At the Created for Care retreat I opened up the weekend sharing what I believe I see the Lord doing…on behalf of orphans and widows throughout the world. I see God raising up men and women to follow Jesus into the unknown–to bring hope and healing to orphans and widows THROUGH OUT THE WORLD. Not just Africa. Not just China. But RIGHT NEXT DOOR too. It’s TRUE! It’s amazing! And I love being a part of what God is doing…and meeting so many of you who share this same calling and passion in life. Together–we have locked hands and said, “It’s not okay with us for them to be forgotten” and we are putting our hearts, our words, our finances, our gifts together to be used for the glory of God on their behalf.
Can I get an AMEN?!
Alright. Now that you’ve given your amen–let me also say that when you follow the Lord in reclaiming orphans to know Jesus as Father (that IS our purpose in adoption and in all things…for our biological children, for our friends, for all orphans who are without Him)–when you begin following Jesus doing THIS…then rest assured you will be met with sorrow, with problems, with pain, with uncertainty…leading to frustration, to hurt, to feeling lonely, confused, betrayed…and fear. (Jesus said in John 16:33 “In THIS world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” NOTICE Jesus did NOT say “if” you have trouble but “you will”.) So…when the trouble comes, how are you to RESPOND??
Are you to respond with JOY? Are you to jump up and say, “I’m SO excited this is happening to me because I know all things happen to the good of the Lord?” Nope. And I’ll give you a heads up not to say this to a sister in Christ going through troubling times either. (Be quick to listen and slow to speak…for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus…just LISTEN.) SOOOO…how to RESPOND?
Cast your cares on the Lord.
I love how fisherman terms align so often with scripture. I grew up in a small town on the bay (Fairhope, AL) and my daddy would take me weekly to the pier. We’d stand on the end of the pier what felt like HOURS and watch the fisherman cast their nets. I love this picture of CASTING my cares…my worries…my problems…my fears to the Lord!
Now, if you have never seen this done–it is NO easy task. It actually requires EVERY move and limb of the fisherman–including his mouth. In one hand he wraps half of the net tightly around his hand. He holds it CLOSE. (Ever catch yourself HOLDING your problems so close…with every ounce in you–it seems to have your hands tied and heart distracted?!) The fisherman then smooths down the rest of the net with the other hand leaving the net at two different lengths and where the second length begins he holds a piece of that section in his mouth. (He is left SPEECHLESS…ever feel like that?) He then twists his body around and with all his strength–HE lets go! You hear nothing but a SLASH into the water from the weights on the net…and the catch is now up to the Creator.
SPLASH! What BEAUTIFUL sound!
“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.” Psalm 55:22
What are the cares your heart is holding SO TIGHTLY to? What are the problems that seem to be overtaking every bit of your soul?
Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.
Recently, we heard the news that Ethiopia may be cutting adoptions by 90%…this may or may not happen…
SO many families have felt led to bring home sons and daughters from this country. Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.
In our adoption journey–we truly KNEW the Lord was calling us to Ethiopia–my heart breaks for families who KNOW their child is there…and for the many little ones waiting. As we stepped up to follow the Lord in this way, it wasn’t long before we were met with problems. Everything from an unplanned for leaking shower to discouragment and judgement from here and there…”What about kids in America that need to be adopted? What about your country? What about? What about?” ANY time you follow the Lord–you WILL be met with nay-sayers. And some times unexpected leeky sinks. There will be trials. There will be troubles. And almost every time.
(Just a side note for the nay-sayers I casted to the Lord…while our hearts are open to domestic adoption and one day we probably WILL…and we know this because we have said YES more than once–but it just wasn’t God’s timing, more than ANYTHING we have to follow where the Lord leads!!! Don’t even THINK for a SECOND that this momma isn’t trying to convince her hubby that we should think about foster-to-adopt…we consider and pray about EVERY thing!!!)
More than anything in our callings–we need to encourage one another! We are faced with enough nay-sayers and hardship…hoop-jumpin’ craziness…and leeky sinks–oh that we could be encouragers in EVERY calling. And for those of you non-adoption folks reading this–NOT everyone is called to adopt! Not everyone is called to be a missionary! Not everyone is called to care for special needs little ones…etc, etc, etc. But EVERY one is called to do something for HIS great glory!!! To be a beacon of light in the darkness…and to call orphans to become daughters and sons to a Heavenly Father in heaven!!! They may be at the grocery store, moms in your preschool or even some of your dearest, sweetest friends of olde. Where He calls you–where ever that is–follow Him…be obedient…trust Him in the troubles…and when the troubles DO come…Cast your cares on the Lord.
My precious friend Lindsey moved to Tanzania with her family to be missionaries. Lindsey is a fellow photographer friend…sister-in-Christ…adoption momma…just to name a few:). Lindsay and her hubby sold their cars, their house, EVERYTHING they owned last year to move to Tanzania. After just a few months on the field, one of their PRECIOUS daughters became sick. They thought for sure it was just mono as she was so tired–but they returned to the States for more tests. Leukemia. They are here now without a home or cars and going through chemo with their little one. Lindsey is DAILY casting her cares on the Lord…and oh my–how she does it so beautifully.
As we step up to the front lines–there will be trouble. I want to respond to troubles by casting my cares to the Lord!
If your heart is heavy right now…whatever it may be–join me in praying through Psalm 55…make this your CRY as you CAST…
Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught because of what my enemy is saying,
because of the threats of the wicked; for they bring down suffering on me and assail me in their anger.
My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”
Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words, for I see violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they prowl about on its walls; malice and abuse are within it.
Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets.
If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide.
But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God,
as we walked about among the worshipers.
Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the realm of the dead, for evil finds lodging among them.
As for me, I call to God, and the LORD saves me.
Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.
He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me.
God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change—he will hear them and humble them, because they have no fear of God.
My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant.
His talk is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous be shaken.
But you, God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of decay; the bloodthirsty and deceitful will not live out half their days.
But as for me, I trust in you.
One last word of encouragement–as you seek to do the will of God, the Lord will bring MANY to walk with you. There will be things said and done that the enemy will try to use to DIVIDE those you are to walk WITH. Don’t let that stink, stink divide! I think as believers we need to be cautious to not let our convictions become judgements on others–but INSTEAD to encourage our sisters and brothers in Christ to run the race well that Christ has set aside for them to run! Remember–man looks at outer appearances but God looks at the heart! Our family is ALWAYS open to ANY one of His children that needs a mom and dad to love them…whether they are white, black, healthy, special needs, from Atlanta or Africa, or if their 3 months or 25 years old. God looks at the HEART! AND WE SHOULD TOO!!!
So…what is on YOUR heart tonight? Cast your cares on the Lord…AND HE WILL SUSTAIN YOU!”
P.S. Have I told you how THANKFUL I am to run this race with you?! To God be the glory that we do not have to this alone! Is it a wonder–that Jesus ALSO said DROP YOUR NETS and follow me?! You can NOT follow God DAILY with your whole heart if you do not cast your cares DAILY upon the Lord! And remember–you are NOT alone! Let us lift one another up and press one another on to love and good deeds in Christ’s name!