Three Things the Book of Hebrews Teaches Me About Adoption/Foster Care

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Some families have amazing adoption stories filled with sweet memories of children running into their arms at the first meeting and photos filled with smiles. Others could fill pages with words of struggle, fear, and lots of tears.

I would say our story has been a whole lot of the latter, with some of the first thrown in.

I’ll confess that I’ve had my share of crying out to God asking him why. Why us? We heard his voice, we obeyed, and then our world exploded.

I know lots of families with much easier stories.

Did we only imagine hearing God’s voice? Maybe he wasn’t pleased with us. Or maybe he just didn’t love us as much as he loved my friends.

The book of Hebrews teaches me three key things about Adoption.

    1. We may suffer, we may not – and God is pleased with us for simply being faithful

      When the author writes about the great heroes of faith, he (or quite possibly she) says that some of them were rewarded for their faith. They “shut the mouth of lions,” and ” escaped the edge of the sword.” Without a pause, the author goes on to describe others who were stoned, sawn in two, and “killed by the sword.”

      Some of them escaped the sword and others were killed by the sword. Then the author goes on to tell us that “all were commended for their faith.”

    2. When we do suffer, Jesus is with us and we need not be ashamed.

      I love Hebrews 12:2, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame….” Jesus died a shameful, criminal’s death, but he refused to take on the shame – he scorned it. Some translations say he “despised”  or “disregarded” it.

      I have struggled with shame over our struggles – if I were a better mother, if I had made different decisions, chosen this treatment instead of that, on and on. But when we look closely at the book of Hebrews, we see that we are in good company with those who suffered for the sake of Christ.

    3. We must run our race to win.

      In the first century, festivals and games were held as religious events and the race was part of those games. The way you ran your race told the world about the god you served.

      The arena was filled with people cheering for the runners as they strained forward. Likewise, the author of Hebrews reminds us that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, those who have gone before us in the faith – the great heroes whose names we know, and those only known by our families.

      They are cheering us on as we run our race – as we show the world who our God is. We must run to win, knowing we’ll have nothing left when we cross the finish line.

      I can see Kalkidan, on her feet cheering, urging us on.  I see Russ’ father running coming down out of the stands to run alongside Russ, like a friend encouraging an athlete along the course of a marathon.


      As my pastor said last Sunday:

      Run, don’t walk.

      Don’t quit.

      Endure hardship.
      You may be bent over grabbing your side and gasping for breath, don’t despair – endure.

We must keep our eyes on the finish line. This is not heaven, friends, we’re not there yet. This world is hard and broken, but it’s okay because we’re still in the race.

When we cross the finish line, we will experience joy that is beyond what we can even imagine. Keep running, friends.

long-jump

In hope and gratitude,

Lisa

Signature L and Eby[Special thanks to the pastors of my church who taught a series on the book of Hebrews that kept me thinking and digging into the word for several weeks. It was just what I needed.]

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

14 Comments

  1. Mary (Owlhaven)
    April 18, 2016

    Hebrews 11 is one of my very favorite chapters in the Bible….

    Love you!

    Mary

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 18, 2016

      Mine too, Mary! It gives me so much hope. So good to hear from you, friend! I think of you often.

      Reply
  2. Joy Headrick
    April 18, 2016

    So good. I think this applies to everyone, but I see adoption as being very difficult with some sweetness thrown in; like too much sweet is not good for you, but just enough keeps you coming back for more! 🙂 Admire all who take on the adoption challenge!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 18, 2016

      Thank you, Joy. I admire everyone who adopts/fosters too!

      Reply
  3. Abbey
    April 18, 2016

    Also reminds me of the John Piper sermon we have both listened to so many times. I will never forget hearing it for that first time at CAFO.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 18, 2016

      I cried all the way through that sermon when John Piper preached it. I’ve never forgotten it and the sermon series my pastors did made it even more meaningful and rich to me. Wow, that was so many years ago now, Abbey!

      Reply
  4. Teresa Flick
    April 18, 2016

    Thanks so much for this post. What a great reminder to finish the race well, and that God is with us even amidst trial and the many obstacles that make it difficult. Our adoption story is full of many twists and turns that we never ever expected, but we have hope, because the Lord our God is sovereign in it all. I appreciate so much your ability to express yourself in words, your experience that often expresses experiences similar to others and that we can relate to. It helps just knowing that we are not alone in the challenges many of us face in having entered the world of adoption.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 18, 2016

      Teresa, thank you for commenting. There is so much value and comfort in knowing that we are not alone.

      Reply
  5. fairygodmother
    April 18, 2016

    Oh… I just absolutely love this. This is such a YOU post. 🙂
    And I super love the pic of Annarose at the end!

    Miss you guys!!
    Em

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 19, 2016

      I love that pic too – it’s a long jump, not a finish line, but it embodies the spirit of my thoughts. I really hold on to Hebrews 11.

      Reply
  6. Lisa
    April 19, 2016

    I completely relate to this post. When our daughter came home our world imploded. I have asked God “why us” over and over. The only thing that has kept us going is knowing without a doubt that God has called us to adoption. And like Jesus we continue for the joy set before us.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 19, 2016

      I’m glad you found a “me too” in this post. Hold on, friend.

      Reply
  7. Jennie
    April 20, 2016

    Do you happen to remember the name of the John Piper talk or know where I could listen? Thank you…

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 20, 2016

      Hi Jennie, here is a link to the post I wrote about it. You will love it – and it will probably make you cry. http://thankfulmoms.com/john-piper-on-adoption-and-service-to-the-fatherless/

      Reply

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