For seven years I have driven a 15-passenger van. Recently, I was asked by the kind sheriff officer who pulled me over, “what do you use this vehicle for?” I responded as I generally do when we get questions like, Are you a team? Are you a camp? Are you a church youth group? “We are just a family and this is our car.”
Eight years ago we began a journey that many would consider unwise. Financially, it didn’t make sense. At all. According to the American dream, we were headed in the wrong direction. Some worried, I’m sure, that we would never be able to “provide” for all of these kids.
You see, we had four children, and had decided our quiver was full. “Four, no more” was our little saying. Even then, when I was out with all four, I was frequently asked, “are all of these your children?” or “are any of them twins?”
Yet, we said “yes” to two more children. Now our little saying is, “eight is enough.” We adopted two amazing kids from Ethiopia. We didn’t meet them first, or go pick them out. We knew very little about them except that they needed a family.
We knew that freaked out some of our friends and family, but they never expressed their concerns to us. Concerns about what kind of issues these children would bring into our family. Some worried for our the four children we already had. They thought of the impact of sharing their parents and little bedrooms with two more children who we knew nothing about. Perhaps we were not being wise.
I’m sure there were many skeptics. Doubters. Those who questioned the wisdom of just paying for the adoptions. After all, we had a fairly small home, pre-pre-owned cars, and already had our hands full. What about braces? College? Cars? Weddings? How in the world?
We wrestled with all of those questions, fears, worries, and doubts ourselves at some point along the way. We were not “cut out for adoption”. We just had to come to a place of abandoning the world’s wisdom that had become part of our thinking and reasoning. We knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God had whispered this crazy plan into our spirits and asked us to trust him.
God’s wisdom doesn’t line up with the American way most times. His way is not about comfort and ease. Not even really about the pursuit of happiness. If you say yes to the thing he has for you, your life may look different and some may not approve. Your family might worry, and your friends may even walk away.
But oh the joy! I’ll take the peace of walking with God on outrageous journeys over the easy button any day!
I watched my adopted daughter, whose story would leave you in a sobbing heap on the floor, receive a plaque for earning all A’s on every report card for three years of middle school. Honors classes. Ninth grade classes in 8th grade. She has spoken English for only six years. She is often described as “lighting up a room with her smile.”
My son, towering over his classmates in 5th grade, has become their gentle giant, loved by all. He has beautiful handwriting, reads book after book, and might be a force to be reckoned with on the middle school football team.
Our children do not all have cell phones, and do not get to participate in every activity they request. Funds and time are limited, but love is not. They share rooms, but they have survived. Will they help pay for college? Probably. I do not think that we have changed the trajectory of their lives in any way. All six are pursuing activities they love and have tons of friends.
If anything, our children understand what it means to sacrifice some part of your life, to give someone else at a chance at theirs.
I can honestly say that as hard as it has been at times, God has always, always provided for our needs. And then some. We have no regrets when it comes to our decision. Not one.
This week we are downsizing. We will say good-bye to Sweetpea, our beloved passenger van. I will not miss driving her. It has been my normal for almost eight years, but I’m not gonna lie. I am pumped about going back to a minivan. My husband said I should write a post about Sweetpea. So there ya go, Babe.
Saying yes to God’s journey may seem weird to our culture at times, whether it’s deciding to live in a smaller home, or driving used cars, starting a non-profit, giving money to the church instead of going in debt, or saying yes to fostering or adoption. It may seem like the unwise thing to do, but saying “yes” to God’s plan is always better than any American dream and higher than any ladder to success.
If you ask us, we believe we chose wisely. Driving a passenger van may have made me seem “weird”, but to us it was one way we made room in our life for more of what God wanted, and less of our own dreams. It was hard to park, but there was always room for friends. Gas guzzler? Absolutely! Embarrassment to our teenagers? Yep! Do we have seven years of amazing memories created in that van? Yes.
Is God asking you to do something unwise? What’s stopping you?
For you girls doing the foolish stuff, don’t give up. Don’t worry about what the world says, and don’t think for a minute that you are missing out on anything that could compare to the eternal, yet crazy thing you’re doing now.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. 1 Corinthians 3:19
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
By the way, after driving the most recognizable van in town, I’m not telling you what kind of minivan we are buying. I might just enjoy blending in for a while. LOL