Earlier this week I ran across something I wrote in the fall of 2014. Just weeks away from our trip to Colombia, still waiting, still wondering – if and when and how we would ever become a family. It was Spiritual Emphasis Week at Legacy, Del Tackett, the chapel speaker. Tackett is known for his Truth Project, which is why this particular message surprised me. I remember it well. How he spoke that day, of shalom.
Less than a year before it had been Mike’s shalom, and Barb’s – the Spirit speaking through human friends. Nothing Missing. Nothing Broken. “Sonya, Shalom.” God knowing I’d need a word to tell this story. He knows me well.
And now, again, a note written frantically in margins of a glossy card from wooden church pew, October morning. Four years and four months later I shake my head, seeing what I’d written. Seeing all He’s done. Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you… This verse tattooed right there on Jimmy’s arm. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you… Two months before the boy became an Anderson, Dr. Tackett explained it this way in chapel:
The word prosper is really shalom.
Shalom, Jimmy. It’s right there, inked forever alongside that compass, and this is your story. Plans to give you hope and a future. And didn’t you, just last week, tell this same story in your Crown College interview? Showed them your tattoo, told about leaving one home, and finding another. From south to north, scorching heat to land of unfathomable snow, and who could have known? The guy from admissions tracked us down later in the in the student center where we sat drinking coffee with Sidney. Glad you’re still here. He wanted to tell you right away, it was an easy decision. You’ve been accepted. Hope and a future, college bound. Our youngest son.
There’s another word scribbled on glossy card, posted, too, somewhere on a blog. The word is agape. We translate it love. But that day at chapel, Dr. Tackett said this:
Agape is the sacrificial zeal that seeks the shalom of another.
And I am undone.
Oh, my sons. Do you know how much I want to AGAPE you? Do you know how much I want you to prosper?
God Almighty. Increase my capacity to love!
This whole wild journey. This whole wonderful family. From the very beginning of this Boy Mom story He’s been doing this. Every broken thing made whole. Every missing thing found. Every dream of your Heavenly Father to prosper you holy. Your mom’s dream, too.
Within a few short months each one of my boys will be taking steps toward independence. Life will be changing, for all of us. But don’t think for one minute that changes my desire, and Dad’s, too, to apage you long into the future. To do everything we can to see you shalom-prosper to your fullest, wholest potential. God picked five boys out of all the people on the planet to be mine. Ours. Loved.
There will be hard days ahead for all of us, too. I’m not going to lie. More often than not the rebuilding work of shalom takes sweat and courage. Prospering never happens while you’re taking a nap. But I believe in this. This family. This God-dreamed mission. The grace of Jesus and the zeal of the Spirit. The sacrificial love of the Father who won’t let us down, and won’t let us quit, until every single one of us is whole and holy.
Nothing missing. Nothing broken. Shalom.