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for the Joy of the Lord…

I’m folding laundry.

But all I can really think about is her. And millions of others–just like her.

Another pair of shorts. And another. And another. How many shorts does an almost 7 year old boy need anyway? Yet, those like her…only have the clothes on their little bodies. That’s it.

I live in a culture where we match our shoes to the color of our shirt for goodness sake. We actually “accessorize”. We cook for pleasure…and eat our cake too.

I can’t help but feel–we’re missing the mark.

That THIS…is NOT…what we were made for.

Why me?

Why do I get to live in this privileged country?

My 2 year old cried tonight. Not because he was hungry. But because he didn’t like the dinner I made. It wasn’t good enough…to his sweet little 2 year old tastebuds.

Yet, I handed her a half eaten power bar–that even I had to force myself to eat…she quickly devoured half of it. And then clinched the other half tightly as she ran. She found her friend–and gave the other half to her to eat. They both looked back at me…smiled–and she ran back and reached for me to pick her up again. How this must make the Lord smile. It’s no wonder His Word says so much about the poor and orphans…it seems they really get it.

Three months. Three months. Three months. The length of time required to foster a child in country before allowed to adopt internationally in Zambia. (Three months with 4 little ones and fostering a new one…while my husband works in the US…could I do it? Why does it have to be so long?)

I walk around my house thinking about malaria…parasites…all the health risks. Quite confused about if we are to continue in a predictable, short trip program–or take a crazy adventure that seems so unknown and scarey to me. Maybe He just wants to see if we are willing to seek Him in eveything and trust Him…and He’ll release us to continue the course we began on. But for now, I know we must pray…and consider this option as well.

Because I held her.

And she is real.

But most of all–my heart isn’t allowing me to move forward and think of anything else right now. Rico Suave is the most amazing man in the world. He sits here with me. Waiting. Ready. Willing.

Our children…open hearted. Along for whatever the Lord says for us to do.

I share this with a friend at church.

You know you can’t save them all. I mean, when is enough–enough Andrea.

Without thinking I respond. I know. I understand what you are saying. But I also think our culture too often uses that thinking as an excuse to do nothing. And I can’t do nothing. I held her–and I just have to see…and wait…and go if He says go. And I can’t worry about what the world thinks either.

And no. I can’t save them all. If you want the truth–I can’t even save one. Only He can.

He so often uses His people to be His hands and feet…and I count all the loss for the cost of whatever He calls us to in this life. It is a privilege to follow Him–and experience His love and joy as we follow.

Psalm 37:4-7

3 Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.

5 Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.
6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

7 Be still in the presence of the Lord,
and wait patiently for him to act.

So often, I’ve heard these verses–especially the “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you your heart’s desires…” This is NOT talking about your desires that pertain to the world–because when you delight yourself in the Lord–your worldly desires go away. WHY IN THE WORLD would I desire some of the things I’m desiring. It doesn’t make sense. It really doesn’t sound fun. And it’s far different than the white picket fence with 2 kids and a dog dream of a future that we started off with.

I’m learning so much…so much from little ones–like a little girl who gets something she desperately needs…yet immediately looks for someone to serve and gives half of it away.

So much from a widow dancing…singing her heart out…for the joy of the Lord is her strength.

I’m pushing things to the left and right in my kids closets and drawers as I make room to put up their things. More things. More things in one year of their lives that most of the world will ever own in a lifetime.

My heart is also ready to push some things out…that just need to be pushed out…to make room for more.

I will trust in the Lord.

I want to take delight in Him and trust my heart…to be changed…and for His desires to become my desires…

To commit everything I do to the Lord

and trust Him to help me.

I will wait patiently for Him to act.

And tonight–I’m singing this with my brother in Christ Coffey Anderson:

Laying all this on my heart…down at the cross. Trusting Him to act. And walking away with the Joy of the Lord.



Makenzie - August 3, 2011 - 10:07 pm

Praying for you and your family, Andrea!

Meghan Dempster - August 3, 2011 - 10:10 pm

That pretty much sums it up πŸ˜‰

Ali - August 3, 2011 - 10:10 pm

You are an inspiration to me…your passion for being right in the center of God’s will is refreshing, exciting and motivating! Thank you for your obedience to His Spirit. For your love for the orphans and the widows. For your willingness to share your poetic voice with all of us here. May You continue to be blessed in all that you do.

ASH - August 3, 2011 - 10:11 pm

Sometimes, there is so much on my heart that I don’t even know where to begin. I want to move, but He says wait. I want to act, but He says “Be still.” I want to see and understand, but He says, “Not in this lifetime, my child.” Thank you for the reminder…the reminder that, when we are following God’s call to care for the least of these, sometimes what we need to DO is “Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.” Because He will. He WILL act on behalf of these precious ones. If I sometimes feel lost and confused HERE, without having taken the journey you have just taken, I can only imagine how you are feeling…maybe overwhelmed and unsure where to begin after seeing raw NEED in its purest form. Praying for your heart as you sit before Him and wait patiently for Him to ACT.

Lauren - August 3, 2011 - 10:12 pm

yes! awesomely beautiful! praying with you dear friend… that the Lord would make it clear. Maybe you are to have two new babes – one from Zambia AND one from China… wouldn’t that be incredible?! I will pray for direction with you!

Erin Whitener - August 3, 2011 - 10:17 pm

Beautiful. And why not consider it?? What can look like a winding road to us is a straight path to the Lord because He knows where He is taking us the whole time. Don’t worry about what anyone says! xoxo!

Mama Mimi - August 3, 2011 - 10:21 pm

How painful the wait can be. Praying that God reveals to you which direction to take. You are such an inspiration Andrea! I know how much I am uplifted just by READING your words/thoughts/ect.

Esty - August 3, 2011 - 10:21 pm

I knew it was her. I knew because you hold her like she is yours already. Your body language spoke volumes and I was sure from Moment #1. See how your head cocks towards her? How your arms cradle her? Now look from those photos to all of your FB photos of you holding Frank, Issac…it’s the same, Andrea. You hold her like she is your daughter. Enough said. Mommy. Go and bring her home.

Dennis Neal - August 3, 2011 - 11:09 pm

I once again am challenged by your words, as I look at the news of the world and the US is urging for help for the horn of Africa as refugees are pouring in to Ethiopia and other surrounding countries and the scripture that comes to my mind as I read ur blog tonight and the news is in ISamuel 17:29 and David said “what have I now done? Is there not a cause?” The devil is out to occupy our minds and are time to stop what God has planned for our lives. The answer for me is prayer and fasting,it will always move the hand of God to bring answers.

Staci - August 3, 2011 - 11:25 pm

Praying for you and your family right now… beautiful, heartfelt post.

Holly - August 3, 2011 - 11:30 pm

“Your comment was a bit too short. Please go back and try again.” : the message I got when I tried to leave my comment, which was simply… “love.” ha, ha. πŸ™‚ anyways…love!!

amy - August 4, 2011 - 7:48 am

Oh I so hear the longing in your post. Praying for you. And no you can’t “save them all,” but maybe God did call you to this one. If all Christians answered the call as they should, then no one would appear to be trying to “save them all” as they would all have families.
amy in ga

Tracy Sheehy - August 4, 2011 - 8:21 am

Exactly!! You said it all. I had a conversation with two friends yesterday and I know they think I am a freak but we were made for so much more than just living the American dream!! Laying it all down for Jesus! Thank you for sharing!

Alison - August 4, 2011 - 10:24 am

Wow, will be praying that God makes His will perfectly clear to ya’ll Andrea! Excited to see where He leads!

Renae - August 4, 2011 - 10:36 am

I get it Andrea! I totally do….I’m with you bloggy friend…praying, waiting, interceding for the Lord to show you what to do next!:)

Rory Cookman - August 4, 2011 - 10:38 am

I’m not saying I’ve heard from the Lord or anything, but this is just the kind of thing that bears His mark. Is it crazy? Sure by all the rationale of the world. It’s the good kind of crazy. And by saying that I’m not trying to make it sound like the answer is all sewed up neat and tight. What I am saying is that I will be praying and fasting for you today. It is a privilege that you share your heart with us and we will protect that. It is going to be awesome and evident as the hand of God begins to work in ways we can’t even imagine, and you will keep in perfect peace as your mind stays steadfast on Him.
Your sister in Christ,

keely - August 4, 2011 - 11:38 am

beautifully written. i could repost your exact words (but i wont) on my blog as its the tears that flow down my face as i walk through each day. although i have never held these two particular girls and although there are mountains in the way of adopting them… they are on the forefront of my mind and prayers daily. not to mention that i REALLY struggle living in America- would much rather sell everything and move to Africa, but thats not where He has lead my husband at this time, so i sit and pray while i wait. your words bring a lump to my throat. there is so much more than this life we are living.

Kristin - August 4, 2011 - 12:11 pm

Praying that the desires of your heart will lead you to your child. You are so evidently sold out to God, He will not confuse you. He will lead. It’s not by chance that your children are your children. God brought them to you and you to them, He’ll do the same now, no doubt.

Kristin - August 4, 2011 - 2:49 pm

WOW! I love how you are so willing to be obedient to the Lord. He has you in the palm of His hand. You are living a life exactly how God wants us to live life. We are made for soooo much more. Something I heard in a sermon just a couple months ago really spoke to me….”delayed obedience is disobedience” I believe that if you’re feeling this strongly about this little girl…you know it in your gut, you have to jump! God will be there! I will be praying for you, the little girl, all the children that have so much less then my four and for your family as you step out and see what God has in store for you next. You are an inspiration to me…radically living out the Gospel. I feel so blessed, once again, that God led me to your blog and that you are so willing to share your heart with all of us. Thank you.

Kelly - August 4, 2011 - 2:49 pm

I am reminded of a Francis Chan sermon I saw one time where he was talking about setting up a fund that he could not access so that all the royalties from his book could go there. Elders from his church said he should save some for himself: “What if there is an emergency,” they asked. Francis Chan then replied, “You don’t think [the child sex trade in Cambodia] is an EMERGENCY?!!!” Sister, follow God! KEEP YOURSELF FROM BEING POLLUTED BY THE WORLD! (I think that too often we all forget that part of James 1:27!!!) And, I don’t like smog, anyway! !)

Julie Johnston - August 4, 2011 - 3:01 pm

Love you Andrea! The Lord will show you what you should do…and when He does…do it regardless of how it will look or what others wil say! (Though I can promise you that you will have a host of mommas and sisters in Christ here praying for you and cheering your family on every step of the way:) You will probably have a group of mommas wanting to bring their kiddos and come with you to Zambia for 3 months:)

Kelly - August 4, 2011 - 5:14 pm

Hi there! A good friend of mine lives in Zambia with her 6 kids (one of whom they fostered/adopted recently). I’m sure she would Love to chat with you about it and might even be able to help with housing and all the little logistical stuff. Not sure if you already have connections there, but just wanted to throw out a line to you…message me if you think it might help. God bless!

Ia - August 4, 2011 - 5:55 pm

Andrea, reading your latest blog made me excited that there are people who are willing to live way outside the “norm” of our society. It hit me how sad it is that no one wants to adopt because they have enough with their own children. Yes, I understand that thought also. But it seems like God has called you to be a Mom in the best way. I read from your blogs that you have plenty to give, you have room for them to live and your heart is plenty big enough to follow God’s will. Ask God if your heart and longings are what his will is. If you prayed about it and you can’t seems to let the desire go away, isn’t that God speaking.

Melissa - August 4, 2011 - 6:56 pm

Andrea, I don’t know you beyond your blog, but I love your pure heart. I love that you question the normal in our society and wonder what else we are called to do. I love that you make me feel normal, because so many people look at me like I’m crazy when I question those same things. Many blessing to you as you pray and listen to the Lord.

Dawn - August 4, 2011 - 7:06 pm

Andrea……your heart is the Lord’s. Your eyes have seen, and your hands have touched those that most don’t want to know about. Because that is where HIS HEART is…….you are no longer the same.

I want to tell you – YOU ARE NOT CRAZY!! You are loved by a Savior that is wild and does things no one else would. You are filled with a Spirit of compassion that is overflowing!

I LOVE YOUR HEART!!! Not just saying that. I LOVE IT because I get it!!! We all have to do what we are being called to do. Whether it is move to another country, do the amazing work you are already doing, or adopt 8 children and drive a 15 passenger van. DON’T LET ANYONE tell you that you can’t save them all. Because you are soo very right….we can’t save anyone- only God can. BUT we can act. We can act in ways that make others laugh at us. I say – let them laugh!!! Because the JOY in our hearts was given to us by our Heavenly Father and that is worth MORE than 20 sets of clothes, and more stuff that won’t satisfy.

Thank you so much for being soo honest and open. You inspire me! PRAYING for you and for your amazing family and what God is doing in and through you all for HIS sake!!!!! πŸ™‚

jess - August 4, 2011 - 8:06 pm

so well said – you (or I, or anyone)cannot save even one. but the incredible, incredible news is that the world has a Savior! and that He would allow us the privledge of serving Him, of hearing His voice – beautiful!

Kim - August 8, 2011 - 1:26 am

How I love your heart. Join the friends who are praying for you! Love & Blessings, Kim