Friday, June 22, 2018

More Than You Can Ask or Imagine

In my early teen years, between accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior and perceiving His call on my life, this verse became a favorite: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

More than I could ask or that’s a lot…because I can certainly imagine some incredible things!

Quite honestly, much of what the Lord has done up to now I have dreamed about, prayed about and imagined, but He blew me out of the water less than two weeks ago.

You see, I found myself seated dead center in a church pew on a beautiful Mennonite high school campus in Eastern Pennsylvania.  Might not sound like a “more than you can ask or imagine” scene, but what catapults this ordinary moment into the realm of the extraordinary, into the “more than you can ask or imagine” category, is the fact that it was the graduation of my eldest daughter, Angie.  That still may not seem like a “more than you can ask or imagine” event, but, do you know the whole story?

Angie front and center during her graduation.
Angie started kindergarten at age 11, when she became my daughter.  I am known for dreaming big, but God beat me on this one!  It honestly never occurred to me as I taught her her first math problems and the letters in English, surrounded by mounds of dirty laundry that needed to be washed by hand or with the generator running, while carrying infant Caleb on my hip and distractedly thinking of what to make for dinner for our family of seven on a mountaintop in Mexico, that someday I would see her in a cap and gown in the United States after just listening to her give a half hour Senior speech in English.  The distance traveled between these two scenes was certainly riddled with rocks of resistance, stones of suffering, mountains of mercy, puddles of praise, chasms of challenge and journeys of joy, but that all formed part of the “more than we can ask or imagine.”

2006... Caleb as a toddler and my mom trying to rescue me from oodles of laundry! 
You can see evidence of homeschooling all around!
2018 Angie and I at graduation
2004 Angie and I (and Caleb in my tummy)...
we had been mother and daughter for just a
few weeks

As I flew back to Mexico from that incredible experience just last week, and was reflecting on that verse, I knew that several daunting situations awaited me at the Ranch…each of which seemed so far away from the “more than I can ask or imagine” description.

You see, in my weak human mind, and lazy and selfish heart, “more than I can ask or imagine” means something positive, something I want or desire, preferably the way I want it or desire it to be.

What if the “more than I can ask or imagine” can’t be seen or perceived or understood by me……at least for now…maybe not here….maybe there (in Heaven)…but maybe never.   (“All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”  Hebrews 11:13)

Is knowing that He said He can do it, and having even seen that He has done it before, enough for me to believe He can, and will, do it again?

Can I trust His “more than I can ask or imagine?”

You see, less than two months ago I became the mother of two precious children, seven year old Harumi and five year old Crhistopher.  It now appears that my time for mothering them has already come to an end.  Certainly not my idea of “more than I can ask or imagine.”

The day Harumi and Crhistopher came home.
While I was in the U.S., the kids’ grandparents showed up at the Ranch, as far as I was concerned, from out of nowhere!  They drove from the state of Oaxaca, 9 hours away, as the grand finale and final intent to a search for their grandchildren that had lasted over a year!  I now know that the kids’ mother had run away with them and simply disappeared from her parents home, whom had helped raise the kids since birth and whom arrived at my home toting baby pictures, photos of birthdays and kindergarten graduation certificates.  Since the moment the mother disappeared with their treasures, the grandparents had been looking for them!  Through an anonymous phone call and social media they had tracked the kids down to our town, drove to city hall and inquired about them.  Having signed guardianship papers at city hall only 6 weeks previous, local authorities knew exactly where the children were…with me!... and brought the grandparents to the house.

So, less than three days after the “more than I can ask or imagine” moment at Angie’s graduation, I was signing guardianship of my two children back over to their mother. 

I suppose this is part of the “more than I can ask or imagine”, too, even though my heart doesn’t feel like it, I choose to believe it!

Pastor Ruben and I with Harumi and Crhistopher during their dedication at church.
My specific call and purpose from the Lord is to love and provide a family for children who need such.  For the six or so weeks that Harumi and Crhistopher needed a mom, that is what I was, with every intention of it being lifelong.  However, that doesn’t seem to be a part of God’s “more than I can ask or imagine” plan for this situation.

Harumi on vacation
Crhistopher on vacation

Despite that fact, there are glimmers of “more than I can ask or imagine” in this situation.  Had the kids not been with me, their grandparents, who love them deeply and have everything needed to raise them, may have never found them!  It was only due to the fact that we had recently signed the guardianship papers that the local authorities could reunite grandparents and grandchildren.

Whatever may come, I am sure of one thing: It will be more than I could ask or imagine, and my God, the God of “more than I can ask or imagine”, will be glorified and His purposes will prevail, as He holds our hearts during the painful, confusing parts of “more than I can ask or imagine”.