I've written a bit about things people have said to us since we brought home our daughter from Ethiopia, but I haven't yet shared the best, most accurate comment.
It was from a lady I volunteered at church with a few years ago (before our adoption journey began), and in the years since I've just seen her in passing and we've exchanged pleasantries or I've inquired about her oldest child who was headed off to college. But, somehow she didn't know about our adoption plans. I ran into her a couple months after we brought our daughter home, she asked what we'd been up to and I mentioned that we'd been busy with our new little girl. I quickly realized she didn't even ever know that we were in the process of an adoption and gave her the summarized version of everything, complete with our two trips to Ethiopia.
She paused for half a beat, smiled and said thoughtfully, "Wow, that will change your life!"
Yes, yes it will! It has! So much!
And not just in a way of adding a child to our family or adopting or becoming a multi-racial family or traveling to a 3rd world country or hugging many, many orphans (way more than we could ever adopt) or sitting in a tiny mud hut with an HIV+ woman and her little daughter and praying for them.
But, all of it combined and then some I haven't even mentioned?
I really hadn't been able to put my finger on a good description, even in my own mind, for what has happened to us in the past couple of years, I certainly haven't felt like anyone else really understood, except other Ethiopia adoptive parents, maybe.
But, in a very succinct way, she nailed it.
Our world has been changed.
I know it is for the better.
But, change is hard.
And being changed, well, that's super hard.
Familiar things began to feel uncomfortable, foreign, sometimes even wrong, and we've found ourselves re-evaluating, debating just about everything.
Our family size, where we should live, how should we spend our money, what kind of house should we live in, what kind of cars should we drive, or maybe just sell the cars, donate the money to charity and ride bikes everywhere?, why do we have so much stuff cluttering our house and how do we get rid of it?, does the church we are members of still make sense for our family?, how do we want to raise our children?, what are our biggest priorities for their lives?, what is our parenting style? is it working? will it work for our adopted child as well? how do we blend two cultures, two races into one family?, is our neighborhood diverse enough?, are our local public schools diverse enough?, what exactly is diverse enough?, what kind of people should we be spending our time with? should we just move to Africa and become missionaries?
What does it look like to follow Jesus? Are we doing it? Really doing it?
I don't have all the answers. We've made changes, lots of changes, but still most days now I feel like I don't have any answers. But, really it's not my answers I want anyway. I guess I was just hoping for God to clearly spell out every detail for us, much in the same way He did when He called us to adopt (there were literally street signs, y'all).
But, one thing I'm seeing is that probably a key part of the process of following Jesus is in the asking of the questions. He wants us to ask, to seek Him, daily.
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23 (NIV)
"Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you." Matt 7:7 (NLT)
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Find more Thankful Thursday here.