Happy 3rd Birthday to Elias and Zoey (Are they really only 3?)

by Stacey

This Saturday we celebrated Elias and Zoey’s 3rd birthdays.  Although, I have been a mom for around 4 years now, it feels more like 20 (no offense kids).
A Draining Four Years
Since we adopted the kids, we have been very drained. It is simply draining being around unthankful people all day. It is draining being around people who do not love the Lord. It is draining because I cannot easily talk to my husband (whom I like a lot) without being interrupted. It is draining because we see very little fruit. It is draining to potty train for 2.5 years straight. It is draining because we pray and pray and pray for our kids, teach them the Word, are consistent in discipline and they continue to walk in the same disobedient behavior. It is draining to try to answer their questions only to have them ignore my response and then ask again…and again. 

But mostly it is draining because I really want to do a good job as their mom. I want to stand before King Jesus one day and have him say that I was overall faithful to train my children in the instruction of the Lord. I want to hear him say that I did not live for myself, but I consistently made sacrifices to serve others. I want to be faithful to God in my parenting even if my children never believe and never love my Lord.
If it were not for this, I would look the other way instead of dealing with their disobedience. I would just seek to pacify them instead of training them to be content. I would let them be taught by the TV instead of taking the time to teach them the Bible. But, the Bible is clear, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” 2 Corinthians 5:10. And thus, we press on.
Is it Worth It?
The comical thing is that we chose all the hard things in our lives, including the four hard things known as our children. So is it worth it? Is it worth all the stress that came with adopting them?
Let us just say that their happiness is my reward.  
I am so honored to get to be the instrument of change in their lives. They went from being starved on the streets to now having pizza nights. They went from being hospitalized due to neglect and exposure to now having their minor scratches washed out, bandaged, and kissed. They went from not having names to now spelling their names with letters on our refrigerator. They went from having no family to running with their brothers and sisters while holding hands. They went from not knowing about the God who made them to now hearing about this God every day. And they are so happy. They are so full of life (a little too full of life at times), so eager to learn, so excited about butterflies and trucks. Their lives got a million times better even though ours got 10 times harder. It is so foolishness to look at the 10 times harder in our lives when their lives have been exponentially bettered.

And this is only earthly reward. What I regret in my life is my sin, but I have never for a second regretted anything I have done out of love for the Lord and in service to others. It is ironic, because  sometimes it seems like sin brings ease and pleasure whereas service to Christ brings pain. But both are only temporary, they will one day be switched, and that is the day that I live for.
A Question
In light of this, here is a question for all of us to think about: “What would we do for others if we did not consider ourselves?”  What if we overlooked the cost we would pay in light of the good that could be brought upon another person? 
What would we do? 
What if we meditated more upon how difficult it would be to be a child growing up on the streets and less upon how we are already too busy to help that child? What if we meditated more on our neighbors going to Hell forever then on what they might say to us if we share the Gospel with them? What if we thought more about how detrimental it would be for our kids to not receive our instruction then our desire to unwind by surfing the Internet? What if we cared more about the brother and sister in Christ who is wandering from the faith then about all the knots we get in our stomach when we think about confronting them? What if we thought more about the babies who are being tortured through abortion and less about not wanting to appear “radical” to our co-workers? 
There is truly no limit to what we can accomplish for another person when we forget about ourselves.  This is a journey that I am just beginning to understand and embrace.
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
Proverbs 11:24-25   

Author: David M. Hare

Dave is a husband, father of four Africans, and is currently helping the Kwakum people do Oral Bible Storying and Bible translation in Cameroon, Africa.