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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The BACK Story

I have been trying to figure out how to post this for about two weeks  ... The morning we were going to get Joseph's hearing aids,  I was in the shower crying ... I was completely overwhelmed and humbled at how Scott and I had gotten to this point in our lives - six children and on our way to have our son's life TURNED ON w/ a click of a switch.

You see, I was raised in the Wherry Housing Projects in Smyrna, TN.  My parents were married at the very young age of 17 and 18.  They are still happily married today and showed me what it was like to work hard in life.   Both of my parents were hard labor workers.  My dad just retired last week and I will never forget when I was in Elementary school that two nights a week my parents, myself, and my baby brother would go some local office buildings and clean them to make ends meet.  I was probably 8 or 9 and I was emptying trash cans and dusting desks.  It was not something I ever wanted to do, but it was what we needed to do as a family to get by.   I am thankful to my parents for showing me what hard work is.  It has paid off in many aspects of my life.   I grew up in a church that had great people and was fun, but I did not learn how to serve others, how to see outside my church walls or appreciate the diversity that God has created.  Now I won't go blaming the church for my lack of a servant's heart, because I feel at a certain age we are all responsible for what scripture says and whether your preacher, pastor, or priest says it, doesn't really matter - it is the words written in scripture that we are called to obey ...

Now as for Scott, I am not really sure I can fully describe his childhood.  His father left when he was very young and he lived w/ his mother, his nana, his uncle and family friends growing up.  He has experienced much and seen a lot of pain.  He had praying people in his life that always tried to point him in the right direction, but with out a father to show you the way it has to be hard.

Fast forward to today - We are an unlikely pair to be heading to Vanderbilt hospital with our sweet Joseph(one of two special angles we were blessed with) to get his hearing aids ... You see it is "ALL OF US" unlikely people that can feel the CALL AND THE SPIRIT of the LORD so clearly ... Don't you feel UNLIKELY on some days (most days !!!) ... Like how in the world can the LORD use me w/ my back ground, my lack of knowledge of Him, my messy life, my debt, my scars, my uselessness, or my fleshly heart ... Well don't because it is IN OUR WEAKNESS HE IS MADE STRONG ...

I shared this with Scott on our way to the doctor and he just grinned (because he had the same thoughts on many occasions during our last five years adopting our children) and he said, "WE ARE LIVING THE GREATEST STORY ON EARTH."

The JOY in the pain is eye opening to the very heart of the LORD ... He can use us all if we are just willing ... It doesn't matter where we came from or our educational background or our family history... It only matters WHO we are willing to follow ... The LORD can use a willing heart ... I pray I never forget how to be humbled by HIS power in me ...

The day when Joseph's hearing aids where turned on I felt my world become a little LESS MUFFLED also ...

Thank You Lord for allowing me to HEAR your heart more clear !!!

19 kind words.:

Jenay said...

Such a beautiful post. I agree, he uses us because of our hearts, because I for one am a mess, and it freaks me out sometimes....and then I turn my eyes back to Him and He reminds me it is not me, it is Him in me. Thank you Jesus for working in a mess like me. He is so amazing.

Kelley said...

Gwen, just today, in my daily reading from Genesis (reading chronologically through the bible in 2011), I read the verses where Jacob is on his death-bed; he has Joseph bring his two sons to him to receive a blessing. As Joseph carefully places his two sons (oldest on the right and youngest on the left) before his elderly, mostly blind and dying father, Jacob surprises his son by crossing his hands over and blessing the youngest first (and greatest). Joseph, thinking surely his father is mistaken, tries to correct Jacob by telling him that Manasseh is older and should be blessed first/greatest. Jacob wouldn't listen as God had told him that the youngest son, Ephraim, would become greater. I love that when He chooses people to fulfill His plans, he ALWAYS goes deeper. He doesn't use human reasoning but oftentimes surprises us (especially the chosen) by choosing the less obvious person. That's hope.

Meagan said...

Your family is amazing! I love reading about what God is doing in & through all of you. You & your friend Suzanne have sparked a passion for adoption in my husband & I. We had already discussed before we married that it was something we needed to do but seeing & hearing all of the precious moments {& struggles too} has made it more real to our hearts :)

Treasures Evermore said...

Amen and Amen...I also loved what Kellie above wrote. This is all incredible wisdom Thanks Gwen for sharing your heart.

Have a blessed day.

Tammy said...

It sounds like your backgrounds were a lot like mine growing up but it does make us stronger doesn't it? I too have had those feelings why God would call me (with all of my past baggage) to fight for orphans and to adopt in the future...but its His plan and not ours:) I have known for 2 yrs that we would adopt from Africa and could even picture their little faces but due to a job loss last year, its been put on hold. I was so desperate to "serve" and to "fight for my orphans" that I even contemplated doing foster adoption but after much prayer this week, my husband and I realized that it was not our calling - that one day in the future we will go to Africa and we will get our two children that God will have waiting and the income and money will come because Gwen as your hubby says "God will provide what He favors!" Thanks for being so honest and so raw. Your sister in Christ:)

Laurie said...

Thank you Gwen for being such a willing vessel to be used by God. He knew what I needed to hear today. It's humbling to be reminded of the words of David when he asks God,"Who am I that you have brought me and my family this far?" When we look back at where we came from to where God has brought us now is amazing. Then to think where He will take us as we are obedient to His word! No words can express. Congratulations to Joseph. Watching his video made me cry.
Blessings to you all,
Laurie

Blessed Mom of Four AND More said...

The Jesus you allow to shine through you is my inspiration!

Kristin said...

I feel what you are saying right now. I want God to use me, really use me and I've never felt that strongly before. Not becuase I want the glory, because He DESERVES it. I struggle with feeling "good" enough, but we are never "good" enough without God leading us through the Holy Spirit. I have to remind myself of that often; it's not me anyways, it's HIM.

And I love, love, love reading your thoughts!

Ann Marie said...

Beautiful Gwen! Amazing what God can do through us when we open ourselves to Him.

Deena said...

BEAUTIFUL! You nailed it with this post!!! Thanks (again) for the perfect reminder to always stand in amazement!

Polly said...

What an amazing post. It's so miraculous to witness how God can shape people's lives to reflect His glory. Y'all are such an inspiration!

The Byrd's Nest said...

What a beautiful story Gwen....just beautiful. You are a true servant and I know that God is smiling:)

P.S. I want to put a link on the side of my blog for Kati's blog but can't figure out how to do it...do you have the code? I am so clueless with computers...really! Thanks!!!

Jen said...

Gosh what a beauitful post. When I first started bible study (thank you Emily A) I heard that God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. I forget, too often. Thank you for the real life application. I needed the reminder today. You are a truly blessed and beautiful family. Can't wait for your sweet kiddo to hear music or your voice more clearly.

Dave and Angie: said...

Thanks Gwen for sharing some of your story. In a church without power this past weekend, we heard a message that mirrors what you are saying. God is the great "I Am". Not Gwen or Angie, but God. It is so not us!! The beautiful part is when despite our failures and weaknesses we hear his whisper, his still small voice, his commands, AND follow him, we get to experience that He is the great I Am on a first hand basis!! That is life to the fullest, your husband is correct!! Thanks for displaying a life of humble, real, obedience and love. And I pray that I will choose to seek and listen and follow and trust that He CAN do whatever he desires because He IS the GREAT I AM
May you continue to bask in the joy and fulfillment that comes when you follow him: when it's easy and when it's hard.
~Angie

Kim said...

I GET IT! And stand in awe with the same amazement when I reflect on my life. My Savior ... He found me. And oh ... where His plans have taken me!
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,
Kim

Michelle R Photography said...

What a beautiful post, Gwen!!

jessie said...

you know, ive wondered several times why me, in respect to the fact that God has told my husband and me to adopt a child from Ethiopia. And with 3 bio kids, we are considering an HIV+child. No one we know has ever done this before, and our whole church is being sort of revolutionized, though in a really good way. Alot of days I wonder why us? and feel so overwhelmed, but the way you put that-He is made strong in our weakness-I never understood that verse before,until I just read it in your context. thanks :)

Sarah said...

I love you sister! And Scott, and y'all's beautiful, blessed story and your amazing family which the Lord has so richly blessed y'all with and entrusted to you! Praying for my O fam! Keep speaking up and loving there and sending forth others here and all over. So so many in need of mommies and daddies!

mamamargie said...

Thank you for your constant encouragement. We are planning to adopt from Estonia, but I have been really dragging my feet, overwhelmed by all the obstacles I see before me. I needed to read this today.