As Butterbean and Buddy watched the movie Annie today, I heard Miss Hannigan mutter, “Why any kid would want to be an orphan is beyond me.”
I was privileged to be adopted at five weeks old. My days as an orphan were short. But I feel I can safely say on behalf of other orphans that no one starts out life aiming to be one.
Much of my testimony and understanding of my relationship with God has come from my adoption journey. I have wonderful, amazing, loving adoptive parents whom I've never viewed as anything but just plain parents - the same as any other kid. I’ve reveled in the treasure of being called an heir – chosen and adopted. But in the last few weeks I’ve realized that some of my understanding of God has been tainted by the ways of the world.
You see, even though I gloried in being chosen by both an earthly father and a heavenly Father, I still saw myself as a last resort. I saw myself not as first choice kind of chosen, but a plan B type of chosen.
Because that’s what the world says, right? I mean, we’re lucky to be adopted at all. We’re just cookie-peddlers avoiding the box of shame while we hope a reformed villain will be won by our endearing personalities and give us a forever home, right? We’re the little girl chosen to help you with your campaign to improve your public image. (Thanks, Hollywood, for being the barometer of truth regarding our real opinions of adoption.) We’re last resorts who are just thankful that you’d give us a second glance.
And much to my dismay I’ve both fallen victim to the lie and perpetuated the lie. During my four-year journey of pregnancy loss, adoption was the cure at the bottom of my list. Buried under the medications, procedures, and quick-fix possibilities, adoption was the cork at the bottom of my barrel.
So what has this done to my spiritual life? Destroyed it. And left me a middle-aged adult slack-jawed and stunned.
For thirty-something years my theology was wrapped up in me being this total piece of unwanted human matter, a last resort for a King who needed someone, anyone, to fill shoes of service. I was so lucky that somehow I was in Miss Hannigan’s office when He came by. Chosen by blind luck because of His pity. And once I got to a place where I could be near Him I knew I had to charm Him with my personality, talent, skills, and efforts so maybe I could spend just a few more days in His mansion. I was His last resort, and boy, I better take advantage of whatever bones He throws me. I could get edged out at any moment, so I learned to bow my head as the indebted nobody.
This humble, grateful, groveling attitude for my salvation once seemed beautiful during testimony time. But the truth is that the gratitude is wrapped in the deception of worthlessness and shame, two things that reveal that I don’t know much about salvation at all.
And then someone read Ephesians 1. I don’t know how many times I’ve read that chapter before, but somehow my heart was wounded enough that the words penetrated the shell that had once been unholy armor.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. (Ephesians 1:3-8, NASB)
So many times I’ve heard of God’s Kingdom as the Upside-Down Kingdom. You know, the last shall be first and such. Never in my life had I seen His upside-down approach to adoption. No last resort here. First choices before the world existed. Adopted kids are first? Really?
I’m still trying to grasp it. And I’m still trying to understand how the church can so poorly be modeling God’s Kingdom on earth. For the first time in my life I am discerning that the world has taught me more about myself than I ever imagined. And that education is in direct opposition to Scripture. Only one can be true. Pray for my unbelief.
“You would unscale my blind eyes, and I stood battered, but more wise, fighting to accelerate, shaking free from crippling weight. With resilience unsurpassed, I clawed my way to You at last. And on my knees, I wept at Your feet, I finally believed, that You still loved me.” -FIF