2015 Top Ten

[If you read along often, I’d be so grateful if you’d spare five minutes (or less) to take my first ever reader survey! And since prizes are fun, one of you who completes the survey will win a copy of Just Mercy, one of my favorite books from 2015! Survey open until NYE at midnight.]

I don’t often look at my blog stats. I just don’t find them terribly helpful. I know that’s not the “right” way to build a platform but, whatever man, that’s not really my goal here.

It was interesting (and a bit surprising!) to take a look at my top ten posts from the last year. I love that three of the top ten are from guest writers and two of the ten are from my Things Christians Probably Shouldn’t Say series.

At the beginning of 2015, I shared what I intended to write about this year and, as it turns out, I actually wrote about half of those things. The Lord laid other topics on my heart and those turned out to be some of my most popular posts.

Funny how that happens.

2015 Top Ten

Thank you for showing up here and sharing your stories with me. It’s an honor to have you reading my words and a privilege I don’t take lightly.

Speaking of privilege…

1. My White Privilege

I have no idea what my brothers and sisters of color endured for hundreds of years. I have no idea the atrocities my ancestors committed against them. I have no idea the history of African-Americans and the weight of oppression they have been forced to operate under because I didn’t have to know it. I have been able to live 34 years of life without having any idea of it.

 2. Adoption is Good, But It’s Not Best

Kids from hard places join families because of tragedy. It is a tragedy that they need a “new” family. And I never ever for a single millisecond want our kids to think that their deep deep deep loss is our gain.

I want them to know my heart breaks for them, that if I could have written the ending to their story, it would not have ended with us. That might make you squirm, but I can tell you that’s not how they would have written the ending either.

 3. Dear Foster and Adoptive Mamas:
Let’s Take a Real Rest

Jesus was misunderstood because of the way he and his disciples did life.

Let that sink in for a moment. Jesus is teaching his disciples in a counter-cultural way. They aren’t fasting when others are fasting, they aren’t praying like others are praying, they are different and weird and other religious teachers are watching the way Jesus raises up his disciples and they. don’t. get. it. He’s misunderstood and they question him. Can you relate?

“So, you don’t spank them? Have you tried spanking them?”
“Oh, so they sleep in bed with you?”
“He can have just one more cookie right? It’s just a little sugar.”
“You can leave her in childcare. Won’t she be fine? She knows you’re coming back doesn’t she?”
“Is he still having nightmares? ALL kids have nightmares. That’s normal.”
“You talk to their birth mom? Aren’t you afraid she’ll try to come get them?”

Jesus KNOWS what this feels like friends.

4. Your foster care fears are real.
Do it anyway.

And yes, after you work to love them, you might love them too much. But you know what? It’s not about you. And those kids you are so afraid of loving too much, well, they’re dying inside for someone to love them like that. And then you might lose them too soon. To a clean-for-the-moment birth parent… or a long-lost relative… or the system…

Or, you might see redemption and healing and beauty from ashes right before your eyes. You might see that the people sitting across from you in family court need Jesus just as much as you do and you need Him just as much as they do. You might be witness to the redefining of family and count yourself one of them. 

Or they might become yours. But that’s messy too.

5. God have mercy on ISIS.

Do you see that prayer is not a last resort or second-rate battleground?! Prayer is not for those who are too far away to do SomeThing, prayer is the thing. 

We have the power to push back darkness. Prayer is more powerful than dropping a bomb or drawing a gun – because it sets people free. 

6. I Was Wrong About Foster Care

The day before our boys came to live with us I attended Created for Care, a retreat/conference for adoptive moms. I was speaking with a woman whose family had been praying about starting the journey of adopting from Ethiopia. She asked me a question I could tell had been on her mind for some time. She asked me how I answer people who want to know why we are adopting from Africa and not “here”. Here being in the US.
I gave my wise Christian answer [SARCASM] “We prayed about it and feel like God has our children in Africa…” and then I told her the need is greater there. Kids in the US have roofs over their heads, clothes on their backs and food in their tummies. Their parents are not dying of AIDS at alarming rates and they are not dying themselves of dirty water. Simple. The need is greater. I. Spoke. Those. Words.
Friends, I was wrong.
Hear me. I. WAS. WRONG.

7. Things Christians Probably Shouldn’t Say: All Lives Matter

But as a Christian, the fact that our country is based on the foundation that some lives matter more than others is not one I can just let go or forget about or pretend does not exist.

8. Things Christians Probably Shouldn’t Say: All That Matters is That It’s Healthy

But listen: it’s still not what I would choose. Because it is dang hard. The goodness of our lives doesn’t come from the fact that we’re blessed with desirable circumstances; it comes from living in relationship with a God who can transform anything into goodness, anything into beauty.

9. A Come to Jesus Meeting on 21st Century Racism from your “Black Friend”

And privilege does something to you. it makes you blind to systematic injustices all around you because you did not experience it. 

Privilege makes people racist.

10. Is That Really Helpful? Considerations for Aspiring Allies

Don’t ask a PoC to do your work for you. So, about those “Do you have any suggestions?” messages in your Black friend’s inbox…

Black folks have had suggestions for generations, many of which have fallen on deaf ears among even well-meaning White people. The struggle for equal rights predates all of us now, and at this time we’re neck-deep in scholarship, history, and narrative on the matter. Classes have been taught on this stuff since before I knew my ABCs. If you’ve missed the message, it’s your job to play catch-up.


And all God's people said: