Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why All This Talk About Responsibility!

Well, as many of you probably know by now, Carrie and I have decided to adopt twin girls from a third world country in sub saharan Africa.  With that in mind I guess I should wrap up this whole obsession with responsibility.

Being responsible requires someone to whom you are responsible and someone for whom you are responsible.  In most cases in today's world, the to usually refers to society and the for generally refers to self.

As I explained in an earlier post, I spent the first 25 years of my existence being responsible to and for no one.

The next 16 years I finally got a clue to society's expectations and became responsible to myself and somewhat responsible for my wife.  It was during that time that I became a follower of Christ and it was also during that time that I became aware of a gentle urgency to discover God's purpose for me.

On December 23, 2007, an anonymous Chinese orphanage worker handed me that purpose, my daughter Grace.  From that moment on I had a new and very important reason to be responsible for someone other than myself.

Less than two years later I went to the Democratic Republic of Congo to adopt my son Haven.  It was while I was there that God more fully revealed to me one of the more important things to Him.  Orphans. 

We have all seen the 30 minute pleas on television for orphans in Africa or in Asia.  They tug on our hearts and sometimes we even consider pledging a certain amount each month.  Carrie and I did that, we decided to sponsor a little girl in Colombia about eight years ago, and in fact we still continue that sponsorship.  TV can never do justice to actually going to a place where there is little of anything including hope.  The sights and smells, the eyes of the people, say so much more in person.  Aside from the moment I became a follower of Christ, my visit to D.R. Congo was the most profoundly important moment in my life.  It took me months and months to process what I experienced, especially my emotions, but when I came out the other side I had a clear understanding of my place in the Kingdom.  By the way, I could do an entire blog about the Kingdom and what it is, and since I don't want to go too far off on a tangent I will just say this:  the Kingdom of God is alive and well in this world. 

OK, so back to responsibility.  Lets wrap this up and move on.  Several months after returning from D.R.Congo I began to realize that I had missed the most important point to understanding responsibility.  I, or should I say we, must be responsible to God first.  God has a heart for His children, ALL of them, even those who don't have parents.  He is the Father to all of us, and as Christians we are His hands and His feet and that includes being surrogate parents to His children whether we gave birth to them or not.

After Haven, Carrie and I adopted Manny and JoJo.  Yep, that's right we have four awasome little people living underfoot.  And so here we come to one of those moments of conflict that most Christians come to when they have non-believing family and friends....drum roll please.....that's right....responsibility.  If you are a true follower of Christ and you are living for Him, and you are responsible to Him first, you will come into conflict with the World.  The world simply couldn't understand why we would risk our retirement and Grace's college fund in order to bring two more children into our home.  Well, the answer is R-E-S-P-O-N-S-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y.  We are answering God's call on our lives.  I'm not saying that He calls ALL of us to adopt six children, but I am certain of it, he called Carrie and Brian Wood to it. 

People wonder, I'm sure, whether or not we are crazy or worse yet, collectors.  They often ask "are you done?"  or "how many children are you going to adopt?"  or "how will you know when to stop adopting?"  Our answer to all of these questions is "as long as we have room in our hearts to love another child and resources to feed, clothe and educate them, we will continue to adopt".  So you might ask, bottom line, does that mean we will stop at six or will we keep going?  The answer is I don't know.  What I do know, despite what others might think is we are responsible, it is the Who we are responsible to that so many people don't understand.

Below is a video by Eric Ludy that explains what I am trying to say.  It moved my heart and I hope it moves your heart too.  Take it away Eric

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Irresponsibility Suits Me (part 4)

Almost seven years ago I celebrated my 40th birthday.  At the time my wife Carrie and I had been married for 15 yrs. and we worked together as high school theater teachers  We drove to school together, we shared an office, we even co-taught some classes.  A perfect job if your spouse is also your best friend. On weekends and summers we went antiquing together, ate out together, went to lots of movies and plays.  We pretty much did everything together.  We travelled, shopped for wine, yadda yadda, you get the gist.  We were DINKs (dual income no kids) and we were very happy with our lifestyle.   We bought a house in suburbia, and then added a pool and patio.  I got my pilot's license and Carrie contemplated a return to school to get her MA in Theater, which was going to require that we spend three summers in Chicago.  Tough decision I know.  At the time our "children" were three poodles, Zeke, Jezebel and Tabitha.  So yeah, we were living an American Dream sort of life, and we were happy.
It was 2005, the day after school let out for the summer and I was about to brew a batch of Pale Ale in the garage when the call came.  Carrie's grandmother had died.  I put away my equipment and ingredients and we made preparations to drive to CA. 
Long drives can be a dangerous thing, especially when it's just you and your mate of 15 yrs.  Thousands of miles of conversations about this and that and........"hey what do you think about adopting a girl from China?".............."Uh What?" and suddenly there we  were on a lonely stretch of road contemplating the unimaginable.
At the time, I was going through a period of "who am I, and what is my purpose here" introspection.  Though I was happy, I couldn't help but wonder if I was living God's plan for my life.  Yes I enjoyed my job teaching Theater, but I didn't have the same passion for it that my wife did.  What I really liked about teaching were the long vacations and trips back and forth to Wyoming and California, and there we were on a lonely stretch of I-40 somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico having the discussion that would ultimately turn our lives, our passions and our priorities completely upside down.