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At arms length no more

I have a confession to make. Yes, another confession. Confessions are SO good for me though. I have been holding caring for widows and orphans at arms length. Serving comfortably and although passionate about it…I just realized it today.

As I stood in the back of the auditorum of my son’s preK class and watched an awards ceremony—in my mind I heard J.G. Morrison famous quote “Can’t you do just a little bit more?” as he was pleading with Nazarenes in the 1930’s Great Depression to support their missionaries. I am quilty. I have only been serving comfortable. And yes, I can do…a little bit more. But what if we could do A LOT more? Because as I stood in the back of that school with well dressed, healthy, full tummied, giggling children—millions of of children just like my son need us…to do more.

I am quilty of living comfortably. And justifying it too. I even have felt like not going on our annual vacation to Hilton Head as we poured into an adoption instead was doing without. I have dressed to be cute, instead of clothed. I have cooked to be satisfied instead of fed. I have, truthfully, invested more in my earthly home than my heavenly home. And today…it really bothered me. And Richard. And thankfully, we are on the same page.

I want to live more for the kingdom.

I want to live more for the gospel.

I want to live more for others.

I really do.

I don’t care if my blogs sound pretty. I don’t care if I sound crazy. And I just pray that Richard and I can follow the Lord no matter what. We heard news today that broke our hearts. It hit home in an entirely new way. What if that were Parker? What if that were Laney, Frank or Isaac? The truth is…if it were them…I would DO ANYTHING to help them. If it meant selling my house…going to sit by them and hold their hands until they got better…I’d do anything until they were okay. Truthfully, we have helped the orphans and widows at arms length. And…we can do more. We just can.

I pray our children turn out okay as we carry them along in our pursuit of following Him in His calling us to do more. My life is not my own—and if I am going to truly live for Him…then…I need to follow Him. We need not give our leftovers to the poor—but the meal—and allow Him to satisfy instead.

I knew the numbers. They made me sad. And through our ministry–I felt like we were doing something. And we are. But…I feel Him calling us to be present in an entirely new way—to longer hold these precious ones at arms length. I asked Him to break my heart for what breaks His…and I thought He already did that. But really—I. Had. NO. idea.

I’m anxious to see what is ahead for our family…but I think I already have a few ideas—and I’m excited to see how it all unfolds. It’s so funny–when you live for the world you look around and think you need this or that. But when you start living for the kingdom…you start looking around trying to figure out how to rid your life of the this and thats to ease the burden of another. When you live for the world you fear loss…but when you live for the kingdom you realize really you have nothing to lose. When you live for the world you want to please others, you care what others think of you and you spend your time analyzing how you make them feel or how they made you feel. But when you live for the kingdom, there is freedom—and you allow Him to work things out, be your guide, and you are filled with the peace that surpasses all understanding. James 1:27 always blows my mind on what pure and true religion is—especially the second part…not being polluted by the world. And that for me, is the most challenging part…not looking to the left or right but keeping my eyes focused on Him alone. James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. I’m getting to know the widow in a new way. I’m loving the orphan in a deeper way. And I can’t tell you how beautiful and right it feels…but also how BROKEN you become when you put those two together and begin to really understand them TOGETHER…and why we were told to serve them both—together. I can’t love the orphan and forget the widow. And I can’t love the orphan and widow and be of the world. Thank you Lord for your beautiful design of pure religion. This is what I want more of…this is what I want to live…and truly—we can do more.

Shannon - May 22, 2010 - 1:25 am

Thank you…I really needed to read this tonight and your words hit home! It’s so easy to start looking to the left and the right but I so desire to keep my eyes on him and not be polluted by this world. Boy does it happen so easily though! You are such an encouragement and I love your heart!

Jenny - May 22, 2010 - 7:36 am

i praise the Lord for you! i praise Him for your heart of compassion and for using you as a voice for those in need! i can’t wait to see what He has in store for your family!!!

julie@Flitterbugs - May 22, 2010 - 7:49 am

Thank you Andrea! ….and if you leave for Africa…take us with you!!!!

Dawn - May 22, 2010 - 10:41 am

Praying as you seek HIM! Can’t wait to see all HE HAS IN STORE! 🙂 May my heart be broken wide open too! Sometimes we just need a nudge.

Asher Collie - May 22, 2010 - 11:01 am

Wow. I am so right there with you. This is totally something the Lord has been working on in mine and Drew’s hearts!

Chrystal - May 22, 2010 - 11:07 am

… I just finished typing probally the longest reply to your blog post than humanly possible, just to hit “post comment” to have it all GONE. Did you hear that? GONE, I say.. grrr…. I am heading out to a woman’s luncheon at our church, but I will send you an email re-telling everything that I just shared. I can SO relate to this post.. I feel like our hearts are at the same place, and I’m sure that’s not by mistake. I will write you soon, friend. I want you to know that I will be lifting your family up in prayer today at our luncheon. I am praying for you more than you know… and I HEAR your heart right now!!!….. I’ll write you soon.. God is working SO MUCH right now.

Kim - May 22, 2010 - 11:43 am

I can only imagine all HE has in store for you sweet friend. I just wish we were neighbors! Seriously, it is uncanny how you put words to my private prayer life. I GET IT! I SO GET ALL THAT IS ON YOUR HEART!
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,

Elle J - May 22, 2010 - 11:59 am

YES!! Love to you, Andrea!!

JonesEthiopia - May 22, 2010 - 12:49 pm

I’ve been thinking a lot about these things, too. I’m fearful of giving up a secure job and life for the unknown… But it is always there, this desire to do more and be more for those in need.

GAP - May 22, 2010 - 3:42 pm

Arm’s length? Who are you kidding? Girl you’ve been leading with your heart for as long as I can remember. Just when I think you can’t reach any higher, you step it up to another level. Thank you for everything that you do to make the world just a little brighter.

Melissa - May 22, 2010 - 5:34 pm

oh my – amen & amen. My husband and I are RIGHT here in this EXACT place with you. I mean EXACTLY!!! We’re praying daily for God to reveal to us where He wants us and when because we are ready to let it all go (as wild as it seems on some days) and go head on into the world for the kingdom. Thanks for sharing!!

Rebekah - May 22, 2010 - 6:06 pm

Wow! There are so many women on here that are in agreement! My husband and I literally JUST had this conversation as well. God has completely changed the desires of our hearts from longing for a safe and secure life to a desire for living life on the edge with Christ – in whatever form He wants that to be! God is doing amazing things to break our hearts for the widows and orphans and we believe that He may even be preparing us for a move to Africa in the future. We will be praying for your family that God will continue to break your hearts so that His glory can be fulfilled in your lives and for your children to grow hearts that long to serve Christ as passionately as you and your husband!

Andrea Young - May 22, 2010 - 8:05 pm

SOOOOOO encouraging! Ok mommas…hang tight. Something beautiful is brewing–and it would be a privilege to do this with MANY of YOU. SOOOOO exciting!!!

Natali - May 22, 2010 - 8:48 pm

This is the exact same thing that has been breaking my heart :)) You’re right – it’s a beautiful broken feeling…

Rebecca Harley - May 22, 2010 - 8:59 pm

you constantly amaze me with how you can put words to the longings of my heart (I know that I have shared with you that I am not eloquent – at all!). So, again – thank you! I long to do more, be more, we are ready to soar with Him!!! We are praying for God to reveal to us what/how/when He wants to use us- and I love knowing that He is breaking the hearts of so many more!!! So I say – brew away!!!

Megan - May 23, 2010 - 1:22 am

I struggle with that too. The balance between providing for your kids and caring for the rest of the world. I don’t know what the answer is. But I can’t wait to see how God’s plan for your life unfolds!