Wednesday, May 4, 2011

God's Business

A friend of mine, one of the pastors at our church, recently opened a meeting by praying that we would be about "God's business". It struck me right away. In fact, as soon as he said amen, I reached for my pen and jotted a note to myself. The wheels turned.

I thought of the meetings happening in churches all over the world, and I wondered, How many times do we pray things like that? How many times do we say the words, but we don't really mean them? Or we mean them, but only if his "business" happens to be exactly what we're already doing?

We kid ourselves when we believe, or pretend to believe, that God's business is wrapped up in being nice and not doing any big sins.

Niceness has its merits, but His business is so much bigger.

I think His business means jumping when you can't swim and going out on a limb when you're scared to death of heights. It means trusting - really trusting - that your kids are safely in His hands, when for so long you thought that job was yours.

Some friends of ours - different friends - are getting ready to leave for the mission field. Their letter arrived in our mailbox and stopped me in my tracks. I read it to Cory. I read it to Becky. I read it to Erin. It was so powerful, yet so simple. (Truth is like that.) She writes:

It's taken a long time for us to get to the place of being willing to 'go'. We felt concern that the timing wasn't right to move the kids to a different location, with ill-conceived thoughts of 'forever altering the course of their lives' in a negative way. Many times it was easy to mix up the desire to want the best for our kids with the desire to want God's best for them. Oftentimes our 'ideal' is limited by our own past experiences and wishes for their future. The reality is we don't really know what is 'ideal' - especially from God's perspective - for our lives or our children's lives.
(emphasis mine)
Shazam. Knock me down with a feather, why don't you. This is the sort of song our minds have just recently started singing. We aren't even to the end of the chorus. We don't know the words by heart. But we have reached out with the very tips of our fingers and touched this truth - God is bigger than all of the things we thought we knew. He knows the capacity of us and of our children because he created all of us. And it's way, way greater than we ever knew.

So what if God called your family to an area with a less-than-ideal school system? Could you trust him there? Could I? What if he rearranged your family dynamic? What if reaching your God-breathed greatness involved pain? Lack of sleep? Lack of cash? Lack of free time? Could we possibly see it as an adventure? Because I'm thinking He's less a God of the Wild-Goose-Chase and more a This Will Rock Your Socks Off, or an I'll Bet You Never Saw This Coming kind of God.

Here's something you may not know about me: I am the kind of girl who will have only known you for roughly 22 hours and brazenly, awkwardly ask if I can please stay with you in your hotel room at Blissdom. Have mercy. Yes, I did. And she said yes, because she's fantastic, but also maybe a little because she's Southern. I learned that night that she has a heart for orphans, and you all know how I feel about that. Those sleepy-head talks are one of my best memories and I knew I had found a friend for life.

What is my point?

Well, I'll tell you my point.

My point is that Polly-Pie is going out on a limb. She's traveling to Uganda this summer out of obedience. This would never have been her idea. She's doing it very excited and a little bit scared. But she knows the truth of the matter - That nervous feeling in her stomach is not a sign from God that she should just stay right where she is, where things are safe and the water is always clean. She's exercising the kind of bravery that only comes from One place.

I see people all around me getting gutsy and I am loving it.

It inspires me. It helps to fortify my own resolve, and trust me, there are times that my resolve is in desperate need of a B-12 shot to the hiney.

So, what opportunity for trust do you face right now? It probably doesn't involve a trans-continental flight, but I'm guessing it involves a belly at least half-full of butterflies. It's those butterflies that keep us on our knees, and I'm starting to understand (duh) that God happens to be in the butterfly-catching business.


  1. thank you. You have no idea...timely, just like God.

  2. So... since you asked...

    Riley's eyesight
    Sweet Potato Pie's upcoming trial
    Ry's God Pocket
    Our upcoming adoption homestudy

    Your post creeps up on me and snatches my heart before I have a chance to think twice. I look at my list and see so little I trust God with, how short a distance I go for God.

    You challenge me, my friend.

  3. you have no idea... thank you for this tonight. i needed it.

  4. Getting ready to sell our home and move my two sweet babies. I worry about them then remember they aren't MINE. I think that I probably miss out on so many things GOD wants to bless me with because of this very thing you're talking about. But that's what growing is for :) steps in HIS direction....

  5. This reminds me of some good friends of ours who, 10 years ago, were called to move their family into the Big City to plant a church. He said something I've never forgotten: "My kids are less safe in the suburbs out of God's will than they will ever be in the City within God's will." Wherever we are, as long as we're in His will, we are safely underneath the shadow of His wing.

    Wonderful post!

  6. i love this...i want to be one of "those" people ~ maybe i "just" should be. blessings.

  7. I will pray this prayer tonight as I fall asleep. May I be boldly about God's business for it is the ultimate business to be about.

  8. well, i started to bare my soul here, but edited it down to this: i think my worst fear is the opposite of most, but i'm learning to trust with even that. :)

  9. Complete's what I'm praying about and need to put into practice. Thank you for this.

  10. Wow.

    Amazing post.

    My opportunity for trust right now:

    Adoption. My husband and I are just beginning our journey and just met with an adoption counselor last week.(That is probably what initially drew me to your blog~ that you have 3 cuties you've adopted.) We're about to jump in and do the homestudy. We were stressed about choosing international vs. domestic adoption and don't want to make the"wrong choice". This post made me realize that there IS no wrong choice. We will get the child we're meant to parent from where..i have no clue right now and when..I also have no clue. I just need to trust and realize that it will all work out as it's supposed to.

    I also find that I worry too much about my little nieces and nephews, sometimes to the point where it helps no one and just causes me stress and discomfort. I need to trust so much more in that area.

    Thanks so much for the reminder! It was needed today! :-)

  11. oooh. God knew I needed this right. now. "But we have reached out with the very tips of our fingers and touched this truth - God is bigger than all of the things we thought we knew. He knows the capacity of us and of our children because he created all of us. And it's way, way greater than we ever knew." Tonight I'm feeling stretched way beyond my own skin and more than a little uncomfortable...but Oh, How I trust Him who is able! :) Hugs.

  12. uh i'm so on my face in trust mode right now i can't even see straight. glad you shared your heart about what we talked about. it's beautiful written out!

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  14. "Could you trust him there?" Oh, how this line continues to resonate. Even when *there* seems terrifying and beautiful all at the same time...

  15. Trusting Him for but so clearly seeing Him lead in our adoption of a little Korean boy! We just said yes yesterday. Writing checks that (realistically) we shouldn't be able to write and following Him through curves we didn't see coming at the start of this process. This second adoption has been much more adventurous that our first! But it takes my breath away how good the Lord has been. So, so good.

  16. Thank you for this post. We are preparing for our first born to graduate high school in two weeks and move 4.5 hours from home in 2 months for college. I needed this reminder to trust him. xoxo

  17. Oh my...this is right in line with what He's been whispering in my heart. I just listened to a sermon about "crossing the street." The Pharisee didn't want to cross the street to the man who was mugged because he knew that once he did, he'd be responsible for him. But the Good Samaritan did, he crossed the street, he reached out, even though it was inconvenient and cost him something. It's time for me to cross the street (and for me, that may very well be an ocean!)

  18. You've hit me in a bunch of places with your words, and I would still share my hotel room with you.

    I've been thinking about the future, and my plan all along has been to move back home when I'm done with my degree and settle about an hour away from my mom. Yep. thats what I want.

    But lately its been hitting me, God whispering "what if I call you someplace else?" And then I cry. And I do a little flailing thing. And then I acquiesce that He knows best.

    Honestly, it looks like God & I are going to have another go-round tonight.

    Sarcastically and heartfelt, all at the same time, I tell you, THANKS.

    p.s.- here's my longer story

  19. this is IT. all that matters is what HIS business is for me. please pray that i would just rest in his word and cling to him-instead of muddying everything with my "help".

    (Psalm 31:3 For you are my rock and my fortress;
    and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me)

    also, pretty sure i love you. yep.

  20. our family (all 6 of us) are going on a mission trip to new mexico. it isn't brave or daring, it's just work and getting along and sometimes i'm a pain about both those things.

  21. Farmgirl, I receive calls nightly from women who know my story, and are searching for a way out. Sometimes I read them your post over the phone, they don't even know what a blogspot is. I read, they cry, and we pray. I trust this is what I'm to do. They couldn't be attracted to me for what I have. Because truth be told, I own very little. They only hear the words of yours that I read to them. They can't see this special page you have created. So what comes from the heart, must hit the heart. Wanted you to know. Sometimes I come here to be reminded that I want to be a gal that is all about "Gods Business." Sometimes I need a shove.

  22. Annoyingly my natural default setting is to worry. Not just about things that are happening, but more often things that might happen. Its bonkers, worse perhaps a bit faithless, and I thank you for this reminder about trust.

    Rather love the downtoearthness of Melissa Stover's comment. Sometimes we make the things we do all about us, how courageous or faithfilled, sounds like she is just quietly getting on with doing what God is asking of her whole family. Just like it is quite normal and expected, sometimes hardgoing. I like that.

  23. Beautiful, and timely for me. I am sure in the habit of fighting and stressing and worrying, and always taking the safe route. Maybe God needs more from me. Thanks for another beautiful reminder!

  24. Yes.

    I'm learning, on my ministry journey, that God's business rarely looks like I planned it in my head -- all smiles and love and happy serving. God's business goes in the yuck and muck, into dirty heart cracks and blistering wounds, and when we really get real about it, is pretty darn far off from the ol' "American dream". And I'm learning to reconcile that what I wanted for myself in this life can't possibly be as good, in the scheme of things, as what He wants to use me to do for Him.

    Easier said than done, for sure. I admire your friend for taking the journey, for holding her life out wide and open and I pray that they will be blessed beyond measure for their faithfulness in "feeling the fear and doing it anyway".

    Thanks for sharing this story. <3

  25. beautifully, beautifully written shannan.
    wish i had that bravery.

  26. Thank you Shannan from the bottom of my humbled heart. Girl you know you can come crash my room anytime, so ready for more long talks and consider it an incredible blessing to have met you and to call you friend. You beautifully inspire so many by sharing your journey of faith and courage, always with panache and class.
    Love you!

  27. Wow Shannan what a wonderful well written post, you spoke strait to my heart :+) I've bookmarked the post so I can come back to it when I need it thank you!

  28. How'd you know what's been circling around my brain of late? His path is crazy and wild and I'm in the camp of "I Bet You Never Saw This Coming" as we enter the world of foster care. I keep reminding myself that our family is His family and He'll grow it in His time and His way.

  29. This is so not what I wanted to read this morning, as it confirms stuff that I was hoping would not be confirmed.

    But it's what I *needed* to read, and it brought me much comfort. Your words--and the words of your friend-- have reassured me that I can trust God, even when I don't like what He's allowing.

    As always, thank you for writing.

  30. Thank you! And amen, sister. :) My heart is so full of emotions... I am about resign from a job that I adore because I fully fell like God is asking me to stay home full-time with my munchkin. I'm excited and nervous all at the same time. It means less money in the bank and more drool on my shirt.

    Your words were an arrow that went straight through my heart. Thank you!

  31. oh. oh. i know!!

    it's the quitting my job thing. or wanting to, needing to. oh my goodness. writing it down makes the butterflies soar. we have no money. our business failed. we are living on a prayer. for reals. it just makes me want to hunker down, scoop up my babies real close and believe that it will all work out.

    but you and i have talked about this ride i'm on with God. leaving for haiti was the scariest thing i ever imagined. and now it seems so silly. it was amazing. i'm so thankful that the decision was not mine alone. and it gives me more confidence to do the things that seem unthinkable.

    and as far as the kid thing goes. that has been the biggest test of my adult life. knowing that you do your best for them and things still happen.

  32. Today I'm trusting God as He's placed our family on the path to become a foster family. It was always something I said I'd NEVER do (b/c giving a child love is easier than giving a child back), but always admired those who could. And now? God says, "yes, you can...through Me".

  33. OML (oh my lands!) I am experiencing God in the form of....."I'll bet you never saw this coming"...type of way. I keep looking at the floor shaking my head saying, no this can't be, would God do that? Would God send people into my life that are so diabolically (sp?) opposed to my morals and values and what I believe in??? and intertwine them into my life?? Now as I get down off my saddle, remind me to choose a lower horse, I see that yes this is for sure God. Only God COULD do this!

  34. I'm pretty sure, not scratch that, absolutely sure I wish I could share a cup of coffee with you. There is so much to share, so many moments to live, that the gusto-attitude and take-life-by-the-horns, has brought me across the U.S. and leaving comfortable jobs because God was calling us elsewhere. My husband left a job that was meeting more than our needs, but was tearing us apart in the meantime. God wanted us to take the time to listen to Him, to hear Him, to allow Him to love us. Is there anything better?

  35. One word..."wow" :-)

  36. Loved this post, friend! Thanks for sharing. It did my heart good!

  37. i love the way you write. You make me cry, you make me laugh, but most importantly you make me reach way down inside and tug at the strings that hold me back from viewing the world in the fullness that The King desires me to see.

  38. God is in the butterfly catching business...I like that! You're right, God usually calls us outside of our comfort zone. I've experienced that many times in my own life, and once again, He's working in our lives to bring us place we are uncomfortable. Sometimes I feel like all that's left is faith, but it's SO much.

    Great post!

  39. I saw your new post in my reader this morning and chose to skip it. That is not my norm. Normally I would click on your new post before any other. But I do believe the Good Lord knew I would need to read these words this afternoon, not this morning. Because this morning I started second-guessing (for the gazillionth time!) a hard decision we recently made for our family. These words were His reassurance to me that we're on the right path. So thank you for sharing them today! It looks like I'm not the only one who needed to read them!

  40. God is calling me in some big ways to trust him with my marriage. I have just finished a study in Luke and am inspired/convicted to trust God like Jesus did. "Father, if it is your will, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done." That is my prayer right now - even though my heart still does not mean it. I'm going to keep saying it until I mean it.

  41. this may be the wisest thing that you have ever written, I have loved watching God work in your life in the past year. What a great reminder
    that those butterflies are not a sign from God to stay put! so true!

  42. I love you, I mean it...I really do! Thank you so much for posting this today. I REALLY NEEDED TO HEAR THIS! My belly is full of rocks, rolling around...thumping...bumping...
    heavy rocks. I asked God this morning to reveil himself to me in a whole new way today, I needed a reminder He is still here, and He cares about my life! He answered my prayers through YOU! He is here, He cares about the rocks in my belly, and He is asking for my trust.
    "Who of you can add a single day to your life by worrying..."
    TRUST, sounds so simple, and yet I still need a million sticky note reminders to help me remember it is okay to TRUST! Thank you for being no. 154 sticky note reminding me today!

  43. Your timing (or should I say God's timing) was impeccable. Thanks for the encouragement!

  44. I'm so gripped by this post. The thoughts - those are MY thoughts. What if I make a move and it irrevocably alters my children's lives in a negative way? I love how your friend said that we don't know what ideal is - at least from God's perspective.

    I have to trust God - even if it's less than MY ideal.

  45. I am SO glad I popped over here to read these words tonight. I want to be about God's business and pray that I'll be willing to follow wherever he leads. Life isn't about me. I wish I didn't act like it as so often. But God is changing me! Thankful!


  46. Holy moly. You are so right on. This is goose-bump exciting, scary, beautiful stuff.
    The thing your friend said about God's best for the kids is major.
    Not my will, Lord, but Yours!

  47. First of all, have a *wonderful* vacay with your hubby!
    Second, thank you for your post. We are just about two weeks from finally escaping California for a quiet life in Southern Indiana. We will finally have some peace and quiet, adequate time with our kids, room to breathe and we can't wait to see what He has for us to do there. We are committed to NOT bringing California with us - it has already stolen so much.
    Amen, amen and amen.

  48. Well, I can tell you that so many times in the last months, in the early stages, when I was curled up in the fetal position wanting to go home so badly...I knew that I was in His will and what He wanted was trust from me. I can talk a lot about faith and trust, but when it comes right down to it - I want to be safe and in control. So I learned to say, "I trust you" when I felt like bolting. And I am still here; learning what faith looks, tastes and feels like and realizing that trust is essential for every step of the journey.

  49. I really don't wanna say. Recently went through a huge disappointment, crashing of what seemed to be a God dream, and my heart has been whispering that God is "God of the Wild-Goose-Chase" and not God of "This Will Rock Your Socks Off." I think tonight I want to lean into that and ask God to prove my heart wrong or change it. Not for me exactly, but because I want to worship and follow and do believe in the God Who Rocks My Socks Off and fulfills dreams that will make my toes curl. What I've been hearing all afternoon is to let my not enough bring me deeper into His abundance.

  50. I followed a breadcrumb and found your post - what a gem and a timely message of truth. It hit the necessary spot of "ah-ha" and "duh". I like your ending too:
    "... God happens to be in the butterfly-catching business."
    Perfect note!! Many blessings for this day and the upcoming week!!