I’m not sure if I’m the only one but as the end of the year approaches, I find myself reflecting on the year and all that it brought. This year, with the adoption and subsequent loss of our son, I have spent quite some time doing just that.
So many times in my life in the midst of difficult situations, I have looked up to the heavens with my little fists in the air and said “I didn’t sign up for this!” (As if God needed to be reminded that my plans were markedly different from the current reality).
I can remember reading the long list of diagnosis’ and feeling so insanely incapable and unprepared. As I boarded the plane with Elijah and thought about how bringing him home would impact our family, in my heart I laughed and thought about how little patience I had and how I would never have picked myself to be the Mom of a child with such severe special needs. I just don’t look like June Cleaver and I’m certainly no Mother Theresa but thank goodness God’s plans aren’t based on what we “think.” As I sat on that plane, I had several “I didn’t sign up for this” moments.
As we walked through Elijah’s time at home, the sleepless nights seemed to stretch on endlessly, it felt as though we met with 600 therapists in our home per week and the specialist appointments were scheduled, I threw my little fists up to heaven and yelled “this isn’t what I signed up for.”
And then the “this isn’t what I signed up fors” suddenly became “thank yous” as we settled into our own crazy little routine. But on the day I walked into my beloved Elijah’s room (with my baby girl in tow), as we sang his favorite wake up song, what we found was that he had met Jesus face to face sometime throughout the night, and as the pain overwhelmed me and I didn’t think I would survive the heartache that threatened to overtake me, I didn’t have the strength to throw my hands up to heaven but in my heart, through the agony I whispered yet again “I didn’t sign up for this.”
When we felt the sting of betrayal shortly after having buried our son, it hurt on a level I wasn’t prepared to have to deal with again. This time I felt as if I’d had enough and I wasn’t just a little bit sad.. I was furious! This time I angrily shook my fists up to heaven and shouted “I didn’t sign up for this!”
And then God reminded me of the love story He has been writing, not just for me, but for all of us.
You see, when Adam & Eve hid from God in the garden after having disobeyed him, He lovingly called out to them and His actions said “because I love you, I did sign up for this.”
When David allowed lust to lead him down a path of adultery and murder, he then had to turn his heart back to God. God lovingly responded with reconciliation because love is what God signed up for.
When the people went from cheering Jesus on to shouting that He be crucified, Jesus didn’t throw his hands up but responded by throwing them open and willingly laying down His life because that is what He signed up for.
You see, our natural response is to protect ourselves at all costs but God’s response is to prove His love for us at every turn, even when He knows He will be hurt in the process. Even when He had to sacrifice Jesus in order to reconcile us to Himself, He CHOSE the hard path because of love.
And so, as I walk through this life I am left with the realization that even if it isn’t what I signed up for, being able to walk the hard road of love (the action) is exactly what I signed up for in Jesus. It is the only road I want to walk because if it is good enough for Jesus, then how can I think I somehow “deserve” the easy road? No, I choose the redemptive, transformational road over the easy road that leaves me selfish and unchanged. I choose love.
And I am thankful that 2014 has been the year where I’ve seen Jesus sustain us as we have had the choice to choose love again and again.