The other day, my friends' 3 year old son came into my office and when he saw a pile of change sitting on my desk, he joyfully scooped it up and went to show his mom his find. His mom asked him where he got the money. Without skipping a beat he pointed my way. What was so awesome for me was that he knew without a shred of doubt that he could take it. He knew that was part of our relationship....when he comes to my office, I always give him any change I have lying around. He has learned that the spare change is his. You see, more than a year ago, this little guy didn't own a single thing. He lived in an orphanage. And now, he is surrounded by a loving family and many loving friends. And he is so confident that he is loved, that he totally inhabits this new world that God has placed him in. It is that confidence in our love...in my love...that led him to take hold of this "stuff" in front of him without doubting, without having to question.
I watch him and his younger sister (also adopted) with wonder and awe. They totally believe they are loved and belong. They have been teaching me, over the past year, how to be adopted myself. You see, I know that I have been adopted by God. I know He loves me and I know He has my heart and I have His. And, I find it easy to adopt other people. My friends laugh when they see me "doing it again", meeting someone or seeing someone and deciding that I want to adopt them. I frequently meet someone that I think I need to mother or have as a new friend. The funniest thing that ever happened was with Charles. He was a very old and very bent over slight of man that I had been watching come to church week after week. He inspired me because this frail little man just engaged in worshiping his Lord at every service, even though it looked like a gentle breeze could knock him right over. So, I made it known to my friends that I wanted to adopt him. My respect and care for this semi-stranger just seemed to grow and grow until I could stand it no longer. So one Sunday, I approached him in the vestibule and very enthusiastically pronounced, "I just love you Charles!" He looked up at me with his bent little frame and emphatically replied, "I'm too old for you!" "Charles," I said. "I don't want to marry you, I just want to adopt you!" Poor Charles...I didn't mean to scare him like that!
My trouble is belonging to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Now, this is very strange to admit since I am surrounded by so many loving friends. Friends in Christ who I say have become my family. Friends who have proven themselves to be dependable and reliable, trustworthy and true. It totally doesn't make sense...and sense is what I have been trying to make of this. But the truth is, I have been holding back parts of me. One reason is this huge independence thing I have going on which can be based in pride, and which I have lovingly been confronted about. I can do for you, but I am very uncomfortable when you do for me. And part is a trust issue, also which I have been confronted about. (Inside joke...'You don't get it do you?') I don't believe you when you say we are family or that you can sustain our relationship. And then there is fear. I guess I fear that this family in Christ is not true, but an illusion, just smoke and mirrors that will one day just disappear. If I give myself fully, what happens if you leave or we get separated?
But when I watch this wonderful little guy and his sweet little sister, they just accept that what they see, what they hear, and what they feel is the truth. They have accepted each person God has placed in their lives and have responded in kind, returning love for love. I cherish the look on their faces when Daddy and Mommy, Grandpa and Grandma, Uncles and Aunts walk into the room. I love it that when I visit their playroom at work, one grabs my hand and pulls me down to sit on my lap so I can read her a book, and the other says, "Kaki, are you staying? Take off your shoes!" That is why I cherish that small, seemingly insignificant moment when a little boy came into my office and took a pile of change off my desk because he could. That moment is frozen in time for me. His comfort in his action communicated to me that he trusted me, believed in my love, and knew my love was real.
I love you my little friends. I am so grateful that you belong in my family. I am grateful that you are both teaching me to belong to a family as well.
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.--I Peter 1:22