Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Jesus I used to serve...


...is the one I made up myself.

That's what I realized when I read this book.




This book..... WHOA! That's all I have to say.


No that's not true!!! I have a lot to say! This book ROCKS IT!

I was concerned when I started reading this book. I won't lie. I'm not always a fan of "social justice" books and I was afraid this was another one of those.

IT IS NOT ONE OF THOSE!

This book is, pure and simple, about JESUS! This book is about the gospel. THE WHOLE GOSPEL! This book is a hard look at the truth of Christ and holding up our lives to the light of that truth.

It's not about orphans or poverty or justice- although those are a part of it. It's not about churches and mission trips- but those things are addressed. This book is SOLELY about JESUS and what HIS heart is for those things.

I realize looking back over my years that the view I had of God was so little. I so desperately wanted Jesus to be safe- one dimensional.

Jesus is anything but safe- anything but shallow.



If you're a warrior girl like me- and many who read this blog are warriors- then you MAY have gone through a similar process of struggling. Some of you have walked through this entire process with me THROUGH this blog.

For me it went something like this...

I have cared for years- since I was a small child. I cared, I truly did, I just wasn't aware of the magnitude of what was out there beyond the American bubble. I had been on mission trips, lived overseas and yet still I didn't fully get it. Maybe it was because I was young.

Maybe it's because I didn't really want to know.

What I did know with all my heart is that God wanted me to adopt. So we started our process to bring Zoe home and..

...my American dream came crumbling, crashing, hurling toward the ground.

All the walls I had built so carefully to protect myself were gone the instant I loved this little girl.



Suddenly the pain, the abuse, the fear, the poverty, the hunger, the crime.... it wasn't removed or far away...

it was MY LITTLE GIRL!

Now I could look at each of those children in pain and feel in my heart that they were somebody's child, somebody's treasure.



It all changed. Deep inside my soul I could feel how God felt when He looked at the reality of sin and despair and saw His people doing NOTHING.

Ohhhh.... that moment.... when the scales came off my eyes... when I broke out of the Matrix and simultaneously

LOST MY MIND!

I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't live like everything was OK! I felt LIKE SCREAMING,

"IT'S NOT OK PEOPLE!!!"



I couldn't quit crying for months. I was broken, shattered, in tiny shards on the ground. I was exactly where God wanted me. This was the place ONLY He could rebuild me.

I struggled and fought against God. All at once issues of sovereignty and God's will felt very real and personal. It now seemed issues of theology weren't just theories to be discussed. They were things I DESPERATELY needed to know.

During that year, (anyone who knows me knows it as "The Guatemala Year"), I WOKE UP! It wasn't that I hadn't had it in me all these years. Somewhere in me I had always had this DNA. That was the year God said, "WAKE UP ANGEL!" And I did... I heard Him. I woke up.

What I saw disturbed me, frightened me, angered me, disgusted me.

There were times I wanted to go back to my American dream land. BUT how could I?

You can't go back.

It's a one way ticket down the rabbit hole.

So at first my heart went ORPHANS!! THIS IS ABOUT ORPHANS!! This is what's been missing.... and I was right... but not really. God used orphans to show me the whole picture.

Slowly, I began to see it. Over time rather than seeing the picture I began to see the html, the matrix, the code. Does that make sense??

The comforts of life that had previously appealed to me made me sick to my stomach. Slowly, the things that had terrified me I was willing to dive into for the sake of something much bigger than myself.

Soon it wasn't just about orphans.

It was about glorifying God.

It was about brokenness and sin. It was about OUR adoption. It was about our slavery to sin and our freedom as beloved children of God.

Eventually I realized the power of the radical life God was asking me to lead. Not only was I being the hands and feet of Christ... more significantly God was using this to GLORIFY HIMSELF!

I guess during my "Guatemala Year" I thought maybe being a Christian, sold out for Jesus, meant you were gonna be sad. After all, I was crushed completely.

I am grateful that I was wrong. My awakening was 4 years ago. These past 4 years I have slowly been learning about compassion- walking into pain. I have slowly been learning about the power of joy. I have seen how entering into someone's pain brings joy that CAN NOT be explained except through the power of Christ.



There is NOTHING I do that brings me greater joy than obedience to my Father.

Our Father is a defender of widows, orphans and strangers.

He is not SAFE!

He is GOOD!



If you hear His voice He WILL ask you to do things that are not comfortable, are not rational, are not the norm in America.

If your God never asks you to do anything that stretches you, scares you, makes you EXTREMELY uncomfortable, I would read the gospels- study Jesus- and ask,

"Who IS my God?"

Are we really serving the God of the Bible or one we have created?




If we TRULY LISTEN and obey like little children, where will He lead us?

If you have woken up, are waking up, want to wake up.... I beg you to read this book.



Where are you on this journey??? Are you still in the Matrix feeling trapped? Are you waking up? Have you been awake? Are you still trying to figure out what this is all about?

I would LOVE to hear from you and know your heart! Will you leave me a comment?

Hugs from a warrior girl trying to learn about the REAL Jesus we serve, Angel

10 comments:

Tara said...

I have NO idea if this is a good post or not. So you ask, why am I commenting. Well...I know I want to read this, but I am not ready. I want to read the book first...THEN go back to read your comments!

So there...NOW, I have another book on my to do list and will more than likely comment again.

THANKS for sharing this book with us and making my reading list longer AGAIN!!! I just can't keep up with you...

Darlene said...

Angel.
this post is another example of why am grateful that you blog.

you spur me on.

I read every word of this post to my husband.

if I were 100% honest, I must say, I think I am still in the rabbit hole, but I am clinging to the Lord to save me from myself....

isn't it amazing how we run from pain? how comfort is our sneaky enemy??

....walking into pain... and finding joy...

Oh, how I need Him.
Save me from myself Lord.

Ling! said...

I just started this book last week. I LOVE IT! But I need a friend to read it with me so I can process it with someone. My husband said he'd like to try. Hopefully we'll start from the beginning tonight!

Oh how I love this! I'm going to link to in on my blog. :)

Jaime And Drew said...

Angel Oh my friend Angel!!!! As I was reading this post I was hoping it would never end. I just wanted to keep reading MORE!!! Love you Warrior Girl!! Loved This Post!!! YES I GET IT!!! I would say I have just ended my "Ethiopian Year" during my paper chase I became crazy about learning more about Ethiopia, then the day I hit Ethiopian soul IT WAS ON!!! I felt like God was holding my hand!!, when we brought Mamo home I spent the first few months trying to hold back tears every time I looked at him,I was BROKEN and now am I now putting away the tissues as God is lifting me off the ground. I feel like he is saying "Okay...this past year I have BLASTED you will just a glimpse of what I see. You have cried, prayed, and searched. NOW GET ON MY ARMOR AND DO SOMETHING" Radical was a great book and the timing of me reading it was perfect.

Amy said...

As you know I bought it today... hope I am ready. ;0) Love you and love this post!

jenaihamilton said...

Angel, I'm Jenai from Sojourn. I caught you're link off the Sojourn Cobblestone website. I love this. I have a few other friends that want to adopt, specifically from Ethiopia, that I've passed this on to. They looove it.

So glad you're blogging about your journey! Hope to see you at Sojourn in the future!

Amy said...

Angel...um, if you're not busy on Sunday could you come preach at my church?? :) I LOVE what God has done in the past years in your life and what He is doing in you now. I can identify with so much of what you wrote here. I thought the crying phase was never going to end. :) It does end, but I find that God has a way of keeping me on my knees, breaking my heart over and over and causing me to shed tears time and time again. Not just for the situations that so many of His people find themselves in, but for my own heart and brokenness. Oh, how I need Jesus! Letting myself experience other's pain has done more for my walk with God than I can say. My adoption has WRECKED me in the best and hardest of ways. I told my friend the other day that you can't have beauty without pain. If everything was beautiful we wouldn't have the capacity to appreciate it. But embracing how God feels about the pain in the world and His plan to use US to bring His kingdom into that pain has been restoring to my soul. I love you, sister and am so grateful you're back in bloggy action. :) Radical is awesome and challenging. I pray that everyone can read it and be honest with themselves.

Tessa said...

Hi there ... wow, it has been awhile since we have been in touch. Just wanted to let you know that I am still reading and so excited about you guys adopting from Ethiopia!

You have been such an incredible inspiration to me and our journey to adopting. I am so glad that I have journaled everything that led us to adopting ... because it is all about God. This post was so similiar to the previous posts that stirred me and made me realize that my mission in life should not be "to be comfortable".

My husband and I are in the process of adopting a little girl from the foster care system. She is 9 years old and sleeping soundly in her bed upstairs. Is it how I envisioned my life or family? No. Is it stretching me out of my comfort zone? You betcha. She doesn't look like us and she spent half of her childhood without us. However, God is already showing me how He has protected her and how He is going to use her for His glory. And I get to be a part of that?

Amazing.

Keep stirring the pot Angel. The soup tastes so much better that way. :)

Wes and Layla said...

Amazing, amazing post, Angel. Wes and I have definitely been awakened in this last year and experienced exactly what you write about here. It has been a scary, exciting, saddening time that I wouldn't change for anything. We have really come so far from our comfortable oblivious lives of a year ago. I'm going to be spending a month in Ethiopia working in a hospital and this book (Radical) is definitely on my list of books to take with me. Can't wait to read it!

Thanks again for sharing. Beautifully and wonderfully put.

Layla

Dave and jody said...

i have been hearing to much about this book lately, I plan on picking up a copy after work today - i have NOTHING going on this weekend and thought it'd be the perfect time to read it.

This was an incredible post.

My husband and i are knee-deep in paperwork for our Ethiopian adoption. I have to say, i have been WANTING/TRYING to wake up for a while now, but within the past few months i HAVE been waking up, and i want to wake up even more.

i look forward to following along with your adoption journey!

Jody