A while ago, I had made an offhand comment about eventually wanting to have some guest posts on our blog. I have seen it done on other blogs I follow, but I didn't exactly know how to go about it or who might even be interested in writing something for this little ole blog. But God heard this small dream, and during a particularly rough week, He prompted a friend to email me this "guest post." My prayer is that you will read this and think of a way you can impact someone else's life...in the way these friends have impacted ours'.
A Call to Arms
Life is difficult sometimes, full of obstacles getting in our way, keeping us from our goals, and making everything harder than it needs to be. In the face of all this discouragement, sometimes we just need someone to step up and be an advocate for us. To advocate on our behalf. To be our fan and cheer us on. We need people who see our needs, our obstacles, our discouragements, and then do something about them.
James 2 says, "Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, 'Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well'—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?" Exactly. What good does it do? We all have friends going through something difficult. Instead of just feeling empathy for the person, we need to do something about it. Maybe they need encouragement in the form of a card or email, or maybe they need you to help solve the problem. Sometimes our friends need our involvement more than our well-wishes.
In the era of Facebook and social media, people throw around the word "friend" a lot. It is easy to simply call someone a friend. It is far better to invest yourself in the lives of the people you love, and they will know you are their friend. Nothing beats the feeling of knowing that someone cares about you, someone wants the best for you, and someone is in your corner cheering you on. Nothing feels better than having a fan, an advocate, a friend.
Galatians 6:2 tells us, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." That's our job as Christians, and that's our privilege as friends. We have the ability to lighten the load for our friends. We have the ability to brighten someone's day with laughter. We have the ability to encourage with a kind word. We have the ability to serve others when they could use a hand. We have the incredible ability to change the lives of the people around us. Everyday we have the choice to either make someone's day a little better, or do nothing.
So what does all this have to do with the Murrays and adoption? Well, I've noted with bewilderment that the adoption process is seemingly designed to be as difficult, discouraging, and expensive as possible. As we heard about the paperwork, the cost, the home study, the character references, the psych evaluations, and all of the other hoops that have to be jumped through, frankly, we were discouraged and it wasn't even us adopting. Adoption on top of life's usual pressures can be very daunting.
My wife and I are big Murray fans, so we wanted to be friends to Eric and Lindsay not only in name, but in tangible ways that let them know we love them and support them. Feeling affection for someone is fine, but at some point you need to act on that affection for it to mean anything. Maybe we haven't done enough, and maybe we selfishly get distracted with our own lives too often, but we have been trying to put our love into action. It has been so fulfilling these last six months watching God work as Eric and Lindsay move through the adoption process. It has been awesome to be excited with them as they check items off their list, to be happy for them when things are going well, and to share the disappointment when they aren't. To actually care about their lives, that's what being a friend is all about. Being invested.
Adoption is a chance for all of us to rally around our friends. I don't think that Eric and Lindsay's situation is unique. Everyone has seasons of stress in life, but I'm guessing that anyone going through adoption can probably use an extra dose of support and encouragement from friends. We can help make a tedious, discouraging process into a wonderful story of God's provision, hope, and friendship that will someday be a part of a child's story.
There's a ton of stories to be told, and we all have the opportunity to at least be a footnote in one of them. So go be a friend to someone. I was going to say "go be a friend to someone who needs it", but who doesn't need it?