Who knew this momma – who had once upon a time envisioned life with my husband to include a couple of children, a spacious home, and (of course!) many family vacations to tropical destinations – would instead learn (and daily re-learn) that the path to the purest peace and the greatest joy is to yield to God’s plans and purpose for my life rather than my own?
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.” Psalm 143:10a
Who knew that eight years ago, after a second heartbreaking ultrasound of yet another lifeless, perfectly formed baby in the second trimester, God would conduct life-saving surgery on my heart? Who knew that I would reach the end of myself and, by His mercy, fall through an opening in the safety net of control I’d been residing in for so long? Who know that when I fell, I would land in the open Arms of Grace and become a soul surrender-er and a grace-receiver and truly, for the first time, begin to understand what it looks like and feels like to truly walk in freedom?
The One who saves knew.
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Who knew that shortly after that season of heart refinement and soul surgery, God would open our eyes to the reality of the orphan crisis by leading us to His Word and His call to us as Christians to love and care for them, and ultimately, open our hearts to adoption?
The Father to the Fatherless knew.
“God sets the lonely in families.” Psalm 68:6
Who knew that every time we’d pray eagerly and believe we were ready to begin the process, we’d inexplicably lack peace and instead, quietly tuck paperwork away only to hear the Lord say, “Trust Me?” And who knew that during this exact season of waiting and praying, a tiny baby boy would be born on the other side of the globe who was known, seen, loved, and set apart by his Abba, Father to become our son one day?
The All Knowing One knew.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord… “to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Who knew that in the meantime there would be a season of surprise and joy as we welcomed the birth of a new baby? And, only a short time later, that there would be a season of gut-wrenching grief as we watched my beautiful mother – my children’s beloved grandmother – suffer with pancreatic cancer until the Lord carried her home?
The One who is our Comforter knew.
“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21b
“He heals the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
Who knew that almost exactly five years after our first prayer seeking God’s heart for our family with regard to adoption, I would unwittingly stumble across a photo of a little boy who would steal my heart immediately, and I would know he was the son we had been praying for all these years?
The Faithful One knew.
“I called upon You; for You will answer me, Oh God.” Psalm 17:6
Who knew that all those years of heartfelt prayers and saying that we trusted God, we would still struggle to believe? “First of all, he’s in China, Lord. How could we ever afford the adoption costs? Not to mention, we fall short of the income requirements. And, by the way, we were okay with one special need but not a list that includes words we cannot pronounce or understand. This was not the child we were expecting. Our hands are pretty full already, so they say. How will this potentially affect our other children? Are you sure? You know we have no idea what we’re doing, right? Now???”
The Savior who beckons us out of the boat knew.
“Don’t be afraid, just believe.” Luke 8:50
Who knew that China allows waivers, and when we finally took that first timid step out onto that Ocean of Unknowns, our hearts would overflow with peace?
The Prince of Peace knew.
”Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Who knew that we’d desperately desire to hop on the next flight to China, that 12 months could feel like 12 years, and that our hearts would ache for years lost and birthdays missed? Who knew we’d have to learn that patience coincides with perseverance as we navigated trenches of paperwork, social worker visits, and adoptive parenting classes, books, and blogs?
The One who sits on the throne knew.
“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrew 4:16
Who knew that when God told us to have the faith of a child, He meant it? Who knew our kids would willingly sell the family camping trailer, lemonade, and homemade necklaces and voluntarily hand over their humble life savings in eager anticipation to help bring their brother home? Who knew that the seeds of faith God planted in our family would be watered and flourish as He faithfully provided every penny we prayed for through adoption grants and the generosity of cheerful givers who answered God’s call to care for orphans?
The One who Provides knew.
“The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:27
Who knew that after that long year of hearts prepared, funds provided, and seas parted, this Momma, who was so confident in Christ’s calling, would quietly squirm in my seat on a China bound plane as the enemy of our souls would attempt to launch one last-ditch sneak attack on my joy with missiles of doubt, fear, and inadequacy?
The Voice of Truth knew.
And we know therefore, there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
Who knew that faith causes fear of the unknown to flee, and obedience causes joy that knows no bounds? And who knew our hearts would burst with love for our new son, and at the same time, we would wonder what we had done, all the while, traveling through China, overwhelmed with a fresh gratitude for the Gospel of Grace and the miracle of our own adoption as His sons and daughters through the life-saving blood work of Jesus Christ on the cross?
The Grace Giver knew.
“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
Who knew we would come home and make many trips back and forth to doctors and that our other children would actually enjoy tagging along with their little brother, cheering him on along the way? And who knew God would weave together a special and beautiful bond between one of our bio kids, who had been anything but excited about a new family member, and our adopted son?
The Redeemer knew.
“And we know that in all things, God works together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Who knew there would be some truly miraculous days when we’d marvel at God’s heart-mending work in our son and how far he’s come, only to hit our knees the next, pleading with God for His patience, strength, grace, wisdom, power, mercy and peace to parent this child, who has been through so much in his short life, one day, one step at a time?
The All Powerful One knew.
“And He said, ’My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Who knew that when a well-meaning person would mention, “He’s so lucky,” we’d internally cringe and quietly respond, “No, no, we are the ones who are blessed,” because we know the truth of our inadequacies, and it’s only by God pouring out His grace upon grace over us that we have been given the gift of parenting this precious little
The Giver of every good gift knew.
“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” John 1:16
And who knows what will happen if there is a dark day ahead and we begin to sink, forgetting to look straight ahead with our eyes on Him for every decision, every challenge, every victory, every breath, and we suddenly find ourselves crying out to Him in desperation?
The One who never leaves and never forsakes knows.
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Who knows what the future holds, and who knows what words we will give when our precious son asks the inevitable questions we simply cannot answer?
The One in Whom our identity is found knows.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me.” Psalm 14-16
The One who is writing a beautiful story in each one of us knows.
”For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you, will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
-guest post by Joanna