Carrier, by Jared Anderson

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me
To preach good news to the poor
To bind up the broken-hearted
To make You known even more
So that people living in darkness
Will see the great light

I'll be the carrier of love and compassion
I'll be the carrier of light to the world
I'll be the carrier of hope and salvation
I will go shine Your light to the world

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me
Freedom and truth to proclaim
Trade your ashes for the oil of gladness
And your sorrows for garments of praise

Here am I send me, send me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

If Only in My Dream…

Last night I had a dream that moved mountains inside my own heart, brought down walls that had been standing for as long as I can remember, and brought me weeping
(literally) to my Father’s feet.

I dreamt that I was visiting an orphanage overseas, the location of which was somewhat unclear, and the purpose of the visit remains a mystery.  While I was doing whatever it was that I was there to do, I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye of a baby girl who should NOT have been there.  She is known around our house as Juliana, or Julie for short, and is an orphan in Taiwan.  But I wasn’t in Taiwan in my dream, I got the impression I was in Eastern Europe somewhere.  So needless to say, I was totally surprised to see her there!  I had not gone there to see her!  I could only hope to see her another time, during another trip, for a much different reason! 

Julie came into our lives a little over a month ago, beckoning us to come for her.  She is one of many children we have longed to adopt, and felt “called” to.  We have spent the last month seeking God’s voice in this, seeking guidance as to whether or not this was in fact the direction we are supposed to take.  Are we supposed to adopt her?  How can we?  Is there a way?  Do we take this step in faith?  I can’t tell you the places He has taken us this past month.  We have felt Him say, “Yes!  Go for her!  It looks impossible, but in Me all things are possible!”  We were led to the passage about Peter walking on water, taking that step out onto a stormy sea in faith that Jesus would keep him from sinking.  We felt the Lord urging us to take this step in faith, knowing that on the outset it looked absolutely impossible, for many reasons!  But when God works a miracle in His people, He is glorified and lifted up.  We are brought closer to Him, into a deeper level of faith.  That is what we “walked” on as we stepped out into the stormy seas of adoption.  But our eyes are turning to the crashing waves around us, and we feel like we are sinking.  Can we really do this?  Should we?  I have guarded my heart, trying so hard not to fall in love with Juliana, but I loved her the minute I saw her. 

Back to my dream…

While I was working on my mysterious task at the orphanage, I kept looking over at her to make sure it really was Julie.  When I was finished, I snuck over to where she was, as visitors were forbidden from entering the baby rooms, and peered into her little espresso colored eyes.  She was in a baby swing with a bottle propped up to her mouth, and was slowly trying to drink some milk.  When I looked at her, she smiled at me from behind the bottle with the sweetest, most inviting smile you have ever seen.  Full of peace, and joy, and pure delight!  I could no longer resist the urge to hold her in my arms, even though I knew I was not supposed to, I just couldn’t help myself!  I took the bottle out of her mouth, opening up an even bigger grin, unbuckled the straps around her, and picked her up in my arms.  I can still feel her, exactly how she felt in my dream.  I was surprised at how big she was…I had expected her to be smaller.  Maybe because all I have are pictures of her as a 5 month old baby, so in my mind’s eye she has been frozen in time.  I was so overjoyed to be holding our baby girl, so filled with surprise and disbelief that I knew I  had to take a picture to show my husband.  As I was fumbling for my phone to take a picture of her, I set her down on the floor to get a better angle.  Instead of sitting like I had anticipated, she stood on her two little legs.  I was amazed!  All of the sudden my “5 month old baby” was standing on her own.  I stepped back in awe, and then she took her very first steps, right there in front of me!  It was unreal!  I scooped her up again, and as I held her she continued to grow and develop right before my very eyes.  Her hair grew a little longer, her clothes changed from footie pajamas, to a red corduroy dress, to a t-shirt.  I kept trying to get my phone to its camera settings to take a picture of the miracle that was happening in front of me, but my hands were shaking and I was too busy relishing in the moment.  We were so in love with each other, and so completely filled with joy…it’s absolutely impossible to put into words. 

Before I could get a picture, I heard the footsteps of one of the orphanage nannies coming toward the room, so I quickly picked Juliana up and got her back in the swing.  All of the sudden she was a baby again, just as I had found her, with that sweet beckoning grin still on her face.  I tried to buckle her in as I fought back tears ~ tears of joy at the wonder I had just witnessed, and tears of heartache as I knew I was about to be taken away from her.  The nanny walked in the room with a look of both scorn and compassion on her face, both at the same time.  My tears could no longer be kept at bay, they started pouring out as I said goodbye to my little Julie, kissed her sweet face, told her that I loved her, and walked out of the room.  As the nanny ushered me down the hall, I remembered that I had forgotten something!  Something huge, something SO important I couldn’t leave without going back.  While she was none too happy, the nanny turned around and led me back to the area where Julie’s room was.  But all the doors had been closed, and it was just a wall of brown wooden doors, one right after another.  They all looked exactly the same.  We couldn’t find her room!  All the doors were locked, and there was no going back.  The nanny took me to the director’s office and explained the situation to him, in a mild effort to get me back to her.  But he said there was no way, I had to leave, :visiting hours” were over.  I pleaded with him desperately, saying “But you don’t understand!  I forgot, I forgot to PRAY with her!  I have to go back!”  He turned around and looked at me, and with a gruff voice said, “Look, we have a little guest room down the hall where you can stay for the night, and maybe tomorrow you can see her.”  Then I woke up…

WHAT?!?!  Seriously?!?!  No more???  After the shock of my abrupt awakening wore off, and I was a little more coherent, the Lord started revealing to me what that dream meant, and why it was that He woke me from my sleep exactly when He did.  He’s taking me deeper ~ deeper into His own heart ~ a place I have come to know as the Womb.  There is so much to say about the Womb, it has been an amazing, ongoing revelation spanning several months, that during another post I will dive further into.   It’s a place where all our needs are met with Love and compassion, by God alone ~ by our Father.  It’s a place of warmth and safety, stillness, where all we hear is the beating of His heart.    A place where we are allowed to see with His eyes, hear with His ears, and love with His heart; where we grow in intimate fellowship with Him.  It’s a place of total trust in Him.  In this dream, God gave me the most amazing gift last night.  He gave me my daughter, to hold in my arms, to watch her grow, to love her, and be filled with that unique joy that only a mother can feel in the presence of her children.  He allowed me see her through His eyes, to feel her and watch her grow in a miraculous way, outside our linear perspective of time.  He allowed me to love her as my own.  And then, He called me back to Himself…to love her as He loves her, to love her as if she were my own, but knowing that in the end she is His, no matter where she is or who she is with.  The same is true for all of us.  We are His.  In my dream, it was when Juliana experienced love and compassion that she began to grow and develop.  But it was not my love and compassion that nurtured her, it was God’s love in me.  His love can reach across oceans, through gates and locked doors, past neglect and abuse, to pierce the darkness around His children and bring them into the Light. 

I have known for some time now that God has called me to love the orphan as if they were my own.  Only now do I have a deeper understanding of what that really means.  He has led me to adoption and orphan ministry, taken me down so many different paths in order to teach me, guide me, sculpt me, prepare me.  I have been undergoing an apprenticeship with the Almighty Master!  My own passion for orphans is but a reflection of His heart, His passion, His nature ~ which He knit into mine before I was even born.  My desire to adopt a child is a reflection of His desire to adopt each of us as His precious sons and daughters.  And at the end of the day, that is the adoption that is eternal.  That adoption can happen anywhere, anytime, regardless of circumstance or law or financial restraints.  Even if an orphan is adopted into a loving home, it still comes down to that child of the world being adopted as a child of God.  Until we know God’s love, we will never grow into the children He created us to be.

My heart’s desire is to walk out a fleshly adoption, to bring a child into our family, nurture them, love them, and usher them into God’s kingdom here on Earth.  I don’t know if I will ever have the chance to do that.  But what God is offering me now is something far more powerful, something eternal, something much closer to His own heart.  To love these children as if they were my own, all of them.  Not just one, or two, or ten!  All of them!  He is telling me to LOVE them as He does, and leave the rest to Him!  Just as I had to lay my Juliana down, He had to sacrifice His only Son so that we might be adopted as His children also.  He had to watch His Son endure immense suffering for the sake of all His children.  And even as His children, He has to watch us in our rebellion and disobedience, our prideful independence as we suffer the consequences of trying to live our lives on our own terms.  He gave us that choice.  He gave us the choice to walk away.  And we did.  We still do. He must love us from a distance.  But He loves us none the less.  And He deeply, deeply desires for us to come back to Him.  For us to come to Him in hunger and humility. 

When we come to know Christ, when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we are often baptized in His name.  If we are born again, we are baptized in the Holy Spirit.  It is that second birth, that cleansing, atoning, fleshly circumcising birth from the Womb of the Holy Spirit, that I am praying for each of these children, that they might have eternal life in the glorious kingdom of God.  No matter what they endure on Earth, they will find love, and compassion, and security with their Father in Heaven.  They are of Him, in Him, and with Him ~ they are saved.

After I woke up from my dream, and turned to my Father in prayer for all “my babies” (as I call my kids), God revealed an awesome vision to me.  I saw Juliana, Zara, and Lilly ~ three orphans in three separate countries around the world ~ with a glowing belt of Light around them (like those donut inner tubes used for flotation).  He spoke so softly to me, telling me, “I have heard your cries.  They are safe.  Darkness has no power over them.  My Light will shine around them, offering them a protection that you never could!  They will be known by My Love.  They are Mine.” 

I have to lay Juliana down, not knowing if I will ever hold her in my arms again, but trust that He is holding her in His arms, now and forever; that in His love she will grow into the child He created her to be! 

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