It's just a little taste... just to get your curiosity up!
But on to my lessons learned... it's a beautiful autumn day here. Bright sunshine and a warm breeze. Perfect, really. Several of our children have been matched and will be leaving soon. Goodbyes are bittersweet, but mostly sweet when you know they are finally going home. It's an easy day to be thankful for this place we've been planted and all that we've learned...
- I've learned that while we like to ask God location questions, and He likes to ask us heart questions. Heart questions are the hardest questions. We've grown to understand that whether we're in Beijing or Boston, God wants one thing from us. He wants us to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with him. (Micah 6:8) We can do that anywhere. We have spent a considerable amount of time asking God where?, waiting for some lightening bolt to fall from heaven and provide us with a specific zip code. But it seems that in the last couple of years, we've learned that God just wants us to fully be where ever we are...
- We've learned that too often we draw our personal identity from what we do rather than from who we are. Though we're at least starting to recognize the danger in it, we haven't yet "learned the lesson" -- it is still a significant struggle.
Jacob left his job as an electrical engineer. He excelled in it. He was quickly promoted and put in charge of a major project. In my own job, I prided myself on being knowledgeable, efficient, and thorough in helping adoptive families. It was easy to see the impact of my own work in the children who joined their families. When we left all that behind, we didn't realize the identity crisis it would cause. Suddenly we couldn't even go to the grocery store on our own, and we left relative financial security where we were the ones making the charitable contributions to come to a place where we became full-time volunteers and started depending on others to meet our financial needs. Humbling.
Both of us have definitely wrestled with feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness, as we came to grips with the fact that we were no longer "producing" something of measurable worth or even "providing" for ourselves. We came to understand that at its core, the reason this was such a difficulty was because we drew far too much of our identity from what we accomplished and produced. To be honest, at one point it hit me that somewhere inside of me, I couldn't quite believe that God would love me as much if I were just a lump on a log than He would if I were placing 1,000 children in their adoptive families. Jacob struggled with understanding that his worth as a man doesn't just come from His paycheck or his title.
Like I said, this is definitely still a work in progress; we have so far to go. But we're starting to really understand what we always claimed to believe. God's love isn't conditional on anything... He's always the same and He looks on us with the same love and mercy, regardless of who we are or what we're doing. The question is -- will we find our identity and self-worth in Him? Or in the mirror? If it's in the mirror, we'll never be at peace.