Posts Tagged ‘starts at home’

smiles.

Back when we were dating, a song emerged as “ours” in the way songs do as couples travel through life together.  It was by a small band that only existed for a short period of time, but whose CD I borrowed from her all the time.   The title was “You Make Me Smile”, and yes…we often got sappy to it.  But it communicated so much of our early relationship and still today.  I often traveled in a band throughout college, and during the time we spent apart there were many moments where the thought of her, or surprise visit would brighten my face in great ways.  I would’ve never imagined it has now become a bit of a “Family Song”, offering a new perspective when sung/heard by or for our children.  But as any parent knows…..our children have the ability to make us smile.

Often in simple ways…

Our 5 year old, as we’re walking up to the playground, singing “Time is tickin’ away!  Tick Tick Tickin’ away!!”  Granted, we’d just ridden in my car where my incredible cassette-player was pumping out incredibly solid standards of Christian rock.  So she doesn’t know all the words to “Jesus is Still Alright” yet….she’s got time.

Our 8 year old, breaking in on a grown-ups version of charades, grabs a slip of paper to write down a name.  She’s giggling like she’s just written down something hilarious.  I’m thinking a vague cartoon character of some sort.  Maybe a common princess.  But she’s so excited to have that name in the mix, she actually stays and joins the game with us.  So who did she write down?  Pavel Datsuk.  One of the greatest Detroit Redwings to ever perform magically with the puck.  Well, actually she wrote “DASUK”, but we’ll give her time.  Those European names can be tricky.

One of the coolest moments from this past week, however, came from our 6 year old.  It was in the midst of dinner, before we began to carve our pumpkins.  The only night all week where we had no commitments, we had looked forward to a nice relaxing family time together.  Sarah had made a pot roast so tender, you could spread it on bread if you needed.  The whole house smelled of comfort and tranquillity.   We were all sitting down, and just barely keeping the girls reigned in to eat together, as they were so excited to be done and move on to dessert and pumpkin carving.  Sophie gets up and runs into the kitchen, I almost yell but realize she’s refilling her water cup and I calm down.  That’s when it happens.

“OH MAN!!  You guys have GOT to come see this sunset!!  It is soo beautiful!!”   And so, just like that, we all collectively sat our forks down, and followed her call to the kitchen.  Sure enough, it was quite pretty.  Pretty enough that we all went upstairs to get a better view above the neighborhood.  image1(2)

It wasn’t long before we all had breathed in enough of the wonder and beauty of a perfectly pink sunset that could never be captured fully by an iPhone.  We slowly made our way back to the table, and back into the rhythms of a busy fall night.  (did I mention this was also bath night?)   But several times this week, I’ve remembered that moment our 6 year old called our whole family to come and appreciate the beauty of what God was painting on the horizon.  These girls make me smile….

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the story we wanted him to write.

I remember back in early April 2012.  We were right on the threshold of a new adventure in following God’s call for our family.   We’d made the decision to adopt internationally, and felt God leading us to learn more, and grow a love for the people and country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  We’d been warned by several others, “this is an expensive process.”  “This is a journey with many unknowns.”  With smiles on our faces, we nodded.  We were aware.   We looked forward to the story God would write as we handed him a new stack of blank pages for the future of our family.

But we already knew what he would write.  The pages may not have been completely blank.

He was going to write a difficult but charming story of how a small midwestern family in full time ministry overcame great odds, and the  impossible financial realities of a single ministry income, to bring home a beautiful baby girl from the Congo.  It would be an amazing story and illustration that encourages every family to realize just how much of an impact they can make on the world, even if they aren’t a “power family” according to their status and income.

So far, that’s not been quite the story.me

After connecting with a great organization for quite a while, they ended up being much more focused on other efforts in the DRC.  That was fine while we were being processed, and finishing our homestudy.  But over a year into the process we finally felt released to switch to a new agency.  It seemed like prayers were answered, as immediately we received a referral.  We prayed for God to care for her, and put it completely in His hands.  We shared her picture with our children/friends.  Then her parents came to pick her up.

So here we are, back at the top of the “waiting list”, and the DRC has currently stopped issuing VISA’s for adopted children to leave the country.  They’re investigating specific cases of unethical practices from non-US countries, and making a statement while they do it.  It’s ultimately a good thing, as everyone involved genuinely wants the best for these children.  God has definitely used this time to help us learn more about the country, the people, and pray for the instability and fighting to cease.  This season shouldn’t impact us, because…well, it seems we’ll still be waiting a while.

If God had asked me as a young child what I wanted Him to do in my life, things would look quite a bit different from what currently is.  In reality, I’d probably be running around as the 5th Ninja Turtle.  So that’s obviously not the point I want to make here.  What I do want to do, is point out:  I don’t believe God is “making” this process difficult on purpose, as a sort of cosmic response of “I’ll teach you, Chadwick.”

I don’t believe God caused most of the difficult circumstances that have happened in my life, or in the lives of those I love…or your life.  Whether it’s the brokenness of your home growing up, or the economic struggles we’re currently facing as a nation.  He has granted humanity freedom out of His great love for us.  But I do believe God can write redemption into whatever story is happening due to the loving freedom He has granted humanity.

The story may not be the one we “wanted” Him to write as we handed him the paper and pen.  He may not be following the script we attempt to whisper into his divine ear every evening.  But He is still writing a beautiful story of hope and healing.  He offers to do the same in your life even today.  How will you respond to His invitation to be a part of New Creation?

Our story may not convince people that adoption is an easy/do-able choice.  But it may help paint a picture of what a family stubbornly relying on God looks like.  An image of parents who talk and pray with their children about a broken world.  Human beings yielding themselves to following God’s call…even as that call is largely unknown and uncontrollable.  As we’ve seen throughout scripture, He’s pretty good at knowing where such a story should lead…

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