President of Proverbs 31 Ministries Lysa TerKeurst told her inspiring story of God’s challenging her to live in true obedience rather than follow a “Christian checklist,” during Monday’s Convocation at Liberty University.
She began her message by quoting Mathew 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
“Our job is to just start looking for God. How many times do we pray and we ask God to reveal Himself to us and we get up from our prayers and we forget to look?” she asked.
A New York Times bestselling author of 16 books, including “Unglued” and “Made to Crave,” TerKeurst engaged students by telling the beautifully intricate timeline of how God called her and her husband to adopt two teenage boys from Liberia.
TerKeurst has shared her family’s story around the world, appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The 700 Club, USA Today, Woman’s Day magazine, and Focus on the Family radio.
Proverbs 31 Ministries, based in Charlotte, N.C., encourages 500,000 women through their daily online devotional. TerKeurst also co-hosts a one-minute inspirational radio program that airs on more than 1,200 stations around the world.
TerKeurst’s story started with an ordinary day of balancing motherhood and to-do lists when she took her three biological daughters to church to hear 12 orphaned teenage boys from Liberia. The boys were performing in a choir and traveling across America to raise awareness for their war-torn country.
“The joy on their faces captured my heart—and I thought, ‘Wow. I wish I could be as joyful as them,’” TerKeurst said.
God whispered to her during the performance that she was to adopt two of the boys. Despite a desire to stay comfortable and ignore the whisper of the Holy Spirit, she decided to meet the boys afterward. Two of them hugged her and called her Mom immediately, having never met her and being unaware of her interest in adoption.
“I didn’t want a life that required a little bit of faith. I really didn’t,” TerKeurst said about contemplating adoption. “I wanted to call myself a person of faith. I wanted it to be a label on my life—but I did not want it to be a lifestyle,” she said.
TerKeurst struggled to walk by faith apart from her human desire to “strategize and manipulate everything into being.” However, after praying with her husband, they both knew that adoption was what the Lord had in store for them.
They began telling their friends about the adoption, expecting support. Instead, many people told her the adoption “wasn’t safe or reasonable.”
As a result, the TerKeursts asked the choir to sing for their friends and family so that they might experience the same joy they had felt. Immediately, hearts were changed, spurring a chain reaction that inspired other families to adopt 45 children from the same orphanage as their adopted sons.
In the journey of adoption, TerKeurst shared that she felt inadequate to raise and homeschool her sons. In the middle of discouragement, however, the Lord whispered: “Lysa, I’m not asking you to accomplish this big task. All I’m asking you to do is be obedient to Me and just show up every day. You show up and you bring that tiny bit of willingness you have and it will be enough. You just show up.”
“Your job is to be obedient to God and God’s job is to do everything else,” TerKeurst challenged students. “You are qualified, even if you are a complete mess like me. This is what I love about our Jesus—the first four letters of ‘Messiah’ are mess.”