Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Husband's Perspective

Handsome sent me a dream he had yesterday.  I wrestled a bit about sharing it, because it really is from the depths of his heart.  But I also feel like so many men (daddies!) need to "hear" from a man that gets their perspective and struggles.

With each adoption, Handsome has really had to work and pray through the concerns that immediately come to mind for a husband who is carrying the mantle of provider and protector.

"Is this what God would have us do?"

"How can we afford more medical payments and expenses?"

"How can we afford another adoption?"

"Do we have time to care for more?"

"Can we really take on more?  More expense, more responsibility, more time?"

At times, these questions have frustrated me.  It is very easy for me to give the "right" response, "If God wants us to do it, He will provide what we need!'  But you know, Handsome has a different and in some ways, greater responsibility before God for all of these decisions.  He is also wired differently from me - so he has to process and pray through these things from a different angle.  In the end, this is a perfect complimenting of each other - he is praying/working through "should" we do it while I am praying/working through the "how" we do it.  God is definitely giving me a deeper understanding of the responsibility that Handsome carries - and honestly, I am thankful I do not have to shoulder the same weight.

I am also seeing with each adoption (or just life decision that we have to make) that if God is leading us, both our hearts will eventually be on the same page. It is HIS work - not mine!  Honestly, I don't know the future!  I don't know what struggles/trials we will need to go through - so I DON'T know how to prepare our hearts - but He does!  I am seeing how I cannot "push" what God needs to do first.  Seeing what Handsome had to go through the first days on this pick up trip, if God had not thoroughly prepared his heart and convinced him of His leading, I can't imagine what the results would have been!

In fact, as God leads us to increasingly higher leaps of faith, I am at a loss to know how we would do this without the deep faith He has been growing in us for 20 years (and more!).  I have been thinking back a great deal to myself as a young mom lately.  How overwhelmed I was with everything.  But that is a post for another time....

Here is the dream Handsome had...he is not an "emotional" man...he is very much like most this isn't a "wear your heart on your sleeve" response.  In fact, it surprised me to read it:

In the dream I was still in Bulgaria in the back of a car riding with the 2 new girls we adopted, Serenity and Hope. It was very similar to the long car ride that all the kids and I had with Alan driving back from Hope's orphanage with me crammed in the back with the new girls and Becca, except the dream there were 2 ladies in the front that had something to do with our adoption instead of Alan. In a sure sign it was a weird dream, the ladies understood English. The Randy Stonehill song "The Lost Parade" was somehow playing on the radio. We heard the line "We praise the feast of fools and we shun the bread of life and the stars shine like the tears of God for the weary world tonight."

One of the ladies turned the song off, shook her head and expressed her doubts and frustrations about God and why these kids stuck in orphanages and institutions were not being saved if He was watching. I struggled to try to explain to her why this was. I knew that God was on the throne but I struggled to explain why people did not come and get these kids.

All of a sudden I was transported out of the car to the top of a hill that we had been driving by. I was surrounded by other hills but I was on the tallest one and very close to the sky. It was very quiet, all I could hear a gentle stream flowing near me. I thought about my family, made up of fatherless children from all over the world. My strong, handsome and fast growing twins from Guatemala that were handed over to us greasy, dirty, and sickly. My very smart Ethiopian 7 year old. My girl from Taiwan with special needs so severe that she will never walk or say a word to me but says so much with the smile she gives me every time I pick her up to hold her for a while. 2 girls from Bulgaria who I have only had been with for a few days but have already bonded to me and their older brother and sister. Serenity has deformed hands and toes but is so beautiful that every time we go for a short walk the Bulgarian people smile and talk to her. Hope has gone from a scared, screaming child to someone who is calm during the day and sleeps all through the night, in large part due to the tremendous love and care given to her by her oldest sister, who was also adopted. Not to mention the love from Daniel, one of our many birth children who have meshed together into a solid family with kids from all parts of the globe with all kinds of needs.

I stood on the top of this hill thinking about my children, these priceless treasures I had found on this earth that everyone else had missed. They were like gold nuggets covered with dirt, a hidden precious material ready to make someone rich if they would notice them, spend a little time cleaning them up, and take possession of them. I thought of all the people that have told us over the years what a neat story our family was, how special our kids were, yet so few would go and what we did, go and grab one of the many other children needing a family and get the blessings for themselves. They were not hard to find, the world was absolutely full of them, ready and willing to be taken! Why could people, with ample resources to supply for the need, run out to grab these children? What was their life filled with that they did not want the blessings that would come from it?

I looked at the sky and felt overwhelmed. I was aware of the millions of fatherless children all around the world and all the people that could not only fill the need, but receive blessing upon blessing for doing it. Blessings in this life and, for Christ's people, the life to come. I could not understand the disconnect and I cried out to the sky and pounded my fists on the rocks.

I have children from Bulgaria!
I have children from Taiwan!
I have children from Guatemala!
I have children from Ethiopia!

I knew the world had seen my children and what a blessing they were to me. I knew there millions more children filling this world, desperate and waiting for a family and I screamed and cried as loud as I could to anyone that could hear-


Then I woke up and that was it...

Handsome and I have both seen now how a trip overseas changes perspectives.  In our comfortable homes in America, it is so easy to think of all the reasons that we should not step out in faith.  Isn't that funny when you think about it?  Surrounded by so much, you would think we would be more willing to see God's provision - instead we tend to be surrounded by doubt and honestly, selfishness.  But when we are overseas and see how little these children have - in fact, nothing - we see how much we have to give.  

It seems very simplistic - but in so many ways it is the truth - but ask yourself, 

"Can you squeeze in one more chair at the table?" 
"Can you squeeze in one more bed?  Maybe bunk beds?"

Actually, the first questions should be:

"Have you learned that the Lord is your Provider?"
"Have you learned to listen for and to follow His voice?"
"Have you learned to give up whatever He asks you to for His glory?" 
"Are you willing to learn all of these things in a whole new way?" 
"Have you learned that everything we do is BY HIS GRACE and not from something we already 'have' in our life/personality?"

You can see that it is very simplistic on the surface - but very deep when you start to really see what you need?  The harder question is not "is there physical room" for another child - it is,

"Do you trust ME, my child?"

For some of us (usually the wives) the question may come down to:

"Am I (the Lord) strong enough to change your husband's heart if this is what I am calling your family to do?"

Hmmm...ouch...maybe it would also include, "Will you get out of My way, so that I can work in My perfect time and ways?"  Double ouch.

How about, "Are you willing to lay down your desire to be the one adopting right now to help another family I have called to adopt already?"  Ouch, that one really hurts!

Finally, "Are you willing to rejoice and obey me if I never call your family to adopt, but ask you to do other things in My Name?"  Ouch with tears.

The Lord does have a plan for each one of us that are called by His name.  An individual plan.  A plan He has prepared us for from the beginning.  It hurts when we want to be the one adopting and that is not His plan right now.  It hurt when we desire to be the hands and feet right now and He is not opening the doors.

But on the other side, I do think there are so very, very many families that won't even ask themselves if they are to be Christ's hands and feet by rescuing a child.  When it really comes down to the source of their concerns, it comes down to fear and selfishness - just as it does with all of us when God asks us to do something we don't want to do or have never even thought about doing.  

I know that seems very, very harsh - but I am speaking from personal knowledge and conviction.  When I say, "No, Lord, I don't think so." - it based on my feelings and my impressions of the way things are in that very moment.  I don't account for God giving more grace, more patience, more trust, more strength...more of whatever I need...I only see things from my own limited perspective based on a static picture or the past.  God is not bound by those things....He is in control of all things.

I have found that the more we walk with Him, the harder the things are that He brings to our path.  On one hand, it is a teeny bit easier because we can look back on a long path of His faithfulness in all situations.  A pattern of firm faithfulness.  But in many ways, it is so much harder as I know myself.  I know how limited and selfish I am - I can do NOTHING without His grace.  That is not an exaggeration.  I used to sing with abandon the songs that said I would give up ANYTHING for Him.  I would be willing to go through ANY trial for Him. Oh, I meant it from my limited perspective at the time!  But oh, most of the time now, I can only whisper those words - or not say them at all.  Instead, I ask the Lord to not give me a choice - because I know I will choose the wrong thing.  I ask Him to hem me in behind and before as He has promised, because without His Hand of grace leading me, I will make the wrong choice.  Even as I see His faithfulness, I am so weak on my own.

This deserves a whole separate post, but I feel like I really need to say it now.  The life we live is HARD.  It is not an easy one.  But, it is full of joy (which does not equal happiness!) - ONLY because we know that the joy of the LORD is our strength.  Joy in His salvation - that this is not the end - that heaven with Him awaits at the end of this life - even if I am crawling at the end broken from exhaustion and pain.  Joy in knowing He has orchestrated every detail - nothing is left to chance.  Joy that His mercy trumps our sin and weakness.  Joy in knowing, by His grace, we are following where He leads.  Some nights, I go to bed with tears....many nights during some seasons.  But my tears of exhaustion save the tears of abandonment, neglect, abuse, and pain from 7 of my children.  Those tears also mean that my 6 biological children are learning things that they could not learn in any other way - about serving God with their whole lives - not just the moments they feel the can spare.  Not just in ways that feel comfortable.  Yes, it would have been easier to say ,"No" so many years ago and each time since that God has called - but that is not our point in being here.  It is to serve the Savior that died for us - it is no longer us that live - which includes our selfishness and needs - but Christ who lives in us.  And in His grace, He does meet our needs and changes our desires to match His.

Until He comes....


  1. Great post, and thank you. It is EXACTLY what I needed to read, right now, as I sit in my hotel room in Pleven.

    Thank you so very much for allowing our beautiful Savior to work through your words, and you life. He is mightily glorified.

    Your brother in the Alpha and the Omega,

    John C.

    1. What an honor, John, to serve our Savior with you. You know it is all by His grace. Praying for you on your journey.