Tuesday, July 22


I had the blessing of meeting my sweet friend, Teresa, at Hope Spoken this year. I love her story of The Lord changing her heart, her passion for adoption, and her precious family. You can find Teresa on instagram, Facebook, and follow along with her blog. I'm honored to have her sharing here today.

I never wanted children. Ever. It wasn’t in my five year plan. Or my ten year plan. Or my ever plan, really. But one day, after college…while sitting on a green wooden park bench in Seattle, looking out over both the Space Needle and ferry boats dreamily floating from downtown to the San Juan islands, I prayed.

I imagined cars unloading from their short voyage, bound for rocky beaches and hiking. Or perhaps antique shopping and ice cream, and somehow at that moment, I realized I was missing something.  As I sat there with my journal in my lap and Bible by my side, I prayed the Lord use me. REALLY use me. I knew my plans were good. I liked my plans, they were big and international and out of the ordinary. But they were my plans. Not the Lord’s. I’d never really consulted Him on any of it.

That day, while looking out at the sparkle of the sun upon the waves, hearing the sound of seagulls and the busyness and hubbub of a thriving city below, I knew there was more. I just had no idea what that more was or looked like.  I want thy plan, O God, for my life. May I be happy and contented whether in the homeland or on the foreign field; whether married or alone, in happiness or sorrow, health or sickness, prosperity or adversity - I want Thy plan, O God, for my life. I want it; oh I want it! {Oswald J. Smith}

And that day changed everything. 

I didn’t fully grasp what that pouring out of my heart and releasing of my own dreams meant until years and years later…but I see it now. And now I’m a mother of six (!!!!).  Somewhere between that day on the park bench, and meeting my husband, my heart had softened on having children. And after birthing two charming, toe-headed little boys within two years of being married, my husband Ben and I began the process of adopting from Ethiopia. And then again and again and four times now. 

Ben and I joke that adoption is like getting a tattoo. Once you get one, you want one more. And one by one, your whole being is covered in adoption. It’s become our life. Not only the fact that we have four beautiful, brave, brown-skinned African children that we get to call our own, but somehow we’ve also become encouragers, advocates, and shoulders to cry on. 

Adoption isn’t easy. In fact, it’s hard…really, really hard! We’ve gone through things as a family I never would have imagined or planned for ourselves. But you can choose one of two things: either it will break you, or you commit to lean harder upon our Lord, determined for it to make you and your family stronger…together. There isn’t much choice, really. I prefer the latter. 

Whether adoption is part of your story or not, God has big plans for you, should you release your perfectly planned out future to Him. The plans I had for myself in the art world, traveling and living internationally, may have been amazing. But my heart aches at the thought of what I would have been missing. My true calling, the actual reason I’m here on this earth… is the amazing beauty of seeing a child move from distrust, to joy and thrive in love, and encouraging families (many of whom I’ve never even met in real life) cling to Christ as they struggle under the weight of it all. 

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'. {Erma Bombeck} 

Have you ever heard of Jabez? His story is but a quick blip in the Bible, yet his prayer is one to pray daily: Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. {1 Chronicles 4:10 - NIV} Jabez prayed it. And I prayed my own version of it.

For you cannot go with God and stay where you are. You just can’t.  Now, as I write my first book…a book the Lord has asked me to write, I see with such clarity how my life, and Ben’s life, has been beautifully interrupted.  Yes…  In big, bold letters. Italicized and underlined. Because it’s big. And sometimes scary. And incredibly awe-inspiring. Because HE has done this.

I’m excited to see where else He takes us. All because we surrendered it all to Him. My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9) 

Pray the Lord’s blessing upon your life as He expands your borders. Oh, how big and beautiful and exciting His plans are! All He wants is ordinary people who He can use for extraordinary purposes. And that’s us, isn’t it?

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)