Friday, August 24, 2012

How A Child Has Led To Community

I've never been a joiner.  Because I've never felt like I truly fit in, I've not allowed myself to try.  Instead, I avoided joining in by choosing interests that were solitary by nature: drawing, reading, daydreaming . . .  Growing up, when I was forced to go somewhere socially, I always sneaked a book so that, like Linus with his blanket, I'd have my safety net.  I felt far more comfortable in my mind and in my own little world than I did in the world around me.  As mentioned in a previous blog, I liked to stay in my routine and in my comfort zone.

It's funny, but when I got married I picked someone who was in, many ways, opposite of myself.  Danelle is more practical and common sense than I am.  Back when we were in college, she spoke up readily when she knew the answer while I would sit silently whether I knew the answer or not.  Go unnoticed and get out of classes was my mantra.  But she noticed me.

After we got married, I had to navigate my solitary nature with being a husband, which was not an easy thing for me.  Then we had a son.  Children require parental involvement in the outside world (such as school and extracurricular activities).  I found myself chaperoning field trips, helping out on field days, volunteering in the class to help kids who were behind.

We went to church but that was it: we went, we didn't participate.  I knew I should, but I didn't because I thought I'd be like Yukon Cornelius, Rudolph, and Hermey the elf when they went to King Moonracer on the island of misfit toys and were told they couldn't stay.  "Even among misfits we're misfits," Yukon remarks.  But that's exactly who Jesus called to him: the outcasts, the misfits, those on the fringe who were forgotten or overlooked by society.

Then Danelle and I felt the call to adopt a child.  And not only adopt but to adopt an older child from another country.  Jesus was clearly calling us out of our comfort zones.  As we decided to follow God's call in this area of our lives, we both realized we had isolated ourselves and had ignored Him in other areas.  Danelle and I knew that Christ was not only calling us to leave the comfort of our tiny, heavily protected world to venture forward in adoption but that we were to move beyond ourselves to become a real part of the body of Christ.

Through our son, whose best friend at school also went to our church, we met J.D.'s parents, Jack and Yulia (who have been strong champions for our adoption). They invited us to their growth group / Sunday school class.  Despite being someone who would prefer going to church anti-socials (where either no one shows up or else everyone stands around feeling awkward), I went to the socials they had as well as the dinner and dialogues.  We also became involved in a great group for adoption and foster care.  Both have been an encouragement to us not only during this process of adoption but in our spiritual journey as well, helping us to grow in Christ.   Danelle and I are learning about how we are to "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galations 6:2).

Outside of the church, it has amazed us how many people have become a part of this adoption.  I never would've thought that our blog would have had over 4,000 hits and been read in over 60 countries in just four short months.

We have also seen amazing support from friends, co-workers, and family.  

All of you cannot know how much your encouragement, kind words, and prayers mean to us.  To paraphrase from Charles Spurgeon: all of you have carved your names on our hearts.

Thank you.

As this journey continues, we realize that God will continue to call us out of ourselves, our comfort zones, and our tiny little world into one that is much bigger and greater for His glory.

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