Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Ultimate Pursuit

It's been nearly a year now. I was making my daily attempt at a silent descent down our stairs at 5:30 am, just like every morning. The typical, random thoughts about my day were running through my mind when suddenly I was stopped in my tracks, half-way down the stairs in the complete darkness. Out of nowhere I heard the distinct, clear voice of the Holy Spirit, silent but loud and sharp, "Don't you remember that I am placing these children in your home for such a time as this, for My glory and not for your convenience?" Hearing the Lord speak to me in that way doesn't happen often, almost ever, but when He does, it's impossible to miss. It startled me so much that it took my breath away. Right in the middle of my random thoughts (which mostly centered on the fastest way to the coffee maker) He hit me with a truth that pierced the core of my heart, a place that had been a battle ground between my will and His for months. Evidently, if I wasn't going to bring it up to Him, He would go ahead and force us to have a conversation.

You see, I absolutely love the precious children He's given us and can't imagine anything I'd rather do than devote my days to helping them thrive in every way. I am confident that this role is God's best for my life and I am so thankful to be with them every day. At that time, though, I wasn't quite sure if I could handle any more blessings. As in, I wasn't so sure I agreed with the nagging impression from the Holy Spirit that we should have more children, an impression confirmed by the quiet persistence of Jim's heart (he felt like we should have one more too, even though we'd decided earlier we would be done with 3- to his credit, he waited for God to change my heart and never forced the issue on me.)

Now, I knew if we did have more, I'd never regret it and I'd love them unconditionally from the moment God gave them to us...

"But God, is that really what you want? I'm a little overwhelmed right now- Are you sure you want us to have more?", etc... It really was a big issue for me.

I let what God had said rest in my heart for a little while, weighing things back and forth, basically postponing the inevitable. Then, one morning as I sat with my journal I finally felt ready to throw my hands in the air and say, "Whatever You want, Lord! Years ago I told you I'd go anywhere, I'd do anything You asked me to do. And I meant it. If this is the anywhere and anything that You're asking of me now, I want to be here, with all of my heart. I know more children means I'll be giving up more of my time, my sanity, my body, more of my self. I'll also be gaining more of You in my life as that self fades away, as I pour my life out serving these children. I'll be gaining one more precious, priceless addition to our family that I won't be able to imagine life without. I've submitted to Your will enough times to see that it is always best and You never fail me. How can I refuse? Whatever You want, Lord, I'm ready for it."

That was just a passage of what I wrote in my journal that day last October, but my favorite part was at the end. I gave everything to the Lord and agreed to whatever He had planned- and as a sort of p.s. I couldn't help but add, a little sarcastically- but from the heart! and with a smile on my face- "God, if we're going to have more children, could You at least give Jim a son?"

I didn't tell Jim about all of this right away, but did a couple of months later. We talked it over and decided together that we did want to have one more (much to his joy that my heart had changed, I know). Two weeks later I was pregnant. We didn't know that at the time, of course, but weeks later as I waited for the results of a pregnancy test to appear I was almost bursting with anticipation, wanting so badly for it to be positive. Funny how much God can change you when you submit your will to Him! It was positive, and now, 8 months later, here he is.
There was never a single moment in my pregnancy (I mean it, not one) where I felt even a little overwhelmed at the thought of adding another member to our family. I have anticipated this sweet little boy with so much joy in my heart, we all have, and we are so blessed by this gift and privilege of each member of the family God has given us. And you know all the things I thought were so overwhelming when I only had 3 kids? Most of those things were of my own creation- setting expectations for myself that weren't reasonable, then feeling overwhelmed when I failed. In the last several months God has done so much to change my outlook on what's important, and even just how to rate whether or not a day was "successful". As I've allowed Him to shape my vision for what I really should value as a mother and a wife, I give up striving to be all the things He never intended for me in the first place. I have absolutely seen in this past year that there is a perfect amount of time in every day to do the things that God wants me to do.

This son of ours was conceived out of a desire to submit fully to the God Who's way is always best and good beyond our imagination. He is the Ultimate Pursuit and there is no higher calling than to follow Him with everything that we are. Jim and I have made some landmark decisions in our walk with Him. Many have been difficult, some of them have looked unreasonable to those that didn't understand, but in every decision to go ahead and follow where He's leading, no matter what He's asking of us, we've never, never regretted it. He's always given immeasurably more blessing through that submission to Him than we could have imagined. It's all about taking that step of faith and in His perfect time He makes sense of things, He shapes and conforms our will to His and we see that without a doubt, it is always best to follow where He leads. He can't fail us and He only gives His best.

When we were in college, Jim and I both read the biography of J. Hudson Taylor (a missionary to China in the 1800's. The Lord used that testimony of His faithfulness to light a passion in each of us to trust Him fully and with every possible part of our lives, from the great things to the smallest parts of our day. Really, this is where our passion to submit to anything and everything God calls us to began. I think it is so fitting, then, that we were able to name this son of ours after him. What an incredible man of God- what an incredible God! We certainly hope and pray that our son's heart will be lit with a passion to pursue Him wholeheartedly all the days of his life. He is the Ultimate Pursuit.

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