BFJN has a GREAT line up of guest bloggers in 2011. We’re excited about sharing with you stories of Christ’s love to a broken world through broken and humble people willing to be used by His hands. We’ll be focusing on stories that are both “global” and “local” exploring how global issues impact our communities in powerful ways. Our first guest post comes from Jenny Stevens. After she and her husband, Aaron, decided to adopt, God stepped in unexpectedly connecting them to global events in a unique way.
My husband and I just celebrated the one year anniversary of the day we met our sons. They were 5 months old, and we were in Ethiopia. I’m sure you are starting to think, “Why did they adopt?”, “How did they get twins?”, “Why Ethiopia?” And for answers to those questions… you’ll have to visit our story on ourblog. For now, I’m going to tell you how we had set out to save them, and instead…they have saved us.
Our adoption story started out with a dream. We wanted to be a part of something good… something redemptive… something we felt that God was in to. So… we set out to take a little orphan under our roof and under our love. And it was a labor of love. Sure, there were no actual physical labor pains… but it was laborious. Time, work, and money… lots of money… that we didn’t have. And, if you read throughour storythenyou’ll see that there were tears and heartaches. Yet, through the process I was very proud of what we were doing. I think a proper amount of pride is a good thing. I felt “alive”… taking part in something beyond myself. And then in some ways, I think I was a little “puffed up”. You know… it feels really good being introduced as “ those awesome people who are adopting the orphans from Ethiopia.” We were like “church heroes”. I know… how vain!
And then we landed in Ethiopia. And I felt a lot less than the “church hero” I thought I was. Instead, I felt dirty. Here’s what I wrote about that time:
“I felt shallow and as far-removed from reality and struggle as a person who lived all day dancing with unicorns, eating lollipops and chasing rainbows. I thought about how I had lived days and days of my life thinking about such trivial things… like what my legs looked like in certain jeans, how good I performed on the soccer field, how mad I was when people didn’t treat me right, how lame I felt with a college education and working at Starbucks. A young Ethiopian boy came up to our van with half of his face rotting off, with his hand stretched out for food or money or anything, and with a smile on his face. Here I was, thinking that I was somebody, and I just met someone who had “nothing”… and yet it was like watching the most noble character in an epic story. And I was the imbecile… imping my way around life with all my wants and dreams and hopes. I saw a man walking on his elbows and his knees, with no hands and no feet, using rocks as coasters… and he still had hope enough to breath.”
You see, these people not only had hope enough to breath… but they had hope enough to laugh, and sing and LOVE. I mean… they REALLY loved each other. When I had witnessed the love of these people, I was more than “humbled”. It was like getting kicked in the stomach. They possessed something that I did not have. And it was more beautiful than anything I had seen. But what was it?
I think maybe I am JUST beginning to catch a glimpse of what it is. And it has only been through the experience of being able to love our baby boys. Once we had let their little lives into our hearts… all that came with them entered in also: Poverty. HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, sickness, death, abandonment, thirst, hunger, and pain.
Before them, I don’t think we let the hunger or pain or poverty of the world really change us. We were moved by it… saddened by it, but we hadn’t entered into it. And I think that is what I saw in those beautiful Ethiopian people. They live as interconnected and interdependent beings. When one aches, they all ache. When one suffers, they all suffer. They live loving with this crazy strong love because they enter into the pain of others. They let it wash over them and pull them down into the treacherous river of life. And then I think that when the pain and ache is almost too much to bear, they grab a hold of something that won’t let them go. And it’s stronger than the strongest current. They hold on to Love’s True Reality… And the hope of This Love keeps them hanging on to what is unseen. And the hope of This Love gives them wings. Oh do I ever want that.
I think that we received a gift. It was the gift of being broken hearted. We had simply opened up our hearts. And once we had opened up… Love came rushing in. But it hurts. And it’s a risk. Because you don’t know just where it will take you. But I know this… although I have just begun to open my heart… I feel more alive than ever before.
For Jenny and her family’s complete story be sure to visit to theirblog. Perhaps you have a story to tell is both global and local? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about our guest bloggercriteria!