The Transformative Work of Time

Today marks the one year anniversary of Adia becoming part of our family. Twelve months ago we finally got to hold the baby we had been praying for and she was fully ours.

I vividly remember sweating as we waited in the children’s center’s main hall when one worker brought in this two-year-old with a shaved head and a fear of the unknown. This child was like a noodle, incapable of holding up her head, crawling or really sitting without assistance. Her skin was extremely fragile. Her little body so hungry and emaciated.

Eventually, we got her to eat. Eventually, her eyes began to brighten. Eventually, we made it home to Escondido, to brother and sister, to her family.

A lot has changed for Adia since August of 2016. One friend shared that when she met her in China she was afraid Adia wouldn’t survive. Instead, she has learned to thrive. She is strong, smart and determined. She has the flair of a three-year-old and a laugh that can brighten your day.

Of course, there have been hospital stays, scars, learning to crawl and tiring therapy. But the time has been transformative. One year on I can’t imagine what Adia’s life will be like in ten or twenty years, but if she keeps up at this clip there will be no holding her back!

As I am thankful today, our family day, I am also hopeful. It seems to me that Adia’s story is a story of faith and what time will do with love. For believers, it is the love of Christ that we experience and the time that he determines to transform us, to make us more like him.

Like the Apostle Paul, we too can say “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (ESV).

Wherever you are today, trust in Christ’s love for you, and trust how he will use time to transform you.

Following trails already blazed!

1395838154Stacy and I have a dear friend who has been doing some amazing work as a yoga instructor and general life-encourager in Washington, D.C. Angelyn has been handing out inspiration and tools for a few years and when our family first moved West to pursue ministry She gave me the opportunity to share our story.

This week she invited me back to give an update and talk about all the transitions that have come since then.You can read the interview here. I encourage you to check it out!

In Christ… you are adopted!

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7 ESV)

We could talk of our adoption in Christ all day. What a joyous truth. We are sons and daughters, chosen, loved, redeemed and now heirs with Christ. We know it but we rarely live like it.

But it is true. It is beautiful. And it is important. We have a new identity because we have been adopted by God through the work of Christ for us. Hallelujah!

Adoption of children by loving families illustrate this reality with grace and significance. People choose adoption for any number of reasons but beyond our motivation it is a great picture of the love God has for us in Christ.

Yesterday, an adoption was made final. Our friends Andy and Sunita have been through a long process but now their son is theirs. Forever. Here is what they said of the event:

“Today was our adoption day and the tears keep flowing that it is done; that he is legally, forever ours; that this miraculous, beautiful boy who God has forged our hearts with cannot be taken away from us and we get to spend our lives offering back this perfect gift.”

What beauty. What grace.

In the same way, God forges our hearts with His through Christ. And we spend eternity with Him as our perfect gift. Rejoice in this today!

Obedience and Orphancare

One of the best things going on at our church (in my opinion!) is the Orphan care ministry. A team of passionate leaders are working to live the gospel through adoption and care for those abandoned, hurt and in need. I am blessed by their work and hearts.

During our Sunday gathering they shared an update video to highlight the work God is doing through these families. On Friday my wife caught me teary eyed watching the video. In the video the a couple from Bethel discusses the process they are going through and the father, Lee Williams delivers the best line of our gathering.

Talking about the decision to pursue adoption, Lee said, “God calls us to obedience not outcomes.” Yes and amen. This is not a truth only for those adopting but for all of us as believers in Christ. His call was for obedience to what he taught and there are so many things that attempt to take us off track from that. The truth in obedience is that the outcomes are not always recognized. We spend time agonizing over the “fruit” of our obedience but I think we are looking for the wrong kinds of fruit many times.

In our obedience God will do what he chooses and the fruit may be transformation of our hearts, preparation for a future ministry or struggle, or any number of unrealized truths. The remains however for us to live in obedience, not for gain but out of gratitude for what has been granted us in Christ and the future we will have with him.

God calls us to obedience not outcomes. Let us be a people known for healthy obedience, caring for the orphan and pursuing Christ.