Wake Up and Die

A few weeks ago, I was processing with John and the staff what I felt like the Lord was doing in me and my marriage and at Normandy. As we were talking, I shared a story about what I thought was happening in us.

In 2009, my husband Matt and I became licensed foster parents. This was in response to a call we felt the Lord gave us, not so much a call to foster care but a call to follow him. Over the last seven years, we have cared for 11 children 2 of whom we adopted formally and one who we have unofficially adopted. When we started foster care, I thought it was about orphan care but as time went on and with each placement it became more clear that it was about us dying to our plans, rights, and desires and place Jesus above them.

Two months ago, we picked up a two week old baby girl from the hospital to foster. We have fallen in love with this tiny human.  Yesterday I got a text telling me there is a relative placement they are looking into for our foster daughter. What this means, practically, is that she may be moving sooner rather than later. When you take a foster placement, you never know how long they could stay; it could range from a day to forever.  (Now, I don’t know the timeline or probability of this, so don’t bother asking). But when I got the text, I burst into tears. A gut-punch kind of reminder that she is not my baby; she isn’t meant to be my baby. If the system does what it should, I will experience loss.

I threw a fit for the next hour or so. I was so sad. I cried and cried.

Then I got really angry. I actually shook my fist at the sky and through tears I yelled: “Lord! I am so SICK of this call! I am so sick of you telling me to love people that can only serve to pulverize my heart!”

Don’t worry, I was home alone. My pity party lasted the rest of the day. I spent my time oscillating between sadness, fear, and anger as I enumerated my love and loss list up to the heavens.

I have heard from people watching our journey say to me, over and over, how they “couldn’t do what you are doing”. For everyone who thinks I am “better suited” for foster care or that it’s “easier for me;” It is not.

My heart breaks the same as yours would. Don’t mistake what I am saying. Christianity isn’t about foster care. It’s about knowing Christ. And knowing Christ isn’t about “doing good.” It’s about dying.

Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:8 that More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.”

Doing good is humanitarian and anyone can do that, but those efforts will die with you. I am referring to something eternal. I am saying sit at the feet of Jesus. Get into The Word. Listen to Him. Ask Him what He wants that is yours. [Hint: the answer is He wants it all, but He is gracious and He will do it slowly.]

When we, the church, decide that we desire life in Jesus over our comforts, our rights, our money, our sleep, our space, and our very lives, that’s when revival will happen in our hearts, our lives, our marriages, our neighborhoods, and our churches.  We must experience death before we can be resurrected. We must die for Jesus to rise in us. John 3:30 says, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  There is simply not enough room in our hearts for Jesus and all our rights and demands about how our lives should go. 

Later on that evening, the Lord spoke to me when I finally quieted down and quit telling him all the ways He had ruined my life. He said, “You might be dying, but at least you are not asleep.”

I got this picture of the church: we were all plugged into this stuff that we were using as “life support.” At Normandy in this season, I feel like the Lord wants to strip away those things that we use to replace Him; the things that we mistakenly think are giving us life. He wants to remove our dependence on the things we try to control and we are reluctant to give up.

It is too easy to find ourselves fighting for a comatose life. Our fear of death is keeping us from resurrection (2 Corinthians 4:7-12).

It is time for us to wake up and die.

Pull the plug, church. There is no life in the machine.

For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
— 2 Corinthians 4:11

Rachel and her husband, Matt, live in Richardson. She is a mother to a fluid and undefinable number of children via foster care and adoption. She is the Administrative Assistant at Normandy.