Playing The Blame Game With God

Amanda Yarbrough was the interim preteen minister when I came to Willowbrook to fill that position. I remember seeing her and thinking, “What is she like 12?” Amanda appears on the outside to never age. However, I’ve had the privilege of walking a journey with Amanda where God has grown her.  Her spiritual maturity astounds me–not because she has it all together but because of her obedience and her surrender. Amanda’s story is powerful and one I’m honored to share with you. You can read more from Amanda on her own blog here.
My family is a little different from most. We don’t just blend into a crowd. We don’t go unnoticed. We are a family that is not traditional. We are bi-racial. We are not bound by DNA. Our bond is love. My daughters are adopted from China and each one of them is a “special” child.

Police Lineup Background
It is very difficult raising and homeschooling children with “special” needs. At times I stoop so low as to blame God for our situation. I blame Him for their pain and conditions. I get angry at Him for not miraculously healing them or not giving me answers. I treat God like He is supposed to be at my beck and call and do just as I ask. I have placed my joy in Him on hold and traded it for bitterness. I ask, “God, why don’t You heal Eden?” Or “why did You create her to beat and slam her head?” “God, why did you leave Phoebe an orphan for 13 years and 11 months?” “God, why did you give Lyric congenital glaucoma?”

Here is His gentle answer… “I did not cause that, but I will take care of you and them.” He is so right! God is not the cause of my pain, but He is the Comfort in it. God is good. He is holy and righteous and just. He created a perfect world where there was no pain, no death, only beauty. When we as people sinned against this holy God, He had no choice but to punish sin. He placed a curse on man, woman, the serpent and the earth, but He loved us so much that in the same breath of a curse, He made a way of salvation. In the pain of breaking God’s heart, and the pain of living with the consequences of her sin, Eve felt God’s comfort because the God she had experienced so intimately in the Garden of Eden had made her a promise that the serpent would be crushed!

So, living under the curse, bad things are going to happen. There will be death, and cancer, orphans and mental illness. There will be heartbreak and sadness. There will be war and evil of all kind. BUT, there will always be God.

God did not cause Eden to slam and beat her head. He did not cause Phoebe to be an orphan for 13 years and 11 months. He did not cause Lyric to be born with glaucoma. God did not cause my daughters’ biological parents to abandon them. God did not cause me and Brandon to be barren.

Here is what God did…God knew what the circumstances of my girls’ lives would be like before they were born. He knew the hardships they would face. He knew they would be abandoned. God knew my girls intimately before He formed them in their mothers’ wombs. He had a plan for them and He created them for His glory. God prepared mine and Brandon’s hearts for these girls. He planted a seed of love for the orphan in our hearts and in His perfect timing; He brought us together as a family. In the curse of this life, God provided His comfort to 3 beautiful orphan girls and to a barren couple. He is my comfort at all hours of the nights as Eden screams and cries and hits for hours at a time. He is my comfort when my 16-year-old struggles with first through third grade work (because she was not taught much before she came to us) and I worry about her future. He is my comfort with every passing day that we don’t have Lyric and she continues to live in poverty while we live in plenty.

At times it may feel like I am all alone, but that is impossible. The Bible tells me that He will never leave me. So when you are hurting and angry and are playing the blame game, remember that God is not the cause of your pain, He is your comfort in it. Fall into His ever-loving arms and rest in His undying love for you.

Follow up note from Bobi Ann:

Here is a sweet video of 2 of Amanda’s sweet girls. Watch to the end and you can’t help but smile:

If you are interested in financially supporting Brandon and Amanda Yarbrough’s adoption of their 3rd daughter, Lyric visit their website for a link to donate.

De-Romantizing Your Faith

Footprints in wet sand of beachHave you ever fallen in love? When Jared & I started dating, we couldn’t get enough of being together. We ate together, watched TV together, went to church together. We loved being together. We were one of those couples that didn’t date long before we tied the knot. So, naturally, we had grand visions of all that our marriage would be. It would be beautiful. We could now be together ALL the time. We wouldn’t ever have to leave each other. But it took us about 5 minutes into marriage to move from we “get” to be together all the time to “when do we get a break from each other?”. (Sarcasm intended…it wasn’t 5 minutes…more like 10) It wasn’t that the romance was gone but the reality of marriage contrasted greatly from our vision. It didn’t take long to realize this marriage thing was going to be work. It wasn’t going to be all fun and games all the time. Marriage involves real life and real life is hard. I began to discover that the sweetness of marriage was not in the candlelight dinners or romantic vacations. The sweetness of marriage came in the everyday–in the sacrifice and struggle.

The same is true regarding our faith. Oftentimes, we approach our faith with a vision of all the glorious moments we will spend with God–the sweetness of worship and the dancing in fields. We hear preachers and teacher speak of the safety of God and moments of intimacy and we long for those same experiences for ourselves.  We join our lives with God, only to discover about 5 minutes into it that the relationship with Jesus isn’t about long walks on the beach.  Life with Jesus happens in real life.

And it isn’t just us it is hard for.  Do you think it was romantic as Jesus prayed in the Gethsemane sweating drops of blood?  Did Paul have warm fuzzies when he despaired for his life?  Paul wrote:

“We are under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.”–2 Corinthians 1:8-9

Becoming a follower of Jesus doesn’t exempt us from heartbreak, struggle or pain.  Our relationship with God happens in the middle of heartbreak, devastation and chaos.  The intimacy with God comes as we journey together through those moments–asking hard question.  Not feeling close to God and discovering the sweetness of faith comes in the mundane, the selfless love and gentle whispers of hope.

It is through difficult seasons, doubts and turmoil that long walks on the beach become more meaningful with the one you love.  It is true in your marriage and it is true with God.  Just because it gets hard doesn’t mean it’s not working.  Jean Fleming wrote in “Pursue the Intentional Life”,

“A romantic view of life in Christ is destructive, not to mention dishonoring to God.”

Realizing your faith is more than an all-the-time romantic adventure will prepare you to take it to the next level and discover a deeper love than you could have imagined.  You’ll appreciate God’s moments of grace that lift your eyes to see the bigger picture of how He is at work.  And trust, He is at work.

Question: Was there a time when you realized your real-life faith was different from what you thought you were signing up for?  What did you learn and how did you respond?

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