Tomorrow is our first Thanksgiving as a family. Our first holiday really, since the adoption was finalized. I am filled with simply every single emotion there is, including a deep sadness.
The joy of the holiday season is, for me, often tempered with the knowledge that for some reason my family decided we were better off without each other than with each other. I know I’m not alone. I know there are simply millions of families just like mine, and worse, out there in the world. But it still saddens me that my little family is so broken up.
Then I think, how does God feel about it? If I’m sad about my one family, and I know there are a gadzillion more like it, how then does God feel? Profound to imagine.
What, then, should be the response? How do I fit into this equation? Am I just a victim? Do I have a choice in how I feel about it? Yep. I do. Here is how I know: A little conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God…”
There it is, “Whoever believes”. That’s my choice. I choose to believe. And since I choose to believe, then I am part of the larger family of God, and I have a responsibility to that family, not just the family I was born into.
So often this verse is used to illustrate salvation. But it also touches on the fact that God loves us ALL. The whole world. Notice that there are no conditions around that. I am part of God’s family like it or not! He decided, not me. And yeah, my little birth family is torn up, but I’m not only a part of that little family but of the greater family of the human race. And to that end, I need to stop looking only as far as my nose, and realize that God is working in other parts of my family when I hear wonderful stories of gatherings, reunions and time spent together.
I can be part of the problem, or I can be part of the solution. I can sit and cry over the fact that I come from a dysfunctional family, or I can rejoice that God has given me a family of my own so that I might share with the world His glory and the wonder of His unconditional love. I can be thankful for what He has done with the mess I created, or I can wallow in self pity over the mess that others made around me.
I’m going to give a little thanks. Today. Before Thanksgiving. Because I am choosing to be part of the solution.