Wednesday, June 6, 2012

when the clouds won't go away

beach week rained out.

that's the headline for my life right now.  and for a sun-worshipper like me...
this is tragic.  
every summer our family kicks off the summer with a week at the beach.  every year we see a few clouds...maybe a sprinkle here and there...but the sun always prevails.  we always head home with skin a few shades darker and the happy, satisfied feeling that pure vitamin d injected into your pores leaves you with.  this year stinks is different.  we have been here for 3 days and have spent a total of about 75 minutes on the beach {one hour of which was me and oliver in our pj's at 6:30 a.m. before the daily downpour began}.  
{little did they know that this was 1 of only 15 minutes they would spend on the beach all day}
as i write i feel like i am surrounded by gray and any trace of color has been removed from the world.  and so i write...seeking some vibrancy...

some of our best friends are in the middle of an adoption journey.  it has been {like many stories of adoption} a roller coaster ride.  recently they lost a referral for a precious african beauty who was to be their first daughter in a house full of boys.  the clouds moved in...the colors began to fade.  my friend jenn has shared her heartache during this season with beautiful honesty. there are days when the sun breaks through for a moment and pours light into the darkness but for much of their days there has been a heaviness that has settled in around them.

i was talking with jenn's husband, kenny, last week and was struck by a comment he made.  he told me that God keeps reminding him that he was called to this process.  when he sat in a convention center overflowing with pastors from all over the country a few years ago his heart was pierced for the plight of orphans around the world.  in that moment God called him...not to a specific child...not to a specific country - but to the process of adoption.  it was a calling that his wife received many years before and that they would finally step into together.

as i listened to kenny talk about the ups and downs that this journey has taken his family on i heard a steady resolve amidst the chronic uncertainty that they face.  i am committed to the process...whatever it may be.  

process :: a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end

God holds our very lives in his hands.  the minutes, hours, days, years...they are crafted together by steady, loving hands.  He makes no mistakes {when it comes to the weather or adoption}.  He can be trusted {with our vacations and our families}.  

He orders our steps that we might reach a particular end.

and so we move forward...even when we don't know the forecast for tomorrow.  because when all of our tomorrows come to an end and the process is finished - we will be complete...possessing a perfect, enduring, unchanging faith in Christ.  and completeness doesn't come from a series of hundreds of sunny, happy days all strung together.  completeness comes from sunshine mixed with rain...and sometimes storms that bring hurricane-force winds tearing apart our hearts and flooding our eyes full of tears.

the rain has forced me inside this week...not just inside the beach house but inside my heart.  God knew there was work to be done there and that it couldn't be done frolicking care-free on the sand.  He loves me too much to just let me be...i'm still in process...and in that process - i, like my friends kenny and jenn, choose joy.

dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  for you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  so let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. 
james 1:2-4

if this truth from james is an encouragement to you check out this great message from my pastor  

how have your cloudy days revealed - {1} who God is and {2} who you are?