Christ’s Identity in Me: A Fresh and Somewhat, Outlandish Look at Jesus
Our youngest son is just four… yes, four. The child is FORTY years younger than me, came into our lives when he was just three months old.
For the better part of his first two years, his permanency in our lives was a roller coaster ride of hope, dashed hopes, wants, for his birth family, our family, him… and me. His adoption day was very different than the adoption of our son, Sam.
Here is what I am most influenced by, every foster to adopt story begins with a tragedy.
It is a story of horrific loss. I was most slain by this on October 30th of 2016.
In that courtroom, with Charlie in my husband’s lap, I was happy he would stay, but my senses were on high alert for those he left. And I tried to revamp that sentence because he was just a little guy. It is not like he packed his bags and picked another family.
However, life, with its harsh realities, had unraveled what was picked by nature, and now, the law made the little boy our son.
I knew, and still know, that Halloween, was detrimental to many.
Furthermore, I will confess, the morning after his adoption, I didn’t feel any different. Yes, I was happy to be off a wild ride of near removals and constant uncertainty, especially for him… also me. But I woke up and did all the things I normally did, and, still do.
I am a creature of habit.
Water, thyroid medication, bathroom… you get it. And then, cream in my coffee, 2 pink packets. Don’t start with me. I know it is bad. But we aren’t here to discuss my bad habits, so back off.
Oh my gosh, YES, I wait an hour after taking my thyroid medication to have coffee. Good grief let me finish this post, and then you can message me and tell me all the things I am doing wrong. For heaven’s sake!
The reason I tell you all this is because in a recent interview about my latest book, Sacred Ground Sticky Floors: How Less Than Perfect Parents Can Raise, (Kind of) Great Kids, the man interviewing me asked me a question that left me tongue-tied.
“Having raised the first batch, who you refer to the originals, what are you doing different, so as not to make the same mistakes with your second chance?”
My mind was absolutely spinning at the query. Truly, a second chance wasn’t my motive for foster care and adoption. Furthermore, all was not lost on my less than stellar parenting the first go round. I cannot recall my exact response. And luckily, the interview was live so, I have never heard the drivel that I am certain I afforded this interviewer.
But looking back, I think I knew what he meant. And my answer now would be a lot different.
With “The Originals” I was a lot more intense. I was panicked 96% of the time. I was afraid for them and terrified for me. Back then, I was still a yeller. But more than a yeller, I was so afraid of my role as their savior, I greatly interfered with their vision of a good and loving God.
If one of the Originals met with any kind of “trouble,” I was quick with verbal assaults on how they HAD to be better, different, and “behave.” All of this can be attributed to youth, and all of the rest of it can be attributed to my belief system about God. And yes, I know that makes no mathematical sense.
Do good, get good. Do bad, get bad.
And while I won’t endorse Sam and Charlie as a “second chance,” a chance where I imagine I ran to Pet Smart and picked up two more little white mice, because the dog literally ate my homework and experimented on them for book material. What I will say is, I parent them quite differently.
I am older, much more tired, and I see my God in a much more clear and precious way.
So, this post was prompted by Charlie, who yesterday got in trouble at school, again.
When Charlie got in the car, he said, “Mommy, I did it again. I gots in WEALLY bad trouble for saying that thing I not sposed’ to say to my fwend.”
And then… he ducked.
The little boy ducked and covered his face.
This makes absolutely no sense.
For starters, we were still in the pickup line. If I were going to rage blows upon him, certainly I would not do it in front of the teacher helping him buckle into his car seat. Greater still, I have never raised a hand to this child.
I cannot recall ever, not once losing it with Charlie to the point that he needed to take cover. Now Luke, our second oldest son… yes. But that is a different story, one most court authorities would get behind.
Furthermore, my trademark with ‘The Vandals,” a loving and unfortunately accurate nickname that has stuck most firmly to our two youngest sons, I do yell. “Stop it!” and “I am going to kick your lung out!!!” are barked from my depths quite often.
But in incidents of “WEALLY bad trouble,” I am most calm.
And this is because I am much older, much more tired, and I see my God in a much more clear and precious way.
But Charlie’s reaction reminded me of what it is like to believe in a vicious, raging God-parent.
Do good, get good. Do bad, get bad.
And everyone who is anyone talking to you about our identity in Christ, but what about Christ’s identity in us? I have tossed and turned with this all night. And yes, our identity in Christ is scriptural truth. However, what does it matter if my identity is in Christ if I never acknowledge His identity?
With lofty talk of all the things I believe, (or take offense to,) what does that matter, if who He is isn’t unidentifiable because of my harsh character?
I caught the tail end of a Facebook live with a teacher who lends to the “hellfire and brimstone” Jesus that I no longer recognize. I winced at her words, and once or twice, I ducked and covered my face. But I was most intrigued by the enormous number of live watchers, and then most delighted by some of the live comments.
“This is not scripturally sound, when did Jesus ever rage against sin?”
“Lady, you need some quiet time with my Jesus.”
“I don’t want you to die, but I can’t wait for you to meet Him… you will be pleasantly surprised.”
And this is my comfort. Christ in me, a most pleasant surprise, is the greatest mystery. A gentleman who is all about second chances and standing back and letting me rage, still making everything for His good.With lofty talk of all the things I believe, (or take offense to,) what does that matter, if who He is isn’t unidentifiable because of my harsh character? #justjesusClick To Tweet
I have never been accused of being too quiet or demure. Other accusations, even the false ones, do not change His good character. And while I am nothing without Him, let it be said, He is everything in spite of me.
Where I find most rest, is in this place that He, who waits to be invited in, pursues me unto His death.
I hope to be most different because of this. But greater, I hope the truth of who He is is magnified because I profess to know Him. Knowing Him, truly sitting in a place with this collectively cool, chill God-parent, would be the thing that oozes from my depths.
Alas, I am quite loud, a yeller by trade. Still, I would hope that “my identity is in Christ,” is more than a trademark or memory verse. No, they should know we are Christians by our love. Jesus love, in its uncomplicatedness, is a love that pours out to those we do not agree with or understand.
It is this thing He invited me to, which the world and its complexities bowl over and trade for offense and political beliefs.
This, it is this subtle powerhouse, I can embrace or stifle.
And it is this Jesus, who calls for change not because of my identity, but because of His.
This God… His ways are nothing like mine.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
To them, God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
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