Favorites


Today is adopion day.  The day I received the best gift of my life.

Three years four months and sixteen days ago a charming, brown-eyed, pint sized, almost three year old, fire-cracker of a girl came to live with us.  Although she came at a time when we weren’t looking for her, somehow we were always expecting her.

Two years ago today our family went to court to finalize her adoption.  Now she is six and we can’t remember what our family was like without her.  She is kind, smart and opinionated, resilient, stubborn and very self-aware.  On her birthday this year, we took both girls out to dinner.  She was sitting next to me and at one point I looked over at Robb and said, what did we ever do without this?  (about 3 1/2 seconds later she did something naughty)

About a month ago she asked me, what does adopted mean? (apparently her class had read a book about a family adopting a kitten). 

I thought, here we go, sent up a quick prayer for words and said, adoption is when someone gives a home and a family to someone who needs it.

Am I adopted?

Yes.  You didn’t grow in my tummy like Isaac and Ezri, but God grew you in my heart and the first time I saw you I knew you belonged in our family.

O, that’s right.  I used to live with [her birth mother] and then I lived with Karli and then I came to live with you.

That’s right, I said, and grabbed her up in a big hug, but don’t think you are ever getting away from us.  You’re stuck with us forever.

How does one properly celebrate Adoption Day? 

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. — Ephesians 5:15 -16 (NASB)

How eager we are, when we hear God’s voice in a fresh way, to take up the reins and whip up the horse and gallop ahead on the path we think God has laid out for us.  But, in truth, God seldom lets me see more than a step or two ahead, (if that).  So I constantly have to school myself in patience (with varying degrees of success).

Are you looking at your present trials, victories, sorrows and joys as preparation for what God has for you in the future.  If so, then I would like to suggest that you are missing out on what God has for you today.  Don’t run ahead of God, always analyzing and trying to wring sense and meaning out of what today’s experiences have brought.  Revel in God’s grace today and let tomorrow take care of itself.  (Preaching to myself here by the way).

God is intensely interested in what we are going through today.  And the fact that each experience prepares me for the next and the next is really God’s business (and He’s so very good at it).  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Mrs. Gerlene Pashion passed away last Friday suddenly.

Mrs. Pashion is the mother of my lifelong friend, Lori.  I can almost not remember a time when I didn’t know her.  She’s been a fixture in my life since I was about five.  And it’s funny that I didn’t realize how important she’s been to me until now, now that she is gone.

I spent just about every Sunday afternoon of my growing up years at the Pashion house, having lunch with them after church and, in the early years, playing with clay at the kitchen table, which gave way eventually to spending time in Lori’s room, probably talking about boys.

Looking back on those afternoons with the perspective of an adult, I realize that was possibly not the most convenient way for Mrs. Pashion to spend her Sunday afternoons.

But Mrs. Pashion knew how to love people.  She was never begrudging of those afternoons.  And I was a senstive child and believe me, I would have known.  All I felt at the Pashion house was gracious warmth and the love of Christ overflowing.

I remember an afternoon when Lori and I were in high school and members of the bible quiz team.  We were preparing for a competition and Mrs. Pashion spent an entire afternoon listening to each of us go through our stacks of quote cards until we were word perfect on every single one.  Again, from an adult perspective, I realize that there were probably many other things that Mrs. Pashion could have been doing with her time, important things.  But she knew that loving people means spending time with them, even when it’s not convenient.  I had the privilege of being treated like a third daughter.  But, knowing Mrs. Pashion, I believe all Lori and Rosie’s friends probably felt the same way, loved, accepted, a member of the family.

This kind of unconditional love, that loves without thought of one’s own comfort  or convenience has helped me understand the love of my Father in heaven.  I am honored to have spent so much time with a woman who was beautiful to the core and taught me so much about the working out of my salvation in love and patience and grace.  And I pray that God will use me to be a “Mrs. Pashion” to the friends of my own daughters.

I was gone today, quizmastering actually, for the Central District quiz invitational.  And as an aside, anyone who has quizzed over the book of Acts and actually stuck it out to the end has my greatest admiration. 

Because of a dearth of babysitters, due to said quiz meet intersecting with a wedding involving a family (as well as many support players) in our church intersecting with Robb’s last day of school (yippee!!), I had to have one baby sitter in the morning and another in the afternoon.

Sometime on the am babysitter’s watch, the 6 year old got a nasty splinter in her foot.  Neither babysitter, working alone or together could get it out.  When I got home, she was lying on the couch and insisting that it didn’t hurt anymore and I didn’t have to take it out.  And I said, Oh honey, I have to take it out.  It’s dirty and nasty and if I leave it in it will cause all kinds of problems.  Your foot could get infected.

She asked me, what does infected mean?

I said, that’s when something dirty, that doesn’t belong, gets inside you and it starts to poison everything around it.  And it hurts worse and worse and pretty soon you won’t be able to run and jump and play.

It’s not that she didn’t believe me, but she was willing to risk the possibility of future pain to avoid the certainty of present pain. 

Well, it took two of us holding her down while she was screaming and writhing and while her big sister was crying and begging me to stop, but I got the splinter out.  It was deep, but it wasn’t really that hard to remove.

And I’ve been thinking two things:

The splinter wasn’t that hard to get out, and yet the mom was the only one who could do it.  I was the only one who could bring myself to inflict pain in order to circumvent pain.  (Keep in mind that these are adult babysitters – not 14 year olds).  And you know what?  If I was watching someone else’s kid and that happened, I would probably wait for mom too.  But there’s something about doing the best for your child, even though it’s painful.  And isn’t that what God is doing when He allows us to go through painful trials and circumstances?  Sometimes is He cutting out that dirty nasty crud that we’ve allowed, that we’re so used to that we don’t notice, that’s buried so deep that you can’t see it on the surface, so that it won’t poison the rest, so that we will not lose our ability to run and jump and play?

The other thought I had was how much like little children we are when we kick and struggle instead of submitting to the One who loves us best.  We know He loves us, we understand that trials have to come to refine our faith, but we whine and beg and plead and yell.  Just as I am glad that I didn’t give in to my daughter’s begging, I am glad our loving Daddy doesn’t give in to ours.  I am glad He goes forward and pulls out that splinter, cuts out that prideful attitude, pushes me ruthlessly to work through my fears, so that I can be being made perfect, because wholeness is worth the pain.  Christ-likeness will take major surgery.  But that’s what we are asking for when we ask God to use us, to make us into the people He wants us to be.

God directed me to two verses this week, which, taken together, give me courage:

Ephesians 1:19 (with some context)
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know . . . His incomparably great power for us who believe.  That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead . . .

Colossians 1:11
 . . . being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience . . .

His incomparably great power (like that strength He exerted when he raised Jesus, remember?) is available to us. why?  So that we can move mountains?  Alter the course of human events?  Perform miracles?  Maybe that too, but more importantly for us living in a world where inexplicible wickedness happens every day, so that we may have great endurance and patience.  So that we can persevere, take that next step, press on in the face of suffering, hardship, trial.  So that we can put one foot in front of the other.

Thank you, thank you, God, for understanding that the battle is in the little things, for giving us power each day for each step, and for knowing how desperately we need it

This sets me on fire.  Press on, dear friends, press on.

I was thinking of my daughters today, and how they’ll ask the same question over and over, trying to get a different response – as many times as I will permit.  Sometimes, when they are especially persistent, I have to say, I’ve answered that question.  I’m not going to change my mind.  And I’m not going to talk about it anymore.

So many times, like a child, I only hear what I want to hear.  I ask again and again, hoping against hope for a different answer this time.  But really, I know the answer.  I know the next step, that giant to be conquered (even if he’s only gigantic in my mind).  And as long as I’m unwilling, as long as I am giving in to fear instead of surrendering to God, is it any wonder that He is silent?  What more is there to say?  He’s told me the answer.  He has shown me the path to the promised land.  It is up to me to choose to set my feet upon it or not, to set my face like flint and follow my Lord.  But it’s no good asking, Where are you, God?  Because I already know He’s up ahead . . . . . on that path . . . . . the one I don’t want to tread.

I’m spending a lot of time in Colossians 3 lately.  I told Robb that I’m going to read it every day until I get it right, which, if I’m at all average, should take me approximately 35 more years.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men . . . it is the Lord Christ you are serving.

The other day, I was folding Robb’s tee shirts and thinking about God.  Understand that Robb’s tee shirts always go into the laundry inside-out.  He never turns them.  And when I fold them, with an attitude that is about 75% laziness and 25% passive-agressive, I leave them inside-out.  He can turn them – I have enough work to do.  So, I started to fold his inside-out tee shirt and God whispered in my heart . . . it’s the Lord Christ you are serving.  And I asked myself what if this were the Lord’s tee shirt?  My immediate answer was that I’d turn it right side out for my Wonderful Savior/Big Brother/Lover of my soul/Best Friend.  And it dawned on me, I am folding this tee shirt for my Lord.

And I thought that maybe What Would Jesus Do? is the wrong question.  I’ve mostly found the WWJD? thing makes me feel defeated (which I recognize could just be my own issue).  But maybe the question we should be asking ourselves in our service to others is what would I do for Jesus?, the implications of which are so exhausting that I will leave it to you, dear friend, to ponder on your own.

But, p.s. all Robb’s tee shirts are right side out and I’m pretty sure I need to get up and see him off to work in the morning and maybe even fix him some breakfast.

p.p.s. I wrote this in my journal several days ago and since then this question is haunting my existence. 

Next Page »