fiddlehead.....every changing, ever growing

fiddlehead....ever changing, ever growing

Thursday, March 17, 2011

gentle nudges...

{I am about to take on #13 "Service the church" & #38 "do something outside my comfort zone" from my "40 before 40" list!}

About 6 months ago the pastor from our church called and asked if I would give the sermon on "Lay" (lay person) Sunday in March.  He thought a sermon about what inspired my journey to AIDS Walk Africa (AWA).  I said "sure, I will" and put it in the back of my mind.  It sat there, made me feel nervous and I put it away.  So, now that Sunday is approaching and it is in the fore front of my mind.

First, the fact that "I" am giving a sermon blows my mind.  I have long struggled with parts of the literal biblical teachings and have rebelled against religion in general (a whole different post).  I have been totally resistant to all of it because all I could see was the judgement of religions.  All I could see was what I didn't like.   Only recently (last 2 years) have I found peace in my own Christian faith.  Our family found a church we connected to and that supported our beliefs about the world, so we became members of our United Church Of Christ church here in Monroe.  I love the church, the people, the loving messages.  It fits.  It feels good to be growing spiritually and have a place to plant the seeds for my children.  But to be asked to give a "sermon" still blows my mind.  me?   anyway....

I thought the initial focus of my sermon might be "to whom much is entrusted, much is demanded".  A philosophy I have always believed.  I really didn't even know it was from Jesus' teachings until the pastor told me!  ha!  The process of writing this sermon has lead me to find clarity in what I am really wanting to share about my journey to Africa, both for AWA and to bring our sweet girl to her forever family.  This process has help me understand the calling....the gentle nudges I have been receiving for years and years.

While examining my message for the sermon, I came to the realization that I had a "calling".   Me?  A calling from God, who knew.   Our pastor was kind enough to sit down and talk with me about what I would share.  She listened and said, "what you are talking about is a universal experience, it is "a calling".
Again, me?

For as long as I can remember I was drawn to the concept of adoption.  I was also painfully fascinated by the images of Ethiopia as a child.  In fact, I remember once my mother sat me down in front of the t.v. to see the images of Ethiopia children with the hope of giving me some perspective on my own life (I am sure I needed it)....and she said she was so surprised by how deeply I was affected by it.  I remember it very well and can still see those images in my mind today.  I was deeply affected.  Perhaps that was God's initial gentle nudge.

Then growing up I had all sorts of nudges in this direction, teaching me about the world.  As a young adult I still had the interest in adoption and just "knew" I would adopt internationally.  I even interned and worked in the field of domestic adoption, but knew I would adopt internationally.  There were nudges all along this path.   Then while we were living abroad I kept running into the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, in a magazine, on the BBC network on tv... it became this reoccurring theme that I was running into and thinking about.  I was a young mother with a 1 and 3 year old.  No direct connection to the issue, and yet it kept surfacing for me....nudge after gentle nudge.

Then we moved back to the U.S. and settled in to where we live now.  The issue kept surfacing. Nudging.   Then I had a 3rd son.  The idea of adoption and a fourth child was very strong.... I knew what I needed to do, and thankfully my hubby was with me.   But we thought adoption from China.  The actual day that I sent our initial paperwork and $500 to the Chinese Embassy, we got the call from our social worker that China was not looking good for us due to the delayed time line and the fact that we had so much "good debt" (school loans, mortgage).  Back to the drawing board on the country....but knowing international was right.  Then it hit me....Ethiopia.  I began my research and immediately I knew.  Yes, Ethiopia is where our daughter is from.  I had been receiving all of these nudges about AWA, thinking of Africa, I was drawn to it.  I had decided I wanted to participate in AWA.   I just knew it.   It took my hubby a little longer, but he trusted my strong instincts and jumped on board.

Now as I look back on it, I think it was all apart of the same calling.  God was nudging me in this direction for years.....perhaps my whole life.    I just needed to be able to receive it.  Finally, I was at a place to receive it.  It isn't a mistake that this calling came to me in this form.  How else could I hear it.  I was so resistant to anything biblical or religiously based.  That would not have worked.  But now I can see so clearly that God gave me this calling in a way that opened my heart, that let these possibilities to give back to the world and bring our daughter home.

I didn't know it...which perhaps is the best thing.
Those gentle nudges were opening my other mothers and children in Africa, to adoption and bringing our daughter home to her forever family from Ethiopia.  Those gentle nudges were all intertwined, opening my heart, my mind.   And ultimately, without even knowing it, I let God in as well.

I will be asking the congregation to look within and ask themselves what "gentle nudges" they may be receiving.  What are the gifts and talents they have to share?  They are all different for each of us....
What about you?  been nudged lately?

Tomorrow I go practice the sermon at the pulpit.....yikes.  This is really outside my comfort is both public speaking and at church!   pray for me! ;)

1 comment:

Meg said...

I don't know how I missed this on my Reader before... I really loved reading this post! Thanks for sharing. :) Glad everything worked out! :)

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