Thursday, June 27, 2013

How Adoption Has Changed Us

It's hard to explain how dramatic an impact this process has had on me and Seamus. It has only been a few months since God so beautifully burdened our hearts to pursue this adoption. I love to reflect on how he has changed us in such a short period of time. It's impossible to share all of our experiences up to now but here's a glimpse in to what God is doing in our lives.

In 2007, my brother suffered a brain injury and shouldn't have lived. He was in the neuro-ICU on life support for weeks and a third of his brain was removed. Needless to say, this was a very difficult time for me and my family. Many miracles came from this tragedy. The most obvious is the fact that today he functions well (all things considered). But even bigger than this is the amount of grace that God poured on us through other people. God displayed HIS infinite compassion through the love and support, prayers, phone calls, cards, flowers, meals, finances, errands, babysitting, listening, and hugs of So. Many. People. It's this same compassion I feel through our adoption process. I am overwhelmed by, not only the number of people, but the amount of support so many have offered. We are forever changed, once again, by God's amazing and unlimited grace. Y'all. God. Is. So. Good. When we started on our journey only a few months ago, our hearts aimed to please God, to shine light on His glory, to walk a road that honors and blesses Him. While these are still our desire, it turns out God has decided to bless US beyond our wildest imaginations! All glory and praise, for all these life-changing experiences, are given to Christ alone. It's all His work, His grace, His perfecting. I am continually overwhelmed that He chooses to use me for His purpose. I am even more overwhelmed at how He uses YOU for His purpose. His love, mercy, generosity, protection, justice, creativity, wisdom, and grace are all displayed through each of you who are walking with us. We are forever changed by your willingness to love us.

We are also growing in how we handle our finances. He is calling us to be better stewards of our money (His money, really). We are being challenged to cut back, reorganize priorities, and become much more transparent. I am thankful for those of you who have held us accountable in our fundraising efforts, asked the difficult questions, and have given wonderful advice on how to do this the right way.

Another way I have changed through this process... Perspective. We are more aware than ever of the sad reality that so many children in this world are orphaned. So many, too many, don't have a family to love them or even feed them. The harsh and ugly realities of their existence have been presented to us bluntly. This too, has become a blessing for us. We have been burdened by what we have learned and it's a privilege because this is the same burden that Christ has in His heart. We aren't able to just turn our backs now. And thankfully, we don't want to. “Once our eyes are opened, we can’t pretend we don’t know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act.” (Prov. 24:12) I've been reminded that adoptive parents aren't the answer to the orphan crisis. The answer is Jesus Christ. My eyes have been opened to the disgusting truth of what is happening across the globe to helpless children. I plan to be an ambassador moving forward, not only for earthly adoption, but for birth parents and children everywhere to realize their adoption in Christ! This is the only solution to our problem of sin and abandonment. I pray that my perspective would be constantly morphing into the perspective of God's. I am thankful that he has answered prayer by burdening our hearts for adoption.

More growth in perspective... When we started this journey, I was very skeptical. Yes, adoption had been on my heart for years and I knew God was speaking to me regarding His will for us to adopt. But I had so many questions, so many doubts, so many fears. "Why would God use little me for this? Surely He's not really asking me to follow through with it? I'm too busy. It's too expensive. I could never love an adopted child the way I do my biological ones. What will people think? There's too much we'll have to sacrifice to make this happen." Sure the questions still creep in to my mind periodically but God has truly given me a clearer picture of His purpose. Although I don't have all the answers, I am secure in our decision because I know it's of God. I don't know what obstacles and hardships lie ahead. And I know they do lie ahead. There are so many unknowns for us. But isn't that life in general? Really, we don't have any guarantees in this life, except that Christ will always walk with us through it. The truth is, if we are never doing kingdom work that is unnerving or uncomfortable, then we really aren't trusting in the only one who truly keeps his promise to provide. Christ calls us to "carry our cross", to "lose our life" for His kingdom (Matthew 16:24-26). That's a huge load, y'all. It's not just heavy, it leads to death... death of self. And that's okay because death of self and life in Christ's work is the only life that leads to true joy! Yes, I'm scared and unsure of how it will all work out but God's word reminds me that those doubts are my flesh, not Him. His words tell me that I am treasured and loved, and that love never fails. No matter what valley we face, Christ is in it with us and I wouldn't trade that for all the comfort in this world! He is the giver of all that is good and the taker of anything he wants. We accept whatever He wants to give or take away, knowing that it will further His kingdom on earth and that it's all for our good (Romans 8:28).

This process has blessed our family beyond measure. It's exciting to think about what God might have in store for us in the near and long-term future. He never stops providing, never stops blessing, never stops loving. And I will never cease to be amazed at his infinite glory that he so gladly shares with me. How incredible is our God who loves to bless His children. Wow! Thank you, Father.

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