Sunday, May 14, 2017

When God changes your trajectory...

For some people, Mother's Day is a difficult day. For me, it can be bittersweet. Don't get me wrong...I have an amazing mom and an amazing sister who show me everyday what it means to love unconditionally. I am thankful everyday for the relationship I share with them. However, sometimes Mother's Day reminds me that I may never have children of my own and that makes my heart hurt. 

When I was 21 years old, I was diagnosed with a condition that changed my life forever. I found out that I may never be able to have children of my own and I was heartbroken. When I was in college, all I wanted was to get married and have children and all I could see at that time was my whole life crumbling before my eyes. I couldn't understand why God would take the one dream I had for my life. Didn't He hear my prayers? Didn't He understand that my whole identity was tied up in someday being a mother? 

As I got older, my prayers changed. I began to find my identity in Jesus and began embracing the season I was in. A couple of weeks ago, my mom and I had a long heart to heart on a Friday night about this season I currently am in, where I am single, no closer to being married, and with no kids. She asked me if I ever found myself upset at the diagnosis I had been given and I was honest and said that while at one time I had been distraught at the idea of never carrying my own biological children, I realized there are so many kids in need that being a mom someday is still not out of the question. 

A year and a half ago, I began asking God to mold my heart, to break off the pieces of my life that didn't reflect His glory, and to shape me into the woman He created me to be. I began with my finances, allowing friends I trusted with everything to speak truth into a very sensitive area. Since then, I have watched God continue to trim off the pieces of my life that don't reflect His glory and He's given me a heart that wants to be like Him. 

I find at times that I feel lonely and question why God has never given me a husband or kids, knowing that is still what I desire, even 11 years post diagnosis. When the loneliness sets in, I reach out to friends who understand this part of me, friends who are sitting in this same season or who have been in my spot, and I spend a lot of time in Scripture, allowing God to speak gentle truths to my life. I question whether this desire is mine, or a desire that God has given to me. I have always been told that if God gives you a desire, He will fulfill it, just in His timing. I haven't figured out if this desire for marriage or kids is mine, or if it's one from God that eventually He will fulfill, but I trust Him enough to sit in this season and to continue chasing after Him. At the end of the day, all I want is to be more like Jesus, whether that's chasing after Him with a husband and kids by my side, or if it's as a single person. I know He has good plans for my life and I trust that.

Since the night my mom and I had the conversation about my diagnosis and being a mom, I have been thinking about all the kids who don't have the luxury of being part of a loving family. Someday I hope to be a foster parent, and eventually I would like to adopt but until then, I will enjoy this season of being single and loving the kids currently in my life.

This weekend at Crossroads was Compassion weekend. Brian Tome gave a message about the good samaritan and then challenged us to take a step of faith to sponsor a child in need. Going into service tonight at Uptown, I had ZERO plans to sponsor a child. I had given it a little thought this week knowing the service was coming, but I hadn't really stopped to pray about it. Today, I was putting money into my envelope system and looking at my finances, and it hit me that God has blessed me abundantly since stepping out in faith a year and a half ago to get my finances under control. He has given more to me than I deserve and I have been looking for ways to give back what He has given me. As I sat in service tonight listening to the message, I could feel the Holy Spirit nudging me, reminding me of the conversation I had had with my mom a few weeks ago where I had mentioned there were other ways of being a parent and other ways of caring for children and I knew what was going to happen by the end of service. When the worship band launched into Good, Good Father, I was done for. I got up out of my seat, walked to the wall, and picked up an envelope. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I filled out the packet, walked up on stage, and made a commitment in front of the entire Uptown community that I was going to sponsor and care for this child until they turned 18. 

Meet Sharon. She is 4 years old and lives in Nicaragua. She loves art, drawing, playing with dolls, and playing house. She also loves Sunday school, doing arts and crafts, learning about God, and getting to eat snacks. I am so excited that for the next 14 years...yes FOURTEEN years, I will be sponsoring her monthly. The money I sponsor each month will provide her with Biblical teaching, health screenings, supplemental food, counseling, community service opportunities, vocational training, and educational assistance. 

I may not physically be a parent, but by sponsoring Sharon, I am giving her the opportunity to grow, flourish, and be successful. I can help point her to Jesus and give her a solid foundation for her future. My heart is overflowing with love, joy, and peace. Please join me in praying for Sharon and her family. I can't wait to start writing her letters and to someday, travel to Nicaragua and meet her. 

God is a good, good Father and I am so thankful for the ways He continues to mold me into His image. 

"Then when you call and the Lord will answer. "Yes I am here," he will quickly reply. "Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever flowing spring."
--Isaiah 58:9-11 

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