The election is over. I'm writing this on election day and I wonder how long I stayed up last night waiting to hear who is to be our President for the next four years.
I'll stay up to find out who it is, but I honestly don't believe it will change my life very much.
You see, my next four years are going to look much like my last four: full of joy. I'm fairly confident of that.
What's my plan for the next four years? Easy: Love.
I don't mean this in a cheesy way. I mean it in the messy, be-there-for-others-put-myself-last kind of way. For me, the joy I will find in the next four years will come from serving others, from serving Jesus. That's how I found joy these last four years. I'm gonna stick with what works, folks.
The Bible isn't my rulebook for life. It's not a moral manual telling me how to live. I have fallen in love with my God, with the Savior who died because of ME, because of my failures and how I fall short of perfection every day. The only response I know to that is to love others, to pass on what was so freely given to me.
When I say "As a Christian, I know how I am to live," it has nothing to do with any rules I'm supposed to follow. What I mean is that I have been shown crazy grace and love and when that happens to you, you can't imagine living a life filled with anything less.
You know when you eat something really good and you have to turn to the person next to you and say "ohmygosh.... TRY this!" as you shove your fork in their face? I feel that way about Mellow Mushroom pretzels and pretty much all the food at Ghassans. Because I love it, I want to tell all my friends and family, take them there, and eat together.
That's how I feel about my joy, about my Jesus. My life is crazy-amazing because of Him, and I want to share it. I want others to feel it too. I do NOT want to force them to change; to make them follow certain rules. That has nothing to do with it. If you have ever thought that being a Christian meant following the right rules or acting the "right" way, I apologize. Sadly, that message is out there. Sadly, I think a lot of Christians think that IS the message.
Anyway, my next four years will be full of joy. That doesn't mean I wont have struggles, heartbreaks, or difficulties. I fully expect those things to happen in the next four years too. But the cool thing about this joy is that it perseveres in the face of those hard times. Trust me, that whole adoption thing is the biggest tangle of joy and heartbreak I've ever experienced.
So I'm excited today. When this posts, we'll know who the President is. But I'm writing election-day morning and I have no idea. And I'm very much looking FORWARD to the next four years. In these next four years I get to:
* continue the honor of serving my homeless friends; they teach me so much about bravery, selflessness, and friendship
* travel to Swaziland! Oh I can't wait for my feet to walk in that beautiful country, bringing words of encouragement, hugs, and letting the Swazis put my hands to work for them
* continue to walk on the journey that is our little church plant, Missio Dei. It is seriously like refreshing, cooling water to my soul to do church with those folks.
* keep on raising those crazy kiddos of mine. Motherhood is an adventure every day.
* stand by my dad and pray for him as he continues to battle cancer (again... ugh)
* adopt again (!). Okay, that's not for certain in the next four years, but it's a likely possibility. I certainly hope it's in our future.
* be a good friend, a good neighbor. These next four years, I really want to be there for my friends. God put people in my life for a reason and I want nothing more than to be a blessing to those who know me.
And all of those things will be messy. I guarantee you I will cry. I bet we'll have less money four years from now than we do now (especially if we adopt again). I am not living the American dream.
But I have a joy that surpasses all else. And I'm not gonna let that go.