In his sermon a few weeks ago, my pastor preached from 1 Peter 4. He spoke in part about using our gifts to serve others, “Each one of us should use the gifts they have been given so that they can see and serve Him.” What, you may ask, does this have to do with adoption or NHBO’s “It takes a Village” theme, you might ask? A whole lot.
I am in the middle of my 2nd adoption adventure. I am single (you can read a little bit of my story here). I work fulltime in the non-profit/ministry world, and am awaiting my second daughter from China.
At our house, until Callie comes home, it is just me and Olivia, so there is nobody for me to elbow in the middle of the night to say “your turn”, or nobody else to “enjoy” the attitudes of a frustrated 6 year old who doesn’t want to work on her spelling words. It is me who shovels the driveway in the winter, forgets to buy lunch-making supplies, and (begrudgingly) attempts to conquer the mountains of laundry.
While in many ways it may seem as if I’m “doing it alone”, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I am blessed that the Lord has brought a mighty tribe to my village. And they each have been gifted in ways to impact my life in just the ways I need.
– There is the new friend I’ve made. Her daughter and Olivia are in school together. We met while standing outside waiting to pick up our girls. We both smile as they walk hand-in-hand. She is a gifted encourager. Every time I see her, she has something kind to say to uplift, inspire or reassure me. I get periodic texts checking in to see how I’m doing. I can’t believe that I have only known her a few weeks. She is a gift that arrived at exactly the right time.
– We have medical specialists who have become an extension of our family. They care about Olivia beyond just being a patient. They bought shirts to help bring home Callie, and will be running on behalf of, or standing on the sidelines cheering with Olivia for the upcoming marathon for which Olivia has been selected for special honors. Oh… and they’re awesome at what they do. I text or call when I have even the smallest question or concern about Olivia’s health (even when it seems silly), and they are quick to answer.
– And the circle of “seasoned” mom friends who tell me “that’s normal” or “put some baking soda in the bath” or “go have a glass of wine and it’ll be ok in the morning.” They are the providers of bags of hand-me-down that Olivia goes through like a kid on Christmas morning.
– My parents who fill in on field trips when I have a conflict, take Olivia on “Mimi & Olivia Day of Fun” adventures when I need an extra moment to breathe, mow my grass when it is all just getting overwhelming, and let me know that they love me when I need to hear it.
– They are posters on social media – Pinterest, blogs, Facebook – with devotionals, meal suggestions, images with scripture for encouragement, “how-tos” (on topics of faith, education, home repair, child raising, etc.), and sometimes just silliness to make me laugh.
– Teachers and school staff who stood in the hallway and prayed with me on an especially hard morning that we would have peace and wisdom, and who then laughed with me the next morning at our “surprise” when God showed up and did what we asked of Him.
– The people at church who crouch down to get eye-level with Olivia, ask her how things are going, and let her know that she is special.
– And most importantly, it is the Chief of our Tribe, our Heavenly Father, who talks to us through our morning family devotionals, who whispers to us in our prayers, rejoices with us as we sing at the top of our lungs, and provides all these Angels who pour into our lives. Each has come into our lives, at a particular time, with a particular purpose and set of gifts.
It could be easy to get discouraged – and I think especially so as a single – when we look around at all there is to get done. But when we pause and really take inventory of all of the different people who are in our lives and the different ways that they are doing life with us, it is pretty remarkable. Our village, our tribe, is pretty awesome.
– guest post by Jennifer