Our first adoption was 42 years in the making. No, it didn’t actually take 42 years from start to finish, although, when your arms are aching to hold your baby, it can seem like 42 years. It did, however, take 42 years for my tightly clenched grasp on life to begin to release and to give my life over to Him.
Looking back, I see how the Lord was calling to me. I can picture Him watching over me, arms wide open, calling me to Him, ready and willing to take the burden from me, waiting for me to hear Him, run to Him, serve Him, love Him. His still, small voice in the back of my heart, was ever constant, ever present, ever merciful and ever patient.
At the age of 42, I had 4 beautiful children and was living the “American Dream”, but as that still, small voice began to grow and I began to relax my grip, the Lord began to reveal Himself to me and grant glimpses of the life He had planned for me and it had nothing to do with my "American Dream."
Our journey to Lizzie began in 2007, after some ups and downs and twists and turns that served to get our hearts back where they needed to be. We started the process for our first daughter from China believing that we would “save” her, not understanding yet that the Lord was using this precious journey to save us!
After 42 years of patiently and gently waiting, the Lord had my attention and was beginning to have my heart. After 42 years, I began to understand what was missing. The wait for Lizzie was hard but the Lord used that wait to teach me. The journey with Lizzie was hard but the Lord used that journey to open my eyes and to change my heart and that was just the beginning.
It would be 5 years later that the Lord called us back to China and to Maggie and Lucy. Bringing home two girls with cerebral palsy was not easy and as that American Dream continued to be slowly stripped away, the Lord constantly and faithfully restored my heart. It was a process, a beautiful yet sometimes painful process as parts of my heart were revealed. It was purposeful and equipping and at times we felt woefully inadequate as we let go of “normal” and learned to embrace all that He had for us.
And now, ten years after our first adoption, we find ourselves newly home with our 14 year old son who is blind and the fruits of that process are affirmed as we maneuver behaviors, feelings and medical needs that would have left us fearful and discouraged had we not learned to release it all to Him. There is joy in this place. A kind of joy that would have been unrecognizable to me 10 years ago, the kind of joy and peace that can only come from the Lord, formed into beauty from the ashes of the struggle.
The Lord wants us to trust Him in the details, large and small, to trust Him to provide in everything, to turn to Him for our affirmation, not to this world, and to trust Him in the wait. Those challenges that He allows in our lives, the times of waiting, and of perceived silence can ready us to do just that.
“We share in His suffering so we can share in His glory.”
I watch my children.
I watch as they “maneuver” their lives through their special needs.
Yes, they have challenges but they trust and they have joy - because they are loved.
Isn’t that the key?
He loves us.
The Creator of the universe loves us.
How could we not be filled with joy and childlike trust, regardless of our circumstances, knowing that He is ever there, watching over us, arms wide open, calling to us, ready to take our burdens.
I am beginning to know what it means to follow Him, truly follow Him, the blessings and the cost. It can sometimes be hard but the blessings that come from that “hard” are unlike anything “easy” this world has to offer.
Through our adoptions the Lord has shown us what it is to love with grace and without expectation. Day by day, bit by bit, I am being transformed into who He created me to be, willing to be led by the promptings of His Holy Spirit and not by the misleadings of a fallen world.
Ten years ago, as we waited for our “minor need”, two year old, precious daughter from China, I would have never envisioned our lives as the Lord knew they would be.
Ten years ago, we adopted Lizzie and we, ourselves, were adopted into the kingdom of heaven!
For 42 years, He waited for me and for 42 years He prepared me and while I still have moments of fear and doubt, I am quicker to cast my cares and love courageously for the One whose love is steadfast and unconditional.
Adoption is such a reflection of His love for us and whether you are in the wait or newly home or home and still struggling, remember:
He is not done yet.
He is in control – always.
He is never taken by surprise.
He is right beside you, even when you are far away.
He will equip you because He called you.
He is unchanging and His promises, eternal.
Release it all and watch as His strength transforms your fears into a testament to His glory.