Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Gloria Grace!

Once upon a time, in a time not too long ago,
There lived a couple in a land quite distant
From the place they now call home. 

They had decided, the two of them together
That their hearts would be on Mission
And they would be content as a family of two... forever.

With sweat and tears and sometimes blood, they toiled and they prayed
For a people they did not know, yet loved none the less, anyway. 

Then, allofasudden and quite surprisingly fast
A boy child came to them and they knew he was their first
And thought their very last.

But lo and behold, and soon after that
There was a discovery they never thought possible to be
For unbeknownst to them someone Grew!
Against every probability.

So surprised were they, and unable to contain all joy
They called their family across the great water
Even though it be their darkest midnight hour

And after a period of time, that seemed to last
And last.
Once upon a time, finally.
And most assuredly.
.... passed.

What name shall be given to this first to break forth
Out of the darkness and into the light
Shall it be Gloria? Shall it be Grace?
No. Neither alone seemed just right.

Why not put them together? They ring so beautifully.
Like the sound of lavished love upon a child
Gloria Grace was simply meant to be.

Five years to the day has she grown now
Five birthdays she's called her own
Five years in hopes that before the first stone 
Gloria Grace would be read in The Book of His Foreknown

So, dear Gloria Grace with your radiant face
This is our prayer for you.
That one day soon at just the right time
You would be made anew.

Anew with a Glory and anew by a Grace
Anew by the One who formed you to be
Anew by a Motion set forth before Once Upon a Times
Anew with new life to be breathed.

For this is life's purpose to know and be known
By Him Who holds all things together
For He is full of grace and truth
And wonder that outlasts forever.

He works in the lands of minds and hearts
Calling forth those who are His
Those He's given ears to hear
Those with new lives to be lived.

He conforms and He molds and He breaks and He builds
And He gives And He takes And He injures and He heals.

All things for good
And all things for His glory
Not one moment is lost or misplaced
In Divine Love's allegory.

For God is The Giver Who gave you your everything
Every breath you breathe and every song you sing
We pray for you dear child, of our flesh and bone
That we would not be the only ones who call you our very own.

"In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his Glorious Grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved." (Eph 1)

We love you sweet Gloria Grace. Happy 5th Birthday! May you have many many more.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy 12th Birthday, Keano!

Twelve years ago, God gave me a son. ...but it wasn't in the typical way He gives a mother a son. I didn't know he was being born, and I didn't know he was mine.
He was born in a land I had only dreamt about. A land I had loved since I was eight years old. A land I knew I would one day live.
God gave my son his first breaths in the year I was taking my first baby steps into the greatest darkness of my life, because God doesn't count our sin against us.
He was born to a mother who loved him as her only son. He grew in her womb, nursed at her breasts, and clung tightly on her back. He looks like her, this woman who's sacrificial love would give me the name that she owns naturally. Momma.
For five years, she tended to his needs as best she could, with life's addictions warring within her. Then, right when there seemed as if there was nothing but darkness, in one glorious moment, Light broke forth. ...And it was good. Very good.
The first words were strong, a foundation of sorts, “He must just call you Momma and He must just call you Daddy.” He's never known another Daddy.
For five years, we prayed. For five years we stood brave together on our knees, praying and hoping that what God had done in those moments within, He would do for all to know and see. Five years of trusting, Five years of unknowns, Five years of courage, Five years of fear, Five years of waiting, Five years of doing, Five years of hearing the naysayers and wondering if they were right, Five years of listening to the encouragers who reminded us of The Faithful God, Five years of hoping, Five years of doubt, Five years of patience, Five years of anxiety, Five years of grieving, Five years of joy. Five. Years.

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9

In a ceremony like none other, God gave me my only son. I promised the woman who labored for hours for her only son, that I would love him as my son. That all that I have would be his.... That there would be no distinction between him and those who've grown within me. That I would teach him well and that I would forever be his Momma and that his Daddy would forever be his Daddy......

And I remember.

I remember he is not the only son given to me. There was another only Son. An only Son that wasn't just given to me, but was given for me. And this only Son is radically different than the one who's wrapped in dark brown skin and bright brown eyes, throwing a football in the field. This only Son was sent on a rescue mission. A rescue mission for ones who didn't want to be rescued.

A rescue mission for those with stiff necks and hard hearts. A rescue mission for those His love was set upon before the first beat of their heart was heard, before their fingers were formed, before their their newborn lungs were filled with breath, before they did good.... or bad, before He laid the very foundations of the Earth. Before.

And He wouldn't just come.

This Son was given with blood. A blood filled fountain that would forever change a people that rightfully belonged to Him. There weren't papers to sign. There weren't hoops to jump through, “I's” to dot and “T's” to cross. There wasn't any guess work. There weren't attorneys, there weren't borders and visas. There weren't psychological evaluations.

There was a perfect life lived. In every way one could be perfect, He was. Every word. Every deed. Every thought. He was perfect. He was perfect so that He could make a wicked people perfect before His Father. Not a people that were born good, but a people that were born with hearts of stone.

The Great Exchange.

My wickedness, the people whom He is jealous for... their depravity, all of it was laid upon Him. He received the punishment. He was beaten. He was bruised. He was tormented and teased. He was tortured. He was brutally killed. He was buried, and by the might of His Father's hand His eyes opened, His air filled his lungs, and He lived. The One who was given for me was my ransom, The One and Only.

And I will forever be The One and Only's. My heart will forever be transformed. My eyes will forever see differently and my ears will forever be able to hear His voice. My nature will forever be different. I will forever be clothed in His righteousness. I will be forever grafted in.

My twelve year old son will always have our last name and his Daddy's middle name. He will forever be a part of this Swedish and German family tree. From him, Lord willing, I will have grandchildren with the same last name, and the same brown skin. He will forever have our love. He will forever have three sisters with fair skin and flowing hair. A little boy from a womb not my own, who lived in a land not my own, who has features not my own, will forever be my own.

Adoption started before time began. Before the first tick of a clock, before the first babies cry, before the first forbidden bite of fruit, adoption was in motion.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, heaven as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1