By Caleb Evans
As long as I can remember, I have always heard people debate, what determines what a man is. Or more commonly known as nature versus nurture. I’ve always wondered, why cant it be both?
In essence we are all the same. All born with a sin nature (Reviews Genesis and reference The Fall). So we are all the same, we all come into the world as sinful creatures not knowing wrong from right. That defintiely plays a part in our formidable lives. But we all are predestined to have different paths in our lives. So you would commonly think its nature.
But the side of nurture reveals that although we are all born as sinners, the way we grow up, and the way we react to the knowledge of wrong and right, definitely plays a part in this. Who influences us the most? Who do we surround ourselves with? Where is our faith placed? And the next argument for nuture is this and the inspirtion for the title. Everyone can remember certain times from their childhood, and some, if not the majority, are sad or embaressing memories. Those stick with us our whole lives. They shape us, they make us who we are. So yes, you can consider yourself battered or damaged, but with God we can not be broken, and we will never be defeated.
I say all that to say this. Adoption is the most daunting task I have ever faced. Yes, even spending a year in a combat zone. I find it so intimiditating that I would be responsible for raising a child in the right way. It never has been a request from God to raise a child the right way, rather a command. (See Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4, and Deuteronomy 6:7 to name a few.)
I know as a man with many faults, I am ill equipped to raise a child. I am incapable of having the capacity of unconditional love. It is not a human trait. That does come from a Heavenly Father though. So as I prepare to embark on this journey with a wonderful woman by my side, I have two men I am going to model myself after.
My father David, was a man of few words and by his own admittion was not a fan of public speaking. Which is odd because he has served as a pastor or assiociate pastor for the hefty majority of my life. But as I have grown to realize “I love you” is a phrase rarely used in his family. Words of affirmation is not a common theme on his side of his family. But then again, it was a phase that needed to be spoken, because it was shown very often (Acts of service mainly). After my mother left, he was forced to raise three kids, Emily was already out of the house, by himself. Not just three kids, but two pretty decent kids, and me, a well known knucklehead. All while working as a full time veterinarian and a full time pastor. I saw work ethic like I have never seen before. But I never once heard him complain or get downtrodden over the situation. Instead, although I rarely heard it, I was treated with love on a dialy basis. My dad rarely said, “I love you”, nor did he need to. All of us knew he loved us, and if you knew him, you know he loved you as well. Hes not what you would call a very “socailable” person, but his love permeated evey single room he entered. Thats my dad and if I can give a child a miniscule portion of what he gave me, I will be doing alright.
As great as my dad was/is, I would rather take a greater influence from my Heavenly Father. A man who is capable and showers me with unconditional and unlimited love. Also, he nevers gets that in return. It sure is easy to love God, when things are going good, but when days arent filled with rainbows and gumdrops, it becomes difficult. But as it says in the Bible God loved us before we ever loved Him. (1 John 4:19) Let that sink in. God loved us, as sinful creatures, and never expected love in return. And I know from experience, unrequited love is terrible, regardless of what Disney movies might say. How do I show that to my child? I can’t, without showing my child Christ’s love, through me.
I know I will lose my temper and I know I will say things that I would give anything to take back. As a side effect from that, I may implant memories in my child that he or she may feel damage from. But I must humble myself and apologize, and remind him or her, That all of us are, “Battered but not broken; damaged but not defeated” and with the help and love of Christ, we are nothing but victorius.