Some of you may know my husband and I have been in the process of an international adoption for a little over a year now. There are many pieces to adoption but one of the biggies is the home study process. This is a series of interviews, named aptly, because they are done in your home. Your social worker asks in-depth questions about your upbringing, life, marriage, parenting style (or planned parenting style in our case) and lots of other things. And yes, this person also tours your house.
Being a first born, I have quite the perfectionistic, people-pleasing streak in me. So when our social worker came to our home last summer for the first time, I was fixated on making it perfect. Those of you who have a husband may relate to this but Eric and I have pretty different ideas of what a clean house looks like. He looks at our house and sees two people who love each other and who want to parent a child in need, a loving home with plenty of resources and everything necessary. I pray that’s what everyone else sees, too. What I see, however, is a floor that’s not perfectly clean, a dryer full of laundry that needs folding, scratches on our leather sofa, and anything else that’s ‘imperfect.’ When our neighbors drive too fast, I worry it will give the wrong impression. When I can’t get every last coffee ground off the stove where they have spilled after this morning’s pick-me-up, I fret. In fact, the day before our social worker came, I may or may not have taken off all the vents and scrubbed them with Magic Erasers and water.
But here’s the thing: when our social worker came, she spent all of two minutes touring our house. She checked to make sure we had a room for this baby to stay, a fire extinguisher and smoke detector, and that was pretty much the extent of our house tour. She spent three long hours at our house but only seconds of that was truly looking at the house.
So what was she doing all that time? Where was she looking? She was checking out our hearts. She wanted to know our true motives for adoption. She wanted to see our capacity to love one another and love a child. Her focus was on what was inside our hearts, not what was inside our home.
Beginning September 9, Crossing Kids is going to begin a new curriculum. From Little Ones to 4th Graders, we’re going to be looking at our Forever King, Jesus. We’ll start this fall by looking into some other kings. As I recall my experience with my social worker, it reminds me very much of Samuel’s search for David. Samuel was like me–assuming looks were everything. He sought out to find a king and really wanted to make sure that king was impressive. He checked out all of Jesse’s sons and kept getting a resounding, “No!” from God. David? David was little. He was a shepherd. He was no granite countertop or immaculate wood floor. He was a small, homely little house (much like my real house). And what did God say to Samuel?
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
We do that, right? I mean, not just in our homes but in our hearts as well? The floors of my heart will never be tidy enough for God. I can take all the toothpaste off my sink, but I can’t take the marks of sin off my heart. I’m not tall, shiny, or impressive compared to God’s standards. Yet, God doesn’t see that. He looks at my heart. And when he looks, he sees Jesus. He sees that I have imperfections. I can’t fix them. But oh do I try. Instead, since I am in Christ, he only sees Him. I am hoping in this life sometime I will learn to stop trying to clean up my “house” and instead keep my focus on Jesus living in my heart.
I am so excited for our kids to learn about the Forever King. You’ll be hearing more about it as time goes on.
And just so I don’t keep you hanging, we passed that home study and we are on the long, long waiting list for a child.