Last weekend Derek and I went to the national "Together for Adoption" Conference in Atlanta.
Between the two of us, we've attended our share of conferences in years past: marriage, women's, men's, youth, youth leaders, education, technology, and homeschool, just to name a few.
Suffice to say, we're seasoned experts in the conference arena. Been there. Done that. (And yes, we even have a few t-shirts to prove it.)
But this conference was so different. And so timely. And so beneficial for us.
Beforehand, we read the descriptions for each breakout session and mapped out which ones we most wanted to attend and most needed for our family. We donned the name tags, wandered the exhibit hall and took in a deep breath--full of expectation and hope.
Each speaker, each song, each session reiterated our call to this journey of adoption. It was confirmation upon confirmation upon confirmation. And our thirsty souls drank it all in.
But the loudest, yet most gentle clamor, was the sound of our own adoption reverberating in our ears from start to finish.
Have you heard it? Have you heard how you dearly loved you are? No? Then read on, my friend.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.
Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.
Now we call him, “Abba, Father."
For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. Rom. 8:14-16 (NLT)
Adoption is the heartbeat of the gospel. It's the highest privilege--all because of our close relationship with the Father as His child, because of the sacrifice of His Son. Jesus is the natural, eternal son, but we are adopted into His family through grace.
Adoption is the message from a loving Father, saying, "Come home with me."
All of us, spiritually speaking, were born outside the family of God. Apart from Him, we were isolated, rebellious, soiled and in great need. But before the foundation of the world, God chose us. He was busy, designing His family, preparing to become a Father.
Similarly, we are busy planning and preparing to become parents once again. This time to an orphan, temporarily outside our family. We have made the choice to fill out the applications and open our hearts and our home to our daughter. We want her here, with us.
Once the judge declares the adoption is official, she becomes our honored daughter. She has a place in our family. She will gain a new identity, no longer being known as she once was in the past. She will bear a new name; she will be a Fort. And she will belong with us.
The same thing is true for us spiritually. The moment we believe, the moment we say, "Yes" to Jesus, our family dynamics change entirely. We have a place in the family of God, not by anything we did for ourselves, but because of what was done for us.
We possess a new name and a new identity. We belong. And nothing we can do will ever change that. Because family is forever.
Thank You, Abba Father, for the Spirit of adoption who confirms who we are:
wanted, chosen, lavishly loved, adopted sons and daughters.
Thank You for leaving Your home to enter into the spiritual orphanages
of this world with one goal in mind: bringing us home with You.
Adoption. Most beautiful display of the gospel. Ever.