Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fishing for a Family

Our family recently returned from one of our favorite vacation spots on the Pacific Coast. A Christian acquaintance of ours cuts us an incredible deal to rent her place on the beach....just perfect for our family!

Within a few minutes' drive from the bungalows sits a salt water lagoon, one of our kids' favorite places to explore with its bathtub-like warm water, seagulls, crabs and shells galore! Since my brother introduced the boys to fishing last year, the lagoon has become a favorite fishing hole, especially for 15 year old Alejandro!

Alejandro fishing at the lagoon...first with a fishing pole and then the local way...with a stick, fishing line and a hook!

This year, Alejandro spent some time fishing with the poles involved, just a stick, fishing line and a hook, which they send out into the water with a whirling movement reminiscent of David slinging the pebble at Goliath. One one excursion, we arrived at the lagoon and began to lather ourselves in sunscreen. Alejandro, stick and fishing line in hand, turned and said to me, with a disappointed tone in his voice: “There's nobody else fishing!”

Now, being the expert fisherwoman that I am (ha ha ha ha!), I assumed that a lack of competition would be good news!  However, Alejandro quickly clarified his dilemma, “Mom, I was going to ask the other guys for bait!”

Alejandro had gone fishing with no bait! (That's a whole other blog and spiritual lesson!)

Always trying to teach our children the purpose of family, I calmly responded, “Alejandro, therein lies one of the benefits of having a father. Ask Dad and he can get you some bait.” At Victor's suggestion, Alejandro inquired at the little restaurant to see if they had any bait available. They ended up giving Alejandro some bait for free and he happily spent the next few hours fishing!

Thankfully, the spiritual lesson has lasted much longer than those few hours!

As an adoptive mom of 18 children, I have witnessed first hand, and felt in my heart firsthand, the difference between those of our children who fully embrace their place in our family and those who do not.

Alejandro, a work in process like all of our children, and each of us, still remains a bit rougher around the edges than most. He joined our family over three years ago at age 11. By the time he reached our doorstep, and our hearts, he had lived in at least 7 different living situations in those 11 years, including on the street, in a stranger's home, at various motels and in an informal halfway house for adult male alcoholics. Alejandro readily identifies Victor and I as his parents, yet, he hasn't quite internalized what it actually means to have a Dad and Mom. For example, if you have a Dad and Mom you don't have to finagle bait from strangers; you can ask Dad and Mom and they, within their capabilities and considering what is healthy and best for you, will actually give you the desires of your heart!

I began to wonder if we don't do the same with our Heavenly Father. We are adopted, too, you know!

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry,Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” Ephesians 1:5

WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD! But, do we really embrace being God's son or daughter? Do we enjoy all the benefits of being a child of the Creator, Owner and Sustainer of the universe on a daily basis? We marvel at what life might be like as the child of a famous actor or actress, of the President or some rich oil tycoon, but I am the daughter of the CEO and CFO of the universe!

As an adoptive mother, I find nothing more heartbreaking, and at times frustrating, than to know how much I love each of my children, to know that I have fully accepted them as sons and daughters, and then to watch them reject that love, or that position, and the needless suffering they endure simply because they refuse to fully accept their adoption and live in the abundance that sonship or daughtership affords!

The Zaragoza Family March 2015
Front row:  Carolina, David, Ana, Ruth
Middle row: Fatima, Miguel, Victor, Julie, Caleb, Jocelin
Back row: Fidel, Alejandro, Lolis, Martita, Martha, Angie, Diana, Leo, Josiah
With Jesus in Heaven:  Danny
Alejandro's fishing incident illustrated this reality in a very small, and actually quite insignificant, way. However, upon returning from vacation, our 17 year old daughter Lolis upped the stakes by deciding to permanently return to her hometown and extended biological family. While we would not normally allow a child to make such a decision, Lolis had begun to act in ways hurtful to her life and health in order get what she wanted. So, through the guidance of both our Heavenly Counselor (the Holy Spirit) and the advice of our family's earthly counselor, we felt peace that loving Lolis meant letting her go! So, on Monday, March 16, Victor and I and Martita (Lolis' older biological sister and our third eldest), accompanied Lolis back to her hometown. We reassured her time and time again that 'once our daughter, always our daughter'; that she can count on us throughout her lifetime. However, sadly, she will not enjoy the benefits of her daughtership until she fully accepts the fact that she is our daughter!

As an adoptive mom, I know that my Heavenly Father understands me! How sad and frustrated He must feel at times! He knows how much he loves us and He knows all that He has prepared for us and yet then watches us suffer, stumble and endure times of  great lacking and suffering, not because He is incapable of providing for us or sustaining us, but because we have rendered ourselves incapable of receiving all He has for us due to the fact that we have not fully embraced our sonship or daughtership!

As an adopted daughter of God, watching Lolis and Alejandro not fully embrace their earthly adoption has spurred me on to more fully embrace, and enjoy, my Heavenly adoption and all of its incredible, literally out-of-this-world benefits!

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are a child of the King of the Universe! Embrace it! Accept your son or daughtership! Enjoy having God as Father! Approach the throne of grace with full confidence! Let's not loose out on being coheirs with Christ by asking strangers for what our Father is fully capable and willing to give us!

If you have never prayed to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and is the day! It would be an honor and privilege to help you become a son or daughter of God! If you would like to belong to an eternal family, then I invite you to pray the following prayer (or you can do so with your own words):

Dear God, on this day I come before you desiring to be your child. I know that I have sinned and that my sin has separated me from you. However, I understand that you sent your only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross to pay for my sins and then brought Him back to life winning the victory over sin and death. Please forgive me for my sins. I accept your gift of forgiveness. Please come into my heart and life and be my Father! Thank you because I know now that I will spend the rest of this life enjoying a relationship with You, getting to know You and depending on You, and I will spend all of eternity with You in Heaven. In Jesus name, Amen.”