Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Surrendering MY plans!

God's timing simply amazes me! The day we got the call saying that we had been chosen by a birthmom we had been "officially" waiting for 20 months and been in the adoption process for almost 3 years!

The same week we got our "chosen" phone call was the same week my husband had his 1st face to face interview with a Pastoral search firm. Here is where the blessings get even crazier!

For the past 7 years we have had the honor of being on staff at Bay Area Fellowship in Corpus Christi, TX. My husband was the Student Pastor and I got to serve along side of him serving students and loving on leaders! WE LOVED OUR JOB!!! We knew that at some point we would love to go somewhere for Jason to be the Lead Pastor or to plant a church...but we also knew that God hadn't released us from our precious church, BAF! So one day Jason came home and said "Lindsey, Bil (Sr Pastor @ BAF) told me about a church in Georgia who is looking for a Lead Pastor and after talking with Bil I really think that this could be a fit for our family."

(At this point we hadn't been chosen by a birthmom)

So we started the interview process with the search firm! Jason didn't have a resume together because we didn't have any intentions of leaving Bay Area during that season of ministry...we had been simply serving where God wanted us and we LOVED it...we were content and then ALL OF SUDDEN like a unexpected Hurricane our lives were totally turned into a surreal whirlwind!

Jason had his first face to face interview October 15th...we had gotten our "chosen" phone call by our agency on October 13th.

Our lives felt insane during those months of October, November and December...CAUSE IT WAS INSANE!!!!

After several trips to Georgia, lots of meetings with the search firm, search team, and pastors...we were offered the job on DECEMBER 5TH...uh yes...the SAME DAY Natalie Grace was born! Hows that for God's timing!

Okay so here is where it gets GOOD! On Friday, December 4th Jason had an AMAZING prayer time before I had even gotten up. We had been begging God to either shut the door to this opportunity OR swing it WIDE open...either way we simply wanted to do what HE wanted! We just wanted to be in HIS will! I woke up with Jason sitting right next to me in our bed...him stroking my hair :) I could tell that he had been crying. He started to tell me about his prayer time.

James 1:27 says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." This verse had become SO alive to us during our adoption journey and it was the reason we were able to KEEP going! That Friday morning God used that verse in such a tangible way for Jason. You see we thought when and if we ever left BAF that we would go and plant a church somewhere...get to create something from would be as if it was our biological child!

But God had other plans for us! During Jason's prayer time God revealed to him that we were to go and adopt this church in Georgia. No we didn't start it but God was asking us to go and parent this church. But we would have to leave something we cared about SO much...our student ministry! We had been given the freedom to create an amazing ministry that served students right where they could we leave that...our first born love! God sweetly reminded Jason that HE would take care of the ministry...Jason began to feel released! THEN....Jason started praying for ME! Here we were about to bring a baby into our family and I NEEDED my support group...these people had prayed COUNTLESS hours for our adoption...they had cried with me and rejoiced with me! HOW COULD I LEAVE THAT?? I was so distraught with the thought of these precious people NOT getting to watch Natalie Grace grow up. So Jason pleaded with God for him to take care of his bride...Jason said "God I will go to GA and take care of your bride BUT you have to take care of my bride." And then he asked God to reveal it to me, on my OWN terms, if GA was the place where we were to go and do ministry!

On Dec 5th we woke up and started getting the house ready for my grandparents to come for their visit...I was cleaning the bathroom when ALL OF SUDDEN God totally spoke SO clearly to me...I didn't hear his audible voice but wow it was so close to that...I sensed him RIGHT there in the bathroom of all places! I looked at myself in the mirror and said these words "look after widows in their distress." I had been really pondering that verse for 2 years trying to figure out what it would look like for OUR family to take care of widows...I NEVER NEVER thought that the word widow for us would mean God's church! The pastor of the church in Georgia had resigned in May (during the same time that our first adoption fell through) this church had been without a "lead pastor" for 7 months. God simply reminded me that we were suppose to go and take care of the widow...HIS church that didn't have a Leader...and that my husband was to be the Leader of this church. God asked me that day to go and fall in love with the staff, the people, the community and to love them as if they were our own! This was a church in wouldn't be our "biological" we didn't plant it...we didn't give birth to it...BUT he asked us to adopt it as our own!

Okay so all of that took place with me looking in the mirror with a cleaning rag in one hand, the other hand on the counter top bracing myself so I would collapse :), and tears streaming down my face! I couldn't believe it...God was taking care of Jason's bride and breaking MY HEART for the people of Revolution Church!

So I went to the garage where Jason was...and I was SOBBING!!! He thought I was sobbing because I didn't want to move...I told him what had just happened and he said..."Were you reading your bible when all of that happened" and I said "NO, I was CLEANING the bathroom."

***Side note: When I walked out to the garage Jason had the vacuum cleaner suction hose up in the air with a golf club handle being shoved down into it...I asked him "What are you doing" he said "I just sucked up a pair of your 'personal belongings' (didn't actually say that but you get the picture) up in the vacuum cleaner!" Wouldn't you know that while God was drawing me to a place of painful surrender He added in some comedic relief :) I heart God!

So there it was...our YES to move to Georgia was ON THE TABLE...and about an hour later we got a call letting us know that the search team had met that morning (during my meeting with Jesus) and they officially wanted to offer Jason the position of LEAD PASTOR at Revolution Church in Canton, GA! We accepted! And then Natalie was born just a few hours later!

I cant even explain to you the freedom in Christ I experienced that day! We were about to walk into some deep hurts and deep JOY!! And we were THRILLED about all the details! The hardest part was to walk away from a ministry and friendships that we totally adored and loved. But I'm SO thankful for my friendships in Texas...they graciously encouraged us to accept this new role and have been SO SO SUPPORTIVE...Revolution Church has a HUGE support system in Texas!!

We packed up and moved to GA and arrived here Feb 27th...we have lived here going on three months! I miss my "peeps" in Corpus EVERY DAY...but Jason and I know that we are RIGHT WHERE we are suppose to be! We have adopted this place and I'm blessed by the people we have the honor of serving. They have taken care of my family as if they've known us for 10 years. They love my kids, they love me and they love and respect my husband...their Lead Pastor! God is good!! I'm adored by the King of Kings and he allows me every day to serve the people of Canton, GA and I'm in LOVE with the staff, the people and the community!

God's timing is perfect...might not be how we planned it...but I'm so glad HE is the master creator and that he loves me enough to pluck me out of a "comfortable" situation and place me in a beautiful city to love the hurting and the distressed! Wouldn't change a single detail of our last 5 months! And I'm so grateful that he used the adoption of Natalie Grace to get us to a place of FULL surrender so we could go and adopt HIS Church!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Details of December Part 3

One of my most FAVORITE memories when Natalie was born was this next story I get to share with you :)

When we received the information that A(birthmom) had gone into labor on Saturday but we weren't going to be able to see Natalie till SUNDAY...I was HEARTBROKEN!!! I cant even begin to tell you the thoughts that started going through my head...FEAR set in and the serpent of LIES started rattling in my head and heart. I immediately began to pray that JESUS would go before us and that he would whisper sweet truths into Natalie's heart until we could actually get there.

Okay so fast forward to the day we are being discharged from the hospital, Monday Dec 7th. We were just about ready to leave when a cute little nurse bounced into our room...she was our discharge nurse...OH BUT PRAISE YOU JESUS, she was SO SO much more! (I'm bawling at my kitchen table right now as I type this...all the memories of God's goodness just flood right back into my heart when I get to share Natalie Grace's story) Her name was Melissa (btw this is my best friends name and she had been praying for years for our adoption) and SHE was in the delivery room when Natalie was born...she was the FIRST to hold her! Then she shared her experience with me. She said that something came over her the moment she found out that Natalie was going to be adopted. She spent HOURS holding Natalie all night and telling her that she was loved, that her parents were on their way...that she was a chosen child! She said she just couldn't stop whispering into her ear...she said it was the strangest feeling...she just HAD to tell Natalie Grace that she was LOVED!!!! At this point she didn't even know Natalie's she just said OVER AND OVER again...Baby girl...YOU ARE LOVED!!!!

As she began to tell me I was in utter amazement! I KNEW what had come over that precious nurse....MY JESUS...MY HOLY SPIRIT had gone before me and whispered sweet truths into our baby girl's heart! Im in awe at how much HE loves our baby girl...our sweet Natalie Grace!

Nurse Melissa

***Have to pause for a moment...our sweet almost 5 month old is stirring upstairs in her bed...good morning to our miracle!!!!

Like Ive said before...our stay in the hospital was something I will treasure forever! We were blessed with an amazing experience and wouldn't trade ANY of the details.

We were discharged VERY VERY late on Monday, December 7th and arrived back to Corpus Tuesday, Dec 8th @ like 2:30 in the am!!! With a very WIDE awake baby! My best friend Amy had been keeping Jackson for us while we were gone once my grandparents was such a cool moment when we walked into our house and she was waiting up for us to get home!

When we finally got to sleep it was time for us to WAKE up to get Jackson ready for school :) I was SOUND asleep with Natalie right next to me in her bassinet when I felt someone taping me on the shoulder. It was Jackson...he looked at me and then looked at his baby sister (this was the first time he had seen her in "person"...we sent LOTS of pictures while we were in the hospital) and he said "mom she is REALLY here." It was LOVE at first sight for him!
Jackson seeing his sister for the first time!