A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Shout to the Lord!

I was really struck today, sort of out of the blue. Thank goodness, not by a flying ball, a kicking horse, or anything like that, but instead by sheer gratitude. You know, some days I am so absorbed in what the day to day needs of my family's life are, that I don't exactly see the big picture. Well, today the big picture hit me square between the eyes.

I have been in a season of really working to find my way in our new family constellation, to complete all that must be done, and to get ahead - not financially, but I would be thankful for getting ahead on the laundry!!! LOL! At least now it is generally closer to caught up. And I sometimes actually do have dinner thought out prior to throwing it together, I do actually have a plan in mind, with all the ingredients, before five minutes to wanting to put it on the table. Now if someone wanted to take me out for Chinese food or something, I would be thrilled to put my plans away for later (hint, hint). Though on the other hand, way out here in the boonies there are no wonderful Chinese restraunts. So that saves the budget and my waistline! But I digress. The point is, I have been busy in DOING all that needs to be done.

No, that does not mean all my dishes are done, or that my kitchen floor doesn't need a good wash. Not by a long shot. But I am getting things somewhat feeling like they are in a rhythm. And learning to be a mom to three boys (increased from just one) and two girl, all ages 8 to 13, so three are hitting puberty hard at the same time. Whew! Two boys comparing fuzz on their lips - just wait Mom, look in the sunlight, if I tilt my head just right! And one girl having places growing and curving that Mom and Dad really weren't ready for!!! And all the entailing hormones and drama. Whew. And the little two, both eight (boy and girl for anyone who doesn't already know) are now glued at the hip for most things. They are currently outside making a jumprope out of old twine from the hay bales - good recycling!

But it has been a season where I am doing and doing. And loving it, but sometimes you get so involved in the day to day that you forget the big picture. Even when you lived it.

Two of my sons are adopted from Ethiopia, a wondrous and beautiful country full of heritage and strength. Did you know that Ethiopia is the only African country never colonized? Yep! They were invaded by Italy early in this century and they were overwhelmed for a bit, and then chased those Italians out. No slam on the Italians, but kudos to the Ethiopians, who were definitely the underdogs. And Ethiopia was linked to Israel and the house of Solomon from the time of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. Yep, the Queen was from what we now call Ethiopia! And their son was the first of the ruling line. Until just recently their royal house was supposedly a direct line from those two ancient figures. The Ethiopian script looks much like Hebrew to me, and much of the language is considered a Semetic language. They are a very Christian nation, mixed now with Muslim, but a larger percentage Christian than any other African nation. OK, enough history and stuff. Here in American we have seen the photos, videos from Ethiopia from the 1980's and on. How many of us don't have seared into our memories the starving children from Ethiopia? Other African nations as well.

So, we have such mixed messages. But much of the sadness is true. I read and learned before I went, and I just thought I was prepared. But, the reality and the enormity was just beyond words. Again I digress.

We have a long story about how we came to adopt internationally, mostly an amazing testimony to the strength and power of our Lord, because this was surely not our plan, and surely beyond what we could do. But the story of seven orphans came to the attention of a member of our church, who mentioned it in one small bit of the end of a message to the church. Fast forward to me, homeschooling, homesteading, Wisconsin girl, never left the US, on a plane to Ethiopia! I have to tell you I spent a great deal of time asking God how this was happening. It was surreal. Believe it or not, I was in Germany (yeah, Eric, I know, you go there all the time!) for a bit, then on another plane with a quick stop in Khartum Sudan (held my breath the entire time while we watched huge anti aircraft guns around the airport, UN trucks and a UN compound, and many many soldiers with machine guns), and then on to Addis Ababa Ethiopia. What was I doing there???

I am not a hero, I did not rescue my sons, I did not take pity on anyone. I would say that we did see a need and felt called to it. But, over and over I tell people, we got the greatest blessing (sometimes very loud and even aggravating), but truly we got the best of the bargain. How it all came about was so far beyond what we could do, so many people helped to make it possible. And now I have two very dark sons mixed in with our other children. And it is a blessing, even when it is a challenge. And it is a challenge. But, it is the greatest honor in the world being the mother of all these children.

It really struck me when someone linked me to Idol Gives Back 2008 where the Idols sang Shout to the Lord. First of all that it was sung so beautifully on national television!!! Praises! But also as they share the needs and the photos, I see in my mind my trip. I see those so many who have so many needs the world over. I have to admit that it really pulls on my heart to see children who look like my sons who are in need. How could it not? It reminds me that my life is about something bigger. Much bigger. SomeOne thought I could do this, with His help. (Not perfectly or without mistakes by the way!) We can do this. There is so much need. In our towns, our states, our country, our entire world. Somehow or another our path has taken a turn I never would have guessed at. But our lives, all of us, can make a difference. God asks us to. And it doesn't have to be flying to the other side of the world!!! LOL! I am so humbled and grateful that God has blessed me with this calling. It is my calling, I am definitely best at this, but that does not mean every moment of every day. And each and every day I have to ask God for the strength to do this wisely, as He would have me to. I do want to improve each and every day. But we are all part of something bigger and wider.

Makes my dirty kitchen floor not quite so depressing, doesn't it?

Sometimes it takes something that reaches out to touch us, to really strike us, to remind us that we are more than laundry, dishes, meals, lessons, sweeping. We are beings called by God to His missions, and each one is different. For someone who doesn't believe in God, well, this may be a way that I try to make myself feel more important. Maybe so. Maybe it does give me a way to feel that I impact things. I can accept that. But I also know that it is more than that. It is more than that for all my children, not just those that we adopted, not just those that we loved and fostered. I hope that God used us to weave into the big tapestry. I hope that He can use me, small person that I am, to do something lovely for Him.

So, this is the YouTube post of that wonderful song from American Idol. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chXEraRnE4o&NR=1
Check it out and let God speak to you however He might. Sometimes it feels that He is silent, sometimes we just aren't listening. He is in the whispers, in the daily small evidences. And He is in the big things.
Love to all!

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