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Thursday, January 30, 2014

"If We Are The Body . . ."

The title of this blog post is taken from a Christian song by the same name, written by Mark Hall for Casting Crowns sometime around 2002.   You may remember the chorus, that says something along the lines of . . .

I heard it for the first time "back in the day" and,  frankly, was annoyed by it.  I thought it was too cynical. I felt like maybe the writer was talking about his own church, but not MINE.   I felt sad that the people most convicted by it would likely be the ones pouring themselves out for the lost and yet, feeling that they aren't doing enough.

I am now singing this song right along with my youtube Casting Crowns video (with lyrics, of course) and asking if we, all of us, even me, really ARE doing all we can in the body of Christ?  And if we are, why am I staring eyeball to eyeball with SO many orphans every single day?

And on top of that gripping frustration, I have an overwhelming fear. . .


What do I mean by that?   Do you remember how, in the "old days", when a car alarm would sound, everyone would look, wonder and react?  Now-a-days, we don't even turn around in a crowded parking lot to see who's car alarm is sounding.

Is the plight of the orphan going the way of the car alarm?   We used to be moved to tears by the faces of the children in orphanages. We used to step out in faith to open our homes to children who we knew might be damaged beyond our parenting skill set.  We did this without enough money, enough room or enough bunk beds . . . but we did it because they were there and we are blessed.  We did this in spite of the fact that our own biological progeny might have to step aside for awhile and get over themselves.   

And some of you still are.  I fear your numbers are shrinking as you are still redeeming, serving, opening . BUT . . .

In walks "orphan care", telling us that adoption is not for everyone and if we just box up our old clothes and shoes and mail them to Haiti or Guatemala or The Philippines, we have fulfilled James 1:27 because we're "looking after orphans".  And we ARE!  We, on the front lines, do not want you to stop participating in orphan care.  Adoption is NOT right for every family.  But I believe it is right for many who are running the other way because it's expensive and messy and so unbelievably risky.

WHY has our beloved adoption agency in the states (www.christianadopt.org) had such a hard time finding families for just 12 children slated to come to the US for summer hosting?   WHY does a beautiful 12 year old boy in my Saturday class not have a long line of families hoping to adopt him? Or even a couple?

Is it because consciences are assuaged by "orphan care"?  How better to "care" for an orphan than to be the ones to remove that stigma and make him a "son" ?  What shows MORE love of humanity than calling her "daughter" who was once rejected?  

Let me assure you of a few things if you decide that God is calling your family to serve orphans in this way:
1. You WILL bite off more than you can chew
2. You WILL question your decision a thousand times after your child comes home
3. Your life WILL get exponentially harder when you bring a once-abandoned child into a loving home
4. Your biological children WILL suffer in some ways - but grow and flourish in others
5. You WILL want to find the blog writer who pushed you over the edge toward adoption and have a few words with her (ha ha)
6. You MIGHT have to make decisions about whether keeping your new child is worth it. And you will be unlikely to ever face such dark, painful choices in life again
7. You MIGHT struggle to encourage others to adopt because it's so darn hard, but you'll look at your child and realize adoption is a good thing.  And you'll still encourage others
8. You MIGHT find that blessings come in unexpected ways and your own walk with Christ EXPLODES with "realness" as you walk the path of an adoptive parent.
9. You MIGHT lean on your spouse more than you ever have before, and strengthen that marriage in new ways
10. You MIGHT understand concepts like selflessness, going above and beyond, faking it until you make it, putting your own needs way down the priority list and "growing" into love rather than having it thrust upon you.

But never forget, that He who has called you is faithful.  He is oh, so faithful, friends!  He pays for what He orders, He gives us our daily bread, He makes us more than we thought we could be for the sake of His great name and His own glory.  Some of these things, I am sure I never would have known up close if it had not been for our adoptions - both the smooth ones and especially the bumpy ones. 
I know that, personally, I have so far to go in knowing Him and in fulfilling the responsibility He has given us toward orphans. 
So far,  I have barely stepped foot onto the path. 

How about YOU?  Are you called and running?  Are you certain you are among those for whom adoption is not the right path? Do you even know what His word says about Believers and Orphans?  There's a free adoption Bible study at the web site of Home For Good Foundation (www.hfgf.org) that might set your feet toward whatever God has for you.   No matter where He leads, my prayer is that your are always moved to reach out.  That orphans are NOT the car alarm in your church and in your life.

They are real, living, breathing children who long to be claimed.  They wait, growing a little older each day and understanding a little more fully their plights.

Consider it, my friends.  Ponder it.  Seek and Ask.  Be intentional.
Most of all, do not fear . . . 




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