One of the books we read with our children during the Middle School Years is a book titled Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. Two brothers. The premise of this book is to encourage young people to step out of their comfort zones and do something they never thought they could do. In other words, do hard things. Every time I read this book I think of how different my life and our family would be had we not stepped out and did something totally against the "norm".
As many of you already know, I was mayor of my town from 2012-2016. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would or could do something like this. I stepped WAY out of my comfort zone as I knocked on doors and held up campaign signs on the street corners. I will tell everyone that I had no idea there was a Robert who had rules we had to follow in our meetings. My time as mayor was definitely something I will never forget. It stretched me in so many ways. However, because I stepped out and did something I never thought I could do, I realized just how much I love serving people. I realized just how much I love being in government and encouraging people to get involved. I realized I was good at something I never thought I could be good at. I did something hard. And, I was blessed because of it.
Our family did something totally radical when we adopted Naomi in 2008. Neither Marshall nor I had come from an adopted family. We knew no one who had adopted from the states, not to mention internationally. We were the odd balls out for sure. But, because we followed our hearts and listened to the Lord, we were so very blessed. Adoption was hard. Many tears were shed during the process and I began to realize that adopting was so much harder than being pregnant. Marshall and I learned so much about being parents during that time. And, we were blessed because we did something hard.
If our family thought we were nuts adopting Naomi, they were in for a much bigger shock when we announced we were adopting Naomi's best friend. Two international adoptions? Crazy right? We followed our heart and relied on the Lord for His provision throughout the process and before we knew it we were back in the Philippines at the same orphanage we had been before bringing our Jacob home. Life didn't get easy once we were back home. As you know, Jacob ended up being diagnosed with cancer and passed away only two years after he came to our family. It was hard. Our family was stretched during that time. Tears were shed most days. But the joy that came to us in the midst of the sadness superseded all the hard. And, because we stepped out and did something totally radical and adopted a little boy who no one else wanted, we are so much "more" today. Going through something hard and seeing Jesus up close, changes you forever.
Back in January when we realized that we STILL have so much to give orphan children, our life began to change once more. Once we saw their pictures and read their story, we knew we had to do the hard thing and adopt these boys. To be honest, we have questioned whether or not we are doing the right thing. We have wondered how in the world can we adopt three at one time? We have been given "looks" from some as they question our sanity. "You guys are crazy" is the response most of the time. But, as we have stepped out in faith, we have found so much joy in the hard. We have seen God move mountains to bring these boys home and he has used many of you to fulfill his purpose. The hard has been so rewarding as we continue to see God's provision in this adoption of three of His children.
Your "hard" might look totally different from mine or my families. However, whatever your "hard" might be, know that you have a cheerleader cheering you on. You've got this! We are living proof that once you get through your hard, it will all be worth it.