Last week I received an email that quite honestly stirred up a mix of emotions inside of me. The gist of it is this... a friend emailed me to let me know that for the past 2+ years God has been working on her heart in some pretty significant ways. Unbeknownst me, when we first "announced" that we were going to be adopting, the fact that we would be fundraising, left her negatively thinking, "Wow! So they're adopting and wanting all of us to pay for it?"... Here me when I say, when I read her honesty in admitting that this was her initial thought, MY HEART COMPLETELY SUNK! First off, it is my worst nightmare for ANYONE to think for a second that we have ANY expectation that someone should give! I'll be the first to say that fundraising & raising support is NOT at the top of my fun list, and there have been many days I've cried over how uncomfortable it makes me feel. BUT no matter what, I KNOW it is God who placed the burden of adoption on our hearts and when we prayed and asked for how the heck we were suppose to financially come up with the means to do it, we felt like God told us to simply "let the need be known and watch Him provide".
I tend to think that I have a pretty good radar for the people that probably are taken back by our life choices and those who think we might be a little crazy (or really crazy for that matter) for fundraising for our adoption. Here's the deal though, this email completely threw me for a loop because this gal was someone I would have NEVER pegged for thinking this! I was floored! Clearly my radar was way off! I was clueless that she ever had a single negative thought about our adoption! Side note: I'd be lying if I said that it didn't bother me that inevitably there will be people that are rubbed wrong by our fundraising, (heck I had one lone stranger negatively comment on a blog post almost 2 years ago, and it still bothers me! I've often thought I'd like to sit down with this person over coffee and try and explain myself in hopes that they would change their mind and like me and not think I'm a free-loader once they hear me out! Can you tell I'm a people pleaser?!) That being said, I know I will never have the approval of everyone and ultimately at the end of the day, it'll be God that I stand before, and I KNOW it's His approval that is most important!
I feel shallow in admitting that the rest of her email was a bit of a blur at the time as I was still stuck on her initial thought being, "Wow! So they're adopting and wanting all of us to pay for it?" I cringed that she ever thought this! I walked away from the computer with a flood of insecurities eating at me... which prompted the following (super mature) conversation with God...
"Seriously, if SHE thought this, then no doubt, EVERYBODY does! Oh my gosh, how many other people are walking around out there thinking that we have some sort of expectation that they should pay for our life!? I'm not even kidding God, I'm so tired of fundraising!!!"
(then the overwhelming realization that if/when we move to Zambia, we'll have to be raising support there too came crashing down on me!)
"AHHH!!! GRRR!!! God, I know it seems like you're paving the way for us to get to Africa once Isa gets home, but UGH, I do NOT want to be a missionary and have to raise support for the rest of our lives! You hear me right?! I'm done! (insert pout, whine, pout, whine!). For real God, if this Zambia thing is where you're taking us, I need some serious clarity... and a paycheck would be nice too!"
It's funny how in re-writing how that little "chat" went down, I sound a lot like a bratty teenager who is throwing a hissy fit over not getting my way! Yes, I'm a 31 year old grown women... apparently with an insecure, overwhelmed, people pleasing, teenage girl who lives inside me!
I love how God, regardless of our approach, always seems to gently speak back with His subtle nudge that is easy to miss if you're not seeking it. After I spewed all my worries and complaints, I managed to somehow tune into His whisper (which is becoming more familiar to me the more I beg for His will in my life), "Read her email again. Not through YOUR eyes Hilary, but through MINE"... and so I prayed for God to help give me His perspective, to help me read her words through His lens and not my own emotional lens. As I re-read her email probably three or four times, it was as if God had gone through it with a yellow highlighter and underlined and drew my attention to each line that had His love written all over it!
Suddenly new lines captured my heart...
"And that began sort of a spiritual revival in my heart"
"2+ years later the Lord has given me a new song to sing. A song about my own adoption into his family. A song about his heart for "the least of these." A song about the sacrifice that families and people make to follow the heart of Jesus."
" a beautiful weaving of our lives and stories together"
" He used you and your faithfulness to open my eyes to the selfishness and pride in my life"
"He has redeemed what was once very, very dark and broken"
You see, the point of her email wasn't ever intended for my self-centered insecurities to get stuck on that one line, "Wow! They're adopting and wanting everyone else to pay for it?".... the point of her email was to share how God had redeemed and restored her from that initial thought! This email wasn't about ME at all, but about the beautiful work God has been doing the past couple years in her life!
God is revealing to me that sometimes my life may need to rub someone the wrong way, in order for Him to get to work in their heart. Sometimes I may not like the way God uses me to accomplish His bigger plan, but I just need to get over myself and rest in the truth that His plan is far greater than my own! He is a God of healing and restoration and drawing people back to Himself, and if He chooses to use our story, even in a way I don't necessarily like initially, than so be it!
It's amazing how one's perspective can change so quickly when we ask to see a situation through God's lens! He is at work in facets unseen every day in our lives! Last week, I was just given the privilege to catch a glimpse into one of the ways He's using our adoption journey (even the dreaded fundraising) for His bigger purpose!
That same day, God continued to show off, pouring His peace into my heart, revealing His perspective into my life. But this post is getting a little lengthy, so I'll wait and share the second half of the story for another day! It's good stuff!