Monday, June 29, 2015

Why don't I have the good things I need to do big things for God?

Josh and I want to help kids. We want to grow our family beyond two children. (Most of the time. Except when we're feeling very human and they're feeling very monstrous. But, you know, normally.)

We can't grow much bigger in a two-bedroom apartment. We can't add more kids with a car that seats 5... or 2 adults and 2 car seats.

So don't we need a bigger vehicle? Don't we need a bigger house?

When we first got married, I would have said "YES!" We want good things for good reasons. We can't pursue our good goals without those good things. Thus, we need those things.

But the answer has been "no" to getting those good things for years. We've watched many other people get those things that we desired. We've seen them get the van even if the number of seats in a car would have been sufficient. We've seen them get the big house even if they're not putting children in the bedrooms.

Is that bad? Absolutely not. They want good things to pursue good goals. I'm so happy for them. I hope they enjoy those great blessings!

But my opinion has been changing. Did they need those things? Maybe not. Maybe those things were really wants that they were able to pursue. Having our wants filled isn't bad. It's a blessing. But it's not a guarantee.

Someone else might get their wants filled while I wait for mine. And I need to be joyful while I wait.

Well, this last month our car broke down twice. It needed to be towed twice. Big Brother A even decided he's going to invent a personal towing device to save us the money and hassle of calling a tow truck. Every time it's in the shop, we have no car, since we are a one-car family.

The car was no longer reliable. It was becoming increasingly more expensive to maintain. And it had felt cramped for quite some time. It was finally time to abandon "Blue Car" for something newer and more reliable.

Bye, Blue Car!

I have thought for years that I would think "good riddance" when we got rid of Blue Car. I was surprised to find that God has been growing me through my years of waiting. The moment came to think "thanks for nothing, Blue Car," but instead of bitterness or frustration, I found myself filled with gratitude for the increased standard of living this car brought to my family over the last seven years.

Blue Car car broke down often, but it lugged us here and there for years, filled up with people I love. It gave us flexibility and freedom. Not having a car for a few days is always such a reminder for me that we take this privilege of having a personal vehicle for granted. Sick baby? Just hop in the car and take them to the doctor. Need milk? Drive where it's cheapest. Prescription? Just pick it up when you're out. So many things that aren't a big deal with a car can be huge and life-changing for people without one (especially without connections to people who can bring them places). My foster care journey has shown me a glimpse of real poverty, the kind that means a lack of freedom, a lack of choice, and a lack of independence. This car raised us to a standard of living that is unattainable for many in our city.

Since Blue Car was going, Josh and I decided it would be wise to get the "next level" of car for our family. We have spent a lot of time listening to others talk about "needs" that seemed a lot like "wants" to us, so we tried to be careful about our wording and our mindset. We didn't need the extras or expense of a minivan. We found something that would better suit us and our budget. But it still has optional third row seating, which is a huge blessing, because now if/when Baby S goes back (probably in September), we will have a place for him still, even if we add another child to our family. We won't have to wait indefinitely because of a fear that moving forward will mean shutting him out if he needs us again someday. We can squeeze him in to our apartment somewhere, but there would have been no squeezing in Blue Car. There is peace of mind in knowing that there's a way to have him in our lives and still continue growing our family, if we choose to do so. It's a great blessing and a great relief.

(By the way, Big Brother A thought long and hard about naming our new vehicle. It took him about ten minutes of deep thought. He came up with "Black Car." He's very proud of himself. I think it's safe to say logic is more his strength than creativity!)

As I'm getting used to our new vehicle, I'm excited and thankful. And I'm trying to remember that this blessing is a filled want, not a need or something to which I was entitled.

Maybe someone else wonders when their turn will be. We're still with you. We're still in the apartment. We're still feeling the tension of dreaming bigger than our circumstances currently allow.

It would be easy to think that God must give everyone with big dreams the opportunity to pursue those dreams, for the sake of accomplishing as much as possible. But the goal is God's glory, not just efficiency. What if some of us are called to make the most out of what we have, even if we could have done more in different circumstances? What if I can bring more glory to God by not waiting until the right things all line up before I dive in to serving? What if squeezing my little family into a home that is tight-spaced but filled to the brim with love is exactly what my little guys need?

I'll try to be a wise steward of my resources, thankful for all that I have been given. And I'll do my best to serve in every way I can while I am in this stage of life. I will not wait until the next stage to do all that I can do, because I know that God will make my little contributions go farther than they ever deserve to go.

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