You know how you feel when you receive an invitation to a much sought-after event? Excited? Maybe feeling a little exclusive? I heard this weekend that the invitation to adoption and foster care can make a parent kind of feel both of those things – almost like joining a secret sorority or a club…I guess you can extrapolate those feelings to pretty much any God-level invitation. This past week at CAFO one of the speakers shared some raw, vulnerable and all too real feelings about his families invitation into orphan care.
God used this idea to kind of open my eyes to another circumstance. What is, I’m invited but not as integral as I thought. For 4 years I’ve labored under the delusion that if I’m not working until 3 am, or taking meetings 6 days a week I’m somehow failing God in this cause he’s given us to shoulder. Without even realizing it I somehow imagined that if I was less than 159% vigilant for vulnerable kids at absolutely all times – then God would somehow fall of his throne…overactive ego? Perhaps. Delusional thinking – definitely….but as has been our dance for the last few decades – God gives me direction… I start negotiations…and after much beating my head against a brick wall – I get with His Program.
This time – my lesson was a little more subtle but just as necessary.
Last week was the CAFO Conference – a Global Orphan Summit with thought leaders from all over the world. It is one of my favorite events all year – because it is filled with families, friends and fellowship. It is an extroverts delight and a networker’s paradise.
Our team had been planning for months and we had a team of 10 heading north for several days of keynote speakers, innovative teaching, coaching tables and meetings. And just hours before the conference began formally – God put me in a big time out. This happens about twice a year and you’d think I’d be prepared.
Full Disclosure – My relationship with self-care has been shaky at best. I have made incredible headway compared to this time last year – but here we were again. Instead of heading with my team to the first session of worship and teaching – I headed to bed with the shivers, the shakes and all manner of ailments. My kids were afraid to come near me- I was quarantined to the couch,and I lamented my poor luck (sorry granddaddy – I know there is no such thing as luck! Only favor!) As text messages came in sharing revelation, pictures with speakers and powerpoint slides – I slid further into my pity party – table for one.
I thought I was needed and necessary – but our team was killing it and I had nothing to do with any of it. Meetings were taken. Notes were sent – social media was moving forward, and what had I accomplished – a two hour nap and waking up with a migraine.
Leading a prayer ministry – this is the moment I share how righteous and holy I am even when I am low. How I feasted on Bible Study and memorized the entire book of Isaiah. Well, – leading a prayer ministry – I need to be real. I pouted. Any praying was mainly letting God know exactly how disappointed I was in the timing, in the fairness and in this illness-imposed isolation. I rolled around in the sour- emotions and let them settle in my soul – until….I didn’t. I finally journaled and told Jesus that I thought I was needed. Newsflash – He doesn’t really need us to accomplish his Will – but He does invite us into the story. I thought I was necessary to the organization. I realized that I am – but not because of my middle of the night literacy skills, or my ability to talk to anyone anywhere – but because He has something to teach me and some things He’d like me to share.
At about 1pm – at EXACTLY the time I was to be facilitating a conversation with other adult adoptees and foster -alums – and coincidentally – exactly the time that I finally surrendered that this time out – wasn’t a punishment – but a time to realize that God has gifted Ignite Hope with a dedicated, educated and determined team that can handle it without me – and hello – that’s a good thing – in fact – it’s an answer to prayer – the migraine lifted. The shivers subsided and I seriously considered ubering straight to the meeting so I could participate…and as I threw on my mommy chic business attire and grabbed my computer – God spoke to my heart.
Quietly – in an invitation – He reminded me that I am integral to my relationship with Him – the King of Kings – my Heavenly Daddy. He quietly invited me to just spend time with him. So still wearing my cool clothes instead of the jammies I’d sulked in for days – I put on my make up and my new ballet flat and had me a little date with Jesus (and with the puppy) because if one if going to get over one’s self and commune in nature with the author of creation – maybe taking the puppy for a nice long walk is just a nice thing to do.
The gentle breeze, the smell of honeysuckle, our dog’s silly puppy grin as she attacked dandelions (they had no chance against her pouncing powers) and a refreshed sense of what it is to be necessary – probably did more to restore my soul than racing headlong into 13 hour days of meetings, break outs, networking events and more.
I finally made it to the very last day of the event. I spent my recuperation day in specific prayer for the families we coach, the organizations we serve internationally, for our volunteers, for our board and for this amazing family God has gifted me with – and y’all – it was well with my soul.
Although I’d packed and prepared for some dynamite schmoozing and sharing of ideas – I spent a whole bunch of time alone with my Daddy God – and that couldn’t have happened at home surrounded by laundry, dishes, bills, and budgets. So God took to another state.
Left me alone in a hotel until I realized that I’m not ever alone – because my God is with me wherever I go.
And Thank God for that!