Life Interrupted: and what adoption has taught me
We recently adopted a seven year old little boy from China. Most people see his beautiful brown eyes that crinkle when he flashes his wide, toothy grin. “He’s so happy!” they exclaim. At home we experience that but so much more. In my best moments I just laugh and shake my head at the absurdity of some of the situations we find ourselves in with our little guy; in my worst moments I wonder how I will make it through the fit of the hour and try not to let myself wonder about one or two years from now. And in both of those moments I have heard it clearly, “That’s you. Don’t you see?”
“Excuse me, what? I am potty trained, thank you very much!”
“Do you see his stubbornness? His unwillingness to let go of frustration or hurt to come to you? How he just sits and screams in defiance because he doesn’t know what else to do? Do you see how he thinks he can do so much more than he is able, and instead of letting you help him, he hurts himself? How he pouts when he doesn’t get what he wants, even when you know how important it is that he doesn’t get it? Do you see?”
Gulp. “Ok, Jesus. So this is what I look like when I come to you? I am paralyzed, in so many ways unable to meet your most basic expectations because of my brokenness? I’m in desperate need of constant care, attention, correction, and protection?”
And yet, I usually come to Jesus thinking I’m doing pretty well. I’ve got a few areas that need some work, that need the Holy Spirit’s attention. I must compare myself to what I think a Christian should look like, and I use that as my barometer. Not too bad, right? Hard days, sure. I’ve yelled a time or two, but I’m not doing too bad. Whether I realize it or not, that’s how I see and measure myself when I come to Jesus.
Friends, I think we’ve got it all wrong.
In light of His glory and grace, we are all hot messes. If we’re lucky we’ve got tear-stained, dirty, smudged faces from crying out in our desperation. If not, we likely bear the scars and bruises of trying to do things on our own a few too many times. Probably a combination of both. We are fooling ourselves if we come to Jesus thinking we are anything but in desperate need of His grace and mercy. Lord, have mercy on self-indulgent soul and continue to remind me of how much I need you. And thank you to the little boy who apparently reminds me so much of myself. Today I watched him fold his hands in prayer all on his own before lunch, and I thought, “There’s hope for me yet.”