Radical Exceptions? Following with a Growing Family

Radical Blog Series Graphic

Thanks for joining this week as we discussed the ideas of there being exceptions to following Jesus in the series Radical Exemptions?  We talked particularly about parents and the call to follow Jesus.  And since I am not a parent, I turned the blog over to parents all week who talked about how they are continuing to follow Jesus with a growing family.  Here’s Tuesday’s guest post, here’s Wednesday’s, and here’s yesterday’s in case you missed them.

And I don’t want to leave anyone out.  If you have ideas and thoughts to share, here’s how you can do that.

Today’s final guest post comes from Shannon Krueger.  Shannon and I met in California through our husbands, who were both serving as youth pastors at different churches.  They are a family that has embraced the idea of organic outreach and believes in sharing Jesus in natural rhythms and relationships.  Shannon and her husband, Keith, live in Northern California with their daughters Alexandra, Hannah, and Elliyah, and their son, whose adoption is nearing completion (but whose name must be kept confidential until that time).  I know you’ll enjoy hearing Shannon’s take on following Jesus as a family.

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Being a follower of Jesus has been by far the best adventure of my life! It’s definitely like being on a roller coaster with twists, turns, ups, and downs. I answered the call and became a follower of Jesus in 2000 and it has been a wild ride ever since. I was reflecting on this wild ride this week and how even during the very challenging times Jesus has been right there with me. He was celebrating with me with the highs and carrying me through the lows.

Jesus calls us to love and serve him wherever we are. This may be in an overseas mission field, across the country or it may be right in our own home. I love that Jesus is so creative because it provides limitless possibilities to shine for Him! One way we are following Jesus is by growing our family through adoption. My husband is adopted and has had a desire to adopt for as long as he can remember. For me it was a different story. God really did a work on my heart and placed a desire in me to adopt, but it didn’t happen overnight. The Lord has used my husband to help me see that the decision to adopt is not about me. It isn’t about me not being able to handle four children and it’s not about my inability to handle the challenges we are going to face. It is about making a difference in one child’s life. It is giving a child an opportunity to love and be loved, it is providing a loving home for him to grow and most importantly it is sharing the love of Jesus with him.

We started the adoption process with an introduction class and paperwork in 2008. We had finished our first round of paperwork and the next step was to meet our social worker. Well SURPRISE I found out I was pregnant the week we were going to meet our social worker! Talk about adventure…this was not even on our radar, let alone with our plan of adoption. We had to let our social worker know that we would be calling back in a few years. Fast forward to 2011 and after our youngest daughter’s 2nd birthday we decided to start the process of adoption again. We filled out paperwork, answered lots of questions, took adoption preparation classes, read a bunch of books, and prayed A LOT! After preparing our hearts and home, we received a call about a boy who needed a home in October 2012. We were on vacation and when we returned we had two days to get his bedroom all ready. The night before we were going to meet this boy we found out he wasn’t going to be coming after all.

There was no doubt God knew who our son was and He would bring him to us at the right time, but it still hurt. A few weeks later we found out about another boy who needed a home. As we have learned with the process of adoption there are always twists and turns. We didn’t end up meeting this boy until January. The day we met him my husband and I knew he was our son. We had him stay with us several times, we went to visit him several times and in March 2013 he came to live with us forever. We are still going through the adventure of court hearings and waiting periods for the adoption to become final, but God has made it very clear to us that this boy is the son we have prayed and waited for.

I have been thinking a lot about the adventure of parenthood. One of the biggest ways God has been growing me is overcoming fear. I was so afraid of having 4 children and the challenges of adoption. God meets me where I am at each time and every step of the way has reminded me to keep following Him, that this is part of His plan. Even though we are only a few months into having four children, I am grateful I didn’t let fear stop God’s plan.

I know some people think that being a stay at home mom is boring and mundane. And believe me I am not a fan of the laundry and other chores, but the challenge for me is to not lose sight of my main purpose. My role is to show Jesus to my children. I have only led two people to Jesus in my life and those two people were my oldest daughters. I do hope as God continues to use me that I will have the privilege of leading more people to Christ.

So how am I serving Jesus every day? When I die to self and serve my family by managing our home, I am showing them Jesus. When I home school our son so that he can get caught up and have an easier transition to his new life, I am showing him Jesus. This year I organized informal prayers walks with a few other moms. I printed up the staff list at my daughters’ school and we walked the neighborhood around the school praying for each person on staff. We usually had a few of our younger children in a baby carrier, stroller, or walking with us.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” I am definitely weak! I do not in any way have it all together. I am constantly asking for forgiveness and feel like I am falling short as a mom. But what I do know is that if I keep asking Jesus to use me, He will. The other day my son said he wants to be a police officer and one of my daughters said she wants to be a social worker to help children like her brother. All of this hard work is not in vain. My main prayer for my children is that they will love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. If my husband and I raise them to not only have a relationship with Jesus but to show Jesus to others around them, then impacting our four children will impact others who will impact others.

We are in a season of pouring a lot of our time and energy into our four children. We are in that stage of just trying to survive each day and a lot of people are showing Jesus to us through their prayers, meals, helping with the kids, encouragement, etc. But as we come up for air we will be able to bless our community more. That might be picking up trash as we walk home from school, praying for a friend who is struggling, baking some goodies for our neighbors, visiting a convalescent home, and whatever other creative ways God asks us to show people who He is. We are eternally grateful that He allows us to be a part of this incredible journey!

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5 thoughts on “Radical Exceptions? Following with a Growing Family

  1. So glad to see this post! I have been thinking all week how part — not all, but part — of me radically following Jesus was adopting our daughter. But just adopting her does no good if we’re not also intentionally raising her to know God and see him all around us. She is only four months old, but I talk to her about God all the time. The stress of the adoption process and now the challenges of parenting a new baby are the truest experiences I’ve ever had of dying to myself and following God. As much as I love Abby, she is not enough to get me out of bed when I’ve only had 3 hours of sleep. I depend on God’s quiet voice whispering to me, “You are the first way Abby will see me.”

    1. Thanks for sharing, Noelle. I think adoption is a really beautiful picture of God’s love for us. I love that’s part of your story!

      All of us are called to be faithful in whatever season, in whatever location to be radical. It sounds like you’re following Jesus’ call as you raise your daughter to love and know Jesus. Thank you for sharing! Keep resting in Him. I hear the first 6 months are the most exhausting.

    2. Noelle I loved reading your comment! Congratulations! When you wrote about “dying to self” I totally agree. This has been the biggest “dying to self” season that I can remember. When we knew that we would be welcoming a boy into our home but he hadn’t come yet, I had a real spiritual battle/attack. Doesn’t really matter where it came from but I was so negative and just not friendly in my role as a mom with my 3 daughters. Then God helped me see that I was fighting (without even knowing it) my upcoming “dying to self” season. Once I realized and verbalized that I was going to miss time to myself, going to the gym, and things like that God really changed my heart.
      This is an ongoing process with every Christian no matter if they are singe, married, married with children, grandparents, widows, everyone! We have seasons that are heavier “dying to self” seasons that others. But what I have found is that God does some of His best work on us in those seasons and we can use our challenges to show Jesus to others!

  2. I am totally in awe of you, Shannon. You are such an amazing women, mother & wife. I am proud to know you and to experience just a small part of this awesome journey that you and your family are experiencing right now. Thank you for sharing such a personal time with all of us! God has blessed you with many gifts.

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