Why My Husband and I Will Never be the Retired Couple in the Convertible

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They pulled out of the parking spot. Shiny, new black Lexus.

It was a gorgeous day in Florida, like most days and it beckoned to be enjoyed. The cool breeze here is perhaps appreciated more than anywhere else. They were soaking in the sunshine.

As they drove off, I said to myself, “That looks so awesome. Just an afternoon with my love in a great convertible, wind blowing through our receding hair, off to do whatever we want to do. But that will never be us. By the time we can crawl into a car without making plans for someone to watch our kids first, or we can take off without a care because our kids are all adults and the nest is empty, we will probably have our licenses revoked due to old age.”

And you know what? I’m okay with that.

I mean we didn’t plan this ya know?

It would be absolute insanity to do it on purpose.

Flat out cray cray.

We didn’t necessarily do it because that’s what good Christians do. We didn’t even do it because we think we have big hearts.

We did it for love.

And it was those romantic notions that God used to beautifully lure us into a life and a journey that is not our own. It was His love for us, and His love for her, and our love for her, that burned in us, that called to us, and led us to give our lives away like this.

We’re not amazing people, we’re not amazing parents. And our life has not become easier, one constant beautiful love affair. Quite the opposite.

Her brokenness has broken usas a family, a couple, as humans.

It has cracked us open and revealed our own brokenness.

Loving others who are broken, can break us. Which is why we are often so reluctant to give our lives to Jesus in this way. We can handle someone else’s pain a lot better than we can handle our own.

Pain is inevitable in life. At least when life is surrendered to Father’s heart and Father’s plan, He is able to bring a purpose out of the pain. Not only is the pain not in vain, but He brings a sheen to a life otherwise dulled from pursuing our own glitter.

There are days when our home is a cacophony of pain, of struggle, of disappointment, and yes, even moments of despair and hopelessness.

We’re just a family living out a life that God Himself predestined and foreordained for each of us to live out during our sojourn here on earth, our temporary dwelling place. (Read Ephesians 2:10)

“For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), [a]recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].”- Ephesians 2:10 (Amplified)

Five (soon to be six) different lives woven together into a beautiful pattern masterfully designed and completed by our Father and Creator.

Am I really capable of choosing a path for myself that could outdo that?

Not a chance.

Even though this journey has tossed us to and fro, brought us exhilarating highs and depths-of-despair lows, we wouldn’t want it any other way because we were chosen for this.

What is the point of life if you don’t go all out while you’re here?

Can we for once in our mundane lives throw caution to the wind and let the Holy Spirit be the wind in our sails taking us to new lands of purpose we’ve never known before?

Anything less is a waste of a precious life.

The exciting, pulse-racing life is not found in the fast lane of ease and convenience, it’s found in the road less traveled.

The road chosen for you by God Himself, long before you even burst onto the scene of life.

So what are we missing out on really?

Just stuff and things to make us personally happy. And there is not a thing wrong with stuff and happy, but when it becomes the beginning and the end of our happiness pursuit, when we make life’s decisions and say no to God because we simply want an easy and comfortable and convenient life, well then, I guess we deserve the emptiness and monotony that life eventually brings.

I dare you to be brave.

I dare you to believe that His plan for you or your family could be better than your own.

Go ahead. Do it.

Open your life up to sacrifice, heartache, suffering and change. Sounds tempting right?

But if you do you will find love, joy, peace, patience, purpose, and fulfillment you never knew possible.

Not because it’s gonna be easy, it’s not.

But because whatever we learn or glean in the midst of hardship and missional living is ours to keep. If you can find love in the midst of unforgiveness and if you can find joy in the midst of trial, and peace in the middle of a hurricane, and patience when you are about to lose it, and purpose when it seems it’s all for nothing, and fulfillment in the midst of emptiness, then my friend you have found the real Secret.

Possessing all those things at the moment they seem most impossible teaches us that we can possess them whenever we want, if we simply lean on Jesus, expecting more from Him than we do from ourselves.

God called my husband and me to trade in our retirement years and that shiny convertible to start our parenting years over. And we did.

And the future has never looked better.

β€œIt would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

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Comments

  1. Rebecca Heise :

    When our bio kids were 12,18,23,25… At age 50 we adopted a one year old from china. It opened up our world… Literally. As I write this, my son and his wife are in Uganda bringing home a 2 yr old girl to their family of five. I used to be judgemental wondering why more ppl don’t do what we did. But now I just am so happy we didn’t miss the opportunity that made our family complete. Adoptive parents are blessed beyond words.

  2. Love your writing, and especially your heart throb for adoption, we all have gained so much as a family for the journey you and John and the boys decided together to travel on. Keep them coming

  3. You are so right that when we love broken people we can become broken, too. As a counselor whose worked with the most severely broken, children to those abused, I’ve often come away with a crushed and bruised spirit. But it’s at the feet of Jesus that He continues to show me the beauty in brokenness, my own included. I’m doing a seminar for pastors in June on brokenness and becoming more comfortable with addressing people’s brokenness in churches. It would be a beautiful thing if God’s body of believers put counselors out of business. Thanks.

  4. Beautiful. Powerful. Love your heart and your actions that flow from it!!

  5. 3 bios ages 24, 27 & 30. Three adopted from foster at ages 1, 2 & 3 (now 6, 7 & 8). Another in process age 9. I do occasionally envy the carefree life we could be living, but only for brief moments. This is life more abundantly.

  6. We too traded in the dream of a convertible for the reality of a 7 (really need 10!) passenger mini van in our late 40’s/early 50’s. It is a testimony about how God’s plans are so much better than ours – for I NEVER would have thought up this crazy family by adoption journey we are on myself. It’s the hardest (by far!) thing I have ever done – and yet I have learned that it’s not by my strength or ability but HIS that I am able – a lesson I never would have learned without these three precious children (soon to be four) from other mothers whom I now have the honor to be their mom. (But someday…someday…a little nice red convertible would be nice – maybe a convertible wheelchair??)

    • I think we are headed for the passenger van too Karen. But rather than a convertible, I think I’d settle for a few weekends a year alone with my man! Need a good re-boot every few months πŸ™‚

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