Well, Kate’s approval letter has still not shown up and since this week the government offices are closed for the Chinese New Year, the soonest we can hope is Monday morning. I would have thought by now that I would be fully and completely impatient, but I can’t help but be sure that God is using this time to prepare us for our daughter and prepare me for a trip to China.
Ever since I can remember, fear has had a place in my life. I know part of the reason is probably my sensitivity and my inner makeup, but a good bit of it is because I have allowed it to… I have run away from it to any comfort from anywhere that I could find and when I got comfortable, I told myself that the comfortable place was the only safe place. Lately God has brought me to a place where I have been forced to confront fear. I first had to confess it as sin… it is sin…whatever is not of faith is sin and the root of my fear is not trusting God. Not trusting that He is enough…that He can sustain me and empower me in every particular moment of my life.
When God started working the promise of adoption into our lives, I was thrilled, but also scared to death. The closer China got, the more sure I was that I would stay home and let David go to the other side of the world and get Kate. My heart was broken at the thought of missing the moments in my daughters homeland, but the fear had a strong grip and wouldn’t let go despite my grief. I began to ask God to perform a miracle (okay, I didn’t exactly ask with gusto…it was more of a timid, “I think You have told me to stay home, but if you haven’t let me know.”)…to allow me and to help me to have the courage to go to China. Little did I know that people who loved me, like my father-in-law and his wife, were praying the exact same prayer…led of the Holy Spirit to ask on my behalf. I tear up as I write this, because my Daddy in heaven is so gracious to me.
In answer to the prayers, God recently started me on a journey…no, pretty much forced me on a journey three months ago that has been a confrontation of one fear after another. He first reminded me that fear will not ever go away completely. It is the weapon the enemy uses to come against us and one of the only tools that he has once we are ransomed from his captivity by our Savior. But I have defenses and weapons that have overcome the world and every time I do not use them, fear wins the battle and becomes more powerful in my life. He has been working those weapons into my inner being…showing me how He empowers me for every task, each moment of my day…showing me that He loves me beyond comprehension and has my best interests at heart in every moment of life…showing me that true peace and joy ONLY come from intimacy and relationship with Him. He has been daily walking me down a path of victory over the fear that has kept me from freely serving Him.
I cannot say that I would have willingly chose what God is doing in me. It is at times perilous and risky and even dark and it goes against everything I have trained myself to protect. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a SAFE person. I don’t take risks… I like things like 1+1=2…definite things, comfortable things… so taking these steps with God is like learning to walk for the first time. Our pastor preached recently on courage and He said that God wants us to have courage to take the next step… we will never be “Marine” Christians if we don’t first take the first steps bootcamp. God doesn’t save us and then say “Okay, now go out there and change the world. And for heaven sake’s don’t mess up, cause I’m counting on you.” Alot of us think that is what He says, but instead He says “Okay, now watch this… Didn’t that build your faith?…now this time you do it with Me. That was a great try, let’s do it again. Now, that wasn’t even a try. I know you can do better then that. I created you to do better. Let’s try it again.” Like a loving Father, He teaches us and shows us how to walk out the plan and purpose for our lives, not so that we can help Him get this crazy world under control, but because it is only in that place with Him…in His perfect Will… that we have fellowship with God, the fellowship from the Garden before sin entered the picture, the fellowship that He craves and that He created us to crave. He doesn’t put the world on our shoulders, He wants to put us on His shoulders so that He can carry His message through us to the world. We don’t ever go alone and if we do, our work will not stand…it will be burned up. I can’t tell you how much work I have seen go up in flames lately as He shows me how to walk by faith and not by sight. So much of my life lived in my own power, thinking I could do enough to stand before God and hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Now I realize finding my rest in Him is the key to hearing those precious words.
The other day our case manager called me because God had placed it me on her heart for 2 weeks and told her to discuss fear with me. The conversation was perfect timing. I had just told the Lord that day that I was ready for the LOA… I was ready to move forward in whatever He decided for me about China. Emily reminded me of the story of Gideon and how before his battle with the Philistines the many soldiers were preparing themselves. God told Gideon to tell anyone who was afraid to go home. Many of those soldiers left and went home…after all home is comfortable…home is predictable…home is safe. But the ones who didn’t go home, they got to see God perform mighty miracles in that battle and they went forward changed and victorious. Just as Emily said that God spoke to her, I feel like He said the exact same thing to me, “You can stay home, but you will miss seeing a magnificent victory.” I have stayed home all my life… I can’t even imagine the things I have missed. I am ready to walk with God…step by step…
Lately I have felt as if my life with God is a game of “Mother, May I?” He says, “Candace, I want you to take one baby step forward.” and I say, “Okay, God, I am trusting You to empower me with this step.” and then I take it and He says, “Okay, Candace, now I want you to take one medium size step forward.” and I say, “Are you sure this is what You want me to do, God? Because if You are not with me I am screwed and I really don’t want to get stuck somewhere or lost or…” He always interrupts me “Candace, take the step. I am with you. I never leave you or forsake you. You are safe with Me ALWAYS.” So I take it… and now guess what He says… “Candace, I want you to take one giant leap forward.” I am still in the midst of forming my response to Him.
Will you pray for me? Will you pray that courage will rise up within me and I will have encouragement on all sides? I believe God is asking me to trust Him and go to China and I know that not all the steps will be overly difficult, but that first step, man, it feels like walking off a cliff…and I need courage.
Thank you for your prayers and for your support. When Kate comes home God’s glory will be shown in so many ways and she will never be the only one who is adopted in this family. We are all orphans until He picks us up, cleans us off, and gives us freely everything that belongs to Him. But then, there is something wrong if we still act like or feel like an orphan. We aren’t orphans any more…we are sons and daughters of God. We say “Father, may I?” and He responds, “Yes, you may!”