a tsunami

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A number of months ago, I had a dream. In the dream, we (my family, brothers and sisters from our church, etc.) were on an island. A tsunami was coming.

I could see it in the distance. It was massive and fire ran across the top of it. Interestingly, we were not afraid. We began climbing up a crumbling staircase towards the waiting boat. We knew that the tsunami would arrive in a couple of hours and we also knew that we would be safe in the boat.

As we neared the place where the boat was located, I had a vision (still in the dream) of a house. I was looking down on the house. It was mostly glass and it was completely cleaned out by the water. Nothing that wasn't on a solid foundation remained. The sun shone down on the house, the birds sang and the dew covered the ground around the house. It was utterly bright and beautiful and I knew that this was what the island would look like when we returned.

This post is about a tsunami that has torn through my heart. It is going to be a long post (I won't feel at all offended if you stop reading now!) It will also be as honest as I know how to be. What I write next is the culmination of many years of struggle and it is only at this point in my life that I feel the Lord has given me the freedom to share some of it. It may not make complete sense to everyone, but I do hope that as I share my story, it will minister to some of you (or maybe even just one).

Let me start by saying this: I have had two overwhelming passions that stem from my love for Jesus. First of all, I love the Church. I love the Bride of Christ. I long with all of my heart to see His Church established in its fullness on the earth. I long to see a people who love as He loves, who walk as He walked on the earth and who glorify Him through their lives given in love. I know that it is the desire of God's heart that His Son be given a Radiant Bride when He comes again, and I am so grateful to the many people who have helped instill this vision in me.

Secondly, my heart was given (long ago) to those who are suffering. There was a specific evening, when I was about 10 years old, in which God placed something in my heart that I can only describe now as a deep call on my life. I am often physically overwhelmed with love for the needy, and children, in particular. I see His image in them, and when that image is carelessly discarded, I am overcome with grief. I love orphans because I love our Father. I believe that the suffering of these little ones grieves our Father's heart in a deep way.

My life, over the past 12 years, has been spent in the desire to see these two areas converge. I have so longed to see the Church rise up in defense of the weak. There are many amazing para-church organizations that minister to suffering people, but very few churches are giving themselves in a real way to orphans, widows, etc. The Lord gave me a prayer a number of years ago:

Mercy for the Church.
Mercy within the Church.
Mercy from the Church, for the world.

I believe that He wants His Radiant Bride to be filled with mercy and compassion. Over the past decade, I have been overjoyed to give myself to this end. When there were obstacles along the way (things that I am not able to share), the Lord encouraged me with the story of Mother Theresa's persistence. She was given an amazing vision from the Lord, but it was years before she would see that vision fulfilled. She, however, did not give up! And the Lord, as we all know, did amazing things through this fiery little woman (even though she often drove her superiors a little bit crazy!).

When the Lord told David and I to move ahead in adopting R., I thought that this was part of His plan for mercy to grow in His Church. Adopting R. was never just about adding another child to our family. It involved so much more--dreams, visions, words spoken from the Lord. I truly believed that I could stand in faith to see the fulfillment of those dreams through this beautiful girl.

And then those dreams came crashing down when we were told that we couldn't adopt R. This was quite a blow. I was shaken to the core. I cried out to God and didn't know what to do with this thing that I called "faith". I had believed for R.'s adoption. I had believed for mercy to be established in a significant way through her life. I had believed that we would be her family. And now, I didn't know what to believe.

A tsunami was tearing through my heart.

Months went by.
I knew that the tsunami was washing away all that was not on a firm foundation. I could also tell that the tsunami was not finished yet. There were still so many things left in my heart.

Then last Sunday, at church, a sister invited those present to ask for a supernatural faith from the Lord.

I went numb.

What did she mean, faith? I had no clue what that word meant anymore. I did know that I had absolutely nothing in me that could make any real faith grow. I knew that what I understood as "faith" had been swept away by a tsunami that had crashed through my heart, and perhaps, was crashing still.

So, I told the Lord, "I have nothing left to give. I have no more faith. Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Start over in me. Teach me all over again. But You must do it. I cannot do it. You must give me the desire, as well, because I can't even do that for myself. I am afraid to hurt again. I am afraid to be misunderstood. I am afraid that you are going to ask me to put my heart out on the line once again, and I don't know if I can do that anymore. But Lord, if You can put the desire in me, then I ask You to do it, because I want my life to be all about You. Not me. All You."

And now.

Now, the boat has brought me back to the island. I am standing in the middle of that house. It is empty, but it is also clean and bright and beautiful. I have nothing left. I have no thing left, but I do have Jesus.

I believe that He will show me a completely new way. I believe that He will give me a new that will look so much different than the "faith" that I have held onto for so long.

Will He continue to lead me in the two areas that have been my heart's cry over the past so many years?
I just don't know.
I really don't know.

Please understand, I still believe with all that is in me that our Father deeply, deeply loves His Bride. And I still believe that He absolutely adores the precious children who are created in His image. He knows their value, even if the world does not see. Our Father's heart does not change. He remains the same yesterday, today and forever.

What I don't know is where He will lead me in these two areas. He has me empty for a reason, and I don't want to fill my heart with anything that He hasn't placed there. I do not want to move ahead of Him, filling the house with trinkets and old furniture (my way of doing things, my way of understanding things), when He wants to fill it with HIMSELF.

So, for now, I sit in this empty house with Jesus.

And it is good.
It is very good.

I am learning that sometimes a tsunami is exactly what we need.


Peter and Nancy said...

Your words make me think of the land after a wildfire sweeps through . . . the first things that come back are wildflowers (weeds, to some people!), and then new growth and baby trees as seeds blow in. I am certain that your lifelong love for our Abba will bring forth new growth, and I'll be praying as the new seeds blow in.

Kristen said...

Wow. Very powerful and thought provoking stuff. Thank you for sharing- your posts always cause great reflection for me!

The Byrd's Nest said...

I can't even see the computer screen for the tears. I know exactly how you feel....EXACTLY:) I have no words...just that I love you:)

No Greater Love said...

You did such a beautiful post....praying like crazy for you.

Love you......

Waitingfaithfully said...

Oh sweet friend, your heart is so raw and open . . . you are a true example of love and obedience to those of us who witness your faithful walk. Thank you Sarah, for your heart that is willing to do whatever it takes to remain in His will . . . even when it is ever so painful. Praying that as you rest in your "new house" that He would begin to fill it with exactly what you need to fulfill His plan for you. May the Lord of all Comfort heal your broken heart as you wait on Him. He is faithful and good, and He loves you with an everlasting, amazing love!

Love you!


Kathleen @ Kath Ink said...

Thank you for sharing, Sarah. Your faith challenges me and I appreciate that. I like the image of being in a new house and letting the Lord fill it with Himself. Yes! That is what I need to fill my emptiness with -- Him! Many blessings to you, friend.

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