Guest blog by Cynthia Christensen
I’m tired. I’m weary. I’m frustrated. I’m disappointed. I’m a woman that loves her God with every inch of her being, but lately, I’m struggling and I’m sick of stifling it. I need to let it out but there’s always the lingering question of what others will think – especially because I’m a Christian.
See, in the last few years, I think of all the broken, hurting people with nowhere to go, that my husband and I have abandoned all boundaries for in an attempt to help them get their feet under them and begin living the lives they were meant to live. When we take someone on, we try to count the cost ahead of time to make sure we aren’t jeopardizing our own family and if it fits, we jump in with everything we have. We don’t think about pay-off, pay-back, or if the person fails to realize their worth in the end. We collectively agree as a family that if we can be a tool to help lift someone to a higher level of life, it’s worth the risk.
No one in my family is known for doing things half-way so if we decide to take a risk on someone, we go all out. We give 100%, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and we let people see us in every light possible. We do this because we believe that in being real, we show others their own potential despite their own flaws. In some way, it’s like being in Times Square naked – especially as a Christian. People seem to watch closer when you have a self-ascribed set of values.
Here’s my problem: as I type this, my fingers are stiff and sore from scrubbing filth off my tile floor, my back aches from fix-it-up projects around my house, I have a headache from cleaning black mold, dust, and grime from around my house, my husband is exhausted because he works full-time and then has to come home and do the man projects (and not because he loves DIY), and we are now thousands of dollars in debt over all the fix-it projects our house required just to get it in livable condition. Why, you ask?
Well, we jumped head first into a charitable cause a year and a half ago. See, we had this good friend who wanted more for her family. We were moving to Arizona, so we decided we were in a position to bless her by giving her the opportunity to live in and rent our home with a yard instead of an apartment complex. We were so excited to bless her that we went all out, cleaning it spotless and preparing it for her family’s arrival. We even decided that our mortgage was more than she could afford every month but that we believed in her enough to eat a few hundred dollars of the mortgage every month.
Fast forward to last month. We take possession of the house again, only to have the rude awakening that the level of integrity we expected of ourselves was not reciprocated. Our house (which was home to me) was trashed. We are six weeks into fixing it up and still I can’t see the end in sight. I know it’s coming, but it’s hard to convince our weary bodies of it at this point.
My solution: to confront the “friend” and ask her how she let this happen. I was trying to convince myself there would be some good reason that would make this all better. What did I get? “Well, you are high and mighty and you don’t work so you have all day to clean. I don’t. You are not a good Christian for complaining about this when I did my best.”
It wasn’t my jaw that hit the floor! It was my whole body! I was having flashbacks of telling my kids we couldn’t afford this or that because we were helping a family that deserved better. We had enough and it was good to sacrifice for others. At this moment my kids are having a hard time seeing that the sacrifice was worth it.
Over the last month, we have been called horrid names, our life has been picked apart to be used and twisted as a method of convincing others, and I’m tired of hearing about it. We risked it all only to be slapped in the face…and left asking ourselves if we really should turn the other cheek and risk it again.
But, then we remember the question: What if it works? What if our risk leverages someone to a whole new way of life? What if…
About the book: Birthmother grief, a type of grief many don’t know at all, yet some know all too well. The author, Cynthia Christensen, trudged through her own grief after the adoption of her son, Joshua. Being a private person, she did not want to do one-on-one counseling so she decided to travel the path with only one counselor, Jesus. Walking alongside Jesus proved to be not only healing but restorative, and life-changing.
While counseling at an adoption agency and talking with others whose lives have been touched by adoption, the author recognized that many post adoption birthmothers, birthfathers, or family members never fully recovered from the grief of adoption. Restorative Grief is a Bible study written for the sole purpose of restoring broken hearts and shattered lives, by dealing with the pain of separation that follows the extremely emotional events leading up to the relinquishment of a child.