Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gripping...

No, that is not my new G-thing. You'll just have to wait until it comes in the mail before I tell you! But I will say that NONE of you have guessed correctly.
Golf? Tried it and it's so boring.
Gardening? Tried it and unless it's a petunia, it dies.
Go Go Dancing? Well...I have tried it but I'll spare you the details! ;)
Goat roping? Linda...I would LOVE to try this. Have you done it? Because I think it sounds FABULOUS!!!! And I do know of a yard nearby that has goats. I wonder if they would mind....
Gymnastics? Actually, I was in the 5th grade mini-olympics back in the day. I won the bronze medal! (There were only 3 participants...)
Glamour Shots? You know, I've never tried that! Do they still have those around?

Anyway, those are great guesses you guys! I can't believe no one has got it yet.

While we wait, I wanted to TRY to get some of the thoughts and feelings going on in my heart down on paper, or rather, down on the blog. First, please continue to pray for sweet little Kai, Ohilda's son. He is STILL in the hospital, bless his baby heart. Pray that God will perform a miracle in his breathing and he will get to go home tomorrow...FRIDAY! Thank you!

I've had something brewing in my spirit. It grips me and won't let go. I cannot forget it, cannot stop thinking about it. Ever since we came back from China with Candace, I just cannot get the images out of my head that we saw the day we went to her foster home. It is the closest I have ever been to "the least of these". And I want to go back. I want to go back and give them clean water in their village. I want to go help them in the village school. I want to give them fresh, clean clothes and shoes. I want to wash their feet. I want to BE THERE AGAIN. I want another chance...a longer chance.

At the same time, I ask myself "How?" I have seven children. They are my mission field. And oh Lord I am so thankful for my mission field. But what do I do about this longing? How do my emotions mesh with reality? Am I just being discontent? Or is this gripping of my heart from Jesus?

I am not putting all this out there for yall to say...gollee, Laine has such a big heart, she's so sweet to want to help others. That is a load of bull. I am mean, selfish, prideful...too many times I walk in the flesh and not in His Spirit.

What I'd really like to know is, Do any of you feel this way? Am I alone in this longing to DO SOMETHING??????? Am I crazy? Am I crazy that when I took Clay on a date to PetSmart and when we saw a dying fish in one of the tanks, I had to bite my tongue to keep from bawling? All I could think about was the millions of orphans in the world...many of them dying either physically or emotionally, and unnoticed by so many who pass by. Just like that tiny, pitiful dying fish in the tank of many. Am I crazy? Am I crazy that I took my girls to the American Girl store in Atlanta and felt sick to my stomach when I paid for our lunch at the "bistro" and realized how many little mouths that money could have fed? Am I crazy that when the girls had their dolls hair done in the little salon, that I couldn't get over that we were paying money for a DOLL to have her hair brushed. A DOLL who cannot feel or need or love. When there are millions of children who would LOVE to have someone pamper them and brush their hair. (For the record, I did not let my sweet little girls know how I felt, because I know this experience was a blessing to them. They have been wanting to go to the AG store for a long time, and it was a fun memory for mommy and girls together. But I did think a lot about what was I teaching them? Am I failing them by teaching them materialism and the wrong source of true joy? I talked to the Lord a lot about this the next day, and He gently gave me the verse Matthew 7 " 9Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" ...and I do love giving good gifts to my children. This was a gift for them. I just want to be vigilant in making sure they understand the value of eternal things...)

We are planning a B.I.G. vacation in May. B.I.G. It's gonna be very costly. I had prayed in January about this vacation. We did not have the funds at that time. I told the Lord I really wanted to do this for my kiddos. As a gift to them, while they're young. Three of the kiddos have never been on this type of vacation...(sorry about the secrecy, but we haven't told the kiddos about the B.I.G. vacation yet, so I can't tell yall yet!) I prayed everyday for the Lord to provide if it was His will. I also prayed about two other big expenses as well.
The Lord has provided! Yet I am so pulled because I know how many people we could help instead of using this money on a vacation. Is it really the best use of God's money? (It's HIS money, anyway...not ours!) I feel so spent. So torn! I want to bless my children, but wouldn't they be eternally blessed if we used the money to go on a mission trip somewhere as a family? I want to glorify the LORD with everything He gives us. I want to store up heavenly treasures and not earthly ones. I'm so afraid I'm going to misuse His blessings. I know I have not been frugal with His money. I have not attended to our budget since we came home from China. I need to be more disciplined. We eat out more than we should, because honestly I don't feel like cooking. Maybe that's why I'm not at peace; because I know that I have been lacking in this area a lot.

It was a blessing to be able to see the things we saw of rural Chin@. But it follows me around and makes me think twice about going on an extravagant vacation now. Whereas in the past I would think nothing of treating our family to the material good things in life, now I want to make sure it's the eternal good things of life we partake of. I don't think vacations and trips to the AG store are bad. I don't think they're wrong. I just want to know and feel that in my heart. I want to be at peace with how I spend God's money and His time. And right now I need to find that peace, that balance.

I think to myself, "If I had a chance to give an orphan the chance to go on a B.I.G. vacation, wouldn't I do that?" Of course I would. And so I reconcile the B.I.G. vacation to myself by remembering that essentially that is what I'm doing...I'm blessing my children with good gifts. But am I just reasoning this out according to the world's standard? It all boils down to being in the will of God. So bottomline: We will continue to pray about this B.I.G. vacation.

I think the words of this Sara Groves song put my feelings into words much better than I can:

Lord I have a heavy burden of all I've seen and know
It's more than I can handle
But your word is burning like a fire shut up in my bones
and I can’t let it go

And when I'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought

I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars
And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them

Lord it's all that I can't carry and cannot leave behind
it all can overwhelm me
but I think of all who've gone before them and lived the faithful life
their courage compels me

And when I'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought

I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars

I see the shepherd Moses in the Pharaohs court
I hear his call for freedom for the people of the Lord

And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them
And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them

I see the long quiet walk along the Underground Railroad
I see the slave awakening to the value of her soul

I see the young missionary at the angry spear
I see his family returning with no trace of fear

I see the long hard shadows of Calcutta nights
I see the sisters standing by the dying mans side

I see the young girl huddled on the brothel floor
I see the man with a passion come and kicking down that door

I see the man of sorrow and his long troubled road
I see the world on his shoulders and my easy load

And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them
And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them
I want to be one of them
I want to be one of them
I want to be one of them



This post is all over the place...but I sure do feel better after writing it all down! Yall may need therapy now, but I feel a LOT better! ;)

26 comments:

Keisha said...

Lanie... Thank you for sharing your heart. I too have had these same feelings. I think once you've been to a place like Chin@.. where everywhere you turn SOMEONE is in need. I will never forget the faces we saw in China,.. it's something that stays with you always. I think God WANTS those faces to Always stay with us.. to remind us of how fortunate we are & to be doing what we should be doing with HIS money. (Believe me.. I'm talking to myself) Just recently.. Matt & I have hit some ruff fin. times & now some members of our church are going on a mission trip to Africa. I would LOVE to be able to send someone.. just to say.. here ya go.. here's the money.. but, I can't. We haven't been good stewards of His money.. & now we are seeing the consequences of that. :(
I too say.. ALL THE TIME.. if I had to money.. I would take my family today and fly away on a mission trip somewhere..teach my children the REAL meaning of being in need & being true servants... His hands & His feet.. ~sigh~~
One day.. LANIE.. you and I both will SEE what God has in store for us.. till then.. We gotta keep praying girl!
Love you!
btw: I can't wait to see whatcha going to do?

smallseven said...

Laine, I understand as well. We aren't big eater outers, but often those times that we do, and the years that we go on vacation, I think about the same stuff you do! I wander, could we be more faithful?
btw, I can't wait to find out what g thing you're going to do!

Steve and Jan said...

Laine,

Well, your post hit home with me too. Without going into a long, drawn-out story....This week, we had an episode that resulted in a major waste of food (due to an angry outburst by one of the kids). I was angry and saddened by this action of one of my children. In the big picture, it really didn't amount to that much food, but it struck me hard that there are people dying from hunger that would have been grateful for the crumbs that fell to the floor. The very thought of that touched me so deeply that I cried and cried for those children and adults that are in such desperate situations. And, I cried because I felt like I am failing my children...not teaching them enough about compassion, empathy, people in need, the teachings of Jesus....

So, if you're crazy for all your thoughts, then so am I. I haven't fully recovered from this week yet. And, I flounder as to what to do to adequately teach my children the value of our resources and the value of other people's lives.

I can't look at my children without visions of the people of China haunting me. I continually feel pulled back to China.

I don't have any answers to your questions or any great wisdom to share to help you make your decision. But, you are not alone in the thoughts you have. I, for one, am out here feeling the same.

I will pray that God will give you guidance as you make your decision and peace once you have decided.

Love you guys!
Jan

connie said...

Laine, I'm gonna have to come back later and finish reading your post because I can't see thru my tears right now. I feel the same way! We have been open to God's call to 'go' for several years. It seems each year He does send us, but to return home with a precious treasure. How do you pack up 7 kids and go? All I know for sure is if we continue to earnestly seek Him, He will lead us to His destination.
We can't wait to see you B.I.G. vacation pics. I'll live vicariously thru you for now, and pray someday soon we'll take the troops on a nice get-away.
And, Laine, for the record, one of my answers to the "G" question was "Go" ;-)
Hugs to you, Friend!

Sam & Laurie Knowles said...

Thanks for sharing. I have been on several mission trips to third world countries. It can be so hard to keep a healthy balance here in America. But at the same time, simply being aware of the blessings we have here changes us for the good.

Okay...I am going to tell my thought on what your 'G' thing is. I have been holding out because I might be totally wrong! Are you going to have a 'giveaway'???

Sherri said...

Yes! A giveaway!

And the giveaway is that you are taking the winner on your B.I.G. vacation!

Yay!

And by the way, we have been going through much of the same here in regards to our money.

southern cheesehead said...

Laine, my first response would be that your first ministry and responsibility is to your family. Although, I have friends and family that tell me that I can justify anything so maybe that's the marketer coming out in me! :-)

Seriously, I feel the same way about Mexico that you do about China, but a wise missionary once told me that there is a difference between a burden and a calling. I have a burden for Mexico so I go on short term mission trips when I can and when I feel called and help others when I don't. If I felt a calling to Mexico I would be on the mission field there. You have a burden for China so maybe you need to talk to your wonderful church about heading up a mission trip there and channel your efforts that way. Those are just some of my initial thoughts, but my best advice is to continue to pray and the Lord will give you peace about what is His perfect will! I love you and I love that you're struggling with all of this...it means that God is up to something B.I.G.!!!

Linda said...

Laine, I love your heart, and I so understand your feelings. They are NOT all over the board - they really hit the target. Awhile back (9-10 years ago), I began having these feelings, and when I attended a weekend prayer seminar, I remember praying to God that I didn't want to sit on the sidelines any longer - I wanted to be a "player." One and a half years passed, and I kept wondering if God wanted to use me or not, and if so, how? Then Danny died and 17 months later Ben died, and even through the horrible grief, I knew my prayers were being answered. My ministry was to be the dejected and brokenhearted. This was not the ministry I wanted or the way I wanted my prayer answered, and I have asked myself many times if I would have prayed the original prayer if I had known the outcome. (I hope I would have.) I can't tell you the number of opportunities I have had to share with parents who have lost children and other loved ones. I honestly didn't know there were so many hurting people. Had I been blind all those years? At this point, we were also open to adopting our three SN daughters because we knew first hand the grief and pain they must have experienced. God had to completely break my and Bob's hearts before He could really use us.

I think you are more usable than I was when I first felt God's call. I love it that you not only SEE the needs of others but FEEL them. When you reach this point, you are not far from finding God's answer.

"Hast thou no wound?
No wound, no scar?
Yet as the Master shall the servant be,
And, pierced are the feet that follow me;
But thine are whole. Can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar?"
~Amy Carmichael

Mama Hen said...

Oh sweet Laine, I wish I could be there to give you a big hug. Talk with Rob and follow his lead in this. You are such an encouragement to all of us.

Buffi said...

Laine...it IS a burden from the Lord...it's something that HE has placed on your heart and it's a good thing! While I have been to China and maybe have not seen the rural side that you have...we did see it. My heart was so touched by it too....but I do not have that same burden that you have. That is why I KNOW what you are feeling is the Lord! It's UNMISTAKABLE! Timing is EVERYTHING though. You know that! I believe you WILL do something in the future for these families and areas that you have a heart for! I believe as you continue to delight yourself (be soft and pliable) in the Lord's hands...he will mold into you what you should do and WHEN you should do it. In the meantime...You do have at least 3 children from this very poor area that will be SO blessed by every action that you pour out on them. Not to mention your bio kiddos who will be too!! I think this B.I.G. vacation is something that blesses that fathers heart...because you are making memories with your kiddos that will leave imprints on their hearts forever!! These days with them, we will NEVER get back. So Mark and I feel like every single thing we can do with them....it is doing nothing but instilling how special they are to us...how important spending time with your family is...and gives them memories that they will carry for the rest of their lives that they can pass on and on to their children. FUN is never frivolous...(unless it's all you do...but I know you guys aren't that way!) I think your B.I.G. vacation is a gift from God. Who knows....you just may be able to relax so much that you hear HIM even more clearly!!! Getting away is so good!!

Ok...I've said enough...OH...I forgot about your budget part. Don't beat yourself up on your budget. OMG...we eat out WAY too much because I don't want to cook, and honestly...it's the only area where we "blow" money. So...I'm in the boat with ya Laine!! I'm sure many of us are!!!

Thanks for sharing your heart. I think you are an amazing person!!! You inspire me and I know you do so many other people!! Hang on to that burden and passion...and in the right time...you'll know what to do with it and when to do it!! :)
Love you,
Buffi

Keri Mason said...

Laine,
I'm right where you are...we in fact are putting our house up for sale to downsize...we have more than we need, and so many don't have what they need. I would gently say I think this is the Lord stretching your vision. Our pastor just did an amazing series on this very subject. You can download the sermons from the Brook Hills website. The series title was "Radical" and it changed our family forever. I can mail you the CD's if you want me to. I know you're so busy, but I think you would be challenged and blessed by them. Just let me know!

Tammy said...

Oh Laine, I can so understand the longing in your heart to make a difference. For me, "things" have somehow lost their luster, but I don't know quite how to let them go.

I want to go back, too. We visited the Miao village while in China. You know what bothers me the most? They had a little gift shop of homemade items there and asked us to visit. I was so worried about Madi (it was the first or second day with her and it was starting to rain). I told them no. It still makes me cry when I think about it. I so want to go back and buy everything on their shelves. They were so poor. But, you know, God is faithful. I've prayed that He would send us back there. Guess what? Jim and my daughter, Megan are going back this summer! We can't afford to send everyone, but they're going back to visit the villages and to bless the orphans and their foster parents. :)

God knows the desires of your heart. He will make a way where there is no way.

Hugs!

Chi-Chi said...

guitar

living4him5 said...

Sweet Laine,

I totally get what you're saying, believe me I do.

You have a servants heart my friend and the closer we get to Christ the more HE moves us to do HIS work to glorify HIM. I know big things will come from your hands and heart.

I love ya!!

Amy

Mom to five said...

Laine, I think we all feel that way. I would be back in China in a heartbeat if I could....Hope's SWI really needs help. However like you I have a large family at home and need to stay here. Adopting again well, not an option but would love to, but really, would it help just one or by going there and helping them it would help many...right?? Sorry this is all over the place but I am very passionate about it. Maybe we should all "get together" and brainstorm some sort of way to help many.

Anyway, I think I know the "Big" vacation destination!! We are thinking of the Big D and just can't make up our minds...

KCCCKQC's DAD said...

I think Mark Hall says it best when I think of this post...

Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle
Are we caught in the middle

Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans
Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves

Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door
Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle You'll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control.

Mom to my China Posse said...

Lanie, We have so much in common! I also find a uneasiness in my spirit about China I can't shake. I pray for direction as we to have 7 kiddos!
Still trying toifigure out your "G" and what that could me! Keep me informed.
About the big trip is it where I think it is? The happiest place on earth! Were tryign to swing a trip in August there.
We still have sick kids and Kenzie is gettign sicker by the day, 2 trips tot he pesitrician this week and a flying rush to the ER last night all though by the time my hubby got there she was betetr so they came home. Geez. I am ready for this week to be over! Praying for you, Kathy

Chi-Chi said...

get your greencard!

Chi-Chi said...

grill, get a gun, grill well that would be cooking haha-love you!-, visit the GRACE family?-i dont like wondering-i told shalita you gonna make me have to get on more medicine.

Mike and Barb said...

Wow, Laine, you have such a wise husband... love that song he posted (or at least the words, I don't know that song I don't think...)
I have felt like this about Christmas - just about every year, even as a little girl. It just always seemed so wrong to have so much when others have no one and nothing, or not much. And here I am at almost 40, and I still have not figured out how to do it differently.
I think it is a gift to have compassion. Truly a gift. I have found myself so hardened so many times, that it almost scares me. Wondering "why does something not bother me to extent that it moves me to action?" I think you are there, and I KNOW the Lord will reveal to you where your passion and compassion shall glorify him. Hang in there and wait for him....
Love ya!
Barb

KCCCKQC's DAD said...

Hey Barb, just so you don't miss out on some excellent music, that is from Casting Crowns latest CD... The Altar and the Door. If you don't have it, I highly recommend it. You can hear a sample of the song on their website. I heard it as I was cooking pancakes yesterday and realized how perfect it fit this post and had to comment...

Oatsvall Team said...

Oh Sister of my SOUL ... I hear ya, I have done the same, and daily feel like I have moments when I am walking around aimlessly thinking about the orphans and accomplishing nothing, but here is a word I cling to BALANCE (for a double-minded man is unstable) ... I feel like I have to have some balance in my life, so I can be effective for Christ ... So as a family we say YES to a vacation, but no to another toy or shirt at Target. NO to ice cream at a pricey shop and YES to a gallon at the grocery store, NO a new car when the one we have is paid for ...

I love your heart sister and how you are encouraging me in the short time I have known you ...You are helping us bring 2 more orphan home to their forever family ...SISTER YOU ROCK !!!

Ohilda said...

Could I ever come to your blog without leaving a teary mess? Girl, you have an AMAZING heart. A heart so filled with God's spirit that the light is blinding.

I so know what you mean about how much we could do with the stuff we spend money on, but as you said, your kids are your ministry. You've taken them out of that life of poverty, of uncertainty, of fear and given them a new life in Christ. You are His servant and that B.I.G. vacation is part of the ministry. I will continue to pray that He show you exactly what path to take. And I'm rootin' for that vacation that you are all so deserving of.

As always, thank you for your friendship, love, support and prayers. Today, I needed some lifting up, and God led me straight to you...(again!).

Love you,

Ohilda

MichelleQ said...

Laine, you are a kindred spirit! So much of what you posted has been in my head and on my heart, too. So no, you are definitely not the only one! And no, I'm no Mother Theresa either. I'm self-centered and all that most of the time, too. We are all sinful, disgusting creatures and our righteousness is but filthy rags. Even sometimes when we try we get knocked back down a peg or two because we're not "good enough" in the eyes of others. Thank you, Lord for looking on us with grace and compassion and it really is through Him that we can do ANYTHING at all! And so many times we fail to give Him the glory and credit for what we are able to accomplish through Him!

I don't think it's "wrong" to want things or to enjoy the blessings that have been provided us. It's the devil that tells us that it is. He tries so hard to confuse us and take our focus off what God wants to do. God certainly doesn't begrudge us our blessings or even some of our material trappings--He gave them to us! He knows what's in our heart of hearts and let me tell you this--you and your family have done so much to glorify Him with adopting those three precious babies. ALL of your children exemplify Christ-like attitudes and maturity way beyond their years and if it were anyone else--we'd be green with envy! But it's you and you are so sweet and humble and gracious about everything in your life that all the rest of us can do is be happy for you! When I was a teenager, I never thought I would ever have my own kids. I wanted to adopt several and I still dream about that but things just didn't work out that way. I'm so glad that there are people like you who are able to do those things that the rest of us dream of. You have a supportive husband and family who wants to see God glorified and to live for Him as much as you do. I cannot convey to you what a blessing that is! It's something you just don't realize because you DO have it, kwim?

Anyway, thanks for blogging your heart! It's so reassuring to the rest of us to know we're not crazy. Or if we are--we're definitely not alone! LOL

Amy said...

Just the other day I had this conversation with a friend. We talked about how we pour things on our kids that are so unnecessary like a $70 banner for a kids baseball team, when there are starving, dying children that could benefit from that $70 so much more! Ugh, I disgust myself sometime at my lack of priorities and selfish ways! (I am not saying that the family vacation is this...only God can tell you what He desires for your famiy) (and He is Giver of good gifts!).
I pray that you will find peace in what God is doing in your heart and for your family.

Nicole said...

Laine,... you took the words right out of my mouth. I am getting to be that... when I go to the store... we as humans in the US find the BEST looking fruit and veggies and leave the ones that are bruised and smushed. I am drawn to remember that in China those bruised and smushed veggies would be a delicacy. Ouch.. my heart hurts. I ask myself the same things.... are we teaching the kids the RIGHT things and how in the heck did Jake accumulate 25 DS games!!!! Did WE do that? This is part of the reason that we shut off our cable. I wanted to get down to basics. Seeing the commercials of toys, food, etc... it was overwhelming to me and the kids. How nice the TV silence in now. No more begging or nagging for those things. I hope to make some additional changes as well.
Love,
-Nicole