Living a Better Story


This past Sunday, our pastor spoke about finding a better story, based on Donald Miller’s book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”. Miller has this to say about the main ingredients of a great story (this may not be a completely accurate quote but it gets the point across):

All the great stories have two primary elements: calling and conflict. Calling occurs when the character in the story is given something to live for. Conflict occurs when the character in the story is given something to fight against.

My pastor went on to say this (referencing 2nd Timothy 2:1-2):

What is the story that we’re giving to our families? Is it a story of risk and adventure or is it a story of boredom and safety? Which is it?

You see, like Timothy, what we have to do is not only be strong in the grace of Christ ourselves. Our children have to be strong in the grace of Christ as well. And the only way we can do that is to involve them in the story of Christ.

The risk spoken of here is not a blind or reckless risk. It’s a risk we as believers in Christ take to live the story that Jesus has written, trusting in a loving Savior for the outcome that he desires to see in us. It’s been said that where there is no risk, there is also no reward and I believe that to be true in the spiritual sense also. If I don’t take a risk, stepping out in faith and trusting God for the outcome, what reward is there? That reward, in this case, would be the boredom and safety that my pastor spoke about. The only thing is, I believe there doesn’t end up being much safety in that kind of a story. Boredom, yes, but its outcome isn’t security at all. Well, it’s security as we see it, the kind of security you get when you take no risks but also end up with no interesting story to tell and characters in that story living a stagnant faith that does no one any good at all.

Part of my family’s already written story includes our journey to adopt our daughter, a long distance journey to the eastern European country of Estonia. Previous to that, my wife and I had decided to become foster parents. We had two placements, one for just a day or so and another for two or three weeks. We then left for Estonia to take custody of our daughter and our foster parent license subsequently expired. Due to some of the circumstances surrounding our daughter’s issues, we didn’t really discuss adding to our family again until just recently.

Anyway, this leads us to the next chapter of my family’s story. We’ve decided to get re-certified as foster parents again, starting at the end of this month, with the intention of adopting an “unwanted” child into our home. This is something I’ve long been very passionate about. I’ve had a passion for working with children ever since becoming a Christian but seeing and hearing about orphaned, abused, neglected, or unwanted children has always made a real impact on me on a personal level that goes beyond just wanting to work with them. I don’t share this to shine some spotlight on me because God knows that I’m certainly no better than the next person. I share it in the hopes that it inspires someone else with a similar passion to find a story for their family as well.

So now our family has the essential elements we need for our story: a calling and a conflict. Our calling is to provide a loving and nurturing home for a child who otherwise would not have one. Our conflict is to fight against abandonment, neglect, and abuse. We’re involving our daughter in this story (and she’s excited about it, by the way). It’s a story that’s close to my heart and I hope someone else out there is inspired to live their own story because of it.

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