-This weeks post is by Ashley Bowie, a member at Redeemer. She pours an excellent cup of coffee, and loves words the way some people love their pets, or children.
Every March my family celebrates a special holiday. On March 19, 1988, my parents adopted three children from the bad side of life. I was only four; I had a sister who was five and had taught me how to tie my shoes, and how to talk to people and a happy rowdy brother who had just turned two. We were a mess for sure. We had been through a lot in our collective short years and had all the fears and bad habits that came with it. But on that special day, we walked into a new home. We had new beds that were just for us, a big back yard with a wooden swing set, clothes, toys, and family, oh boy was there family. On our first night, there was a huge party. It sort of happened by accident. Everyone knew we were coming home, and they all wanted to stop by and say hello to the kids my parents had chosen. We met neighbors and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. Everyone who had prayed and cried with my parents as they went through the soul trying process of adoption was there to celebrate. I still remember meeting our next door neighbors who had a girl my age, and proudly showing her my bed, a top bunk if you can believe it, and the first stuffed animal that was ever mine.
After all the cake had been eaten, and the presents had been put away, I was staring up into the passionate blue eyes of my new Mom and the gentle hazel of my new Dad. They kissed me and said, "Welcome home, I love you." I don't have many memories before that day; maybe I was too young, or maybe God was protecting me, but I remember every moment of that day. To this day, we all remember and cherish March 19th. It's the day the orphans came home, the day the emptiness was made full, the day we became a family. We call it Gotcha Day because as my Mom and Dad always said, "that's the day we got-cha."
God adopted you. You were born into hardship and subjected to the neglect and abuse of this world; you carry the fears and bad habits that come with it. And then one day, God brought you home. He gave you a safe place, He cares for your needs and gives you family, so much family. Do you remember the day that God "Got-cha?"
Easter is just around the corner. This is the time of year we remember with sober minds that God sent His only son, to die on our behalf, to bridge the gap between creator and created. This is also the day that God "got-cha." On that day, He paid the price and decided that you belonged to Him, that you would come home, and you would be His child.
Romans 8:14-17 "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ..."
Maybe you think the day that God gotcha was a day that you finally gave up or a day your eyes finally opened. Maybe you were at the end of your rope or at the bottom of the pit. Maybe that's when you saw it, when you finally realized that God has adopted you. But He has wanted you from the beginning and has been calling you home to Himself since the day you were born.
Romans 8:29 "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers."
When I was adopted, I was rescued. I was rescued from neglect, and abuse and fear. But I was also brought home. I was given care instead of neglect, compassion instead of abuse, and love instead of fear. It took a while for my little heart to understand that. I didn't realize that I would be fed, so I hid food. I didn't know that mistakes would be met with kindness, so I lied. I think sometimes we focus so much on what God has saved us from, that we forget to recognize what he has saved us to. You were pulled out of the filth of the world so that He could embrace you as His child. You have no need to hide, or cover up. You are home. You are safe.
No one was going to send me back, this wasn't an accident, there were no regrets and no "plan B" incase this didn't pan out the way they had hoped. If you know anything about post infant adoption, you know that children who have been through a lot, take a lot of love and a lot of work. Attachment disorders, identity disorders, stunted emotional growth, and pathologically deceitful tendencies, these words were in the file of myself, my brother and sister. Imagine what would be in your file right now. Imagine the labels the world would put on you and try to convince you that you don't deserve the love of a Good Father, or that it would be too much work to make you whole again.
Romans 8:38-39 "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Now imagine the impromptu party that happened on your gotcha day. The angels that stopped by to see the child that God had chosen, the family and friends that had prayed for you and were so proud and thrilled that you are now a member of the family. And when the lights go out, and everyone goes home, there He is, your good and great heavenly father looking at you with bright and unending love saying "Welcome home, I love you.”