Destiny In Bloom

No More Playing it Safe

No More Playing it Safe

posted on September 8th, 2010 / by Kelli Jones / 40 Comments

“And to think, if I had chosen to simply remain safe, I could’ve missed it.  I could’ve missed Him.”

~Steven Curtis Chapman

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately.  My husband and I just returned from a trip to Maria’s Big House of Hope in China in which we spent a great deal of time loving on, playing with and caring for orphans that have special needs. Their conditions range in severity from very mild to terminal.  The effect this trip had on our lives and hearts is hard to even put into words.  It was life-changing.

When you’re a busy stay at home mom with four kids ages 8 and under, the thought of going on a mission trip to China for 10 days sounds a bit ludicrous.  I thought so myself when I first heard His voice.  But, it was clear from the moment I found out about this trip that we were called to go.  Sure, I questioned if I was hearing God or if this was just some crazy idea I made up in my head at first, but quickly God confirmed to us that we were called to go. I got up the courage to start telling people (with clenched teeth) fully prepared to hear the “Oh. Wow,” (which translates to “Oh. Wow. You ARE Crazy!”) response from many.  While I did get this response from some, the majority of people were excited to pray and support us in this calling.

We had to raise $9,000 (in about 2 months) to cover all of our expenses, so we quickly started selling t-shirts.  We raised the money for our deposit and about another $1,000, then the flow of funds coming in came to a quick halt.  I tried several different fundraising efforts which I thought were great ideas, but every time it was like running smack into a brick wall!!  Nothing.  Not even $1 would be given.  I started to question if I really had heard His voice.  Was I just being stupid?  Was I endangering my life by traveling across the world?  What kind of crazy mother does this?  What if my kids became orphans in the process of me trying to care for orphans?  Suddenly, I was lost in the noise of confusion in my head.

The days went on, and the first deadline for our trip money came and went.  We had nothing to turn in.  I was certain God told us to go, so what the heck was He doing?  I’ve told all these people about the call God gave us to go to China, and now we aren’t even going to be able to go?  My loving husband would gently remind me that God did in fact tell us to go. Since it was His idea I could stop freaking out because He had it all under control and didn’t need my help.  It was hard for me to let it go and trust, but eventually I did.  Then one day, two weeks before our final money deadline, while talking with a friend on the phone, God showed us what to do to raise the remaining $7,000 we needed.  We were to host an event that would be in two weeks.  After a crazy fast two weeks of planning, He did it.  We raised $7,200 in one night!  Only God could do that.  So it was official, we were going to China!!!!

Once the adrenaline from crazy fundraising subsided, my little fears began to creep back in.  I was pretty sure that I must be crazy.  The thought of being away from my kids for 11 days was making me sick.  I even thought to myself, “Why am I doing this? I should be staying at home with my little children safe in our little bubble!  What if I die?!?”  I prayed a lot, and God reminded me over and over how He had made this all come together, not me.  He invited me to be a part of it.  I could choose to stay safe, or I could choose to step out and see what He had in store for us.  Thankfully, I told Satan to shut it and proceeded to kiss my babies goodbye (with a few tears shed by me), and my husband and I were on our way to China!!!  And the heart change began.

If you search through the Bible, you will find that there are three groups of people who God consistently mentions again and again.  They are widows, orphans, and strangers.  If God takes the time to repeatedly refer to these groups of people, then that tells me they are very dear to His heart.  He repeatedly gives instruction (Isaiah 1:17, James 1:27, Deuteronomy 24:21, Exodus 22:22-23, Deuteronomy 10:18a, Isaiah 10:1a-2b, Jeremiah 22:3b, Malachi 3:5a, Jeremiah 49:11a, John 14:18, Psalm 10:14b, Psalm 10:17b-18, Hosea 14:2c, Deuteronomy 24:19, Job 29:11-13) about caring for them and tells of His love and protection for them.  This reminds me that before I became a Christ follower I had no Heavenly Father.  I was an orphan.  Yet Christ, in His great love adopted me into His family through His sacrifice on the cross.  I could not help but be reminded of His great love and His great example of adoption when I was with these sweet orphans.

The best way that I can describe my time with these special children, the orphans, is to say that I strongly felt the presence of the Lord wherever they were.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when preparing for our trip other than sadness, but it never crossed my mind that I would sense His presence so strongly.  I think I might have even thought I would sense the opposite.  My heart felt a range of emotions while I was there from heartbreak and pain to joy and laughter, but in each emotion God showed me more of Himself.  He showed me Himself through these precious children.  One night I was extremely upset after visiting a beautiful little girl the same age as my daughter that has a terminal heart condition.  On the outside she was beautiful and looked like a healthy little toddler.  But on the inside her body was fighting to live and losing the battle.  My heart could not take it.  I began to pray and ask why.  Why God, do these children have to die?  Why do they have to be orphans?  Why can’t this change?  And then gently I heard His voice say, “I see them.”  Then I remembered John 14:18 that says “No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.”  It all began to come together for me.  He not only sees them but He he holds them.  He was there.  They were not alone.  While they may not have an earthly father, their Daddy was (and is) there holding them all day and all night long.  Suddenly, the strong sense of His presence there all made sense.  What a blessing it was to be in the presence of those He holds so dear to His heart.  God continued to show us Himself throughout the week, and by the end of our trip my husband and I both knew that God was calling us to adopt an orphan with special needs from China.  Two days after we returned home we started the process to do just that.  It is again another huge leap of faith as we do not know where the money will come from to fund this adoption but we know Who does.  We know this new journey will be exciting and stretch our faith even more.

When I look back on the events of the past few months from hearing God’s call to go to China to battling all my fears while preparing to go to our current journey of adoption, this statement by Steven Curtis Chapman so adequately sums up my thoughts: “And to think, if I had chosen to simply remain safe, I could’ve missed it.  I could’ve missed Him.”  Oh what a tragedy it would have been if I had missed Him.  Yet, I’m so thankful that this time I didn’t!

I think back on my life and wonder how many times I did miss it.  How many times I missed Him trying to give me a little glimpse of Himself because I was afraid, too busy, or just self absorbed.  Friends, we are not called to live a life of safety.  He calls us to get out of the boat and walk on water!  And when we do, we can be assured we will see Him.   I’m turning in my safety jacket for good and never going back.  When He calls, I’m telling my fears to shut it, and I’m answering a resounding YES!  I’ve experienced Him and I don’t ever want to miss another opportunity again.

As I examine my own life I hope you will join me and look at yours.  Are there times in your life where you may have missed it?  Thank goodness He never stops inviting us to experience Him.  He has given each one of us a unique passion and gift that He wants to use, and in turn we get to know Him in a deeper way.  Is there something He has put in your heart to do that you’ve been ignoring because you were afraid, too busy, or just haven’t stopped to listen?  Whatever it is don’t go another day and miss it!  It’s time to take off the safety vest and get out there and be who He has created you to be!  He has all the details covered.  All He needs is a willing heart that says, “Yes!”

Jesus I thank you that no matter how many times in the past we may have missed “it” you are always there waiting to give us another chance to experience You.  I pray that your Holy Spirit would come and empower us to boldly say YES to whatever you call us to.  Lord help us to be still and listen to your voice so that we may be a part of the amazing things you are doing.  Thank you for your love.  Amen.

Kelli Jones

Kelli Jones

40 Responses to “No More Playing it Safe”

  1. Thank you so much for your words! They are what I need right now.

  2. Wow, Kelli. Wow, wow, wow. This is amazing and inspiring! I am cheering you on even as I examine my own heart. I love the extensive list of Scriptures that you included. This is an exceptional article. Thanks.

  3. Kelli where was your hankie warning!! I am honored to be your friend. I am touched by your spirit to mother these orphans. And I am in awe of your obedient heart. Love you more every day!

  4. This was quite fitting for today…. Both of my morning devotionals were about stepping out in faith and not playing ot safe anymore. I think God is trying to tell me something. Thank you for your words. Your story was a beautiful portrait of what happens when we step out and obey, I love it :)

  5. Kelli,
    Your journey to China, and now the adoption process has been absolutely amazing to watch unfold. To see God's hand constantly carrying y'all every step of the way …wow!!! You are such a great example of stepping out of the comfort zone and not playing it safe anymore. I will continually support y'all with prayers and smiles;) Love ya!

  6. What an awesome and inspiring testimony you have of trusting and obeying God! May the Lord continue to bless all that you do!

  7. I love it! Great story of God's faithfulness, and very eloquently told, my dear, new-old friend! Excited for you guys!

  8. Sweetheart, all I can say is that even today when it seems that the "enemy" is at the gates, I am so glad that we did and continue to obey His call on our lives. It's obvious just by looking at the past two weeks that we are in for the spiritual fight of our lives. But what better place is there than to be in a battle we have already won because it has been fought and won for us! We will continue to fight for these children and pray for God's favor and protection over them while we ask Him to deliver us as well. We are pressing on together! I love you!

  9. Kelli –
    Thanks so much for sharing from your heart. I feel so blessed for having gotten to know you and I'm excited about your adoption journey. This has definitely challenged me, so thanks again for all you're doing, in following Him and in sharing about it.

  10. Thank you! That blesses me to know! <3

  11. Thank you Pam! Your encouragement means a lot to me! <3

  12. Love you too Rena! Thanks for being such a supportive friend and cheerleader along this super fun ride we're on!

  13. That's so cool Bethany! I've had several days like that recently where God was very obvious in getting His point across to me because every where I turned it was the same message! Thanks for your sweet comment!

  14. Amy, you are the ultimate cheerleader and I'm so thankful for you! <3

  15. Thank you Kathy!

  16. Thank you Crista! Excited to officially "know" you now! <3

  17. Thank you my love! I'm honored to walk through life with you. I'm so glad we traded in our "boring" life for a little adventure! Love you!

  18. Jenn, I am so blessed to have gotten to know YOU! I'm still amazed at how God knit together the hearts of once complete strangers! I love it! I'm praying for you and excited to hear How God continues to work in your life! <3

  19. if you feel God calling you to do this, the DO IT! yes it's scary. yes it's hard before, during and after. yes, it's expensive… but God will help you with every last bit. you can do none of it on your own anyway so don't worry about the parts that are hard, God is able and everything you need. you'll have moments where you question yourself along the way and even right before you go! i was thinking the EXACT same thing kelli was – what if i make orphans of my children when i am trying to bring one home! but you just have to trust the Lord.

  20. This was a post that I thoroughly enjoyed reading! God has really put orphans on my heart, and it was wonderful to hear your story! I've also been wanting to push myself and stop 'playing it safe'. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Thanks Natalie! Cheering you on as you step out and see all that He has for you!

  22. Wow Kelli! Thank you for sharing your innermost feelings. It challenges me to look within myself to see what God has me to do! I consider myself blessed to have been able to experience China with you! Your tender spirit is such an example to me. I am glad that God has truly shown himself to you through this. I look forward to all that he has planned for you and your growing family :)

  23. loved reading this, kelli! and i have loved watching the process and getting to participate (a little)….faith building for sure! so glad God crossed our paths and that they are crossing more and more this year…You and your family are a treasure we want in our lives for sure! love you! beth

  24. This was awesome Kelli! Congratulations on taking your next leap of faith. I will continue to pray that God blesses you and the experience!

  25. Wow- girl. You are amazing. So glad to know you and count you as one of my friends!

  26. Beautiful Kelli!! I love this amazing story!! I love how God carried you through everything and your faith in Him being increased through this trip.
    "He calls us to get out of the boat and walk on water! And when we do, we can be assured we will see Him." Your words encouraged me more than you know!!
    Love you,
    Maree

  27. Kelli, This has to be one of my fav's from you. I felt your passion and a joy when reading this. Like, truly, an experience with God through this like never before. I love it when you said to tell the devil to 'shut it'. Haha- I'm using that one! You are an inspiration to us mommas everywhere!! Thanks for putting a little fire under my own butt! I needed this one. Will be praying for His will in this area of adoption. Thanks for not playing it safe anymore, but going over to the other side. Bless you my friend on this amazing journey! =)

  28. Wow Enna! Congratulations on your new daughter! Thanks so much for sharing your passion about adoption and the wonderful story of your precious little girl! If you have a blog about your adoption process I'd love to read it! Or if you have any tips for me I'd love to hear them. Thanks again for sharing your heart!

  29. Thank you Sandy! We feel equally blessed to have met you and had this experience with you! Praying for you as you step out in whatever He asks you to do! <3

  30. Sweet Beth! Thanks for your encouragement and prayers all along the way! And please don't stop now! :) We are so blessed by your friendship!! <3

  31. Thank you Kamra! We are so excited and appreciate your prayers!

  32. Mel! So thankful for you and blessed by your friendship! <3

  33. Thanks sweet Maree! Love you!!

  34. Oooo, I love that "you were getting more breath for the race." I'm totally going to steal that! (If you don't mind) :) Thank you Marsia for your sweet words of encouragement. We are so blessed by sweet supportive friends like you! Love!

  35. I think you are right! It was totally an experience with God like never before, and continues to be! :) And I love it! Thank you so much for your sweet words and blessings on this journey! Thankful for you! <3

  36. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I'm telling satan to "shut it" as well! Thank you SO much for sharing your journey! I can't wait to see the precious gift (child) that the Lord is going to give your family:)

  37. Kelli- Thank you for this beautiful picture into your heart. Thank you for your willingness to hear God's voice and follow His lead. I too felt His presence at MBHOH but He's now reminding me that His presence is in me, with me whenever I surrender control of my life to Him…at home or in a foreign land. I can't wait to see how God will lead your family in the days ahead as He prepares you for the little one He's chosen for you. I count it a privilege to know you and Bill and I'm grateful that we shared the China trip together. I'm praying for you!

  38. "He calls us to get out of the boat and walk on water! " So glad I finally came back to finish this! Loved it! And inspired and reflecting on what God is saying to me through it.
    love,
    R

  39. Can't wait to hold your cutie baby!!! Have loved walking this journey with you seeing the natural everyday expression of your obedience.

    I'm so blessed God decide we should be friends a year ago! What a fun year of God's faithfulness it's been! :)

    Love you Kelli girl!
    ~Ris

  40. This posted while I was on vacation, and I’m just now getting caught up. Your story is so amazing and inspirational. I’m so challenged to examine my own life and to ask myself why I wait to take action when His tells me to do something. You clearly heard the Lord and immediately took action. Wow!!!! What amazing faith you have!