Complaining About My Gold Medals

Imagine this: Michael Phelps wins his 18th gold medal. He stands on the podium, gets his medal, watches our flag be raised, but has is noticeably frustrated or annoyed. Then in the press conference the reporters ask him how he feels about winning yet another gold medal to which he responds in an outburst, “The whole race was unfair! The swimmer in the lanes next to me kept splashing me and running into my lane! Not to mention I’m pretty sure my touch pad was broken because I swear I got a faster time than it recorded. And another thing, was that water colder than usual? Seriously, I have goosebumps, how do they expect us to swim in these conditions!”

Ludicrous right? Who wants to hear the most decorated winner in the history of the Olympics complain about a race in which no one else in the world could finish before him. Take your medal. Wave to the camera. Move on. You don’t get to complain about being a victim when you keep coming out the winner.

In the past 30 minutes I’ve taken two significant blows to my near social and financial future. A new friend just found out him and his family are going to be moving to San Diego and the tire repair man said he can fix the problem I called about no problem, but he saw a problem I hadn’t called about that he can’t fix. Awesome. So stoked. Is today a Monday?! Why is this all happening to me?!?!

In Luke 6:27-36 Jesus calls us to something greater than just being nice to people who are mean to us. He calls us to love them. Not just in our minds but in our actions. When we are in a position to actually and literally love those who make life most difficult for us something amazing happens, we reject idea that I’m a powerless victim and respond with empowered love and grace.

A few thoughts: Often times we believe we are victimized by people as well as circumstances. Both can be our enemies. I can think of people who I would consider enemies because at my worst I feel like life would be easier without them. The same goes with circumstances. Also, there is a difference between acknowledging and processing the pain of being on the receiving end of hurt and living in the place where we feel hopeless or helpless to be a part of any fruitful life after that experience.

Let’s remember a few things. What was it that Jesus told his disciples about the hatred and hardships that are to face us in this world? “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Also, as children of God we are co-heirs with Christ. What then is our inheritance? Eternal life as sons and daughters in the Kingdom of God!

God has written a new story for those who have placed all their belief, faith, and lives in him. That story ends with Victory. Redemption. So next time I feel like I’m due a little pity party or feel like I am a helpless and hopeless victim of life, I’m going to picture Michael Phelps complaining about all his gold medals. How embarrassing he would feel at the end of his career looking back on that moment. I’m thankful that what I have in Christ is greater than 18 gold medals, and I really don’t want to be the guy who complains when I already have everything.


With Eyes Open there are Miracles to be Seen

Over the past few days after letting people know that we have lost our expected second baby, I have had dozens of people share their own stories of grief from times when they have lost a baby, often many more than just one, and what that experience was like for them. I have simply been in awe of how common this dreadfully painful experience, both physically and emotionally, is in losing babies before it is carried full-term.

I feel that I am surprised by this for two reasons. 1) These aren’t fun stories or blessed memories that we like to talk about or want people to share with us. Most pregnancies that fail do so before the mom or the couple even publicly announce they are pregnant. I feel like those who do share on a wide scale about their lost baby are the great exception, not the rule. So I just didn’t know how unfortunately common this is. 2) Our daughter’s pregnancy was text-book perfect! Every check up when amazingly. Every ultrasound was clear and filled with anticipation. This is how it was “suppose” to go. No fuss, no mess, just sleep deprived, poopy, fun!

I’ve learned that no life is to be expected or taken for granted. I’ve talked with a few people who have had three, four, even five failed pregnancies! How precious and miraculous is each life that is given breath to fill its lungs, this side of the womb!

We have two couples that are friends of ours who are in the process of adoption because of long seasons of not being able to have their own children. When I first heard their stories of wanting to adopt I thought, “That’s a good option for you guys. It helps you establish a family that you’re hoping for and helps a kid out too in the process.” Basically I saw it from a logical perspective.

Yet now while trying to process our own story and hearing those of so many others the reality I am seeing adoption in a new passionate, almost desperate, light. The fact that there are so many millions of children who do have air in their lungs, a beating heart in their chest, and bear the miraculous image of God but are without parents is astounding. No matter the reason behind their orphaning every child who is purposed into this world is done so miraculously and intentionally by their creator! To ignore, turn our back on, or simply remain ignorant to the stark numbers, circumstances, and realities of the millions of orphans in our world is to deliberately close our eyes on the greatest miracle and calling that God sets before us each day, “to look after orphans and widows in their distress

Whether through adopting the lonely, lost, and rejected into your community of faith or literally adopting children either nationally or internationally into your family I feel that this is a call I am hearing for myself with renewed passion. Our grief is pushing us out of our comfortable expectations of what life “should be” while God’s calling to look after orphans pulls us into a greater reality and blessing of his Kingdom.

May we with eyes open see the miracles of life that are surrounding us in the eyes, hearts, and stories of the orphaned all over the world. Then may we act boldly, faithfully, and courageously, motivated by the knowledge of our adoption by God through Christ in to his Kingdom, to look after these orphaned in tangible, transforming, and affirming means.

Here are two websites related to adoption. The first is one of our friends’ stories in their journey towards adoption and the other is a friends’ work in Ghana who rescues, serves, and houses orphans.

Erik and Jessa Anderson and Autumn Buzzell