In praying though what to post this week, I felt the need to talk about our adoption.. Specifically, what are some of the experiences and emotions that I have walked through?
Maddie Kate is now six. So, if you count our birth mom's pregnancy, we are nearly seven years into the adoption experience. So I looked through some posts from the past to see what I have learned on the journey.
Something I wrote back in the fall of 2007 caught my eye. It captures a lesson I learned back in those days. In fact, I'm still learning it. Here's what I wrote back then...
My sleep was interrupted again last night. After getting four kids (now ages 7-15) through their needy preschool years, I had finally gotten used to having at least a good seven hours of uninterrupted sleep on most nights. With a new baby in our house, it has been a bit...elusive lately.
We are now two months into the adventure of welcoming Madeline Kate into our home. God willing, the adoption should be finalized by the time you read this. But our adventure includes all those things that go along with raising a newborn baby: restless nights, endless diaper changes, pesky little ailments, fussy moments where nothing seems to make her happy.Parenthood isn't easy.
And it certainly isn't convenient.
This leads me to what is perhaps the greatest lesson that God has taught me through this process. Over the past few months, God has revealed to me a hidden characteristic of my heart that has significant potential to limit His ability to work in and through my life.
Before we decided to step out in faith, I spent a good six weeks arguing with God about this whole adoption thing. Though I certainly wouldn't admit it at the time, most of my reasons for why another baby didn't make sense were based upon the fact that it would severely complicate our lives. Almost two years into our transition to Georgia, we had finally entered a time of relative ease. Our lives were quite comfortable. A new baby would only add stress to our time, our wallets and our futures. In a nutshell, it wouldn't be convenient.
What God revealed to me was that my tendency had been to run my decisions through my "easy filter." One of the key components of my decision-making process was to figure out how hard it would be. Over the past few months He has reminded me that He has not called me to a life of convenience. Rarely should a choice be made because it is the path of least resistance, especially on decisions related to following Christ (which should be most every decision I make).
As we have experienced the immeasurable joy of having Maddie Kate in our family, God has showed me that choosing what is hard will often result in the greatest satisfaction. She is a little miracle that we get to witness and enjoy in a hundred different ways every day. She is a regular reminder of God's activity that I would have missed out on had I chosen the easy way.
When we are obedient to step outside our comfort zone in any area of life, God meets us there, enriches our lives, and brings about much needed change in us. It is choices like these that make life interesting and our story compelling to others. When we choose the easy path, we just get easy...and boring. And our lives aren't the least bit compelling to a world looking for something different in those of us who call ourselves Christians.
I have a new found appreciation for the difficult things in life. Every day my kids teach me that my life is better and God is more glorified when I have to depend upon Him to get through the tough stuff. And when He is in the middle of it, even the most challenging things are laced with the joy of knowing that God is working out His perfect will in me and those who are following so closely behind me.
So now here we are, six years later. Maddie Kate continues to be a blessed inconvenience. And our lives are so much more rich because of her. How many times do we miss out on the fullness and abundance of life that Christ offers us because we choose the easy path?
May we all be willing to ask God how He wants to make our lives uncomfortable in order to accomplish His purpose in our lives and in the lives of others!
Barrett Johnson is the founder of INFO for Families and the author of The Talks: A Parent's Guide to Critical Conversations about Sex, Dating, and Other Unmentionables.
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