"Fear of what others will say is want [or lack] of trust in Me. This must not be. Convert all these difficulties into the purification of your characters. See yourselves as those around you see you, not as you wish to be, and walk very humbly with your God. I will set you on high because you have known My Name, but it must be a purified you to be exalted."-God Calling
When I read this today, I knew it was time to share. God is doing something new in me that I haven't let him do before. Don't get me wrong, I have preached "die to self" and "submit to the Shepherd" but I didn't even know that I wasn't fully doing it myself (even though I really wanted to). There were people who probably knew the truth before I did. People who know me well. Namely my husband and my first family. Yes, God was doing a work in my heart and mind but the core of who I was hadn't really been transformed. When I am irritable "out of the heart the mouth speaks". It is hard to really feel like you are growing spiritually when part of you feels like a fraud after losing self-control over something trivial. Even confessing it here and claiming not to be perfect wasn't really getting the job done of carving out my "heart of stone".
God has been working and in a way that I never saw coming. All this waiting really threw me. I got caught up in the service I felt God was calling me into and forgot that walking in obedience in all things on every day is more what the Lord really desires. He will use us when the time is right in the way that best pleases him and we don't even need to realize it when it is happening.
I spoke to a trusted friend and mentor recently and God used her to speak truth to my heart (not in so many words).
"What if this whole process of stepping out in faith and following God on a journey to foster parenting didn't actually end in bringing foster children into your home?"
Obedience is not always about finding something on the other end. It can also just be about hearing his calling and doing the thing he asks you to do when he asks it. Why does it feel like a failure if there is no end result? Maybe part of me thinks "but we have told so many people and they are all watching". The truth is this process has never been about us and it still isn't. For now, we know God opened a door wide and said WALK THROUGH. We obeyed. Seeking anything more than pleasing him in obedience makes it about us. So we wait only to obey him in the next thing when he asks it.
Not long into this process of waiting for something that we assumed was promised to us, we realized that God had a big plan to work in our marriage. "Oh, that must be it," I said. "He is strengthening our relationship so we can be better prepared for the tough road ahead as foster parents!" That may still be the case but I no longer feel like that is the reason for this chapter. God wants to heal our marriage because it needs it.
"What if this whole process of stepping out in faith and following God on a journey to foster parenting was only about learning how to have a sacred marriage?"
And not for the purpose of what comes next but only because it brings God glory. Would that be enough? Would I still question the reason for the path we walked and try to figure out the why for this process? Or would this chapter of strengthening our marriage be enough of a reason to start any journey?
I spoke to that same friend as she listened so well about how God had been aching in my heart (during this time since being approved to foster parent) a desire to grow our family.
"What if this is God's way of growing your family?"
To include something big that has been missing. Isn't that enough!?!
My desire to adopt has not faded. I still feel like that is something God will call us to do some day. But until that phone rings to bring home a foster child (even with low odds of that ever happening) or God directs us to pursue something else, we know that we are obeying God right where we are. I no longer feel like this life will end in discontentment if I don't see evidence at the end of this road because the path led us here and God is doing big things. If on the journey through this chapter of our marriage God brings who I wish to be into sync with how others see me there will be abundant fruit worthy of his praise. Isn't that what the process of sanctification does in us all? And in the end the better me will be seen for his glory. The one that better reflects who God is. His will is perfect and complete for me and it includes this day, my 31st birthday. Oh how he loves me!