Years ago, one running “inside joke” my husband and I had about being an adoptive family was that we were going to someday write a book about all of the thoughtless, crazy things that people say to adoptive families. My tune has changed a little on this because I see the need for people to be more educated about adoption, terminology, processes, and so on. People are typically very genuinely concerned and interested when asking or saying something that just hits a raw nerve or strikes us as odd.
One such question has shown up at times when others have asked, “Is life getting back to normal?” This is likely a question that will be answered with frustration and tears, blank stares and silence, or sarcasm and flippant responses. You see, it is highly likely there will never be another day in the life of that family that feels “normal.”
For years, my husband and I wanted to find “normal.” We wanted to fit in. We had adopted older children, so when our closest friends had toddlers, we had a ten-year-old boy complete with the attitude of a 16-year-old. We began to finally find a niche with people who had slightly older children, but then we adopted a baby boy. Life was a roller coaster for us, handling issues, a son in trouble, managing a household often in crisis. Then, just as life seemed to calm down a bit, God led us to our next adoption which made us instant parents to an adult daughter (18 when she moved in to our home) and a teenage son. Clearly, we just weren’t going to find that place to feel like we were normal.
After these years of searching and never finding “normal,” we saw God move in our family through calling us into full-time ministry. That was surely not bound to make us any more normal, was it? In fact, it actually did bring comfort and a new degree of contentment in some ways. The move was hard, as was the adjustment to a new career, new schedules or routines. The part that brought comfort, however, was the overwhelming message we received in reading the Word about God’s plans and His will for us as well as other Christian books pointing us toward living this life radically sold out to whatever God would call us to do. That idea of radical living for God has become our normal. We will follow wherever He leads, and we will do this as a whole family unit. THIS is our new normal.That idea of radical living for God has become our normal. We will follow wherever He leads... Click To Tweet
Our children now experience family times of Bible reading and prayer that we never had before. Our children experience the presence of BOTH mom and dad in the home every single day almost without exception. Our children experience the blessings of God’s provision for us and the blessings of God on other families who foster and adopt because of our ministry work with Project Belong. We strive to get them to church and positive and encouraging activities with people that will support their growth and development. THIS is our new normal.
Trusting in God when it looks like it will all fall apart. Trusting Him when you have your worst parenting day ever. Trusting Him to hold you when you are so weak you don’t think you can stand anymore. Believing that God is going to meet your every need even when it looks impossible. This is our new normal.Believing that God is going to meet your every need even when it looks impossible. Click To Tweet
Stop searching for “normal.” Our families do not have to look like the Joneses. We don’t have to have all of the same material possessions that others do. We don’t have to be involved in every activity that everyone else is involved in. We don’t have to have children that act the same, talk the same, learn the same as every other child their age. It really is okay to be different.
I was just sharing with our 15yo son yesterday about how God wants us to be transformed and not to be conformed to this world. In Romans 12:1-2, Paul wrote
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. (HCSB)
Are we presenting our bodies, our lives, and our families to God as living sacrifices? Do we realize that this is the worship He wants from us? Our normal should really look like this: we determine with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength that we are going to live for Him and not be conformed to the world. This does apply to our family life as well. It’s hard. It’s messy. It doesn’t “fit in” with the rest of the world. It’s also full of joy and eternal impact on the lives of these children and others.
Have you spent time searching for “normal?” Do you, like me, get tired of not really finding it? When we realize that it is right with us all the time when we are following God’s plan and will, we can rest easy and stop looking for normal. We will find our normal in Him.