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Psalm 84…a few thoughts on this powerful psalm…

Well, it’s here. After four months of planning, the Created for Care adoption momma retreat is here. I wish I could tell you every thing the Lord has in store–but I only know a taste of it. And what I do know–I am humbed and amazed by. There are so many details that the Lord has so obviously ordained–and watching Him work has been nothing short of a miracle. Of course I believe in Him and I believe Him…He is who He says He is—but oh my…in these last few months–as He has clearly orchestrated this weekend–it is so evident where His heart stands in caring for little ones who need mommies and daddies to tuck them in at night…to tell them they are loved—and most importantly…that Jesus never left them–that He adores them and that when they look to Him for guidance…they will see His favor and faithfulness over and over and over again.

In praying and preparing for the retreat–I asked, “What Lord do you want these moms to know? What is your heart for them? What is it you want to see unfold for the weekend together? Why would you want 250 moms to fly here from across the country to be together…to be reminded of what??” I remember over and over His showing me Psalm 84. This is just a taste of what He has in store for us this weekend…

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
LORD Almighty!
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.

What does it mean to dwell?? To live. To stay. Permenantly. Does my soul LONG–and FAINT just to be near Him? Or do I get too busy in my own world that I forget how GOOD He really is? Oh–if you have never LONGED for the Savior…sweet friends–He really is SO good. If I sound crazy to you–I promise I’m not…He is just really REAL–and He is what life is all about. And how sweet it is to know His presence. And when you KNOW Him…truly your heart CRIES out just to be with Him…to experience more of Him. And truly–there is something about the adoption journey that allows you to see more of Him. When you are called to this journey for His sake–and not for your own sake–I promise you experience His greatness in a whole new way. Once in my life I have heard my God speak audibly…and it was during a very deep time of discouragement on our adoption journey to our son. It was loud–it was clear…it was even scary–but in a fearful, good way…and oh so reassuring. And while I know that might sound crazy to many of you–God is able to do all things…speaking audibly is quite easy for my God–but something He rarely does in our day…I guess so we will have faith without hearing or seeing. What He said was precious to me and sacred–and those words have encouraged me to be a voice and never give up on being a voice for the voiceless…truly this is His heart. Oh…to LONG for Him–to KNOW Him…to believe Him. THIS is what life is about. Seeking to know Him deeply–this is ONE thing you will never regret.

And who does this psalm say He provides a home even for? The sparrow. And if He cares for the birds of the field…how much MORE does He care for you? It is His desire for the homeless to have homes…the fatherless to have fathers…the barren to have babes…and for many–this will happen through the miracle of adoption. I also believe that He desires to raise up Christian families to open their hearts to these children–for the gospel’s sake–that they will one day know Him.

Where does this psalm say the swallow’s nest where she will raise her young is? Near what? Near His alter. Near a place she can leave her burdens, her fears…unknowns…hurt…worries…and give those to her Creator–and trust all of those things into His care. So close to Him where she will see Him…daily–and ever be praising her King. Oh…is there any other place to raise our young? And it’s NEVER to late to start moving your sticks and building a nest–closer to Him. It’s never too late to come closer…

5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

And the journeys the Lord calls you on as you stay ever close to Him will NOT be easy. They just won’t. In fact, some times they will look impossible to the world. YET–He is faithful. And when He comes through–it will be HIM that gets the glory. BLESSED is the mom whose strength is in you–and whose heart is DETERMINED to be on her journeys for His sake…for His business. As they pass through the valley of Baca–which means WEEPING…not IF they pass through the valley of weeping but AS…and WHEN they pass through the valley of weeping. It won’t be easy. Sure–you can build your nest farther away from Him–and in this world it WILL SEEM easier, but oh how looks can be deceiving…and really–that is what it will be. Close to Him will some times look and seem harder–but OH HOW BLESSED you will be!!! And AS YOU WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF WEEPING–WHAT WILL YOU WHO CALL UPON HIS NAME DO???

You will make it a place of springs…of fruitfulness…of LIFE. Some of you will be helping little ones heal. Some of you will sacrifice the “normal American life” to have more children…to care for families called to care for more…to pass up vacations to help fund others needs. BUT in your obedience to the One you have planted your nest ever so close to–you will turn weeping into dancing…and there will be Life. And you will go from STRENGTH to STRENGTH until you stand before Him. NOW…is that any way to live here? Oh–yes, indeed!

8 Hear my prayer, LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, God of Jacob.
9 Look on our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.

10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.

TRULY better is one day with Jesus than a thousand else where. And as I read this–I thought about sitting on a front porch with Jesus inside. How THAT would be a better place to be than any where he was not. Just to be close by–oh how sweet! YET–He opens the door and invites us to experience His fullness!!! To LIVE in His presence…to raise our young with His guidance…and to even sacrifice our time, our idea of the “ideal”…and to make our lives about His purpose for His children and His glory. He will be your sun and guide you. He will be your shield and protect you. AND NO GOOD THING will He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. In other words–YOU CAN TRUST HIM!

12 LORD Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.

And that…is just a taste of what I believe He wants these 250 moms to know. I’m dying to know what else He has on His heart…and I’m just honored to be there…

Please keep this weekend in your prayers…and pray for safetly for those traveling to join us. May you experience His presence in new and real ways as you trust more in Him…

Bonnie Nieuwstraten - February 4, 2011 - 12:34 am

OH MY GOODNESS!! I am so tired and should be in bed, but just decided to peek to see if you had anything last minute before the retreat. I cannot believe the Lord has given you that Psalm. Just this week I was meditating on that. It has all new meaning for me, a weary mom, these days. I am SO looking forward to meeting you. Thank you for all that you’ve put into this retreat!!

Elle J - February 4, 2011 - 12:39 am

I will continue to pray for this glorious weekend that He so perfectly orchestrated through beautiful women that Care to be the hands and feet of Jesus – to spread His word, to encourage, to love, to never give up. Loving you ….

Kim - February 4, 2011 - 4:45 am

Oh how beautiful. And oh how I wish I was going to be in attendance.
Instead, you can count on my faithful prayers for all of the retreat Mommas.
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,

Christy - February 4, 2011 - 6:49 am

oh such sweet true words. Thank you for sharing and for living them out. Praying for you this weekend too!

Makenzie - February 4, 2011 - 6:56 am

Thank you for these words, Andrea! I cannot wait to be with other like-minded mamas this weekend!

Angie Donaldson - February 4, 2011 - 10:18 am

So excited for all HE is doing!!! Please let me know if/how I can order CD’s if that is an option. Praying for all the details and all the hearts that will be there!
~Angie Donaldson
P.S. LOVE the part about it not being too late to pickup your sticks and move them closer…great visual!

Renae - February 4, 2011 - 1:57 pm

Oh how I needed this today! Thank you SO much for your encouraging words! Wish I could be there:)!

Jill Dupras - February 4, 2011 - 3:43 pm

after reading this post it makes me even sadder that i won’t be able to be there this weekend, but you will all be in my prayers. i know it will be a blessing to those who go and next year, after my little ones have been home for a while, i will be able to attend what will hopefully be an annual event. your words or more importantly God’s word blessed me today.

Christy - February 5, 2011 - 10:49 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this. A friend of mine told me about your blog. We are in the homestudy phase of adopting from Ethiopia. I really needed to read your words and even more the Word that you shared. Thank you. I pray your retreat is wonderfully refreshing and full of Him!

Erin Crenshaw - February 6, 2011 - 2:59 pm

I have been praying for you all this weekend! I really wish I could have been there! Let me know if I can order any CDs! I would love that! I love what you wrote about Ps. 84. It was so encouraging to me, as I have been discouraged this week with the journey! And, just this morning my kids and I were belting out “Better is one Day….” So, I loved reading this! God is so sweet and so intentional to us.

Gisele Brown - February 7, 2011 - 10:45 am

I pray the Lord blesses you a million-fold Andrea for creating the opportunity for all of us ladies to gather and be refreshed and informed this past weekend! As testimonies were being shared…I realized just how life-changing this weekend was! So many received fresh revelation of how much they are dearly loved by the Father. That alone is HUGE!!! I came away with fresh hope, a new parenting focus, a greater understanding of my precious daughter, and revelation from the Lord showing me more of who I am in Him! All that and more in about 2 days :). God is amazing!! It was so fun rooming with you and getting to know you a bit better too!!

May the Lord truly bless you my new friend!!