Today’s guest post was written by my friend Ashley nearly three years ago. I was impressed to post it again today as part of our 30 Days of Thankful. First, because you will see Ashley’s beautiful and thankful heart. And second, because looking back, we can now see that God was preparing Ashley for a special calling. This calling included not only a fourth child (a biological child), but a missions assignment that took Ashley and Peter and their four children to Japan where they are sharing the love of Jesus with this largely unreached nation. Ashley was open to what she thought was God’s call to adopt a child from Asia–instead, she is now loving many of God’s lost children in this part of the world. In observing Ashley’s journey, I’ve come to believe that a trusting and thankful heart is the open door through which God invites us to our destiny.
GUEST POST: Ashley McKenzie (February 13, 2013)
God is my Provider. He often reminds me that He can be trusted to meet my every need. I am humbled that God speaks to me. I am nothing special. Many days I feel less than ordinary. I have no credits to my name, no college degree, no extraordinary skills, no great power of speech or commanding leadership abilities. All I have is the love of a beautiful Savior—a kind and gentle King who has captured my soul and filled it with life.
A few months ago, right before Thanksgiving, I was packing up my car for a trip to my parent’s house. With three children four years old and younger, this is no small feat. Amazingly, all three kids were in the house napping so I was able to pack the car without distraction. It was an ordinary day that turned holy in seconds. I saw an eagle flying right above my head- so close that I could actually hear it soar. Immediately, I felt The Lord asking me to sit and watch the bird. My heart was beating out of my chest; I had no choice but to sit and watch this majestic creature.
I watched it for at least 15 minutes as it soared back and forth in front of me until it finally flew away. Over the next two months, I had the oddest encounters with birds. And every time God said, “Watch the birds, Ashley. Watch the birds.” I had vultures in the back of my yard, saw at least two more eagles, and every day had a whole flock of little black birds fly across the sky in front of me. I have been asking God what is it with these birds. And then he answers just as I need it.
To back up a bit, God has asked some fairly big “faiths” of me for 2013. Long ago he asked me to allow him to “grow” my family. For whatever reason I feel a big growth this year. My heart aches more and more for orphans. I yearn to adopt a child, and he has given me several verses and glimpses of hope and faith in this lifelong dream. But with this dream comes a dependence on his provision, resting in the assurance that as we expand, he will meet every need as he always has.
And so, as I’ve prayed for faith in all these things, I continue to see birds. God says quietly to my soul, “Watch the birds, watch the birds.” And I pray that he reveals what these crazy birds mean. He gives me verses like Roman 12:12, asking me to be “joyful in my hope and faithful in my prayers,” and Isaiah 49:8, reminding me that he will “provide in His timing”. He is my salvation and help in all things.
And then in a moment of desperation, as worry and doubt set in over and over again, as I wonder if God will really provide and if I will ever be given this gift of an adopted child–is he really going to do what I feel in my heart he has said–during a sacred moment in his word, he whispers, “You are the bird. I give you food. I provide. I watch over you. you are mine. That eagle? He soars because of me. I build his house. I give him strength. You are my bird and I will provide. Trust in me.”
What do you say to this except thank you? How do you respond to such kindness, such love except a complete surrender of worry and doubt? Finally, I am drawn to John 15:16:
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
I am chosen, and because I am chosen I have a responsibility to bear lasting fruit. I don’t think that I can remain a worrier and doubter and believe in John 15:16. I am a bird, and whatever The Lord asks of me, he will provide.