Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Unlikely Hero's

Two years ago last week, I was sitting in a small office building in China, signing paperwork that officially made two little girl my daughters, {Zoey and Kate}. They were our ninth and tenth children. If you had told me 12 years ago that I would someday be the mom of 10, I would have fallen down laughing.

But here I am.

And I’m not laughing anymore!

I have been a Christian since I was a little girl but when I was in my 20's, I started to wonder if there was more to the Christian life than just living right and going to church.

Twelve years ago, I went to a women’s retreat where we were challenged to pray, “Lord break my heart with the things that break yours.” I went home and began to pray that prayer and it wasn’t long before God showed me something that was on His heart.


Little orphaned girls in China, to be exact. And soon He had my husband and I on an odyssey to redeem the life of one of those precious baby girls. After only two months home with her, He let us know that He had another one that belonged with us. Over the years, He sent us over and over again to China and once to Guatemala.

You know…I was willing to adopt but I was puzzled. I had always been taught that we should figure out what our gifts and talents were and then plug into our church, or into a ministry that was a match. And yet…God had called me to be a mom to 10 kids and guess what? I don’t even like kids! I wasn’t particularly good at mothering either. So what was the deal?

I asked God about it repeatedly because it seriously bugged me. Finally, He gave me my answer through the story of Gideon in Judges 6.

Gideon was hiding out from his enemies, threshing wheat underground in a wine press. I've always thought that Gideon was kind of wimpy. He wasn't exactly an in-your-face-brave kind of guy.

An angel comes and says to him, “The Lord is with you, Mighty Warrior.”

Gideon had to be thinking…um…seriously? I’ve never fought anyone. Why are you calling me a mighty warrior? But God saw what Gideon WOULD BECOME, not who he currently was.

And suddenly, I got it. God didn’t see me as good-mother material. He only saw that I would be willing to obey Him. So He shared His heart for orphans with me and filled me with His spirit and compassion for them. I was just a tool…or a piece of clay if you will.

For many years, I had it all upside down and backwards. I was going by what I had already seen God do through me—my gifts and talents—and assuming that those were what I had been given for the rest of my life. I had my own agenda and could tell God where I thought I should serve Him.

We don’t inform God what our gifts and talents are because we are clay in the Potter’s hand. Clay is moldable, yielded, and becomes useful only in the Potter’s hands. And those gifts and talents can change! I could be a 'plate' for one assignment, get squished into a ball afterwards and then into a 'cup' for the next assignment. If I said to God, “No, I can’t go be a cup because You've already used me as a plate…how dumb would that be?” I’m just CLAY. He can use and form me any way He wants. Of course, I can refuse. And if I do that, I end up as a useless shard on the floor of the Potter's shop. He gives me the choice.

Henry Blackaby, one of my favorite authors says this--

“God is not limited to working with OUR strengths!!!!

If His assignment needs humility, he finds a servant willing to be humbled. When His work requires zeal, He looks for someone He can fill with His spirit.”

It’s GOD’s agenda, not ours. He’s writing the story. Not us!

There is a song on the radio by Matthew West called “The Motions” and the chorus goes like this:

"I don’t wanna go through the motions

I don’t wanna spend one more day

Without Your all-consuming passion inside of me.

I don’t want to spend my whole life asking

What if I had given everything

Instead of going through the motions."

So how do we stop going through the motions and get to the heart of God? Ask Him to share his heart with us and then be ready to obey with action.

Here's Henry Blackaby again...

“When was the last time God spoke to you about what He wanted to do and you were scared to death by its magnitude?”

“Would you dare to believe that God, who called you to Himself and equipped you with His Spirit, could work mightily through you?”

If we limit God to what WE think are our strengths and talents, we can totally miss our purpose in life. We will miss the passion and the adventure that He created us for.

In Hebrews 11, there are many hero's of the Faith listed. They were just ordinary men and women like you and me. Unlikely Hero's who were filled with God’s spirit and passion. We ALL have potential to become hero's of the faith!

Abraham, Noah, Esther, Ruth, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, David, Paul…

There are two common themes running through their stories.

1. In the eyes of the world, they weren't the best candidates for the job

2. They trusted and obeyed God.

We will not obey a God we do not trust.

One major barrier to trust is our fear of not being in control of our lives. But seriously…are we REALLY in control?

Of course not.

It’s just Satan’s way of keeping us from obeying God.

So…let's see...we 'give up' a control we don’t really have, to the One person in the world who has our best interest at heart and DOES have the ability to control everything in the universe.


That is a big fat DUH moment, ya’ll!!

Jim Elliot said it better, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”

Jesus said, “He who saves his life will lose it but he who gives his life will find it. Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." {John 12:24}

It sounds counter-intuitive, but when we jump into the arms of God with reckless abandon, we come alive in a way we can never know if we stay huddled in our comfort zones, hiding behind our excuses.

What is God speaking to your heart about?

What is keeping you from actually doing it?

If you don’t feel that God is speaking to your heart, take this challenge—pray that He will break your heart with something that breaks His. And then be ready to obey His call. I promise you will not regret it!

He is looking for willing hearts. He will do the rest.

{Isaiah 6:8} Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Let God make you into an unlikely hero to a suffering, hurting world, where the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.


Stefanie said...

Positively INSPIRED!
You and I have sooo much in common, lady :)
Loved this, Karin!! Thank you for sharing and inspiring others to GO for Him, no matter what that looks like!!

Kim K. said...

You are always an inspiration, Karin. Continued blessings to your beautiful family. Congratulations on your 2 year anniversary of Zoey and Kate too.

Arnold family said...

Wow thanks for sharing! These are the exact words that God has been giving me. I appreciate your thoughts on obeying and we don't need to have the gifts He will give us all we need.
Holly. www.arnoldfamilynews.blogspot.com

Kristin Ferguson said...

Seems to me the Holy Spirit is getting the blog-world on a similar wave-length lately. I was reading through the "faith" verses in Hebrew before I wrote mine last night as well. You really hit the nail on the head with the whole pottery imagery as it applies to our 'gifting' and what we're willing to 'do' for God.

Excellent Post! Thank you for writing it!

Cari said...

To read your post today, Karin, was HUGE for me! You know my story and what we have been going through the past 6 months. Well, since the end of November after God showing me that I had hardened MY heart, and then the social worker & adoption agency director saying that they think WE have to high of expectations for our daughter in her current state and that WE are taking her behaviors too personal...well old smutty face started telling me that it's all YOUR fault...you're just one big screw up...why are so many other families doing okay with there older child adoption and you're not! ugh! The part you wrote about Gideon and God seeing what he WOULD BECOME is so powerful. No I'm not the best candidate for this job {it's extremely tough & I make mistakes...lots of them} but I believe God sees what I WILL BECOME.

Laurie said...

Umm, OUCH! and Thank You! continuing on the journey of losing myself so I can gain HIM!!

Shonni said...

WONDERFUL post!!! I am encouraged so much. Thanks for sharing this!

David and Janet Hurley said...

Great post. For a moment I thought you were going to announce another adoption. We have a lot in common, I don't like kids either;)

Sean and Lisa said...

WOW! As I was reading this I felt the Spirit in me rising up shouting YES! YES! YES!

I too have questioned God ad-nauseum about the children He has brought to us and it has only been recently that He finally, FINALLY got thru to me and I "get it".

I was all about obeying God but can't say I trusted Him to do what was best for me. Now I know how wrong I was! My "plans" sounded good to me but it would have produced superficial fruit. On the other hand, His plans have caused much upheaval, chaos, brokenness and pain but oh the fruit!

Thank you for this post. A great reminder, yet again, that He is the potter I am just the clay and He is so much better at designing and creating than I am. :)
Much love!

Vicki said...

So awe-inspiring. Thank you for sharing and may God truly continue to bless you and your family.

sierrasmom said...

I alsays forget we were in China the same time. we received Sierra on January 12th (in Guangzhou) and left there January 23rd. Were we in Guangzhou at the same time??

Anonymous said...

Thank you Karin. I just love this and just what I needed to hear today!

Kathy said...

Ahhhhh-thank you thank you!! so so true and just what I needed reminding of! God has me on a journey of saying "I trust you God"-thank you for sharing!!

Anne Devlin said...

Good stuff, Karin! Love it when God works through a person in a way that makes you go, "this is totally God working here!" - no doubt about whose power is shining :-)

trustandobey said...

This was a good post, Karin. I am inspired just reading it knowing that you have the time and insight to write like this with 10 children!
I am still amazed to think of you in China getting 2 at once. Did your husband go with you? You are one of my heroes too:)

Adeye said...

Oh my goodness gracious...that is the BEST post ever!!!! wooohoooo. I LOVED every word you wrote. So very timely for me, friend. I needed that reminder today. So much.

Thank you for hearing and being obedient to share your thoughts.


Suzette said...

What a beautiful post. I also prayed for God to break my heart for the things that break His and He has done just that. It is certainly true for me and it sounds like for you also that, "He doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called when our hearts are open to follow." Thank you!

sara said...

I just heard in a sermon "we should be living in a way that if God didn't show up, we would look like a fool" that has really challenged me. Look at all the examples in the bible...if God had not shown up, Noah would have looked pretty foolish. this is how I want to live.

great post

Lori said...

Whewy! That was GOOOOOD, girl!


I may have to come back and read it again. And again.


Heidi Reitz said...

Well said Karen. As much as we know God has a wonderful master plan, it is so hard to give up the control over how we feel our life should look like. I am inspired.

Gretchen said...

Amazing! Absolutely amazing.

What great words of truth for my heart today.

Sometimes after we adopt we drop so much lower than when we were walking with God through the adoption. It was such a HIGH high. Now I am back to my norm and not satisfied, asking "What next?" I want to be back in the midst of what He is doing. He just has not shown me where that is yet.

Thank you for the post. It was just beautiful.

Donna said...

Thanks--I needed that!

Lyn said...

Love this one! We've been home for almost 6 weeks with our son from China - after choosing to be willing to adopt again after reading another version of this post from you.

Thank you. You've made a huge difference in the life of our son who is now no longer an orphan!


Heidi in Georgia said...

I don't even know you, but am on Advocate for WC yahoo group. I clicked on your blog and found this entry. I TOTALLY and completely agree and LOVE this entry! It's not about us at all. It's all about what GOD can do through us (well technically he's not even limited to using "us"--but that gets complicated). Your quotes are dead on and very inspirational. I just started my blog...2 days ago. It's very rough and needs a lot of help. but it is (www.breadandotherprovisions.blogspot.com) maybe I should just ask YOU how to make it pretty...=)
thanks for your transparency and for letting God speak through you.

Dani said...

Thank you for writing this post. It was one of a number that God has used to help my husband and I to step out in faith and say "yes" to a special little boy in China. So thanks again!