I’m a slow learner.
But with each passing year I learn that this is the most important habit to have — keeping my eyes up.
Whether we are called to grow our family through adoption or to be advocates for waiting children or called to go and rock babies across the world or to support families in their calling through our gifts — the world will also call — every single time He calls, we must keep our eyes up.
Another truth I’ve seen played out: the more you keep your eyes up and follow, the more the world will also give you its opinions on your calling, how you are following, and critique every move you make.
No matter what – keep your eyes up… and follow. Oh what sweet blessing is ahead as you trust Him to be the provision for His call for your family and to be the writer of your story. And as easy as it might sound — this might be the most challenging to really be brave enough to always live and certainly never the most popular in the world.
To be honest, I’ve never felt this struggle of keeping my eyes up more than following the Lord in adoption — both before, during and after we were home with our children. My husband and I have followed the Lord radically in many ways through helping start a school in Africa to opening our home for extended-stay for others in hard places, so there’s certainly been opportunity to experience opposition to side-track our focus. But it’s been through our following the Lord in growing our family through adoption that we have experienced the most open, challenging and at times hurtful opinions from the world around us. There’s also nothing that makes my heart beat faster than having the world question my family or His call upon our family.
I’m learning my response in these moments needs to always be first to refocus, rest in His call and stand…
keeping my eyes up.
My husband and I were both very certain on God’s call for us to grow through adoption and as we prayed He led our hearts across the world — first to Ethiopia and then to China. We heard His call loud and clear on our hearts, and we never questioned because our eyes were up.
I don’t think I was quite prepared for what would come next from the world around us. The questions about why not this place or that place — and even some times hurtful things said to us about our call to go around the world to grow our family. But the truth for us was and still is — we aren’t asked to follow the world or other people’s opinions, calls, or perspectives. We are called to keep our eyes up and follow Him wherever He leads us.
I love Proverbs 4:25-27 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Upon coming home and the bazillion doctor appointments and therapies the questions or opinions of the world would follow. Were we prepared for this? How were our children already home being effected? The list goes on. Years later, I now see the answers to those questions and oh my… how thankful I am that we kept our eyes up and followed. How I also wish I had known the answers to some of the world’s questions at the time – how beautifully the Lord would refine and shape our family through simply keeping our eyes up and following.
Our family stronger. Our children braver. Our hearts encouraged. I couldn’t have written a better story — and it’s one that could only have been written with our eyes up and following Him.
Over the years the need to keep my eyes up hasn’t changed. Oh, it’s still there. It may take shape in advocating to teachers or educating those my little ones are exposed to how their needs are different, and some times even fighting for them. It may be in the form of “Oh my gracious Lord – we have a big family…” paired with my struggle to sometimes compare the ease of a smaller family. And yet always – the same habit and practice changes everything…
keeping my eyes up.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Along this journey and call I’m embracing that our calls will look different— and comparing the call or the fruit from it only will steal joy. I’ve learned that everyone has a crazy aunt or neighbor that will share that we’ve got our call all wrong from the Lord — and it’s not my job to change anyone’s mind but simply to keep my eyes up and follow His call on my life. I’ve learned my kids all have different needs no matter how they came to us, and not everyone who leads or teaches them in other settings will understand or be on board with how we do things. But it’s my call to simply advocate for them, keeping my eyes up.
Over and over as I keep my eyes up, I see His faithfulness. As I keep my eyes up, burdens are lifted. When the world doesn’t understand or agree, I see it’s not my job to make them understand or see — but His. There is freedom – to simply keep my eyes UP — freeing me more and more to look into their eyes and tell them how much I love them, how thankful I am for how He has written our story and how the greatest, bravest and biggest lesson they can ever learn too is – no matter what – to keep their eyes up too.