Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jesus and the stranger at the library

Today the kids and I were checking out books from the library (after digging our van out from under large amounts of snow and ice). As we turned to leave, a woman behind us also checking out books literally scoffed at me and said, "Boy you've got your hands full." Now I've heard this (millions of times) before, but the scoff and hostility were new. I think the unspoken words were, "How could you be such an idiot--you're really in for it."

So I just kept walking, pasted a smile on my face and called over my shoulder, "Actually, they're blessings and a lot of fun." Really, what do you say? I wanted to ask her why it mattered and why she was so worked up about it, but of course I didn't. (I bought the paint, people. This is who I am.)

Apart from the invasion of privacy/distaste for strangers scoffing at me, I think what really bothers me about this is the fact that my little boys had no family to take care of them...no home...no real future. It's sad but true. If all of us adoptive parents had said, you know what, our lives will be too

busy
chaotic
impoverished
different

so let's NOT adopt, my goodness, where would these children be?! Where would we be? Who would be caring for the orphans? Most adoptive parents are not independently wealthy or otherwise childless. Most are busy, many have larger-than-average families, many (if not most) are single-income households. They're just regular people who love children and on some level care about "the least of these" that Jesus talks about.

And so when someone is visibly upset by me having my hands full, I want to sit them down...tell them about Ethiopia...what I saw...what my sons lost...why I and so many others don't count the cost that way. I want to say that Yosef and Biniam are worth it. You might not know it, but God knows it. And I know it, because I'm their mom. I wonder if the woman today knows that she is of inestimable value to Jesus.

Maybe, maybe someday I'll actually have the guts to initiate a conversation about Jesus' plan for my life, and His love for the world, right on the spot with a stranger. But for now, I say a few words and thank the Lord that by His grace I am living a life more exciting/challenging/fulfilling than I could ever have imagined. And I thank Him that He has given me four precious children to love. A huge responsibility, yes. But it is extraordinary. And I want people to know.

17 comments:

Eddie said...

Amen Sister!

Amber said...

I know you will have the guts someday to speak your mind and put those people in their place. What is even worse is that we are in the season of giving! Maybe she is infertile. Why else would she be mad?

shell said...

Oh how I SO SO SO wish we lived near each other so we could walk around with our 9 kids under 6. Then what would that woman have said!?!??!? SPEAK YOUR MIND-SPEAK TRUTH! people need to hear it!

Penny Malley said...

Brianna, you are a walking testimony of God's love- just the fact that you didn't haul off and slap that woman is proof. I've gotten scoffed at for having four kids, and in the past I've actually kind of gone along with it. "Huh, yeah, want one?", etc. But we are incredibly blessed with these children (and they're blessed to have us, too, even on our bad days...) SO be loud, be proud (to borrow a phrase!) :)

Stacey said...

I only have one litte guy (Eli)right now (plus two older girls 21 & 17), but it would be an awesome blessing if the Lord filled our hearts and home with 2 or more little ones. When I see moms/dads/families out with lots of children, I can't help but watch them and hope that one day we will blessed with more:)

Mike and Rachel said...

Maybe she thought you were checking out a lot of books and had your hands full of them... I returned 9 today. My hands were very full. :)

Katie Lady said...

Maybe she just never had the joy of chlidren in her life. Or maybe she was an only child and couldn't imagine sharing it with anyone else. Or maybe it was, in fact, a divine appointment and--as I have done TOO many times this week alone--you wimped out. Me too. I only have two boys, but I have people say to me almost EVERY time we go out, "boy, you've got your hands full." My response has come to be, "yes, but my heart is full, too." And then, on most days, I turn and run. But one time, I said that to an older man in his 80s, and he stopped and came back to my table and began to tell me about his five children all grown now with his first wife deceased, working on his second marriage and a 16-year-old son! Wow... He got tears in his eyes telling me about his two sets of twins and how life was full and he missed it.

Anywho, we could all be more bold for Jesus, sister: both to the lady at the library and the folks at WalMart. May we be more like Him day after DAY after LONG DAY. I'll be praying for your boldness, okay?

Anonymous said...

Brianna, I love your blog, your family and your wonderful sense of humor. My wonderful nephew was adopted less than two months ago and a very good friend is in the middle of adopting her adorable son....what angels you all are!

Hauswife said...

Right ON! Before you know it, or feel ready for it, the Lord will press you to speak it out to the stranger in the library, or the market, or wherever. It'll happen!

Sara said...

I think some people just don't know what a joy children are. I worked for a woman whose (now college aged) children were literally just showpieces for her. She didn't know them, didn't enjoy them unless they did something impressive in school,considered them burdens because she paid for their cars/phones/education/spending money and basically she had no relationship with them. When I left my job to become a stay at home mom to our two children (both adopted) she was indredulous. I ran into her not long ago and she asked me if I actually enjoy being a mother...when I answered yes she just stared at me, as if I was crazy!

It's not you, it's her. The woman probably cannot imagine that although children are sometimes a handful, the joy, love, and belssings they bestow upon us in the process are far greater than any perceived or known burden.

Love your blog!

Jeannett Gibson said...

I think you should just say: "I know, and isn't it FANTASTIC?!"

Jen said...

I've always thought that to "kill them with kindness" is the best response to almost anything negative that may come your way.

The next time you receive a rude comment, why not muster up your biggest smile and say, "I know! Can you BELIEVE how incredibly blessed i am??! These children are the joy of my life." And then just keep on walkin'. They will be shocked by your positive attitude, when most likely, they were hoping you would agree and admit how stressed and overwhelmed you are! :)

Jennie said...

Your blog constantly reminds me to be grateful for my children, Brianna. Thank you so much. Too often I treat them as burdens and admit to perfect strangers that "yes, my hands are full!" Then I see 3 sets of beautiful, large eyes looking lovingly at me and I feel so bad! Our children really are a blessing. God bless your family this Christmas!

Joanie said...

I love Jen's comment. I think this bitter soul was either jealous or that her heart just isn't open to love, for whatever reason. So sad. Hopefully someday she'll see the light.

You've inspired me in Walmart, BTW. My pictures just aren't arriving for some reason, so I asked for a discount since I've been back TWICE! They agreed, and so nicely will grant it when I pick them up. Hmmm, wonder how that will go.

Meagan Brown said...

I love this post Brianna. Such an inpiration to me!

Meagan

wendy said...

Beautifully said!

Laurel said...

Just found your blog ...

Speak up ... be bold ... keep sharing the BLESSING that your children are ...

When I had 6 children under 7, I had a close friend with 5 children under 7. So, we would often go places with our 13 children under 7 years old. Crazy!

Now ... I am the mama of 13 children (10 bio. and 3 from Ghana) and couldn't be more BLESSED.

You wouldn't believe all the rude comments I've heard over the past 24 years of parenting. Too sad!

blessings,

Laurel
mama of 13

 

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