By My Side

We asked former Heroes Gate staffer, Noel Carlson, to share a bit about her experience as the parent of a newly-adopted child.  Filled with honesty and insight, we are excited to introduce you to her family’s journey.

By Noel Carlson, Guest Blogger

We recently marked six months since we brought our then 9 year old son home from Haiti. This milestone is means for celebration in our house. The road traveled since our adoption has been rough and weary and yet so rewarding.

Adoption has rocked our world in good and bad ways. I can honestly say, and have openly said, that I wouldn’t choose to relive the past six months and yet I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. As Jen Hatmaker wrote, it’s the “After the Airport” where real life takes place. It is here that the bandages are taken off and the wounds revealed. The darkness is lifted and you see how difficult it is…for everyone. I believe that western culture does much to mask what is truly going on underneath the surface. We live a week in chaos and stress, only to show up for appearances with pasted smiles on our faces. Case in point, the irony of me yelling at my family to get us out the door on time for our family pictures this past week. There were tears, and regretful words, and hot rage. And then we sat down for a family portrait and smiled.

Parenting, more than any other area in my life, has revealed in me my need for a Savior. I am broken. I lose my temper. I hurt and ache. My family hurts and aches. And it’s not just because I am a mama of a newly adopted child, though that is hard, but it also could be the parent of the wayward teen, the newborn with colic, the impossible to potty train toddler, or the stepchild that will never seem to like you or much less love you. Parenting. Is. Hard. Bottomline. I need my Savior to walk through it with me.

In a recent article on relational theology, Roger Olson describes relational theology as, “Belief that creatures can and do actually affect God. The relationship between creatures, especially human persons, and God is two-way.” The beauty of all of this hits me and I am reminded that my Savior and I have a two-way dynamic relationship. My God isn’t sitting up in heaven twiddling his thumbs while my son has his umpteenth full blown meltdown. My God is in it with me. And he is in it with my son.

This is the savior I have a need for. I need a savior interacting with me. A living, breathing, heart beating relationship, where the mess is real and he still chooses to enter in. My Savior hurts with me, feels the grief I feel, sees the chaos and turbulence of my life, and delights in my joys and successes. And he does the same for my spouse, my children, the neighbor down the street, the stranger on the bus, and the mama and her newborn in Haiti.

So as I wake up to another day, I do so with my relational theology in place. I know that I will fail a million times, but that the God of all heaven and earth, the one desiring relationship with me, is walking right by my side. We live and breathe and move together. He sees past the forced smiles in family portraits and he loves me just the same.

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