Yesterday at church our pastor shared this verse:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)
Jake likes to say that our family of seven can walk into a room, and share the gospel without even saying a word. That’s because this type of love, God’s sacrifical love manifested in us, is unnatural. It doesn’t make sense to the world. We live in a me-centered society. When we sacrifice our comfort, our home, our dreams, our time, our conveniences, our lifestyle, our money, our security, etc. for someone else it seems out of place and uncommon in our world. And this is why adoption showcases the gospel. Because the act of adoption represents a teeny, tiny fraction of how God so loved us. When we were broken, destitute, sinners, God sent a sacrifice for us, to bring us into a relationship with Him. And every day that I wake up, I think about Jesus dying in place of my sin, and it is absolutely inconceivable to me. And that’s why I can’t keep quiet about it. Because I want others to know the love that God has lavished on all of us. I am a blogger, so I like to use words to explain things. But as this verse above says, there is a way that we can showcase the gospel through our actions. By loving one another. In 1 John we are urged to love not with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18). There are countless ways in which we can do this. And adoption is one of them. When we love those that are hard to love, when we welcome children into our homes who society tells us aren’t worth it, when we step up and care for orphans and widows who share not one ounce of genetics with us, this says something to the world around us about God's love.
I am sure you are wondering why I titled this post as I did now that you’ve read these first few paragraphs. Well, I just wanted to start from the mindset that adoption represents the gospel, so that you can understand why the devil hates it so much.
Yesterday, at an adoption meeting at our church this quote was shared:
Adoption is not charity, it is war. (Russell Moore)
Much of this warfare is spiritual. Since adoption is an exact representation of the gospel (see Ephesians 1:4-5, Galatians 4:4-7), Satan is completely against it. And to those just beginning the adoption process, I believe Satan tries to capitalize on our fears, in order to paralyze our decision to adopt.
I remember when we began our adoption, I sat down in the living room to organize all of the paperwork we had gotten from our agency. This was when we were with our first agency, the larger, national one, and I was advised to sort of make a check list of all the steps we would be going through so that we could stay on track. I remember JJ and Jayla were in their rooms napping, and I sat on the floor and started making piles of papers. I ended up with an entire circle of stacks of paperwork surrounding me as I sat there in the middle of it. At this point, I took a look around and became completely overwhelmed. My mind floated to my to-do list up on the counter of all the other things that I needed to get done during naptime…..just organizing this paperwork alone had taken 45 minutes of my 2 hour chunk. And then this thought popped into my mind Why are you doing this? You can have kids of your own. Why are you going to spend all of this time and money on a child when you can have children biologically? And that was a lie from the pit of hell. It was the devil capitalizing on my fears and causing me to doubt what God had asked us to do. And this was one of the many times these little thoughts would pop into my head. I’ve shared others with you at length in other posts– What if the child ruins your family? What if you don’t love this child as much your biological children? Etc.
Two days after we sent our adoption application in, Jake got a text message from his past girlfriend from high school, asking him if he would like to meet her for breakfast the next morning. She had just moved to Iowa, and had gotten his phone number off his basketball website and wanted to catch up. Now, I understand that many of you might see this as harmless. But, as a believer in Christ Jesus and biblical truth, I know from scripture that Satan does not roam around with thorns on his head, steam coming out his ears, with bright fiery red clothing. Satan is a deceiver. And he will tempt us on the path towards sin sometimes in the most tiny yet enticing ways. Thankfully, Jake recognized this as a clear attack from the enemy and kindly declined the invitation. Then he called me right after he got the text message and told me about it. I remember hanging up the phone and bursting into tears and just thanking God for His protection and for giving me an honest husband. Jake could have easily not told me about the text, or worse, accepted the invitation and kept it a secret. Only until a week later did I realize what Satan was up to. That week our family pastor shared a story about a fellow youth pastor he knew of who had just gotten caught up in a 2 week extra-marital affair….and it had all started with a few unintentional moments in which this pastor happened to be in a room alone with another woman. Hearing this story was a defining moment for me. It was then that I knew it was no coincidence that this text message came only 2 days after we had sent in our application. Satan knew he wasn’t able to halt our decision to adopt, so he was going to attempt to ruin our marriage instead.
I am not trying to freak anybody out with this post. Actually the opposite. I want to expose the ways that the devil has tried to deceive us in case others are experiencing similar things. Because here’s one thing I’ve learned - Satan wants us to keep quiet about our fears, our sins, and our struggles. The bondage and entrapment of fear (and sin) is BROKEN when we confess and share with God and others about our struggles. This is why, if you are just starting an adoption or heading into foster care, it is integral that you find at least one other couple who has gone through adoption (or done foster care) in which you can meet with regularly. Get your fears out in the open. Ask questions. Even the hard ones. And actually, even if you are just considering adoption/foster care, and haven’t fully decided yet, talk to someone who has been through this!! I know you might be scared to even tell someone that you are considering adoption/foster care, but do it anyways! In the moments following the video clip at church when adoption was put on my heart I rushed out of the sanctuary on a direct route to the bathroom. It just so happened that I was intersected en route by one of our head pastors (the one who had just presented the orphan clip!). He clearly could see that I had been crying, and instead of telling him what just happened I made up some joke and ran into the bathroom. Had I not already written myself off as crazy, it would have been a great time for me to ask him to pray for God’s direction for our family. It seems silly now, but I was actually worried that he would hold us accountable to adopting if I told him about it. Anyways, what I am saying, is talk to those who have done what you are thinking about doing. This will become invaluable to you along your journey.
I also want to add that we don’t need to fear that Satan is going to somehow overtake us. If we are in a relationship with Jesus, then we have one who has gone before us and broken the power of the devil. Chapter 6 (verses 10-18) in the book of Ephesians gives many practical steps in which we can guard ourselves against the evil one. PRESS ON! God is faithful. He will come through!
And just to put an exclamation on this post, I am including this video of Justice below. He’s recounting what he learned at his kid’s ministry (D6) time the other night. Even if you only watch about ½ of this, I think you will understand why the devil put up such a fight to keep Justice from getting his visa. He surely didn’t want Justice to be able to learn these awesome things about our Almighty God: