Thursday, June 19, 2008

Do I have His Heart? Do I see them?

I haven't blogged much about our small group's journey through Fields of the Fatherless yet. It has been almost a raw experience. When I think of it, I think of holy discussion. We have challenged and encouraged each other to see our world differently. How our discussion started, however, may have been a bit odd.

The first thing you must know is this, at our church adoption is EVERYWHERE! There are at least 4 families in leadership that have adopted with another 6 in process and more waiting or wanting to adopt. It is pretty common place, very accepted and at times, I believe creates a bit of pressure. So, walking into Fields was a bit scary for some. If you add that to who I am as group leader. . well, I'm pretty sure people thought, "Oh, here we go again". You see, I'm a bit passionate. . .ok, strike that, I'm EXTREMELY passionate. Pretty much all of those who are close to me or who even talk to me on an occasional basis, know my passion. So, think of those things while I walk you through our first discussion. . .

The first thing we talked about is how to determine Biblical TRUTH, the absolute kind. . the mandate for all believers kind. By this, I mean, the truth that is true no matter what circumstance, time or place you find yourself in. I started by saying to the girls, "please, I ask you to cast aside who I am while you read this book." I knew, that if they thought of these concepts in terms of who I am (passionate about Africa, involved 20 hours a week, adoptive parent, etc.) that it would distract them from what God was telling them about THEM. Then, we discussed whether or not they believed that this call to help widows, orphans and the lonely was absolute truth. YES! They had no problem with that one! The next bit of our conversation was the part some of you may scratch your head at. . .I talked for a while about how I believe that adoption is not a mandate. YES, adoption is wonderful, God-inspired, beautiful picture of what He has done, amazing way to work in both us and the world. .however, it is not something I believe that EVERY Christian is called to. And, most importantly it cannot reach every orphan. Not all countries allow adoption and this call to aid the orphan HAS to be able to apply to them! Not everyone can afford it, not everyone has the time to give or the resources necessary to parent another child. Do I think that God calls people who can't afford it and He provides? Absolutely! However, adoption is just ONE piece of the puzzle. And, it's a piece they see on a VERY regular basis. These girls walked my adoption process with me and we are in the process of walking 2 of our other small group girls through it now. What we talked about is not getting distracted by adoption as the only way to live out this mandate. For some, their hubbies are begging and they aren't ready. For some, they are aching to do this and their hubbies aren't there yet. For some, they need to wait a few more years. . .but, here and NOW we are all called to live out the call to compassionate lives, whether through sponsoring a child oversees or befriending a child in our own neighborhood!

I believe that started us down a wonderful journey of exploring what it might mean in each of our lives if we just said yes to Jesus.

We talked about how God sees the hurting and how we see the hurting. . what would change if we saw Jesus in the homeless man at the intersection. What about the seniors (all lonely, many widowed) who were sitting RIGHT THEN in our church foyer for Seniors First. My friend, Sunday shared this amazing story that opened our eyes a bit to HIS view.

You see, she had gone out that last week to a restaurant. They had horrible service! Really bad! So bad the waitress came over and offered to bring out the manager for them. But, instead of leaving in a fume, as the others left, Sunday went back to the table, placed her arm around the waitress and said "it's ok. .don't let it ruin your night". The waitress broke down telling her how awful she was at this job compared to the other girls. . how she was a single mom who used to get to stay at home with her kids.

What we realized is this. . .the mandate to minister to the Fatherless, the Lonely, the Widows, the Poor and Needy is about two things. .
1. Lord, change my heart so I care about who and what you care about. . then,
2. Lord, open my eyes and make me aware! Because truly, IF I have His heart and see them, I WILL act. . His heart will not allow me to live any differently!

We have talked each week about the necessity about just being willing and ready. About seeing people. . whether in the news stories of the earthquake in China, the statistics of the AIDs orphans in Africa or the waitress at our restaurant. Do I see them and am I ready and willing to serve them? We must then obey. For some, God will call us to help right then and there. . to get involved in that crisis. . for others, it may be to pray. But, are we asking?

How we live out this call may look different. . I may live mine out primarily through orphan ministry in Africa while Jess may shepherd foster families and children alike, while Susan may minster to the seniors. . however, it's all one call. And we each have to be ready and willing.

Lord, take us. Take this group of women who are ready to serve. May we be willing to enter into the world of the hurting. To be disturbed and interrupted by YOU. Open our eyes that we may see those around us. Those in our family, our church, our community and our world whom you have called us to offer hope to. Use us. Make a difference in our world through us. .and oh Lord, change us!


Sunday said...

Yes, Yes, Yes! Oh my sweet friend do you have a way with words. I love when you share. Your words are truly inspiring. Surrender. Completely surrendering the normal everyday that we are accustumed to for who (the orphan, widow, senior citizen, stranger) God will lay on our hearts to serve, show compassion to and more. Willingness (Trust) We can't let our hangups and fears get in the way of what opportuity's He has for us in the Fields. We MUST be willing! Love you, Sun

Jason said...

Amen! This is the perspective we need in the church - every member surrendered to God and doing their part in living out His heart for the least and the lost. Thanks for sharing. Your church and this group of women sound great! May God do radical things in you and through you for His glory!

Hannah said...

You're a fireball! I love it. : ) You know how to say it like it is -- your boldness is also very gracious. Thank you for being passionate about something worthwhile and for challenging others to do likewise. Have a lovely weekend with your adorable family.
Your friend from Colorado : )

amber s. said...

I do love our group of women, and this book! Thanks for being our fearless leader. :-)

Anonymous said...

What a great perspective to have started from because you are so right in that adoption isn't for everyone or the only way to serve-but being open to what God tells you to do. Thank you for sharing how God is working in your small group
Your friend Sunday's story brought tears to my eyes!
Julie L

Blog Shmog said...

This is great! it's hard when you're passionate about something to not be pushy with others in trying to get them to do the same. i'm a pretty passionate person too and i have to constantly check myself and make sure i don't try and play the role of the holy spirit. adoption is not for everyone,but compassionate living definitely is. thanks!

Melinda said...

Thanks for sharing Brandi. How I wish everyone in the church felt this way! We have had a hard week trying to get our church on board with caring for the orphans, widow and the poor. I just pray God can open their hearts and get them to truly understand God's heart for this group of people. I read Fields of the Fatherless a long time ago and just started re-reading it. I just love it! My husband just read it for the first time last night, the whole book and loved it as well. How I long for our church's to get more involved, what a different world this would be!

Donna Barber said...

Totally loved the Lemon Aid stand idea. Great idea. Donna

Anonymous said...

Came across this and thought you and others thinking about having a lemonAID stand this summer might be interested. I think we are going to do one with our little brother Amos for Kids Lake. He's very excited. Thanks for the idea!

Rusty & Jamie Laird said...

Everyone one is called by God it just looks different for each of us. It is truely amazing what GOD can do and the places he sends us when we open our hearts to Him and step out in faith!!! Think of all the wonderful things that could be done if everyone who calls themselves a child of God got up off the couch, listened, and obeyed their Lord!

Missy said...

Brandi, This was GREAT!!! I get so upset sometimes when others put our family on a pedestal because we have adopted a child from Africa or act as if they are somehow less than us because they aren't doing it too. Our adoption was a plain and simple scary act of obedience that turned into one of the greatest blessings in our lives, but we know that not everyone has this calling. There is so much to be done and so many ways to do it. I loved this post so much.

Did I tell you that this book is a really good read aloud for children too. There's not much in there that even young ones (early elem.) can't grasp. Sammy is 8 and he's loving it.

I think I'm finally caught up on your blog now. I'll call you soon.