For 2017, our family’s word was “surrender.”
For so long, we’d been living a life that was all about us.
Our vision of what family and future should look like.
Our time, energy and finances were mostly used to fulfill our own desires, and although we gave some time and some money and some thoughts to the needs of others (mostly people we knew and loved), most of our most precious investments were inward.
And then God asked us to surrender it all.
And in 2017, He turned our worlds upside down.
He started with a host child in the summer of 2016 who opened our eyes to orphan care and renewed our then back-burner passion to be a voice for the fatherless. And He ramped it up the day he brought that girl with the sparkly extra chromosome into our home.
After one month with Joy, who taught us the MEANING of true joy, our priorities and lives were never really the same. And we knew after experiencing the gaping hole Joy left in our hearts that we didn’t really want them to be.
Not when there were 600,000 special superheroes just like Joy sitting in orphanages in China just waiting for someone to surrender their plans for their life to a God who had a better one.
And so we surrendered our dreams for 2017.
We surrendered the schedule.
We surrendered the minivan we’d been saving for for years.
We surrendered the blog.
And we placed them at the feet of Jesus … who, in return, gave us a treasure far greater than we could have ever imagined.
One of the four greatest gifts of our life.
With the most bubbly and vivacious and hilarious little show stopper in our home, “surrender” didn’t even feel like a sacrifice. It felt like a JOY! It felt like a PRIVILEGE! It felt like we had somehow cheated. Wasn’t our sacrifice supposed to be costly? Challenging? Maybe even painful?
Not when the most motivated and brave little warrior with the superpower of cerebral palsy — a boy who was told he may never walk — took his first steps at the age of 3 — stood on his own and held his weight for the very first time and looked at us with sparkling eyes filled with pride as he cried, “Mama, looky!” and fell laughing hysterically to the ground.
Not when, at our umpteenth Urgent Care visit for the fourth superhero in a month, our littlest man smiled and, through the sandpaper rash that completely covered his face, snuggled in to my chest and said, “Love you, Mama,” as he sucked his two little fingers and gripped my hand tightly with the other hand.
Not when, after a virus that caused Superhero 4 a febrile seizure, one Emergency Room visit, two Urgent Care visits and breathing treatments every four hours for two weeks in December, we spent Christmas night washing six loads of vomit-soaked laundry … and still thought to ourselves after watching a little boy who didn’t even know about Jesus one year ago, “Best Christmas ever.”
Yes, surrender has cost us sleep. It’s sometimes cost us sanity. And it’s clearly cost me my once color-coded, five-months-in-advance planned-out calendar. (There’s a reason you didn’t get a blog post on January 1. It’s because we were driving coughing children on breathing treatments home from Ohio at 5 a.m. after being woken by a hotel fire alarm the night of our niece’s New Year’s Eve wedding. Read all about that debacle and new fun stories every Friday on the Facebook page HERE. And after a month of medical crises followed by four snow days for Superheroes 1 through 3, blogging was something I surrendered. For my superheroes. And for my personal sanity. Happy New Year’s! We’re pretending January 10 is the new New Year’s Day. 2018 may be filled with many more delayed "New Year's Day" posts to come. Because this calendar this year, it's God's.)
But this year, we’ve learned that surrender isn’t actually a loss. It’s a GAIN. We don’t even think about those things we “gave up” when we turned them over to God in 2017. Because they are RUBBISH compared to the amazing gift of this new perspective, this new passion and this new superhero now sitting in our home.
Now, one year later, we laugh at how tightly we tried to cling to our plans, when God was waiting all along to exchange them for something SO MUCH BETTER.
What about you?
It’s a new year. A new season. A new start.
Maybe you have big plans for 2018.
We do, too.
Want to live a real adventure this year?
Put those plans, pocketbook and perspective at the feet of Jesus and ask Him to exchange YOUR great ideas for HIS instead.
We dare you.
It will be the most wild and wonderful ride of your entire life.