I have never been to a military boot camp. My understanding is that is is intensely, physically and mentally grueling.
Something important to know about me is I love learning! When I went back to college as an adult I loved it. I appreciated the mental challenge far more than when I was a teenager. It felt so good to work my brain in more strenuous ways than Dr. Suess and Mickey Mouse allow for.
That being said, I thought signing up for Together for Adoption's theology of adoption boot camp would be so fun!.... Let me tell you, Dan Cruver, Drill Sargeant, Sir. You were tough. I left your class completely worn. But in a good way :)
If you ever have the opportunity to sit in on his teaching, do NOT pass it up. I loved the passion with which he spoke. He brought his very personal life in as examples, emotions that would be very hard to share with the world. But it served to prove that he was speaking from his heart and not from some lofty position on an educated, high pedastal.
In my last post I made a bold statement. I said that what I had learned in that class had been life altering. And I promise you it was.
Two days before I left for Summit 9, I sent a text to my husband that basically said "I'm a failure. We aren't doing enough. 3 kids have died of hunger related issues since I started typing this text." I wasn't in a great place.
So when I sat down on Wednesday morning I was shocked when the first words out of Dan's mouth were, "Please quick write down on the back of your handouts, on a scale of 1-10 how much do you think God is delighting in you right now in your life."
.......inside I'm screaming "ARE YOU KIDDING ME???" and I'm pretty sure he was looking right at me. I generously gave my self a 4 and then settled in for the 7 hour class.
**I'm going to attempt to take an intense 7 hours and condense it down to its most simplistic form.
Adoption, biblically speaking, is the story of the entire history of the universe. Every person, that ever was.
Ephesians 1:4-6, 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
When it was just God the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus the Son, and nothing else, there was great love. Because as 1 John tells us, "God IS love. And he who dwells in love, abides in God, and God IN him."
Because God is love, "Love is never turned inward. It is always turned outward upon others." - Dan Cruver
So, when the world was a void the expression of that love was a desire to create. Now think of the magnificent creations of this world. Mountains, forests, waterfalls, lakes, plains, desserts, animals, the waters of the Carribbean.
It says in the Bible that He made these, and was happy. He delighted in his creation. But of all the things he created, all the incredible, breathtaking landscapes, flowers, animals etc., it was man that He chose to make in his image. Man got to be designed in his image.
But man messed it all up. Man chooses self over and over and over.
God still wants us. God still desires to be in relationship with us. But the only way for for us to be included into the triune circle of communion again, was for the Son to become man. He so desired our messed up, selfish, failure selves that He sent his Son down.
And as Dan said, for the first time in history, Jesus made it possible for God to reside in Man, his new temple, new Eden, via the Holy Spirit.
So here it is. If you followed along with me down that road (I wish I was fancy and could have put an arrow down in betwen all those paragraphs), Dan made a statement that changed everything for me. He took what I've been reading in the Bible for my whole life, but not really accepting completely, stared straight at me and said these words:
**** "When the Father looks at Jesus, He sees you. Because Christ is in you. And you are in Him. He. Delights. In. You."
And not only that, it gets better. "God puts people in your life to delight in you. And to remind you that God delights in you."
Remember how I texted my husband, and whined about being a failure? This was his response: "You are doing exactly what God wants. When he wants. I know your heart."
Even when I mess up. Even when I don't do enough. Even when I choose to ignore the pleas of the starving because it is just so much more fun to live the American dream. When I choose to look away. When I give in to our fatigue. God. Still. Wants. Me.
I am his daughter.
He Chose me.
He adopted ME.
That is what adoption is about.! The 150 million children out there, and the familes fighting to welcome them into families, and the organizations fighting to prevent orphans, and the ones fighting to reunite families... its because we are adopted by the Father. He loves us so! And we show that love, living in us, by loving the children of this world. By adopting them into our families. By fighting for them.
My 4, at the beginning of class became a 10. Because there is nothing I can succeed at, or fail at that will make me be any more, or any less, loved by God.
Please come back and I will share simple ways for you to demonstrate God's love and delight in you, to the orphaned children of this world.
And Dan Cruver, if you are reading this, I hope I did your teaching justice, please forgive me if I mangled it :)