How do you do it?

“How do you do it?”

This is probably the question that is asked the most.

“How do you decide to adopt five siblings all at once?”

My only true answer is, “by the grace of God.” God is orchestrating this story, not us, we are only trying to obey in this crazy journey of love. Selfless love. Love as a verb. Agape.

How? How did I end up writing this story? When did buying bananas three bunches at a time become normal? I almost forget that just a short time ago this would have seemed absurd had someone told me that I would be doing these things today.

But as I reflect, if someone had told me 10 years ago that an unknown janitor would lead me, a die-hard atheist, back to church, and that I would come to believe with all my heart, mind, and soul that the Lord Almighty is the creator of Heaven and Earth, and that I myself, by the grace of God, would be given the gift of the Holy Spirit driving my heart for His Kingdom, I would have thought they were crazy! When did it become possible that I would be thought worthy enough to be called a child of God, much less a mother to nine children? How did this happen? But isn’t that how journeys are? Hindsight is always 20/20. At the start of a new journey you can’t see where the road will end. You don’t even realize the lessons you are learning until you look back.

As I look back, I see the lessons that I am learning that surround this Greek word, “agape”. Agape is defined as “selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love, the highest of the four types of love in the Bible.” As John tells us in 1 John 4:8b: God is love. It’s as simple and as hard as that. God is love. We are called to love. We are called to agape. And agape has nothing to do with emotion. It’s not the warm, fuzzy feeling you have for your loved one (although that can accompany it). It is a deliberate action. It is a choice. It is a principle we try to live our lives around. Selfless love in action.

Whatever gift you have been given, use it. Whatever talents you have, employ them. Whatever you have been blessed with, use it to bless others. Do your part. Live with purpose. Love deliberately.  Take a leap of faith! Stretch yourself! TRUST GOD! Know that God is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.     -2 Timothy 1:7

BE BOLD!

Stretch yourself and give thanks in all things, ALL things, the good and the bad. It is often through suffering that we are shaped and molded into who God is calling us to be. This process is not always easy. It asks us to move beyond our comfort zone.

Is this achieved by living in our own little bubble, predictable and perfectly planned, safe, isolated and surrounded by others who think and act exactly as we do? Or are we more like Christ when we are asked to stretch ourselves and we are called to reach out to someone who is different? Someone who may have dirty hands, or torn clothes, or smells of booze? Are we more like Christ when we are asked to tuck in our own child at bed tonight, or when we are pushed beyond our comfort level to tuck in a child at night that is not ours and may not even appreciate our hug goodnight?

And when? When do we make this leap of faith? When do we accept the calling that God has for us? When we have it all together? Right after we finish having children? After the house is sold? When we graduate? As soon as we pay off our debt? Let me say – there will never be the perfect time! God’s time is the perfect time. Listen to what He is telling you. Ask Him to clue you in.  He promises that if we sincerely ask, we will receive, if we seek, we shall find, if we knock, the door will be opened (Luke 11:9).

And then we have to trust and obey. We have to remember that if He brings you to it, He will bring you through it. God does not fail. I am reminded of the story of the apostles being persecuted for performing miracles and preaching about Jesus. They are brought before the Sanhedrin to explain why they continue to preach about Jesus when they have been forbidden to do so. As the Pharisees are discussing the situation amongst themselves, one Pharisee very astutely reminds them all that if the apostles actions are of men, they will eventually fail, but if they are truly from God, then they will never fail.

But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. — Acts 5:39

I never want to fight against God. I have opened myself up to God’s perfect plans, instead of my own. I have asked God to use me in whatever way He has planned. I want to be His hands and feet in this world. I want to love as He loves. He has faithfully shown me the path to these five children. I would never have put myself here, but as I look back over all the years I see the pattern emerging. I can begin to connect the dots.

Does this mean that it’s easy? NO! Does it mean that I am always at peace with His plans for my family? Absolutely not! Does it mean we have it all figured out, nice and neat, with a ten-year plan? I wish! But I am comforted with the fact that Jesus himself pleaded with His Father at Gethsemane before His terrible suffering on the cross, “Father – if there is any other way!” (Matthew 26:39) God is big enough to handle my doubts, my questions, my fears. He tells me to cast my anxieties on Him (1 Peter 5:7). And that is what I am learning to do.

Romans8-28

I often find myself repeating, sometimes several times a day, “God, I am trusting You when I remember Your promise that You work all things for the good of those who love you.” So as I break up yet another fight over who gets control of the mega nerf gun I again pray this prayer, “God, make this work for the good of all these boys here. Turn this fighting into something that will benefit them all in the end. May these grumblings work to bring about an eternal knowledge of selflessness, sharing, unconditional love of others – agape.”

I remind myself that, IF WE LET HIM, He can take all things and work them for good. He doesn’t need us to be perfect. He doesn’t want us when we have it all together. He wants us now. He wants us to ask, to be willing, to participate. He wants us to start moving so that he can push us along a little more, a little further. He wants us to love as an action. As James tells us in the Bible, faith without deeds is dead. Love as a verb. Agape.

I went into this adoption with the mindset that I was rescuing these little ones for God’s kingdom, but the truth is, they are rescuing me. Rescuing me from my own selfishness, my own desires, my own pursuit of happiness and turning my heart towards His Kingdom, His desires, His righteousness.

And so to answer, “How do you do it?”

The answer would be,

I don’t. God does.”

It is truly only through His love that has been poured into my heart, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that I am able to pour that love back into the lives of His children. (Romans 5:5).

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and he will make your paths straight. — Proverbs 3:5

Not me, but Him…

32 thoughts on “How do you do it?

  1. We overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony…..God is building and establishing not only YOUR testimony Christina, but that of your husband and all your children as well. Powerful truth that you have shared; deeply inspires….but more than that….compels me to continue in my own walk with God…..yielded; surrendered; pliable and thankful…..PRAYING for you, Joel and children.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Linda, thank you for sharing your very true words. More than that, thank you for your prayers! We can’t tell you enough how much we appreciate your prayers!!!!!!!!!!!!! We know we can’t do this alone. All the glory to Him!!!

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  2. I am praying for this wonderfully amazing journey your on!!! You are making our family look small. 🙂 Can’t wait for the rest of your story and to see those two little girls. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Alan! I’m enjoying yours as well. I couldn’t find a “comment” section for your more recent post with the clown face- but I really appreciated your link to the article “Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church”!!!

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  3. Thank you SO MUCH for this!! I followed the link from Tiny Green Elephants and have sat here reading everything, laughing and crying and saying “YES! THIS!” along with you. We have a son who just turned a year old. In April we’ll be traveling to adopt a 2-year-old and an almost-6-year-old; both boys have special needs. In May, we’ll celebrate our second wedding anniversary. And in September (we think–midwife’s not sure of dates yet) we’ll welcome baby #4!

    People ask me the silliest questions. Are we crazy? Yeah, probably we are. NO, I don’t have a CLUE what I’m doing. But God does!! NO, I’m not ready for all of this–how CAN you be? But God is!! YES, of course I am overwhelmed. But God isn’t–and it’s HIS strength, not mine!! NO, I have no idea how we’re going to finish paying for it. But God owns the cattle on a thousand hills! NO, we cannot be certain we will be safe traveling to a country with so much political unrest and violence. But “safety” is not a fruit of the Spirit and it is way overrated. We’re not supposed to be “safe” in our comfy church pews sheltered from the world. We are supposed to charge the gates of Hell and carry people out.

    2 Corinthians 5:13 — “If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amen, Amen, Amen to everything you said as well! WOW! I think God knew I needed to hear from a mamma just like YOU tonight! Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. I love your story!!! I can’t wait to hear how it plays out. It sounds like we are like-minded. I absolutely agree with you!!! And love your verse reference!!!! Just added to my journal. THANK YOU THANK YOU!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for your encouragement! Yes, we feel so blessed to have been able to keep them together. It is a blessing of our infertility…that we had space to adopt a sibling group.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So many people can’t, or won’t, adopt a sibling group. They are statistically at a HUGE disadvantage to being placed in a forever home. I’m sorry to hear of your struggles with infertility, but I am oh so thankful that you’ve been blessed with these siblings. 😍😍😍

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks! And yes, I agree. We love our kiddos and they are not second best just because they are not our biological ones. As painful as infertility was, we wouldn’t ask for a different story! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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