At this point, as a family of nine, we’ve pretty much heard every joke in the book.
“You know what causes that, don’t you?’
To which we we sometimes want to respond:
**”Yes! And we like it!”
“So, are you done?”
“Are you trying to build a basketball team?”
**”A varsity and JV football team, actually.”
“You sure have your hands full!”
**:Full of blessings!”
“Are these all yours?!”
**Yeah, they have different dads.” 😉
And truthfully, we get a hoot out of most of them. People mean well and while as a whole, the world probably thinks we are little on the nuts side, I scarcely feel hurt or detoured or upset about any of these comments. We get that the road we are walking isn’t the one that everyone is called to walk or even wants to walk. We get that our family looks pretty mixed and people just want to know what’s going on and what is the thinking behind the craziness.
Just last week I was checking out at Wal-Mart and had placed a box of diapers on the check-out counter. I was by myself. The lady working said, “Oh, you must have a little one.” I said in my excitement, “Well, soon! We will be bringing our new daughter home through adoption in only a few weeks!” “Home from where?” she asked. “Actually we are adopting her from Ch*na. We are very excited and ready to have her home.” The lady scrunched up her eyebrows, paused and shook her head, and then said, “Whatever makes you happy!”
The conversation certainly turned a more pleasant corner- but that comment really rang in my ears.
Whatever makes you happy.
So that’s why I should make the decisions I make in life? My happiness? Yes, that’s certainly why I’ve struggled and fought and sought God to come up with what will, after this adoption process, be about $112,000 in 6 years to bring kids home through adoption. That’s why I’ve sold anything that I could pass through my hands of any value. That’s why I’ve altered everything about my natural family make-up and completely changed the course of my life. My happiness?
Don’t get me wrong- the path we’ve chosen has made us very, very happy. There is no greater peace or happiness than seeing a child come alive in a family- but that doesn’t come at a small price financially or emotionally or physically. It takes all I have had to give, plus way, way more. And I am so grateful and beyond happy with the miracles I’ve seen God do and the way our family has grown and thrives. But my happiness had nothing to do with the reasons I said yes to God- and His lead and direction had everything to do with it. If my happiness was the starting point or the maintaining point of life, I have seriously failed.
This lady’s remarks didn’t bother me. They just made me think about the way, as a whole, the world chooses a direction to walk down. I cannot imagine where my life would be had I followed one trail to happiness and down another one.
And that is why there is only one brand of comment that gets down into my soul and just about causes me to mourn. It’s the comment that comes from those in the church that are generally of the same depth and value. The comments from those who begin questioning your sanity and even your ability to discern God’s voice simply because the path you are walking seems difficult, strange or “too much.”
We have a very dear friend who was out and about last week who was approached about our family. The conversation was very odd indeed and it only hurt a little because the person inquiring about us claims to follow Jesus- yet could not wrap their minds around the heart of God for the fatherless and apparently why anyone would think God would tell someone to adopt several children. That in itself has me standing absolutely puzzled.
The person asked our friend why we drove that “old van.” That cracked me up. We happen to love the Reed Rocket. It’s our dream car- but yes, it’s a 95 Dodge van and is certainly not a new ride. Vehicles have been far from the top of our list in the last six years. Actually, not ever.
The person went on, “Why do you think they do that?! Why do they adopt all of those kids?!” Our friend said, “Well because that’s what the Lord has told them to do.” The person continued, “Well if God told you to walk down a dark alley, would you do it? I really don’t believe God told them to do that.”
That’s right. God would never ask people to obey His Word. Because if people were really following God and His lead, they’d be driving newer cars and they certainly wouldn’t be adopting all of those kids. Because God would never ask His children to do hard things that would cost them everything. Nope. He would tell them to do…
Whatever makes them happy.
The reason this bothered me a little more than it should is because it actually scares me. Is this the state of the church today? If it costs a little more than our happiness, if it means letting go of our comforts, if it means being a little more peculiar or less wealthy or giving up on some personal plans- then have we come to the place of believing that that couldn’t be God? Because that is an eternity away from God’s Word or any example He gives in scripture of the lives of our fathers of faith or our Savior himself. The Christian life is about surrender.
I find it heart breaking when we get the lines so blurred that we are changing God’s Word without even realizing it. Have we replaced the foundations of God’s Word with a pillowy replica that holds no power at all? Because if we’ve come to the place of walking by comfort, happiness or safety above walking by faith, we are missing out on the greatest privilege of all in this life; allowing God to use us as His hands and feet to do the miraculous. And if our dream is about our happiness and it’s something we are able to create with our own two hands by our own finances and our own strength than it’s not God-sized. It’s man-sized and it’s far, far too small.
But just so it’s known- I’m not sure I could be happier. I have walked in more joy and true happiness over the last six years that have cost me more surrender and more brokenness, than ever before that in my life. I’m living the dream. God’s dreams for me- which He knew before I was created would be perfectly fulfilling and perfect for me. I do, in all honesty, feel privileged to tears and honored beyond belief to drive that old green van- To hold the hands of these treasures God has given me- to see beauty made from ashes over and over again, with my wonderful husband as my partner in this life-work. God knew what would make me happy, and He has filled my cup to over-flowing…but happiness was never the goal. It was a byproduct of surrender, and that I will never-ever regret.