Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Temporary Home

Have you ever lived somewhere that you knew would be temporary? The 3-month or year long in-between place?

It's interesting that when I know something is going to be temporary I just kind of angst at the place the entire time. No reason to put things on the walls. I might leave half of the boxes in the corner and only forage through when I happen to need a glue stick for the first time in 6 months or sandals I totally forgot I had.

We've been in a temporary house for almost 5 months now following a kitchen fire that looked really minor but caused enough damage that the kitchen, living room and dining room had to be completely gutted. Only things that were sentimental were saved and we are still in the process of replacing stuff. God has been so good to us in this process. He provided for us through rental insurance (best thing I've ever bought in my LIFE!), through friends who graciously let us stay with them and who invited us to eat with them in the middle of getting everything settled down., but

We see some great things in this temporary place. But it is still temporary

I've been thinking a lot about how for Christians we should be seeing this world and this life as a very short and temporary place in the light of eternity with God. I can't even choose which verse to point out because there are SO MANY. I think I might need to do a word study on eternity and eternal because there is so much in the Bible about thinking about that rather than the here and now and yet what I do in life is usually think about now and how to make my life better short term. I think I've been missing the point.

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:1-3
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

I really don't know how to do that. When we're making decisions as a family to think about what is better in the really long term rather that what makes us most comfortable. When things just are hard in life to not let depression take over but to see that this is a short season in light of forever.

So that is what I've been thinking about lately.
We're just passing through.
Enjoy today, (or just get through today) knowing that it is a season and not the ultimate goal.
Seek what is above.

Right now

Some of you may know that in addition to my home-life with my husband and 13-year old ALMOST ADOPTED daughter, I work at a homeless shelter. I just completed my first year here. I handle the educational part of a drug and alcohol recovery program aimed at finding the root causes and ending homelessness for the women we serve. So I teach or facilitate math, writing, computer and financial classes. I love that everyone in the program is required to spend 2 hours a day with me. I get to know people I would not have interacted with otherwise over several years. I get the privilege of hearing their stories and seeing them grow.

One of the things I DID NOT expect was how blessed I would be by the comments and encouragement of women who are on the other side of adoption and foster care. Somehow, despite the fact that many do not have relationships with their own children they have become some of the most encouraging voices I hear.

Working here has expanded sights to see how God restores people's lives. The sad, messy truth is that often the things that haunt people can't be fixed in a matter of a few years. In fact, I've heard that it takes 5 years of the right kind of work on your life to solidly be on the path of recovery. I don't know about you, but from my experience most people don't like to change because someone says they should, and wait instead until they absolutely have to. The excruciating pain of not being able to be in a child's life can further the spiral and add further depression, drug abuse, and self destructive behavior.

This is normally the time when those who are able to care for the children involved are introduced onto the scene. Right in the middle of the worst of the worst time in their life. I hear people talk about how someone "Isn't a safe person" and use that current reality to justify cutting off future contact. I just want to suggest that in all the thoughts about this you add one thing... "Right now"

His Biological mom isn't safe right now.
The family doesn't understand boundaries right now.
She isn't able to be part of her life... RIGHT NOW.

There is a huge difference in these thoughts. I've met women who are amazing Christian women 10 years to late to raise their children. People who are working hard at addressing the root issues that caused them to be hurt, and in turn hurt others. It takes a lot of reconciliation. But that is what God does.

In a strange way it has been a blessing to me to see first-hand the lives on the other side of the equation. Rather than selfishly holding on to what is "ours" I hope that other adoptive parents can vow to never shut the door entirely. Yes, protect your kids if it isn't safe right now. But hold on to the hope that someday it could be. Pray fervently for them and don't give up hope.

And when it does come around, celebrate! You saw a miracle before your very eyes. Someone who was stuck in self-destruction is set free! Someone who limped along in life can walk forward once again. Someone who was blind to the hurt they were feeling and the hurt they caused others can see clearly.

It is easy to categorize people. But my experience is that there is often much more going on. Brokenness comes from somewhere. And I believe that God can restore that too.