Winning, Losing, and Love

Tammy De Ruyter

Read: 1 Corinthians 13:1-11 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (v. 7) The dodgeball game was intense, fast, and furious. Both sides propelling the balls with competitive force and accuracy as laughter, mixed with bravado, bounced off the walls of the church gym. Panting and sweating, the final ball landed squarely to cheers from one side and groans from the other. Both teams took winning and losing in stride; well, everyone but Ben. …

The Comparison Game

Tammy De Ruyter

Read: Matthew 18:1-11 Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? (v. 1) “Am I the fastest runner you’ve ever seen? Am I the strongest kicker? Am I the highest . . . the lowest . . . the best . . . ?” On and on flowed the incessant stream of questions and emphatical superlatives from his tiny, little mouth. His insatiable need to be better than anyone else dominated his thoughts. Life and death were suspended in …

Pragmatic Faith

Tammy De Ruyter

Read: Luke 14:28-36 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost . . . ? (v. 28) Through the sliding glass door, I could see all three children as they joyfully bounced on the backyard trampoline. Ten, eleven, and twelve years old, their giggles and banter floated musically inside as Mike and I sat at the kitchen table with Ben’s state-appointed attorney. The mood outside of the house definitely did …

Indifference Betrays the Soul

Tammy De Ruyter

Read: Mark 14:39-50 And they all left him and fled. (v. 50) A box full of cards and letters said it all: “Welcome to the family, Ben! Love you already!” “I can’t wait to be your new Mom! I love you!” “New Grandparents here! Just wanted to say ‘hi.’” And on and on . . . There was just one problem: the letters weren’t from us. Jailed parents and a broken home had already broken his heart, but now, the …

Ordinary Stuff

Tammy De Ruyter

Read: 2 Timothy 4:6-18 When you come, bring the cloak . . . also the books, and above all the parchments. (v. 13) The drive was blissfully uneventful as we pulled the empty trailer behind our car—two hours’ drive away on a cold, misty, wintry Michigan day. The plan was to pick up Ben from his existing foster family along with whatever possessions he had acquired during his brief ten years of life. After exchanging introductions and socially polite small …

The Vote

Tammy De Ruyter

Read: John 15:7-17 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (v. 13) In my mind, this experience was over. It was just too hard. This had been my vision and I was asking too much of the others in my family. The four of us sat in a circle to talk. As I tried to convince them why we shouldn’t go forward with the adoption, they stunned me into silence: My …