And it was awesome. My life was exactly as I had always imagined it would turn out to be. But as we all know, what we think will be awesome is never really as awesome as we assume it will be.
It's true that maintaining a clean house and raising three happy healthy children is the stuff that dreams are made of. But For me it was a cake walk, and I didn't want any cake. I wanted gritty. I wanted to be "all in" for Jesus, but I wasn't completely certain what that was supposed to look like.
So I shopped around. I poured all of my extra into our children's ministry at church, into homeschooling my children, I even dabbled in growing food for our community food bank.
All of those were fantastic, community changing projects. But they were the wrong projects. Each one I tried on felt like a second-hand pair of sneakers. They might look great from the outside, but they were molded to fit someone elses foot. And every step I took reminded me that they belonged to someone else.
This all came to a head in October of 2009. I vividly remember the time my frustration with all these projects came to a boiling point. It was a warm afternoon and the late afternoon lighting was golden. The kids and I were out in the garden, as we were most warm afternoons that year. They were off running around like yahoos and I was pulling weeds. Well mostly I appeared to be pulling weeds as I yelled at God. It was a "what do you want from me, and why do all of my attempts at being 'all in' feel so wrong" kind of argument.
October 2009 is when Max's biological father lost his custody battle with the Russian court system and our son was moved into the permanent care orphanage in Severodvinsk.
We wouldn't meet this little boy who would ultimately change the course of our lives for another 9 months. And even then we spent most of his 2 week visit assuming God had brought him to us so we could help him find a home with another family. But that's another story entirely.
If you ever wanted an example of what it means to be "all in" for Jesus, just look at my son. My very anxious, attachment disorder-y child who really is much too emotionally fragile to be in public school. My child who would flounder in any other social dynamic than the one he's in. Everything we have is everything he needed most.
And by golly it's hard. I never imagined that being "all in" would mean so much sacrifice. That ultimately I'd end up scrapping all those other "good for the community" projects to focus %100 on this little boy. This child who is so much more than a good deed I did in order to make myself feel like a good Christian.