Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Just Beneath the Surface

It's Springtime! calendar anyway.  Clearly the weather is not quite spring-like since I'm still seeing patches of snow out my window, but low and behold, it is at least on the brink of Springtime.  I love Spring.  In addition to Spring, it is also the week of Easter.  Yesterday, I posted some of my thoughts about Easter (read post here).  Today, I want to tie that theme of Easter into a picture God has also placed in my heart over the past few days...the picture of Spring.

Easter is the celebration of LIFE Jesus Christ was given after 3 days of being in the depths of death and hell.  It is a time where we look amazingly at an empty grave and thank the Lord of Lords for raising to life that which was dead.  It is a time we remember that our God is still living--He is not dead, He is risen indeed.  It is a time where we honor Jesus as the Hero, the Conqueror, the Victor over all that comes from Hell with all that comes from Heaven.  It is the miracle of all miracles that saves our souls.  Jesus' resurrection, however, was not a miracle created on a whim during the waking hours of day 3.  It was a miracle that had been a very, very, very long time in the the the the perfecting.  It was a miracle God had been in control of for far longer than any human would have ever known...a miracle just beneath the surface.

Comparably, when I think of Spring, I think of the wonder of new life being seen all around me.  Just as Christ broke through the hardness of sin and death on Easter morning, these tender living greens are breaking through the surface of the hard winter ground to catch their first glimpse of the warm spring sunshine.

Spring is a time of watching all that seemed dead come alive.  However, again, like Christ, just as the miracle of His resurrection was not made on a whim, the miracle of these green plants breaking through the surface of the ground is also not something done on a whim.  There has been life, action, growth, perfection--the miraculous--happening just beneath the surface.  Just because the human eye did not see the happenings of the seed under the soil does not mean it was always going to remain just a seed.  God had been working beneath the surface on the miracle He desired us to eventually see--a beautiful, green, living plant.  Likewise, just because the human eye did not see what all Christ was doing on our behalf in the depths of hell does not mean He was going to be left as a wrapped corpse on a slab of rock.  God had been working on the miracle He desired us to eventually see--an everlasting and loving offer of freedom.  God has always been at work--a miracle in the making despite what we could see.

Watch this brief video and be amazed at what all was taking place beneath the surface before anyone on ground level would have even known...

Did you notice before anything else, this tiny seed's roots were developing downward.  Essential for it's survival--it needed a root to grown deep down into the soil for nourishment.  Without the water from under the surface there would be no hope in a plant growing upward.  When a mini-drought came, the growth of the plant was halted.  When water returned to the roots, the plant continued its growth.  Half way through the video was the first breakthrough of the top layer of soil (stone).  Half way through the video, the miraculous would have been seen by the human eye on ground level.  Half way.  However, because we could watch from the side we now know there were so many critical events happening in that first half of the video.  The miraculous was happening beneath the surface.  Did you also notice that even after the plant had broken the surface and was basking in the beautiful sunshine where all seemed right and well, it still was supported by the miraculous happening under the surface?  When the soil dried up and the roots had no water, once again the plant began to wilt.  What was happening beneath the surface was STILL the most critical part of the process of sustained life.  When water returned, the plant became full of life once again.

So many parallels, friends.  So many good Truths to glean from the happenings of Easter and Springtime.  No matter where you are at in life, I would bet you have at least one thing happening where you are staring at an unbroken surface and wondering if God is really there.  Is He really caring?  Is He really doing anything?  Is a miracle really ever going to be there for you?  I have two situations that come to the forefront of my mind.  One is private and will remain that way.  One is more public--our adoption.

When I look back over the past year and 9 months, I can see, in my humanness, where I have questioned what on earth God is doing.  Why He seemed distant and silent.  Why He seemed to be taking so long to get Nora into our arms.  Why He seemed to not be answering some prayers while definitely answering others.  All of those have, thankfully, been times where He has come to my broken and weary human place and whispered words of assurance.  Truths that even though I am still only seeing the unbroken ground, He is feverishly at work on the miraculous just beneath the surface.  That He is not necessarily the One making all the things happen or not happen on the surface level because He's too busy making sure the work under the surface is everything it needs to be for the miraculous to be seen by the world.  I believe He truly does desire for the miraculous to never be solely kept underground, but to be seen by those on the surface.  He wants that moment of all moments--the moment the living green breaks through the dark soil--to be the most holy and profound moment because that is how much He loves us.  He only wants us to see and have the best.  The best.

I believe He is doing this very thing in our adoption--I know without a shadow of doubt He is working just beneath the surface.  I trust Him and have faith that He is growing the most beautiful, perfect moment of miraculous breakthrough.  I am so excited, so anxious, so anticipatory towards this moment, friends, that is hard for me to sit still while the work is underground.  My eagerness, my desire, my passion to get Nora home comes purely out of that desire to finally behold the most profound miracle moment I will have witnessed in this entire process.  To behold with my own eyes the height of the work of God.  I simply can not wait to see it all!  I believe Him to be doing the very same things in my more private situation as well, even though that situation is completely different...He is still growing a miracle so amazing it is going to knock our socks off.

There is LIFE happening, friends, where I can not see it.  There is LIFE happening where you can not see it.  There are roots digging deeper and deeper into a fertile soil that will sustain the plant as it gets closer and closer to the surface of human view.  There is a continual water source available for those roots to utilize in the wait, in the breakthrough of the ground, and in the continued growth once in human view.  A water source available to sustain the miraculous work happening even when we do not see it ourselves.  My responsibility or "job" in the wait, in the stillness, in the wintertime, is to trust God to be doing a work I can not see and to keep my roots fully engaged in the living water He has for them.  I pray if you have found yourself in a similar place as I have, you, too, will gain hope and excitement as you rest in the knowledge that Your God has not left you with unbroken ground.  He has not left the miracle as a seed under the soil or a body in a grave.  He is simply still personally preparing the most perfect miracle for you because He loves you THAT MUCH!

And guess what, friends?  It's Springtime!  It's almost time for us to behold the breathtaking sight of all the miraculous work God has been up to just beneath the surface.  Have I mentioned how much I truly love Spring?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter is Not About Bunnies

*Before you begin this post, please note some images here are not appropriate
for young children, thanks!*

It's Easter week.  We have celebrated as an extended family a little early this year.  Chocolate bunnies, egg hunts, and baskets full of goodies have been given.  It was a wonderful time of fun and fellowship with my family.  A wonderful time of watching the kids get excited about presents and spending time playing games with each other.  But, this is not the only place my mind and heart go to during the approaching days before Easter.  After all, Easter is not about bunnies.

Over the past two years I have had a new stirring in my inner being when Easter is approaching.  A stirring that represents a new-found appreciation, gratefulness, and humbleness of what all Christ has done for me.  A new place of reverence for the events we are supposed to be celebrating each year during Easter time.  No, friends, Easter is not about is about the triumph of all triumphs, the rising of Christ from death to life, from hell to Heaven, from the tomb to the ever-living LIFE.  Growing up I don''t think I ever fully grasped this concept.  I was too caught up in the Easter Bunny to give much thought about Christ.  Even as an adult I have found it super easy to focus on making sure I'm stocked up with plastic eggs and fake green grass for the kids instead of taking the moments to allow the Truth of this critical event to penetrate my soul and spirit once again.  It's not that I haven't heard the true message of Easter before, but my newer found freedoms God has spoken into me have just heightened the magnitude of my appreciation levels to new places. 

If you haven't figured it out by now, I am a visual learner.  I find myself understanding concepts and events much quicker if I have visual aids like photos, videos, demos, etc. to stand in the gap of the words being spoken to me.  For those of you out there like me, I hope this post will help you better grasp the events we are celebrating.  No doubt even these images and videos will do it no justice, but at least for me it helps me work past traditional and "cute" Easter images like this....

to get me to the heart of the real story...a holy man--the Son of God--who died on a cross of shame for me, a fierce battle fought against the most evil of all evils, the rightful claim of the keys of hell, and the victorious return of Christ from hell itself to offer His freedom and gift to each and every one of us.

Perhaps you are like me and have been made a bit desensitized from the events of Easter.  Typically I see images such as these to describe the different aspects of the story.

First of all, there is Satan:
Then, there is hell:

Next we have Jesus:
And His crucifixion:
His fight against the enemy:
And then finally his victory over death:

That sums it up, right?  Wow.  I'm just not sure that does anything for me.  Not sure that really gives me goosebumps or makes me understand the importance of the victory He supposedly gained for me.  It doesn't really make me grateful or humbled.  It doesn't seem to capture the pure evilness of Satan, the pure agony of hell, the fierceness of the battle in hell, or the miracle of life coming back from the dead.  It also does not convey a sense of the magnitude of the love Christ has for me.  When looking at images like these, I tend to think thoughts more along the lines of "Well, I'm happy to have Jesus in my heart and I'm glad he defeated evil so I could live with Him in Heaven for eternity.  I'm sure his death was gruesome and the events afterwards miraculous, but I just don't get it."  Anyone else?

This isn't what I really want.  What I really want is to know down in my very marrow that God loves me, and to do that I need to connect on a more "real" level with what all He did for me on that Easter time so long ago.  I need to see what He fought against for me.  I need to remember He not only risked His life for me, but He GAVE His life for me.  I want to know, as best I can, the extreme gravity of the atmosphere of hell that He went to, fought through, and defeated FOR ME.  Because His love for me was that intense, that passionate, that serious.  Seeing images like these next ones help put at least a bit more of reality into my picture of what Easter is all about...

Jesus, the Lover of my Soul...

loved me so much and wanted me to come into His Freedom so much that he died on a cross for me...
He went to the darkness of death and hell for me...
Puts a whole new perspective on the cute little church song about the gates of hell not prevailing, huh
He actually fought Satan for me...

Are you starting to get uncomfortable now?  Are you starting to get the picture of the literal hell Jesus went through in order to show you how much He loves you?  I look at these pictures--mere depictions of what might really be--and am humbled to speechlessness.  I think if I had one actual look at the fires of hell engulfing fellow humans or a fraction of a glimpse at the horror of Satan himself, I would be scared to death.  Literally.  I would be so filled with intense fear that my heart would simply stop beating...I mean, come on, just looking at these pictures has me completely on edge.

If the photos have not done it for you, perhaps this will.  I know this is not Jesus...nor is it Satan, but whenever I watch these scenes from the popular film series, "Lord of the Rings",  I can not help but get choked up at the parallel of the stories.  To know that someone would be willing to sacrifice their life for mine and for all others before me and yet to come gives me chills like no other.  It is the ultimate story of the Hero protecting and saving His bride from all evil and it gives a more realistic interpretation of the power Good has over Evil because of the sacrifice of One...

Like Gandolf in this video clip, Jesus faced all horror, all fear, all evil at it's worst without hesitation.  He dove head first with all power and all authority into the darkness of death and hell to fight and kill the Beast once and for all.  And He did it all for me.  And you...and your neighbor Gary, and your uncle Henry, and your sister Marcy, and your librarian Nancy, and your kids' bus driver Tom, and the clerk at the grocery, and the semi driver in front of you, an your _________ and your __________ (you fill in the blanks).  Get the picture?  Jesus Christ loves us all so much that he did the unthinkable, unlivable to us humans--he conquered death itself out of the power of the love He has for each and every one of us.  And when He did, He came back with these...
With the keys of hell in hand, He overcame death and breathed again the breath of eternal living...

He did all of this so that those who believe in Him, accept His sacrifice, and are gifted by His grace, forgiveness, and mercy will have eternal life with Him

And that, my friends, is Easter.  The remembrance, the awe of what He has done, the thankfulness for His sacrifice, the all-due glory for His triumph and victory over all evil, the celebration of a life we NOW can have because of the freedom He gained for us, and the anticipation for the life to come when we die and never have to face the horrors He faced, but instead be ushered directly into the presence of an Almighty Loving God...


I pray that as I stand in my church on Easter Sunday, raising my hands in worship, and partaking in Communion, I will be reflecting not on Easter bunnies, eggs, lilies, or even the family Easter meal still needing the last touches, but instead solely on the unfathomable sacrifice and gift Jesus has given me.  That I will be humbly honoring Him for the Warrior He was in death and the Victor He is life.  That I will believe afresh in the core of my being that because I have Christ, I have nothing left to fear, I have everything to live for, and I have so many others around me who still need to know that same freedom.

Jesus, come this Easter, and fan a new flame of freshness in each of us that ends up igniting a fire so widespread that nothing and no one will be untouched by Your love.  Thank You for all you have done and continue to do out of your love for us.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

5 Random Notes About Adoption

Today I have 5 random thoughts about adoption that won't leave my head.  I'm sure I've mentioned them on this blog before, but for various reasons, they are sitting with me again today.  Here they are....short and sweet.

1. Adoption is clearly God's "Plan B".  Plan A would be that every child grows up in their own family with love, support, encouragement, and provisions.  When Plan A fails for whatever reason, Plan B comes into play.  I'm thankful Plan B exists.  I'm thankful God has called me to be a part of it.  Plan B will never be as "easy" or be as "perfect" as Plan A, but it is still completely worth the journey.  Everything about the process of adoption is messy, vastly, I believe, because it was never originally meant to be this way.

2. Satan is very much against Plan A and Plan B because both are still being directed by God.  He will do everything he can to destroy Plan A.  When that happens, and a Plan B is put in place, we can be guaranteed that he is not going to stop his desire for destruction.  Plan B is going to be messy because of what I mentioned above, but it will be even more opposed, more broken, more messy because Satan will still be on the attack to destroy it.  Plan B is a miracle in the making because of everything against it.

3. Mothering during the adoption process is a very complex and hard position to hold.  On one hand you are to begin bonding with your child not yet in your own arms/home and fight for them like a Mama Bear.  On the other hand, you have no control over how your child is being raised on a daily basis because you are not the Mama doing those things.  It is extremely hard to be both fully Mama and detached from what all God has designed that role to include.

4. You can be completely heartbroken and at a loss on what else to do and fully faith-filled in the same exact moment.  It has happened so many times along this journey for me.  Feeling both human exhaustion and holy excitement to see God at work despite it all.  Knowing you can do nothing else physically, mentally, or humanly, yet knowing the greatest asset is having a spiritual side that trumps them all.  A spiritual drive in you that remembers so well "not I, but Christ."  Not my glory, but Christ's.  Not my will, but God's Will.  Not by my hand or plan but by Yours, God.  He alone is able.  In those moments when all else seems to be failing and your heart is about ready to burst in the pain of it all, God's reign in your inner being rises from those ashes and gives you the strength, the stamina, the courage, the rest, the peace, the ability to see the silver linings, the goodness, and the blessings He gives in the journey.  You can find excitement stirring in the same moment as you feel all else is failing.  Hope for the hopeless.  Healing for the hurt.  Movement for the stuck.  Families for the orphan.  A Father to the little girl who needs to know Someone has her back, Someone loves her deeply, Someone who is working a Master plan of redemption, holiness, and good is still working when all else seems to not be.  Miracles in the background just waiting for the perfect moment to take center stage.

5.  Photos are pretty much always a good thing during the wait.  I was quite surprised when we got these the other day, however!  Our last photos of Nora were from Feb. 4th--here was a photo from that time...

One month later, this was what we saw--our beauty with much less hair! 

They have shaved her hair to try to promote new growth on the sides of her head since it has gradually been falling out over the past year of her life.  Hair or no hair, that smile soothes a weary soul.

May God continue to work this adoption out for the good of His Plan.  May He continue to mold me into one who sees life more and more from His perspective.  May He hear the desires of my heart and grant them out of His love for His children.  May I rest knowing He is always at work in each of us, preparing us all for the day of His return.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A View From the Boat

"One day Jesus said to his disciples, 'Let us go over to the other side of the lake.' So they got into a boat and set out.  As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

 The disciples went and woke him, saying, 'Master, Master, we’re going to drown!' 

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.  'Where is your faith?'  he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, 'Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.'"
~ Luke 8:22-25

This was the Scripture for me to read in my Good Morning Girls Bible Study the other morning.  I have loved this Bible Study.  God has used His Word each day to speak to my heart right where I am each day.  This day last week was no exception.  Let me paraphrase the beginning of this passage in light of my own situation and where God was speaking to me.

"One day Jesus said to Angie and Micah, 'Let's adopt!  The journey of adoption will take us from where we are, across a lake and to the shores on the other side, so let's go.'  So they all got into the boat and set out."

Jesus used this section of Scripture to speak so clearly to my adoptive-Mama heart.  There are several nuggets He spoke to me I'd like to share here...
  • First and foremost, it was Jesus' directive for the disciples to get in the boat and sail across the lake to the other side.  They didn't invite Jesus for a cruise, He invited them.  Same for us--Jesus invited us to get in the boat and cross the lake of adoption.  We didn't invite him along on the journey we planned out--He invited us.
  • Jesus didn't send the disciples off in the boat alone and let them know He would meet them later on the other side.  He got in the boat with them.  He was willing and ready to sail the waters beside them.  Same for us--Jesus never looked at the waters of the lake and said, "Head on out--I'll see you when you are done!"  No, Jesus came with us.  He helped us into the boat and jumped in as well after shoving our craft off the edge of the secure land we were standing.  He said, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake"...together.
  • The lake must have begun calm or I doubt the disciples would have willingly joined in His idea for a ride on the water that day.  Same for us.  We had no idea of the conditions we might face along the way or perhaps we would not have gotten in the boat either.  The calmness of the water on a nice day looks inviting and appealing.  Why not?  Why not go for a boat ride?  This is certainly what we experienced--the view from the edge was calm and we gladly obeyed what Jesus was asking us to do.
  • The atmosphere on the boat must have been peaceful as well because apparently Jesus fell asleep.  Many times in life I sense that Jesus must have left a situation because I don't feel like I'm having a deep connection with Him for whatever reason (like He is isn't talking directly to me) when perhaps the better way to look at the scene is that things are so peaceful that Jesus is simply taking an afternoon nap for refreshment.  Scripture says He will never leave us, so I am pondering anew that perhaps in those moments when I feel He has, He is instead peacefully sleeping because He knows all is well so long as His Presence is there.
  • While all was calm enough for Jesus to take a nap, a squall--" a brief sudden violent windstorm, often accompanied by rain or snow"--came upon the boat.  A brief, sudden, crazy amount of wind that rocked the boat so badly the people inside no longer felt safe.  This past week, for us was a "squall" in our adoption.  An outside force along the journey across our lake that disrupted the peace.  We found out the news that our paperwork has not been where our orphanage director and ourselves were told it has been.  For the past 4 months our paperwork has been stuck on a desk waiting for a paper that was lost by the office it was in.  It was all of our impressions our adoption decree was getting legalized when in actuality we were stuck not even with a decree yet.  A heartbreaking squall in the middle of the lake.  In a way, this squall has had 4 months of brewing and last week it unleashed its ugliness on our calm waters.  Our boat has been rocked, but remember what I discovered...Jesus has never left the boat--He is simply sleeping because He knows as long as He is present, all is well.  Jesus was getting rocked in the boat right along with us.
  • Just as the disciples went to Jesus and woke Him saying "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" So did we run to Jesus arousing Him from His slumber, begging Him to come to our aid.  In times past of reading this Scripture, I have found myself under the impression that the disciples were probably mad at Jesus for sleeping while they were frantic.  Frustrated that He was still sleeping in the midst of the storm.  Perhaps even angry He wasn't doing His part in the work.  Did they really run to him this way?  There is nothing in this Scripture that says they did.  Instead, could they just have easily ran to Him for help because they simply knew they could not battle the storm alone?  Simply because they needed Him--His help, His presence, His ideas, His strength, His courage, His physical muscles to grab ropes, steer the boat, row the oars, scoop out buckets of water to keep the ship afloat?  I will never know how the disciples came to Jesus that day on the lake, but I know how I came to Jesus last week.  I went running to "wake Him" because I knew I NEEDED Him.  I knew I could not battle this storm alone.  I was too weak.  Too unseasoned as a sailor.  Too tired from the long days in the hot sun.  Too seasick from the ups and downs of the ride.  I needed Him so I called on Him to help...not out of anger or frustration, but out of sheer desperation for someone who could help me.
  • When the disciples called on Jesus to help them, He rose to the occasion and, in my opinion, blew their sandals off with the way He chose to help.  I can imagine these men expecting Jesus to help by grabbing the ripping sails of their ship or a thick rope to steady them, only to be shocked as instead he simply stood there talking words to the sky.  "He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm."  Words.  All Jesus used was His Words and the storm was over.  As quickly as the squall came at them, it departed.  Not because the squall decided it was done, but because Jesus ordered it to be done with His Words.  What was meant to potentially end their journey across the lake or even harm the disciples themselves, was stopped not by their own efforts to stay afloat in the rough waters, but because they called on Jesus and Jesus' power and authority was unleashed through His Words.  As I called on Jesus to come to our side this week, friends, He came.  He came through His Word.  Through His Scriptures and Promises and Truths given to us in The Bible.  By using His Words, He stopped the storm that meant to defeat us and powerfully allowed our journey to continue on instead.
  • The only words spoken in this section of Scripture to the disciples from the Lord's mouth came to my ears as well.  The only question Jesus had for them all and for me as well was this..."Where is your faith?"  The line of an old hymn rushed into my head..."Ponder anew what the Almighty can do."  The truth is that as long as Jesus was with the disciples and they were doing He had asked of them (take a boat to the other side of the lake), they should have known all would come to pass and they would reach their final destination in the end.  Jesus never said the journey across the lake would always be calm.  Perhaps He didn't even know what all would come at them.  Perhaps He did.  Does it really matter?  He simply told them He wanted them to get into a boat and go to the other side of the lake with Him.  Isn't it true that whatever Jesus wants to do, He will see it happen no matter what comes along to thwart it?  Whatever comes against the Will of God will never be able to accomplish its goal so long as those Jesus has asked to do it with Him continue the journey with Him.  The way I see it, the disciples had so many choices along this journey.  They could have never got their feet in the boat in the first place, they could have turned around as the skies got dark, they could have jumped ship in the waves, they could have tried to overtake the wind in their own strength, they could have never woke Jesus to help them.  But they did not do those things.  They remained in the boat, called on Jesus, and saw the miraculous before their very eyes.  Where was their faith?  In the midst of the storm, somehow, they lost focus on the fact that their journey had nothing to do with the weather around them.  Their journey was not about what they went through, but about the ending--about what Jesus had originally called them to do--"go over to the other side of the lake".  Perhaps I needed the same reminder this week.  The same reminder that Jesus has not revealed to us what all we will face along the journey across the lake of adoption, but that my faith should not waiver depending on those circumstances.  My faith should be solidly built on the fact that Jesus simply asked us to get in the boat with Him and get to the other side and because we are obeying that invitation, He will see it come to completion.  What He has called us to, if we stick with Him through everything that comes our way, will result in landing on the other side with a completed adoption and an amazing story to tell others of the journey along the way.  An amazing story to brag on the Jesus who quite literally saw us through each step of the journey because HE WAS WITH US at every moment.
  • In fear and amazement the disciples marveled at just who Jesus was in that moment.  He helped them alright, but perhaps not the way they thought He would.  He saved them from drowning, but not in the way they expected.  He didn't work in the midst of the circumstances around them, He overcame the circumstances around them.  He didn't save them in the midst of the storm, He took away the storm in order to save them.  I can only imagine how incredibly special and loved they felt in that moment.  I can only imagine the fear and amazement they felt in that moment was perhaps two-fold.  Perhaps a bit about the fact this man just told the sky to stop hammering them and it listened, but yet also that a man who was willing to get in the boat with them loved them so much that He would do anything to see them accomplish what He asked of them.  I can only imagine these feelings because it is where I have found myself.  A bit dumfounded not only at the way I saw Jesus stop what was harming our adoption process from continuing forward, but also because I saw the way Jesus once again revealed His relentless pursuit of showing me how much He loves me.  I am humbled, blessed, and in awe of the way Jesus loves me, protects me, and fights against anything coming against me so long as I am committed in faith and action to follow His Will no matter what the weather forecast is that day.
  • In the end, because of Who He Is, Jesus deserves and rightfully commands obedience.  The disciples obeyed Jesus.  It might not have been perfect or even pretty along the journey, but they obeyed.  Heck, even the winds and the rains obeyed Jesus.  Today, I too, will obey Jesus.  My own obedience will not be perfect and probably not pretty along the way, but my obedience will remain.  Not because I know I have the strength to make it through the perils of the water to the other side of the lake like He asked me to or to the end of this adoption on my own strength, but because I know I can not do any of it successfully without Him.  I am nothing without the Presence of Jesus.  My boat ride without Jesus along is nothing but a boat ride.  And where will my faith be along the journey?  My faith will not be in myself or anything mere mortals can do to either help or hurt this adoption.  My faith will be in God alone.  Only He is able.  With that faith, with that obedience, with that desire to serve Jesus, I will remain in the boat.  I will continue in this journey knowing full well that Jesus will be the One who gets us to the other matter how long that takes.
"And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.  And this is love: that we walk (or ride in a boat) in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk (ride) in love."
~ 2 Jn. 1:5-6

"For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk (ride) in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess."
~ Dt. 30:16