I had a story to tell and God was beginning to give me more and more opportunities to tell it now that we were out of diapers, high chairs, and car seats and on to school every day. I was finding myself again and I liked it! My life-long dream of adopting a little girl from China was fading fast. I decided that I'd waited too late for that and my selfishness over-ruled any thought of returning to those baby years again! I loved my freedom, my romantic rendezvous with Doug, and my speaking ministry too much! I would occasionally feel overwhelmed by sadness that I had not pursued my dreams of adoption and wondered if I had missed something special from the Lord in my relentless pursuit of "self"...
Doug had a vasectomy several years earlier when we were convinced that we were done having home-grown babies. I was keenly aware of my selfishness, and feared making such a "final" decision, so I begged God to "over-ride" our decision, should He have a different plan than ours. I'd left the adoption door wide open for the first few years, but now it seemed I was subconsciously closing that one too!
You could have written a calendar based upon my female cycle during that time, so when I was days late and then those days turned into weeks, I didn't think that I needed a pregnancy test to confirm what I already knew! I became more certain with every passing hour... we had been "over-ruled"! There was only one way I could reconcile such an unexpected jolt to my plans.... If God was going to force me to go back, I'd dive in, go all the way and finally adopt from China too! Doug agreed to my new plan and I actually began to feel some excitement creeping into my heart!.... until my cycle kicked back into high gear and I discovered that I wasn't pregnant after all. I was embarrassed that I had assumed so much without any medical clarification.
Now I can see what I could not see then. God used those weeks to begin awakening a dream He had planted in my heart when I was just a little girl! In His love he would not let me miss His best for what I thought was better!
As God would have it, I was in the middle of reading an old classic - "Hinds Feet on High Places" that very month. The story centers on a young girl known as "Much-Afraid" because... well, she was much afraid of everything! The good shepherd (representing Jesus) comes and invites her to travel with him to the "high places" where she can experience God in a way that she is not able to surrounded by nay-sayers and dream killers. Along the way she and the good shepherd come to a hillside covered with beautiful little wild flowers.
"I have often wondered about the wild flowers," Much-Afraid said, "It does seem strange that such unnumbered multitudes should bloom in the wild places of the earth where perhaps nobody ever sees them and the goats and the cattle can walk over them and crush them to death. They have so much beauty and sweetness to give and no one on whom to lavish it, nor who will even appreciate it."
"Nothing my Father and I have made is ever wasted," the Shepherd said quietly, "and the little wild flowers have a wonderful lesson to teach. They offer themselves so sweetly and confidently and willingly, even if it seems that there is no one to appreciate them. Just as though they sang a joyous little song to themselves, that it is so happy to love, even though one is not loved in return."
"I must tell you a great truth, Much-Afraid, which only the few understand. All the fairest beauties in the human soul, its greatest victories, and its most splendid achievements are always those which no one else knows anything about, or can only dimly guess at. Every inner response of the human heart to Love and every conquest over self-love is a new flower on the tree of Love."
The Lord used those words from that old classic to speak deep into my heart! He was plainly calling me to become like those little flowers... to give of myself for the pure joy of God's pleasure alone... to give myself to His plan, not my own... to trust Him that sometimes His best work is done where no one else sees... to willingly die to my "self"!
God was not forcing me to go back! Instead, He was gently bidding me to become like a flower on that hillside... to discover true love and it's redemption, far from the eyes of the world... and to display His beauty in way others might not even notice. He would notice, though, and that was my heart's desire!