Unconditional

10:20 AMHeather

I have a problem that was brought to light this summer.  And God apparently cares too much about me to let it go.  Because I have a real problem understanding and embracing the truth of His love for me.  I don't get how unconditional and extravagant His love is.  I shrink it.  I box it in within the confines of how others have or do love me.  And I haven't a clue about the depth and width and breadth of His love.  Yes.  Even a girl who grew up in Sunday School and GA's and Sunday night and Wednesday night church services can miss the mark.  In fact, I think I am not the only one.  I think, truth be told, that many, many of us simply don't get it.  The Bible tells us that we require the power of the Holy Spirit to really grasp His love--because it's so incomprehensible to our finite minds.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19

So, I'm still trying to figure this all out.  How to wrap my brain around it.  I'm asking for that power to grasp it.  I'm asking for eyes to see His love notes throughout my day--all those God winks I can tend to overlook.  I want to know it.  I want to be filled to the measure.

But, I'm not there yet.  Yet, I feel the fog lifting.  I am beginning to see the beams of light breaking through--just enough to know that I have much to learn about how God loves me.  And, as I continue these lessons, I feel sure I will be changed.  I know--and pray--that I might never be the same.  That I might rest secure as never before.  That it would spill over to how I live every day.  

As I ponder this in my mind, God brought me back to something I've done for 19 years as an adoption social worker.  A task of the job that I've done hundreds of times.  I've always worked on the adoptive parent side.  It's a long and arduous journey for families who long for a child.  Either through domestic adoption or international adoption.  One particular aspect of this journey seems to trip up nearly every family.

The checklist.  

Ah, the dreaded checklist.  This is the form that has been revised and discussed and revisted again innumerable times in my career with various agencies.  There is no way to do it perfectly, but the agency has to know what type of medical, psychological, social and emotional backgrounds a family feels comfortable adopting as their child.  I've heard too many times to count that families hate it because it makes them feel they are ungrateful and restrictive in the type of child they seek to make their own.  But, the truth of it is--within adoption, the family is making conscious decisions.  And the agency has a responsibility to ensure that every single child is being raised within a family who is well equipped for this very intentional process of adopting.

The other side of the coin of this checklist comes when there is a specific referral of a child for the family to consider.  In domestic adoption, that meant reading the family the very, very extensive background of the birth family.  The files can be long, particularly within a foster-to-adopt adoption where the child has been removed from a biological family.  Social backgrounds of birth families.  Drug and alcohol histories.  Psychological and medical backgrounds.  Sometimes, the good thing is that the history is known.  But the bad thing is that the history is known. Let's face it--we are all messed up broken people.  How we look on paper never tells the real story.  

And for families adopting internationally, these histories are usually full of blanks and unknowns.  Which can be equally disconcerting as knowing all the details.  So, when a family receives a referral of a child internationally, they are advised to have a doctor or specialist review the information with them to help them make informed decisions so that they are prepared for their future.

It's a tough process.  

It's intentional.  It's checking your gut and testing yourself and surrendering to a point of full acceptance.  As you make that child your very own.

God whispered to me just a few weeks ago that He has completed this process for me.  He knows the full background history.  He knows the good, the bad, and the ugly.  The track record is no secret.  Because He is not bound by time, not only is he well aware of my past, but He knows my future.  He knows the messes that I try to sweep under the rug.  He knows my every fault and struggle better than I know myself.

He's read the file.  

He needed no expert to help him decipher it.  He is the expert.

And He accepted the referral.  Without hesitation.  Without stopping for one second of wondering.  He saw me, all of me, and before the question was even finished, He says, "YES!  I want her to be my child!"  He paid whatever it cost, did whatever it took, to make every single one of us His very own--members of His household.  His inheritance.  He sent His only Son.

Which was His resounding, emphatic YES to the referral of every one of us as His people, as His children.  An echo that repeats through history, for every single one of us.  Because He is not willing that any should perish.

He is whispering to my soul, over and over.  "Heather, I read the file.  I know the history.  I even know the future.  And, I've stamped my approval in big huge RED letters that you are mine.  And I am yours."

Oh, that my limited, finite brain can grasp this.  That I could learn this lesson of resting in His unconditional, unlimited, lavish love.  That I could really truly understand how wide, how deep, how long, how high is the love of My Father for me--his adopted child.  


How can my life look different?  How can I live with abandon and assurance and acceptance and a sense of belonging if I could just really see His love for what it is?  A love like no other.  What would that look like for me?  How could that erase the dark places of insecurity and struggles?

What will this look like?  Because it is becoming my heartbeat, my prayer, my mantra.  Lord, help me to grasp it!  Help me see the depths and heights of your love like never before.  Help me live like I'm loved.  Help me to be so filled by my place in Your Arms that it overflows into my every day?  

Unconditional.  Without condition.  Without question.  May we all bask in the warmth of it.  May we all understand it as never before.  And be changed for the good by it like we can't imagine. Unconditional, bloggy friends.  That is the truth of how we are loved by the God of the Universe.  It's mind blowing, isn't it?

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