Sunday, January 24, 2010

Life's purpose ramblings

I'm home from church with my girls again this morning and for some reason I'm reflecting on my life's purpose. And purpose in general. (I know, leave me alone and I start thinking. They say introverts have a "rich inner life", which is how I've decided to start describing my neuroticism and self-analysis. Heehee.)

Yesterday Kevin and I had a conversation about our family. We have those a lot. :) It went something like this:

Him: So when we adopt again, what are you thinking? What are the specifics?

Me: Oh I don't know, medical needs, probably siblings, at least one girl this time.

Him: We'll have to get a bigger car and figure out what to do with our minivan and Corolla.

Me: Yeah, I don't know. What are YOUR specifics?

Him: Oh, the same. We should adopt siblings. And I'm open to both having medical needs.

So now you know what we talk about over pancakes on Saturday mornings. :)

I think I'm finally becoming more comfortable with the idea that my family's purpose in life is...different than I imagined it on, say, my wedding day. I feel like I know so many people (in real life and online) who have similar situations, that it's not unusual or strange. (I know people with 11 children, and 10 children, and even twenty something children. I know people with HIV+ children, or children who have various other medical needs. None of that strikes me as uncommon.) But then I find myself in certain situations or settings where I realize, oh yeah, this is not the norm. (By "this" I mean having so many children, and being open to having more children, and having the desire to adopt more children.)

A few years ago I really wondered what God's purpose for our little family was. Kevin and I would have conversations about where we felt God wanted us. (Not that you ever probably fully discover that this side of eternity.) When we adopted our sons it didn't make sense to some people. "Why would you do that?" they wanted to know. (I also got my fair share of, "Do you have hired help?" questions, which always cracked me up. "You're looking at it!", I wanted to say. Instead I just awkwardly replied, "No"--and hoped they didn't think ill of my husband for not hiring me a live-in maid. :) )

Then when I got pregnant with little Katie Jane, everything became more awkward. Surely she must have been an "accident" (ugh). No? Well, then, now we must really be "done." Of course along came Mary Lu so apparently we were not. :)

At some point I started telling people that so long as there are children sitting around without families, here or abroad, I will never unequivocally say that we are done. (I also occasionally tell them that we don't use contraception, just NFP occasionally, but that's a whole other tangent.) How can I speak for God? I don't know what He has for us. I DO know that I can not officially shut down my heart and my home--both of which ultimately belong to the Lord--and say no with any degree of certainty. At the orphan care conference I went to last year, people kept talking about how God made children to be raised in families. And He wants them raised in families. My body, my finances, my heart, my time...yeah...all belong to Jesus. And I want to remain open to His call. Every day.

Now that we have five children I feel like people don't expect us to be "done" so much anymore. We've crossed some invisible threshold. It's been nearly four years (four!) since we brought Yosef and Biniam home. Mary is still small, and our wanting to adopt again is still just a pipe dream. Saturday morning breakfast table talk. But I feel like God is confirming and revealing more and more what our purpose is, where His heart is, and how we can respond. It's amazing and terrifying all at once. Life with Jesus is like that. And I love it.

What about you--is your or your family's purpose something you sit around thinking about? I would so love to hear about it!


chloeadele said...

i sure wish i could tell you that our family's purpose is something that we often discuss. but we don't. i don't bring it up because hubby likes us just as we are. actually, i think he liked us better a few kids ago, but he's adjusted. but because of that, i'm almost afraid to dream for something more. i know that if God has something else besides this for us, that He will pull my heart and the heart of my husband's. at least, that's what i'm counting on. you and your family inspire me. i want us to be THAT sold out to God. for us to actually LOOK like we're not just after that elusive and empty American dream that builds up walls instead of opening up doors and hearts. sigh. maybe someday.

darci said...

We actually do talk about this alot-part of it is our wondering if it is even possible to be all that God wants us to be surrounded by the wealth of our lives, if you kwim. Here, it feels like we have to fight to depend fully on God-can we really reach our 'spiritual potential' in a place, a life, like we live? When Mark and I met, I was 18, he was 19, and I was not planning to get married-my life was planned out to head off to the mission field, preferably working in an orphanage. His life was all planned out to fly planes on the mission field, single! ha! Fast forward a couple of years and neither of us were single! :) and neither of us were on 'the mission field' as we had imagined it. We are always completely open to going wherever God calls us, and so far it seems like we are called ot a North american life and yet...I always keep in mind that verse "to whom much has been given, much will be required". We have been gven so much, and I am constantly striving to turn my mind away from our world's picture of success to truly giving much. I know ths is getting super long, sorry, but one more ramble...
I was recently reading a book (stand, a call for the endurance of the saints) and in the last section Helen Roseveare was writing-she had been a single missionary dr. overseas in, I believe, the Congo, for years, and loved it. In her 70s (don't quote me here!) she was transferred back to England where she was doing some training. She felt discouraged and restless, and asked the Lord for her verse for the year-anyway, long long story short (read the book it's great:) the Lord gave her this "Thus saith the Lord, make this valley full of ditches"..She goes on to write that God doesn't really need us to do His work, He chooses to use us, and He wants us to be spades in His hand, to be willing to just dig the ditches. That sometimes what God is callng us to seems really small..I loved it-sometimes (as much as I love being a mommy) life can feel just exactly like digging a valley full of ditches. It's dirty and totally unglamorous and sometimes thankless and boring..and yet, f that's what He's calling me to do, then I'm going to just keep digging.
so (I'm really winding down here, promise:) we talk and dream and wonder and love that life ahead holds more of God's plan for our lives, but daily right now, I think we're just digging ditches. :)

Jeannett Gibson said...

Interesting because Andy has for the last few years mentioned adopting special needs (down syndrome specifically) and I've always been the one weary of that...we are seriously considering adoption for #4...but I don't think it will be special needs...BUT...I do think that maybe our throwing around the idea and basically being open to the idea was God's way of preparing our hearts for Jilly (who, btw, didn't do as well as I previously posted about on her assessment...more on that another day....). Anyway, interesting how we are in a wildly different place than I ever imagined on our own wedding day. ;)

joy said...

wow--our breakfast conversations are certainly not like yours! i really admire your faith and how you long to live for Christ so tangibly this side of eternity. i think about doing that and to be honest, i am afraid. very afraid, in fact. but, it's good for me to think about such things and stretch myself, maybe even force myself to take steps toward truly being willing to be God's vessel to be used and placed as He sees fit. and, uh, we'll work on breakfast convos. :)

Charity Hildebrand said...

Brianna, I wanted to email you in reponse to this post, but couldn't find your address anywhere on your blog. Would you mind giving me your address? Loved this post, my comment just ended up turning into a book, so I thought maybe I'd better just send you an email :)Thanks!

Brianna Heldt said...

I'm loving reading all of your thoughts!

Jeannett that makes sense. I'm sorry about Jill's evaluation! Do you agree with the findings or do you think she's just fine? I'm sure the waiting is frustrating, ugh. She is so precious, as are the rest of you Gibsons!

Joy ha, we don't always talk about serious things at breakfast. In fact, sometimes we play cards while ignoring our kids--ah, good times! :)

Charity I know, I'm not sure how to show my email on my page, though people find it sometimes--maybe it's on my profile? It's briannaheldt at hotmail dot com. (But not spelled out like that. :) ) I look forward to hearing from you!

Bekah said...

Just stopped by to tell you I missed seeing you gals this morning. I figured you might be blogging in all your free time this morning. :) It was great to see your boys though. Miles followed Yosef around like a giggly lost puppy.

Deep thoughts this morning huh? :) --I love that you guys are so open to wherever God leads you in forming your family. It's so easy to look at your children and see what a beautiful reflection of God's love you and Kevin are to them.

Hope we get to see you soon. Miss you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Brianna,

I found your blog through AAI a couple of years ago, and I've been quietly stalking you since, though I think I did comment on one of your homeschooling entries. :) I just wanted to let you know how much I respect your family and the decisions you are making together. I agree wholeheartedly that God made children to be raised in families, and I am so excited to see your willingness to follow Him wherever He leads you.

My husband and I are a few years behind y'all (he's just finishing up law school), but we are so excited to start our family and we love to dream about what the Lord has planned for us. We know foster parenting and adoption are somewhere up ahead.

I also wanted to thank you for being willing to share the personal details about your two babies in heaven. We lost our first baby this past week and we are devastated, but trusting that God truly works all things together for our good. While I've been processing all we're experiencing, I remembered the blog posts you had written and re-reading them helps with the healing. We know we're not alone and while we will never forget our baby, God will give us the strength to carry on. Thanks to you and your sweet family for encouraging us.

In Christ,

PS - I blog over at - you certainly don't have to read it but I thought I'd let you know, so I don't feel like a one-way blog stalker, ha!

shell said...

i am with you. had no idea this is where we would be and really no idea where we are going. everything we have tried to plan turned up so differently. but i love where we are at and would not change it for the world! love your sweet family, wish you were next door!

Brianna Heldt said...

Kathryn hi! Thanks so much for the comment, and for leaving your blog address--I can't wait to check it out! I'm so, so sorry to hear of your recent loss. Sigh. It is painful and so difficult to process through and understand. I too have been blessed by other women who have walked that difficult road. I will pray for you guys.

Shelley YES, I wished you lived next door! Maybe you can plant a church in Denver next time? :) (And at the VERY least we need to meet at some point!!!)

Joanie said...

This topic used to actually be our fighting material - be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. But at some point, I had to just grieve the children that I didn't get to have, and leave it in the Lord's hands (Dear Hubby was vehement about stopping at two - adopted or otherwise). If He wants our family to increase, He will put it on both of our hearts. It's been a lesson in acceptance and trust, as well as a lesson in finding joy in the sweet little blessings that I get to raise right now.

I love your philosophy about it all!

Amanda said...

We're similar to Joanie husband thinks we're called to a few children, I think otherwise. As Joanie said, if God has different thoughts or plans, he'll lay it on our hearts. It's especially hard for me because I am adopted and would love to adopt now, but hubby does not feel the same. Still, we totally DO have these sorts of conversations at the most random of times too! ;-)

Amanda said...

Should clarify: hubby wants two or three, I'd like more.

Rachel said...

We always seem to have our deep conversations over a bottle of wine. And to be clear, that isn't over breakfast. :)

Mama Mote said...

I love how you two talk things out like this and always seem to be on the same page. And I know you don't do anything without God's lead. And I KNOW that when and if you adopt again, those kids will be blessed in your household. As for us, we talk about what we want to do in the future, more specifically, what ministry do we want to get involved in that fits us and our time frames. We'll see what develops. love you guys

Brianna Heldt said...

Robin that's exciting! In some ways that is the fun part of moving, having new dreams for the future. I KNOW you and Dan will be a blessing wherEVER you are!!!


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