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The Joy of a Messy Life

The Author with His Three Kids at Wildwood Park

Great post about the messy-ness of the Christian life from my friend Cindy King last week over at The King Zoo and Funny Farm. She was contemplating life as an adoptive mother (in addition to five biological children) in light of the call of Christ to live a life of sacrifice. Here is a recent example from her life:

Recently, in a conversation about our adoptions, someone said to me, “Well, I hope that works out for you.” It took me quite some time before I figured out why that statement bothered me so much but I’ve come to realize that it’s the approach to life, seen behind this statement, that troubles me. The person who said this is a Christian. Like many American Christians, we’ve come to appreciate our comfortable lives and don’t want sacrifice, complications, or “messy” situations to get in the way of that comfortableness. It’s that sense of entitlement that I’m always fighting against in my children. If we look at our families, for example, from an American standpoint, “easy” or comfortable is good, “messy” is bad. In this view, raising children, adopted or biological, can be deemed successful by how well it “works out” or looks to our human eyes.

However, from a Biblical standpoint, “I hope that works out for you,” should have a totally different result. Did it “work out” for Joseph in prison? Paul and Silas ended up there, too. How about the many martyrs through the years? Or the missionaries at the end of the spear in a remote jungle. Here on earth it looks as if things didn’t work out. From Heaven’s eyes? Perfect.

A friend recently asked me to schedule some time with her as she and her husband are getting closer and closer to their anticipated adoption. As I’ve contemplated what to share with her, I really think this is where I’m going to start. If God has truly called you to adopt (or pack up and move, or minister in Ecuador, or start a new non-profit, or . . . ), then the good news is that it WILL work out because we DO know the end of the story. Will it look the way you expect? Probably not. Messy in the meantime? Maybe. Filled with blessings and help from above? Absolutely. And in the end? A reward ready and waiting.

Might I need a few trips to the Funny Farm before it’s all over? Yeah. In fact, I was there today. But that’s okay.

As many of my reader know, my wife and I have adopted two children from the foster system in PA. We also have a biological daughter and another child on the way. When the baby arrives, our oldest will be 7, and our adopted kids will be 6 and 4. (If you want history on our adoption process, check out my previous posts by looking for the adoption category in the right hand margin of this page, or check here for my “Adoption!” post.) Here is my response in the comments section of her post:

Very well said, Cindy. This says so well some of the things we’ve processed along the way. It isn’t about our comfort or convenience. We’re doing this because we know it is what He wants, and we trust Him to handle the details and the results. It isn’t easy, but it is so much more amazing and fulfilling than the comfortable life of complacency.

Thanks, Cindy, for the reminder of how wonderful life can be, even though it gets messy. I wouldn’t give up the craziness that is our home for anything. I praise God that we have a church (McBIC) that encourages our view of life, and one where we can be surrounded by so many who share our passion for adoption and care for the least of these.

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