So every year I try (and try is operative word) to read through the Bible in a year. Usually what happens is I get through Genesis and then partly through Exodus until post the exodus and crossing the Red Sea and then I get a little lost. I mean WHY do I CARE about the building of the Tent of Meeting. WHY do I care about the PLUNDER the Israelites brought out of Egypt? WHY do I care WHO built anything? What does that tell me about the Lord? And then it hit me…..as I got all the way through Exodus, I heard from the Lord. He revealed the answers to some of these questions as He related them to our own life, circumstances and situations. Hindsight tends to be 20/20. But first a 10-second review of the summer.
- Went and served in NICARAGUA: Awesome, heart-breaking, inspiring, fun, beautiful, life-changing, and eye-opening, never before seeing a church step-out in partnership like the Nicaragua church – a post on that coming.
- Took Madeline to serve on her very first mission trip with just daddy in Belize- staying the whole week with the team!
- Josh and Madeline get to see Bella and Christopher in Belize too while we are there.
- Madeline loses her first tooth!! – And NO we don’t do the tooth fairy…going rate on the current market was $5 / tooth based on some parent / kid research I did. That’s more per ounce than gold!
- June 13th – Amy discovers bed bugs in Elijah’s bed….OH NO.
- In the middle of dealing with bed bugs, Josh / Madeline are in another country and our washing machine dies.
- Went and served in Nicaragua AGAIN and the Lord confirmed everything I observed the first time. Literally that country has captured my heart.
- AMY STILL BATTLING BED BUGS…this marks – month 1 in the battle
- A lot of time outside with our garden, the yard, the kids playing
- Guess what?! – still bed bugs!!! Amy and Josh start to go a little bit batty due to the ongoing battle. NOTE: We have since (we think) finally gotten the treatment taken care of and found a source / home…they are really sneaky suckers. IT didn’t involve replacing the flooring in our whole house but we were really really close! It did involve getting rid of the boys beds (original set) and the replacement bed set. And it involved A LOT of laundry! AN insane amount of laundry.
- BEACH VACATION!!!
- Madeline starts Kindergarten
- BOYS start preschool
- AMY has 9 hours each week with NO KIDS!!
It’s been an eventful summer and each one of those bullet points probably deserves it’s own post. And to be honest I’ll probably get around to it. BUT I wanted to get back to the answers from God’s word. WHY DO I CARE?
The Lord called on Moses to lead His people out of captivity and into the Promised Land. Moses had NO IDEA what he was doing. He made every excuse in the book and each time the Lord provided a solution, an answer, meeting his excuses with solutions.
The plagues happen and ultimately right before the last plague The Lord instructs the Israelites to ask for MORE stuff to carry.
that they ask, every man of his neighbor and every woman of her neighbor, for silver and gold jewelry.” 3 And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people” – Exodus 11:2-3
I don’t know about you. If I was getting ready to leave my home, the LAST thing I would want is to carry all this EXTRA stuff with me. I don’t know where I am going and you want me to carry all this gold, fine cloth, etc. I don’t care how much it’s worth. It does’t make sense. But they did.
After the Lord provided direction on HOW to build the Tabernacle and what to build it with. This is what He asks Moses to do:
The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. 3 And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, 4 blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats’ hair, 5 tanned rams’ skins, goatskins,[a] acacia wood, 6 oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, 7 onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. 8 And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. 9 Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it. – Exodus 25:1-9
Moses remember when I told you to get all the nice things from the Egyptians? Remember how you thought to yourself why we have to carry this much weight? Well here’s the answer. We’re going to build a dwelling place for me.
Moses next question to the Lord had to be in typical Moses fashion….ummm but I can’t build anything. Who is going to build this place for you?
The Lord said to Moses, 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, 4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. 6 And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you: 7 the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, 8 the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, 9 and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand,10 and the finely worked garments,[a] the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, for their service as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. According to all that I have commanded you, they shall do.” – Exodus 31:1-11
And God answered…”Already have that taken care of too Moses, Just listen to me and do what I say. I will make a way for My Will to be done.”
The story ends at the end in Exodus 39:32 32 Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished, and the people of Israel did according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses; so they did.
- In the beginning Moses had no idea how He would lead his people out of Egypt but he listened to God and did what he said.
- He had no idea WHY the Israelites had to take all this stuff from the Egyptians but he only saw right in front of Him. In the moment He listened to God and did what He said, allowing God to put in motion plans down the road.
- Oholiab and Bezalel had no idea how or why they knew how to fashion items out of fine stones, gems, gold and silver. They had worked as brick makers. They didn’t know that the skills they honed making bricks under slavery for the Egyptians would translate to making the Lord’s house. They were faithful in listening to God and doing what He said in making the bricks and they became architects.
- The people were strapped with an extra burden of carrying their neighbors fine linens, fabrics, gold and jewelry. They could have kept it for themselves but instead they were faithful and Listened to God and did what He said, giving it all to Moses for a purpose they may not have understood.
Perhaps, perhaps this story is in here to show me, maybe to show us, that the Lord’s plans we may not understand in the moment BUT we are called to be obedient in the here and now so the Lord can move and create much further down the road. I know at least for me, in this season of my life, that’s what Exodus has spoken to me.
A note on what’s next
In 2008, the Lord called Amy and I to adoption. We knew it separately. We knew it together. We knew we were called to love kids who were not our own. And as we have shared here on a couple of occasions, we pursued in obedience to the Lord. At the time, it wasn’t in His plans. Life moved on….way way on.
In 2015 – the Lord called us back from Belize to the United States. We felt it and we knew it. We knew for some reason that we couldn’t explain that it wasn’t Raleigh, NC. We weren’t called to go back and be the same. We were called to Winston-Salem. it didn’t make any sense but We listened to God and did what He said. He provide a home for us and we are here.
In 2015 -We obeyed the Lord and purposefully placed Madeline in a school and classroom where she is the minority. We feel called to minister to and be in community with those of different socio-economic backgrounds and racial diversity. We don’t know why other than God told us to.
In 2016 – We begin to learn that the Lord has placed people in our church family with the same heart for adoption, fostering. We drive past a sign every single Sunday in front of a local agency stating Foster / Adoptive parents are needed. Josh knows this is our family’s next step and Prays for the Lord to move in Amy’s heart.
In August 2016 – the Lord moves in Amy’s heart one Sunday in church from hearing clearly what our next step was…. ADOPTION. It’s time!
Yesterday, 2016 – Amy and Josh start our first class to become foster and adoptive parents.
In 2008 did we know that the Lord was calling us to adoption in Winston – Salem. Nope. In 2015 did we know that God was placing people in our lives to help support / love / and hold up our hands while we are pursuing this….NOPE. When we placed Madeline in her school did we know that He was using that “education” to help her and the boys know how to speak to / hang out with / all different kinds of people / kids. NOPE. Did we know that is what Belize was preparing them for? NOPE.
We don’t even know WHERE THIS GOES? But here’s what we know. In our family we listen to Jesus and do what He says. So we are going to pursue adoption. Would you pray with us in this journey?
- For our marriage – that we would seek God first and foremost. Go to Him with our questions / concerns / challenges. That we would get time alone and get time with each other. That we would continue to prioritize dates with each other and special moments together. That He would prepare our hearts to love each other well even through inevitable times of stress.
- For our children – that The Lord would show them His love through this process. That they would understand what it means to love big, and boldly. That our kids would live sacrificially and welcome anyone and everyone that comes into our home….now and forever.
- For the process – We are praying for a miracle. Given everything we know about timelines, it looks like it’ll be 2017. We are praying for a miracle that we could have a placement BEFORE March 1st. Essentially BEFORE I would travel to lead a trip. SO PLACEMENT BEFORE MARCH 1st!
- For the child / children – Yes we are praying to see if the Lord is calling us to child or children. We are praying for their safety, mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally. We are praying for our hearts and minds that The Lord would equip us with the skills as He did the craftsmen in Exodus to love any and all children placed in our home in exactly the way they needed to be loved. Pray that the child or children the Lord places into our home would feel the presence of the Lord all around them and know and feel safety, love, and comfort.
So that’s our adventure…Like always Listen to God and do what He says. My encouragement to you all is to do the same in your life. Discern how is he calling you? How can you do what He says? And then walk confidently in it. Our life is an adventure but there’s no one we would rather adventure with. Thanks for praying with us and for us. We are so encouraged by you all!
Lavish Blessings 🙂