Adopted at Birth

We quasi-adopted a young man years ago. It’s complicated. He isn’t really ours, but I do love him as a son. He never lived full time with us.  Though that wasn’t because we didn’t want him under our roof. That was always my desire. However, it wasn’t possible to break what family ties he did have; and wouldn’t have been right to do that either. Instead, he traveled with us and ate a lot of meals with us and worked with us and spent a lot of time with us, including some sleepovers.

But he isn’t truly ours. And now that he is an adult, this becomes evident on days like Mother’s Day when he calls on the same day as the birth children phone me (or are visiting face to face with me).

My sons and I have our own language. We also have zero subterfuge and can quickly get right to the heart matters. The good stuff. The things I like to talk about and hear about.

Bonus son still hesitates to go there. My birth sons were this same way as teenagers. I spent a lot of time being present and available and talking about small matters until they were ready to open up and share something deeper or more meaningful. But after their rebellion phase passed, they did enter adulthood much more willing to have the kind of relationship I always longed to have with them.

It struck me that this is how we are with Jesus. When we are adopted into the family of God it is important to live there, eat meals there, to be born again and start our formative years over at God’s table, as a fully adopted birth child who doesn’t want to return back to the home in which he was formerly raised.

Only then can we grow up to know the same language He speaks. And get right to the heart of the matter without any subterfuge. This is His desire. To know us as if we were birth children from the start. To repair the rift after our years of rebellion have passed.

I want to encourage anyone reading this to go ahead and cut the ties with your family of origin, or with your old former life of sin, and move in with Father God as a fully adopted infant about to grow to maturity– live full time in His house; learn His language and the way He speaks, and let Him see to your development in every way.

If you look around and see brothers and sisters in that same house–you are truly blessed. But don’t let them distract you from getting to know the Father as fully as He desires we know Him.

Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

 

 

 

Battle Interference

Last week I had the thought that showing up is 9/10 of the battle (courage is not the absence of fear, courage is acting in spite of fear) and the other 1/10 of the battle is sticking it out to the end (perseverance).

This week I had the thought: you can’t fight another person’s battles. Doing so would defeat the entire point. As a Christian, I believe all those holes we get from a battle are spots where the light of Christ can shine through us uninhibited by our self. By nature of that process — one simply cannot fight in the place of another who would benefit from engagement in a battle (humbled, wizened, strengthened, etc.)

I’ve caught myself fighting another person’s battle for them, in the past. In my family of origin, triangulation and emotional incest were common occurrences. I found myself ‘handling’ ‘managing’ and ‘parenting’ my parent’s and other family member’s dilemmas as if they were my own. I am a fighter at heart. Engaging in battles came/comes naturally.

Particularly with my children’s battles. I was easily engaged in those to a harmful point; still can be.

But I am starting to see that this is not only hard on me; it could be crippling to others as well.

Again, I am a fighter at heart and can often sniff out a battle brewing. It is hard to sit on my hands when something is off and I know it; even when I know it would be harmful to engage myself in it. What bothers me most is when someone doesn’t even realize they are IN a battle. It’s clear to onlookers that there is real trouble, say, in someone’s marriage, or workplace, or family dynamic. But the person who is meant to be in the middle of the storm with a sword in hand — drank a cocktail of delusion mixed with denial and went to sleep instead.

In those cases, not engaging means keeping my mouth shut; until the sleeper awakes. And if he or she doesn’t ever awake; again — it’s not my battle to fight.*

*Note to self.

Have you ever entangled yourself in another person’s battle? How did it turn out?

The Germans Have a Word for Everything

Schadenfreude: pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.

My son asked me if I had ever heard of Schadenfreude. I said I was sure I’d heard it before but I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant. He laughed and said, ‘Oh, you know how the Germans like to come up with a word for everything…”

Indeed. I looked it up online and read it aloud while we chatted on the phone.

I admitted that I have felt schadenfreude. And I love finding a word that describes so accurately something I have felt myself. That recognition moment is the ultimate ‘lightbulb’ going off, combined with a wordie girl finding a new word — it was a blissful moment.

Typically, after feeling schadenfreude, I then regretted feeling it because it seems so very unChristian and I have tried very hard my whole life to look like a good Christian; inside and out. So then I overcompensated for feeling glad about another’s demise by rushing in to help the very person that I was at first secretly glad to see suffering and then later felt bad about feeling good about and eventually that cycled off and I found that I genuinely drummed up some real empathy and love. Time and again, though, — that whole process ended up disastrously.

Being human is messy.

Seeing people reap what they sow is rewarding; sometimes. Other times it calls for keeping a wide path; while the inevitable destruction happens. And with those I truly do love, the family which God let me choose for myself –I find that schadenfreude rarely occurs. When they are in pain; I am in pain.

And so naming things has value. Recognizing your feelings is sometimes all we need to do. We don’t have to act on everything*. (*Note to self).