a word from my neighbor...

my neighbor in heaven is going to be c.s. lewis. i have worked this all out with the eternal neighborhood planning committee. personally i can't wait to see what kind of "welcome to the 'hood" party he is going to throw for me... i think aslan will show up and really get the party started...

i love that i am always rediscovering things that "jack" wrote that are fresh to me every time. i especially love the way he writes about friendship.

this is most likely how he is going to think about me his new neighbor and eternal BFF...

"In Friendship…we think we have chosen our peer. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting—any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances.
A secret Master of Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,’ can truly say to every group of Christian friends ‘You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.’

The Friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of others."

{C.S. Lewis}


this cute couple with an even cuter baby is one of those friendships that God put together (i guess they are ALL those friendships, but this one really fits that bill.) dan and olivia were plopped down into my life by God and there is really no reason that i should know them except He wanted us to know each other. God reveals much beauty and love to me through knowing these two. and now i get to know TWO more members of their family...

they asked me a few months ago to share with them my adoption story as they were at the very beginning of their own adoption story. maybe they wanted it as encouragement or maybe as a warning... their story has had a couple of introductory chapters. and now they are holding half of a brand new chapter. the other half was still in NICU on this day. but he is home now. they have a beautiful story to tell and to retell and to keep telling. i can't wait to watch this story unfold. it is going to be amazing. like all of God's stories... full of character development, plot twists, and grace. goo gobs of grace filling all the empty spaces.

i love to tell the story of unseen things above. of Jesus and His Glory. or Jesus and His love. 

adoption is the story of Jesus and His love for us. i love how clearly dan and olivia see that. and you can read dan and olivia's unfolding story on their blog, the art of joy...

they are going to tell a beautiful story straight from God's heart into this weary world. and i am so grateful that God is going to let me watch this story. and hold some cute babies along the way... He is a gracious Master of Ceremonies indeed...

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;

It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems

Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.

I love to tell the story, it did so much for me;

And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee.

I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat

What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.

I love to tell the story, for some have never heard

The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best

Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.

And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,

’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.

I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,

To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

#1 let's start at the very beginning...

a very good place to start. even if you aren’t a singing nun/governess like maria in sound of music.

so in my SEPTEMBER TO REMEMBER (read the last three words in a big booming voice with an optional echo behind them, please) i will write about 40 women who have impacted my life in some sort of time line order. i may mess up chronologically because i don’t really have a list of these 40 women on paper. i have about 20 of them in mind now and will come up with the others as we go along (which is good news for some of you, if you aren’t on the list now, you could do something in the next 40 days to secure your place in my memory and thus make the top 40).

so we would have to start with....

i know you all think it will be my mother.

well, you would all be wrong...

you would really have to start with my birth mother, suzanne.

see, some of you didn’t even know i was adopted. see how surprising this month will be? wait until i reveal that i am not really even a woman. just kidding. but i bet you won’t miss a day now will you?

ok, back to my birth. suzanne graduated from high school in 1967 and i bet she was happy to wear that unformfitting robe because she was about 5 months pregnant at that time. only no one knew it (well, she knew it). she then went off for the summer and in early fall had a baby girl. that adorable baby was me.

her plan was to do what she knew would be in the best interest of the child: adoption into a loving family. in a time when children given up for adoption were usually whisked away immediately after birth and kept away from the birthmother who was still in the hospital for a few days (it seemed kinder for baby and mother to not bond as all), suzanne MADE the nurses give me to her so she could hold me in the hospital because she had read that it was important to hold newborns. see, i come from a lineage of people who read to learn things. i also come from a lineage of women demanding things their own way... 

that whole idea of doing what was hard and best seems to fit right along with suzanne’s choice to give me a chance for a wonderful life with two parents instead of a teenage mother. i cannot even describe my gratitude to her.

i have met her and she is almost as delightful as me. hee hee (she reads this blog occasionally, so that was especially meant for her). she is artsy (go figure), funny (again, no surprise there as i think myself HILARIOUS), and genuine. 

i met her when millie was only a year old. there is something about having a baby that makes you a bit more curious about your own birth. when i contacted the agency that handled my adoption, they told me that there were letters in my file from my birth mother. she had been sending cards and change of addresses for my file. 

of course, i wrote her a long letter about my life and my faith in a God who was BIG enough to put children with parents in many different ways and my gratitude for her sensing a BIGGER plan and making the hard choices to do what was best for me. it is so difficult to go against our emotions and what we feel and do what is the best choice in the long run, i cannot imagine a young suzanne, not even out of her teens, in a hospital holding a baby (and i am sure an EXTREMELY cute baby) in her arms and making that difficult choice. but she did. and other girls make that same choice today and i have so many friends whose lives began in the same way OR friends who became parents through adoption and every story is an amazing testimony to the grace of God and His sovereignty.

and i think the biggest thing i can say about being adopted is that it makes me view the world in a certain way... i am sure in the same way that being a woman colors my worldview, being an american, being white, being incredibly beautiful and talented etc... and all those myriad of other things that i had no control over, no choice about, and yet, these things are crucial to how i see the world...

and how does being adopted make me view the world? what is the legacy of suzanne’s choices and my parents’ choice to follow God’s prompting to add to their family through adoption? read on (or take a potty break at this point and come back to it, this is a LONG blog entry)... 

(if you click on any of the BLUE text in this blog entry, you can see various Scriptures that are the Truth about all this rambling writing stuff that i do that isn’t nearly as life changing as every Word in the Bible)

first, i have a concept of a HUGE God that works in ways beyond ours and has plans far beyond our meager ones. i believe  that from the beginning of time He knew my name and knew where i would live and grow up and who i would become and adoption was in His plan and His Hands from the beginning of the world. i am sure my parent’s vision for their first daughter was one that looked and acted a bit more like them, but that wasn’t God’s plan and if you asked my mom and dad if God’s plan was better than theirs... i know they would say “YES”

it makes me think more about grace and God, about fate and family, about plans and purposes (and about my need to always alliterate and list things in groups of threes). i know something in my heart that some people have trouble grasping with their minds. i know that God has plans and that He works ALL things to His glory. i don't know how He does that, but i know that He did it for my life from a time long before i was even born. i know that families are made through choosing to love NOT having to love someone. i know that God is bigger than any circumstances and that He knew me before i was born and created me with talents and genes and put me in the place He needs me to be with the people that He uniquely created to be my family. he knows that my parents needed a child with the soul of a poet and a strange fascination with broadway musicals. i know that i am in the right place at the right time with the right family. 

i look at my brothers and my sister and know that they are my brothers and sister even though we are not genetically related. and i will show you some FLESH AND BLOOD if you try to say that we are not “really related”. just try it and see. i see my kids with their kids and they are cousins in the truest sense of the word, the sense that we are a family put together by God, the Author and Perfecter of the whole family concept.

i know what it is like to be adopted and grafted into a family. i understand it to my core. i understand it on a physical level for it is my life, and a spiritual level, for it too is my life. i have been adopted twice, once by my family and again by a Heavenly Father.

suzanne made me who i am by the choices she made for my good. and those choices were made because a long time before there was even a suzanne, there was Someone else who made difficult choices that were for my good. do i understand the whole free to make choices and sovereignty of God thing? nope, never will. but it intersected in a way that tangibly created the life i lead today. and it still makes me stand in awe of a God who does understand it and in fact created it. and i know one day i will stand in His presence and i will understand it.

i sense a purpose for my life. to use the talents given to me by a philosophical and artsy set of birth parents to the glory of the God that was the faithful foundational of my family (isn’t alliteration awesome and amazing?). it made me a lot more conscious of my unique genetic predispositions when i learned about my birth family because i could see the seeds of those genetic traits that came from them and then were nurtured so well by my family (who let me do all kind of drama and artsy things in my formative years because they saw my love for those activities, my dad still cannot understand my love of shakespeare, but he spent a LOT of money letting me live in england and study the bard for a semester. thanks dad and as shakespeaere wrote, “it is a wise father that knows his own child” ). 

i understand God a tiny bit more because i was adopted, because i was chosen, because i was loved by two different kinds of mothers, one who gave me life... and the other who helped me live it (and that mother will be the focus of tomorrow’s blog entry, in case you thought she would be left out).

i have parents and i have birth parents and i love them all in different ways for i needed them all to be who i am today. i love my mom and dad in the way a child should love her parents and honor them for all the ways they have blessed my life. and i care for my birthparents because they too are a part of my life. much smaller than my parents’ role, but still an important part.

i have always loved this verse in proverbs because it spoke to me of the different relationships in my life... i have a mother and father AND i have a she who gave birth to me. and i pray that that all rejoice over that work of the Lord in my life...

 proverbs 23: 25 May your father and mother be glad;
       may she who gave you birth rejoice!

and here is a lovely wordle about this whole blog entry... because i am adopted AND addicted (i think i can blame that addiction on suzanne, can’t i?)