"Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28We gave our perfect future family to God. We asked God to choose for us how many children we would have and asked Him to build our family in any way He chose, through birth or adoption. We put our life spent chasing the American Dream on the altar. We sold our cars and bought ones we could afford with cash. We sold our house and bought one we could afford with cash. We gave up one income so we could best care for the blessings God gave to us through adoption. We live within our means and by God’s provision through tight budgeting, growing and raising much of our own food, buying used clothing, items and furniture from second hand and thrift stores. God changed all aspects of our dreams, our desires, and our lives.
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present you bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2When we are born again we truly are new creatures. We serve a new King, in a new community. We are no longer part of this world but aliens from a distant land just passing through. While we are here we serve our King through serving others. But how do we know our calling? How do we know God’s will for this new life?
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification;” 1 Thessalonians 4:3aWhen God saved us we were instantly justified. We were forgiven, washed clean and made new creatures in Christ. Our justification was like standing in front of the judge as Christ petitioned to adopt us as His own. We were adopted in that moment. Justification says “you are My child,” sanctification says “now live like you are My child.” Sanctification is the life long process of our lives becoming more and more like Christ. One of my favorite verses is 1 Peter 1:6-9 where God compares this process of the testing and building of our faith to that of a blacksmith as he plunges the gray stone into the fire. As the flames lick this stone slowly the dross melts away into the heat and revealed is a brilliant, shimmering yellow malleable liquid that we call gold. That is us. What a picture. But do we step in the fire willingly? Do we kick and scream and fight when it gets too hot? Are we keeping our eyes glued to our future hope? To Jesus who is more precious than gold and whose image we are conforming to?
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to becomes conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:28-31As we walk through this Christian life, as we walk through our sanctification God will continue to work on us by putting His Word into our mind (“cognition”). He will then plant seeds of “conviction” that will one day bear the fruit of “affection.” Terms were taken from this article, The Steps of Biblical Sanctificaion by John MacArthur.
To turn this post to our heart for adoption, let me say that as we allowed God’s Word to sink deep into our hearts our cognition of God’s character deepened. We see that God loves and cares for the orphan. Because we are being conformed to Jesus’ likeness we therefore will also love and care for the orphan. We see that God created all humans in His image and put an intrinsic value on every child regardless of their physical, emotional or mental capabilities. We value life, all life, because God does. We truly believe that God will place this same cognition in the minds of all His people at some point in their sanctification. That cognition is the seed that grows into a plant of conviction. Because God values all life and loves the orphan we grow a conviction as God’s people to step up and put those words into action.
That conviction will come in many ways but often is in the form of adoption. Everyone we talk to about our family always says something like, “we have thought about adoption one day.” I have never met a Christian that didn’t mention their personal love for adoption. Because, we believe, God has written His love for adoption on all of our hearts when He adopted us.
This may rub some wrong but we do not believe that adoption itself is a “calling” from God.
If God picked and chose certain Christians to adopt then I am the last qualified for this calling of taking care of His children! I love clean, quiet, order and normal. I am introverted and really don’t like attention or touch. I am not a very fun or huggy or soft, motherly natured type person. I am all business and structure, a “let’s get her done” kind of gal. I am more equipped to climb a corporate ladder than kiss boo-boos and counsel young hearts. Did I hear the call of God wrong? Maybe He meant for me to lead a Christian business from behind a computer in my quiet of my childless house.
God doesn’t call the equipped, but I promise He equips who He calls!
We definitely don’t feel we were audibly “called” by God to adopt children. We were called to follow God and sacrifice all for Him. As we surrendered we followed God where His heart is. His heart is with the poor, the needy and the orphaned, therefore that is where we followed Him. Are we “called?” Yes, called to love others as ourselves. We don’t want to be poor, hungry or without parents so why would we leave others in that condition? Did we always want to adopt? Absolutely not. We wanted what we viewed as the easy road, birth children. But we had that still, small voice, that passing thought that said, “we will adopt one day because we were adopted.” Slowly, as we stepped out in faith and willingly obeyed that conviction deep in our hearts. God grew that conviction into a tree that bore fruit of affection for adoption, that affection turned “one day” into TODAY. God today we will adopt. We won’t make them who you love suffer any longer as orphans. We will take on Your heart for the orphan and cure their plight today. We surrendered our lives when we submitted, just as Isaiah the prophet did before us (Isaiah 6:8), “Here we are Lord, send us.” In that surrender God did an amazing work tilling our hearts, changing our desires and equipping us for this road of adoption He “called” us to.
This past week we tilled up a 2000sqft area that will prayerfully be a plentiful garden. Brian did most of the tilling as it was quite the difficult task. A small but powerful machine with rotating blades designed to dig deep into the hard earth and make it soft and ready for seeds. Our dirt was compacted and hard after having much heavy machinery drive on it while moving our mobile home onto the property. The tiller had its work cut out for it. It took several rounds going over and over the hard soil. Each time the tiller passed over an area of dirt it dug deeper and deeper cutting up huge roots and digging up large rocks and stone that couldn’t be seen on the surface. Slowly the soil began flowing freely and easily through the blades as it stirred a black living substance that will miraculously grow our food. Holding onto that tiller as it fought and leaped against the hard ground it gave me a picture of my own heart. A hard heart that God forced His perfect tiller over. He tore through the surface of selfishness and continues to dig deep, cut roots of anger and bitterness and throw out stones of pride. Until more of my soil begins to resemble that perfect, rich and soft magic that will grow great fruit for Him. What a picture Jesus paints in the parable of the soils in Matthew 13.
We are told all the time how AMAZING we are. How awesome what we are doing is. How great it is that we “found” our calling in this life. I cannot tell you how incorrect this is! We are the furthest people from amazing. We don’t always walk willingly or immediately. We don’t always want to follow the convictions God puts in our hearts. Why? Because this road is hard, tiring and at times lonely. We are human, weak and fearful. We don’t feel ready or equipped when we take the leap of faith and say, “yes” once again. We walk in faith (“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1) and then pray and pray that God would give us an affection for this conviction. He always does. Each time He calls us again to this road of adoption through conviction He always grows that affection within us later. So even when we are scared to walk this road again we can remember that God has proven faithful in the past. He will grow in us that affection if we will walk in faith now.
Do we feel supernaturally "called" as adoptive parents?
No, this is just the way the universal "call to sacrifice" has played out in our personal life.
Let me leave you with this quote that is stuck deep in my heart.
“No generous impulse is from Satan. All good and generous impulses are from God!” - Jodi Ware, wife of Bruce Ware from Southern Baptist Theological SeminarySatan isn’t out there tempting people to care for the orphan. He is against all things good and holy. He wants you to give you 1000 reasons why you can’t possibly be called to do God’s will.
If you have ever thought that adoption would be something you could see yourself doing one day then maybe, just maybe YOU have been “called” by God.
Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone