Thursday, April 4, 2013

Counting Cost (And it Hurts)

We had a beautiful Easter weekend. Beautiful, like the sunshine and upper 60’s weather we had on Saturday… Beautiful, like the many times Jesus’ resurrection came across the lips of the people around us with insightful perspectives about His love for us… Beautiful like the hearts of the friends we’ve been fortunate to spend time with.

Saturday, I had the most idyllic day of maybe my life. On our first visit home as a family of four, Saturday afternoon I found myself in my Mom’s kitchen, babies upstairs napping, husband, dad, and younger siblings playing softball in the back yard, sounds of that best kid laughter drifting in with the breeze through the screen door. I was cooking with my mom (or, rather… sitting on the counter talking while she cooked and let me take sample bites of the best-ever crock-pot macaroni and cheese). It was a taste of heaven. And yet, until I get to heaven, there will always be something the Lord is refining in me, some of it painful work to be done in my heart. As I shared some observations of late with my mom, she verbalized the truth I was mulling around in a big dose of clarity.

Recently, the Hill family has been blessed by friends. Well - that's actually a big fat understatement. We have been showered at all stages of our adoption process by generous and thoughtful gestures from friends, church members, and strangers alike. It's an adjustment to be on the receiving end of so much generosity, so much sincere kindness. It's so humbling it's almost hard. But what has had me floored for the past few days started with some of the friends who have been part of all of this support raising, gift-giving, food-bringing goodness. And then some.

Two couples in our lives have supported us, used their creative gifts to benefit our family, made thoughtful gestures at opportune times... What caught me off guard recently, is that they followed all of that up. After supporting us, giving a gift, being part of preparations, sweet welcoming parties, these people went out of their way to serve us again. And it has broken me.

On a quiet morning while I was playing on the floor with my babies, I got a text asking me what Starbucks drink I would like to have delivered to my house - just to be dropped off for me on the porch.

I can give no logical explanation here - this friend has served and loved me well already. My house is not on her way to... anywhere. I never mentioned Starbucks or coffee or a rough day or needing anything. This little act of kindness came out of nowhere, and as it had to be out of her way, I can say for certain, that it cost her.

The wake of the question marks that special treat sent rippling through my head left me seeing so clearly, that Jesus didn't ask me to care for (take meals to, pickup sweet little things for...) my brothers and sisters when I was already headed that direction or they sort of hinted or I knew it would just be fun for me. He asked us to lay down our lives for one another. Serving one another His way COSTS us something, and I think I've cheated myself, and my dear brothers and sisters, out of a lot of opportunities to love the way Jesus called us to. I've tasted it, and it's good. And it's left me... broken? Yes. In a good way.

On a beautiful day over Easter weekend when some friends of ours could have been doing anything, they drove out to visit us, to share with us a gift for free that they are usually paid for doing. These people, too, have already been a part of getting our boys home, shared in our excitement, and just recently wowed us with a thoughtful gift for the boys. While we were loading the boys into the car, they told us to pop our trunk, and dropped a huge box of 720 diaper wipes inside. They said they'd seen them at a wholesale store and were sure we could use them. That's when it hit me... After already serving someone the way they had already served us, I would not have done that. I would have reminded myself of the things I'd already done for them, and I would have said, ENOUGH. I would have counted that extra cost too great. (And I'm disgusted at that painful self reflection.)

It's funny that after receiving huge gifts of support, expensive baby items and meal deliveries, it was a Starbucks drink and diaper wipes that sent my heart over the edge. But ya'll, these items COST their givers. And that's what pricked my heartstrings. I knew without a doubt, that these most recent acts of kindness came with a cost. I am all for lending a helping hand, being part of special projects, etc, but when those things actually cost me something (a favor after a favor, an expense after I’ve already contributed…) the truth is, my heart is reluctant. And in the shadow of people whose hearts just aren’t, I’m hurtin’.

Because we are in community with people who have tasted Christ's love, our lives continue to be filled this way: spontaneous trips out of town to cook and clean for us and love on our babies, coming by for hours on a weekday to clean the floors in my house... At the moment I can't think about it without sobbing. I have seen clearly my own heart, and it is lacking. But I have people around me loving me the way Christ does, and it is GOOD. I want to be that kind of friend. That kind of giver. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." -Mark 10:45. I am so grateful that my God won't leave my heart the way it is, that He will faithfully continue to make me more like Him. And I'm grateful for the servants and friends He's placed in my life.


  1. Hello from another IAG family...loved this post and helped me see my inadequacy in this area as well! Thanks for being convicting to me! :) On another note-have you heard the song Counting the Cost by Rend Collective? You should listen to it-your post made me think of it ! Praying for the transition to be going well with your new (adorable!) babies!

    1. It's great when we can share in some of the pain, right? Ha. Even better to share great music - thanks for the song reference! Excited for you in your journey - I will watch for your updates on the loop!