Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Life's New Adventures

I recently visited my friends’ new baby – she was just over 24 hours-old. She was all that a newborn is – beautiful, petite, vulnerable, completely dependent. The next day I said good-bye to my 18 year-old daughter as she headed off for college. And she was all that a young adult is – beautiful, excited, apprehensive, independent. While these two young women are at very different stages of life, they are both beginning new portions of their journeys. The only reason that I know of whereby a parent can let them venture out into the world is that God goes with them. Blessings, my two dear ones. Keep your hands in the hand of Abba Father.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My Lesson from the Other Side of the World

We recently hosted a young girl from Taiwan in our home. We have had people live with us before; all of us were excited about having her come. We felt like we were embarking on a summer adventure.

As is so often the case, God's ideas about my adventure with this young girl were different from my own. I dreamed of introducing her to the better side of American life, of teaching her many new words and expressions in English, and of possibly developing a life-long friendship.

But instead, God's destination for me in this experience was to take another look at my own heart. God revealed to me the depth of my selfishness. I saw that I was quite content to serve her as long as she appreciated what I was doing. But she didn't seem to. She didn't say thank you. She didn't try to speak English. I never knew if she enjoyed the places and events I took her to. My instinct was to say, "Fine. If you can't at least say thank you, then I won't help you anymore." I felt like leaving her to her own devices rather than reaching out to her.

But as I contemplated how God would treat her - how God has treated me - I quickly saw my selfishness and sin. I didn't realize I was so dependent upon other people's feedback and appreciation for what I was doing. I grew tired of entertaining her. I didn't like the stress she was bringing into my home. So, my solution was to give up on her.

However, God was faithful to me to show me my attitude. As I stood gazing upon my heart's true condition, I was disappointed with what I saw. God reminded me how He loved me long before I ever thought of glancing His direction. I thought about how Jesus would respond to her - He would fully accept her right where she is and love her as she is. His love for me has never been dependent upon my actions. His love has never depended upon my thanks. His love is free, overflowing, pure and whole.

I repented of my attitude. I asked for God to love her through me. I prayed for patience and the ability to let go of all my expectations. It is odd, as I think about it. How did this young woman from half-way around the world come to stay with us? What is God's design and purpose in it? I don't have an answer to that. I don't know what she took away from her time in our home. But I hope, that in spite of this leaky and faulty vessel that I am, she saw and felt something of God's love for her. May she come to believe in and serve the living God.