Friday, May 22, 2015

The Waiting Room

I was in Target a few months back and I heard a man speaking Chinese. I followed the voice and was shocked to see a white man on the phone. I stood there starring at him for a minute and then very rudely interrupted by saying "You're speaking Chinese!" He looked at me, nodded his head and went on talking. So I awkwardly waited there for him to get off the phone because when you're in Rapid City, South Dakota and a white guy is speaking Chinese that's what you do. Anyway, he finally got off the phone and he kindly humored me as I pummeled him with questions. The thing that stood out to me about this conversation though was when this kind man said "Yea, we just got back 18 months ago". Wait, what? Just got back? 18 months ago? I'm confused.

When we moved to China I'd say it took 4 years before I really felt at home and the first 2 years were pure hell. I knew there would be transition moving back to America, but it couldn't be that bad, right? I knew it wouldn't be easy. Living overseas you hear a lot about reverse culture shock, (People moving home and struggling to readjust to their own culture) but it had to be better than my transition to China.

After being home for 6 months though I'm beginning to understand why my Target friend said he had just come back after being in the States for 18 months.

Transition is a SLOW process, it's a process of waiting and Waiting is hard stuff.

Since being back I've found myself feeling crabby all the time; depressed even. I just want my life to make sense and yet it feels kinda like treading water without anywhere to put your feet.

We all like sure footing, don't we? We like to have the answers to all life's difficult questions, but most of the time we find ourselves in the waiting room.

Psalm 27:14 "Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes wait patiently for the Lord.

During our adoption with Lily I read this verse and it felt like I saw it for the first time. Waiting requires bravery and courage. Who knew!? So if it requires bravery and courage it's must be pretty tough.

So today if you're in the waiting room with me I want to tell you that you are brave and courageous. Second I want to tell you that if it brings out the worst in you you're not alone and that that is it's very purpose. Third I want to tell you that there is grace. So much grace that is covering me and covering you in this very hard thing we are doing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Feast of Plenty

Our last couple years in China I longed for America. I missed my family and my culture. I missed grocery stores and Target. I missed blending in and having a car. Really the list could go on and it did, in my head, all the time. I felt like once Lily was adopted and we were in the States our life would be grand.
And now I'm here and I feel all the joy one person could feel in this world......or not.

Truth be told I've struggled to find joy since being home. All the pleasures of America at my fingertips and yet I'm not satisfied. I've questioned God's goodness which is ironic since he's given me everything I've wanted.

But most of the time it feels like it's just not enough, I need more. My needs as a person never end and that is just reality even if I'm the most grateful person on earth I will always be in need of something.

I read once that we're like leaky jars, we get filled up, but then we're empty by the morning. It's always the thing we don't have that we think will satisfy us, isn't it? For me it was America and now I have it, but it leaves me feeling empty.

This is life. It's part of our human condition. Choosing thankfulness always makes things better, but there is still struggle, even in that. Sometimes it takes everything in me to think just one thankful thought.

So where is God in all of this? He must be so disappointed in my failure to be thankful; to be satisfied. My head is full of thoughts like "Why can't I just be happy with all that he has given me, why do I always need more?" I try to convince myself to be better.

But last night I felt him speak something to me. He said "I invite you to my feast of plenty". In one moment my heart issue is revealed. Scarcity. It's kinda like the inner Heather has been called out as a hoarder. I'm looking at life with eyes of scarcity rather than ABUNDANCE!! Isn't that a beautiful word, abundance.

2 Corinthians 9:8 " And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

If I believed this, if I truly knew the feast of plenty that he has prepared for me, I wouldn't be looking for the next thing to bring me happiness. I would know that all of my needs are provided for right here and now.

I'm asking God to change my heart and to give me eyes to see the abundance he has set before me.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Reality of Radical Faith

So in my 'about me' section I happened to mention believing in living a life of radical faith. Someone please tell me why I felt so inclined to make such proclamation? Living a life of radical, I was just really going for it, wasn't I?
     Here's the truth, I do not, nor will I ever have what it takes to live a life of radical faith. Fact. I am the biggest chicken, control freak, want my ducks in a row girl you will ever meet and yet...I'm never satisfied with that. So I go around yelling things at God like "I surrender all", but then when God takes me at my word and starts asking me to do the things I said I wanted to do, I get SO FRUSTRATED. I start grumbling, "God don't you love me, don't you see the stress I'm under here??"
  Radical faith is this awesome idea, but is very inconvenient and extremely uncomfortable. This is the wonderful place that I find myself now. In an inconvenient and uncomfortable situation and the truth is I would really like to recant my words. "God you must have heard me wrong, when I said radical faith what I meant was a FUN 'faith' EXPERIENCE that works out quickly and efficiently".
   Working out our faith with fear and trembling is no joke. I want faith to be this feel good situation that makes me feel happy and makes me look good. Gosh, why can't it be like that? Because honestly I don't feel happy, I feel sick to my stomach wondering how the heck all these impossible situations are going to work out.
  What are we going to do, where are we going to live, what are we going to do with the kids schooling, just a few of the things that rack my brain daily. And God is showing up, He just sent me to California for an amazing, refreshing vacay. He's provided us a house to live in for the summer. He's provided for us financially, but all I can think is " but what about after the summer God, what then?". His GOODNESS has been flowing over us like a waterfall and yet my heart still fails to trust. My anxiety level is at heart attack level.
  So that's my radical faith for you and here's the truth; I can't get there on my own, I can't make my faith grow beyond this flimsy place; that's Gods job. My job is just to keep saying yes. Even when I don't feel it, even when the reality is that my 'radical faith' isn't anything to write home about. So that's what's on my heart today. If you're a praying person and you're reading this, please pray for me, pray for our family. We need our faith to increase. If you're in the same place as me, I'd love to pray for you. You can leave a comment or message me on fb. Love to all you beautiful people and thanks for hearing my heart.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

My Yes

So here I am writing a blog. It's taken me 5 years. 5 years to do something that is so simple, and yet so complex. I felt a stirring to write after we had been in China for a bit, but Matt had started a blog for our family so why should I start one? Seemed a bit repetitive, Excuse # 1. Then one of my best friends started a blog and she was amazing, what could I say that could compare to anything that she would write? Excuse # 2 and there's been hundreds since. I've compared myself, I've doubted myself, and I've belittled myself, I've done every thing BUT believe that I have something UNIQUE to say. So here I am. God has been calling me out. No more hiding in the shadow of who he's called me to be. The time to step out is now. And if this blog has any sort of voice I pray that it empowers YOU to step out into who YOU are called to be. A beautiful friend of mine said to me a few days ago "When God whispers something, you had better pay attention." This is something that God has been whispering to me for so long, but I was too afraid to listen. What is God whispering to you? I want this space to be a place where I can be real about me and my struggles, but also reflect on the hugeness of God. I want to remember that he uses us in the MIDDLE of the mess. He's not waiting for us to get it all together so he can use us or touch us in a new way. And I need to stamp that on my heart because I am a mess, really truly, a mess. He wants to be in the middle of the garbage with us and it's THERE that he want's to move in us and through us. This last week in Cali one of the coolest things that I heard said was "The most powerful thing you can give to God is your yes". So this is my yes and it's small, but it's powerful.