Consider the Lily
More than "Okay"
I opened up my laptop on my 3 hour and 45 minute flight after I listened to my audiobook for a while, attempting to be productive. When my laptop came on and I got logged in, a tiny notification appeared in the top right of my screen: “Philippines with Kim” and in small letters underneath it: 76 days ago.
It’s crazy to me that it’s already been 76 days since we got to spend time in the Philippines with Josie and her girls. Since our time there, life has carried on at it's both hurried and unhurried pace. In the beginning of school full on for all of the girls and many birthday celebrations; and in the slowing down of family time and the same bedtime routines. There are new countertops in the kitchen, and a new furry friend named “Lupita” (she’s a little dark grey kitten, with a perfectly round face and short pointy ears). Life between the walls of the home happens both mindfully and effortlessly. Girls gathered around tables studying, or seated on the floor playing games. Meals shared throughout the day, the consistent picking up and dropping off. “J” got braces and “R” got stitches. “A” turned 18 and had a debut. Kids conference happened and some of the girls saw Planetshakers in concert. Jackie threw the annual Halloween party. It’s just what being alive feels like. To really truly live fully. It’s the spectrum of the hard and the painful and the glorious and joyful. The pulse of the day to day is both rhythmic and consistent. And that’s even when the sun slips behind the mountains, and night comes. Even when the lights switch off and everyone drifts off into sleep. There’s a Presence that is alive and warm and unchanging. To me, it all communicates the miraculous existence of God in the way He creates. Draw the parallel with me at the way he created our bodies. To exist and function as one, every part integral with its own purpose, but also existing to assist the next. Unable to function without the help of its neighbor. Designed with thought and intentionality to be fully sustained by the intricate design of the Creator. Something that Kim and I talked about being in the Philippines was “how does Josie do it?” To be accountable for 42 daughters. Knowing what everyone has going on and getting them to where they need to be on time. Every girl accounted for, picked up and dropped off, checked on. Care given. Needs met and exceeded. Knowing each of them. Loving each of them for who they are and where they are. I remember Kim asking Jos, “How do you do it?” And with her gleaming bright blue eyes, Josie responded, “Jesus and my calendar.”
I know we’ve talked about this before, but I believe that one of the most beautiful things about Consider the Lily is that Jesus is the one that drafted up the blueprints of our family. When things have fallen apart, and when they’ve come together, He is the one that has consistently urged Josie, Kim and Brian, and our Board members back to the drawing board. He is sustainer. I feel like our family has deeper context and meaning for what the word “sustainer” really means because of how we’ve learned to rely on the Father for every big, little, and in-between thing. He takes care of it all. He’s holding it all. He can carry it all. Nothing is too big for him. Nothing is too out of control, or messy, or chaotic, or broken. Jesus has provided. He continues to, and we get to constantly surrender our plans to Him, palms to the sky, ready for whatever it is He wants to entrust us with. We get to show up and actually witness “as it is in Heaven.” We get to see glory and good unfold before us.
I read something today before I boarded my plane and it said “everything will be good.” I didn’t read much past that four word sentence, and if I’m being honest I can’t even remember where I saw these special words of encouragement nor do I have an idea of in which context they were written. Those four words have really had me thinking. We always tell ourselves, when things are up in the air, or when anxiety takes the reins of our mind, when things are falling apart or out of our control: that “everything will be okay.” But what if the invitation to us was “good”?
I’m reminded of Joseph, one of Jacob’s 12 sons. Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers out of jealousy and hate. He was betrayed by his own flesh and blood. After he was betrayed, a number of events occurred against Joseph and at one point he is forced to sit in a jail cell for 13 years of his life for a crime he didn’t commit. When he encounters his brothers for the first time after he’d been betrayed by them, he immediately forgives them. This story is one of God’s kindness and grace and unending redemption, but I want to take a closer look at when Jacob dies and what the interaction is between the brothers. When Jacob dies, all 11 of Joseph’s brothers doubt that Josephs forgiveness is sincere and will remain after the passing of their father. Kind of like “Well, you don’t need to prove that you’ve forgiven us anymore because you’ve already received the inheritance and blessing from dad before he died. And now that there is no revoking that blessing and inheritance, we know you’re going to repay us with evil for what we did to you.” But Joseph responds in a remarkable way that so clearly reveals to us the posture of his heart. After betrayal, slavery, and imprisonment, I can only imagine the way Joseph looks at his brothers. Eyes bloodshot and filled with tears after hours of lament, and he says to them:
“Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Joseph didn’t respond to his brothers fear with empty words . He didn’t say, “Well, what you meant for evil, God meant for it to be okay.” What if he meant what he said when he said that God meant it for good? The same good that Father used when He spoke everything into existence and called it good. What if that word meant something more to us than what it does when describing food that tastes average, and our immediate response to the question “how was your day?” What if the word “good” was a part of the inheritance we were promised by Jesus? Don’t let “okay” be enough. Don’t let it be the reason you get through the day, or the reason you surrender your worship to the Father. His promise to us is “good” not just “okay.” Let Him live up to His word. Jesus had victory over Joseph’s situation, and more than deliverance from the evil plans that Joseph was up against, God turned everything around and made it good.
When I opened up to my computer to start writing, I didn’t really know what I’d write about. All I knew was that Kim brought up the idea a few months ago for me to start writing our blogs and I thought, why not right now. As I’ve been writing it’s been with our family in mind and with the context of things relevant to what’s happening within CtL right now. We’ve hit some walls and had some harder moments in the last few weeks and I write this as an encouragement to press on into what God has done, and what He will do with our yes to Him. I want you to know too, I am also writing to me, and I’m also writing to you. Sometimes life gets heavy and hard, and it catches up with us, and it’s with a foggy mind, and tired eyes then that we realize we are overwhelmed and burdened. My encouragement to whoever is reading this is: take a deep breath and check in with yourself. Come to full awareness alongside Jesus and breathe. 10 minutes. I’m not asking for your whole day, 10 minutes with the Creator. Slow down. Ask Him for what you need. And be encouraged that He is present to where you’re at and wants to hear from you.
My “1st Birthday” / first year with Consider the Lily is coming up in the next few days, and more than the horrible statistics of sexual abuse in the Philippines, and how God is miraculously bringing stories of victory and redemption to every single one of our girls between the two homes He’s established, I’ve learned more of what it means to trust Jesus with my everything. I’m unbelievably grateful to be a part of a family that I see walk this out, even in the most pressing and painful moments. People who just rely on Jesus wholeheartedly.
Our prayer is that you’d walk away knowing that yes, something is being done about the unthinkable atrocity of abuse and exploitation, and yes redemption and healing is happening, and there is celebration and more than a million things to be said about that. But on top of that glorious and hopeful reality, we can all trust Jesus to take care of us. You can trust Him to take care of you. We pray that that small truth would be at the forefront of your mind today, leading your decisions and guiding your engagement with the gift of life presented to you.
Father we trust your will. We surrender our ideas and attempts of grasping for control in the midst of unknown circumstances and recommit our hearts and minds to you, Lord. May we all trust you more that we trust ourselves.
-CtL Team / Dasia Olivares