Friday, December 28, 2012

My Problem

      "It's not my problem..."

      On his knees in the garden, sweat and blood mixed on his forehead, knowing his hour had come. What if he stood up, brushed the dirt, wiped his forehead clean, and just walked away?

       After all, He did nothing to deserve this. It wasn't his fault that we are screwed up, making mistake after mistake, choosing our ways instead of his. He was faced with a choice... excruciating pain, headache, misery, death. All for a people who would mostly mock and reject him for the rest of time.

       But he said yes. He said yes to the pain, the cross, the death. For the glory of his Father, for the redemption of mankind. It wasn't his problem, but he made it his problem, and he became our solution.

        Because he said yes, we have a chance to be accepted in his family, children of God, sharing his name, his inheritance, his joy, his freedom. This is the Gospel.

         "It's not my problem..."

         Recently, the Russian government passed a law banning Americans from adopting Russian children.

         We can look at this two ways:

          1. We can blame the Russian government as I did, with a "Good luck with your orphan problem, Putin" mentality. Or...

          2. We can look at the deeper issue, as I am now doing. We can look at the heart of God... the Gospel. We can look at how adoption represents the Gospel and His heart for the little ones who are fatherless, abandoned, abused, neglected. We can look at this problem, and we can make it our problem.

         Because we as a Church have had some issues. We like to be comfortable. We like our financial security, our organized families, our schedules, and we rarely like it when God rocks the boat. We love our neighbors as ourselves, but only if they stay over there and don't get their muddy shoes on our shiny carpets. We love our orphans, as long as they stay on the other side of the world and in National Geographic so we don't have to feel guilty.

        Why would we feel guilty? Because we know... Dear God, we know that as much as we want to say it's the country's problem or someone else's problem, we know.

         How do we know? Because His Words tell us to defend the fatherless, over and over and over again. Because we as the Church were created to be the expression of the Father's heart on this earth.

         The world loves to call us out as hypocrites, haters, judgmental, out-of-touch with reality.

         But could you imagine... Dear friend, could you imagine what would happen if we took this problem and became part of the solution?

         What if we consistently pounded the gates of heaven with our prayers that God would open countries to adoption? What if we got on our knees and pleaded for His little ones? What if we stepped in and financially supported adoptive parents?

          What if we quit our excuses... I'm too busy, my family is complete, I don't have the money, and simply called it what it is... Fear. Apathy. Selfishness.

           What if we quit with our judgments... Oh, they're adopting so they must not be able to have real children. I could never adopt a black child because I'm white.

           What if he said that about us? They're too much trouble. They are covered in sin. They're just going to reject me anyway.

           But he didn't.... because the redemption of mankind and his Father's glory was worth it.

           Just as every child is worth it.

           Can you imagine what would happen if we welcomed His little ones into our homes?

           The children with down syndrome, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, handicaps.

           The children from abusive backgrounds who don't know how to trust.

           The children with Reactive Attachment Disorder who are worth every ounce of his precious    blood.

            The sibling groups that will require extra time, attention, effort, finances, love.

            The foster care kids who just want stability.

            "But I can't do it!" you say.

            And it's true. You can't. Neither can I. He is our only hope. Our grace. Our strength.

           What if we as a Church took God at his word, believed that he is our strength, our provider, our healer, our redemption?

            Has God ever failed you before? Then why, when this is something so precious to him, would he abandon you if you said yes?

            I don't know what he is calling you to do, but whatever it is, say yes.

           Because, if the world witnessed the Church exhibiting the very heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it would hardly be able to look away. It is very hard to reject a love that is without condition. It is a love he has given us, and a love that he has called us to demonstrate.

           I will pray.

           I will accept that of I am going to call myself pro-life, then I must fight for the lives of little ones outside the womb, not just inside the womb.

          I will accept my calling as a follower of Jesus to love his little ones.

          I will fight.

         There are approximately 147 million orphans in the world.

         This is my problem.

         I will be the solution.


Saturday, December 15, 2012


“You can always come home”, he whispers to me as we say good-bye.

 I can usually hold back the tears until this point when I look up and see his eyes, the eyes that match my own, filling.

And then I lose it, my face contorting in that awful, ugly cry.

Because really, those are the words I need as I leave to face the world. I know they will always love me, but sometimes, I need to be reminded there is always a place.

There is always home.

And last night, I wrapped my arms around her as tears threatened my eyes, poured from her own.

She said good-bye to us, her family for the last year. We knew this day was coming, but it was too soon. Our minds filled with words we wanted to say, words we meant to say, but really, how do you let them out when this person you love is leaving, and you don’t know if this goodbye is for now or forever?

“You can always come home”, I whisper to her as she leaves us.

This stranger in my arms has become my little sister, and the building behind us is home. Our home.

And I think about the news today… little ones who will never come to their homes, sit at kitchen tables, sleep in their beds, fight with their siblings, and greet their parents with the beautiful faces fresh from a long night’s sleep.

For so many other little ones, home has changed its definition. It meant safety, rest. But now their innocence is broken and this world that used to feel so familiar now hangs like an oversize sweater in July. Scratchy, uncomfortable, out of place.

What do you do when home isn’t home anymore?

I have said good byes before, whispered in the ears of little ones struggling, aching, “Go home.” And it hurts because you want them to fight, to press on, to live. Because this is all my human mind can comprehend. This life, this skin, this air, these walls. But I let them go.

Because I know.

I know this isn’t home.

He is.

And the words whispered by my Daddy echo His heartbeat…

My little one, you can always come home.

When the world doesn’t make sense, when the pain is so deep I can barely breathe,

When it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, and I can’t see beyond this moment. I can’t understand.

When I fail. Again. And the shame overwhelms and the guilt covers me like a wet blanket.

My little one, you can always come home.

Because He is home. He is my rest, my safety. So even though I can’t comprehend how in the world this can be used for His good purpose, I run.

I run to Him. My peace, my love. I run to His arms. And I breathe.

And I am home. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When I am Stronger

I never can tell the age of a Filipina. One could be 45 years old, and I would think she is 25, and really, I look older at 23.

But I always think she is older than she really is. A hard life has a way of inscribing itself in the lines of the face. And her eyes… they look at me, sometimes they trust me, sometimes they are unsure, but they are always far away. She will be in the middle of conversation when something triggers and the rest of her face will follow her eyes, lost in the memory.

She has been through more pain than I can ever imagine, resulting in a mind that is confused. Really, can anything be more terrifying than when the mind rebels? She lay in the bed beside me, while I kept watch for her, reassuring again and again she is safe, no one is coming for her, she will be ok.

White walls, brown floor, crowded spaces, and I am pretty sure at times that I am a snap away from landing on the bed beside her. So afraid… she just wants to be safe, to rest, to go home.

And this little one… the one who has been my charge for the past two weeks. Her face is a story of pain and fear, and sickness she doesn’t understand that has taken control. I am trying to find the balance… how far do I push and when do I let go? Sometimes I expect and demand too much of her, and then she giggles, reminding me she is just a child. She made us promise to take her to the mall when she is stronger.

And that is the phrase, the promise she keeps repeating to herself…

“When I am stronger…”

Funny how she speaks aloud what my heart can barely whisper.

The pain comes again. She cries and I rub her back, trying to understand, trying to fix this. More calcium, stop the calcium, less potassium, bananas, bananas, bananas. We research and test and wait for results and research some more.

You can only imagine the picture when solving a puzzle with missing pieces.

She cried out for her mother when the pain became overwhelming. Funny, me too.

I have to detach in order to be good at this. I have to leave emotion at the door so I can make good decisions. I can’t be the one to fall apart when crisis comes. I must be calm.

But it’s hard, hard to separate my heart from my work. And the weight of those decisions is revealed on my face by dark circles and tired eyes.

Because really, you can’t help but bond with the little one who snuggles beside you as you tuck her in, the one you carry to the bathroom when her legs are too weak to move. But how do you love and give without being destroyed yourself? I know Jesus did that… gave until it killed Him. But He is God, and I am not. I don’t know how to do this.

Sweet little one, please hold on. 


I look in the mirror at this face… 23 years old with its lines and curves, already witnessed more than I could ever have imagined. And I can’t help but wonder how I will do it. I don’t know what I am doing.

And I whisper to myself “When I am stronger… when I am stronger…”

But therein lies my problem, a problem that has become the struggle of my lifetime. The struggle to do everything myself… to be enough on my own, the rescuer, the fixer, the one with all the answers.

I can’t do it. Dear God, I just can’t.

And I was never meant to. I was never meant to be superwoman, Mother Theresa, my director… I was created to be me.

In this moment, I am to be Jordan, 23 years old, discovering the talents, the gifts, the weaknesses He has given me. Remembering this is a journey, a process.

And I am so grateful… that in my weakness, He is strength. That every failure He uses to teach me and soften my heart into something gentler, open. 

Today it means I pray over her before I go to school. I sit and absorb the lectures that will make me better at what I will do. I dream of the future and take this one day at a time.

One day at a time. When I am stronger… No, when I let Him become stronger in me.

So the tired eyes will reflect His joy.

The lines on the face will reflect a life of hard decisions, but decision never made alone. Lines from years of saying yes, and always choosing joy in the midst of the pain.

You can only offer freedom to someone if you are being continually set free yourself. If I had this journey down perfectly, then I would never be able to offer anything.

But all I have are these broken pieces scattered about, forming the mess of who I am. And He takes them, refines them, and molds something beautiful.

For these precious pieces in my life, I pray they find what I am discovering… healing, wholeness, restoration.

Strength. In Him.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I will not call you selfish...

I will not call you selfish…

There is an ongoing debate in the country where I was born. It’s a debate over choice, who is right and who is wrong, who is alive, and who gets to decide.

In the country where I live, there are monuments dedicated to those who have died as a result of another’s choice… in a country where this choice is supposedly illegal.

We scream, we shout, and I admit that I was among the first to exclaim, accuse, and heave a giant stone at those who thought to disagree.

But no more.

I will not call you selfish…

Because, dear one, there are enough of those voices on both sides, and my yelling will do nothing to ease your pain.

I will not call you selfish…

Because I don’t know your story, your fears, your heart.

I don’t know if this was the result of your choice or forced upon you by someone else.

I don’t know your background, your support group, your education, and who will be there to pick you up after your fall. I don’t know who is there to wash your wounds and heal your bruises.

But I will not add to your scars or multiply your hurts.

I will subtract my judgment to mend your divided heart.

I will not call you selfish…

Because in a split second, your world came crashing down around you, whether it was expected or not, whether it was the result of your will or not.

And I understand, as a fellow human being, when my world is breaking down, I want to cling to whatever I have left… my ability to choose.

Honestly, the thought of someone taking away my ability to choose terrifies me.

And that probably makes me selfish. I want things my way. I want some form of control. Some thread to cling to that will preserve my dignity and keep from adding the shame.
I will not call you selfish…

Because He would never do that. His kindness leads to repentance. His grace is a free gift offered to bring life. He does not steal, kill, or destroy. He brings life, and life everlasting.

I will not call you selfish…

Instead, I will take a good look at my own heart and turn my eyes away from your sin to mine. I will seek freedom from my own chains, and then I will walk with you to find yours. I will call out my own pride, anger, hatred, bitterness, and lust. I will cast the stones and crucify my own flesh. And in doing so, I will have no time for yours.

I will not call you selfish…

If I took a good look at my own life, then I would see my selfishness.

Because if I am truly serving the Author of Life and valuing life, then everything for me must change.

I must be willing to adopt little ones, take in unwed mothers, and walk with couples who didn’t see this coming.

In calling you selfish, then I am ignoring my own accountability, the fact that I am not allowed to be a bystander because when He gave me His name, I joined the fight.

I will not call you selfish…

However, I will call you as He does:

Radiant, Restored, Healed, Free, Crowned with Grace, the Apple of His Eye, His Dear One, Treasured, Full of Life, Overcoming One, Worth every ounce of shed blood.

I will tell you of what He has done for me.

I will show you my little ones… the ones deemed not worthy of the world, but really the ones of whom the world is not worthy. I will tell you of his goodness.

I will walk with you. Even if you stumble again, and even if you hurt me in the process. I will grieve with you, hold you, love you. We will find freedom together.

I will not call you selfish.

I will call you a Daughter of Redemption.

I will call you free.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

To the One who just doesn't seem to fit...

This letter is a bit more vulnerable, a little more personal than I usually like to go. But maybe, dear friend, this is for you... to know there is grace and you are not alone. To know that even in the bitterness, He is gentle... and He is sweet. My story is in process. I am by no means perfect or completely healed. I am redemption in process; we all are. This is encouragement, a taste of grace, for your journey. 

Dear Friend,

This letter is for you, the girl surrounded by a world of bitter cynics, hopeless romantics, and you don’t know where to fit.

Because on the inside, you secretly plan your wedding as other friends plan theirs. You still sigh at the end of Cinderella. And the thought of happening to run into a stranger at a coffee shop, a stranger who becomes your forever, leaves your heart filled with an optimism you desperately cannot crush.

But on the outside, you have the education, the job, the dreams, the home, and you are holding it together. You are ok, great, fulfilled, content… clicking around the world in high heels and a pencil skirt or strutting in skinny jeans and TOMS, breathing in the air and fully alive. And yet the world says you cannot be content. 

Because two is always greater than one, and you, Dear Friend, are incomplete. So you cloak yourself in a garment of bitterness and doubt, that you really don’t want to have, but someone gave you this outfit and it would be silly not to wear it. 

But really, those were never good colors for you in the first place.

And so you waver between sides, wondering which team you should pick, with your red stilettos/canvas TOMS and pinterest boards (or at least made up boards in your mind).

The one who desires love so much she is practically in tears and the one who rolls her eyes at the mention of the “L” world. You know those girls, and do you really want to be them?

Pick me! Pick me! They say. Join us!

But really, when it comes to love, you want to just fall to the floor, cross your legs and cradle your head in your hands to shut out the voices. Love has not been kind. Once it was… beautiful, new, with the hint of the best yet to come, and in an instant, it came crashing down.

And inside, there are scars, deep scars that you would never dare to show, wounds that must remain etched in darkness.

Scars like mine…
            From the boy who said “I love you” and then “pretend I never said it”.
            From the boy who says “I want you”, followed by “I don’t want to marry you”.

            From sin… from being the good girl on the outside, serving on the mission field, who         supposedly has it all together and I wonder when they will discover how broken I really am. 

            From the times when I have said the wrong things, done the wrong things, ignored the people I should have loved and listened to the wrong voices.

            From the times when I should have opened my mouth, fought for the one I loved, fought for my pride and respect, said SOMETHING... ANYTHING to give him a glimpse of the heart he wanted to love, the heart I was so terrified to reveal. 

             From the pride and selfishness that cost friends, chances to share the Gospel, built walls with calloused hands I still cannot smooth. 

Maybe you are like me… you look at the boys around you and shake your head because none of them make your heart beat, inspiring a passion for God, life, people. So, you settle for the boy who says he wants you, and you hope it’s for your mind and heart, but really, he just wants more than his fair share, treating you like a buffet where he can pick and choose all he wants, leaving pieces behind. And you walk in with eyes wide open, offering yourself to fill his hunger.

How is it possible for him to only touch the outside and break you completely on the inside?

Although the bitter cynic inside of you screams that this is all it will ever be, the voice inside your head whispering “I have something better” has finally broken through the chaos of your heart and mind.

You know.

Dear God, you know, there has to be more than this.

Because his “love”, his hugs and kisses, his smile, the way he holds you, feels so good but so… empty.

And I, Dear Friend,  convinced myself this is what I deserve.

With every push, with every spiral deeper into the black hole of sin, I realized that there is no way anyone could ever love me, truly love me. Because if they could see me, and I mean, really see me... they would see a bruised heart full of hideous wounds, and there is nothing inviting about them. 

After all, the heart can only take so much bruising and the grace of God can only extend so far.

Maybe you're like me...

You look at the girls, the girls like the one you used to be. Whole, modest, delicately holding hands with their significant others and perfectly happy.


You look in the mirror at cheeks that used to blush with innocence before your mind and heart were eroded and stained. It’s no longer innocence that makes you blush, but shame.

And it’s not really envy you feel, but a sadness, a grieving, for the girl you used to be when the world was good and dreams did come true… before you listened to the lie that He would never be enough and you would never be good enough.

You see the boys, the rare warriors, who inspire passion and go on the mission trips and sing on the praise team and love to proclaim their faith.

I see the guy… the one whose courageous masculinity makes my wounded femininity rise with purpose.

But the pain washes over me again, the shame… he would never want me.

Who would ever want a heart so broken and calloused that it’s barely recognizable, especially when compared to the hundreds of other beautifully wrapped packages waiting to be chosen.

Honestly, I don’t know if he is out there… a boy who will say yes to my heart, scars and all. Because the bitter cynic in me screams of the hypocrisy, the dirt, the pride, the selfish decisions, and really, could I blame him? But the hopeless romantic in me remembers Hosea and Gomer and I can’t help but dream of one who will accept this mess of broken pieces that make up who I am.

Scars will always be there, but for every scar, there is Neosporin… a soothing balm that allows the scar to fade so it’s less prominent, less painful, less shameful. And it turns scars that bleed and ooze pain into scars that tell a story… a story of redemption.

It is this story where I find myself… a story of my own life.

The girl who had everything together on the outside, but on the inside was falling apart. The girl who ran to something else, someone else, to end the loneliness He had given as a gift for a purpose. A girl who took the heart He died for, and allowed it to be trampled.

Maybe, Dear Friend, you are this girl too.

But the good news is, there is hope for us… the girls who have broken what was once whole. The girls who are bitter romantics and hopeless cynics, dreaming of love and adventure yet not quite sure where we fit.

The girls with scars.

There is redemption and grace in the arms of the One who is love itself.

I find myself at a crossroads, because I want to be done with this sin. I want to walk in purity, in freedom. I don’t want to be a hypocrite.

But I am so powerless against my sin, this hold it has over my heart and soul.

God, I want out of this blackness that seeks to consume me.

I want freedom.

And gently, ever so gently, He says yes.

Wiping the blackness away, washing me clean, those loving hands apply the Balm of Gilead, and I walk away clean.

But things have to change.

I have to plug in to my source, constantly pouring my soul into Him. For this time of loneliness is meant to be a gift… a gift where I find my source of comfort, fulfillment, joy. A gift where I draw closer to him with every breath.

And I must be accountable to Him… for the ways I use the heart and body He has given me. I give Him the pieces to fit back together, and I snuggle closer to His chest. And I rest.

I must rest… wait, dream His dreams, feel His heartbeat until my pulse matches the soft rhythm of His own, memorize every beat as my body relaxes into a love that does not reject, is never withheld.

I am like a five year old in a clean white shirt… a magnet for grape juice and mud stains. I want so badly to stay clean, but I keep spilling, falling, disobeying the commands to avoid the dirt and use a lid on my cup.

But He washes, and He is patient, and He is gentle.

So even if there is never a boy on this planet who will ever love me and mean it, He does.

Even if there is no one to hold me, He does.

Even if there is no one to call out the beauty in the mess of me, He does.

Even if there is no one to share my dreams with me, He does.

Even if no one ever treasures my words or finds me delightful, He does.

Even if no one ever tries to win my heart, He does. Oh, He won it long ago.

And that’s why this is a story… a story for the bitter cynics, the hopeless romantics, and everything in between. Because our story of redemption is never finished.

Mine is only just beginning.