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Along For the Ride

What a journey. Joel and I were reminiscing what was going on this time last year. In January we had signed up with an surrogacy agency, for me to do something I have always wanted to do... carry someone elses' baby. I've had such amazing pregnancies and deliveries, after feeling our family is complete it seemed like the next step. One January evening Joel and I were sitting in the living room talking about it, already through the initial screening process and close to having our profile handed to potential mothers. Joel says, "You know what's strange? Whenever you make these kinds of decisions you always tell me how God confirmed it. You haven't said anything about that in this whole thing." He said it nonchalantly, but it snapped me out of a decision that would alter our plans for the next year and a half.

I realized that I had chosen to do something good, without praying about it. Actually, I had prayed. But my prayers had gone something like this: "Lord, bless this opportunity and couple we will be working with. Thank you. I am so thrilled to do this." No questions for the Great Story Writer of my life. So I set out the next few days to ask the question.

I kid you not. I couldn't even start my question in my prayers and I would here NO. I even tried reasoning with Him. "But Jesus, let me just finish asking you!" NO. And after a day of hearing NO, I would start praying and actually see the word "NO" in my mind. It was almost comical. Do you know what I love? The Maker of the universe, the Author of creation knows me. He knew that I needed a crystal clear answer.

I realized something meaningful from this experience. First, that God places people in our lives and speaks through them to give confirmation or warnings. Second, that His ways are not our ways. I remember thinking, "But God.... this is a GOOD thing. This is a gift I can give someone." That is the beauty of living my life to glorify God. Not all good things are a "go". God wants me to be leaning on His will so intently that without Him I would fall. That is a true reliance on Him. No back doors, no safety net, just faith in God's clear purpose for my life. It is refreshing and practical to know without a doubt what path to take, and in this case the path NOT to take. Had we taken that path, we would not be leaving for the mission field this Spring.

I feel this now more than ever. As we head into our final 46 days before we leave for Costa Rica, it feels like we are on a raft going down the Nantahala. At times we are holding on for dear life. The river is taking us, ready or not. All we need to do is hold on and enjoy the ride. There are so many confirmations from our loving Savior that we are following His will for our lives. Like the people buying our house.... I mean, sometimes I imagine my heavenly Father saying with a chuckle, "You think that was good? Check this out...." The buyer of our home shows up and apologetically asks if he can see how much grass he'll need for the back yard. I said, "Of course. Do you mind me asking where you are from?" "Brazil", he says. My parents just happened to be visiting, and we spent the next hour talking in Portuguese... he showed my dad how to fix my guitar, and then he serenaded us with a Caetano Veloso song. He then invited us over for a "churrasco" (Brazilian barbecue) after the closing in a few weeks.

And all the while I just marvel. I marvel at His plan. I am finding there is absolutely no better place to be than in the center of God's plan for my life. After all, I am just along for the ride...

but I had to get in the raft. Some of the time Joel and I are using the oars, to keep ourselves from hitting the sides. However if you've been rafting down a river, you know that the oars are useless at times. When entering the rapids, the water takes you and that is where all the excitement happens. Time and time again Joel and I look at each other and just smile. He invited us to get into the raft, and we did. Now we trust Him to take us down the river.

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