Thursday, March 12, 2015

More Thoughts on Lent... on fear, on babies getting heart surgeries and on saying yes

Literally just two mere days after I wrote this blog post about my thoughts on Lent this year and made this declaration...
I want that — I want to be counted as People of the Cross, carrying around the Cross in my head — because that’s the only way there will be real love in my hands and feet and heart.
So the People of the Cross will pray that our faith in our Saviour is worth laying down our life for our Saviour. We will pray that we don’t live lives of cheap grace but of costly Christianity.
Too long The People of the Cross have crusaded for safe lives, too long we’ve wished for comfortable lives, too long we’ve wanted easy lives of Vanilla Love instead of Cross-shaped Love.
But the People of the Cross — we are done with safe lives of comfort instead of living dangerous lives that speak of the comfort found in Real Love who hung on a Cross."
~ Ann Voskamp.
... that God made my path cross with an opportunity to serve the least of these that is so outside my comfort zone that I literally cringed in fear. And then, I heard Him whisper, "My daughter, this is how I am leading you to make good on your word. Just trust me and follow my heart... for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Yes, that oh so familiar unforced rhythm of a grace that can only come from Him.

You see, I might not have made plans for what our family would do for Lent this year, but my Heavenly Father had a plan already in place for us.

Friends, please meet Undrakh and Ochirkhuyag...
So, that opportunity to serve that made me cringe in fear? Yes, it's to take on the role of "hospital mom" for these two adorable baby boys from Mongolia, for these next eight weeks, as they come to Canada for heart surgeries via the ministry of Samaritan's Purse Children's Heart Project.

Will you join our family in praying for these two and also for the other children who have heart issues who are listed on this webpage? The surgery dates have since been changed... Ochirkhuyag's surgery is now scheduled for Tuesday, March 24 and Undrakh's is still unscheduled. {Update: Undrakh's surgery happened on March 26 and Ochirkhuyag's surgery was on April 21. Both boys are doing very well after surgery.}

For more up-to-date information, you can follow Samaritan's Purse Children's Heart Project on Facebook as well.


So, let me explain the cringing part...
I asked, "Why me, God?" Why did that appeal-for-help email have to land in my inbox? Isn't there someone else more qualified to do this than me?

You see, those who know me in real life would tell you that I am an introvert... that being around people all the time de-energizes me. Saying yes to this will require me to be constantly interacting with people, and lots of them, in these next eight weeks!

Also, driving all over this big city of ours isn't my most favourite thing to do. Saying yes to this will require me to be driving all over this big city a lot in these next eight weeks!

I get easily queasy dealing with and hearing about medical procedures, let alone details about heart surgeries on babies. Saying yes to this will require me to attend all the medical meetings and be in on all of these details before, during and after the surgeries during these next eight weeks!

I have literally not been sleeping well this whole week just thinking about these next eight weeks... it literally feels like as if my own child is going to have heart surgery. 

Yet, God gently whispered this... "for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." 

And to that I say, "Yes! Here I am... Lord, send me."
Our yes to God should scare us.
Not to keep us immobile, but to keep us dependent on the One who asks us to say it in the first place.
Fear keeps us moving towards God.
Yes, there is fear in obedience. But peace keeps us on the journey.
And the joy that follows our yes to God is wild.
~ From this must-read blog post by Kristen Welch.
Honestly, I am just a small, small part of an awesome team of God's people who have come together to make these babies' surgeries a reality.

As I take on the role of "hospital mom", on the ground here in town is an awesome family who is hosting both babies, their mamas and their translators... six people whom they hardly know, strangers really, in their home, for these next eight weeks!

Now, that is something that's off-the-charts out of my comfort zone. I am blown away by this host family's generosity, compassion and lavish love.

I am also deeply grateful for the people who are on stand-by to help me with transportation, for our pastor who is willing to provide pastoral care, for people who have lent us baby car seats, for the hospital staff who has been so awesome already, and for an army of prayer warriors!

My thoughts wander to more of Ann Voskamp's words that I quoted in that same blog post that I wrote about my thoughts on Lent...
The People of the Cross repent of wanting to be greatly known for anything other than for loving greatly.
The People of the Cross repent of loving our agendas more — instead of interrupting our agendas because we love Jesus most.
We repent of loving You, Lord, so little because we have loved ourselves too much.
What if... The People of the Cross do more than Give Up something — but to Take Back something?
Take Back taking up our Cross,
Take Back our time so we can turn back to our First Love,
Take Back our hypocrisy and our complacency and our apathy and Love Lavishly,
Take Back our excuses for not committing to Give Back every day in some tangible, real way — to the local food bank, to a woman’s shelter, to the refugees and the foreigners and the Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and to the forgotten neighbour next door with her meowing stray cat.
Maybe now is the time —
Now is the time to Take Back what it means to humbly and genuinely live the love of The People of the Cross.
~ Ann Voskamp.
Ah, yes... yes, I remember what I wrote... Lent is not going through the motions of the supposed-to-dos... of eating pancake dinners and of reading devotionals and of giving up something.

It is more than that. Way more than that...

It is a time to repent, of loving myself too much... and loving God so little.

Two more days and we will be at the airport to meet Ochirkhuyag and Undrakh and their mamas and their translators. As I run around today and tomorrow doing errands in preparation for their arrival, I am relishing in the fact that God would invite unqualified people such as our family to join Him in doing His work, to be His hands and His feet to the least of these.

It is sinking in now, truly it is... that this, this is exactly what it means to observe Lent and to live as People of the Cross... {and I am paraphrasing Ann Voskamp}:
When we want to be greatly known for nothing else but for loving greatly.
When we interrupt our agendas because we love Jesus.
When we repent of loving God so little because we love ourselves too much.
When we take back taking up our Cross.
When we take back hypocrisy and complacency and apathy and Love Lavishly.
As my son and I spend a big chunk of his March Break next week at the hospital with Ochirkhuyag and Undrakh attending a flurry of pre-op appointments, I will be holding on to this truth...

... that "the joy that follows our yes to God is wild."


Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

6 comments:

  1. Praying for you - for the strength and energy to get through the next 8 weeks. I'm certain God will use you in a mighty way, as you follow Him in obedience.

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    1. Thank you, Jill! Much needed and much appreciated. :)

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  2. I will be praying for you and for these precious children. I love following the heart stories on facebook and just love how Samaritan's Purse is reaching these kids and families. I'm praying for strength for you all during these days.

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    1. Hannah, thank you for praying alongside us! I am so encouraged! :)

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  3. Aimee your family is truly inspiring as you follow God's calling on your lives to continue building His kingdom. Praying all goes well in the weeks to come.

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    1. Miranda: thank you so much for your prayer support! It is much needed. :)

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