From Bananas to Adoption

Anyone who has known me for a long time, knows that I always wanted to have ten kids. Yup,  t-e-n 10.  I wanted 4 of my own, and to adopt 6, preferably with special needs. Most people who knew this thought I was crazy and I’m sure Mr. Incredible still thinks I’ve gone bananas…

And here we are with 4 kids of our own, 2 with special needs. We are well on our way to that 10!  Well, maybe not anytime soon, but I can always hope 🙂

I have been reading a couple books lately. One is “Kisses From Katie” by Katie Davis and the other is “Choosing To See” by Mary Beth Chapman.

Kisses from Katie is an amazing true story about a young girl, Katie, who at 18 moves to Uganda to care for the orphans and help in any way she can. She fell in love with the people there. One of the most inpactful things I learned from reading this book is that we really need to SEE the needs of the people around us, and to do what we can to meet them. Katie is so amazing.  She would see a child in need, whether for food, education,or clothing, or for medical attention, and she’d do all she could to help them.  All she could…to the point of taking them in her home and nursing them back to health, and starting a foundation called Amazima, to raise money so she could help more and more.

At one point, she was introduced to a tribe whose needs were so great it was overwhelming, and she heard Jesus speak to her heart and tell her he is not asking her to care for everyone. Just the one in front of her. Just the one she is with now.  Just who is there at the moment. One life at a time.  And that is what she did. She ended up adopting 14 children by the age of 22. She believes that adoption is a beautifully biblical picture of what God has done for us…. which leads me to the next book…

I didn’t pick these books, or the order in which to read them, on purpose. It just kinda happened.  I wasn’t thinking about the Chapmans adoptions from China when I downloaded the free kindle book “Choosing To SEE”.  I just love to read about people.

Anyway, adoption is one of the major themes in that book as well, as any of you who are familiar with Steven Curtis Chapman’s music and story already know.  But Mary Beth put into words her view of adoption which hit home even more profoundly.

After feeling afraid that she would not be able to love the child she was about to adopt as much as she loved her natural children, she finally saw and instantly deeply, passionately, loved her baby.  As they handed her to her, she said, “It was like God was speaking to me directly. Mary Beth, you thickheaded woman, do you not understand now that this is the very way I see you?  You are this orphan! I adopted you and you are Mine! I bought you for a price! Do you see how you love this baby?  That’s just a faint reflection of how much I love you! …I saw it.  The second she was placed in my arms, I would have fought to the death to protect her. I loved her with everything inside me.” p86

I had not thought of it like that.  I know that God has adopted us as his children, and that He loves us with a passionate love. BUT, I didn’t really consider that He loves us adopted children, just as much as his own child, Jesus! Just like all my friends that have had the priviledge of adopting children love their adopted JUST AS MUCH.  Of course they do, and I would and we would too!  How could you not?

At this point, you are probably wondering if I have gone bananas what the heck bananas have to do with this?

Well.. let me tell you a story:

I was coming home from Whole Foods and there was a guy who was homeless, asking for help as I was driving home.  The car in front of me passed him so they didn’t have to see him.  He was clearly frustrated by that. He seemed kinda new at it…very frustrated at the lack of help instead of the expressionless face you often see.  Anyway, It was hot and bright and there he was holding a sign. He looked slightly familiar, like one of the guys at our church who plays guitar.

I really felt bad for him. I remembered part of the Kisses from Katie book where Katie talks about doing what you can–even if overwhelmed with the large need, we can often do something…we can offer something. So I looked.

I had may change purse from Peru that my friend brought back for me  when she went on a missions trip.  I got out the quarters out for him. Then I just saw how hot he seemed and imagined how miserable I’d be standing out there. So I thought about what I’d just bought, and realized I could easily give away a banana and help him out a lot, and I wouldn’t even miss it!

So I gave him a banana and some quarters. He came to life. I felt the tingling go from my hand that was giving him food, down my arm to my heart and I had chills all over. He was more than thankful. Heart felt “God bless you!”‘s were given.  I think though, that I was blessed more than him.  I was in tears. I couldn’t talk to him b/c the light changed but I also couldnl’t talk because I was so tearful and overwhelmed. It was like giving food to God. Like I saw Jesus in his eyes, just like you hear people talk about.  It was really amazing.

I was thinking about how easy that was. I reached for my drink…an unopened bottle of water that I kept in a cooler so I’d have a cold drink for the way home. I could have given him that too!  He really needed it more than me.  Then I was thinking about bananas.  They are nutrition packed fruit of the potassium, but also their peels are great for writing notes on!  And, you don’t have to wash it first before eating!  The peel if discarded is biodegradable so no worries about finding a trashcan or littering. It really is the perfect thing to give away!
So now I’m thinking of making up bags with water, bananas with notes When I see those people on the side of the street, I can give them that instead of looking the other way…something, unfortunately, I usually did.  The bananas may carry on them a note that tells the people about the God who SEE’s them.
Now I’m thinking about how I can love others…because Jesus does.  He wants us to do what we can to help those in need, even if just one at a the person in front of you.

1 John 3:1  See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

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Somebody Else’s Story

I will never forget the day when Joy told me that God was using me in her story.  That was the highest compliment I have ever received.  No doubt, a treasure found in the dust of life.

“I wanna play a part
Of somebody finding hope
Somebody finding hope in God of Heaven”

Joy isn’t her real name, of course.  But as I thought of names to use for her, this was the one that jumped out in my mind as perfect.

I’m sure right about now she is thinking I’m nuts, but the reason this is the perfect name for her is because one day, she WILL be filled with joy.  One day, the sadness and hurt will be wiped away.  One day she will be completely healed.

“I wanna play a part
Of somebody finding comfort
Somebody finding comfort when their hurting”

Somebody Else’s Story is a song written by John Waller.  (You can listen to it by clicking on the link)  I was listening it in the car this week, and remembered Joy and how she said God is using me to make a difference in her story.

“I wanna be the one
To shine the light of Jesus
Into their darkness”

When God reaches down to the deepest darkest hurts and brings light, dispells shame and heals you there… you just want to share that with someone!  You want to help somebody else.

“This hope in me was not meant to be
Contained inside I’ve got to give it away”

When God brought me Joy to share with, the joy ran…runs deep in my soul.  Somehow the events of the past make more sense…it is somehow ok-er than it was.

“So lead me to that someone I pray
Lord, I wanna bring you glory
In somebody Else’s story”

I was overcome with gratefulness and joy, that God has done such a work in my own life that he can use my story to help others and bring glory to Himself.

That’s what it is all about, really. We are comforted so we can comfort others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Whether it is being able to comfort others in having children with special needs and autism, or dealing with life threatening food allergies and asthma, or sharing the hope and comfort God rains down in the midst of Rheumatoid Arthritis with someone else who has it, or healings of tragic events of the past, it is a treasure and honor, an absolute joy to be able to be a part of somebody else’s story and bring God glory.

(All quotes are lyrics from John Waller’s song, Somebody Else’s Story)

The Desires of Your Heart

I remember walking around the neighborhood with my then fiance’, talking about what we’d name our future children.  We had 6 names picked out, three boys and three girls.

But then we had twins…then autism, then ADHD, then another boy, and then ear infections, severe asthma, multiple food allergies, constant illness, and autism again, and ADHD again… that kinda put a damper on the thoughts of having any more children.

I had totally given up on the thoughts of more children, but I so much wanted a Rebecca Joy in my arms.  I think I may have even gone through the grieving process that this would never happen.  If anyone asked if we would have more kids, I’d always reply with a quick, “NO!”  (with the “are you crazy? We have enough going on as it is.” implied!)

We were overwhelmed enough.  It couldn’t even be thought of.

But God knew how much we wanted another child, and probably…it was Him putting that desire in our hearts.  He saw past all the rubbish, stress and insanity of our lives, and he decided to give us a baby girl after all…

Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

How wonderful is that?

I had my first ultrasound this week and she (yes, the answer to Princess Buttercup’s prayers for the last 2 years have been answered with a big, “YES!”) is doing wonderfully!

Here is a picture of my little skeleton:

A final thought: From the beginning, God has had good plans for our lives, and no circumstance, no illness or disability, no evil intentions, not even Satan himself, can thwart His plan.

“Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.” Isaiah 46:9-11

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