Monday, 25 February 2008

A Sense of Belonging

Jason and I have just spent the night at a foster parent training session in which we were discussing the effects of a sense of belonging on children. In a house like ours with adopted, foster and birth children, you can bet that we have thought about this topic allot. Most people assume that birth children have an advantage over adopted and foster children when it comes to knowing that they belong. I would agree that there are issues that arise for adopted and foster children that bring questions about belonging to the forefront but I would argue that the question of where do I belong is central to us all.

Part of the developmental process of defining who you are is to ask where you belong. So if we all go through it, where do we find our sense of belonging? This is where my ideas differ from the instructor of our class. I believe we will never really know where we belong until we know that our Heavenly Father created us to belong with Him. Yes, our families are a big part of the equation but they do not contain all the puzzle pieces that help us to define who we are.

I find it ironic that when we buy a new car we head straight to the car's manual to see what type of gas it takes and what oil gives us optimum performance but when people want to know what makes us different as human beings we never think to look to the bible. This is our instruction manual that our manufacturer gave us. Why would you not look to the one who created you?

"Then God said, "Let us make human beings to be like God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:26a & 27

I think when God created us He implanted a homing device. We truly belong when we are reunited with the One who created us, Yahweh God. The problem is that so many people do not know how to be reunited with God or that is why they feel like they don't belong. They spend their whole life looking to fill that hole.

Our search is a reflection of our need to belong, to be accepted, to be loved, to have an identity, a relationship. I believe we are forever restless if we do not have this sense of belonging. And we will never find fulfillment, in expressing ourselves, until we find it in committing ourselves totally to God. You and I are searching for someone to love us but that someone is God. That is the most primitive and basic hunger of our life. No other need can ever be met until this need is met.

When we say, "I belong to the Father, I am one of his family. I'm a child of God. I know him as my heavenly Father. I have been accepted by him. He loves me." then we have a basis upon which all the other relationships of life can all be worked out. This is where the deep and acute cry of the our human heart is met. Jesus Christ meets us in this place. It is where we belong.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Once Upon A Time There Were Two Princesses...

"All shall be well
And all shall be well
And all manner of things shall be well."
-Julian of Norwich (14th century writer)

This is a story that happened not too long ago to two princesses...

Not long ago in land far, far away and a lot warmer than here, there were two princesses waiting to be revealed. They had travelled for a long time to arrive at the beautiful castle. As they walked along the cobblestone entrance and under the stunning arches they were wide-eyed. As they entered the foyer with the elegant tapestries and gold trim they were awestruck.

"Look at the crowns." whispered one of the girls. "Are they real?" "Will we get to wear one?" The question hung in the air with expectation.

"Welcome, ladies. You must be Princess Caroline and Princess Justine. The girls looked surprised to be called not only princess but by their names. "We have been waiting for you. Princess Justine would you like to come this way?"

She was hesitant, wanting to run to the seat that had been prepared just for her but a little afraid that this was too good to be true. She cautiously walked through the red velvet curtains and into the opulent room. As she took her seat, she looked around nervously. "I am so excited that you are here. Have you thought about what kind of princess you would like to be?" said her fairy godmother-in-training. Princess Justine shook her head quickly and looked down at her dusty running shoes. "That is alright, I have something just for you."

On the other side of the room the scene was a little different. Her eyes were bright and as wide as saucers. Princess Caroline's body language told everyone that she was soaking in every moment of this experience. When she was asked "Have you thought about what kind of princess you would like to be?" She did not hesitate. She smiled, "Yes, I know." She embraced the declaration of her royalty with confidence.

Two girls, each one every bit a "real" princess but very different in their reactions to this experience.

This story plays out in real life as different women each have similliar reactions to being called a princess. The truth is long ago God set a plan in motion that would bring us back to Him. We are so infinately valuable to Him that He sent His Son on a rescue mission. Jesus paid the ultimate price for us. He chose us and called us by name to receive his free gift of salvation. Author and dramatist Nicole Johnson says it well, "You are placed by grace in the middle of the royal family of God with everyone else who doesn't deserve to be there."

The reality of this life though makes some of us a bit afraid to really believe that God would want us in His royal family. Fairy tales are just for story books and happily ever after is for someone else. Often our broken hearts and shattered dreams are hidden from those around us but we ourselves are never forget them. Part of us wants to believe that we are chosen and that we are of infinate value but life has taught us no matter what our age that you never know what will happen tomorrow. Maybe it is safer not dream at all...

The difference in our reactions comes when we believe the ending of His real story and embrace who God is calling us to be. When we believe in the Kingdom and in the King of Kings our hope is in our belief of the love God has for us. Although we may have and will suffer loss and some of our own dreams have and will be shattered, we have been told about and have experienced the One who is the fixer of all broken hearts and broken dreams. We know the secret is not the world's illusive fairy tale ever after but the reality that the King of Kings calls us by name and provides our royal lineage. With this knowledge we are able to let our minds soar to heights that are unimaginable, and we learn more about the Princess heart He has given us everyday. We choose to believe that no matter what happens "all will be well" because that is what our real King has said about the ending of our story.

My prayer is that these two little princesses will take Him at His word and believe who He has created them to be....

Monday, 4 February 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I know...I know I am only a month behind! Every week in January I have had "write a new post" on my to do list and every week I have been disappointed that I had not been able to cross it off. So here I am at the beginning of Febuary but I am finally getting it done.

Well, life in the McGibbon Zoo for the last quarter of 2007 was crazier than usual as you could probably tell from my lack of posts. I had a bit of trouble adjusting to the demands of five children, and all the organizing that it takes just to get us through a regular week. I spent most the last few months trying to coordinate schedules, keep children up on their homework, making meals to feed what feels like an army but is really just Daniel, researching if it would be cheaper to keep a cow in our backyard because of all of the milk the kids consume and off course doing laundry so that I did not loose one of the children that I love under all the clothes! I have never in my life been so happy to see my bed at the end of the day more so than I have in the last few months. I got a new job that I started at the beginning of November. I work in a couple local schools part-time facilitating a program that is just for girls. I adore it. Jason started playing every week at a local cafe here in town. It has been fun to go and hang out there and hear him sing. The kids all think he is famous. Our little church continues to grow and we have now been averaging between 90 and 100 people a week. It has been amazing to watch all the people that God is bringing. We now have two services on Sundays - our regular morning worship service and an evening prayer service. The evening prayer service has been a real blessing to me even though I do not get to attend too often because I have to stay with our kids. As our chruch family comes together in prayer I am encouraged that they are petitioning the Lord on our behalf.

Over the Christmas holidays we had lots of fun with family and friends. We decided to do a family photo of our ever-growing crew. That could have been a whole post in itself! I have included one of the photos and it turned out not too bad considering the actual photographic event was like trying to herd a bunch of cats! Really, truely it could have been an episode on Candid Camera. I have included a copy of one of the photos. Note which child is holding their Santa hat in their lap. She is the same one who asked the mall Santa ever to politely to shave his beard off!

A couple of days after Christmas we packed up the van and began our McGibbon Big Adventure which has been three years in the making. Two vans, four adults, and five children, all their luggage and gear on a roadtrip to the sunny south! We had blast with Jason's parents and met Jay's brother Brandon and his girlfriend Nathalie down there. It was an amazing time in which I took over 700 photos! Jason says I need to edit which I am trying to do but as I look at all the photos I am flooded with all the memories and I keep saying, "Oh it won't hurt to keep one more."

So all in all, the zoo is still as crazy as ever, God is still faithful in His provision and ever-loving kindness. He still amazes me as He makes Himself known through all the business of life and I am looking forward to watching Him work in 2008.