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Doing Hard Things

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” -Alan Cohen

So where to begin? My family and I have made a pretty gigantic change in the past two weeks, and it’s something that I think is worth sharing.  You see, I have a pretty comfortable life.  I’m not claiming to spend my afternoons sipping iced tea beside a swimming pool; but my life is pretty great.  I’ve been married to my best friend, Starr, for over 12 years, and we’ve created this wonderful family to share life with. We live in a house we can afford, and drive two cars to shuttle around town.  My kids don’t have the latest and greatest of anything, but still have more than about 99% of the rest of the world’s population.

Life was moving along swimmingly, with all of us settled into a station of comfort and ease.  Then Starr and I began to get uncomfortable with how easy everything seemed to be.

When was the last time we stepped out in faith for something great?

How are we truly creating a better story for our family?

We preach, share, and teach family…family…family…, but how do we really live this out when not in the friendly confines of our church?

So we begin to look into something that we had always talked about.  Adoption.  We looked into it, but it didn’t feel immediate enough.  I have no doubt that it will happen down the road, but felt we needed something else in the moment we were living in. Then we thought of something that was so  unbelievably  scary, that it almost seemed crazy.  Fostering.  We began this journey some 6 months ago, with endless parenting classes; and doing whatever we had to do to secure our license.  Then two weeks ago, they arrived.

Two children that don’t look anything like my own, yet are in need of what my family has to offer.  Not what I have as a father to offer, or what Starr has to offer as a mother…but what our entire family could offer.  I’ve watched in amazement as my children have influenced these foster kids.  They are changing hearts with their kindness.

And it’s still a journey that will grow more and more with each day, but it never would have happened if we would have settled for the comfortable.  The desire to do hard things has changed our lives forever.  Sometimes in our fear of what the future could hold, we settel for the easy. But here’s the thing I’m learning.

Easy things don’t hold nearly the potential as doing hard things.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Jeff · February 8, 2011

    That is so cool Jonathan! My wife and I are in the process of adopting our very first child as well. We are doing a private adoption and hope to have them in our home later this year. It’s been a long and hard road but we are excited to see what God is going to do. It’s always great to hear about people going trough this process just like us.

    • Jonathan Cliff · February 8, 2011

      Thanks! It’s good to know that other strong Kidmin leaders are advocating for a spirit of Adoption in our churches. I’ll pray that your adoption journey is a wonderful success!

  2. Donald Martin · February 8, 2011

    Awesome post that hit me close to home. Our family is going through a similar “divine discomfort” as we have taken in an adult who was in need of financial, emotional, and spiritual help. You never know the power of taking care of “the least of these” until you do it.

    • Starr Cliff · February 8, 2011

      Donald – Wow. That is amazing and inspiring. I will pray your family is able to offer that help and see life change happen.

  3. BeckyB16 · February 8, 2011

    Yes, we’ve also adopted and God shows us again and again how it is so much more than just “helping a child”. WOW – that benefits are endless for ALL of us!
    Blessings on you – there is also nothing EASY about the call – I am still learning that myself!!