23 Mar Adventure is Out There by Danita Hiles
Adventure is out there – somewhere. But first, I have to cook dinner and finish the laundry! Sometimes, I think we make it all harder than it needs to be (preaching to myself). God calls us to a life of adventure the moment we surrender our lives to Him. When we look around at inspiring, incredible ladies who are doing life-changing things, it is easy to feel less-than and ill-equipped and say a whole lot of if- only’s.
I think a life of adventure is really just one small obedient yes after another. It is more often about a posture of willingness and possibility than extreme risk and moving to Africa (however … that is always a possibility when you say yes to adventure!).
There is great joy in a life of adventure with God. And I believe the word JOY can help us make the transition from a life of complacency to one of adventure as we just say one small quiet yes after another.
Maybe the J.O.Y. of adventure is simpler than we think: Just Open Your …
Just Open Your eyes … and find your tribe. Get connected with those around you who have the same vision and desires for the future.
Just Open Your mind … to creative new possibilities.
Just Open Your heart … to embracing a plan or person that is out of your comfort zone.
Just Open Your hands … to use the time, talent and treasure God has placed there instead of longing to be more like ‘her.’
Just Open Your front door … to take one step and then another in the dark, allowing God to reveal just enough for the next step.
Years ago, my husband and I were in the one-child zone. We were living in Hawaii with our perfectly lovely, little six-year old girl, who was conceived after years of infertility and creativity. God began to whisper that it was time to increase our family. And we said yes. We were ready for the next step of our adventure. But it turned out that adventure looked nothing like I thought it would.
Just. Open. Your. EYES: We began to pray about adoption (conception doors had closed!) and seek out other adoptive families. We found our tribe. We researched the possibilities and asked questions and began the long home study process to adopt from Kazakhstan. (Up to this point, I had never even heard of Kazakhstan, but that was the place our small ‘yes’s led us).
Just. Open. Your. MIND: At the international adoption meeting, we met a lovely social worker who explained the challenges and costs of adoption. She asked to meet with us privately and brought up the possibility of ‘at-risk’ foster care there in Hawaii. What? This was not the adventure we signed up for! Umm – NO! But yet … after many emphatic no, no, no’s, God began to change our minds, and we said a small quiet yes to the possibility of fostering.
Just. Open. Your. HEART: The phone call came six weeks later – a lovely little Hawaiian/Samoan baby girl needed urgent placement. There was barely time to think or plan, and we raced to get baby things and said another small, quiet yes to this chubby little baby girl and her uncertain future.
Just. Open. Your. HANDS: This was a path I had never traveled. There was no guide book. There was no certainty of 2 +2 = baby for our future. We were simply saying yes to one day at a time. The only true resource we had in our hands was God’s love, and there was plenty of that. Big sister love, foster mommy and daddy love, the love of our church family. And then through a crazy series of circumstances, we were asked to meet with her birth mother for weekly visits. God asked us to also love her (really, Lord?), and after a whole lot of crying and praying, we said another small, quiet yes.
Just. Open Your. FRONT DOOR: We took one step and then another in the dark. Raising this darling, brown-haired girl day by day, not knowing what the future might hold. What if she was just with us for a season? What if her birth mother won back her rights? We began meeting her birth mother with hugs and crying with her while she told her sad life story. Days were spent filling out paperwork for the courts and changing diapers. Teething and toddling and laughing and crying. Praying each day that God would light a few more inches on our path and help us to stay strong on this adventure of love. Loving this baby girl so much that the thought of life without her was impossible. And – gulp – saying yes to God’s plan, whatever it may be.
The court date was circled in red on the calendar. A Hawaiian state judge stood ready to receive all of the information, hear testimony, and make a final decision regarding the baby’s future. A baby who had now been in our heart and home for more than a year. God’s whisper told us not to fight, but simply to continue to love both Audrey and her birth mom.
The life-changing phone call came just 30 minutes after court was in session. The battle was over. Birth mom had signed the papers releasing her baby girl to us. Her words to the judge? “Because of the love they showed me and the life they can give her …”
On August 13, 2003, Audrey Keanna Dalton Hiles officially became ours.
You guys, I have to say: God’s plan for this adventure looked so very different than mine.
I thought get pregnant – He said adoption.
I thought international adoption – He said local at-risk foster care.
I thought years later we would get a child– He said days.
I thought anonymous adoption with no family ties – He said look into her birth mama’s face and show her my love.
That chubby baby is now a beautiful, 14-year old, and I simply can’t imagine life without her.
What about you? What dream is God whispering to you, my friend?
What subject keeps coming up in conversations and makes your heart beat a little faster?
What small yes do you need to say?
I believe God is calling each of us to adventures that He has designed specifically for us. The word ‘ad-venture’ – simply deconstructed – means ‘to-go.’ To stop spinning in circles and wondering what-if? And just take One. Small. Step.
Your adventure may be huge and life changing (Africa? ) or it may be simple surrender (pray for your boss, reach out to your neighbor, call your mother) .
Adventure always, always begins with a small quiet yes. And always, always ends with knowing God in a deeper way and loving Him more.
Lord, I pray for all of your daughters who are reading these words. May we simply stop and take a deep breath and stop trying so hard to figure it all out. Lord, we surrender our plans and our need to know. And as we sit at your feet and spend time with you, in the quiet, Lord, we ask you to speak. May your words be heard over the doubt and fear and confusion and regret we have wallowed in for so long.We love you. We trust you. We say yes.