Maine Senate Opening Reflection & Prayer
I once again had the opportunity to open the Maine Senate in prayer. This time, I brought one of my daughters with me and shared a brief reflection based upon an experience my family has recently had. It was a unique occasion for me to talk from a very public platform about what God has been doing in my life:
Maine Senate Opening Reflection and Prayer
May 20, 2015
Rev. Larry J. Lakey
Winslow Baptist Church
Good morning and thank you for the invitation and privilege to open today’s session in prayer. Before I pray, I’d like to share some thoughts based on some recent experiences my family and I have had together.
Exactly three weeks ago today, my wife and I became licensed for foster and adoptive care in the State of Maine. Of course, this sort of licensing is not an overnight process. The desire to help provide a home for children in need began building in us years ago. Along the way, there were documents and disclosures and inspections and seminars and interviews and approvals. And we also talked to other foster and adoptive parents, those who were further ahead on a journey similar to the one we would begin. We listened to their stories: stories about completing the licensing process, about getting their homes ready, and about finally receiving that first phone call for a child to be placed with their family. We would listen, ask questions, and wonder when our phone call would come – what that day would be like for us. We didn’t need to wait long; the day our license was finalized, our phone call came.
My purpose in telling you about my family’s experience is not to highlight the need for foster and adoptive parenting in the State, nor to bring your attention to any issues as legislators. There are others far better qualified than me to do that. I am sharing this story with you in order to bring you into my moment of decision three weeks ago today, the moment when that phone call came. It came sooner than we expected and, to be forthright, at a highly inconvenient time: Our schedule was full, our energy level was low, and our refrigerator was empty. We certainly didn’t feel ready. But the call came because the need was there. It was an emergency placement; children needed a place to stay within a few hours. My wife received the call first and then spoke with me. We agreed to talk again after a few minutes of gathering our thoughts, a task that proved much more difficult than I had anticipated. My thoughts and emotions were in a whirlwind, and I searched for some degree of clarity under pressure. I prayed that I might somehow boil this decision down to its essence – down to a single principle or question that would help guide whatever choice I should make. The question that came to my mind was surprisingly simple and essential. It was this: If not me, then who? If I was not to act in this moment, who would? If I would not provide a home, where would these children go? Would I stand by, motionless and silent while this need was left unmet? If not me, then who?
That single question helped guide my decision in a moment of need. All of the preparation and anticipation only mattered if, in that moment, I chose to do the one thing that I knew I must do. The opportunity was before me and it would pass me by if I failed to act. So we said, “Yes” and for three weeks now, my family has hosted two young children in our home. We have loved them, protected them, and provided for them as our own. We have been challenged, stretched, and humbled in unforgettable ways. We will never be the same, and I believe we have changed for the better.
I know that the honorable men and women in this body are working hard to make our great State better. I know that your work is difficult, complex, and timely. And I know that you work under tremendous pressure. My hope is that today, as you face the important business before you, this same question might help guide your decisions. Is there work that you must do because the opportunity will pass you by if you fail to act? Is there a decision that you must make because it is yours alone to make? Is there a timely issue – or perhaps a set of issues – for which the pertinent question is, “If not you, then who?”
I respectfully invite you to join me in prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank You for this day You have given us. Thank you for the men and women in this Senate whom You given as leaders and legislators for the State of Maine. Thank you for the difficult, complex, and timely work that is before them. Please guide them in their decisions: Provide the questions that must be answered to help bring clarity to actions they must take. Give them unity, give them wisdom, give them resolve to do the things that they alone must do. And bless them, I pray, as they serve in this capacity. May they be challenged, stretched, and humbled in their work so that they may serve well.
I pray this in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
What has God been doing in your life that you need to share so others may hear and be encouraged?