Mar 16, 2009

What I Have I Give to You

First of all... some amazing news. Guess who has a family? Cheryl! You can visit her family's blog to read more about their story so far and see lots of cute Cheryl pictures... who, by the way, is now going to be named Sophie. She was so cute today... radiantly happy all day long. There's more good news brewing with some other kids, but so far this is the only one that's official, so its what I get to announce today.

I needed good news today. Last week was hard... nothing out of the normal, just a long accumulation of pain, sorrow and suffering. The constancy of it hits me in waves... I'll be OK for a while, and then it just catches up with me. Because it never. ever. ever. ends. Heart babies with bad diagnosis. Sad and hurting children. Difficult surgeries. Painful recoveries. You get the picture. And I HATE it. I can't describe how much I absolutely HATE it.

True confessions here... this last Sunday we were at church and a woman got up to share about how God healed her daughter. And it was a miracle. A couple of weeks ago her little girl was diagnosed with a heart condition. The EKG came back as proof positive that she had this defect. The mother shared how terrified she was; how she'd get up at night and check to see if her little girl was still breathing, and how she prayed for her to be healed. And she was. This last Friday, they went for another EKG and more tests, and it came back with nothing. Her heart is perfectly normal. And so, we all praised God.

Except I didn't.

I sat in my seat with my eyes welling with tears, and honestly I was angry that this little girl could be healed when Kerstin is blue from lack of oxygen and can't walk across a room without panting. And she doesn't have a mother or a father. No one to check on her in the middle of the night just to make sure she's still breathing. So why don't we just go ahead and add insult to injury.

A couple of weeks ago, someone left a comment on my blog. She said: I honestly don't know how you do it. You have to be one super strong woman. I would love to volunteer for a month but I'm scared that I would be an emotional wreck by the end.

The truth of the matter is that most days I am there's at least a part of me that is an emotional wreck. I think if someone could come here and do this work and not be an emotional wreck, it would suggest that they'd forgotten their heart at the baggage claim or something. I think it is supposed to disturb us that there are sick children who will die without treatment. Sick children who don't have mothers to rock them. Sick children who are dirty, hungry, abandoned, forsaken, and hopeless.

I know that generally I manage to keep the tone of the blog upbeat and happy. And it isn't as if I'm misleading you... most days what overwhelms me isn't the sorrow; it is the joy. The pure, absolute joy. But for the last week, the sorrow that's always lurking crept up, and it culminated in church on Sunday with me sitting in my seat darkly wondering if God cares more for this woman's little girl than he does for Kerstin.

I know many of you read this blog and think things like the commenter did -- "Wow, they must be super strong." We're not. We're incredibly weak. When I read that comment, I wanted to tell all of you that this isn't who I thought I would be. I didn't think I was strong enough to be around sick children. I didn't think I was strong enough to live in a foreign country. On many days what I'd like more than anything is a house that I can decorate and an actual shower stall.

The same morning that I read that comment, I was reading in the book of Acts when Peter walks by the beggar at the gate. The crippled beggar asks for money. Peter says, I don't have money. But what I have I give to you. I was deeply struck by those words, and it was at that moment that I realized this is really why we're here. It isn't because we're strong. It isn't because we felt like an adventure. All I am is an emotionally wrecked person feeling like a drop of rain in an ocean of suffering who daily says to God, "I don't have much, but what I have I give to you."

I said I daily say that to God. And I meant daily. That's because it still isn't my default. Most of the time, I'd rather say, "But what I have, I'll share with my family. Or, "But what I have, I'll save for my future." Or, "But what I have, I'll give to my friends." Or, "But what I have, I"ll keep for myself." You get the idea... I don't want to say, "But what I have, I give to you."

And by my own strength, I can't say it. But, I have the example of Christ to follow, and each day He changes me to look a little more like Him. And isn't this what He did on the cross? He didn't hold back. He didn't shy away from suffering. He didn't escape or hide or do any of the things I would have wanted to do. By giving Himself up for us, He said, "But what I have, I give to you."

My hope and prayer is that each of us will look deeply into our hearts and honestly ask God to reveal to us the answer to this question: Am I giving you what I have, God? In the face of the sorrow and the suffering around me, am I surrendering what I have to you?

And if the answer is no, I pray that something happens to open your eyes and emotionally devastate you. I pray that you will be wrecked. I pray that you will come face-to-face with pain so real that you simply can't walk away and go back to the status quo. I pray that you will start the daily surrender of saying, "I don't think it is much, God. And I don't know what you can do with it. But here it is. Use me however you can."

I promise to write more later... about where I think God is in all of this suffering, and if He does love the other little girl more than Kerstin. But, I am unbearably wordy, and if you've already read this much you deserve a prize. So, I'll save the rest for another post.

13 comments:

AlyAbox said...

Carrie,

Thank you for sharing your heart. I am glad that you are where you are, so that you can bless Kerstin and all the other little ones with yourself. You are a blessing.
Thanking our Father daily for you.
Blessings,
Alycia

Jill said...

Oh Carrie, that is GREAT news about Cheryl, I mean Sophie. :) She was the child I was thinking about sponsoring this spring. I'm glad she's going home. I've prayed for her to have a special family for a long time.

Thank you for sharing your feelings. You and Jacob are always on my prayer list.

Lisa said...

Praise God for your willingness to allow God to give through you! i appreciate the "realness" of this post. I can only imagine how this must all weigh heavily on you at times. I hope it helps some to know you are prayed for. May God be your comfort and strength!

Leanne said...

Carrie,

Thank you for this real post. It is beautiful! I really feel like God calls us all to suffer along side him. Can you imagine how much He suffers in a day when he sees all the little children down here with no moms and dads? Like I said before, my husband and I are in the process of adopting from VN. We felt 100% sure that God had/has called us to this. But, the last 19 months have been complete agony for us…topped last October with the loss of the son we were in the process of adopting. He died of pneumonia, something that a child in the US rarely dies from. I was so confused as to why God would call us to this and then put us through all of this pain and suffering and why He would allow this precious child to die in an orphanage of something that was very easily preventable (in our minds).

During our time of suffering the Lord kept bringing me back to this verse, “Now we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”
Romans 8:3

God brought me and my husband to a place where we were thinking about how much He suffers during His days. I could not imagine seeing everything He sees …abandoned children, babies aborted, people groups starving…the sweet children you see suffering everyday.

As hard as it was, my husband and I prayed that we would be able to be a part of this suffering. We want to be able to see and feel His suffering, so that we can know His heart and surrender our hearts to loving our neighbors and help ease their sufferings. This is hard and I feel like we fail at this quite often, but I try to remind myself to pray for this daily. And, it seems that when we are suffering the most, we are closest to Him.

Anyway, sorry for the LONG comment!! I just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you and praying for you (and all the sweet little ones).

One more verse I love: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:4

On a different note…my mom, Char and I went shopping for you guys last weekend! A package will be on its way in the next couple of day!! Yeah!!

Leanne said...

wow! I am really sorry for writing a book in you comment section!!! :)

michele stein said...

Carrie your post shows such a beautiful true self. don't be afraid to get angry & devastated b/c it shows you still care and will do something for the children...it's your 'mother tiger' showing! wouldn't this world be a wonderful place if all of us could show such compassion & advocacy for each other? hang in there, channel the anger into action and love... and don't forget to allow yourself a break from the sadness long enough to do something fun b/c the fun will re-energize you for the hard work before you. give yourself a hug, you and the kids deserve it!!

blessedmomof5 said...

I'm reading the book of Kings with my oldest two (11 and 13). Tonight we were in the story of Jereboam when his wife goes to the prophet of the Lord because her son is sick. The prophet tells her that her son will die, be mourned and buried, because he is FAVORED by the Lord and has some love for God. Then the prophet goes on to say that the REST of the family, who have followed their father in turning to idols will die and be eaten by either animals or birds.
Not exactly an easy passage to explicate.
Brendan says--"What about the little ones who don't know better like Steffi (his 5 year old sister)"
Answer: No easy answer. Yet, because I'm the mom, I do answer. "There is a lot I do not know. When I think about how big the universe is (we just went to a physics program about the size of the universe) and how small we are, I cannot understand why God (who is beyond the Universe and made it) even thinks about us. Yet he does. He tells us he loves us. He worked out his love through history and told us that in the Bible. He came to be with us. He died for us. He comes to live in us. So--One thing I know, God loves. He loves the little ones and he bears them in this life and the next.
A second thing I know--the point of our lives is not just to be happy. It is to glorify Him. Jesus was glorified in being rejected, despised and killed. All through my adoption process with Steffi, the phrase, "I was rejected and despised by men," kept on running through my head. When we love those that man has rejected, we are God's love here on earth.
I think there is not really an answer to the suffering we witness. There is only response. Thanks Carrie and Jacob for responding and for leading all of us to respond with you--respond with prayers, hopes, dreams and heart-wrenching cries to God.

TanyaLea said...

Dear Carrie,
Thank you for sharing from the depth of your heart. You've spoken what so many who have seen this level of pain and suffering, and of such injustice to the innocent, are feeling themselves. Very few find a place to express it. I just want you to know that we are still praying and have been praying for Kersten and the other children who have been through so much in this past week...as well as all of the children who reside at New Day. I have such a God-breathed love for all of the children in your care. And as I've told Karen before...we are also praying for all of YOU...the caretakers and those giving your life at this very time for the good of these beautiful and deserving kids...and we are SO VERY THANKFUL for the life sacrifices you make on behalf of these children. Your rewards will surely be revealed in Heaven! The past couple of weeks have been especially heavy at New Day, with so many critically ill kids in need of immediate medical care. I can only imagine the weight that you all are bearing at this time. It truly grieves me! But I hope you find comfort in knowing that people are joining in prayer along side you for these precious children. You are NOT alone. We are here...and most importantly, our Father is, too! We do serve a God who can and does move mountains. And I am a huge believer in the power of prayer in numbers...though I also know that He can work miracles when even just one faithful person prays! Just know that those children are loved by so many of us who have never even met them in person... and know also, that we love you, as well! May God richly bless you for your faithfullness to follow the path He has set before you, in such a time as this! <><

We also shared in the joy and celebration as Cheryl officially became "Sophie" today... I was overjoyed when I read about her match! Every child deserves a day like that!!

Warmly,
Tanya T.

JShannon said...

Carrie,
That was very well written. Thank you for being you !!

Nicole said...

This is absolutely beautiful. Just beautiful. I love reading your blog. The Lord is smiling upon you Carrie. I would have to personally believe that He knows that you are a good and faithful servant.
Blessings,
-Nicole
www.bakerssweets.blogspot.com

Jovy said...

Carrie,

You have no idea how much your blogs minister to me! It is easy to see that your heart breaks for what His heart breaks for. You both are "free yet slaves to the hurting, dirty, and dying." It is evdient in the work that you do! Thank you for being obedient to what He is doing in your hearts!

Jovy

Jovy said...

oops i forgot to write the man who said that quote...

Peter Greig

K said...

I am SO happy I found your blog(from the comment you left on Leanne's blog- I'm so excited they are finially going to VN!) - tonight after my girls are in bed I am going to come back and read as much as I can of it.
Can't wait to read about the work you are doing - praise God!

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