Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The New Man

Along with so many others, I have been blown away by The New Man series at my church the past five weeks.  It has been inspiring, affirming, encouraging and challenging for me personally and for our community.  This series is relevant more than ever in our society.  This message is necessary as so many men did not have a good example of a real man in their home to model themselves after. This message is freeing in that it calls men to be who they were created to be; that is to be Men instead of Boys.  I highly encourage you to listen to the series. It will be relevant to you whether you are a man, woman, married, single, or divorced.  If you have a man in your life that has emulated any of the characteristics of the man God created him to be, thank God and find ways to continually affirm him. If you are a parent, listen in an attempt to teach your sons about manhood and for your daughters to instil a standard that she will not compromise on.  If you find yourself wanting to be married, listen with an open heart and allow the Lord to form a vision for your future.  If you are a man who has caused harm to others in your life because you have acted like a boy instead of a man allow the Lord to redeem those areas and relationships by humbling yourself fully before Him and those you have hurt along the way.

Would you be surprised to hear that the women of our church community have been reportedly thanking our leadership for these inspiring messages?  I am not surprised in the least.  Women can be so quick to nudge the man beside them pointing the finger and yet women might be the most difficult to address in a similar fashion. Can you even imagine what would happen if a church, even Crossroads preached a series on Womanhood? This would be so incredibly controversial, I cannot even fathom it.  I can see the revolt now, women rising up saying, "Who is HE to tell me who to be as a woman?"

Ok, but seriously, who are we supposed to be as women? Our culture has been telling women to become like men: be strong, be independent, be able to provide for ourselves. Even sexually women have taken their sexuality into their own hands claiming that they have a right to be pleasured too coming out of generations where women's sexual needs have been under valued.  Many women shudder when they hear the Biblical woman as described in Proverbs 31.  Where do we begin? This has got my heart and mind swirling. I'm asking the Lord to form the answers more in my life. I have some ideas and I hope to share them soon. My initial idea for a series title for womanhood might be something like: Women, Stand Down! Yes, I just said that.

Recently I had the privilege of witnessing a dear friend of mine lean into her husband's strength in unimaginable ways under heartbreaking, unjust circumstances. He fought for her and their family. He took responsibility for their loss, their hurts. He did all he could to protect them emotionally and physically. And you know what I will never forget? I saw her physically and emotionally lean into his strength, his protection, his loving arms. I have a visual of them sitting on the front pew that I will never forget. I literally saw her leaning on him and I saw a man with a strong back accepting her need for him. Oh my goodness. It still makes me tearful and gives me goose bumps.This exemplifies a man being who God has called him to be and allows his wife to benefit from his strength and courage. 

So thankful for the work that the Lord is doing in our church, in our community and in our family. I have had the joy of listening to this series with much delight because of the Man I have in my husband. I appreciate the reminder to appreciate and affirm Eric for his leadership in our family and in his work. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Day the Steve Harvey Show Had Me In Tears

Over the last three months it seems several days a week I'm feeding Eden and folding laundry around the 3 p.m. hour when The Steve Harvey show is on. He is always good for a laugh.  Today, my ears piped up as I heard him announce he had adult twins looking for their birth-mom and even though they did not know it, their birth-mom was there to meet them for the first time.

First Segment:
As soon as the twins, who are in their mid-20s started to share about their life I immediately started having a negative reaction. They were saying things like, "We just want to thank her because if she hadn't given us up we probably wouldn't be where we are today." And "We believe we are better off because of the decision she made." These are honest and probably very true statements. I try to stay unbiased, I really do. But my heart bleeds for birth-parents.  Both of the adoptees are very successful according to American standards: College grads, Christians, successful jobs, philanthropic involvements. They've obviously been given a solid foundation and are very blessed financially, physically and spiritually.  While I can definitely celebrate that, I was thinking about how will that birth-mom feels as she listens to this? Will it make her feel better or feel worse? It was really bothering me.  Certainly she wanted her twin babies to have a better life but that means she was not a part of it. 

As I was listening to this I began to weep. Sometimes I feel angry that birth-parents are always seem to be known as what's NOT best for their kids. I feel angry that birth-moms on welfare are perceived as less than parents who have money. I feel angry when I hear adoptees say thank you to their birth-parents for giving them a BETTER life.  BUT, what I realized more than my anger is that it just HURTS so bad that I was not what was best for my first born. That will never stop hurting! I know I'm not the stereotypical birth-parent. I wasn't on welfare. I was a recent college graduate. But, I decided that the most important thing for the my firstborn was a two parent, Christian home and THAT, I could not give her.  And it hurts and it always will. Today the band-aid that covers this wound got ripped off, again. And the band-aid of grief that some of us know all too well will continue to get ripped off, oftentimes, when we least expect it.

Second Segment:
During the second segment the adopted twins were surprised by their birth-mother being there and met her for the first time. The male twin hung his head and wept. The female twin was absolutely speechless.  She had no words.  Adoptions should not go this way, if at all possible.  No child should have to wonder where they came from, who they look like, and the BIGGEST question that almost every adoptee needs answered is WHY? Why did my birth-parent "give me up"? The female twin was clearly conflicted about the reunion and even said prior to the birth-mother coming out that she had a lot of questions. One question she wanted to ask is, "Did she ever think about us afterwards?" OH MY GOSH! That question breaks me!!! For any adopted person out there, trust me when I say that your birth-mother has not gone 1 day without thinking about you. Not one day! She wonders if she made the right decision. She hopes you are happy and healthy and that you will understand her decision and prays you never feel abandoned!

And then I cried again and I just had to pause and thank God that my firstborn will never have to search for me because she knows who I am. She knows my husband, my other children, my family. I am welcomed into her home and into her life.  She's heard me tell her, "I Love You!" And I am so thankful for that. I can't imagine all of her questions are answered at this point but I thank God she knows I am here when/if more questions come. 

Friends, Adoption involves LOSS. At some point in the process every member of the adoption triad is affected: adoptee, adopted parent, birth-parent.  Today I witnessed loss as all three parties cried.  I don't know what all of their tears meant but I pray some healing comes. God bless them all!