This Side of Heaven

How differently would we live our lives if we thought about what our lives would be like in Heaven?  I just finished reading this book tonight by author, Karen Kingsbury.    “This Side of Heaven” is about a young man who has seemingly runined his life.  His family has given up on him and yet, one day, the Lord reaches down and gets ahold of his heart.  But, it was the Lord’s design to take him home to Heaven soon after he makes the decision to live for Christ (the story is based on author Karen’s brother, David).   The young man leaves behind a daughter he has never met and a 2.3 million dollar settlement from a drunk driving accident that he was injured in.   The daughter lives with her mother and is abused many times over before her grandparents are able to get custody of her.  In the end his parents adopt his little girl and see him as he really was, a hero.

The story is one that touches my life so much right now.  I have always wanted to adopt.  I love kids and feel keenly for those who feel unloved and unwanted.  Visiting the orphanages in Africa was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life…actually, it was walking away from those orphanages empty-handed that was the hardest thing.   And now, with my brother in the process of trying to adopt a little boy and other people I know talking about it, it has become even more real to me.

So many people have told me that they see adoption as something terrible.  What if the parents decide one day that they want their child back?  What if the child has major emotional issues?  What if you decide you can’t handle it?  The questions are endless but I’m constantly brought back to the question of being a biological parent.   What if God decides He wants your child back?  What if your child turns out to have mental handicaps or turns their back on the Lord?  What if you can’t deal with having kids, biological or not?   There were days my mother must have wondered why she had ever had children…but God gave her the grace to make it through with three of us.  And I daresay, I had my moments of emotional problems.  My parents were not equipped to deal with me.  I was so different from everyone else in my family – in many ways, I still am.   My family has never understood my emotional issues (and I am a very emotional person) but we are a family and I am thankful that they stood behind me through everything I went through.   Having your own children carries just as many problems as adopting someone else’s.  The question should not be can I handle it, but can I not reach out to someone who needs me?

I have to admit, as I finished reading this book I was in tears (this author is good at making me end her stories in tears…lol).   But I felt somehow a part of her story.  I often feel like I am misunderstood by people and that they don’t see me for who I really am.  In many ways I am a failure to them.   I was going to be a missionary.  I was going to change the world for Christ.  What did I do?  I moved to the backwoods of Nova Scotia (where, I might add there are ticks!) and took a job teaching at a school where I have 4 students in my class (with the very real possibility of fewer next year).   For all intents and purposes I have failed.  But, I don’t care if people think that of me.  Because I know that God brought me here for a purpose.  Just like God had a purpose for Karen Kingsbury’s brother, David.  I am in Wilmot, NS, teaching in a Christian school with 4 students in my class, because one day, when I leave this side of Heaven, my ministry here will all be worth it.  And, really, isn’t that what it is all about?  It’s not about making a name for ourselves.  Being talked about around the dinner table around the world should not be our goal.  And, if by adopting one child I can change one life…no matter the difficulties that child goes through…I can pray that God will touch that child through me…there is so much we can do this side of Heaven.  So much we can do.  Even if we only touch one life it will all be worth it.

May the Lord bless thee and keep thee and make His face to shine upon thee…This Side of Heaven.

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