Post by: Arabah Joy
I remember looking at her.
I remember looking at her. Withdrawn. Held back. Unwilling to join the rest of the family. Unwilling to come.
I beckoned and smiled. Patted my lap. Extended the invitation like I’d done a thousand times before.
Then, like a thousand times before, she turned away. Scars from past abandonment, neglect, and abuse held her like chains to her chosen spot. She would not come.
In those early days of adoption, it was like God had given a mirror to look in. I saw myself in her. I saw how woundedness had caused me to withdraw, how I braced myself against warmth because I’d believed the lie that I didn’t need it, didn’t deserve it. I convinced myself I could do without love and acceptance. Slowly, the cold I surrounded myself with had seeped deep into my soul and distorted my perspective of life, God, and myself.
I was hard. Jaded. A real cynic but didn’t even know it.
And then I adopted a wounded one.
In doing so, God revealed to me something I’d never allowed the core of my being to truly accept: I was loved.
Surely one of the saddest things ever is to be deeply and lavishly loved but not have the eyes to perceive it.
What a tragedy, to get to the other side of life and see how one could have lived- as a dearly beloved child of God- but having missed it. Adoption taught me there’s such a thing as failure to “lay hold.”
“…So that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:12
Just as my Little Bit is of our household, never to leave, always identified with us, so we are in Christ. He is our brother, our family, and we are in the household of God. He has reached down and laid hold of you (Phil 3:12) and has taken you from the domain of darkness and abuse and rejection and pain and transferred you into the kingdom of the family- His beloved Son (Col 1).
We can sulk and hold back and piddle in the corner with our little pet toys… or we can reach out with both hands, press forward with all we’ve got, and lay hold of that which has laid hold of us.
I know what rejection is like. I also know the remedy for rejection is acknowledging the acceptance offered in Christ.
The remedy for neglect is embracing the love and warmth extended me in Jesus.
The remedy for abuse is running to the table of fellowship with Him, where I am always welcomed, loved, and nourished back to health.
Hiding out in the corner never did anyone any good … except the enemy who wishes to single us out from the rest in order to devour us.
As a mom, I knew I needed to help my precious one learn to embrace the new, push forward into the warmth, and lay hold. And that meant I needed to practice it myself too.
She and I began a messy, painful, glorious journey together. And last night at the dinner table, my Little Bit came and sat in my lap without being invited. WIN!! She has made such amazing progress in the nine years we’ve had her. I’m so very, very proud of her. I wouldn’t trade the healing we’ve both received for all the world! I’ve come to now how our Daddy feels when we trust Him and lean into His love, when we run to Him expecting to be heard and loved on. How His heart thrills When we assume He is who He says He is. Wow! What a God. What an AMAZING Father.
How about you, my friend? Will you join your sisters in coming out of the corner, putting down our pet emotions, stretching out our hands and opening our arms wide to embrace the grace that has been lavished on us?
You can do this. Together, we can lay hold. Let’s live as those lavishly loved.
Arabah Joy is wife to Jackson, adoptive and biological mom to 4 little ones, and missionary to East Asia. Her adventures span far and wide, from eating pig snouts to giving birth in three different Asian countries. Mostly though, she is a broken woman redeemed by grace. She has written several books including the 40 day devotional, Trust Without Borders. You can find out more and connect with her at ArabahJoy.com.