Poetry

Hello faithful readers! Sorry about the lapse in posts lately. Between moving states and starting up classes again (life of a college kid) and dealing with some personal struggles, I’ve had a lot on my plate. But I’m back, this time with… poetry! I’m currently taking a writing poetry class, so between now and December, that’s pretty much what you can expect to see. Please excuse my amateur poetry writing skills. Hopefully my poems will improve as the semester progresses. So without further ado:

Adoption

There is nothing like distance
to make you feel helpless.
376 miles to the north,
a judge is deciding the fate
of two precious children.

I pull open a wooden door
as heavy as my heart.

Sunlight trickles through the upper window,
beckoning me further into the silent chapel.
The splendor of the rare Oregon sunlight
wraps me in the comforting arms of my Savior.

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Orphans

The foster care system is messed up. It is easily the most broken system I have ever encountered. When there are twenty kids dumped into the system in ONE county in ONE afternoon, you know something is seriously wrong. The system has more problems than I can count, and if you get me up on my soapbox, I can talk about it for hours. The issue is that it is really easy to talk about the all the problems the fatherless face, but really hard to solve them. Talk won’t fix it. We need action! And who is in a better position to act than the church?

Now I know that when I said church, many of you just scoffed. The church? Really? Do you seriously think the church is the answer, but I don’t only think the church is the answer, I know the church will be the solution. The state won’t fix it. They don’t have the time, the energy, the resources, or quite frankly the motivation to solve this problem. Individuals won’t fix it. It is far too big for any one person to solve. So that leaves the church. When I say church, however, I don’t mean my church. I don’t mean your church. I don’t mean a denomination or a geographic area. I mean THE church. The bride of Christ. The body of people who believe in Jesus.

The church has a responsibility to this problem. Psalm 82:3 says, “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless: maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.” Are we doing that? James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Does our religion fit that description? God takes orphan care very seriously. Adoption is part of every believer’s story. God has adopted us as sons and daughters. (“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15)

Abba Father

He calls us to love as he loves, adopt as he adopts. Now don’t hear me wrong on this; not every believer is called to adopt a child. But every believer IS called to care for the fatherless.

Caring for the fatherless can manifest itself in many ways. From giving foster parents a night off, to truly trying to understand the complexity of this issue, to working as the church with the state to make the licensing process easier, to providing resources to help biological families get back onto their feet, there is no end to the practical ways to care for the fatherless.

That being said, there are several things we must realize. Firstly, we cannot do this alone. A single church can’t solve this. It’s going to take us looking beyond the things that typically divide us, and deciding that orphans are more important than our pride, or than being right. Secondly, human strength won’t fix this. God’s redemptive power is our only hope. We are his hands and feet in this world. He will use us to bring this change, but he gets all the glory. And finally, this is going to take time. It will be hard. It will be frustrating. There will be setbacks. This probably won’t even be solved in our lifetime. We can, however, make progress. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the staggering statistics, but we must remember that while we can’t do everything, we can do something.

I dream of a culture where adoptive families are not an anomaly. I dream of a world where children don’t go to bed hungry. I dream of a culture where adoptive families can walk through the grocery store without being asked awkward, ignorant, or even plain offensive questions. I dream of a world where every child has a home and a family. The question we have to ask is, are we willing to put in the work it will take to make these dreams a reality? Church, now is your time! Will you rise up to meet this challenge?

Sweetly Broken

This summer has been challenging. Unlike previous summers, it hasn’t felt carefree or relaxing. Some of the difficulty has come from being in the middle of a transition period. In 28 days I’m moving away from all I’ve known to go to college. Most people can’t believe that it’s already August because that means summer is coming to a close. I can’t believe it’s already August because that means I’m leaving this month! But although I leave so soon, I can’t leave yet. Waiting is hard. I’ve been working towards going to college all year long, and yet I’m still stuck in the bittersweet in-between. Transition seasons are always messy and tough. This one is no exception.

I’ve also encountered other difficulties this summer. My family is still waiting for our adoption to move forward, (See Mountains) and I’ve been working 4-5 days a week on staff at a camp. My job is a huge blessing, but I feel like I’m missing out on so much valuable time with my family and friends. I know having a job is part of being an adult, but it has definitely made me realize that my childhood is over, and that is hard to process. Individually, these struggles might be manageable, but put together they’ve left me feeling incredibly worn.

Through all these trials, I’ve been trying so hard to trust God. I’ve been striving and straining, and working as hard as I can, yet I’ve been failing at every turn. Last night, however, God met me right where I was, and helped me back onto my feet.

For the past two years I’ve attended a life-changing summer camp called Collide. This year I was too old to be a camper, but last night I had the privilege of going to camp for the evening worship service. Let’s just say I’m coming to a fuller understanding of the beauty of being sweetly broken.

For the first hour of the service I worshipped, and listened, and prayed, but nothing life-altering happened. Then, towards the end of his message, the speaker talked about how much God loves us. His words hit me full force. God’s love is at the core of everything good, yet I so easily forget how much he loves me. When the worship band began to play How He Loves, tears streamed down my face. I feel like I’ve been holding in my emotions all summer. I’ve been trying so hard to be strong. I’ve been searching for a formula that would enable me to make it through this season. Do this every day, don’t eat that, sleep for this long, just say that, don’t forget to pray about this, and then you’ll be ok. It’s exhausting! When I mess up, my self-confidence takes a hit. When I succeed, I become prideful. God never intended for me to live this way. He wants me to be confident, yet humble. My strength will fail, but his won’t. My plans won’t succeed, but his will. On my own, I’ll never make it, but I am not alone. He has broken through my tough exterior with his radical grace and love, and I am free. None of my struggles have gone away, but God loves me, and that is enough.

You Are Loved

Mountains


MountaintopMy family is in the midst of a process, and we’ve hit a point where the entire situation is out of our control. There are monumental decisions to be made, yet we don’t have the authority to make a single one. We’ve come to a place where all we can do is pray, but the prayers don’t come easily. They come with wrestling. In order to move forward with peace in my heart, there are two things I must come to terms with.

First, I must have faith that God is capable of moving mountains. In this situation, there are some mighty mountains blocking our way. They seem pretty darn immoveable, but God is in the business of working miracles. On many occasions I have seen him overcome insurmountable obstacles. But although my head knows that God moves mountains, my heart struggles to believe it. Jesus give me faith! “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 New Living Translation)

Reflection

Secondly, I must trust God’s plan. Although it is important to believe that God has the power to move mountains, I also need to trust that his plan is best, even if the mountains remain firmly in place. This is almost more challenging than believing he will overcome obstacles. It demands a complete surrender of my plans and preconceived notions. By nature, I’m a planner, and letting go is incredibly difficult for me. But his plans are always better than mine.

Earlier I mentioned needing to believe these things to move forward in peace. Philippians 4:7 says, “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (New King James Version) I used to view peace that surpasses understanding as peace that is better than anything we know. While I still think that’s true, I have a new perspective on peace that surpasses understanding. It’s having peace, even when I don’t understand. My family needs peace, even though we don’t understand.

Mountain Beauty