"Yes, Lord"

     If I had only two words left to pass through my lips before meeting Jesus face to face, I'd like them to be these... "Yes, Lord"   No questions;  no protests;  no promise of reward;  no weighing of the pros and cons;  no stalling to find an escape route...  Whatever it is you ask of me Lord... YES!   
     I remember many years ago, listening to the testimony of a young missionary preparing to leave everything familiar behind and follow the Lord's Call to an unreached people group on the other side of the globe.  He had just graduated from college, had a young bride, and a promising life ahead.  What would compel him to move to a distant land, far from family and home, and live amoung a people that knew nothing of him or the Jesus he loved?  His explanation was simple... and one I'll never forget...  God's Call was clear... and saying "no" to his Lord was not an option!  Upon following Christ as a young boy, his decision was final... The only acceptable answer to God's command was "Yes, Lord!"  I saw in him an unwavering trust in God and a deep commitment to follow Christ, no matter what that meant.  I, too, wanted nothing less than this for my own life!  I left there that night with a renewed resolve to be a living example of such a testimony! 
     In writing tonight, I realize that most of the stories contained on the pages of this blog are the direct result of a "Yes, Lord" in my own life.  If I'm brutally honest, I have to admit that had I been "in charge", there would be no reason to even blog tonight!  After all, returning to full-time Mommy, car-seats and highchairs, wasn't really MY idea after waiting so long...  And bringing home a 7 year old dying from a congenital heart defect would certainly not have been a part of MY plan!  But in looking back, I can hardly bear to think what I'd have missed, had my answer been "no".  The only appropriate response to such unexpected, undeserved blessings in my life is praise to Him!  This was all His doing!  He gets all the glory!   
     Sadly, though, I'm certain that there are some stories penned here, and many I purposely left out, that are a direct result of my own leading... my own desires... my own bright ideas and ingenuity.  Those would have probably been better left untold.  It saddens me to think of the number of times in my life that I have attempted to "lead" myself, completely oblivious to His "Lordship" over me.  

    That plate with two simple words has really made me think these days...  Those two words standing side-by-side are suddenly, so obviously, redundant...  And now, the words of that young man leaving for the mission field appear more simple than profound.  If Jesus is Lord, the answer is YES...  If the answer is NO, He's not Lord at all!  If this is true (and I'm certain it is!), then I have some soul searching to do!  I'm embarrassed to even admit to myself, much less to you, how often I am personally acting as the lord (lower case l intended!) of my own life.  If I started listing some daily examples, this blog could go on for pages...  Just the other day I had one of those "days"!  Not my best, and one I'd like to forget.  But for the sake of humility and accountability I guess I should share it here...  
     Kate hasn't been sleeping!  She's suddenly very frightened by the idea of sleeping alone.  She's having nightmares, laying awake half the night, and dreading each coming sunset for the fear it brings.  She spilled the beans to the babysitter... "I'm tired of Rachel getting all the attention around here!"  Oh no... troubles brewing!  All this changing and "rearranging" makes Kate cranky!  This makes Mommy cranky!  Ellie needs some individualized attention now too!  She getting lost in the chaos...  Decisions need to be made for Rachel.... another hospitalization; another open-heart surgery... oh wait... maybe a full-blown heart transplant will be necessary instead!  Time to go help her with her daily math and reading homework!  She's got a lot of catching up to do!  "Where is DADDY??"  "Supper?  Who needs supper?  Can't we just skip it tonight??"  "Stop fighting!!!"  
     By the time I got them all settled and tucked in on the night I am retelling here,... I. was. done.  Maybe I should type that again... DONE!  As I left their bedrooms I engaged in a full blown conversation with myself!  "What was God thinking?  He must have confused me with someone else, because this is TOO MUCH for me!   Make no mistake "self"!... Remember those thoughts of adopting one more?  No way!  You are DONE!"  Decision made! Case closed! Goodnight terrible, no-good day!!!   
     I climbed in my bed and saw across the room my favorite little plate, on a shelf, staring back at me..."Yes, Lord"   I was finally quiet enough to hear God whispering to my heart... gently reminding me that HE is Lord!  As scary as that may seem on nights like these, I know that I can trust Him!  What a relief to know that the course of my life rests securely in His trustworthy, faithful, most capable hands!  The decision as to whether there is another child for our family or not is His alone...  Are we to stay?  Are we to go?  When?  How?  ALL... His decision alone!  His leadership is safe!  His all sufficient grace is available for every need!  I have but one answer...   "Yes, Lord!"   

A self portrait...

Framed next to my bed is this beautiful self portrait of Rachel!  It is a treasure!  Why?  Because it is a picture of how Rachel saw herself only a few weeks after coming home from China.  Flowers are blooming and standing tall!  She has a bow in the long hair she's dreaming of!  Her arms are open wide, as if ready to embrace the new life God has for her!  And best of all...she is smiling!  She is happy!   I have been immeasurably BLESSED!

"Be still...

...and know that I am God."    Psalm 46:10     
My resolve ~ my prayer for 2012 is that my heart would humbly bow in obedience to this Word from the Lord.  Nothing less... Nothing more... than to be still and know that He is God.

I'm a collector of clocks.  To date, we have 18 clocks hanging on the walls of our home.  "Why, then," my husband would ask, "did you buy another one last week?"  That's easy!  Because on it's very large face are written the words, "Be still and know that I am God"!  Duh!!!   That beautiful clock, though one of many, sums up my prayer for this "time" in my life!  

I am entering the 48th year of my journey here on earth... 40 of which I have professed Jesus to be my Lord.  Don't miss that!... my Lord!  That means precisely, that my times are not in my hands, but HIS!  That means that all my striving is in vain if not in response to His commands!  

The NAS translation of the Bible says in Psalm 46 to "Cease striving and know that I am God".  That means that in order for me to "be still", I must cease what I am doing now ~ "striving"!  Unfortunately, I've done a lot of "striving" in my 40 year walk with the Lord.  Especially when life seems out of my control; when unwanted pain blows in; when disappointment clouds my view; when the world is falling apart around me and it appears that God -my Lord- might not do anything about it!

It's about that time that I strap on my boots and get to work ...I mean "striving"!  Who do I need to talk to?  What can I say?  What must I do to "fix" the circumstance of my life when God might fail to move quickly enough on the timetable I've established?  But it is there, in the midst of absolute chaos, that God calls out!  "Be still, Lori!... Know that I am God!"

How slow I am to learn that my times are not in my hands!  They never were!  How absurd for me to think that I am in any way capable of controlling the circumstances in my life or in the lives of the people I love!  God is God... I am not!  Psalm 127 says that "unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it."  How I have exhausted myself in useless "labor"! How many hours of my days have been in vain, because I was building MY house, MY way?...  or repairing broken walls with man-made mortar?  

I'll just be honest and admit that I am exhausted!  40 years of such building has been enough to wear me out!  I've finally decided to hang up my boots, pack things up here, and move into His place!  I think I'll work for Him instead!  I'm old enough now to realize that independence is highly over-rated!  Only pride insists on being in charge all the time and   having life on my terms!  Other than my kids between the ages of 17 and 25, who wants it???  It sounds like way too much responsibility to me!  Besides... my track record in ordering my own life stinks!  I have the best of intentions for myself, but when left alone, I'm known for making a real mess of things!

This might not be a very popular thing to say, but I'm starting to think we women got a better deal than we thought at first glance, when we were put in the "submission" category in almost every relationship apart from mothering!  I've decided that was a pretty good deal!  I no longer envy the responsibility attached to power.  Let my man answer for that!  I'm having enough trouble with the 6 left under my charge as it is! :-)

With every passing year, I am more and more aware that my control over life is just about equal to NONE!  And the wisdom that comes with age, makes me more than OK with that!  I can finally breathe a sigh of relief!  God's got it!  He's got it all!  I can rest!!  It's almost as if God stands up in Psalm 46... raises His hands to quiet the chaos... and says, "Be still!  You've forgotten who's in charge here!"  

OK, I admit it... Maybe I wouldn't have personally chosen to get the job done the way God has.  I can't count the times I've wondered in the midst of really difficult circumstances, if life really has to be this painful?... Does it really have to include such loss?...  Apparently, it does!  

I'm learning the hard way that growth doesn't come through ease.  Take me on a trip down easy street and you'll likely see me walking backwards! (...and quite content to do so, I might add!)  Being conformed to the image of Christ is not for the faint of heart.  It is hard work!  A deeper faith and an abiding trust that pleases the Lord, will not come easily!  Hebrews 11 says that "without faith it is impossible to please the Lord".  That flies in the face of the way I most often respond to life's challenges!  But ever so slowly, I am learning that my striving does not please Him.  Picking myself up by my boot straps doesn't either.  Instead...my resting in faith ~ my "stillness"~ pleases Him!

I have huge burdens following me from last year into 2012...

My precious Rachel's heart is still so broken ~  "Be still..." 

Another child is far from home and my own heart is broken ~ "Be still..."

We have the paperwork necessary to bring another orphan home this year, but do we? ~ "Be still..."

I feel weak to do all you've called me to do, Lord! ~ "Be still..."