First of all, church. It wasn't an abnormal church service really...just a regular Sunday gathering. Nothing too "special" really...or was it? For whatever reason my Spirit Senses were going haywire throughout the morning and because of that, what I saw, what I heard, what I observed really did make that time of worship special! For starters, the message was about the roots of our church...not my local church, but the church as a whole...and not the beginning of the meeting of believers, but instead the true roots of church...Jesus. It was more of a history lesson on why Jesus was such a radical person saying and doing radical things in his era. A history lesson on what his homeland's trends were at that time, if you will. I loved every minute of it. I have heard that Jesus was a radical, but until you hear some of the common, every-day practices that were taking place, you can't totally understand why his message was so counter-cultural.
My Spirit Senses were going off left and right during the message...talk of how newborns were killed if they were feeble males, girls, handicapped in some way, etc. How the early Christians were the ones going to the "kill pile" of children and rescuing their lives because that was how Jesus Christ had said to show love to all people. To hear our pastor make the connection of this act being technically the beginning of adoption and orphanages was inspiring. These loving, Jesus-followers were simply saving these lives and giving these children hope and a future out of their obedience to Jesus' example. It was enlightening and awesome. My Spirit Senses immediately connected my adoptive Mama heart to these early practices and I found myself thanking these long, long ago ancestors for their obedience.
Just then my eyes met with a little boy sitting in front of us. His mom's nursery pager went off half way through the service and she had brought him to her lap. He was so stinkin' adorable. I sat there watching him play and again, my Spirit Senses were so alive, saying "Watch him! Watch him! Watch him!" So, I found myself doing just that. He was only smiling and playing with his Mama's earring, but to me, he was radiating the childlike love and joy Jesus desires us to have. I kept thinking he couldn't be much older than Nora and wondered if she was playing with a Nannie's necklace or earring like this little boy was to his Mama. I asked her after the service how old he was--13 months. 13 months of pure love wrapped in skin. I thanked God for allowing me to watch a precious child and his Mama interact. I thanked God for letting me see a baby do things that Nora would be similarly doing in Haiti while I am so far away. I thanked God for speaking through those Spirit Senses to draw me into that moment...as normal as it was...to show me something special.
Then during worship, low and behold, a beautiful young woman with down syndrome came forth for prayer and ended up worshiping at the front by herself for a bit and then made her way up on stage to simply sing beside one of the women on the worship team. Oh my heart just about exploded. My Spirit Senses were so high--what joy! To see a young woman who, according to the sermon just preached moments before, would have been killed as a baby in the days of Jesus, standing up and worshiping Him with abandon because HIS WAYS radically changed the course of history was so, so, so, so, SO inspiring. Praise God for the witness she was today by simply being alive and full of love for her (quite literal) Savior! I found myself reflecting back on my mom's cousin, Carol, who also had down syndrome. She was a joy to be around as a child. Although she was more my mom's age than my own, I loved it when Carol would be at my Grandma and Grandpa's house because she would get down on the floor with me and play. She would chase our dogs with me. She would smile so big and giggle and giggle. I really loved being around Carol...to a young girl, she was not "different"...she was super fun and totally loving. My Spirit Senses began to thank God for Carol as well and for the role she played in my young life. The role of making me see that just because the world might say you are handicapped, you can simply be "you" and that is enough--more than enough actually--to bring delight to God and delight to another human being.
On my way out of the church I got to talk a little more with one of my friends who just brought their two children home from Ethiopia on Friday. The twins were there--one sleeping in the loving embrace of a big white brother while the other one was teasingly running away from another one of the big white brothers with a look of delight in her eyes. As my friend and I talked about the precious and humbling moments of meeting their birth-mom with the view of these beautiful children being loved on by some of their new family members, I once again, found my Spirit Senses ignite inside me. God, You are so amazing! To think that a family of 8 has just had 2 more precious children from clear across the world added to it all because You instilled love and obedience in the hearts of those who followed Jesus' teachings WAY BACK WHEN...it's breathtaking. I thanked God for writing their story, for writing our story, for writing all of our stories. I thanked God for moments when one Mama can hold the hands of another Mama while mutually thanking each other for the chance to impact the life of the same child. I thanked God for Adrienne, Nora's birth-mom, and for her willingness to love her children in such a way that followed Jesus--giving them a chance at life instead of death. I thanked God for calling Micah and I to the amazing and humbling road of adoption.
Spirit Senses. They followed me through the day as I talked on the phone with my dear college friend who is also adopting a beautiful little gem in Haiti. Talking with her of timelines and the goodness of God in each step of the journey. Talking of unknowns and HUGE praises and our prayers for others on the same journey as us in completely different stages. Talking of how each adoption timeline is like that of each woman's labor story--no two are the same although we keep telling them to others as if it will help them know what to expect. Talking of how no matter what the news from Haiti is--silence or movement forward, a photo or a delay--it all draws us to the Father in ways we never dreamed of and are so incredibly thankful for. My Spirit Senses were delighting in the fact that God connects friends throughout life in ways we would never have thought possible.
My day ended with an evening of good food and good discussion while in the presence of two of our friends we care deeply for. As Micah and I shared our hearts with them and they with us, as we watched our children run through the house and play with each other, as we reflected on our own journeys through life and how much we were grateful for a God who has brought us all through rough times and into a greater dependence on Him because of it all, my Spirit Senses were overloaded with joy for such a wonderful day. So thankful to have been awakened to the undercurrent of God's Presence in the midst of the ordinary, every-day life. So thankful to be alive...truly alive...because of the life of the man named Jesus who came to give it to me.
Unfortunately, not every day is one where I allow my Spirit Senses to be acknowledged. Some days I touch things, hear things, smell things, taste things, and see things, but I forget to also include the more important sense to the mix. The Spirit Sense. The sensing of the Divine amongst the ordinary. The God-prints placed all over the happenings of the morning, the afternoon, or the evening. Yesterday was thankfully a day where I got to touch, hear, smell, taste, and see in such a more vivid and deeper way because of that Spirit Sense God places into our hearts. Today is a new day, a new choice, a new chance to live with an extra sense...a Spirit Sense...and thank God for so much more than I ever could have without it.
"No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world."
~1 John 4:12-14