the past couple of months have brought about a ridiculous amount of untimely deaths. at least i would call them untimely. more spiritual people would say that God's plans are perfect. one of josiah's soccer buddies...dad gone leaving behind 3 small children. a friend from middle school...cancer at age 30 leaving a husband and their 5 children between 6 months and 9. a church acquaintance...single mom overtaken by cancer leaving her 2 adopted girls orphaned for the second time. two pregnant women...husbands gone in the flash of a car accident. another woman...husband dead leaving her and her two little boys. i don't get it. and if i am honest, it scares me to death.

it frightens me to my core. it frightens me that i would ever be put in a position of saying goodbye to my children. what an awful way to leave this world. it literally gives me a pit in my stomach to even imagine the scenario. i will never understand how it could be better for a child to go visit a grave then be snuggled in a mother's arms. what is God thinking?

it terrifies me. i have always said that dying early is my greatest fear. and people most often look at me and chuckle - what a ridiculous fear. right. it happens all the time. you may think it is never going to happen. but my life has been filled with funerals of friends. who am i to think it won't happen to me. why would i think that i would never have to face my greatest fear? in fact, it would probably be right up God's alley to force me to face it. seems like that's just about what he would want to do. after all, a God who steals a mother from her own children is someone who would force me to say goodbye to mine.

and i suppose that is what frightens me more. that right now God is a jerk. he put us on this earth to lead a life full of heartache and frustration only to take us out at the most inopportune time leaving myriads of people behind to grieve (hopefully). what's the point? really.

the point is so that in whatever years we have on this earth we can bring him glory. and it is right here that i tie this up in a neat little bow and sign it with a smile. but i can't. my heart isn't there. i think maybe for the first time in my life i am wrestling with what the hell i am on this earth for. as the years tick by, life seems to get harder. and maybe it is those difficulties that bring a forced evaluation of what exactly i am doing.

i know i look good on the outside - pastor's wife, adoptive mom, director of preschool ministry. i have my ducks in a row. but inside i am scrambling to figure this all out. i wake up and honestly wonder, what in the world am i doing here? and if you put me in a doctor's office and told me i had a few months, i am fairly sure the anger and rage that would overcome me would be the ugliest you have seen. there would be no spiritual stories written about my attitude. my ability to embrace God's plan. nope. none of that. no sermon illustrations here. i would be angry. i would be livid. my true colors would show. and that is what scares me the most. that despite my incessant efforts to be honest, i am afraid people don't know the fear that lurks behind closed doors. and just maybe, if i am ever asked to walk that road, that my children and husband would watch while i crumble. that those who look to me as a spiritual person would see that inside i am as fragile as the wind.

eric was talking last night as we were laying in bed. and he was reviewing a book he is reading that basically makes the point that when we hit mid-life we realize, more intensely before, that all the things that have been propping up our purposes are fading. looks - don't have to stare in the mirror too long before i realize those aren't going anywhere positive. career - that went out the door about 8 years ago. possessions - the older i get the farther i find myself behind the jones's. those things that once brought security are dimming, even at the ripe old age of 33. and what remains is my relationship with Jesus. which, at best, is crappy.

so where does that leave me? i'm not sure. i know a few things. it leaves me with a husband whom i often feel unworthy to be his wife. and find myself having trouble even engaging him in conversation as our spiritual journeys are about as different as it gets. it leaves me with kids who are trusting a mom who can lead and guide them in truth and yet i have no idea what exactly that truth is. it leaves me with friends who have no idea who i really am. it leaves me with a church body who i am supposed to be leading in several areas of ministry and yet if you asked me if i was excited about church i would have to say no. it leaves me with not many, but nevertheless a few, people who don't know Jesus and will never know him based on their interactions with me. and its a few only because i don't get out much, not because the rest of them have been brought to their knees in repentance.

my heart is being wrenched. is this God getting my attention? is this Satan staging an attack? i don't even know anymore. sometimes they feel like the same entity.

it hasn't always been like this. this time last year i felt God. i felt him move. i know he brought us lydia. it was an intensely spiritual time. but now there are so many questions. so much doubt. so much emptiness. sometimes i think i could walk away from it all and be just fine. give me a credit card and a roof over my head and i could be running down the empty path of material pleasure in a heartbeat. faith seems so far away. and so useless.

and by the way, we are supposed to be praying about adopting another little one. how in the world do we figure that out? God...are you there?


the how of it all

one thing i did during lydia's adoption journey was try to record the times i felt like God was speaking. it is so easy to forget if it isn't written down and then i start to wonder if God is being silent. no, he's not, i just have a bad memory. time and again i looked back at the promises God had given us for Lydia and they were an encouragement every time. and they still are.

i haven't been so good about that with this one. God is definitely moving, i'm not sure where exactly, but he is taking us to a point located outside of the comfort zone! i need to record it. i was just saying to a friend the other day that i need God to be C-L-E-A-R...i think part of that is me not only listening, but recording his voice.

so i was sitting in bible study today - we are doing beth moore's esther along with the rest of the country. the lecture today was quite academic and i was struggling to follow. but towards the end was one of those moments where i heard God. loud and clear. beth brought to our attention, "it is not our responsibility to figure out the how of our circumstances, but to simply act in obedience."

i don't know that anything would have addressed our latest thoughts on adoption better unless it included writing in the sky. as eric and i continue to pray about ethiopian adoption, both of us are very nervous about raising a black child. we have no idea how to do that. it is a HUGE undertaking. it would be silly to think otherwise. but this morning, i felt like God saying, "don't worry about the how's of it, just obey". really? don't i need to be a little concerned when i bring home a sweet cherub and have no idea how to raise her to be a whole, well-adjusted, Godly young woman? knowing that our family will encounter all sorts of challenges, don't i need to know just a little bit how to do that? seriously, i don't even know how to do her hair!

that's where my flesh leads me. i need to get some answers before we do this thing! but maybe God just needs our obedience. maybe i don't have to feel comfortable, or even have my big toe sort of crossing into the comfort zone. maybe it's okay to not have any answers.

of course, as soon as i write this, i already hear voices in my head (some of people i dearly love and respect) who say that is a really foolish way to live life. you don't just do things and hope for the best. you can't run out and buy a car and let God figure out how you are going to pay for it! and you can't bring a black child into a VERY caucasian family and just expect it to work out. i know. that's what i think too. which is why God is teaching me and prodding me to listen to him, not my own carnal thoughts and wisdom. it seems his way is always backwards from our way.

obedience. without the how's. that's a big calling. not sure i am ready for that.