Thursday, February 17, 2011

Turning Our Hearts

Yes, it is true.

Andy and I are considering being "houseparents" for a truly incredible organization that welcomes foster children into home-models while they are in transition between being removed from their homes and being placed with permanent families.

...

Since relocating, Andy and I have been on a wild adventure of seeing God move in mighty ways on our behalf. It is remarkable what has happened in our spirits as we have made space to listen and interact with our Heavenly Father.

Originally, we decided to move for a "break." We wanted to take a year and refocus and step out of what was starting to feel like a cluttered life.

As our departure neared, and as we have been adjusting to the move, it has become more and more clear to us that while the idea of "something new" was the driving force in our move, it isn't the point.

A week before we left, Andy shared with me that while he felt like he was being obedient to the Lord in pursuing his teaching degree, it still somehow felt selfish. We had built a nice little plan revolving around summers off and comfortable houses and close family. But something was stirring in his heart, causing him to open up to possibilities beyond our plan.

Just two nights before we hit the road, one of the pastors at our church was praying. As he prayed it was one of those, "there is someone here..." prayers. He said that he felt there was "someone who was on a path, a path that might not be bad, but that God was asking them to turn from their path and work for other people's eternity."

Immediately Andy and I both knew he was talking to us. At that point, our move wasn't about a rest any more. It was about waiting to hear what that would mean for us, and opening our hearts to God's invitation to work intentionally and specifically for his glory.

Through a series of divine appointments we have met a couple who currently work full-time as houseparents in a home that serves as a transition place for foster children. They have a family of three boys of their own and currently host six foster kids.

As the husband was sharing what they do, and about the organization that he works for, both Andy and instantly knew that it was our next step to find out more about it. The ministry is called GAP Ministries and after two or three emails the directors asked to meet us for dinner. On Thursday we connected over the phone and I said Andy was off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and we could meet any time in the next few weeks on those days. She disappointedly said, "You can't meet this weekend?" We made plans for an evening dinner yesterday and at the end of that dinner she said, "We are starting training for another couple on Tuesday and Wednesday if you want to come."

So we have spent the last two days touring houses that host kids (there are 10) and starting the process of training (there is a ton!).

So, the wheels are turning and we are moving toward a MAJOR adjustment in what we thought we would be doing. The ministry is extremely well run and Andy and I are both amazed at the thought they have put into how they operate.

We have committed to waking through the doors that keep opening until we see a great big red light. At this point, I don't expect to see that red light, so we are moving our minds and hearts toward planning to be foster parents for anywhere from 6-10 kids.

The job requires two full-time parents so it would mean that Andy would leave his job.

I feel so unqualified for such an undertaking, but I know that I can't turn away from this - I might be swallowed by a giant fish!!

From the moment we opened ourselves to participating in this ministry, everything has felt like confirmation. From the songs on the radio, to the bible stories I read to Jack, to things that we have talked about over the years that are coming to our minds in a fresh way, to the scriptures Andy and I have been reading on a daily basis.

This is what Andy read the other morning in The Message:

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it."

Romans 12:1-2

We feel like we are being asked to surrender our "sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life" to a whole new way of existing. We are under no illusions that it will be easy or even fun, but we know that this is what we are to be faithful to now.

It is both terrifying and exhilarating to set our feet so firmly on a course that God has invited us to. So, as we continue in the process of learning a whole new way of living, and preparing our entire family for a life of ministry, we would so appreciate your prayers.

4 comments:

emily ruth said...

very brave
very selfless
very cool...

(not that you're doing it to be cool, but somehow i don't think you can help it :)

sassouth said...

You go girl! Awesome. I'm praying.

Alissa Maxwell said...

!!! Your words exude confidence. A confidence that only comes from following a path that is KNOWN - not to you (holy venturing into the unknown!!), but known and led by God. Awesome. Keep walking.

Jaime said...

Oh, Emily, how wonderful! I love your willingness and trust as the Lord ushers you through open doors. I so appreciate your perspective, and how the Lord brought both you and Andy to this place of surrender together! Such a beautiful example of unity in response to God's purpose for your family! I LOVE IT! And I so relate to your Jonah reference... I said something quite similar in regards to China! :)

I love you and believe in God's purposes for you, delightful Aicheles!