hope and disappointment

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I haven't blogged in awhile; I've been feeling pretty run-down and blogging seems to take so much emotional energy for me. I had high hopes for increasing my blog posts, but now I feel like I've let myself down. I've been reminded lately of how much I set myself up to be disappointed...last week I received some disappointing news regarding one of the aspects of our foster care paperwork. It wasn't that big of a deal and was easily fixed, but I just felt so let down. It was something that I was depending on someone else for, and it just didn't pan out in the way I expected.

This week, I received disappointing news about my health. I thought things were in a really different place regarding my thyroid issues...well, I knew I was still sick, but for some reason, I had put it in my head that when I visited the doctor this week that he would make me well again. I'm not sure why I've been believing this; it's not like he's magic...nevertheless, there it was, that hope I had for him. Once again, I left feeling tremendously discouraged and let down. I had really pinned all my hopes and plans on this one doctor's visit, kind of just ignoring what was actually going on in my body.

I know the reason for all this disappointment - it's misplaced hope. I had hope in other people for my application, I had hope in the doctor for my health, I had hope in myself for accomplishing my lists...all that hope that I'm placing everything and anywhere but in God. So the only thing on my list this week (and forever, really) is to put my hope in God and Him only. Yes, I know he uses other people and medicine and my abilities to get things done, but if I rely on those things without really seeking Him about those things, then I'm missing the point. I think I tend to compartmentalize, thinking, 'hey, God gave me medicine, it will eventually make me better and thus, I do not need to bother Him with this issue anymore., Or...'God called me to do this job, He gave me these specific abilities, and thus, I do not need to ask Him about it anymore.'

Now that I write this stuff out, I realize how ridiculous I sound. It's not like I stopped seeking God or spending time with Him, it's just like I have made my life a list of problems/needs and solutions. I have a pattern:
1) I consult God about these issues.
2) As soon as I feel He's given some sort of answer, I mark it down in the "solution" column. Even if it's not solved completely, I take what He's shown me as the final solution.
3) I mark it off the list completely, never to bother Him with it again.

Clearly this a pattern that is not working in my life. And the only way I'm going to make it through life, and especially this adoption journey, intact is to establish new thinking patterns.

New pattern:
1) Lay down my pride (thanks Jeremy Camp). It's embarrassing to admit that maybe what I thought God was telling me wasn't His final word to me in those situations. It's embarrassing to admit that I only sought His input to a certain point. It's embarrassing to admit my health weaknesses. I hate being weak or wrong. But now I have this step:
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

2) Seek God about ALL my needs, problems, life...continually...remembering this step:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5
Side note: it doesn't say "look to me, find your answer, and then go merrily along your way"...it says, "remain in me".

3) Put my hope for my solutions in God and God alone.
Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past.
Psalm 25:4-6

Quite Good

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I was watching an episode of Mad Men this week where one of the characters is thinking of adoption (and apparently - well at least according to this particular TV show - in the sixties, adoption was not all that common), and someone says to him "well, it's just not natural!" That particular conversation really stuck with me because of some verses that I've been meditating on. What is more natural than adoption? It's exactly what God intended from the start. It is His plan.

"Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved." Romans 8:23-24a

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will..." Ephesians 1:4-5

Six years ago, I received my first adoption information packet from Family Life. Just basic stuff, but what struck me most was all the scripture included with it. It had never occurred to me before how much the orphan was mentioned in the Bible. I never took seriously the verse in James about the true religion that God accepts being that which cares for the orphan and the widow (James 1:27-28). And when I got to the verses about our adoption into God's family, it was humbling to realize that I never even paid attention to what the Bible actually SAID about this issue.

Adoption always seemed like some far away issue for me. I knew people who had adopted, but it was only overseas and only infertile couples. It took a couple years past that first packet before I started really hearing about and listening to options that weren't international. International adoption seems (still) a little glamorous to me. Plus, there are so many horrific stories about failed domestic adoptions. International adoption is touted as a "safer" option. That appealed to me for awhile, until I started learning about how many children are waiting for adoption right here. Our conversations about adoption took a different turn about 4 years ago or so when Wendell and I realized that it wasn't a far-away issue...it was a next door issue. We decided that we couldn't justify thousands of dollars and work for an overseas adoption when children in our own area needed a family to love them. We can't deny the child we see at the store a loving home in favor of our own personal "safety" when it comes having a child become a part of our family.

We need a continual reminder of the oft-used (perhaps over-used) quote from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe where the children ask the beaver if Aslan the Lion is 'quite safe'. The beaver replies, "Safe? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe, but he's good. He's the King, I tell you." This path, it involves risk to be sure, but there are no guarantees with any child. Ben or Maggie could have died a day, a week, a month after they were born...they still could be taken from us at any moment. Fortunately, our children are not our OWN. They are God's. They (and us, too) belong to a King who most definitely is not 'quite safe'...but He is quite good.
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