Sunday, March 14, 2010

Unconventional Poetry

House church is unconventional. Maybe even more unconventional is house church without the usual members - meaning, church with just the 4 Footes (= 8 literal feet) that live under this roof. Today is a family Sabbath day. And what a perfect day it is. The windows are raised to let in the soft breeze and perfect temp. The sunlight is radiant and energy giving. The stillness and quiet of the day are relaxing, soothing the soul.

Around 1:15 pm I found Libby in her room looking through a new Bible a friend gave her this week. Its called "The Jesus Storybook Bible" and with the few glances I've taken, I'm a fan! Libby asked me to read it to her. As usual she picked the part where Jesus is praying in the garden through the story of his resurrection.... a.k.a. the best part! As I read to Libby there on the floor of her bedroom, my back leaning against the wall with Libby in my lap, Gracie played next to us listening and smiling as we read along. At the end I told Libby we should sing songs to Jesus now because of what He's done for us. Right then, Libby burst into her own, impromptu song. The melody was undecipherable. The rhythm even more unsteady. But the words were perfect. "Jesus, we love you. You live in our hearts, You are in our house. Jesus we love you." As we clapped and sang a few more tunes, Gracie hummed and clapped along with a smile the size of the sun. Ahhh... this is what its all about.

Poetry doesn't have to rhyme to be good. Sometimes the structure of rhythm and rhyme get in the way of what really needs to be said. Jesus was rather unconventional himself. Talking to the woman at the well he "risked" (in quotes because I don't define God as a risk-taker in that He is Sovereign and already knows the outcome...which sort of takes the "risk" factor out of it... He just is who he is and does what He does because he's God... and the word "risk" tends to mean that something can be lost if it doesn't go right... But God always wins...never loses...ok, end of that bunny chase) - he "risked" what others might say. The woman did have a colorful reputation, after all. And no righteous Jew would walk through Samaria in broad daylight, much less have a private conversation with such a woman as he found at the well that day. But unconventional is what it takes sometimes to set a new standard, to carve out  a new way of thinking/living.

Which brings me to an entirely different point. The other day I was at a mall for a playdate (no, I wasn't shopping... there really was a playground there for the kids to play). A kind and friendly lady was very interested in the white woman with a Chinese daughter and a ....hmmmm... no one can ever figure out Gracie's ethnicity... but Ethiopian she is. So she was asking some of the normal questions we encounter on a daily basis. I don't mind at all. But sometimes I do find that I'm not sure how to respond. For example, this lady kept saying, "you are so noble, such a noble thing to do". I know what she is trying to say and I don't ever want to discourage people from asking and talking about adoption. But I kinda cringe inside when I hear "so noble of you". I realize first, that Jesus put the desire to adopt in me. So, the act of adopting is not of me. But I think what bothers me about those words is that it indicates to me and reminds me that adoption is not the norm, that caring for a child "outside of our biological bloodline" is not the average thing to do. But it should be. There are too many children without families for us to just be conventional in how we create family.

I've heard some say they don't know if they could fully love a child that wasn't "their own" and I've heard others say, "I love my heritage, where I came from, who my family line is and I want to continue it in that way so I don't think adoption is for me". Well, adoption may not be for that person, but it shouldn't be for that reason. Tradition is great. And growing a traditional family is a godly, healthy way to create family. I'm not in any way putting that down. But what I want people to see is that tradition doesn't always break the mold and make a difference. It may be more familiar, more comfortable. But it doesn't make it the only way or always the best way. I'm excited that my family tree has been changed in how it will visibly look forever. But more importantly, I have come to understand that we serve only one King and work within only one Kingdom - the Kingdom of Christ. And in that Kingdom of Christ is someone or many someones of every tribe, tongue, nation, color. My family doesn't look like it always has in the past. My family looks like what it will look like in the eternal future! The Kingdom of God. We are a little slice of that on earth!

In Scripture there are many references to "running the race as to win the prize" and "not looking back" but rather, "looking ahead". In the light of eternity, will it really matter if your family line stayed just white or just American or just German, or just Canadian, or just blue eyed or name it. We serve a creative, unconventional God with the power to adhere hearts together from all walks of life. It may be hard to love someone that is "not your own" but a child that is adopted IS your own... God is the one who created the concept of family AND of adoption. It is God who weaves hearts together and bonds and mends and makes good out of the unusual.

When God created mankind he said it was good and he said they were made out of his image. We, like God, want to create families that resemble us. But I don't know that what God meant was that we have 2 arms so he must have 2 arms and we have 2 eyes, so he must have 2 eyes. No. We resemble him in the sense that we were created to think, reason, believe, hold to convictions, make decisions, feel, have emotions, and have souls that have the opportunity to live forever with him. Its at our core, the things that make us like Him. And so it is with any child that becomes our own - whether biologically or through adoption - they are like us on the inside - all with hearts that beat, stomachs that growl and need food, brains that require stimulation and lives that become more and more like us the more we show them/teach them how to live. We can re-present ourselves in our children, but better yet - we can teach them how to represent Jesus to the world.

This is for someone today. Not for everyone. This is for just one person struggling with the desire to please man, or please parents, or keep tradition for the sake of tradition. Be obedient to the call God puts on your life. Let go of fear of the unknown and reach out for the creative expression of obedience God keeps waving before you.

Behold, what manner of love the Father has given unto us.
Behold, what manner of love the Father has given unto us.
That we should be called the sons of God
That we should be called the sons of God
(© 1978 Maranatha! Music Words and Music by Patricia Van Tine)

A new manner of love is among us. We are children of THE creative God. May it change the way we live! Be the unconventional poetry!


Amy Prikazsky said...

So encouraging! I needed to hear this! We truly are blessed and are priveledged to be called the Sons and Daughters of Christ! Thanks for this encouragement today!
I followed your old blog but now I'm a follower of your new blog! Yay!

Anonymous said...

Amen! :)

The Houston TRACK said...

Cindy, I can't help but think about grafting when you talk about your family tree. I don't know much about it so I researched it. You are grafting Libby and Gracie into your family tree! I have three adopted siblings and my parents were foster parents for many years. Adoption holds a near and dear place in my heart as it does yours. You and your family are in my prayers

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