Friday, June 9, 2017

They Are Not Lucky; They Are Loved

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19, NIV
 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.  God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”  Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. 
Galatians :4-7, NLT

“Wow, those kids are lucky,” people say when they discover that four of my children are adopted. “I’m the lucky one,” I reply. I’ve rehearsed and repeated these words so many times that my response is simply automatic, a means of stalling the inner tirade that my momma heart wants to bestow on the well-intentioned stranger. It’s as if an adopted child is so much “less than” a biological child that it makes him or her lucky to be adopted, lucky to be loved, or lucky to even be wanted. But there is no luck involved – it is a work of God, restoring what was lost, and healing what was broken. Adoption is truly a joyful and amazing journey, but included with joy is a story of brokenness. Adoption, for any reason, begins with a broken family that can no longer serve and protect the needs of a child.  And while adoption is means of restoration, there is always a point in time when the adopted child must reconcile with their broken history and come to an understanding of parents who could not parent them. With adoption, joy comes adoption grief and often, adoption is accompanied by unanswered questions and unknown special needs.

In my house, my adopted children are not worth any less than my biological child. They are not lucky to be here. They are wholly loved, fully adored, and enjoy every right and privilege and responsibility bestowed on any child in my home, no matter if they are biological, fostered, or adopted. No matter if their precious life began in my womb or someone else’s. They don’t need to earn my love; I give it freely, intentionally, and unconditionally, not because I am special or extra good or a saint or merely amazing, as some might try to make me out to be. I give it because God is all of those things and so much more. I can only give love because God loves me.

We can love others because God loved us first and showed us just what love is. Similarly, we can adopt others, because God first adopted us and showed us just what it is to be adopted. Our adoption into God’s family begins with our brokenness – our sinful nature, and our broken relationship with our Heavenly Father. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we become adopted into His family no matter what our previous life looked like. In the times of the Bible, a strongly patriarchal society, sons had status, special privileges, and special love that daughters could not receive. But in God’s family, we are all “adopted as sons” – meaning we are given the same status, special privileges, and special love that would have been reserved for the first-born son. We become brothers and sisters of Christ and an heir to God’s inheritance when we are grafted into God’s family. Our broken beginnings may not be erased, but they will be redeemed as we trust God to heal us and restore us. God didn’t wait for us to be lovable to adopt us into His family, He loved us first. God never saw us as “less than,” but as a precious child that He wants to be with forever.

Every day, we are presented with new parenting challenges, new understandings of our children’s needs, new skills to help our children practice and learn. And every day is a new chance to fully receive God’s love as if we were the first-born son. Every day is another opportunity to love our children – whether they are biological or fostered or adopted, whether their special needs are many or few, just like God loves us: unconditionally, wholly, completely. In love, we have both privilege and responsibility. We love because God first loved us.

Dear God,
Thank You for always loving me, even when I am at my most unlovable. Help me to fully receive and fully give Your love to others, to those who question my family, to those who support my family, and to everyone in my family. Help us to know Your love and show Your love because You loved us first. Amen

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