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I Am the Lucky One

30 May 2018

One of the training courses we completed for this adoption was all about how to deal with being a fairly conspicuous, multi-ethnic family. Part of the training was about how to respond to people’s comments about your family.

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multiracial family

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The voice on the other end of the pre-recorded webinar went through dozens of hypothetical scenarios, and gave a few examples of different kinds of responses every time — and when/with whom to consider each kind of response, etc. And when we got to the, “He’s so lucky to have been adopted into your family!” comment, I knew what the “less confrontational” answer option would be.

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“Yes, we’re lucky to have each other.”

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Because I’ve heard this answer before. It’s a lovely sentiment and I’ve already used a future-tense variation of it on several occasions, because I like it and it’s legit.

But now I really get it. 

TERRIFIED OF THE ORDINARY

For as long as I can remember I’ve been at least slightly terrified of showing up at death’s door bored and full of regret over the things I didn’t do.

As a Christian it’s become simultaneously better and worse. On the one hand, the pressure is kind of off because death is not the end, and these measly 80 to 90 years are nothing, and every step is full of peace and purpose in Him. On the other hand I also feel the weight of that eternity because death is not the end, and these 80 to 90 years are nothing, and I desperately want to get every step right.

And I’m fortunate enough to be married to a man who feels it too. I don’t know how many times over our 12 short years of marriage that we’ve had to come correct and have a hard conversation about whether one or both of us were falling for the American “dream” again.

Because it’s so easy.

It’s there in front of us all the time, and it’s so easy to unconsciously start to tie our identities and value and joy to a job, a kitchen, a vehicle, a vacation, or even an ability. It’s subtle and seductive and … easy. It takes no effort at all to drift along with the current, and the pursuit of comfort and some standard of material acquisition (always just out of reach) is very sweeping.

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jellyfish

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Even though we know all that, how much do we really spend—in time, money, and even emotional investment—on eternity, and how much do we still spend on things that are all going to fade away?

Since sixth grade I’ve never been able to let go of that scene from the end of Schindler’s List when the man who gave and risked more than most, to save others, realized that he could have done more. That his car and his suit could have been sold to save more lives.

(It’s also worth noting that I’ve never seen or read a counterpoint climax, where the main character weeps with regret over the comforts he surrendered to save lives or do the right thing.)

This isn’t a Christians-must-embrace-a-life-of-poverty guilt trip, it’s just a backdrop.

LEAVING ROOM

It is why, months and months ago, long before I’d pulled some of this together, the best answer I could give to a lot of concerned faces regarding our adoption was, “We’re leaving room for God to do a miracle.”

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Side note: Which is not normally great theology, and I definitely don’t advocate digging yourself into a hole in hopes of seeing God do a miracle (even Jesus refused to do that). But when He tells you do something—or when you’re fulfilling a pretty straight-forward directive like caring for orphans—it’s a fairly safe bet He has a plan for it.

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So when the first big bill came and we didn’t have enough to write a check, we had a difficult conversation about how to move forward, and decided that God could never calm the sea if there was no storm. And that was the first time I flapped my arms at my side in exhaustion and surrender, and said it: “I’m leaving room for God to do a miracle.”

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china adoption

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And later, when someone close to us finally expressed concern about the expense of international adoption, I said it again.

And still later, when someone else worried about how we would be able to afford two weeks in China, I said it again.

And the more I say it, the more I wonder if the reason that the Western Church doesn’t really believe in a powerful God who is interested and involved in our lives, is because we don’t have room for him. Every page of the bible drips with testimonies of a miraculous God, but when he came to the earth as a man, even he could not do great miracles where he was not wanted.

We sing songs about the power of God, but we never step out of the boat. We pray for clear guidance and direction, but we refuse to move into the wilderness. And God does not perform parlor tricks, so we tell ourselves he can’t because that’s easier.

Guilty.

MY SON IS SAVING ME

Which is where this finally comes full circle.

I hope that we will be a good enough family that one day my Chinese son will feel blessed for having us. I hope we will do it well enough to be able to say that we got to help save some part of him.

But I also hope and pray that we can raise him in the honest revelation that he saved us too, and that we are just as—if not more—blessed by the whole process as he (fingers crossed) is.

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clover

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Because God is already using him to lead me further out of slavery.

I added up how much money we’ve already spent on this adoption, for a grant application, over the weekend. And for a fleeting moment my mind raced to think of all things we’ve been needing and wanting—all the things at my house that need fixing—but just as quickly it all went away.

Yes, we could have more stuff. We could be more comfortable. We could be more financially secure (by the world’s standards). But there are more important things than comfort and safety.

And every time I fill out a grant application, or plan a fundraiser, or send a fat envelope of paperwork, or rework our monthly budget, or get weepy over a PayPal notification that someone invested $20, or balance the checkbook, or walk away from a purchase, or hear my Man Cub say something in Mandarin, I am reminded that my adopted son is saving me – that God is using him to save me from materialism and ego and self-sufficiency.

And that is why, “We’re lucky to have each other” is not a platitude or a catchphrase. I hope that he will be blessed to have us as a family, and we are already so fortunate and grateful for the way this whole thing has come together so far. But mostly, I know that my weak, selfish heart is being strengthened and set free because of one sweet toddler on the other side of the world whose face I only just saw a few weeks ago, and whose hand I cannot wait to hold.

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Photo cred to Laura Ockel, Tim MossholderAmy Reed

8 Comments leave one →
  1. jmiszczak permalink
    30 May 2018 9:57 AM

    I am so excited to hear and see how God is moving in your lives. I can’t wait to see how He will continue to move. ❤️

  2. Amy N. permalink
    30 May 2018 12:27 PM

    A good lesson for us all.

  3. Jennifer permalink
    31 May 2018 11:28 AM

    This really inspires me to see this opportunity of life with a more challenging view. You are certainly correct. It is all too easy to drift along with “the American dream.” The current is never ceasing. Takes constant awareness to swim against it.

    • Lex permalink*
      31 May 2018 1:57 PM

      Would be so nice to get a break from it every once in a while, though, wouldn’t it? *hums just keep swimming*

  4. Angela permalink
    8 June 2018 6:38 PM

    Since sixth grade I’ve never been able to let go of that scene from the end of Schindler’s List when the man who gave and risked more than most, to save others, realized that he could have done more. That his car and his suit could have been sold to save more lives.

    (It’s also worth noting that I’ve never seen or read a counterpoint climax, where the main character weeps with regret over the comforts he surrendered to save lives or do the right thing.)

    My favorite part ^^^
    Love to y’all and praying !

    • Lex permalink*
      8 June 2018 7:44 PM

      Thanks! We appreciate all the prayers! ❤

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