in the BIGGER picture

Life, huh?  Full of so many twists and turns, ups and downs. I feel like the last six months of my life have been a crazy rollercoaster ride.

And somewhere along the journey, I feel like I lost my way a little.  I have needed a season of being unplugged—away from all social media and blogging.
My family has needed me to be fully present. 
And sometimes the weight of the world is heavier than it should be.  Sometimes I forget that His shoulders are broad enough to carry every burden on my heart.
I have wondered too many times to count recently, “What in the world are we, your people, doing, Lord?”
The internet has been amazing in so many ways.  It has made the world a smaller place and has allowed us to connect in a much easier way.
But sadly, with all the positives that this World Wide Web brings, it has also given many an opportunity to sit behind a computer and have their not-so-very-nice say (without even giving a thought to how much their words hurt!).
And 100% of the time it’s from people who don’t even know the blogger or person on Facebook in real life.  They take the maybe 2% of my life that I share here and all of a sudden they KNOW me—they have divine insight into my life and WHO I am and that, of course, gives them every right to share their opinions.
After many years of this, I know this one thing with all my heart.
A blogger can never win.
If I say it’s black, they say it’s white.  If I share a few posts about Hasya, I love her so much more than Kael. If I tell you that my family eats mainly vegetarian food, I’m robbing my kids of a well-balanced diet.  If I share pictures of my little ones, it’s very obvious that I’m crazy about my adopted kids, while my biological children are deprived of my affection (biological children who are now teenagers and whose opinions I ask for before I share their lives here).  If I share pictures of my colorful home—whoa…who in the world taught me how to decorate?!  And if I share a very innocent video of a Daddy loving his precious, previously touch-deprived daughter—yikes, is that even appropriate?  And Lord forbid I ever use this space to share my love for a product and earn some money too.  That would give me a one-way ticket to the status of “opportunist.”
Yup, it’s no win.
Sadly, we’ve become a people who judge so very harshly and have forgotten to extend the same grace we have so freely been given.
We’ve become a people who focus on things that have absolutely no eternal value—they’re just another reason to cause division in this community that is called a “body”—a thing that is meant to work together for the good of one another.
I ache at the things I see people pouring their time and attention into.  I shake my head at the comments I see on Facebook walls and the arguments people get into.
We live in a First World society where our main problems revolve around whether “Down syndrome” comes before or after the word “daughter.”  We spend so much time writing blog posts about the things that people can and absolutely cannot say to our adopted children.
And all we’re really doing is ensuring that the line that divides our “special needs” families from the “typical” families becomes a huge gaping hole.  All we’re doing is making absolutely sure that people feel totally awkward around our families because they are so freaking afraid they’ll say the wrong darn thing.

We’re not that family! Our main mission in life is not to correct every single person who simply doesn’t know that the terminology is different now to what it was even ten years ago.  Sorry, but it’s one of those things that just doesn’t matter to us.  My children have far greater obstacles and issues to deal with in their lives.

Whatever happened to amazing grace?

We have forgotten to extend much grace (and “educate” those who may not know the latest PC terminology very gently, in much love…or maybe {gulp}…perhaps even just let it go). 
“Your children are so precious,” the stranger shyly told me as she observed our family in the store. “I never quite know what to say to children like yours ever since the day that someone reprimanded me for saying something that was apparently not very politically correct these days. I just never knew.”
I felt like weeping! 
The greatest gift anyone can ever give my family is to treat my children just as they would any other child!  Treat my family the same.  We’re really no different.  Special-needs adoption (or is it the “adoption of special-needs children”? Who knows anymore?) has taught us how to extend infinite, massively abounding GRACE. Whether they’re our children who have Down syndrome or our Down syndrome children…who the heck cares?!  It changes NOTHING!  These blessings know that they are loved, treasured, and totally adored by our crazy, ridiculous love.

It’s true.  Actions very often do speak louder than words.

I cannot teach the whole world what is PC this month (and I really couldn’t be bothered to keep up with it all anyway), nor can I teach them that sometimes the things they say to my children are, perhaps, not the best things to say.  BUT.  I absolutely can teach my children that we live in a world where not everyone is going to know and understand special needs, or even adoption for that matter (because we were once there too!). 
I can and will teach my own children that sometimes we all say the darndest things—things that come out all wrong and we instantly wish we could take them back.
I will continue to teach my children that just as our own words are sometimes not the perfect choice, people make mistakes too…
…and there is so, so much grace in all these things.
And let GRACE begin with us.
Before any word is spoken, I pray that my children will first and foremost know who they are in Christ…loved, treasured, the apple of His eye, fearfully and wonderfully made.
And while we dedicate our time and attention to petty First World problems…
Thirty-three Christians in North Korea will lose their lives very soon (if not already) by execution because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
Thirty-three families will have to pick up the pieces of their lives and move forward…trusting and believing that their God is a good and merciful Father in heaven.

Today nearly 30,000 people died of extreme poverty…

…and we thought it was more important to leave ten comments on ten different blogs or Facebook pages “bringing correction.”

Today more than 163,000,000 orphans live in appalling, filthy conditions and will go to bed hungry [again]…

…and we poured our time and attention into hyper-analyzing a blog post written by someone whose heart was in the right place.

Today another precious teenager who has begged and pleaded for a family will “age out” of the adoption system in his or her country…

…and they will be left feeling rejected, abandoned, unloved…


Can you even imagine how much those who profess with their lips that through Jesus Christ we can do ALL THINGS could change the world if we poured our time, our attention, and our passions into things that truly matter in this life?  

What if we got on our knees to pray more instead of quarreling over petty things?

Can you imagine how sweet it would be if every comment we left on a social media page was edifying and positive?  

What if we built one another up instead of tore one another down with our words behind screens?  

What if we took the word “offense” right out of our vocabulary and replaced it with GRACE?

What if we got back to the days when we spent more quality time with our loved ones than we did with our computers and fancy phones?

Goodness, and what a difference we could make if we simply learned once again what it truly means to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Just imagine.

My life may feel a little shaky right now and my heart torn in many directions, but of this I am sure…


He needs His people to bless, extend grace where grace is so desperately needed, focus on the things that matter and make a difference wherever we can, encourage and build one another up, go where He sends us, do the things He calls us to do…

…and live a life that brings Him glory on the earth.

May every word, every thought, every action, every deed, and everything that we stand for be pleasing in His sight.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” ~~2 Corinthians 10:4-5
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.  ~~ Psalm 19:14