Behold what manner of love…

Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us that we should be called the sons of God!

1 Jn 3:1

It’s been three months since she came to live with us.  There are so many things we have thought and felt and changed and mourned since then.  But as so often happens, God takes the things of this world and is using them to shape us and refine us. 

This is the thought that has repeatedly resonated with me:  How could God, righteous and just, pull me, wretched and selfish, out of this life of sin?  And then–and this is what astounds me even more–despite the muck and chaos, He choose me and calls me his daughter!  He loves me.  He revels in me.  He wants me. 

Because the choosing was hard–knowing that our lives would change and her life would change and everything would change–was hard.  And the doing was even harder–mourning the simple life we had and fearing the storms to come.  But the hardest part is exactly where we are right now.  The loving. 

To take in a child who has no one to care for her only requires pity.  To feed and foster that child, clothe and care for her, only requires benevolence.  To discipline that child so that she can be wiser and stronger and someday be an influence for good only requires morality.  But to bestow love on that child?  That’s the work of God.

It is not by chance that the Spirit lead me to re-read Knowing God, by J. I. Paker over these last few months.  This is what I read today…

In the ancient world, adoption was a practice ordinarily confined to the childless well-to-do.  Its subjects were not normally infants, as today, but young adults who had shown themselves fit and able to carry on a family name in a worthy way.  In this case however, God adopts us out of free love, not because our character and record show us worthy to bear his name, but despite the fact that they show the very opposite.  We are not fit for a place in God’s family…

Adoption, by its very nature, is an art of free kindness to the person adopted.  If you become a father by adopting a son or daughter, you do so because you choose to, not because you are bound to. Similarly, God adopts because he chooses to.  He had no duty to do so.  He need not have done anything about our sins except punish us as we deserved.  But he loved us…And throughout our life in this world, and to all eternity beyond, he will constantly be showing us, in one way or another, more and more of his love, and thereby increasing our love to him continually.  The prospect before the adopted children of God is an eternity of love. 

For none of the choosing, the doing, the caring, the disciplining–none of it matters without love.  . 

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Thy will be done

With adoption continuing to move forward and fears continuing to loom, I still find myself questioning “Is this really what God wants for our family?” “Is this really His will for us?” For it’s certainly not what I had planned out.
Most of us would say we want God’s will for our lives. But what if that will is to take us through tragedy to gain our trust? Or what if it means walking through pain to get closer to His heart? Would we really want that…Really?

Last night I was talking with a friend about some of my fears and questions about this thing God has asked us to do, she was so kind, listening and working through it all with me. Then she said, “It’s just so hard because first and foremost you’re a mom to the two children He’s already given you.”
And the words came tumbling out, aching but firm, and I couldn’t have grabbed them even if I’d wanted to because they weren’t my own…
“No. That’s not true,” I said (heart breaking, hands hurting from grasping for control of my own life, which is not my own), “I am and always will be, first and foremost, a child of God. He always comes first. Before I’m a mother or a wife or a sister or a daughter or a friend–I am a child of the King. And I’m called to obey. So if he asks me to do something, what else can I say but ‘Yes’?”

The words of the hymn “In the Garden,”echo in my head strong and pure…

I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.”

So today, as I prayed, asking God for wisdom and a word of encouragement, I should not have been surprised when He gave me Colossians 3:23. Because when I looked it up, I was humbled when I saw the words…

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

When you enter this the world, it’s you and Him. When you depart, it’s you and Him. And when you fold shirts and make meals and buy milk and drive and shower and talk and breath…it’s still ultimately about you and Him.
Because if it’s not, then why are you doing it at all?