Monday, June 18, 2007

This picture was taken while we walked around Sea World on our recent trip to Florida. If you can't make it out, in the background it says, 'JESUS LOVE U' and the foreground says, 'U + GOD = '. The pilot was still completing his thought. If I were to guess what the answer to that equation were to be, there are many I could speculate...perhaps 'U + GOD = PEACE or LOVE or HOPE or FREEDOM or ETERNAL LIFE or THE GREATEST RESTORED LOVE RELATIONSHIP SINCE THE LITTLE MISHAP IN THE GARDEN...'

There are many things in our lives that we try to substitute for God in our day to day equations. 'U + busyness does not = God' or 'U + good intentions does not = God or peace or love or joy or hope or freedom' or any of the things listed above. Those equations usually = burnout and disappointment. They = pleasing man, or ourselves, and in the end, end up equalling zero, because neither is satisfied.

Thank God for God, though! He is interested, very intimately, in each and every one of our lives. He is in love with all of His creation and desires so deeply to have daily relationships with ALL OF US. Can you imagine giving Your only Son for the entire world so the relationship that was broken in the Garden could be restored for earth and eternity? I can't. But Jesus' life, death and resurrection was not only for the 6.5 billion alive today, but the billions that have lived before us, and the ones that will follow. It's mind-boggling at times, especially because Jesus was just trying to encourage us to 'love our neighbors' and that can be hard enough...Imagine loving the whole wide world and caring about our needs!

SOOO, in light of that thought, I want to tell you why my heart hurts lately...I've been pegged, tagged, pigeon holed, call it what you want, but I've been plunked into a category and believe me, I didn't do it. I'm not in the 'Mom's who have taken their kid off life support' club or the 'Elite women who have someone waiting in heaven for them' society. Let me explain...so, I'm in this great Bible study on Thursdays at my friend's house. There are about 15 women, 2 who I am friends with and knew prior to the study's beginning. Anyway, at the end we go around and share prayer requests. I've shared things like wanting prayer for details about Noah's book and speaking engagements, the sale of our home or whether we are supposed to move or not, relief from the funky river parasite I picked up on Memorial Day weekend, help grocery shopping...I share these examples because we all have different things at different times throughout the days and weeks for which we are seeking direction and strength from the Lord. Well, then the person after me says something to the effect, "Well, that's a hard one to follow..." or "Mine's not as significant as that..." It's actually happened in other circles as well, even here on the blog when I've asked people to share prayer requests. I bring it up because it's a BIG FAT LIE!

The reason it's a big fat lie is because God cares about every single one of us and He is concerned about what concerns our hearts! He doesn't have a sweet spot on His ear for me, especially, because of Noah...The reason it's a big fat lie is because it's comparing and satan wants us in the tail-chasing act of comparison so we don't pursue the selfless love of Christ toward others. It's a big fat lie because division and a lack of self worth (not believing that whom the Son sets free is free indeed...) are two of millions of tools satan uses to turn our eyes from Christ. It's a big fat lie because it could cause us to NOT pray for someone else or ourselves because we prioritize the need, rather than laying them ALL out there for God to handle, which He can! It's not our job to emphasize one over another.

For comparison sake, let me put this out there for anyone to ponder...My life experience is different from one of my dearest friend's who lost her mom when she was only 10. Talk about grocery shopping...she was the oldest kid, so probably spent a lot of time with her mom at the store. Should I never ask her to pray for me because I don't comprehend losing my mom to a horrible disease? What about an old friend of mine that has lived overseas most of her marriage because her husband flies fighter jets? My husband isn't in the military so I don't know what it is like to daily wonder when he'll be sent to war or whether he'll come home alive or not. That is not my reality, but I'll continue to pray for those families. Or, there's a woman that due to ethnic and cultural differences, has called her mother-in-law every morning 10 years to see if there is anything she needs. My missing Noah does not negate this woman's need for freedom in Christ. Or what about the college student? Just because she's not enlisted in the military or out on the mission field does not mean that her diligence in studying for her finals is not as important a prayer request...What about the women overseas who have lost multiple children to disease and starvation or the kids that have no parents because of HIV and AIDS? There will always be someone on earth in a different circumstance than us, some worse, some better, but ALL of our concerns are important to God!

Yes, there are things that are trivial, like what color I should paint my toenails or who's on the cover of a gossip magazine or if I want black beans or pintos. But when it's something that is on your heart to actually talk to God about, and to ask others to seek Him with you regarding it, baby, it's not trivial. It's business and God is listening. I know that the heart behind the comment, 'Mine's not as serious or important' is pure and good. Their empathy is genuine, but believing that God thinks my prayer request is more important than someone elses' is the lie satan wants us to believe.
My heart is that people know God's heart, and His says, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety (cares, worries) on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen." I Peter 5:6-11 (emphasis mine)

16 comments:

  1. Great word Adrienne and so true. Preach on sister!

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  2. Thanks for the sweet reminder today. What a small world. I live here in Orlando and was standing outside the day the pilot was writing that in the sky. I remember saying to myself U + God = love, peace, joy...

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  3. So true. I've noticed that in small groups that I've been in also, with a friend whose children all have a disease that may significantly shorten their life-expectancy. After she shares concerns, similar comments are made. It is SO frustrating! Thank you for sharing 'that' side of it for others who may not understand.

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  4. I've been following your blog for MONTHS now, and have laughed and cried as I've followed you! :) You have been an inspiration to so many people! :) Since you were on the topic of prayer requests, I know of a little girl named Paige Stibgen - she is fighting AML and at this point, the disease is taking control - her mom posted last week that they have exhausted all "medical options" - they know they have not exhaused GOD! They are currently on a "Make a Wish" trip to Hawaii. Her Caring Bridge site is:

    http://www.caringbridge.org/cb/
    inputSiteName.do?method=
    search&siteName=paigestibgen

    or, I have a link to her on my blog. It is an inspiring story, too and you can never have enough people praying for a miracle - be it here on earth, or in heaven! :)

    God Bless YOU and your beautiful family - keep on sharing so honestly - I can't wait for your book! :)

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  5. I have to say, I am guilty of that. I am in the process of trying not feel guilty for the blessings I have in my life (wonderful husband, three healthy if not somewhat loud and tireless children) in light of all the tragedy that I read in the news and hear all around me. I think sometimes it is harder to humble ourselves in thankfulness for what we have (and take for granted) than to fall on our knees when tragedy strikes. Suffering is suffering, like you said. Joy is joy. I hope I am always mindful to pray in both situations.

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  6. what a wonderful post Adrienne and so true.

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  7. Melody in MN8:31 AM

    Thank you for reminding us of this truth...God listens to all of our requests and no need is too small or big for him. May God bless you and your family this week.

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  8. Anonymous9:19 AM

    Hi, Adrinne.

    This is so neat that the Lord led you to write this post. I've actually been debating lately whether or not to ask you to pray for me and my family about some things. But I've hesitated..."she doesn't need to be bothered by ME and my problems!" And how right on you are - one of the very reasons I felt led to ask you to pray is your heart for the Lord and prayer and spiritual warfare. My family has come under some very intense spiritual attack in the last few weeks. Worse than we've seen in ten years. And it's been really exhausting. We know that the Lord's plan will prevail! But it can be so draining fighting the fight in the midst of it all.

    Anyway, I'm asking now... Will you pray for me? And for my husband? Our children? For protection from the evil one and that we all (and especially my husband right now) might be able to live in the light of the TRUTH of who we are IN CHRIST! And not believe the constant lies the evil one is feeding us. That we would truly be able to extinguish all of his flaming arrows, fight with HIs armor, and stand strong in the Lord and the power of His might!

    Thanks so much, my dear sister in the Lord.

    Love,
    Jodie R.

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  9. Anonymous1:14 PM

    Thank you. I need that today.

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  10. Anonymous2:51 PM

    Thanks, Ade, as always! So here's a prayer request that's pretty important to me right now--I actually remember typing a very similar email about 4 years ago. I feel like there needs (and is going) to be a shift for me professionally to get back into the heart of the industry. It's weird because I feel it coming but can not in my wildest imaginings figure out how God's going to do it in a way that allows me to continue to pay my rent and feed myself. Maybe the "coming soon" feeling is more like the advertisements for political elections...that go on and on and on a year before it happens. I don't know.

    In any case, I have a great peace about it (most of the time), which is a new feeling out of the past couple of years. Prayers for guidance would be much appreciated, especially because if the "coming soon" feeling actually means coming soon, then things are going to have to get shaken up pretty quickly. I don't want to step out in front of God any more than I'd like to step in front of a moving train, which would likely have the same result right now.

    I'm so glad that God found you a grocery shopping buddy. Being a person who hates grocery shopping myself, I see it as an intimate gesture of God's love for you. :)

    Blessings on your day!
    Love,
    Chris Krebsbach

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  11. erika8:30 PM

    Thanks for reminding us that God cares about our cares. :)

    Along the same lines. . .I've always encouraged my kids to thank God for WHATEVER they are thankful for. The Bible says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above." So if they want to thank God for jellybeans and popsicles, that's great. Some of the things that delight us are equally 'unimportant' in light of eternity, but if it's a good gift, God gave it. :)

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  12. This post also shows a maturity of your faith. I had a good girlfriend who at the time, didn't and wasn't able to have kids. I had an infant (Jackson) that cried 12 out of 24 hours a day. I confided in her how horrible things were and her response was "well, I don't have any kids that cry so I don't know what to tell you". Yes, I felt like crap for sharing but I also didn't feel guilty because it was a real trial I was facing. Life is hard no matter how you slice it and especially mom's need to bond together and lift each other up in prayer. Satan also has a way of leading you to believe you are the only one going through a specific trial. Thanks for your words!

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  13. Anonymous11:16 PM

    What a great post! Anyway, I am in need of some extra prayers said for my beautiful 18-month old son. He hasn't said any words to date and my husband and I got pretty concerned around 15 months. He has been evaluated and has a speech/lang. delay and shows signs in autism. It's so very hard to diagnose him since he is so young, but through testing, ECSE gave him an ED. diagnosis of being on the spectrum. WE go to our ped. next week; please pray that this is all just a bad dream and that my little boy will be okay. Again, we could use the extra prayers....

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  14. Anonymous12:49 PM

    Hi Adrienne! I've kept up with your blog for a long time...wow what a story...I have been so blessed by little noah and your family. I pray the Lord continues to hold your heart and show you His goodness. You are very brave.

    i thought you might be interested in the blog below. Friends of ours from church just gave birth to sextuplets at week 22 - very very early. 3 of the boys have died and gone to be with Jesus - the other 3 (Lucia, Cadence, and Sylas) are in critical condition. Please pray for the miraculous hand of God in their little lives. Our friends are grieving but trusting the Lord for a good outcome for the remaining 3 babies.

    http://morrison6.com/

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  15. Anonymous7:01 PM

    http://ingliseast.typepad.com/ingliseast/

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