Friday, April 06, 2007

The 5 Minute Version of The Journey

I wanted to get this video out here before Easter. While Easter in America is largely about bunnies, chicks, eggs, and chocolate, there is deeper meaning to this holiday. Easter is a celebration of Jesus. It's a celebration of the fact that we humans are stuck with the condition of being just plain mean, bad, horrible, and rotten to the core sometimes! (Or at least I know I am!) No matter what we do to try to be better, no matter how many good things we do, we are still stuck with feeling disconnected from God. And that's because we are disconnected! (Great news, huh?!) The reason we feel disconnected from God is because He is always good, always kind, always just...and we...well, we are not! That's why we don't feel like we know God on some deep spiritual level.

But Jesus- now there was an example of something you and I just can't seem to attain no matter how hard we try. Believe me, I have spent far too much of my life trying to become good. Take my advice and give up your self-efforts before you waste a whole lot of time. (Very cheery post, isn't it!?)

God sent Jesus, His only son, to live and breathe on this earth as one of us. He knows the pain and suffering and trial of being human. He knows how much our hearts hurt. He knows how desperately we need to be close to God. And He also knows the scars in our hearts that keep us from being able to know God. The good news (finally, something happy in this post!) is that Jesus, the one who really was perfect, made a way for us to come to God without feeling that disconnect. You see, we have all done things that were not good; not right. Every one of us has things in our pasts that we are not exactly proud of. I think it's safe to say that we all have things in our current lives that we wouldn't want to be published! Because of this "stuff" in our lives, we have lost the ability to connect with God. That's the consequence of the "stuff" we have done, and the "stuff" we have harbored in our hearts. Ultimately, we die and have to suffer that consequence for all eternity.

But, Jesus, who did not have the "stuff", chose to take that consequence on Himself. Because it broke His heart to see us suffering that consequence of being separated from God, He volunteered to suffer the consequence for us. He essentially traded places with us. Just like if I get a traffic ticket, but by some miracle, the judge decided to allow my husband to assume the fine and drivers license points while I walked away free. That's what Jesus did. He died on a cross at the hands of evil and ignorant people, people just like you and me. He willingly allowed them to kill Him on a cross and assumed our "stuff" and the consequences of it while our slate got wiped clean in God's eyes. It all seems horribly unfair to me. I will never understand. But He didn't stay dead. On Easter, He rose from the dead.

Pretty far out claim, isn't it?! And how can intelligent, educated western people such as myself believe such a mythical fantasy?! I think that's a very valid reaction. My response is two-fold. First, once you decide to risk and take that leap of faith, you are able to experience what it feels like when that disconnect from God disappears and you actually know Him. You actually feel the closeness and love of God for you. That alone will convince you beyond any doubt that this is more than a made-up story. But admittedly, that's a hard risk to take. Especially when you're not exactly a dumb person and know how to rely on reason and common sense! So, if that's where you fall, then take heart and pursue an intellectual answer on this one. Ultimately, following Christ does require a risk of faith, but you've got to start somewhere, right? One of my favorite authors was a man whose wife decided to become a Christian. He was an atheist, so this was more than a tad bit upsetting to him! A respected journalist, he decided to write a book disproving the claims of Christianity and Jesus. The book he wrote is very well organized, researched, and methodical. So, if the latter is where you fall, I think you'd really enjoy this book written from a skeptic's point of view.

Anyway, in celebration of Easter and the fact that we don't have to remain disconnected from God, I hope you enjoy this video about our adoption. Just as Yosef and Mihret used to be orphaned, I used to be orphaned in a spiritual sense. I didn't know God. I didn't know that He wanted to be a Father to me in the deepest, most intimate sense of the word. But He didn't leave me as an orphan. He showed Himself to me so that I could know Him. Some of you already know what I am talking about. And some of you haven't quite gotten to that same place yet. And that's okay. God knows where you are spiritually and He loves you. And He also wants to take you deeper. So, look into this Jesus thing. I know that if you will keep searching and not give up, that you will find what you are looking for. Happy Easter!


Life in Fitzville said...

You need to give some sort of hormonal warning before that, because I am just sitting here a puddle...and I don't even know you guys.

Just beautiful.

cathy said...

Bawling. That's what I am doing right now. Full-on bawling!!! What man meant for evil, God meant for good. What a testimony. What a journey. What a familiy! Praise Him!!!!

Abby said...

Yes, yes, you need a tissue warning! :)

My dh & I are just starting the process of adopting from Ethopia. We are blessed with 2 daughters & we would like to adopt siblings (infant twins if God is willing).

Your children are so beautiful! I love all of the pictures that you share. The word that comes to mind whenever you post pictures of Yosef with his brother or sisters is "protector". How precious, God is good.

Abby from East TN

Stacy said...

Wonderful video! I'd love to know what agency you used - I do NOT want another bad experience and I think you can help me avoid one. Please e-mail me at (or post publicly if you really think people should not be using this agency).

G-d bless you and your family this Easter. He already has blessed you so much!

Brianna Heldt said...

Heather there are tears in my eyes! What an amazing family. (And EXCELLENT job putting the video together, wow!!)

Renee said...

Tears, tears, tears!!! I don't know you guys IRL, but I just love you to pieces! You are awesome and amazing, Thank you for letting God use you!! You literally shine with His love.


Jenn said...

i am so deeply moved and watched while crying. thank you fo allowing us to bear witness to you hearing the voice and holding tenaciously onto that truth until your children were home. i have felt discouraged in our ethiopian adoption process the past couple of days. you have reminded me to single-mindedly pursue the truth that i know. happy easter.

jen said...

Odd, I'm NOT crying; I'm just SO happy to see your kids at home! (Love the pic of them looking in the washer too!)
Awesome job!

Heather said...

Love your video! I linked to it on our blog. I have followed your story a bit, checking in on your blog and the "Leave it to Avery" blog from time to time. I am so happy for you all that you’re home together. Thanks for posting the video and sharing your story. ~Heather,

5KidMom said...

Beautiful, Heather! The message and the video. You are truly a select lady!

Ericka said...

I can't even talk right now or barely type. Your video is beautiful. I'm going to show it to my "wavering" husband to watch. I love the picture of Avery with the kids when he visited by himself. Do you see the way the are hugging him? That Yosef is a heart-breaker, so loving, I can't stand it. Beautiful video, family and faith.
Ericka from Illinois

pat2006 said...

Love it, love it, love it! Yep, tissues are a must when viewing your video. We recently returned from Ethiopia with our daughter. Isn't adoption just the greatest thing?!!!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful!!! What an amazing God-infused video. We too are adopting from Ethiopia - a sibling group of 3 (we have 4 bio children). Wish we were in the same place you are (with our children safely at home in our arms - right now we need to settle for in our hearts only as we wait for paperwork completions). Thank you for sharing your God blessed journey - His face surely shines upon you.

Blessings to all of you!!

The Stofferahn Family

Anonymous said...

I'm not a religious person but your video was incredibly beautiful. All of your children look so happy, so loved, so right where they belong. I wish you all the happiness in the world. Thank you for sharing your story. We are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia and your blog have been so helpful, so moving, so wonderful.

Ryan and Heather said...

This is an awesome video, what an amazing beautiful story your family has experienced.

Amber said...

Wow. That is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

(I just came over from.