Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Bread Lady

Women Making Injera Bread in Ethiopia

O.K., y'all, my children have asked me several times since entering "blog land", "Have you told them about the bread lady?" Well...(smile), let me tell you...the "bread lady" is a very special person around here. Funny though...we have never seen her! Just huge bags of bread in black Glad bags that arrive at our door..a new game of Easter bunny or Tooth Fairy but just really odd over at the Tuckers' house? No, let me rewind a bit...

Love costs. It can be expensive. That's a distubing thought isn't it? But its true. Of course the most amazing cost has been spent on the cross for our buying back for an eternal relationship with God. Yet, even in our lives, love can be costly. And it should be as we are to be living mirrors of God on the Earth--living out before the world what Christ looks like, what He stands for. And, I'm not talking about jewlery or cards or presents here --I'm thinking of the redemption costs that God places before us, here, on this Earth. Many examples come to mind--the patience that we must "save up" to bear with daily interactions with our sandpaper relationships--you know, the "gratey" ones that really rub us the wrong way--its costly to bite our tongue or perhaps to become "bankrupt" popularity-wise for living out our lives in a way that is set apart (holy) for God. There's also the cost of keeping an open heart and hand outstreched to the things of God--it may just break your heart even as it expands it. I will never forget the day I announced to my mentor for adoption that we were adopting--I was glowing --on cloud nine with dreams dancing in my heart and most likely in my eyes. She hugged me and then said, "Gillian, once you go forward with this, you can never go back again. Once you look 'under the rock' your heart will never be the same again. It will slay your heart. Get ready to be changed forever. It will be one of the best and the hardest rides of your life." Costly. Yet what is the price of a life? Sometimes we joke with people who come us to us in stores and ask in a light, joking way "how much to take this one home with me?" and we have always grinned and replied, "oh, you don't have enough!!this one's priceless!!" Adoption is one example of --the purchase of a redemption price to save -- quite literally-- a life. Though I have heard of other redemption costs, such as those that are going to dig fresh water wells to bring living water to people or those who bring justice to children trapped in slavery, or those who give every Saturday night to read to thier friend in the nursing home down the street, this cost, the one for Adoption and for the saving of two lives, two names -- two little sets of hands in mine, this recently has been our specific call. And it has been worth every hour of completing ALL the paperwork to complete the dossier. It was worth every tear and every torn place in my Mother's heart. It was worth the dusty, incredible trip -- high altitude sickness, 5 children with Hepetitis A, 3 sets of poopie diapers for (forever! it seemed),rearraging our schedule--no, lets say, demolishing it!, stretching my waistline (stress can do that to me),the angst and concern first over skinny under weight babies we could not get to until travel date and now an ache that will never go away for thier precious families--is the birth mother who has Hep. C still alive?--I hold her heart in my arms I'm sure,the probing and searing looks and comments, the loss of place/identity, to a degree in a culture (my own) in which I once flowed around so easily within--being the big, racially mixed bunch really gets you over your fear of being stared at!! to think I once was shy!!:)

But the cost--it is worth it. Let me shout that, "IT IS WORTH IT !!" For we know, inherently so, for what has high value can bring high cost. And what God's heart is after is what is of highest value. I'll count the cost as being so "worth" it!!

I'm going to be spending alot of time in the blog being thankful for the amazing blessing of adoption--showing the incredible value of it. But to display my heart with honesty--the cost needs to be shown a bit --its o.k.--its just part of the story of redemption. And my Father, God loves redemption. And, after all, I'm not "spending" my resources at all--they all come from my Father--that's where this really get good. Poopie diapers? He gives me patience--when I allow Him too.-- Sickness? Over and over He is showing us His willingness and delight to heal our bodies.-- Wisdom to raise 6 kiddos? Well, that's James 1--He gives us wisdom generously if we ask, believing...and the money? the redemption price we had to gather together to save two lives from a desparate situation--it came from Him--it was miraculous and it still is. We are wowed EVERY day by His provision.--and that's where the bread lady comes in!... :)

You can look up how much it costs to adopt two children internationally--lets just say--its alot. Its alot for those who are not already taking care of a brood of kids on one income in an expensive school district. And yet, as each round of checks came, God provided for the liquid funding for each set. You know those finacial systems that speak of having "cushions" financially? ...well, we never "sat" on cushie cushions but now I know we are sitting on a pretty firm "bench". HA! Add the current financial state of the country to adopting 2 children, raising 6, and moving all in the past 18 months and we are in great need of God to really "show up" and "show off" on a daily basis. And, we are loving it! Yes, that wasn't a typo. It is so awesome to live each day really getting "give me this day my daily bread". Ah, bread!! so tell me about the bread lady, Gill!

(I share this with permission and prompting from my sweet Richard).
This Fall was an especially challenging time for us finacially for all the reasons mentioned above. We became completely drained due to the cost of our adoption plus a move last spring. We were experiencing shortages that were the type that make a Mother's pulse race--yet we stood on the fact that God promises to take care of His own.--there was this one period that was incredibly tight--at one point there was just nothing left--and there wasn't going to be anything coming in for days. We prayed. We prayed simply with the kids. Richard went and laid hands (literally) on an ATM machine for gas money. God made just what he needed come out that day, no more, no less --Manna. We thanked and jumped around with the kids. "Man! I wonder how God's going to take care of us next!!" Anderson shouted. Jack wanted to go back to the bank to watch the miracle machine spit some more money out! Within the next few days first Richard ran into a deer with our Suburban--smashing in its nose and putting it out of comission. We walked to school--it was fun--an adventure we shared praises and swang hands and had a little more time to connect in the morning--and we prayed and trusted that our Father was taking care of us. We experimented with all sorts of bean soups, baked bread, picked apples from Kathleen's tree--alot! Ate LOTS of applesauce :). God extended the harvest of our little garden and we thanked Him around the table. And we sang. Then a few days later, our green, wonderful free car from Richard's family lived out its final moments --as Richard backed out of the driveway for work, plumes of smoke and weird noises came out of the engine--it was
dead". But our faith wasn't. Its in moments like these that Faith's really real--its a gift from God and really is there right as we need it. We asked God for a car. And even asked for a VERY low price for it and waited. He gave it! Within a week, one of my dearest friends, Eliana,you'd just love her--she walks with Jesus so simply but winsomely-- was driving us to school, as we sat in the car I laugh, sighed over our cars and she asked, "what about this one?" "what would you like for it?" in faith I mentioned our VERY low idea for a price and within a few days the car was in our driveway -- a gift from God. We all gathered inside it to praise God and thank Him for taking care of us. You could cut the Joy with a knife and serve it on a plate with some ice cream for dessert!! It was wonderful--it was how God takes care of His people. Provision continued, different faces, different stories but daily during that time. Friends dropping by with coolers full of food --a friend had just defrosted a freezer for moving and our freezer was stuffed with its contents--we praised--we thanked --and we ate WELL--fun, really yum food. My friend, Eliana "just" popped by to make and share her excellent cooking several times. And when the pantry got low another week we were invited to spur of the moment dinners--who "just" invites 8 people over?--thanks God! and other such happenings but what we loved most was the bread lady.

Early in this time, my precious friend, Laura dropped by my house one night. I just love her! "Does your family eat bread?" YES!! And boy do we love it even more now!! "Well, there's this lady..."she said, "we call her the bread lady. We don't really know her well. She showed up at a yard sale we were having a couple weeks back with a trunk full of bread. She has some deal with Publix where they give her thier day old bread (its very fresh bread)" And you know I said, sure! we'd LOVE some!! "Well, you better go get the kids to bring it in." she told me. What? and then she opened the back of her mini van (my stomach just lept mentioning this)--inside were bags and bags--we are talkin' grocery bags--maybe 5? just filled with bread. We lugged them all inside. Just overcome. Manna does fall in Williamson County --just sometimes in the form of Pepperidge Farms Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread and Country Oatmeal with extra fiber and Poppy Seed Multi-Grain Bagels and Italien Bake and Eat Deluxe Loaf--oh my!! It wasn't just any ole bread--it was the best!! So we had the most fun pulling out all those loaves and sorting them in lines of like items--like a little bread store. Everyone exclaiming--OHHHH--I love this kind! and hand me some more of that one! look here's some MORE!! We stuffed our freezer--we put loaves in the pantry and loaves in the garage (it was wintery in there). We made plans for bagel pizzas and french toast and pannini sandwhiches...and lots of pb and j!! But we STILL had loads--I mean grocery bags worth left over. Thinking of how God instructed the Israelites to not hoard up the blessing of food that He gave them in the wilderness journey, I knew we would neither hoard the blessing or waste it either. So all loaded up our red wagon and handed out bread to the neighbors, and to our friends, and to contract workers in the neighborhood, and to some roofers who softened thier rough exteriors as they saw that wagon full of bread rolling up (the next morning)...You can imagine how we hit our knees that night in thanks and praise to God!! a shower of provision -- so much that we were able to pour it out all over others as well--we became bread distributors--crazy ,wonderful!! and the bread kept being brought by for weeks and weeks. Varying amounts--ALWAYS at the right time and just what and more than we needed. The children are completely in awe of God's hand. What He has allowed us to walk through--the cost, the wait on Him, the awesome provision it ALL is meaningful and fits together to create a faith that is unshakable no matter what the times are around us. We are standing on His provision. Its just there. Believe it. Fall on it. He's right here. He REALLY is. Ask, expect Him to show up on time and take care of you. Man! Showers of bread?!! He really is an awesome Father.

"Rejoice in the Lord,O you righteous! Praise benefits the upright....Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him. on those who hope in His steadfast love, that He may deliver their soul from death, and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and shield. Yea, our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let thy steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in thee."


Elle and Audrey said...

That is amazing! Our family went through a similar season last fall/summer. The house across the street from us had been empty for over a year, and it had an apple tree whose branches were literaly breaking with so many apples. We ate sooo many delicious apples for a month or two and were amazed at how specifically (and conviently)and generously God was providing for our every need! -Audrey

Tracy said...

so glad you shared this beautiful story! you are an amazing storyteller and writer... and i'm so excited about you new blog! it's awesome!

love you so much sweet sister!!!