Adoption Scares Me

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Joining the Sacred Scared movement today and taking off the mask
(I am literally letting it all hang out…and letting you see what I look like in the mornings…ahhh!!!!!) My husband just called and asked “What is up with that picture on your blog?” hahaha He is scared for me.

I would love to journey up Mount Everest in Nepal. Well, really what I mean is that I like the idea of backpacking through massive mountains only if backpacking looked a little more like a helicopter dropping me off at the peak of the mountain (or wherever it is that helicopters drop off). I imagine the view is like what you would see in a National Geographic magazine, but even better. After all, I wouldn’t be merely reading about it but I would be seeing it with my own eyes. That is completely different, isn’t it? Ahhh, now that would make a great photo to upload. Don’t get me wrong. Purchasing some expensive hiking boots and a new Northface backpack and Canteen (vocab coming back from my short lived days as a girl scout) and vest would make me feel awesome – totally legit. But the excitement quickly wears off when I am reminded of the work involved in climbing up the highest mountain on earth (I am an expert on the work because I am a student of Google).

First, there is the issue of oxygen, you know, that thing we breathe in that we don’t really think much about until we don’t have it. If I understand correctly, it is somewhat crucial for LIVING.  Google informs me that there is a “death zone” as one travels to the upper most parts of this mountain and it’s a struggle to breathe as one climbs into higher altitudes.  Apparently climbing crazy, tall mountains can also cause hallucinations, dizziness, and umm – brain swelling. Then there is all the huffing and puffing that would make me lose more oxygen. Not to mention the potential avalanches, hypothermia, and sunburn! Also, I am fairly sure that I am not prepared to fight off the host of wild animals that would not be so fond of me huffing, puffing, and stumbling all crazily through their home. They are not ready for this; that is for sure.  Then I am just trying to think logistically through this daydream; for example, where would I sleep? Where would I bathe and what does one eat?  Do I have to kill my own food?

Generally speaking, I am not a person who enjoys doing hard things.  Yes, I am that girl who quits in the middle of a Jillian Michaels’ workout video because my muscles are burning. I realize it is good for them but I. Just. Cant. Keep. Going.

Can I be painfully honest?

Peace, comfort, control, easy, and fun are things that I highly value.  For this reason, adoption scares me.

Our family has been praying through adoption for quite some time now, and I want to share with you my biggest fears.

The reasons I am struggling in my flesh to adopt are as follows:

1.) I do not like to do hard things.  Although I love the idea of rescuing a child, I realize it’s anything but easy.  I find it difficult enough to love, feed, teach, and play with three children.  I can barely take care of the three I already have, much less adding a fourth to this chaos!  All three of my children are sleeping now; what if this child doesn’t sleep?  What if this child has leaning disabilities that the medical history did not show?  What if the child was abused?  What if I just do not love this child as much as my biological children?  I fear that I am going to mess up my current children and adding another to “arrow” to the mix- freaks me out!

2.) Financial challenges.  It already seems like mission impossible to stretch out our groceries and it doesn’t exactly help that my children have the talent of being hungry every hour.  How in the world are we going to afford an extra mouth to feed?  Medical bills?   School?  Clothing? I enjoy being able to go on family vacations and with an extra child, will that happen? Will I ever see an ocean again?   What if we do not have enough money to go out to eat and I have to cook every meal the rest of my life?

3.) Finding babysitters.  Let’s face it. The more kids you have, the less people are standing in line to offer assistance.  In babysitting, you’ll rarely find “the more the merrier” mentality.

4.) I like control, and adoption seems completely out of my control.  Here is the deal.  My natural tendency is to manage my life in such a way that I have to exercise very little faith.  Every other hour I feel like I have my life “under control.” I know our schedule, when to take the kids, and when to pick up. I’ve finally learned what subjects to avoid in order to prevent siblings from breaking out into a civil war.  I know what food my kids will (and will not) eat, and our bedtime routine is finally down (for the most part).  In fact, at least a few nights a week, we still have time to watch an episode or two of Parenthood.  I just feel like I have the THREE kids thing down, but really, I totally know that I don’t have it down.  After all, every other day I have an emotional episode of telling myself why I’m the worst mom on the planet.  Is it even right to bring another kid into the equation to be stuck with my inadequacies and failures?

5.) This is a busy season of life.  My husband is in the middle of his Ph.D. (when the rest of us go to sleep at night, he goes “to school” until 1 or 2am). He is also leading a church that is experiencing rapid growth.  There is a constantly flow of building meetings, deacon meetings, meetings with members, marriage coaching, counseling, funerals, weddings, etc.  Additionally, I am currently writing a book, taking care of the home, trying to be an intentional mother, exercising, trying to meet with women in the church, singing on the praise team, involved in accountability groups, speaking at churches, and blogging.  As a family we are leading a missional community group, involved in school activities, extra curricular activities, etc.  I’m not whining; most of you have as busy if not busier schedules.  It’s just life, but still, it FEELS very busy.

6.) We will be THAT family.  You know, that family that should know, “how that happens by now!”  Even with the three kids that we have (a relatively small amount compared to a number of my friends) we still totally get the dirty stares in Target (What!!! I know my kids are wearing their lunch all over their mouths and that their shoes don’t match, but I was desperate to get a pack of diapers because my three year old still isn’t potty trained!)  Let’s face it; families of four and over are like a walking circus and people are buying tickets and chomping on popcorn waiting to see what happens with you walking on that tight rope.

At the end of the day, one more child is more huffing, puffing, grasping for oxygen, dizziness, and my head literally swelling.  BUT . . . one more child is also more laughter, joy, stories, learning, growing, climbing, seeing, hoping, and clinging – to Jesus.  Oh how I do need to cling!  Maybe the harder the climb, the more dependent and thankful I become and the more I realize I need HIM to breath in me and through me. Jesus is my source of strength; He is the vine in which I abide.  Apart from Him, I can do nothing.  However, sometimes it takes desperate situations to compel us to cling to Him.  If having another child will cause me to cling more firmly to Him, then it is a beautiful thing.

Then there is the doubt-maybe there is not enough oxygen at the top of that mountain!! I am fearful I will run out of grace.  Does grace ever run dry?

Yes, it’s great to read about rescuing the orphans, but what about actually putting on my back pack, lacing up my shoes, and getting ready to work?  Now, that’s different.

Will we do hard things?  I can tell you one thing for sure. I am scared. This totally freaks me out.  I am a manipulator of life; I manipulate things to make them easy.  I sort of pick and choose things to allow into our life so that I can roll with the punches.  Yet while safety, comfort, and ease are commodities that I highly value; they are not values that you will find in the Scripture.

After all, God Himself did hard things.

In the person of Jesus Christ, He gave up the glories of heaven to come down and rescue orphans (us) out of our orphanage of sin.  The only reason I’m even able to think about adoption is because my Father in heaven first adopted me.

He chose to be with people who were not well put together, clean, and amazing.  The people that God chose to call His children were a complete mess, abused, needy, dependent, and in slavery to sin.

Adopting us was costly.  God gave up His one Son to gain many others.  I want to be like Him.

Pray for my family as we need the grace to do hard things. Join me over here at Twitter

Win A FREE Copy!!!! Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family

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Giving away 3 copies of Exploring Grace Together:  40 Devotionals for the Family by Jessica Thompson!!!!!!!!!!!

I am thrilled to have Jessica Thompson over here today at The MIss America Reject!!!  This lady is a champion for the gospel and I personally have gained from her authenticity as a mom and lover of Jesus.

How can you win a FREE copy?  All you have to do it….

1.)  Read and Share this post written by Jessica Thompson (love this lady!)

2.)  “like” The Miss America Reject page over here at Facebook and then “share” it with your friends

3.)  Comment on The Miss America Reject Facebook page and let me know you would like  one of the 3 copies

Winners will be selected at random and Crossway will be sending the copies out soon!  I cant wait to purchase a copy for gifts!!!!
One of my favorite things to do is to take a hike. Preferably up a very large mountain, where I get angry ¾ of the way up and refuse to talk to anybody that is with me because it is their fault that I am feeling like I am about to die. I hate the “almost there” part, it is the worst. But I love the top. I love standing looking down on our city and getting a new perspective. I know that might sound cheesy, but I am always surprised at how my eyes are opened at the top. I look down and see things that feel so big to me when I am next to them and now they seem miniscule. It feels like I can breathe differently, more freely. It may be because I am lightheaded and out of shape, but whatever.

For me, Revelation 5 is a view from the top. I read it the other day and had the same sort of lightheaded, teary-eyed feeling. I would love for you to go ahead and read the whole chapter when you get a quiet moment. It starts with an angel asking “who is worthy to open the scroll and break it’s seals?” Seemingly there was no one, all hope was lost. John begins to “weep loudly” because of the lack. And then there is a shocking turn in the story. One of the elders leans over to John and probably says with a slight smile, “Weep no more; behold.” And there He is. The One who is worthy. The One who has conquered. The Lion of the tribe of Judah. So John dries his eyes and looks and sees “a Lamb standing, as thought it had been slain.” Our crucified Redeemer, risen, triumphant. And the Lamb takes the scroll and His worthiness causes the elders to break out in worship.
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you have ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (vs. 9-10)
That worship from the elders was contagious. How can we hear that He was slain and by his blood we have been purchased to be a part of God’s kingdom and not have our hearts warm to His holiness? John looks around and sees the angels “numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands.” And they all can’t help but to join in too. The gospel that the elders were celebrating the “angels long to look into.”(I Peter 1:12) They celebrate Christ’s worthiness and proclaim;
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
And then the praise culminates with “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them saying;”
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
What a vista from these heights! This is festivity is what all of history is leading up to. My heart is overwhelmed at the thought of such a joyous party. To see our Rescuer, slain from the foundation of the world being worshipped and enjoyed and made much of by every thing… every single living thing.
My encouragement to you today is when you are in the midst of it, whatever it might be, motherhood, a go nowhere job, a broken down car, bills, serving your neighbors, a boss that doesn’t appreciate you, a spouse that is distant, children that are rebellious, whatever it is… remember that even though it feels very big, you aren’t at the top. There is a day coming when we will see our Savior and we will shout out his worthiness and rejoice with “joy unspeakable” forevermore.

CLICK HERE to purchase Exploring Grace Together

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Jessica Thompson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology. She co-authored Give Them Grace with her mother, Elyse Fitzpatrick. Her newest book, Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for Families, is due to come out in February of 2014. She holds to the truth that salvation is “naked confidence in the mercy of God.” She has been married for 18 years to her high school sweetheart. Together they have three kids ranging in age from 14-9.

Beyonce, The Grammys and When I Almost Kissed Another Man

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“You need to grow a pair!”
These are the words I yelled to my husband the night he told me I couldn’t kiss another man. Other profound statements that immediately followed were, “You are just insecure;” “you’re just not man enough.” Marital bliss was surely on the verge of destruction all because I wanted to kiss another man and my pastor-husband was not okay with it. Really?!? Are you kidding me? I am about to land the lead role of Maria in West Side Story and you are going to let your insecurities keep me from my dream! So what if I would have to have a pretend love scene with another man – it is acting. It’s called art. Plus, an opportunity like this does not come around every day.

My husband was jealous for me. He did not want to share me with anyone – even if it was just for entertainment. The thought of me pretending to love another man made him nauseous and angry. Mistakenly I accused him of being insecure when what was really happening was my husband was seeking to protect and cover me in his love. Like Boaz on the threshing floor with Ruth, he had placed his blanket over me and vowed to love and protect me, even if that was protecting me from myself.

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Drunk On Love

There is no doubt Beyoncé gave an intoxicating performance at the Grammys singing “Drunk On Love” with her husband Jay-Z. It would be more appropriate to title the song “Drunk On Beyoncé.” Leather. Wet hair. Bumping and Grinding. Racy. Sexual. Sultry. It was everything the producers could have hoped for and more –it was scandalous to say the least. They forgot to include chains and whips but these bondage devices were unnecessary because everyone’s eyes were chained to the pop star- like wax before an open flame.

Still, many of us saw Beyoncé’s performance and thought to ourselves, “Well, she must think she is something – sitting up on that chair like a goddess!” I get it! Most of us would not want to do a chair dance for the world to see, but so often we still have a desire for power. Lorde was right to sing that although most of us realize, “We will never be royals,” we still have a fantasy to rule. So we sit on top of our thrones and attempt to rule our own kingdoms. “This is my party; I can do what I want! I can marry whomever I want, touch whatever I want, eat what I want,” etc. Though outwardly we appear to be a dominatrix taking control of our lives, whipping everyone into shape, we end up paralyzed and tangled in our own chains of bondage. We become a slave to the “wave,” literally stuck out in an ocean of sin (on our little surf board) just waiting for the next big wave, only to be disappointed the fun did not last. Yet this so-called power is only an illusion.

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Shocked? No, I am not shocked by a pop star twerking half dressed on stage or grinding on a surf board. I was more shocked when 17 year old Lorde kept her clothes on during a performance!! Sad is the word I would use to describe how I felt after watching this married couple grab each other on stage. Don’t get me wrong; I am all about married couples enjoying sexual intimacy, and I am also all for women feeling good about themselves after having babies – but do we need the entire world to see?

It crossed my mind that somewhere in time the married couple had to have the following conversation: She said, “Honey, I think I am going to do a chair dance on stage for millions to watch.” He said, “Sounds GREAT!”

After watching Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “Drunk On Love” performance at the Grammys, I was reminded of how thankful I am that my husband 8 years ago took a stand to keep me for himself and didn’t share me with the world. My husband was jealous for me.

Jay-Z was ok with his wife spreading her legs for the entire world to see. Jay-Z apparently saw no problem with millions of men taking his wife to bed that night – a leather thong playing through the Rolodex of their minds.

Even Jamie Foxx admitted openly and casually to America the fact that he could not stop thinking about Beyoncé’s smoking hot performance. If a man walked up to my husband and said the same thing, I shiver at what would happen to that man.

Men – young and old – are being trained to exploit women.

Performances like what we see at the Grammys is a training-ground for young eyes. We are shocked and horrified that human sex trafficking is taking place in America (and rightfully so). But we should also be angered at artists who encourage men to view women simply as objects instead of individuals created in the image of God.

The culture is teaching my sons the following:

They need to be looking for the next exciting, sexy image. So they flip through the channels until they find a stimulating image – always flipping back and forth – never satisfied long enough.

Women are not to be respected. They are objects for a man’s viewing and using pleasure, and when you get bored, you simply move onto the next hot thing.

Women are for sex. Her face is replaced with genitals in a way that is depersonalizing. The pornography industry is the epitome such.

Our boys are learning it’s all about conquering women instead of treasuring one woman.

They are learning to be an abuser instead of a protector.

They are being taught that women want a guy who will come and get it.

Not only is the culture communicating something very harmful to our boys, but our girls are hearing mixed-messages that their entire self-worth is based upon how well they perform.

My little Ellie, for example, will be faced with the questions: Is she pretty and sexy enough to get a man’s attention? Can she entertain him? Can she keep his attention with her performance? Dress? Talk? Texting?

Where a man is looking for a vivid image, our daughters are learning they need to be that image (and that they need to be as skinny as the girl on the cover of the Victoria’s Secret magazine).

She is learning to be exploited, used, and rejected – over and over again. Is this what we want for our children? To be exploited?

Oh how we need a love that will not exploit, leave us, take advantage of us, and merely use us?
Yes, women need love from a Man, and that Man is Jesus.

Christ was exploited. He was punished for sins that He did not commit. His love is unfathomable. Jesus’ love is a love that longs to cover us. It is a love that does not ask us to do anything to merit its affections. We don’t have to perform. We don’t have to entertain. We don’t have to be the prettiest or the best. We’re accepted not because of how beautiful we are, but in spite of how spiritually ugly our sin can make us. Jesus’ love is a love that covers all of our ugly sin and clothes us in his righteousness.