but I’ve heard the tender whisper
of love in the dead of night
You tell me that you’re pleased
and that I’m never alone
In the months preceding our travel to China for our daughter, I had a lot of fears that would bubble up in my heart. Some of those fears had surface level strength and were really just questions about the unknown and I knew they would work themselves out.
How much would travel costs be?
Would we make it there before Chinese New Year?
Would the flights be excruciating?
What if we get lost?
All of these are things that I feel like most adoptive parents experience at some point during the course of their journeys to their child. Fortunately, there were resources out there to help answer some of our questions that caused the fear, and we could move on.
Some of the fears that slowly rose to the surface were bubbles that could not be popped by obtaining more information. They were things that would haunt me, causing me to experience doubt and worry. These bubble looked like questions, too, but formed in the quiet way that only the Father of Lies is familiar with…
Will you really be a good mother to an adopted child?
What if she doesn’t love you?
What if you don’t love her?
Could this end up destroying your family?
All of these questions, whether we admit it or not, are fears that rise to the surface inside of us. Maybe not these exact questions, doubts, or fears, but I imagine that if I polled the adoptive community, and everyone were 100% honest, there are questions we have that we cannot have answered in traditional ways. There is no list that can battle the lie that I was going to be a terrible mother to our new daughter. There is no check sheet to ward off fears concerning my family’s destruction. There just isn’t. But that doesn’t mean that we are left powerless as we are battered by lies.
I’ve seen many searching
for answers far and wide
But I know
we’re all searching for answers only you provide
Because you know
just what we need
before we say a word
Time in China is spiritual warfare at its strongest. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s following the Father’s heart in something that is so precious to him… setting the lonely in families. (Psalm 68:6) No matter how prepared we appear to be on paper, our Enemy will attack us at our weak points. According to 1 Peter, we are to be sober-minded and watchful. Our adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. That’s US! It’s me and it’s you! The devil seeks to devour, and we cannot pretend that he’s going to be satisfied with the person standing to our left or our right. He wants every person he can get, especially those who are committed to the least of these.
I would also add here that, in many cases, the devouring will look nothing like you expect it to. It will blind-side you. It might be horrific sometimes, or terrifying. You might question everything that brought you to this place you are in. It might look like a spouse who is normally the even-keeled person falling apart. It might look like sudden illness striking your family. It might even look like seeing a child who is not the child you thought you were getting.
If you are among the blindsided, an inroad is created for our enemy to make a meal of us. The lies spew forth with force and power…
You don’t have to do this…
Why would you do this to your family?
Can you really handle this?
The survival instinct that grows strong in the hearts of our children as they wait for us is powerful in us, too. We want to protect the known. We are afraid of the unknown.
Oh it’s Love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so Unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As you call me deeper still
as you call me deeper still
as you call me deeper still into love, love, love…
These lies attacked us, too on a cold January morning. The lies tried to twist Truth into truth-with-a-side-of-deceit, which is really just full-on deceit. Even though it was the most excruciating time of our lives, we were able to see the lies for what they were. It didn’t stop the attacks, but it enabled us to stand firm and say, “yes!” to our daughter even as the darkness howled around us.
What we had learned months before we traveled for our daughter was that redemption doesn’t have to start when we see our child’s face for the first time. Redemption can begin long before the moment when the lies fall heaviest on our hearts. Redemption is for now; it’s for our children, and it’s also for us.
You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, It’s who you are,
It’s who you are
and I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, It’s who I am,
It’s who I am
Before we traveled, my husband and I both spent time with praying friends. We invited the Holy Spirit to be with us, and it’s an invitation He cannot resist (Romans 8:28).
We came with fears we had, uneasiness we felt, and worries that plagued us. We asked Him to reveal Truth to us, and as our Advocate (John 14:26), he delights in sharing the Father’s heart for us. He spoke truth to our broken places, and healed wounds that needed to be healed in us before we could welcome our wounded daughter into our family.
There was one particular time that won’t easily be forgotten.The Lord graciously gave me a glimpse into the hurts and fears our daughter might come with, and it was a powerful moment. Just a few weeks later, when she fearfully fought off any form of affection while at the same time desperately wanting us to be near to her, I remembered the strength of my emotion during that prayer time, and rather than being fearful of the future, I understood her. The Lord is so kind (Psalm 36:7). He is so willing to walk before us through the fire that threatens to consume us.
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us
I know when we first saw our daughter, the chasm that separated my expectations from my reality was vast. This was not the child my heart had learned to love, or at least that’s what I thought. I wish I could say we just pulled through it, or we found strength inside us to continue, but that’s not true at all. Our strength came from the Lord God who called us to the journey, the One who whispered, “yes” in our hearts from the very start when we saw a picture of a little girl that wasn’t anything like the checklist we had agreed upon.
Our freedom to say “yes” was born out of the freedom we found sitting at Father God’s feet, letting Him speak Truth. God doesn’t want us to be unprepared for the battle – like a good father, He does not withhold good things from us (Matthew 7:11) And He answers our cries when we call on Him. (Psalm 34:17)
He is a Good Father.
Song Lyrics: Good Good Father
Image: Tish Goff