An extra ounce of love

{To take up. To assume. To take on the responsibility of. This is the definition of adopt.}

I have a sister who turns six on October 30th of this year. Her name is Maliyah and no one brings me more joy than her. She really is the light of my life and my source of joy. I smile everyday because of her. I laugh everyday because of her. I want to pull out my hair many days because of her and quite honestly, I want to throw a tantrum many days because of her. She has a huge heart but she has an attitude to match it and has opinions that are bigger than her. She has a personality that rocks my world everyday. She has a strong spirit that is her biggest strength or her biggest weakness. She can say something that makes my heart melt, or say something that makes my heart sink. Regardless though of what she says or does, each day she is a reminder of God’s faithfulness and His blessings.

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You see, on October 31st, 2008 my mom got a phone call while we were at Chuck E Cheese with our church for Halloween that a baby girl had been born and she needed a home. Little did I know that this phone call would change our family forever and be the start of the most amazing friendship. I distinctly remember everything about the next day. My mom reminded me that we weren’t a foster family to adopt, so I should try to not get too attached. Too late. I knew that whether or not we were keeping this baby forever, I was going to love her like she was never leaving, because she deserved that love. Fast forward to May 5th, 2010. Our family was at the Denver Courthouse with family and friends promising to love Maliyah forever. We were officially a family of six. My prayer had been answered and my dream had come true. I had a sister.

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As wonderful as adoption is though, there is also a lot that goes along with it. Each and every day I pray over Maliyah that she would know where she belongs and that she wouldn’t question who she is or what she is worth. I never want her to think that we are not her real family or that she doesn’t fit in. I never want her to feel disconnected from us and like we don’t understand her. I never want her to question our love for her. I want her to understand that while I may not be her biological sister that will never stand in the way of me loving her more. I want her to understand that my family doesn’t see her as a burden. Instead, we are overjoyed and so thankful for the fact that God chose us to have the privilege of loving her. He trusted us with her life. It is such an honor to love her and invest in her life.

We chose Maliyah. We took up Maliyah. We assumed her. We took on the responsibility of her. In a world of constant movement filled with lives that barely have time to take a moment and soak up God’s presence, this choice we made could easily have been a chore. The difference though, is that we love what we took on. Generally, humans have no problem making sacrifices for the things or people we love. I will always make time to write, because I love it. I will always make time to play with Maliyah, because it makes my heart sing. Whatever I have to give up, to continue loving the things I love, I will sacrifice willingly and with a joyful heart. That is what our family did with Maliyah. Yes, my mom gave up a job she loved. My parents prolonged being empty nesters. My brothers and I gave up many nights to babysit. We exchanged vacations to places like Europe for places like Disney World and we gave up movies at movie theaters because now we had a toddler to account for. Over the last six years, we have all given up so much for her but never once have I regretted it. Never once have I wished we hadn’t snatched her up and made her a Colander. Never once have I questioned my love for her. Never once has Maliyah questioned our love for her. All she has ever known is a life full of people who have offered her unconditional love and strived to give her the world.

Eventually though, the questions will come. She will ask where she came from and wonder why we love her. She will wonder why we chose her. The only answer I can offer her is this one- that we love her and chose her because we were created to do it. From the beginning, God created each member in my family with an extra ounce of love stored away for Maliyah until she joined our life. God created our family so that we were not complete until she came into our lives. I was not complete until I had a sister. We were created to love her. She was created to fill that hole in our hearts that we didn’t know existed. She filled our love tank up to an amount we didn’t know was possible. For each member in my family, there was a burning desire in us to love her and only she can satisfy that burning desire. She belongs with us. We need her.

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This is adoption.

Real adoption is done not out of obligation but out of a burning desire. It is done out of the most pure and wholesome love.

This is the way God adopts us into His family.

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:5 (NLT)

For our first few years of life we know nothing but the love of those who change our diapers for us and answer to our every cry. Eventually though, we take a bite out of the apple and our eyes our opened to the evil around us. Why us? Why would God choose me? Does He really love me like He says He does? Even after all the evil I have done, He still wants me?

And the answer is the same. He chose us and loves us because He created us. Just like my family has the burning desire to love Maliyah, He has the burning desire to love us. He has an extra ounce of love stored in Him just for you and just for me. He is love. Each one of us fills a different hole in His heart that only we can fill. We belong with Him. He loved us before we were born.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

To take on the responsibility of all his children. To take on the job of caring for us. To take on the job of providing for us. To take on the job of listening to us. To take on the job of talking to us. To take on the job of comforting us. To take on the job of crying with us. To take on the job of cheering with us. To take on the job of a Father. To take on the job of loving us. To take on the job of forgiving us. To take on all of our sins. To take on the job of dying for us.

He wanted to do all that. It gave him pleasure, joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment. It is not a burden to Him. We are not a burden to Him. We are not a chore. We are adopted because He chose us. He wanted us. He desires to love us and care for us. He desires for us to talk to Him and come to Him. He desires to speak to us. He desires to comfort us and cry with us. He desires to cheer for us. He desires to be our Father. He desires to forgive us. He desires to be a part of our life.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit- fruit that will last…” John 15:16a (NIV)

When I am at home, each morning I am urged to get out of bed because of my excitement to see Maliyah and spend another day with her. My desire to live life with her, be with her, and display my love for her never dies down. It is the same with God. Each day, there is an excitement in Him that you would choose to do life with Him. Each day He wants to live life with you, be with you, and display His love for you. He has already adopted you and chosen you. His love for you is already there.

The question is- will you adopt Him into your life? Will He be one more thing you have to think about and fit into your schedule, or will you allow Him to satisfy that burning desire inside of you? Will you choose Him and choose to love Him each and every day? Will you let Him in?

 


 

About the Author

blog photoMorgan Colander

Hi! My name is Morgan Colander. I am a junior at Lee University in Tennessee studying to be an elementary teacher. I am attempting to survive these college years as I learn to rely more on God and less on myself while being surrounded by new opportunities and decisions. College has presented itself with its difficulties- college budget, college dorms, college food, an endless list of things to do, and plenty of homesickness- but through it all, I have never been more dependent on God and realized how incapable I am to do life without Him. God, family, and friends are all I need to survive in life but some junior mints, a hike up a mountain, laughter, and some sarcasm definitely add some joy to the journey.

 

  • Codi

    This is an incredible story illustrating how God loves us and instructs us how to love others. Morgan, you are such a beautiful person and your writing is emotionally provoking. (Yeah I might have cried a little while reading this) The children you are going to one day teach are incredibly lucky. Teachers have so much influence on the children they teach and I know God will use this niche to expand his kingdom. You are a bright light in this world.

  • http://julie.crabtree66@gmail.com julie.crabtree66@gmail.com

    Wow that is so powerful, I am going to share with my ladies group. I think some of them a nd me get that into our spirits deep down and read and keep reading till we whole heartly believe it. Thanku for this