In March of this year, I got a new sister. She was almost 16 years old. And she radically changed my life.
Fida has changed the way our family talks, the way we hang out, definitely the amount we know about Albania!… And she has given us such a beautiful picture of what God’s love for us looks like.
John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name…”
While I can’t imagine what it must have felt like for my sister to leave her country and learn to become part of a new family, the Bible tells me that I have experienced a spiritual adoption into God’s family. And Fida has helped me to understand that.
She has reminded me…
1.…that God’s love for me is boundless.
Adoption always comes with struggles and unimagined difficulties. From the paperwork to the home study to the changes in the family to struggles to adapt culturally, adoption can be hard. My parents, though, have shown Fida so much love through it all.
They spent 8 weeks in a country they had never been, appeared in court, filled out miles of paperwork, and are actually still filling out miles of paperwork because they love Fida so deeply. They desperately wanted to bring her into our family, and they were willing to sacrifice greatly to do that. Every day, they are still showing Fida love as she is trying to adjust.
And Jesus did even more to bring us to Him. Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross…” He found joy in death and turmoil because He knew it would bring us to Himself, that we could connect with our Creator again. And He continues to love us every day. As we are learning, growing, and sometimes fighting against His perfect plan for us, He patiently loves and cares for us through it all.
2. … that I am fully accepted.
Fida lived for 15 years in a different country in a different part of the world with a different lifestyle and a different culture. She is surprised by things we do and we are surprised by things she does. Yet accepting her as part of our family is a foregone conclusion. No matter what she does, she is still my sister and she is still my parents’ daughter. Our job is to help her, to teach her, but never to reject her, because she is family.
Sometimes, I think we think of God’s adoption of us as just one sweeping gathering of people — that we are just one of the masses. But God chose me and He chose you individually. He knows us deeply, with all of our quirks and all of our struggles. God doesn’t have to get to know us, but He does accept us, exactly as we are. Then from there, He teaches us to grow.
John 6:37 says, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”
3. …that we are children of God.
Now that Fida is a part of the family, she is no different than the other parts. My dad teases her and pulls her hair. My mom chats with her while she cooks. Fida does chores and homework and watches movies and plays games. She is fully my sister and my parents’ daughter.
Just like us. I mentioned already that John said in chapter 1 that we were given the right “to become children of God.” We aren’t just God’s servants, we aren’t just His students, we are His children. So fully His children, in fact, that we are heirs!
Romans 8:14-19 says,
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘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 joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
Adoption here on Earth is a beautiful thing that changes every life involved. But it is nothing compared to the adoption that God wants for every person here on the Earth. On our own, we are hopeless, destitute, and wallowing in our sins, but He offers us a way to become sons of God through the sacrifices He made here on Earth.
As I am getting to know Fida and adjusting to our family’s new normal, I have the opportunity to understand that more deeply every day.
Share your story! What is something in your life that reminds you constantly of God’s love and grace?