Oh man, that phrase always make my heart skip a beat. Have you ever gotten a voice mail or been asked to stay after the meeting for “just a moment” with those cryptic words hanging in the air?
No advanced warning — just a look, a feeling, a tone of voice. My brain jumps 35 steps ahead of the game trying to grasp any clues or context. My mind spins remembering recent interactions or conversations. What could it be? Good or bad, I’m going to brace myself.
Those are the exact words my husband heard as we prepped for bed on a mid-summer night. With his tooth brush in one hand and I-phone in the other, he casually checked his messages and dutifully tackled the plaque before heading to bed. My heart raced and I just couldn’t keep it in any longer… Um, okay, he glanced up. Upon noticing the “deer in headlights” look on my face, he discerned he’d better sit down for this one. In an instant, I blurted, “I don’t need you to say anything, in fact, I don’t want a response… I just need you to know that I can’t seem to get this idea of adoption out of my head and I don’t know what to do about it!” There, I said it. I’m pretty sure it was one run-on sentence too. Phew, I for one, felt much better.
He on the other hand, received the news and let it sink in. Ever respectful of my request not to respond in haste (I’m sure he was never so thankful for that request as he was that night!), he sweetly responded, “Okay. This is is serious. Let’s pray about it.”
And pray we did…. We now find ourselves in what Paul Harvey notoriously deemed, “the rest of the story.”*
Recently, however, that cryptic phrase turned its eyes on me.
I was on my way out the door, when my sweet friend asked me if I “had a minute”. Of course. What’s up? As her body language shifted from wishing pleasant good-byes to brief hesitation, I knew this would require more from me than just planning the next playdate. I inhaled and prepared my heart to be open to her heart as she bravely shared a piece of it with me. Tears glistened in her eyes as she commanded them to stay at bay.
Although conflict is never easy to swallow, I thanked her for her honesty and commended her “braverism” (a word coined from one of my all-time favorite musicals, “Wicked’!). It’s not always easy to open up and lay a slice of our soul on the table — available for the taking. I much prefer to hold my cards close to the vest. I keep the risk of hurt safely tucked away. Too bad my friend “risk” so often takes “joy” hostage along with it. Without abandoning myself to the potential risk, I cannot reap the benefits of pure joy.
I so desperately want to experience the true life that only Jesus offers. I want to experience his miracles of restoration and reconciliation, but fear stands at the gate — a sentry at the ready. The great Australian speaker, Christine Caine says, “We pray for miracles and avoid the context in which miracles can happen.”
Even in the sting, I appreciated the fact that my friend would respect our friendship enough to come to me with her hurt and pain. It’s not easy to hear, but there can be healing. Isn’t this what God wants from us? He wants us to share our hurt, our pain, our laughter and joy — with Him!
God’s hackles don’t rise at the words, “Can I talk to you for a minute?” Instead, he settles in, invites us to sit in his arms and replies, “I thought you’d never ask….”
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 ESV)
*Just a quick update to my post last week regarding the slow-down of Ethiopian adoptions. The numbers were dire – a potential 90% decrease in processed adoptions. Unfortunately, I don’t have too much more to report except things are looking a little better. The latest numbers I have heard involve only a 50% decrease. I’m not sure of all the ins and outs, but from what I gather this isn’t entirely grim as it just seems that MOWA and the courts will now be working at the same pace. Still slower, but not stunted altogther. For now, we wait and see how things shake out. I continually loosen my grip and try to give it all back to God. After all, it was God who granted the vision in the first place.