Monday, March 18, 2013


From Beth Templeton:

Sometimes a mom just has to have a good complaining session, you know what I mean? Well, at least I know I do. It's never fruitful or helpful to let the session last too long, but sometimes I just have to "get it out." I remember driving my big extended 12 passenger van one day fully engaged in one of these "sessions." I was concerned about multiple issues with our children, all of which were either rooted in adoption issues or were exacerbated by them. At that point all seven of our children were living at home and in school, and I remember feeling simply overwhelmed by all the needs. So, I'm driving the van, painfully aware of all that was not right in our family, and completely unaware at the moment of all that was good! And that led me to thinking how I just wished I could just go away-- by myself! Anyone else "out there" know that feeling? 
The "I'm DONE!" feeling? 

The Lord's Response
I'm sharing this with you because I'll always remember that particular complaining session. I remember because of the Lord's response to me. How kind of Him to listen to my complaints that I had not even turned into prayers. He asked me one simple question. I find that He has a way of doing that-- of asking a question instead of giving an answer. And somehow the question, coming from Him, releases the freedom I so desire and so need to move forward. 
(You'd think an answer is what we need, but somehow the answer with all its multifaceted beauty is tucked into the folds of the question. I think God enjoys my process of discovery! Proverbs 25:2 says that "It is God's privilege to conceal things and the king's privilege to discover them.") 

So in the midst of my complaining He asked me this:
"What would you rather be doing?" 

As I am typing this I find my eyes stinging with tears once again at His kindness to me in that one question. For hidden within that simple question were great depths of His love, both for me and for my children. 

A Work of Powerful Love
Adoption is a beautiful thing. Not the kind of beauty that is soft and gentle, butterflies and bunnies. Its beauty is rugged and powerful and sometimes even frightening in it's scope. What a glorious thing to be a part of! What a privilege to co-labor with the God of the Universe as He pours out His love on these children. Indeed, what would I rather be doing?! To be an intimate player in a work of eternal significance is too lofty a thing. And yet, God has called me and many of you reading right now to partner with Him in the miraculous transformation of an orphan into a true son or daughter. That He would condescend to allow me to partner with Him, that He would call my name to join Him in His eternal purposes and will-- I am overwhelmed at such an invitation. 

A Work of Rebuilding and Restoring Love
Adoption is a beautiful thing. It is the work of rebuilding and raising up, of repair and restoration. It is the very work that Jesus gave His life to make available to us. Again, what else would I rather be doing? To have the awesome and deeply humbling opportunity to participate in putting an end to what are often generations of destructive living, resulting in great pain and disfunction, and to then be a part of the restoration work made available through God's love found in Jesus. For many of our children (certainly not all adopted and foster children fit in this description, but most it seems) there are generations of ancient ruins and age-old foundations that God wants to rebuild, and many whose inheritance apart from adoption is not one of wholeness and abundant life. How amazing is it that we can be a part of the giving and receiving of a new inheritance, of a complete legacy shift, so that future generations no longer inherit abandonment, rejection, survival and pain. To see our children embrace love and then have the freedom to give love, to see them learn to enjoy life and to make plans for their future with excited anticipation-- this is just incredible! Oh what a shift adoption is making in the trajectory of a generational line. Is this not amazing to be a part of?! It is the gospel at work and it is powerful and oh so good!!

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. (Isaiah 58:11-12)

A Work of Intense Love
Adoption is a beautiful thing. What other occupation would I prefer? Yes it is a work that is difficult and sometimes overwhelming. And I am thankful for the trend in the adoption community to share some of the harsher realities of adoption. Indeed, it is necessary that we not "sugar coat" the more intense nature of this beautiful occupation. But I also see that in the authentic sharing we can sometimes lose sight of what it is we are actually doing. 
Gotcha Day for the Templetons
For it is a beautiful thing to be a part of. And I don't mean just those amazing moments when you your child comes home for the first time and there is great celebration and joy, or when your child calls you mommy or daddy for the first time, or when she seeks you out for comfort rather than retreating into herself, or when he pats your cheek and tells you he loves you more than anyone in the world, or even when she thanks you for adopting her. I also mean those tough and sometime cutting moments when she says she wishes she never was adopted, or that you aren't his "real" mother, or when she goes into a violent rage causing the whole family to retreat from the pain of it all, or when he shuts you out, unable to accept your love. All of these scenarios are beautiful I believe. Beautiful because it is for these situations, both the 'good' and the 'bad' that God brought our children into our homes. 

Dear friends, if you are in a difficult season with your child think of this-- was it not for this very situation you are dealing with that God Himself brought your daughter or son into your family? Did He not look ahead into time when He saw the plight of your child and say to Himself, "where can I find a safe place for this precious child to live so that I can go about my work of restoration and rebuilding? It will be a costly work, and it will be years in the doing. Who can I trust with the messiness of such a work? Where is a safe place where I can pour out my healing love and where this sometimes trying work can be accomplished?" He looked to His people and saw you and me. He saw His servants who know how, when sun-scorched and weak, to enjoy the "spring that never fails."

A Work of Enduring Love
Adoption is a beautiful thing. For in it we participate in God's enduring love. The scriptures are full of this phrase, "His love endures forever." There is a story being told in the kingdom; it is the story of this enduring love. And you and I have been invited to enter in to the story. We have been given the shocking honor to participate in the kind of love that is solid, immovable and patient. Not our love-- for those adjectives don't describe the quality of my love! No, this is the story of God's love that I get to enjoy and share. 
To endure is to hold out against, to sustain with out yielding, to last, to bear with patience. It is lasting and it is permanent. What else would I rather being doing with my life than to join into the telling of this love story?! What price is too great for the opportunity day after day to participate and co-labor with enduring love?! 

So, when I get started in one of my complaining sessions it is best for me to step back and ask myself the question that sets me free from whatever disappointment and discouragement is in the now-- 
For indeed, What else would I rather be doing?

Oh Lord God, nothing else. Thank you for allowing me to walk alongside my child and to be a well-watered garden, a source of life. Teach me how to receive the sustenance You are for me when I feel sun-scorched and weary. What an honor it is, Father, to be allowed a role in this amazing story of restoration. And thank you that you are busy doing a work of enduring love in me as well. So, Father, I invite you to keep telling your story of enduring love in my home, in my life, in my family, in my heart. For it is true Lord, adoption is a beautiful thing.

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  1. You put to words what I find often in my heart...that adoption is indeed a restoration plan and we are privileged parents to participate in this amazing plan. I love how you talk about God searching for somewhere safe to place his child...that he picked our home humbles me. Oh Yes momma, on many days the road is long and hard and crazy...I've been stretched like sillyputty in so many directions that it can only be God who helps me bounce back. Love your heart. Thank you for sharing God's reality.

    1. Susan, I am not surprised to hear this resonated with you-- I think we are kindred spirits in the Spirit. I love your silly putty analogy-- exactly! Thank you for leaving a comment.

  2. Beth, Just wanted to let you know that Kelly forwarded your submission of this post on to me...very encouraging and full of truth. We'd love to encourage our readers with it! Thanks for your submission! We'll email you prior to it appearing on our site.
    co-administrator of WAGI
    P.S. I heard you at C4C in January and was soooo very encouraged by your talk. Balm to my soul. Thank you for your willingness to be used by God.

    1. That's wonderful Stephanie. Thanks so much! I am so thankful to the Lord that my talk was a balm-- that is what I wanted it to be. I know God was pouring out His love on us!

  3. A great question and reminder during this season in our lives. Thanks!

    1. I find it a good thing to bring to mind-- sometimes in the think middle of it all I forget what we are actually doing! Thanks for the comment Melissa.

  4. Oh Beth, goodness I love your heart! This post is beautiful. I love Isaiah 58. It came to life for me after we brought home our girl. Yes, adoption is beautiful. And redemptive. And sometimes redemption hurts. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    1. Thank you Amy. What a wonderfully encouraging comment. Isn't that Isaiah scripture amazing for us adoptive moms? When God called us to start Hope at Home we all were praying about what scripture would define us and give us vision, and that is the one God gave us. Blessings on you!

  5. Love this question--particularly because I seriously needed to ask myself this today...and I did. I was feeling defeated by these 4 little people who were seemingly making it their mission to make my day hard. I thought, "I could get SO much more accomplished if they weren't here right now!" And, then I thought, "But, then what would I be doing? I'd be longing for them." Sigh. It's a challenging season as a mom. Thanks for the reminder that He's in it.

    1. Kelly, sounds like you had quite the day! Some days it really is hard to see the proverbial forest because of all those trees, I know. Thanks so much for the comment, friend!