"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let
God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know
God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
Romans 12:2 (NLT)
I once heard a Pastor talk about the exodus of believers in the church. His theory seemed simple: When people receive Christ's salvation, they don't come to grips with the actual ugliness and realness of sin in their life, so at their first post conversion hardship, they bail on God. I nodded my head in agreement. So many Christians find it difficult to look within themselves and recognize not just their salvation, but the great need for it in their personal lives that took a perfect God to the cross because of his love for us.....for me.
If someone had told me 2 years ago that the adoption of my son would shatter my view of Jesus Christ I would have laughed. My foundation as a believer was solid. Part of our journey to Jacob was due to our trust and faith in the Lord and obedience to Him. In my imperfectness, I tried the best to make him the center of my life. How could bringing a child into our home through adoption, one that we had wanted for a long time, affect my Christian discipleship?
As a former youth leader, one of the models we used to assess how our youth were growing in their faith was when they reached a point where the Great Commission (“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20) was imbedded in their hearts, minds, and actions. It was when they came to a point where they wanted to share Christ with the world and go beyond their personal salvation. I was well at that point by the time I entered High School. Looking back, I realize that although I knew that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was not a matter of works, I somehow still found that it was in works that I best expressed my love of Jesus. I was active in service. I believe it is one of my spiritual gifts.
It was in the adoption of Jacob, where my life suddenly went from a life of service (and ease in my faith), to a life of need. I had never been in actual Spiritual need and hunger before. In the process of trying hard to attach to a toddler that didn't know (nor seem to want to know at times) how to be a part of a family, I found myself holding on to God for dear life fearing mostly that I did not have what it took to help Jacob through life. What I found is that when I hit the bottom rung of the ladder of selfishness and shame, I felt incapapable of being the Mom I wanted to be. For a woman that had excelled at service, I found it difficult to serve and meet the needs of my precious little guy. I couldn't seem to grit my teeth and successfully do the hard work that needed to be done. I felt inadequate in that we had waited a long time to bring Jacob home, with a lot of excitement around his arrival, and at times I felt so much shame and isolation in that I could not seem to make this work. I often wondered if God had really given me what it took to be an adoptive Mom.
It was at this place that God found me. He picked me up, cradled me in his arms and whispered this, "You can not be an adoptive Mom until you let yourself be adopted." Suddenly, my separation from my almighty Father consumed me, my undeservedness for what He had done was bold in my life, and my sin, shame and selfishness were revealed to me like never before. I was an orphan. I had nothing apart from Christ. In my journey to embracing my adoption as a child of God I learned to live joyfully in the freedom that the cross had brought. I got up every morning and thanked God that because of his works, I could be sinful, and still do the work of helping Jacob heal, integrate into a family, and flourish.
Once I came to that place, I was able to let go of my expectations that I needed to do everything right and the feeling that I alone was responsible for Jacob's welfare. It was in this place that our healing could really begin........both for Jacob, and for me.
We found ourselves surrounded by a joy that is indescribable despite the circumstances we were and are facing. A love that goes beyond the bonds of family and brings true healing.
Two years ago today my sweet boy came into my life and started in me a renewal of my mind in being a daughter of the King. I am more aware of how unworthy, despicable, undeserving, selfish, and sinful I am than ever before......and I wouldn't change it for the world. It was through this that my debt to Christ expanded expontentially, as did my love and need for the Savior. The joy and gratefulness has seeped into every aspect of my life and has transformed me. My darkest hour became my most defining, and I wouldn't change a thing.
I could spend another hour writing about the amazing things that Jacob has accomplished and the incredible love and unity that we have come to as a family. The amazing work that has been done to help Jacob connect and feel safe and secure in his environment and yes, even to thrive and flourish. But, in the case of Jacob, I'll let you take this journey through pictures of our amazing little boy......come on, for many of you, that's the only reason you are here!
We love you Jacob and are so proud of the hard work you have done and are still doing. Thank you for loving me everyday. Today we celebrate the day we both became one less orphan.