Confessions of a Second Time Adoptive Mom
Am I the only one who has read through Exodus, amazed at God and almost equally, unable to comprehend just how unfaithful the Israelites were? God delivered them from Pharaoh. He met their daily needs in a miraculous way. God crushed their enemies. He guided them. He protected them. He cared for them. He was near to them. What did the Israelites do in return? They doubted him. They feared those around them more than they feared Him. They grumbled. They complained. They forgot.
Here I am, many years into my walk with God. He has provided for me in desperate places, brought healing to my trauma and brokenness. I have experienced His nearness in the face of loneliness. I have known the sweetness of His comfort in the darkness of my grief. He has given me life where none could be fathomed. He has met my needs, dried my tears, sustained me and empowered me. He has changed my heart’s desires. He has freed me from sin. He has convicted me of more sin. He opened my eyes that were blind, softened my heart that was hard and given me faith that I couldn’t muster. He has given me a heart that demands my own way and replaced it with a heart that (while often still demands its own way) sees global and local need and moves towards it.
Yet here I am, in the quiet of the night. The noise and chaos around me has quieted. But the volume of the noise in my heart starts blaring. I see my to-do list, still longer than the hours in my day. I think of what I should have done that I didn’t get to. I remember the harsh words I uttered in frustration or the dismissive looks I gave to the request that seemed so unimportant. The prayers I meant to pray, but never quite remembered. The people I thought of reaching out to encourage, but never did. My worries and regrets are like a cloud casting a shadow over my heart.
What is my heart really wondering here? Is my sin and weakness greater than God’s grace?
I begin to think about our adoption. We are just a few, small pieces away from a really big milestone in the process. We will soon be one very important step closer to being matched with our child. That step and the steps that quickly follow involve a tremendous amount of money. The money we had is all going to the adoption. I see the upcoming fees increasing and our bank account decreasing. I worry if we will receive the kinds of grants we did with Kai. I wonder if our story will be as compelling this time as it was in the past. I worry if we will garner the kind of support we did before. Our community has changed so much since our last adoption, will we have what we need in all of our areas of need? Are we making a big mistake, putting so much money towards adoption rather than to our kids’ future education? Can we do this again? Can we bring another child in, a child from broken and unknown places? With medical and emotional needs that we can’t quantify. Are we crazy to be doing this again?
What am I really asking here? Is God really good, will He really provide?
The Israelites asked the same questions. It’s easy for us to see from our view, 2000 years later, that God would provide. In fact, he proved that by providing for them. He was good to them, over and over again. And His grace? It was greater than all of their weakness. It shone into the darkness of their sin, so brightly that God’s glory alone would be seen. It’s easier for us to see, because we know the end of the story. But, to them, that Red Sea really did seem impassable. To them, the reality of what they lacked really was terrifying. The questions of the day shouted louder than the whispered reminders of where they had been.
I’m not that different from the Israelites that I’m quick to snicker at with an eye roll. The realities of day to day life, the sin that I battle, the temptations that I face, the sorrows, disappointments and loneliness that come day by day are an invitation to glorify God, to move deeper into Him. This adoption process, with endless unknowns, huge financial burdens and stressors, daily lists of paperwork to complete and frequent anxieties force me to make a choice. Will I glorify God by turning to Him in these hard places, rehearsing His faithfulness and preaching the Gospel to my own heart? Or like the Israelites, will I grumble and complain, give way to worry and fear, try to store up for myself what God wants to daily provide? I want to glorify Him. Desperately. Will I move towards Him in all of these moments? No, but just as He did in our last adoption and in every other trying time, He will offer more grace than my failure can keep up with. Glorifying God isn’t about just declaring truth to a lot of people. Glorifying God is about turning to Him in small moments, reminding myself that God is good when my feelings tempt me to wonder, pushing towards His Kingdom agenda when my need for control or more things or security make me question.
Guess what? We know the end of our story, too. God has been faithful and always will be faithful. It won’t look like I expect it should. It won’t be easy. It won’t come without cost. He has demonstrated His faithfulness to me, over and over and over. In big things, in small moments, in brokenness and in joy.
Let’s not forget the broken parts of our stories. Rehearse God’s faithfulness to you. Let’s not allow the voice of Satan, whispering questions like: “Did God really say that?” “This time, things are different, will God really come through?” “Does this really matter?” speak louder than the voice of our Savior who is calling us to live boldly for His kingdom, valuing the orphan, seeking the unloved, forsaking the things of this world.
The same voice that calls us to do these impossible things, gives us everything we need to do them. And better yet, we actually know the end of our story too. What’s the end of our story? Jesus has already overcome all of the darkness. He has paid for all of our sin. Jesus holds the answer to every one of my questions. He holds all that I truly need. He is with me in all of it. Jesus is coming back. His kingdom will prevail. He will make all things beautiful. Maybe not in my lifetime, maybe not in the way I expect, but the full radiance of this beauty is yet to come.