Saturday, May 23, 2015

Though You Feel Inadequate, Small or Weak, Do You Trust Me?

"Today I am going to teach you to swim." Daddy says as he kneels down to meet his daughter's eyes.

"Oh daddy!?! But I am afraid I will drown and die for ever and ever if I even try to swim!" His daughter exclaimed as she threw herself into his arms.

"Can you trust me? Can you trust that I will catch you and hold your head above the waves so that you shall not drown and die forever and ever?" The corners of daddy's lips were curling into a smile before he repeated the last of his daughter's dramatic fate.

Daughter spoke softly before her lips grazed his cheek, "Yes daddy. I trust you." After some time had passed and they drove on and on daughter realized she did not recognize the surroundings passing by her window, "Daddy? I thought we would be going to the pool at the community center? Aren't you going to teach me to swim today?"

"Yes, but we aren't going to the pool. We are going to where the rocky ledge meets the ocean." Daddy pronounced without hesitation.

Daughter's imagination exploded as she painstakingly tried to remember this place her father spoke of, "I don't think I have been there before, daddy." Before daddy could answer they had arrived at the aforesaid rocky ledge and daughter's imaginations and fears revealed to be true. Daddy slowly navigated down the rocks and into the angry waters. He beckoned for daughter to come to the cliff's ledge and jump.

Daughter looked down at her daddy's small, distant body below with his arms outstretched toward her but then her gaze was deterred as she caught glimpse of the jagged rocks one upon the other down, down, down where they were met with crashing, thundering waves violently thrashing about. Her daddy was in the midst of it all still calmly beckoning her to come. The daughter's eyes grew wide and her body stiff as fear gripped her every member and her lip began to quiver. "Daddy, I can't." She cried as loud as she could.

"Do you trust me?" Daddy yelled over the ferocious beating of the waves. Daughter trusted her daddy with every ounce of her being. She loved him dearly and would follow him to the ends of the earth. So why this hesitation now? Why the lack of faith in her faithful daddy?Why the lack of trust in her never-promise-breaking father? Daughter quickly swallowed her emotions, informed her fears, closed her eyes and let her body leap off the rocks solid ledge and felt the wind and cool water splashing against her face as she fell down, down, down to the hurling waves below.

Her father beamed proudly as he held his daughter's feather-light body above the water and coached her on breathing, kicking, staying afloat and all things swimming.

Suddenly a gigantic wave ambushed them hiding them both under it's flood of water. Daughter gasped for air struggling for all her might. She finally felt her daddy's hands around her waist, "Daddy!!! I can't! This is too much for me and I thought you were gone."

"Do you trust me? Daughter, even if you don't see me for a time, I am here. I will not leave you."

The light glazed over the clouds in a palate of red, yellow and orange. Before their long drive home daddy and daughter enjoyed the quiet, sparkling sunset. "Daddy, why didn't we just go to the pool where it is safe and fun and where I wouldn't be afraid?"

"Oh Daughter, this was all just a picture to point you to God. One day God, your heavenly Father, may call you to scary and turbulent waters and I want you to obey and trust Him with the same faith that you trust me, your earthly father. I want you to know that when you feel overwhelmed and struggling and when the waves seem to take you under and you can't see Him, He will still be there upholding you with His strong arm. When people see one who is weak and small swimming in these impossible waters they will see and glorify your powerful Father in heaven who is your help! Do not be afraid, dear daughter, for your God will never leave you or forsake you. Swim strong for Him in this life in the same way you swam for me today."

This analogy or parable came to me as I sat in the bathroom late at night this past week, crying out to God to show me what I am to do. I was letting Him know how scared, weak and little I felt. How inadequate and ill-equipped I felt about doing what I felt He was asking me to do. He answered me quickly. I had to jump up and grab a pen and paper as a story poured out and filled a blank page. God was asking me to jump.

Just jump. Think later. Ask later.

But now, just swallow my fear, extend trust, obey His still, small voice and jump. Jump I did.

"Okay God, I trust you to catch me."

An amazing peace came over me and this past weekend. Grace was utterly poured out over me and pumped through my veins! Tough days will come for sure but, for now, for this day, My grace is sufficient for you.

God confirmed so many of the teachings in my heart through our pastor's sermon this past Sunday.

Watch if you want to be encouraged and challenged.

Here is a snippet:
"Serving God is about to become joyful for one woman and painful for another..."I am a bondslave of the Lord," she says, "I am owned by Him, I have no life outside of Him." That's what it means to be a bondslave. Mary is acknowledging that that is her position before God and if this is what God has for me than that is what I will do. His will be done in my... life. She does not question, she does not say, "I'll do it as long as it does not mess up my wedding plans." She doesn't say any of those things.

You have to ask yourself, "Would I still serve God if He did that to my life all of a sudden? If there was some unexpected event that came into my life, would I still be a bondslave of God? Would I still be willing to say, Thy will be done? Or would I hold on to my agenda and say, "No God, I have to think about this one, God. As long as it fits in with my plans, yes, but if it doesn't I am most likely not willing to go along." I fear too many of us would have that perspective. As long as it is what I want. As long as all the circumstances are right. And all the questions are answered then I'll do what you want.

A bondslave does not think like that." -Pastor Rod Bunton

Luke 9:23 "And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me."

And the sermon keeps going and gets better! Set aside an hour and watch it :)

Then just following that amazing sermon our church held a beautiful adoption shower to honor Brittney, who is soon to join our family!

Last Sunday our church, Grace Church, lavished their love and grace on our family through throwing a beautiful shower honoring our upcoming adoption of Brittney! She is already so loved by our church family that we cannot wait for her to join our family! I hope to share more pictures of the adoption shower later in a full blog post. Here is a little snippet of what I shared at the shower while telling more about Brittney and speaking about how God is working in our life through this adoption:

"God has taught us a lot since that initial call in January where I shook with shock, "Lord, You wouldn't call us to parent a special needs child, would you?" I pleaded my case, "Lord, I don't fee worthy of the ones You already placed in our care, how can I rise up to care for one even more needy?" My lips kept our commitment as I uttered, "Yes, we will take her." but my heart raced, my thoughts presented excuse after excuse and my eyes opened the floodgates of worry. I am normal, made of flesh, weak and seeking the path of least resistance. But God had great grace and favor on me and, ever so gently, is teaching me, again, what His great and boundless love looks like.

Love sees past our abilities or disabilities, but sees in us intrinsic value because we are made in the image of our Creator. Love sees past our blemished history, but sees our future hope as adopted heirs to a Father of an extraordinary inheritance. Love see not the challenges too difficult to overcome, but sees a great Savior that has overcome all difficulties and that has lovingly bestowed His perfect strength and grace upon us.

God has turned that initial great fear into greater expectation. I stand here excited to tell you that this little girl is my future daughter. Despite her history of neglect God is writing her story of hope. Despite her languishing as an orphan in fostercare, God has not left her but has brought her a family. And despite her label as "unadoptable" she is wanted and dearly loved. Although, I would never wish another child to ever live through a story like Brittney's I do wish every child in her same plight had someone to rise up and say, "They are wanted and loved by God so we will love them and adopt them as our own!"

Posted by ShannonSoli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone 


  1. Beautiful! I love all that God is doing in your lives. My husband and I are anxiously waiting to adopt through our state agency here in Oregon. I have been inspired and uplifted by reading your blog and seeing your kiddos growing through love and grace. Your baby girl will feel loved the moment she is finally home!! So very excited for all of you.

    1. Thank you for your encouragement and congratulations on the beginning of your adoption journey!!!

  2. I LOVE your tshirt! Are they available to purchase somewhere?

    1. I think the fundraiser has ended but you may be able to message: