Monday, June 8, 2015

What is He asking you?

Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” 
“No,” they answered. 
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. 
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said,
“Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”   Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.
Then he said to him, “Follow me!” 
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21:1-17)



                Shortly after Easter, about a month before we felt God was calling us to pursue adopting Thomas Joseph, the above scripture would come to mind frequently when I prayed.  I felt like I was in Peter's place; in the boat, fishing all night and not recognizing Jesus when He asked me to cast my nets again.  I doubt, just as I am sure Peter did.  Why? Who are you to tell me what to do?  I have been fishing all night and caught nothing?  I begrudgingly throw my nets in the water.  And they are filled.  And then I see. It is the  Lord.

And then, just like Peter, I am beside Christ at the fire.  I can smell the burning wood. hear the crackling fire.  And Jesus asks me a question, but a different one than Peter's . . .

"Katie, do you TRUST Me?"

And, I admit, that I stammer in my answer.  My answer is somewhat timid.

"Yes"

I mean, of course I trust Him.  But I am asked again.

"Do you trust Me?"

Don't we all trust Him?  But, I search my own heart in prayer and my trust is not really complete.  I live a somewhat safe life.  Even Felicity's adoption, which took much trust in Him, was still fairly safe as far as adoption goes.  He is asking of me total abandonment.  To walk blindly in faith in the direction He is calling.  And TRUST.

And through this time, He has reminded me that He is trustworthy. I mean, total, abandon all to Him, trustworthy.

"He is not here, for He has risen JUST AS HE SAID." Matthew 28:6

This Easter I was reminded, in a deeper way, that His words are true.  Gosh, I type this and it seems so simplistic.  Of course, He is trustworthy. Of course His words are true.  But, have I really been living with total trust and dependence on Him?

And that is why I am asked again . . .

"Katie, do you trust Me?"

And through this happening so many times during prayer, I realize something.  I do trust Him. Totally.  And I do not want to live a safe life anymore.  I want to abandon all for Him.

So, when we put Thomas Joseph's file on hold and there were signs along the way to show that this is God's will, I knew why God was questioning my trust.  This adoption had far more questions, than answers supplied.  On paper, it does not make sense. How is TJ's heart really?  How will Felicity adjust? How in the world will we be able to fund this adoption?  Will our boys adjust well with another adoption; another year of craziness and upheaval?

Jesus does not call us to live safe, to live the comfortable.  He calls us to trust and walk with Him for His glory and for our benefit.

And so I answer Him.

Yes, Lord.  I trust you because your are worthy of my trust.  You have shown us again and again through scripture that your words are true.  You rose from the dead.  Why shouldn't we be willing to abandon the safe and the comfortable for you?

"Follow me."

And in the moment, I wish I could say that I am holier than the first Pope, but I am just like him.

I look behind me . . . "What about them Lord?"  And I compare,  If You are calling us to this, what is their calling?  (Because it sure better be just as difficult.)

Jesus redirects me. It isn't about what others are doing or not doing and what their callings are.  This is about us.  Our family and following Him. That is it.

The question Christ asked me was about trust, but I think He asks each of us a different question.  What is the one thing that holds you back from following him with abandon, leaving fear behind? The answer lies in the question He asks each one of us.

What is He asking you?





Thursday, June 4, 2015

His name (and a picture too)!

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post called "Her name (and a picture too)!"  If someone would have told me that I would be writing a similar post in a year, I would have laughed at them.  It is all too fitting that my morning devotional started with the She Reads Truth Bible Study: Women in the Bible and I read about Sarah.  Oh, how we all often laugh in disbelief at God's promises.

It took us a while to figure out a name for our little guy.  Here we had pictures, videos and the certainty that God was calling us to adopt him, but we had no name. No idea of a name.  He was born right around the Feast of Pope St. John Paul.  A great man, and amazing saint.  But, everyone has a John Paul and as much as I love the saint, I was not too thrilled about naming one of my children after him (it is a character flaw, I rarely like to do what "everyone else is doing").  He was found on the Feat of All Saints (November 1st), an incredible feast day and one of our signs that God was saying yes, he is your son, but it does not really help in the naming process when it opens you up to the whole Communion of Saints! So, we procrastinated and just called him "little boy" for a while.

We had settled on a middle name fairly easily.  Joseph.  My mom had mentioned it in a phone conversation.  It is a family name.  My grandfather was a Joseph, and it is my father's and Pete's middle names.  But a first name eluded us. So I do what I do best, I pulled out a boy's saint name book and started calling out names one Saturday afternoon.  I read name after name and we would pause at a few.  We got to Thomas.  Pete, claimed his love for the name.  I wanted a biblical name, so it fit what I was looking for.  Plus, Thomas the Apostle and Thomas Beckett, two great Saints, were martyrs, so it would match Felicity's name.  I immediately identified with Thomas' doubt and through this adoption discernment, I doubted, but God was calling me to complete trust.  And then I turned to the page Thomas was on to look up the meaning of the name (I am really big into meanings).  It means  . . .

Twin

 . . . and I laughed!

At that moment I knew that he was meant to be a Thomas and he was meant to be ours.  He was meant to be Felicity's brother . . . because, so often, I said "it will be like having twins."  And I wanted twins.  Ever since a friend mentioned these twins at an orphanage in Papua New Guinea years ago.  Many of you may remember I wanted to adopt precious boy twins that were cared for by Little Flower Projects.  I prayed to adopt twins.

And a few days before we found his name, I was talking to a good friend. She said, "Well, Katie, you always wanted twins.  This is God's way of giving them to you."

So, yes Thomas Joseph is so fitting for our son.  Felicity's "twin".

We are beyond excited to bring him home.

May I introduce you to, Thomas Joseph . . .