Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sorry... this is a long one

Our recent adoption news (see previous post if you don't know what I am talking about) has really taken its toll on me. I would be lying if I said that I didn't take the news hard. We all did really. And since I am being honest here, I will tell you that I am still struggling with it all. I hadn't realized how much I already love Ellie, even though I have never seen her or even know where she is in the world! Last week was especially hard on me, and I found myself withdrawing from people. I didn't talk on the phone as much (sorry mom), and I even backed out on a planned trip to Chattanooga to see friends (sorry again, guys!).

Jeff & Bryan already had plans to be at Kings Island on Saturday with the college students at church, so when I decided not to go to Chattanooga, that meant that I would be home alone. Now, let me tell you that sometimes that is dangerous for me when I am feeling down. I tend to get lonely, cry a lot and basically just feel sorry for myself. I really didn't want this day to be like that, so I decided to keep myself occupied. I had some movies to watch and a good book, so I was good to go.

I woke up earlier than I had planned (bummer), and I didn't want to watch all of my movies before noon, so I decided to go to Lexington and do some shopping. I drove across the ferry on the way there and back because it's beautiful and I have some great conversations with God on those country roads. I truly felt at peace on the way there. In fact, I felt "okay" with our adoption situation for the first time all week, knowing that God was still in control. But it also felt like there was something that He was trying to get me to understand that I was running from. To be honest, I didn't want to hear anything other than words from God that He was going to bring my little girl home to me. Nothing else. It was sort of an attitude of "God, you do what I want, and then I will listen to more. For now, this is all I want to hear".

I don't think God liked that attitude.

On the way home, I drove by a lady holding a sign that looked like this:

Something about her drew me in. I had to stop. I didn't have any cash on me to give to her, but there was a Lil' Ceasar's across the street, so I went over and got a "hot 'n ready" pizza and drove back to where she was standing. I was so nervous! I got out of the van and walked across the parking lot to her and asked if I could give her some food. She said yes, and so I asked if I could sit with her.

We spent the next hour sitting on a piece of cardboard in the parking lot of a Liquor Barn, eating pizza (i am assuming God will forgive that it wasn't on my diet since I was doing something He asked!) Her name is Lisa, and she is beautiful. I mean that. Beneath the dirt and the obvious initial distrust of my true intentions, was a lady who was stunning.

Lisa immediately asked if I was a "God person" there only to "preach" to her. Lisa has had enough of that, let me tell you. She shared with me about how she was in a church when her husband died, but the church seemed "happy to not have to deal with him anymore". It was someone in her church who called Social Services when she lost her temper and slapped her child. As Lisa said "They never stopped to ask why I was so stressed out. I was working 3 jobs and trying to keep food on the table. I hadn't slept in days when that happened, but it didn't matter". When Social Services came, she tested positive for drugs (she claims that she was taking pills to stay awake for her 3 jobs, and really, it didn't matter to me. Who am I to judge her?). They took her kids away. In a nutshell, Lisa feels like the church was quick to accuse her, but no one ever wanted to help redeem her. She actually used the word redeem. Instead, Lisa has been living on the streets for a little more than a year with no contact at all with her children. She said "I might not have hope, but at least I have pizza, right?".

I got back in the van after our lunch, drove back to the ferry, parked and cried. And I heard God whisper to me again "I needed you to hear me remind you that it's not all about you".

I'm sorry, God.

I have acted like it's all about me. I have been so focused on what I want that I have failed to see the needs of others. And Lisa reminded me that there are people out there with no hope at all. And more importantly, that I can share that hope by something as simple as a pizza.

Matthew 25:31-40 says: “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

1 Peter 3:15 says "If someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it".
Are you living like you have Hope?


Jo Ann said...


Ava said...

Your story is an inspiration to me. I love you, Holly!!

Robo said...

I am at a loss for words.
It is great to see that God still moves in mighty ways, even in today society.
I don't want to say " May God bless you " because I think He already did.
Love ya.

guess I wasn't at a complete loss for words after all.

MrsKristinClark said...

Holly, this was so amazing. We could all use that lesson, and thank you for so openly sharing it.
It is sometimes tough when God "deals" with us, but always beautiful in the end.
big hug, virtual friend =)

Randa said...

holly, i'm sitting here in tears. you are such a blessing....and i know that lisa was blessed too. you planted a new seed with her...a seed of HOPE and love. you uprooted the seed of bitterness that had been planted. that is an inspiration to everyone! i promise you that as long as you put your trust in God you will not go wrong...He is Faithful!
i love you! and i know that God has big plans for you and your family!

Adrienne said...

Holly, thank you for sharing! This is such a beautiful picture of God's Spirit moving on a daily basis. I am so sorry that things aren't working out for you guys with your adoption the way you had expected...I understand some of that...but I pray that as you walk one day at a time, sharing pizza, being a listener, just loving as you are led, that your hope will be restored in a God that is faithful and true, and Who has a more beautiful design for each of us than we could ever imagine. Lisa was blessed, just as you were, to be in the middle of such a great God moment.

Lydia said...

Holly, I missed this post. I'm so glad you blog. You have a lot to share and God uses your testimonies to encourage me and convict me, like it or not. I needed this today.

Just yesterday I was thinking of someone in our church who could really use a makeover, or so I thought. I felt convicted immediately. God said "I look on the heart, Lydia, not what his hair looks like or what he's wearing." And when I started thinking about the person, God reminded me of what a powerful testimony he has and how he can minister to people I can't BECAUSE of the way he looks.

As a church member, you reminded me that I need to be more accepting of people no matter what things may appear to be. I need to look beyond face value. Thank you, Holly. I love you and I'm glad you missed out on coming to Chattanooga if it meant God could use you to restore someone's hope. (I'll be the one holding the sign on September 12th, though.)