“[God] gave us six kids, not so we could raise them.
[He gave us six kids] so they would help finish the process of God raising us.”
– Dennis Rainey
At the beginning of this month, my husband and I had the immense privilege of attending a conference for Christians involved in adoption, foster care, and/or orphan care. Representatives from across the country and the world were present, exchanging information, giving testimonies, and praising a God who redeems. At the end of each day, Calvin and I were utterly spent with the overwhelming amount of information we had processed. At the same time, we were renewed with excitement and energy for this oh-so-important cause of Christ.
One session we enjoyed together was one taught by Dennis Rainey, the president of FamilyLife. He spoke about building and maintaining strength as an adoptive family in particular. However, the wise principles he taught were ones that could be applied to any Christian home. My rough outline does not do justice to the depth of his Biblical counsel, but we’re all moms here. You only have a couple minutes, anyway, before someone will be tugging on your shirt or screaming for your attention.
1. Proactively protect and invest heavily in your marriage.
The time to prepare for a storm is not when the storm hits. The wise man’s story in Matthew 7:24 instructs us to prepare, build, and strengthen our home long before the storm rages. We must lay a firm foundation, strengthen our perimeters, and watch diligently for any cracks or flaws in need of repair. Here are a few practical ways to do this:
- Pray together every day as a couple.
“When two people bend their wills, God can show up.”
- Plan a date night.
- Agree on your core values as you raise your children.
“Oneness is imperative. You and your spouse must have a game plan for each child. Love reality. Deal with it. Do not sweep it under the rug.” At http://www.familylife.com/yourcorevalues you will find an excellent resource to use as you and your husband discuss these important topics.
2. Anticipate trials, challenges, and storms. They will come.
- A crisis demands a shift in focus.
“Turn to God together. Do not turn away from one another.”
- Do not stay centered around the crisis.
- Surround yourself with wise, godly friends.
3. Protect your family by creating positive family memories.
Be intentional about this. Make your home one full of laughter and positive interaction.
4. Remember that it is all about redemption.
In the midst of the chaos, no matter what happens to your family and marriage, it is a picture of God’s redemption.
- Know the truth about God and life.
“The most important thing about you is what you think about God.” – A.W. Tozer
- Know the boundaries of love.
You cannot be the rescuer or the enabler in your family (e.g., with a wayward child). Love sometimes allows pain.
- Courage is doing your duty in the face of fear.
- Continue to love in the face of rejection.
- Know the brokenness of man.
The final conclusion given by Rainey was this: “Adoption is a high, holy privilege. It brings us close to the heart of God.”
This is so very true, but it would be just as true to replace the word adoption with the words marriage or motherhood. We are instruments of God, with the purpose of bringing glory to Him through our imperfect families. Though the storms rage, and at times, the heavy winds seem endless, we are not to focus on the sin or the storm.
May we daily see our role of wife and mother as a God-given privilege. And may we continue to embrace the heart of God, keeping our eyes upon His coming redemption.