Several months ago I sat down and wrote this unsure if I wanted to share it, Today, exactly 3 months since I wrote it, even though my mind is exploding with topics and ideas for my blog I felt a urge to share this. So currently as I am in Duncan,BC Canada I share a piece of my heart with you.
I was reading Come Thirsty by Max Lucado, while sitting at Starbucks enjoying the hustle and bustle of NY that I know I will miss. I hadn’t made it to church and wanted to have a time to spend with Him, I had planned to listen to a podcast, but the internet was slow, so I picked up the book and read a chapter that made my heart skip a beat. If you ask me what the first 4 chapters of the book are about, I could not tell you, but chapter 5, that’s a whole other story. It resonated deep within my soul.
For the past several months God has been showing me new and exciting truths that I never had really cared about. One of these is about being, wanted, chosen, loved and adopted.
Let me get deep and honest with you for a moment, 14 years ago my beautiful mother died due to cancer that plagued her body for 6 years. In the Canadian’s government eyes, I was deemed an orphan, giving me benefits, even though my father was alive and in my life. Even though I had a father, who loved me and tried to care for me, alcohol has imprisoned him for many years of his life. I was surrounded by a community that cared for and noticed that things at home had turned for the worse. I have no regrets of my childhood even though some may say I was robbed at times, God provided in ways I never truly understood. As I look back, I can notice all the things were not okay at home, I could list all the things I saw, all the things that children should never be exposed, but that is irrelevant. However, looking back, I can say I truly was an orphan and the people that cared and loved me realized this too.
One summer, my aunt and uncle applied for custody of me, they wanted me, to protect me, to keep me safe, to provide for me. Note the words I used, wanted, protect, provide, they will be repeated later. The summer ended with me returning with my father and things were different,the drinking did not stop, but things changed as my father was scared to lose me. Now please understand that my father never didn’t want me, he was sick before I was born, and chose alcohol to deal with life. I love my father, the memories I cling to are ones of fishing trips, eating pizza, flying kites and building a playhouse, not ones of neglect. I know he wanted me, but looking back, I know that I was never a child after my mother passed away, I became the adult to care for him. There was a point where my father had upset me, things happened that, once again shouldn’t have and I was at the age where I had had enough. I broke down at my best friend’s house before school, told them what had happened and never really went home after that. The thought of another custody hearing scared me, but they were moving, I knew this family well, I had been apart of their lives for several years, they lived next door from my dad and had been there through everything. Deep down I knew they wanted me, that they loved me, that they were my family. Conversations led to another custody case and before I knew it, I had moved in with a new family,to a new towns and a new school. I had been adopted. I had a home. I had a family that wanted me, that chose to go to court, to add another child into the mix, I had love in ways only they could love me.
Many years have passed and I finally realize how much they had loved me to adopt me, adoption or in my case fighting for custody was not an easy thing. Raising another child as well as their 4 others was not easy, learning how I deal, how I respond and who I am was not easy as I was so different; yet, they chose to, they wanted too. I am no longer an orphan, I have brothers and sisters, a mother and father, I no longer worry whether my father is sober when I wake up or not, instead when I go home I get to be with my amazingly chaotic family. Sometimes my mom calls me her orphan, I am but the best part of that statement is that I am hers. I belong, I am wanted, I was chosen, loved and adopted. No longer and orphan.
I have always had a special place for orphans and truly wonder where I would be without my adoptive family. The chapter in Max Lucado’s book started by talking about an orphan that was in the process of being adopted, her adoptive parents had visited her, leaving her with photos, gifts and a promise to return when the paperwork had been finalized. This child cherished the photos of her soon to be family. Reading this I instantly thought of two of my dear friends that are currently waiting for their children through adoption. They are waiting for children they have never met and yet they are filled with joy knowing one day soon their children will be home with them. As the chapter continued it talked about how the orphan had a ‘heart headed home’, she was excited for the day the doors would open and her father would take her home.
Are our hearts headed home? I don’t mean our earthly home, I mean the one that belongs to our heavenly Father. Or have we become content with this orphanage we call the world? Are we comfortable with our bed bug infested, poking out spring, bunk beds, our tin plates, our cold showers, our lonely orphan lives? Have we forgotten that the papers have been filed, the fees have been paid and that we are adopted? Do we get excited thinking about our new family? Honestly, I know that there are times that I forget, I get caught up in being an orphan, on being a victim and throw myself a pity party because I can list things that sucked in my life, I forget that I was chosen, that I was wanted, that I am loved. If I forget this truth of my physical family, so clearly I forget this of my Father in Heaven. Yes, in those moments of me feeling sorry for myself, I forget the love of my family, I forget that I am wanted, I forget because I selfishly want to feel sorry for myself, to make me feel better about myself. I lose hope that this real, feeling like I don’t deserve this, that I don’t deserve a family, that if I crawl up on the bed bug infested bunk I’ll find comfort. There is no comfort there. In fact, there is no comfort in this world, only lies that ease the pain. In 1 Peter 2:11 it says that this world is not our home and that we should not get comfortable. How different would we respond if we lived this out daily.
Since I forget, I’m sure you do too from time to time, that God wants us, He chose us and that He adopted us. In Romans 8:15 & 29 we see that God wants to adopt us as His own. He has searched us out, He knew what we needed before adopting us, He filled out the paperwork and picked out the wallpaper for our room. He covered our adoption fees, which were more than we ever could pay, through the sacrifice of His Son. However, we have to accept our adoption, we either can tell Him to get lost or accept. In the lonely shoes of an orphan accepting adoption is simple, we go for it, trading being an orphan for being an heir. And with God that means an heir with Christ. I am so grateful that God does not have step children, rather sons and daughters whom he loves, wants and adopts.
When we are adopted by God, we are not transported to heaven, we have a new family, but our heavenly home is not yet complete. We know our Father’s name but have yet to see His face. We are caught between what is and what will be, no longer orphans but also not home. We know we are adopted and await His arrival, excitedly waiting to leave this orphanage and be with Him.
In the meantime, time made mean with incurable diseases, injustices ruining lives of millions, preventable deaths and backstabbers making life on earth feel like a timeshare in Afghanistan. But in Romans 8:23-25, Paul talks about finding joy here and foretaste what is to come. We groan, just as an orphan sees a child with a family groans in longing for a family of her own. We groan because we long for that time when we are with our Father, but it is coming.
I want to end with a quote from the chapter, it is the last sentence and it is full of truth, groaning, and hope.
“Every homeless day carries us closer to the day our Father will come for us.” – Come Thirsty, Max Lucado