Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Are You a Risk Taker?

I am. I didn't know I was, but I am.

Ten years ago, if you'd have asked me that question I would have said absolutely not. I was a planner, an organizer, a don't-take-a-step-if-you-don't-know-it-ends-well kind of girl.

Or at least I thought I was.

I must not have been, because one day I found myself in a foster/adoptive parent training class and life has never been the same.

I'm so thankful.

It was a risk. It didn't feel like it at the time. After all, I'd seen the movie Annie. I knew how this whole thing was going to turn out and I knew Hannah was going to love all the musical numbers I had planned.

But then reality showed up at my door in the shape of a nine-year-old redheaded firecracker. She wasn't concerned about my musical numbers, my rules or even my feelings.

She looked like one big risk. And she was.

At first I tried to minimize the risk, kinda skirt around the edges with her. After all, I wouldn't want to get too close. What if this didn't work out. What if I changed my mind. What if, what if, what if...

So I spent about a year putting on a good front, or at least as good a front as I could muster in those early days. I look back now at those first couple of years and wish I would have invested more. I wish I would have been all in from the very beginning.

I wasn't. I held back. I didn't like her and I made that my focus. I wasn't giving any more than she was. I based my actions on her behavior.

But what if I hadn't? What if I would have given my all those first few years? What if I had loved her without any boundaries? What if I would have served her without expecting anything in return?

Looking back I can tell you the rewards far outweighed the risk. Looking back I can see the opportunities to show her unconditional love that I let pass by. I wish I had done something different because she's amazing and always has been. I just couldn't see it at the time.

I'm glad Jesus doesn't love like I did. I'm glad He meets me where I am even if where I am is not where I should be. I'm glad He is gracious. I'm glad He is loving. I'm glad He forgives.

So I continue to grow, hopefully looking more like Him and less like me. I wish I could say the second and third time down the adoption road I did better, but I didn't. Emotions are hard to overcome and I fell more often than I soared.

But He is still gracious and He is still teaching me.

Teaching me to take risks, not because there's the possibility I might fail, but because as long as I'm walking with Him, there's really no risk at all.

Have a child in your home that you find hard to love? Take that risk. Choose to be all in. Love her when it feels impossible. Risk it. You really have nothing to lose and everything for her to gain.

Are you a risk taker? I sure hope so.

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