Feb 26, 2020

Lay it down...

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Memory Scripture: "When Your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight' for I bear your Name, Lord God Almighty." Jeremiah 15:16

Would you mind if I shared a little bit of my story with you?

As we learn about the Israelites and idol worship and discontentment among the camp, I am reminded of areas of my own life that have mirrored our ancient Israelite ancestors.

For many years, I have desired more children. I envisioned a house full of kids with bookbags and toys and bedtime prayers rolled into a full and crazy day.

Don't get me wrong, my two children are huge blessings. However, I desired to mother more. I love mothering so much that I thought contentment would come if I had more children to love.

I prayed. I fasted. I pleaded. I cried. I begged.

Year after year, the Lord did not seem to answer that prayer.

Finally, my husband was on board with trying foster care.

We went through all the many, many, hours of classes. Our children were grilled, our house was inspected, our lives were thoroughly checked out to make sure we were foster parent worthy.

The Summer of 2012, which was also the same year this SHINE ministry began, we completed our foster training.

We were finally ready! I knew in my heart that this was IT. God would bring us a child or two or three to adopt and my dream would be realized.

Things did not turn out the way I hoped.

My precious sister in love was going through a hard time that Summer and needed help with one of her boys. He was 5 years old at the time.

He came to live with us and I knew that we would have to put our foster journey on hold.

I remember questioning the Lord time and time again.

I loved my nephew being with us, but I was confused. I did not know the plan. I did not know how long we would need to care for him. I could not see what God was doing.

8 years have passed since that Summer.

Looking back, I see so much clearer.

Without getting into too many family details, I will just say that God knew way more than I knew. Duh.

He did immeasurably more than I could have ever thought or imagined during that time period.

I had do die to the desire of my heart for more kids of my own,  and lean into the desire of God's plan .
It took a long time though. A very long time.

I see now that the prayer I had been praying had been answered.

He has put children in my path for years and years to pour into and love on.

My nieces, my nephews, friends children, neighbor children.....

He did send children my way. And He continues to.

His plan was bigger than mine.

I was only thinking of my plan with blurred and messed up vision and motives.

God was slowly pruning my heart to see the bigger plan.

A plan that would have much more impact on His Kingdom than mine.

If I would have been given a house full of children, it would have limited greatly my opportunity to pour into the other children around me.

The need is great for aunts, uncles, mentors, disciple-makers....outside of our homes.

My heart was discontent for so very long until I began to slowly die to myself and my dreams and desires.

God has a way of re-directing those desires and often it does not seem to make sense.

Trust Him anyway.

Let go of your dream and see what He does with it. Pray, yes, but pray with a heart open and surrendered to His Will. "Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven."

I have stopped praying for more children, I have shifted my focus. I pray for all the children, babies, toddlers, teenagers, young adults He puts around me now. I pray for them like I pray for my own kids.

Aren't we all God's Children and in His family anyway?

One of my dear friends said something recently that I just cannot shake.

She had begun to pray for some people in her life that were rejecting her. It was a very hurtful situation and she felt the Lord nudging her to pray for them fervently.

When she began praying for them, it seemed like things were getting worse in their lives and not better.

She asked her wise earthly father about this. She said she was perplexed because her prayers did not seem to be helping or blessing them.

Her daddy thoughtfully replied, "Wow. Imagine if you weren't praying for them."

Friends, our prayers are shifting things here on Earth. God is releasing His Will from Heaven through our prayers.

What is your long time desire? Are you frustrated?

Maybe begin to surrender it to Jesus. Ask Him to show you His desires for your life.

Maybe our small thinking is preventing us from seeing the big picture...God's picture for our lives.

I think of Moses. He led these people for 40 years. Prayed for them. Pleaded for their lives. Taught them.

Yet, was not able to enter into the Promised Land.

But, without God leading them through Moses. they would never have made it.

God had a plan for Moses. It was greater than Moses ever dreamed, but it ended differently than Moses desired.

Will we dare to surrender our deepest desires to the Lord today?

He wants more for us than we can see or imagine.

But, we must trust Him and lean into Him at all times. Even when the way is foggy.

"But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, "You are my God!" My future is in your hands." Psalm 31:14-15


leaning in,


jill










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