Letters to My Girls: Do Not Retreat.

My Girls,

You are too little to realize it yet, but this world is broken.  Very broken. It is not how God originally designed it to be. And one day, when this realization becomes true to you – I pray that I can be there to hold your hand, wipe your tears, and be a sounding board for your thoughts and questions. For now though, all I can do is pray for you and this future moment.

This week a lot has gone wrong in the world. Men, women, and children in Iraq are being murdered for their faith. An unarmed boy was shot by police & left in the street for four hours in St. Louis. There is an Ebola outbreak – and selfish people in our country are way too concerned with their well-being that they say stupid things on national television or the internet. A well-known pastor has fallen from good-graces with our denomination.  We have friends who have lost babies. We’ve seen sons and daughters bury parents & siblings. People are being diagnosed with cancer. And all over my facebook feed I see people hurting from illness and loss.

It’s enough to make you want to curl up inside your home and retreat. But little ones, when the moment comes when you fully understand the frailty of humanity, retreat you must not.

Throughout the Old Testament we are pointed to a God who cares about justice. He cares about the orphan, the widow,  & the sojourner. Over and over in Scripture we are told to seek justice and to treat the widow and fatherless well. And if for a second you doubt God’s care for the poor here are just a few verses that speak of His unfailing love:

“Father of the Fatherless and Protector of widows is God in His holy habitation” Psalm 68:5

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”   James 1:27

“You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn…” Exodus 22: 22-23

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute” Psalm 82:3

“Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”  Jeremiah 22:3

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

These are just a few, but Scripture is packed full of a stories and verses that point back to a God who doesn’t just care for the poor and oppressed, but comes to their defense. That is, after all, our story too.  We have been adopted into God’s family. We were once sojourners, but now we have been given an eternal Father, a magnificent Savior, and the Holy Spirit to guide us in this life.  We were outsiders, who have been taken in. This is our story; it is our song. And just as it is life giving, it is life changing. And when dark days come, and come they will, I want you to fight the urge to retreat. Instead I want you to remember your song, and push into the one who will make all things new.

In moments when you want to retreat or feel paralyzed, I want you to pray hard little ones. When you wake in the dark night overwhelmed with grief, I want you to remember these verses and remember that the God you serve neither slumbers nor sleeps & He loves His children with reckless abandon.

Where you see injustice, I want you to be God’s hands and feet and take comfort in knowing that YOU can be a picture of God’s redemptive story to this broken world. I know that at moments, you might feel paralyzed by all that’s going on around you. I know on weeks like this one… I surely do. But then after I catch my breath and realize that the “saving” is not up to me, I look around and ask God where I can do my part.

I’ll be honest with you. This is one of the many reasons why we’re adopting. We see the brokenness that has invaded our culture regarding “unwanted” children & we feel God’s hand compelling us towards action.  (Clarification: We know that most birth moms very much so WANT their children, the “unwanted” was referring to our culture’s push towards abortion, not birth mom’s lack of wanting!). We want our family to be a conduit of grace in our society. We believe that ALL children are a blessing and have equal and great worth in the eyes of our Lord. And we know that we can love you and the other children that God brings into our home, because He first loved us. And through any hardship, He is greater my little ones.

Where we see a racial divide, Jesus is Greater and He is better than our comfort zones. Where we see a financial divide, Jesus is Greater and all things are His and so we give and receive generously to/from one another. Where we see hunger, and pain, and loss, and hurt, again, may Jesus is Greater be your anthem. But may it not only be your anthem in word, but your war cry in deed.

He is not a God who retreats. He is not a God who quits. He is strong. He is mighty. He is GOOD. And He has fought for you and will one day make all things new. 

Because of this, you can be brave and trust Him. Evaluate your giftings, your stage of life, what you are capable of, and then fight back. If you’re a writer, I want you to write. If you’re a teacher, teach truth passionately. If you’re a mother, I want you to LOVE selflessly. If you’re a business woman, work hard and give generously.  If you’re an engineer, create better ways of life for others. If you’re a missionary, never, ever, give up.

This week my mama’s heart initially prayed for your safety and for your comfort in days to come, but I know that those prayers are selfish. And that God did not give you to me so I could teach you to love comfort. Instead, during your little years I’m training my heart to pray for more than that. So tonight, as I go to sleep… I’m praying that you will abandon modern comforts with reckless abandon and run to what God bends your heart towards. I'm praying for courage to stand for truth, for tenderness to God’s call, for your spirit to be kind, for your hearts to be discerning, minds to be quick to learn, and your feet would be quick to go. Oh my little ones, one day when you’re older I pray that on weeks like these you will be strong & courageous, deeply rooted in the faith. May you walk into the trenches to hold hands with those who are hurting. May you open your home, your hearts, and your wallets to those who are truly in need.  May you love deeply and without prejudice. And may you live anything, but a comfortable, boring, self-absorbed life. 

Do not retreat.

Much love,

Your mama

Posted on August 11, 2014 and filed under Letters to my girls, Motherhood, Humanitarian, Adoption.