Saturday, May 4, 2013

Pursue me.

There I stood in the hallway, hands tightly clasped behind my back and anger surging like fire through my veins. I stared back at the little girl with long brown hair framing a face reddened from screaming and narrowed, evil-scheming eyes. This is the orphan Jesus sent me to care for? I could feel the place she hit me still stinging and the filthy words she called me reeling through my head. This is it, one call, that is all it will take, one call, the state will take her away and this season of terror is over. One call and I can go back to my normal cozy life without case workers visiting, police officers over to chase run aways, weekly visits to the principal office, and constant fights to get her to eat, come when I call, go to bed, stay where I ask her to, listen to me or talk to me. I am exhausted, weary. I am just plain tired of pursuing her, tired of showing love (that I don’t feel) toward her. At the same time I was consumed with thoughts of the others in our home, her five year old sister I have watched her throw a dictionary at and tear down verbally with no remorse, her nine year old brother she bossed around like a beaten puppy, the five and ten month old infants I had to protect from any more abuse or neglect in their life. Here I am with five children, five lives that have so many needs, challenges and nurture and I hadn’t even been a parent for six months. Normal women have one infant at this stage in their parenting. “God, WHY ME!?! I have no idea what I am doing? I am weak, so weak. Please take this from me!” So I made that call, they came, they took her, and she was gone.

Hours after this little girl was gone God once again washed me clean with the gospel. As He promised, He strengthened me, took my burdens upon Himself. He woke me up, once again, to where I came from and where I was headed. He reminded me of my wretched, sin lavished, orphaned state He originally found me in. He reminded me of how dearly loved I was, how He made me His daughter, despite my behavior and unwillingness to conform to His will. I ran, He pursued me. I said vile things, He pursued me. I hated and in anger hurt others, He pursued me. While I was running, in my sinful state, He completed what was necessary to make me part of His family. He wanted me, a wretched sinner, who didn’t even like Him, as His daughter. He pursued my adoption despite my behavior. Even in my worthlessness He paid the price to adopt me as His own. He took His only, perfectly obedient, Son and put all my sin upon Him. “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.

God showed me that adoption IS the gospel. Before God formed the sun with His hands or placed a single star in the sky He was planning and preparing for my adoption. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as HE CHOSE US in Him BEFORE the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to ADOPTION as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6.
This hardhearted little girl joined us again, very unwillingly, the very next afternoon. It continued to be difficult, but God gave me strength to continue to pursue her. She continued to reject and run, but God gave me the compassion to continue to show her love. We filled out paperwork, filed fingerprints, had background checks, scheduled home study visits, planned and prepared her adoption, invited her into our family, and rescued her from her orphaned state. We pursued her adoption despite her behavior.
Then one day she found she could love. She allowed the overwhelming love she was shown to break her chains and bondage to sin and anger. She stopped running and yearned for our love, our family, our pursuit. She was now not just our daughter on paper but in her heart. She loved us because we loved her first. “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”1 John 4:9-10

Summit 9 Overload

 During our experience the past two days at Summit9, a Christian Alliance for Orphans conference, we soaked in so much. We are driving home now and are about 4 hours away from our five, precious, different colored faces that we cannot wait to kiss and squeeze!

One speaker, Stephen Ucembe, who came from Kenya, spoke of his institutionalization in an orphanage from age 5 until he aged out. The only time he was told he was loved was from a note in a OCC shoebox. The only time he was provided clothing was from short term missionaries. He was provided what he needed to survive from sponsorship programs. But he made it clear that what he needed wasn’t a better institution, more food, clothing or toys but A FAMILY. When we say adoption isn’t our calling, we better be 100% sure God isn’t calling us to pursue a living gospel. Click here for an article about the myths of institutions, why Christians are called to adopt, not open an orphanage in another country.

Another speaker made it clear that compassion compels us to action! He took us through the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. After Jesus tells us to “love our neighbor as ourselves” a lawyer questions “who is our neighbor”. Jesus told of a man beaten and robbed on the side of the road, a priest and Levite walked by and saw the man’s need yet kept walking. A Samaritan had COMPASSION on the man and cared for him. A person is not compassionate when seeing needs but shows compassion when meeting needs. We tend to get too comfortable seeing and speaking on the needs of the orphans to be adopted but haven’t yet embraced our Father’s compassionate heart that compels us to ACTION! Click here for Luke 10:25-37 scripture

God showed me how although I thought my heart was broken for orphans everywhere, He shattered all those broken pieces even further leaving me desperately wanting to open our home again to the child(ren) He has for us. P.S. Hong Kong is on our hearts. Click here for a link to Lifeline's Hong Kong adoption program and waiting children.

The weak are certainly used to shame the strong. I have a new deep prayer that the churches in our nation would wake up to the ignored orphan plight. Bishop W.C. Martin spoke, “If our tiny church of 85 in Possum Trot, a town without a post office or streetlights, on the other side of Coonville, can adopt 73 kids then what is your excuse!?!” Click here for ABC News article about this church.

Most of all God used this conference to awaken my own heart again to the gospel, to adoption! Click here for a very funny audio from David Platt on adoption. Excerpt from David Platt’s book Follow Me:
     “Throughout scripture, God uses the picture of adoption to describe His relationship with His people. This picture became all the more poignant for my wife, Heather, and me when we chose to adopt our first son….
      The process of international adoption can be long and in many ways grueling. Some have described it as a paperwork pregnancy. You virtually have to demonstrate to two governments that you are the ideal family…
     With home studies, fingerprints, and physicals past us, we began the long, agonizing process of waiting. Every single day, we thought about our child, wondering if it would be a boy or a girl and longing for the day when we could hold that little one in our arms.
     Finally, about a year later, I received an e-mail. It was a picture of a boy. Nine months old. Abandoned at birth. In need of a home, a mom, and a dad. I printed out the picture and ran to show it to Heather. We laughed, we cried, we rejoiced, we prayed, and within two weeks, we were on a plane, headed to Kazakhstan….
     For the next four weeks, we visited Caleb in his orphanage. We held him, fed him, sang to him, laughed with him, and crawled all over the floor with him until the day finally came for us to adopt him….The judge pronounced , “I grant this application of adoption, and this child now belongs to David and Heather Platt.” We left the room with tears streaming from our eyes, ready to pick up Caleb from his orphanage for the last time.
     The parallels between Caleb’s story and the gospel story are many, but I want to point out one that is particularly significant. Adoption like this begins with a parent’s initiative, not a child’s idea. Before Caleb was even born in Kazakhstan, he had a mom and a dad working to adopt him. While Caleb was lying alone at night in an orphanage in Kazakhstan, he had a mom and a dad planning to adopt him. And one day when Caleb was placed in the arms of his mom and dad, he had no idea all that had been done, completely apart from any initiative in him, to bring him to that point. It seems obvious, but it is especially important: this precious ten-month-old boy did not invite us to come to him in Kazakhstan and bring him into our family; he didn’t even know to ask for such a thing. No, this orphaned child became our cherished son because of a love that was entirely beyond his imagination and completely outside of his control. He did not pursue us, for he was utterly unable to do so. Instead, we pursued him.
     This is the heart of Christianity, and we are prone to miss it when we describe becoming a follower of Jesus as inviting Him into our hearts. The reality of the gospel is that we do not become God’s children ultimately because of initiative in us, and he does not provide salvation primarily because of an invitation from us. Instead, before we were ever born, God was working to adopt us. While we were lying alone in the depth of our sin, God was planning to save us. And the only way we can become part of the family of God is through a love entirely beyond our imagination and completely out of our control. Christianity does not begin with our pursuit of Christ, but with Christ’s pursuit of us. Christianity does not start with an invitation we offer to Jesus, but with an invitation Jesus offers to us.”

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone


  1. There have been many times when I have also been at a point in our fostering that I've cried out in frustration and wondered why I put myself through all this work and heartache?!My friends have normal lives and "do lunch" and my day revolves around the needs/fears/melt downs/family visits of the kids in my care. If not for God's grace, I think I would've crashed a long time ago! (chocolate helps too) We are currently waiting on a termination hearing to find out if we will get the opportunity to adopt the 2 children we are fostering, and maybe even their 2 siblings that are placed in another home. This would be our 3rd time adopting and bring us up to 12 total- still wondering if I have the energy for this, but loving it all the same :-)

    1. Thanks for visiting! I love connecting with other foster parents down this road less traveled! I visited your blog and you are quite the super mom! When we realize we don't have the energy for this journey is when we realize God does and we fully rely on Him! Congratulations on your adoptions, I love it!

  2. Oh Amen and Amen!! We, too, have had the undeniable privilege of having one of these seriously shattered children in our home and family. God has been faithful every step of the way. Even when I completely blow it. Ad the desire to continue or even consider doing it all over again is not gone. God is amazing like that. My blog is if you care to stop by!

    1. Love your blog Anna! I will be checking in from time to time! Your kids are beautiful (shattered or not!) Thank you so much for visiting! We do plan on fostering/adopting again only because of God's unending faithfulness!

  3. Great post!
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