I'd rather be weird

RELATIONSHIPS | 5 mins

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“I mean, are you sure you’re ready for this? You’ve got more than enough going on already.”

The question—simple. His heart for our family—so wonderfully good. And the challenge for us—valid. I mean, we already have three kids three and under. We just finished a long and difficult foster care road with one child. And now here we are completing the process to officially open a crib in our home for another child.

Not a child born from my comfortable womb where he/she is prayed over, devoid of maternal stress, fed a healthy diet of kale smoothies and an adequate amount of protein. No, this is a child coming from tremendous loss and trauma into a family structure outside of God’s design. The spiritual, emotional, physical, and relational implications are tremendously intense.

“I mean, are you sure you’re ready for this? You’ve got more than enough going on already.”

The truthful answer is simple—no. Of course we’re not ready for this. Of course we’re scared. Yes, we know that what we’re saying “yes” to will put us beyond our capabilities in every way. In fact, this time around feels much different than the first “yes” we gave to foster care. This time around, I have young children with big questions. Instead of putting our hearts on the table, my husband and I are putting our entire family team’s hearts on the table. This time is much more vulnerable. This time requires more trust. We’re in a season where timing matters, and the journey of fostering can be very short or very long—all depending on circumstances and a system far outside of our control. This time around our lives are just simply busier. How will I fit in birth family visits, court hearings, even more frequent doctor’s visits, therapy appointments and all of the other time-consuming—and necessary—aspects of parenting a child who comes into your home out of trauma? This time around is less naive, full of scars, and with a clearer lens of the brokenness of our city.

And yet, it’s beautifully us. You see, we’ve wept over child separation at the border. We’ve celebrated breakthrough and have been brought to our knees over poverty and broken systems within our own city, feelings afresh after watching a local documentary. We’ve pumped up bike tires for neighborhood kids, cleaned up trash on our streets sidewalks, and prayed for our neighbors to know a love like we get to know. Our family team is part of the Church—an all-hands-on-deck team of people willing to risk it all in order to see redemption now while keeping hope in the perfect redemption that’s yet to come. We actually believe that our life on earth matters in a significant way, and we’re determined to bring beauty, hope, and healing even when it’s hard. And man, foster care is hard. The spiritual, emotional, physical, and relational implications of parenting a child from foster care or adoption are tremendously intense.

“I mean, are you sure you’re ready for this? You’ve got more than enough going on already.”

Man, his question is simple. But it couldn’t be more profound. In this moment I was reminded that following Jesus makes you weird. The closer we get to His plan for our lives, the weirder and weirder we feel, even to our closest friends and family. We are constantly fighting the desire to explain or defend our actions. We are constantly fighting comparison when we see others enjoy things we could only have if we spent our time and money in different ways. We are constantly fighting the allure of comfort—a more comfortable pace, a more comfortable financial cushion, a more comfortable neighborhood to call home. It’s not normal to have a transracial family or a college-age mentee living with you. It’s not normal to choose to live in a rough neighborhood of the city, or to say “yes” with your whole life for the sake of a child you didn’t birth (and then to repeat for a second time).

While the question got me thinking all over again about just how in the world my husband and I ended up here, it’s also reaffirmed for me that we are hearing God in our life. God calls his people to care for orphans. For our family that means making a crib in our house and space in our hearts for a literal orphan. If that means we’re weird, I’ll embrace it. I’ll embrace the struggles—internal and external. I’ll embrace the awkward stares and wild questions from people when we’re in public. When it comes down to it, I want to live an active faith and fight for redemption in others the way my redemption was fought for. I know we won’t look normal, but in the end, I’d rather be weird.

Written by Vicki Diller on Jul 17, 2018