Saying “good-bye” to 2012…
This Christmas season, I had the opportunity to speak on the life of Mary – her unexpected and unscripted life. When I think about this impressionable, 15 year old, mature young lady, she demonstrated an unprecedented faith to embrace the unexpected and the unscripted. Although she couldn’t “see” where this human drama was taking her, Mary was willing to step out in faith and embrace the extraordinary. Which led me to ask the question: If we don’t handle the unexpected so well and God works in unexpected ways, do we limit God in our own life because we are not willing to embrace the unexpected? The answer to this question is unequivocally yes. When God calls us to embrace the unexpected, we can either respond with fear which can lead to failure or we can respond with faith which leads to fulfilling what God is asking us to do. The issue isn’t in seeking clarity or direction to your dilemma, the tension is found in what happens when God does answer you. Then, how do you respond? Are you going to embrace the unexpected or are you going to turn around and walk away…if you can? When Mary was confronted with the unexpected, her response was filled with faith: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said” [Luke 1:38]. The question for our lives isn’t, IF God will call you to the unexpected and unscripted. The question is, WHEN God does call you to the unexpected and unscripted, how will you respond? Will you say – God, I can’t do that because it’s not part of my perfect plan. God, I can’t do that because there are too many unknowns. God, I can’t do that because it’s too costly. God, I can’t do that because it’s just too unexpected.
Some days, I love to embrace the unexpected. The unexpected such as impacting the life of another child who is looking for love, acceptance and a family. Or, stepping out of the ordinary and traveling to another place and another country to offer hope to those who need hope. Or, helping those who really need a loving touch who we might encounter on any given day. However, then there are those days where I would be willing to admit, I would rather leave the unexpected behind.
For these last seven months, we’ve been living an unexpected and unscripted life. We’ve had to embrace it – and I hope we’ve done it like Mary. It’s not comfortable and many days it’s difficult. Every moment, there is a sense of the unknown. Our lives are dramatically different today than we ever expected they would have been just a few months ago. Sometimes I find myself walking throughout the day saying, “this is not what I expected.” And, it’s not. But neither did Mary. Yet, Mary embraced the unexpected and we have come to embrace the unscripted.
As we close out 2012, even in the midst of the being surrounded by an uncertain future, we have hope. It’s not a hope in health or healing, fame or fortune, but a hope in Jesus Christ. Each day we simply lay our lives at the throne of His grace and trust Him to carry us through; but also, to encourage others as they seek to live out a radical life for Him. We desired to close out 2012, the way we began. We started this year by giving and bringing a new life into our family. Jackson has been such a blessing and completes our busy, hectic, now family of seven! Yes, we have closed the book on adoption. But, as we closed out this year, Jody and I decided to offer a final gesture of hope to others. Pay it forward as we like to think of it. Rather than purchase unneeded and unnecessary gifts for one another, Jody and I choose to give away our Christmas and to help someone else – that they might experience, somehow, someway, what we’ve had the opportunity to embrace these last several years. Some of the reactions I’ve received were priceless. When someone asked me the question leading up to Christmas, “What are you getting Jody this year?”, and I told them “Nothing!”, the look on their face was beyond description, as if I had no love for my wife. No, that’s not it at all. Our desire was to, once again, help others who are looking beyond themselves, ready to step out in faith to impact another life– whether adopting a child or traveling to another part of the world to infuse hope. We remind ourselves quite often, to whom much has been given, much will be required [Luke 12:48]. We’ve been given a LOT. Our lives are not easy, but even as we were discussing last evening, we love where God has placed us and the big impact we can make for Him. Our purpose and passion is not only to use what we’ve been given for His glory, but to encourage and bring people along with us – people who are willing to step out in faith and be passionate about His Kingdom. Through all of the triumphs and tragedies, struggles and successes of 2012, we have desired to exalt His name in all things. As we are about to embrace a new year, whew!!!, we look forward to do it again – even in greater ways. In 2013…Soli Deo Gloria!