The Garrisons

Follow our journey on adoption #3 for child #8!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

No Judgement Attached....

This is another hard, but honest, post. I was told this week by someone I love that Nathan and I and our choices may be making others feel inferior. While this was presented graciously, it cut to the quick. You see, the very last thing I want others to see or feel in our journey is that we think we are superior or are judgemental of anyone else and their journeys.

The idea came from my last post and my reflecting on my own selfishness and struggle to embrace a life that would require me to give up some things in order to adopt two children. It was gently pointed out to me that if I am reflecting on these things, others may relate to my thoughts on myself and apply them to themselves. For example, if we are choosing to adopt children and forgo some of our dining out or vacations, then what about others who make the choice to do these things (eat out, vacation, etc.) and don't adopt children?

I want to be clear about something and I hope you will hear my heart on this: We are not concerned with what others are or are not doing. We hope that you (or anyone else) will never look at our lives and think we think 'we are so good' or that others are inferior. Boy, that was hard to even write. We have been blessed (and challenged) to be put on this path of adoption, but we are not better than anyone because we are on it. This is God's doing and not our own. My flaws are many - too many to list - and I am just grateful that God will still use me despite of them.

We know that we are on the path that God has for our family - we are in agreement and we have peace about it. I will be honest though - this is hard. It's hard to think that other's might feel negatively about what we are doing. It's hard to choose something for your family that is 'out of the norm'. It's hard to feel like others might judge you about the decisions you are making. It's hard to think about making sacrifices.

Here's the truth - I am responsible for doing what I know God is asking me to do, and I hope that I will do it with grace so that others never feel in some way condemned or judged by me in the process. You are responsible for your own journey.
I was reminded of this passage of scripture earlier this week by a good friend (unrelated to the conversation I mentioned above, but very appropriate):

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
Again Jesus said, "Simon, son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
The third time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?"
He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old someone will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."
Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.
Then he said to him, "Follow me!"
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them......
When Peter saw him, he asked,
"Lord, what about him?"
Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?
You must follow me."
John 21:15-22
You see, Jesus wanted Peter to worry about his own journey....not John's or anyone else's. The same is true for me - He wants me to worry about my journey. Yours is between you and Him.
Nathan and I will make decisions for our family, and yes, advocate for is our heart.
But we do so with no judgement attached. Each one can read, pray, and decide for themselves what God has for them. They certainly don't need me in my own imperfection to do it for them.


Stacey Rainer said...

I'm so sorry you are feeling this way but can relate. Our decisions about leaving fertility in God's hands, as we feel God has lead us to do, has come under fire as well. When we are all out together, we sure draw a lot of looks.

I admit I have struggled with a lot of the things I've read from you, either written or passed on. But, not in the way that I think you think you are superior. It just makes me look at where we are and really assess if we are doing right, and following God's leading. So far, I've come to the conclusion that we are. However, I'm also open to the fact that that could change some day.

I'm so glad to keep reading about your journey so please don't stop sharing!

Gretchen Magruder said...

This is SO hard. We've heard things like that, too, and it breaks my heart. If people only knew how screwed up we really are :)

Nathan said...

Jesus clearly has said to take care of the least of these. Over and over in the bible it mentions the need to take care of orphans and also of widows. Not everything that Jesus or his apostles told us to do resonates well with everyone. Not everyone liked the things that Jesus told us to do. Everyone did not like Jesus and some of the things he said made people angry, bitter, some of them felt he was judging them. He said take up my cross and follow me. That which you do to the least of me you do to me.

Jennifer said...

Kathy - It is impossible to separate yourself from what God has called you to do with your life. This is your mission and you and Nathan are following it with all your hearts. That is a good thing. Not everyone can adopt. We can each do something, however, to make a difference for these children who have no hope. Sometimes that may simply be to come alongside a family who is willing and offer support - emotional, prayer, financial - whatever we are in a position to do. As you said, we each need to be obedient to what God has asked of us and not worry about what He is asking of others. I could feel so inferior when I think of the missionaries around the world and consider the sacrifices they are making and I sit at home in the lap of luxury. I understand, though, that God has asked me to do something different with my life and it does not make it any less valuable in His sight. If my goal is to please Him and to do what He's asked of me, then I am right where I belong. Romans 8:1 -There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

kim said...


I am so proud of you all. This journey is not an easy one by any means and Satan will try to do his best to detour you and Nathan from following what God has specifically laid on your hearts. Satan does not want any of us to fulfill the destiny the Lord has placed on us. The bible says that God had a plan/purpose for us before we were even born. Each of us has our OWN PLAN none more important than the other.

Our culture today has us trained to be mindful of what the other has going on. To compare ourselves to each other and base our desires or reactions to what others are doing. But God says our eyes should be on Him and we should be focusing on the plan He has for us not the plan He has for anyone else.

I pray that you find peace that what you are doing is what He has called you to. That's all that really matters anyway.

Our battles are spiritual and this comment is just one more way for the spiritual battle to continue. For you to self-doubt what God has placed on your heart.

I pray that each of us find our own ways - it's so difficult. I struggle too as I watch others continue the adoption road but know that right now He is calling us to be still. I worry if I am not doing enough or if I am being less obedient. The truth is that's my own personal battle and not yours.

Thank you for being mindful of others thoughts and feelings but most importantly thank you for being willing to put yourself out there... being transparent of what the Lord is doing in your life.

It's obviously causing others to think through what God has personally called them to. How amazing is that!

Love you much friend and super proud of you guys!!!

Teri said...

I'm so thankful I came across your blog. You have a way of expressing your heart with kindness and love.