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You and me - Plus 5 kids....

We are so busy trying to "do life", we forget what "living" is all about!

We are so busy trying to "do life"...

I realized something over the weekend and I'm saddened to say that I probably have learned this lesson before. What's the lesson? We are way to busy trying to "do life" that we have forgotten what living is all about.

Our family took the evening away from my church duties to visit the Polar Express in French Lick, IN on this past Sunday night and what a great night it was. Those few hours of calming chaos was the accumulation of several weeks of missing the mark as a dad, husband and Christ Follower. But what an amazing journey and what an amazing God that I get to celebrate today!

In any profession you deal with people who for some reason feel like they need to be better than you, tell you how much you are wrong or simply not like you because you have a different opinion about life than they do... it seems they want to destroy you simply because they don't like you (and they are supposed to be following Jesus - that's a different story for a different day)... and like many of you, I began to allow that to effect my heart, mind and soul. But the really cool thing is that, on that train ride, I remembered that I have 5 kids and a wife that absolutely love me for me and I've missed the mark and really wasn't there because I was busy trying to "do life" and I was attempting to "fix and rescue" my kids, my family and my church. Yes all of this came to me on a train ride to a fake North Pole while dealing with screaming kids and very loud Christmas Bells!

What I remembered in that chaos is that God was the one who "rescued me" and in my best moments - I'm a beautiful broken mess - and in that mess, I found freedom and joy, not because of me, but because of Jesus. I don't need to "fix and rescue" anyone (especially not my kids, my wife, or my church), but what I need to do is love them like Jesus - I need to unconditionally wrap my arms around them and love them, embrace who they are and lead them toward Jesus! Trying to be the best version of me that I can.

"This journey [of adoption] has made me the best possible version of myself."

Mike Berry // Confessions of an Adoptive Parent Blog

In the midst of my own battle...

I also realized that my own stuff is worthy digging into and that I have ways of dealing with life, my kids and myself that carry over from my own mess and my own battle with temptation, sin and daily life. Everything that comes out of me is something that either goes through the proper filter (I call that my Jesus filter) or something that goes through my unedited, selfish, ego-centric filter that usually causes me to repent and feel God's conviction - this isn't a bad thing either, but I hope my Matt filter becomes less visible and the Jesus filter is what shows up 99% of the time...that is a work in progress.

I know that this journey of adoption and "trying to do life" with my new forever family has drawn out of me the best and the worst. Unfortunately over the past several months, I've put my health on hold and have forgotten that I can't really live unless I'm taking care of myself. I can't really be the best version of me that I can, unless I am healthy spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally. And to tell you the truth...I'm pretty sure I've struck out more than I've hit a home-run. But I'm loved and I get a second chance -- daily!

Adoption is not a question of your capacity to love others. It’s a question of choosing to love others. -- Mike Berry

I'm gonna loose my mind... I'm done with you!!!

I know that everyday I have a choice... a choice to love others and to love unconditionally just like the father in Jesus' story about the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. This story is the greatest picture of loving unconditionally. You see the father had every right and every reason to not love his son unconditionally and to use his past as a way to not have the capacity to love anymore. The truth is that we as people use this "capacity" thing as an excuse to move on from people and live lives that are truly not healthy at all. We say things like - "I'm going to blow up on him"... "I can't take it anymore...I'm done!".... "If she does that one more time, I'm gonna lose my mind!"..."if he doesn't change - he's going to feel my wrath"... all of these and many more just like them are issues that stem from from an unhealthy life.

You see you don't have the capacity to love fully all the time, but you don't have the choice to move beyond your perceived capacity and put limitations on how you love and who you love. To be a follower of Jesus your capacity comes from His capacity. Your lack of love for people is from an unhealthy part of your life. The point is that even when you don't have the capacity yourself - you find that in Christ - you have all the capacity in the world, but you at times choose not to use that God given capacity for people. So it begs the question: "How do you do that?"

It's easy! You love like Jesus. You see your mess as part of a bigger masterpiece. You see you goodness as unworthy at best. You remember that it's not your moral perfection that set you free - it's the grace of God. You remember that daily God is working on your heart, mind, soul and strength. You remember that your neighbor has a story! And you begin to think more about the people in this world that don't know Jesus then you do the people that do! You live life to the fullest and you try to become more like Jesus daily. You don't get caught trying to "do life" that you miss out on living like Jesus! Think of these Scriptures....

 

Romans 12:15-17 New Living Translation (NLT)

15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! 17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.

 

 

Philippians 2:2-4New Living Translation (NLT)

2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

 

I have 5 little people and 1 very special lady in my life that are looking to me to see how I "do life"... I pray that they will not see how "I DO LIFE", but instead they will see ME LIVING and in that they hopefully will see the joy is in the journey -- the whole messy, unpredictable, exhausting, loving, forgiving, getting up and making a mess of life, going to bed knowing that tomorrow is a new day and unconditionally loved journey... By the way --- I love you Farah! Thanks for living this crazy journey we call LIFE together with me. We are better together! For the rest of you.... I love you too... I hope that you can begin to have the capacity to truly love people beyond their moral perfect life and that you attempt to "do less in life" in order to "fully live"... Today is a new day!

Don't get so caught up in "doing life" that you miss the joy of living each day as a loved child of God - even if it's messy - you are loved! So don't "do life" so much that you miss out on living with Jesus daily!

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