23
Jun

Followed by My 2 Cents

I decided to post Stephen’s post from No Greater Joy Dad right here, along with a response I made to someone who questioned how I have responded to Stephen’s “Reluctant Husband” status.

I will follow his post with my comments in purple and then finish off with more from Stephen in response to my words.

Just a little bit of what has gone on behind the scenes in the growing of our family.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m a recovering, yet stubborn reluctant husband and father. I’ve told my wife that we have had enough kids from before we even had kids to today – five kids later. Two bio and 3 Chinese adoptions later, I’m still a reluctant father! For all those men out there that don’t think they can do it, I’m a great example of getting it done, and still maintaining my fantastic reluctant husband status.

 

Adopting three “special needs” kids in 3.5 years is not what everyone should do, but it HAS changed my life, my heart, and my perspective about God’s provision and strength in significant and fundamental ways.

I used to be the busy-at-church husband: doing, doing, doing until everyone thought I was a super-Christian with a few vices! Little did I know that playing the part of a christian man, and living the part (REALLY living the part) of a Christian Man look very different. If men had feelings, the two roles would have FELT different too!

These days, I don’t sit on the deck dreaming of what I’ll do with my life, my pastor doesn’t see much of me, I’m not on this board, or that committee. In fact, I’m extremely surprised if I arrive to church before the greeters have left to enjoy the service! My “Christian walk” is more of a hunched over waddle with a few dives to the ground for cover and a split-second recharge on bended knee before the next event.

But I’ll tell you what… I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t change the fact that I’m in another country to receive medical treatment for newest Child 5 and that he walked upright for the first time today! I wouldn’t change the fact that Child 2 told me this afternoon, that seeing people without all their bits was uncomfortable until Child 5 came along without his legs and now she thinks / feels that this is normal! They both get it: just do what you can with what God gave you and move on – no stigma, no regrets, just a life worth living… an adventure worth enjoying!

If I had to change anything at all, it would be that I didn’t enjoy more of the drama along the way. I’d change my attitude about trying to do everything perfectly, instead of appropriately for each of my kids. I’d change how clean the car was for the first 10 years of parenting. I’d change the look I give my wife every time she mentions another child. I’d change the power that fear has in my life and how I still allow myself to be a slave to it called on to act dangerously

– to make messes and take chances!

Yet, I’m still a reluctant husband! I still hold on to my fear (terror really) of being a poor father, or failing to provide for my family, or failing to be there emotionally or physically when child 1 through 5 may need me. I still worry and worry some more about some things in my life that I can’t change and should give over to God.

I still argue with my wife about Child 6 through ???? whenever it’s brought up. I still worry about being the best parent / husband in the world, and know that I can’t be because of all the mistakes I’ve made along the way…

…Then I have a moment where someone asks for my testimony and I think – what is REALLY going on in my life? I take a moment to pause the game of life and realize that I’ve never been more challenged, yet rewarded. I’ve never been so busy, yet effective. I’ve never had so many hugs when I return from a business trip, or just doing errands in town.

I am beginning to realize that life is not about being the best father in the world, it’s about shutting up and doing what God asks of you and knowing that He made you to be enough to fulfill his plans for your life. I’m not perfect,but I’m not MEANT to be, or even created to be. I’m the person God needed; to Do what God needed; When God needed; and How God needed. I am the best father I can be; and I’m the best father for each of my kids (1 through ???) and husband to my wife (just 1).

I hope that I’ve made at least one man out there 2 cents richer for their trouble. Enjoy the adventure!

 

I’m glad you asked for my input!

We have been very much of like mind in most major areas of our life (not to say  that we don’t disagree sometimes) and so when we found that we didn’t agree at all about whether or not we should add a child (by birth or adoption), I really was quite dumbfounded! I remember thinking that it couldn’t possibly be real! Perhaps he was making a bad joke? Seriously. I was that shocked.

Really I hadn’t come to the conclusion to adopt (or add our 2nd bio child) on my own. It felt like a strong push from the Holy Spirit to get moving. When Stephen let me know that he would not even consider my request, I prayed. And I tried to be quiet about it. If there was an opportunity to bring up the new family member I took it, but I tried hard not to rub it in or act “holier than thou” either. Really tough when on the other hand God seemed to be increasing my desire, not decreasing it!

Finally in each case, there was a moment or a day when I knew without a doubt that I needed to lay it down before Stephen and tell him that it truly was something of God and that I needed Him to treat it as such. I needed Stephen to go before God on His own and ask God what he thought. I let him know that I would wait to hear from him and that I wouldn’t say anything else about it.

I hope that helps to clarify it a bit.

 

I agree with what she has said and agree that in 99% of our marriage we have agreed on the bigger picture for our family. Sure, we disagree on which way to put the toilet paper up in the bathroom and other equally serious issues, but the size of our family was a big issue that took a long time to resolve (for each kid!). It finally came down to her letting me know that she respected me as her spouse and would provide me with the freedom to decide on my own without interference or “nagging.” I am very good at resisting nagging, but when my best friend, life partner, and the person I love more than anything on this earth gives me the freedom to love her in my own way, when I’m ready – I know it is serious and I need to pay attention.

In this environment, I didn’t have to ignore her voice, I only had my own conscience and my sensitivity to God’s calling to listen to. These are voices that I keep hearing when I’m at work, commuting, sleeping, or trying to relax with the kids. It is this voice that I can’t ignore when I’ve worked through all the excuses and make the “fatal mistake” ;o) of actually listening to God. Then the questions really come on strong – no longer am I asking WHY?, I start to ask WHY NOT?. When I ask WHY NOT? The answers appear pathetic and weak. The truth of the situation becomes more clear, and I can’t ignore that I have a decision to make. A decision that every man has to make at some point… Do I want to be perfect at doing very little, or am I ready to take on more and allow God to show me what is good enough – what perfection in His eye really looks like.

I don’t believe that adopting children into their home is the right decision for every family, but I do believe that God wants the first and best of our fruits, our gifts. He doesn’t want the left overs. This manifests itself in tithing on the gross income we bring in, not what’s left over. This means that worshiping Him comes before the football game, the camping trip, the parties in Vegas, etc. (Fill in your private time passions here…) It means that the 10 scrapbooks we did for our first child turns into a digital picture frame on the kitchen counter of all our kids and our adventures.

As a man, I would be challenged most from my wife if she left it in my hands after asking two key questions:

1. WHY NOT Adoption?

2. If not Adoption, how are we going to practically express our Faith in this world? (Missions, food for homeless, support of people adopting, etc)

I wish you all the best in your adventure and would love to hear how it turns out in the years to come.

 

 

Comments

  1. Forwarding this great discussion on to my dear friends….thnks Shelley! (And Stephen!)

  2. kim denis says:

    Love it! I forwarded Stephen’s post to Drew…and guess what…a ladybug landed on his hand the next day….has to be sign don’t you think?

  3. It’s great to see others go through very similar thoughts and emotions as David and I have, thanks for putting it into words!

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