I feel it is time for an “Allison’s life update”; to inform my family and friends of my plans and progress but mostly to allow myself a chance to acknowledge what God’s doing in my life. So, here it goes…
I chose to title this post after the new single by Lauren Daigle, “How Can It Be.” More and more this has become my life song. Not only am I amazed at what God is currently doing in my life, I am astounded and so incredibly grateful that He still wants to use me after everything I’ve done wrong…and even after I have kept sinning. I encourage you to listen to the song here: How Can It Be. Let God speak through this song and break the chains that are holding you back from serving Him.
Flashback to Christmas break, anticipating and mostly dreading my graduation and what comes next. I was so unsure about what God wanted from me and where He wanted me to be. I adamantly refused to live in Portland and I tried to decide where I should apply for teaching jobs. Then, only by God’s divine guidance, my heart ached for something different. Not only did I want to work with children, I wanted to devote my time, love and resources to the most unwanted children in our society…foster children. Maybe they are unwanted by the vast majority of Americans but through God’s grace and love in my life…I wanted them and I didn’t even know their names.
Jesus came to earth and so freely gave His love, His healing, His teaching and ultimately His life for the least of these. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. ” (Ephesians 1:3-7)
Yes, I have surrendered my life to the God who created the whole universe and still cares enough to have a personal relationship with me. But, it is easy to forget that He is in control and I am not my own. I believe surrendering to His will, His plan, His love, His discipline and even His grace is a daily action…and it is never easy. I recently finished reading the novel Kisses from Katie an amazing, inspirational story of God’s love and guidance in the life of one of His daughters. Her story is unlike any I have heard before. As a high school senior Katie Davis feels God is calling her to minister to the people in Uganda. Through many trials, joys, blessings and tribulations she finds herself fostering 13 young girls native to the area. Her whole world is turned upside down and her heart is broken and bruised by the things she must sacrifice. She now permanently lives in Uganda with her 13 daughters whom she has adopted. God used her in ways she could never have imagined…and now her words have brought me immense encouragement and hope. Here is an excerpt from her book that stood out to me:
“You are to live a life of mediocrity and abundance, holding on tight to your comfortable lifestyle, lest you lost it.” No. I don’t think so. “Mediocrity and abundance” aren’t there. However, mediocrity and abundance, comfort and ease, do seem to be safe choices for many people, myself included. In stark contrast, leaving our possessions, following Jesus when we don’t have a well-defined plan, and entertaining strangers– well, that does sound a little scary. But what if, just beyond that risk, just beyond the fear is a life better than anything we have ever imagined: life to the fullest.”
How many of us, live our lives only embracing half of our God-given potential? In America, we don’t technically need God. We can survive quite well without Him…or so we think. If I’m sick I can go to the doctor. If I am hungry I can easily open up the fridge or venture out to a restaurant. If I am sad, lonely or depressed there is a plethora of options to numb the pain. But, in third world countries like Uganda…they have no such luxuries. Their lack of earthly comfort and security is outshone by their immense faith and joyful spirit.
Katie Davis explains this paradox, revealed in her time spent living with the people in Uganda.
“Materially speaking, the people who began to fill my life were the poorest I had ever met and yet they overflowed with the riches of the heart. They lived in houses of sticks or stones and mud; they slept on hard dirt floors. But they did not blame God for this or ask Him for more. They knew their circumstances were due to the brokenness of this world and they simply praised Jesus for keeping them alive through it all. They believed in His goodness. They lived with love and passion, caring for one another and for me and deeply appreciating the simplest gifts life had to offer: the happy giggles of children, the smile and warm greeting of a friend, the beauty that surrounded them, a chance to work when possible, a helping hand when needed most.”
This is how I want to live. I don’t think where I was born, the events of my past or my relationships were just simply luck or coincidence. God has allowed me to live in America, with family and friends who love me, endless amounts of food and comfort, fun and enjoyment…not so I can live a mediocre life. No. So I can live an extraordinary life, centered around His Kingdom; His plan. Just as there are children in Uganda who are hungry, hurting and lonely for love, there are children in our communities, churches and neighborhoods who seek even just one person to demonstrate that their life has value, has purpose. If God can use me to show just one child that He loves them unconditionally, that their life matters and they are worth loving. If He allowed me to make such an impact for His Kingdom; for eternity. How much Joy and contentment would fill my heart and my life?
All of the orphans, destitute and wandering souls are God’s beloved children. No, children in foster care aren’t mine by blood or even by adoption…but they are His. We, as those so graciously adopted into God’s forever family, are called to reach out and love these people and lead them to Jesus. This journey has only just begun but if I allow God to have my whole heart, my whole future I know He will use my life to bring love to those aching to belong, to be loved.
I am so excited to see what God does in the next few months and beyond. Currently, my plan is to move to Beaverton, OR the first week in September. God has blessed me with an apartment I’ll be sharing with my close friend Elise. I also have a couple strong leads on full-time nanny positions for the fall. Hopefully, I can work and provide enough money to cover the basics and pay off my school loans. I plan on attending foster parenting classes and getting the opportunity to work with foster children through respite care. As much as I want to jump right in and start taking care of foster children…I know I have so much more to learn about parenting, balancing finances and adult responsibilities and exactly which children God would have me take in. So, for now I am trusting God; moment by moment; day by day. Only He could have brought me this far and He alone will lead me to where I need to be.
A few weeks back, when explaining my hope to foster children, a woman said I was very noble to venture to do something so hard. Instead of making feel good that word made me feel awful, sick to my stomach. I am NOT noble for wanting to take care of these children. I grew up always knowing I was loved by God and my parents, always having food and shelter and never being beaten, abandoned or ripped from the only life I knew. If anyone is noble or brave it’s the precious children in foster care situations. They are the ones we should celebrate. They are the ones suffering from things outside of their control. They are the ones who need us to look past their brokenness and see their humanity. This is what Jesus did for me. All I can do is try to live by His example, seeing the forgotten children through His eyes. They are cherished, beautiful human beings made in His image.
Prayers for God’s provision, guidance and grace are always welcomed. Thank you for reading my posts and supporting me thus far! God bless!