Jo Ann Alo

writer – rhymer – Jesus junky

16_nepal

We just went to see the movie, “Everest.” It is Hollywood’s adaptation of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. On that day 12 individuals lost their lives during a blizzard in an attempt to either ascend or descend the highest mountain on earth.

I have to admit, I’ve always admired mountain climbers. I just feel like we have so much in common. I like nature, they like nature. I love the mountains, they love the mountains. I enjoy being outside… Seriously, I can’t help but marvel at the minds capacity to take its body through impossible circumstances in order to reach its desired climax.

Though I love movies based on true stories, I often require the facts that drive the movie when the credits are done rolling. So after the popcorn I went to the Internet to hear the interviews with the actual survivors from this fatal storm. Typically the facts transform these big screen heroes into human beings, and these documentaries did just that.

I was surprised at the responses to the question, “Why do you climb?” The forty-nine year old Doctor who lost his hands and nose said that he had struggled with depression all his adult life. When he discovered how pushing his body to its limits made him stop thinking, he was hooked. A 41 year old mountaineer who was the 34th woman to ever reach the summit, and the second American woman to ascend all seven summits made these comments: “Other people when they find themselves in a difficult spot turn to drugs, or alcohol, or credit cards. I go to the mountains. That’s always worked for me.” Another 34 year old woman said, “As long as I, or human beings believe that by doing something, the world is gonna change—‘by doing this I’m gonna be more happy’, ‘by doing that I will be successful’, ‘by doing this I think people are gonna love me more’—I think then, there is this fantastic drive behind it.”

As I considered each case I found that an internal rest was the number one incentive for climbing 28,000 ft. The crazy thing that occurred to me was…the guy holding the crack pipe is searching for the exact same thing. There is no denying this intense overpowering seeking force on the inside that we are stepping over and expecting our bodies to compensate for.

I can get caught up in these dramas. But the truth is I have my own Everest. In the deep of me are 2 questions that never sleep: “Am I loved?” And “Do I matter?” And the soul of me will forever toss and turn until it reaches that summit.

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“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” Jn 14:14

 

“…having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will…” Eph 1:5
 
In my climb for comfort my husband recalls the spiritual facts that we are born orphans, chosen, and adopted by God. Therefore we can gain a fuller understanding of the challenges we face after this spiritual license is signed through those who have been chosen through legal adoption.
Regarding our identity crisis Gregory Keck, PHD in his book Parenting Adopted Adolescents, writes…”Adoptees have one essential factor in common: Instead of living with their birth family, they are being raised by parents who adopted them.” (“I have named you, though you have not known Me.” Isa 45:4) “The question that serves to propel most adolescent behavior is Who am I? He is, after all attempting to build a new person on what may be a fragmented foundation. The adoptee must explore many facets of who they were prior to adolescence, who they are now, who they want to be, and where they are going. To do this, they must look into the past.” (“The vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.” Jer 18:6) “No adoption can occur without a sense of loss.” (“When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me.” Ps 27:10)

Our condition which detains our ability to connect to our new family Purvis, Cross, and Sunshine, write in The Connected Child,…”The harmed or impaired child either acts out—screaming, spitting, biting, hitting, or lying, or acts in—withdrawn, hiding, running away, getting depressed, or becoming unresponsive. At risk children can easily feel alienated and cornered, alone against the world. Feeling that way, it is almost guaranteed that they will come out fighting, manipulating, or fleeing.” It is strange seeing this proved in my own spiritual adoption.

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“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight — if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven.” Col 1:21-23

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Essentially, the formation of our new identity takes years, and for some of us it can take the rest of our lives. The bible calls this sanctification. Through the gospel we are called by His name to learn from God, as He teaches us by His word. (But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things. Jn 14:26 The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” 1Jn 2:27)

 

The ultimate goal for an adopted child is personal attachment. The Connected Child continues…”Until an adopted child experiences safety for herself or himself, trust can’t develop, and healing and learning won’t progress.”

In order to “attach” to God there is typically things from the past to detach from. All the imperfections of others and ourselves cannot be packed up and labeled to our new Father. How then could we ever trust Him? (“We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head.” Eph 4:14-15) He’s always bringing out new cloths, new perspectives, and fresh food. (“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Ps147:3) 

I was not raised with a sense that God was safe or trustworthy. And since my adoption it has been a painful stretch to believe His promises. If you find yourself here, the key words I have for you are found in the above verses of Col 1:23, “continue” and do not “move away.” Regardless of how you have “acted out” or “acted in,” the Father of lights loves us—but not as the world loves. And He Himself is the quiet of our storm. Our birth father has had all his rights taken away. He has no more authority over us. Our soul has protection, care, and comfort from our new Dad. We’ve no cause to replay all that our birth father said and did. Doing that only continues to control us in fear, and anxiety. (For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out,”Abba, Father.” Rom 8:15)

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Makalu, who lost his nose, fingers, and toes, without ever reaching the top, stated that had he known what it would cost him, he would not have gone. He had never imagined it would be worth the cost. He’d prepared and was ready. Unexpected things happened, and he’s had to accept his loses. I read that Makalu, after several plastic surgeries, has returned to the mountain.
Another of the survivors commented that once the summit was in her view, there was no turning back. A god like that is of no help to me — an illusive image set up to feed my illegitimate want for significance. I’ve obsessed over much in the hopes of claiming a better name for myself…but those goals have faded far faster than it took to reach them. And like those 12 fatalities my flesh has never been able to absorb my adoption costs. So faith…move this mountain.
‘”I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”  
2Co 6:18

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