Monday, March 11, 2013

You Are Seen

You know the expression, "Drinking from the fire hose"? That is what I did this weekend. My mom joined me for a weekend away up in Georgia at the Created for Care conference. Created for Care is a ministry that focuses on serving adoptive and foster moms, and each year there are two retreats that moms can attend to be educated, refreshed and served. We signed up to go back in August, and I have been looking forward to it ever since. So much of what happens in the adoption world is fluid and unpredictable, so having something adoption-related on my calendar (that would definitely happen on that day) was huge for me. And the wait was very much worth it. We were up in the northern part of Georgia at a lodge on a lake. It was beautiful, serene, relaxing. A perfect environment for being refreshed.

Back to the fire hose. Over the weekend there were main sessions for all attendees and break out sessions on a variety of topics you could elect to attend. The overall theme for the entire weekend was LOVE BIG. The focal chapter was I Corinthians 13, especially verse 13: "And now these three remain, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." This weekend called us to step out in FAITH, wait in HOPE and LOVE big. Over the three days of Created for Care, I was provided with so much information, given such encouragement and confronted with the reality of the enormous obstacles that adoption inherently brings. It was three days of having my eyes opened and my mind filled. Three days of reassurance and realization. We talked about some beautiful things and some really heavy things. There were times when my heart was lifted and times when my heart felt burdened. But I loved it. Even when it was really hard, I still loved it. Honestly, though, I am still very much working on sorting through everything I learned. I think it will take me a while. So I will probably be coming back to writing about Created for Care over the next few weeks.

For today, though, I am going to start at the end and share with you what I think God really had for me this weekend. It happened at the very last session on Sunday morning.

The speaker that morning, an adoptive mother named Tona, talked to us about Hagar. In case you are not familiar, Hagar was the servant of Sarai (later renamed Sara), wife of Abram (later renamed Abraham). Abram and Sarai were old, well beyond childbearing years, but God had promised them that He would use them to make a great nation. Still, nothing was happening. Sarai got impatient with God and decided to help Him along by giving her servant, Hagar, to bear children and provide an heir. Her plan worked. But as soon as Hagar became pregnant, Sarai began to hate her, so Hagar ran away. She ran away to the wilderness and found herself completely alone.

Not where she thought she would be. Not where she wanted to be. Lost. Hurting.

But when she was out there in the wilderness all alone, the angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?"

He called her by name. He saw her hurting. He saw her alone and in the wilderness, far from home. He saw her.

That was her message for us. That wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, He sees you. You might feel alone. You might feel lost. You might not be where you thought you would be, where think you should be.

But He sees you.

He knows where you are.

Where you have come from.

Where you are going.

He sees you.

That is the message I think the Lord had for me this past weekend. I will be the first to tell you that I am not where I thought I would be. I am not doing what I thought I would be doing. There are so many days when I feel lost and confused by what He is doing in my life. But I am not alone. He sees me.

To close her message to us, Tona read Psalm 139, and I want to share it with you. It speaks of how God knows us, sees us. How no matter where we go or what we do, we cannot get away from Him. He is everywhere.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 
Before a word is on my tongue
 you, Lord, know it completely. 
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me. 
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,” 
even the darkness will not be dark to you; 
the night will shine like the day,
 for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,
 I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you 
when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written in your book 
before one of them came to be. 
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—
 when I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
 Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
 I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139


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