me down, because this is how I need to love Him today. Right here is where he needs my passion. In this moment is where he wants my energy.

This is your permission to chill out. You might not be where you thought you’d be. You are where you need to be. Keep your heart open, get ready to say yes, and love Jesus.

These things will lead you directly down the pathway of destiny.

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That time I panicked trying to pack for a trip and why clothes will not define me.

I was going away for three nights. It was going to be a kid free, session filled few days at conference. I stood next to a giant duffel bag with my head pounding, my back aching and hardly able to breathe.

What would I wear?

This wasn’t like a little bit of indecision, this was a level of panic I hadn’t felt in a long time overwhelming me. Suddenly I felt: what I wear is a reflection of my business. Which then reflects on my choices and style. Which ultimately reflects on me.

The more I tried stuff on and put back, or in the wash, or in the bag, my stomach start to hurt and my chest felt tight.

I crumpled onto my bed in tears.

“What is happening to me?” I thought. “Who am I and what is going on? Since when is what I wear such a life altering issue?”

I was a mess. Trying to clear my thoughts I decided to just go with a few favourite outfits from the last few weeks and forget about it.

We said goodbye to the kids, got in the car and drove away. I was worn out. Completely exhausted from the stress I had felt that day. I couldn’t believe I had allowed myself to get so worked up.

The week went on and it was quickly confirmed to me that no one was there to see what I was wearing, nor did it affect how they viewed my business and especially how they saw me as a person.

I knew that something had to change. Somehow since opening a clothing store that was meant to do good and plant hope, I had become consumed with the pressure of representing my product.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that’s smart business, but this was deeper. I was a carrying a weight that I was not meant to carry.

It was becoming my identity. 

I came into the shop one day and collapsed on our couch, looked at my sister and asked “I’m about way more than clothes, right?”

She looked at me with a prophetic sparkle in her eye and began to remind me of them message that I was born to carry and the purpose of why this all began.

I knew right then my fear of blogging that had somehow come into me had to leave. That when I have told God that he has my brave yes no matter what he asks of me, it meant in vulnerability too.

2018 has been one endless lesson teaching me that nothing I do is actually about what I do. I mean, it is, in a sense. But it’s so much more. It’s about inspiring other people to discover that the greatest thing you can give is your brave yes. Literally, if you wanted a brand new start tomorrow, all you would have to do is give God your brave yes to whatever he whispered to your heart, and you would be immediately on the greatest adventure of your life full of fresh dreams, deep healing and renewed hope.

I don’t know if that packing catastrophe was an official panic attack or not, but call it what you like, I was physically sick from stressing out. And that is not what my life is about. Clothes do not define me. Untitled design (5)

It gave me instant perspective on the verse God had given me at the start of the new year.

Jesus taught his disciples, saying, “Listen to me. Never let anxiety enter your hearts. Never worry about any of your needs, such as food or clothing. For your life is infinitely more than just food or the clothing you wear. Take the carefree birds as your example. Do you ever see them worry? They don’t grow their own food or put it in a storehouse for later. Yet God takes care of every one of them, feeding each of them from his love and goodness. Isn’t your life more precious to God than a bird? Be carefree in the care of God!

Luke 12:22-24 (The Passion Translation)

When I read this at the start of the year I honestly geared up for some big financial difficulties, expecting that he was reminding me that everything was going to be ok. But verse twenty three is what it’s all about: Your life is infinitely more than just food or the clothing you wear.

God was so good to me. He planted an idea in my heart and asked me to see it through, then forewarned me not to let this become everything and to stay true to ALL that he had called me to do, not just a small part.

Well guys, I’m here. I’m back. I’m writing. I’m scared, but I’m brave. I’m sharing the good, the bad and the uglier-than-I’d-like-to-let-you-see. It’s my brave yes. My identity is all wrapped up in Jesus and when I’m not giving him every part of me everyday, my soul suffers.

You can insert whatever it is for you. Maybe it isn’t clothes. For you it could be something completely different, but whatever other thing we let define us ultimately hides us from looking like Jesus.

And really that’s the most important thing that we need to do. Shine like Jesus. That’s all this world really needs us to do.

Jesus, redefine who we are in you.

 

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