Joy vs. happiness. Two words often confused to have the same meaning. Happiness is fleeting, temporary because at any moment, somthing can happen to make us sad, mad, angry, etc. But “joy” is a matter of the heart..a heart filled with thanksgiving despite circumstances surrounding us. I am convinced that joy is not possible without Jesus. Through only His power, love and grace can He usher us into the spirit of joy.
This has been the journey of my own heart, really over the last several years…to be joyful despite circumstances and to give thanks no matter what. It has been a discipline because it is something that just does not come naturally!
So this lesson of joyfulness continues as we carry on in adoption. It has taken me up to a couple of weeks ago to get to this point. I have so much joy in our adoption and so much joy that our babies are somewhere in Moldova (ok, i say “babies”…Adam just laughs and goes with it.) and so much joy that our family is being made by adoption. I haven’t been able to say that honestly until recently. The Lord has been working on my heart to rid me of thoughts of jealousy of other families that get to have their family in a quick 9 months.
Our family is being made by adoption. Nothing sounds sweeter than that to me. Adam’s sweet cousin, Heather, posted a link on my facebook page of a book called “Mommy’s Heart Went Pop”, a book about a mother adopting a child and how her heart grew through the whole process. As a woman who is physically pregnant “pops out” so it is in adoption with the mother’s heart. It was at that moment, reading that link, that the Lord just filled me with so much love for babies I can’t see or feel physically..but could feel in my heart. There is so much love…and so much joy that this is the calling God has placed over Adam and I. God is good. This is His “Plan A” for us..NOT “Plan B”. Adoption is the heart of God! So awesome. Thankful for turning points and lessons of God’s grace and compassion.
” Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Every year, Christian Alliance For Orphans ( http://www.christianalliancefororphans.org/ ) sets aside one Sunday in November to raise awareness for the world wide orphan crisis. It always comes with many emotions attached for me. This past Sunday was it! In my mind, I see several faces of kids I have met and have essentially seen grow up over the past six years in Tocuz, Moldova. I see Vica, Christina, Olga, Rodica, Irina, Zina, Marin, Gheorghe…just to name a few. And now that I have started working in foster care, I work with children as young as 10 months old who are in the care of the state. Last week I had to move one of my kids into her 4th foster home. She is only 14 years old and is waiting to be adopted. Kids shouldn’t ever have to worry about if “this home” is going to keep them.
So, on “Orphan Sunday”, I had a variety of faces flashing in front of me; some from Moldova and some from Massachusetts.
As believers, we are commanded to take action. Isaiah 1:17 says “Defend the cause of orphans.” James 1:27 declares “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God means caring for orphans and widows in their distress…”
What does this “action” look like?
1. Pray and pray some more. Pray for God to ignite a burden in your heart. But be prepared..He WILL honor your desire and WILL guide you to a specific place of action.
2. Know a face, not a statistic. I remember reading “The Hole In Our Gospel” by Richard Stearns, president of World Vision. He said that when people are given statistics, they just hear and see numbers. However, when people connect a person to a statistic and know their personal story, they are impacted and changed. For example, become involved with “Face of a Child” in Moldova and fill up a large bag or backpack for a specific child who will not receive anything else all year. You will receive a picture of specific child in need! (http://www.lsmglobal.org)
3. Consider being a parent through fostercare or adoption. There are tens of thousands of children all over the world who do not have a place that is considered their permament home. This permanency has become so real to me over the past 8 months at my current job. Unfortunately, I have had to move several kids out of homes into new ones. There is nothing worse than this~seeing kids being bounced around, having to adapt to new homes, new schools, and leaving friends behind. Do you want to see some of the precious faces who live in Massachusetts who continue to wait for a mom and dad? Check out this link: http://www.mareinc.org/Index.html It’s for MARE (Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange) and their goal is to provide profiles and stories of children in fostercare to those who are looking to adopt. If you are reading this and live in another state, I guarantee your home state has something similar.
We are all commanded to act! What does that look like for you?