But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1.3-6
* * *
When I typed the word “kinship” into Google, I found it to be defined as a “blood relationship,” with listed synonyms that included “family ties, blood ties, and common ancestry.” I love this definition, especially with how it relates to adoption, the sacrifice of Jesus, and woven tapestry of my own story.
8 years into marriage to my “Devin-from-Heaven,” we found ourselves overseas preparing for a Thanksgiving Outreach in Tel Aviv. It was the day before Thanksgiving, and the trip had been so full and busy, that I hadn’t noticed anything strange about my body. A walk to the local pharmacy, and a tiny Russian Café bathroom later, I was staring at a pregnancy test that indeed was confirming I was pregnant. I had no idea that this had been the case for the last 10 weeks. My bestie, Dina, and I were ecstatic and pretty much skipping block after block, giddy, in Israel.
My husband, who 3 long hours later, came in the door of the Calvary Chapel after a construction outreach, broke into tears; actually it was sobs—so much so, that the congratulatory joy of those around us, quickly shifted to a “let’s-give-them-a-moment” fast escape. Soon, it was just Devin and myself, both reverently quiet and in awe of this incredible news.
That night we skyped home. All of our immediate family cried from across the screen. That Thanksgiving was such a special memory to me.
Then, the day before Christmas Eve, at a routine ultra-sound, things took a turn for the worst. I remember the doctor’s office was so cold, monitors were running, and the face of the nurse quickly indicated to me something was wrong. Moments later, the doctor would come in, profusely conveying his apologies and explaining that there was no longer a heartbeat for this precious child within me.
Christmas Day that year, was horribly difficult. The body of that precious child was still in my womb and yet the parts of him or her that were eternal, were with the Lord in Heaven. It was a surreal thing.
I attended all 5 services at Rock Church that Sunday and vowed that I would lift my hands and worship God like Job did, whether He gave or took away, whether I felt like worshiping Him or not. He was worthy regardless of how I felt.
I led my heart through those sanctuary doors, and peace found me on the other side. I sang words of truth to my Father with all my heart and all my might. I was aching inside, but in worship, I experienced a genuine freedom, that only a Believer can know.
God shared His heart with me through that loss and I learned more of what it meant to fellowship with Him in His sufferings.
Fast forward a few years, and I had still not conceived. The fertility procedures and tests we were taking were always mingled with some sort of delay. There was a cyst, or the timing was wrong, or “we don’t have an explanation for that,” or “your insurance doesn’t cover this.” I can remember walking out of one medical office door, after another failed visit, and hearing God say, “Not this time, not this way.” I accepted those words, yet felt disheartened.
Months later, a woman reached out to us from a very gnarly part of the world where Believers are persecuted in the worst kinds of ways. The mother and father of two children in this particular place had been given a death sentence for distributing Scripture among their people. Hope rose within us, and Devin and I began to pray for these two children. We prepared our hearts and let God know we would receive any child in any condition if that was His will for us. We even took foster care classes should by some miracle they make it to the states and to our home.
Weeks later, we received word that one of the children had died, and that the other was too sick to move. It was very grim news for us, and we grieved again with Jesus.
Yet another opportunity was presented to us within the year. This time, it was a one-year-old little girl. Her birth father wanted us to be her parents. We had 3 visits with her. We started the process with the state and an important court date was set that January. Letters of recommendation were written on our behalf and sent to the judge. On January 1, someone donated an entire nursery to us; by faith, we set it up.
Days later, God spoke to my heart again. He said, “Grace is not coming.” I accepted His word, but asked Him why He had provided a nursery for us and prompted us to set it up. He shared with me that He too went to prepare a place for His children, and that many would not arrive; every time I walked past that empty nursery, He wanted me to have His heart for the lost.
It was agony, this meat He gave us to chew on, yet so humbling to know more of His heart. Again, it was another invitation to fellowship with Him in His suffering and we could thank Him for that. To know Him and more of His heart, even when it hurt, was an honor and comfort to us, though at times, not pleasant.
Thirteen years into marriage, we had learned that though all will experience pain in this world, as Believers, we had such a privilege to fellowship with Christ in it and to steward our pain for His glory. None of the tears, none of the ache would be wasted in God’s economy and we didn’t have to fear pain or the dark nights of the soul.
Shadows indeed are dark places, but there is safety hidden within the shadow of His wings.
Though our first two opportunities to adopt had in essence, failed, God started to teach us a new thing about adoption in the process; He had begun to illuminate how holy and profound adoption actually was.
Just as marriage is a holy relationship between a man and woman in the eyes of God, with profound experiences of Himself within it’s context, so too, was adoption.
God chose the relationship of adoption to describe His relationship with Him as our Father, and we as His children. In Ephesians 1, it says we’ve been predestined to adoption, that we’ve been chosen by God, to be accepted among His beloved. Where sin in the world had led to rejection, abandonment, or abuse, our Father made a way, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, to reconcile us back to God and to provide the promise of Heaven for us for ever and ever.
It is Christ’s blood shed for us, that gives us the “bloodline,” and in essence, the kinship relationship with the Father. And it was His choice to adopt us, and make us a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people…who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Adoption should never be viewed as some “last ditch effort” to have a family. Quite the contrary, adoption is a very profound, privileged invitation by God to know more of His heart, experience His love, and to extend that love toward future children!
We would soon discover that to love the adopted child, was to know God’s love for us. To provide for the adopted child, was to know God’s provision for us. To grant our name, knowing that everything we had, would now belong and be passed to that child, was to in some small capacity, to know what the Father had done and is doing for us.
* * *
Fourteen years into our marriage, toward the end of September, Devin received an email. We would soon be in touch with Rock Church’s Adoption Ministry. Miracles of provision would ensue and mountain after mountain would move.
On December 19, we would find ourselves in a delivery room awaiting the arrival of our little girl—Gwyn. This incredible gift from God, twice given, would soon be so graciously granted into my arms, and at Christmas time, no less.
In loving our Gwyn, I have never known such joy, as I do now.
How lovely it is to have let patience have it’s perfect work and to be on the other side of it all. Gazing into my daughter’s eyes and listening to her giggle, I can tell you—and I mean this with all my heart—it's been well worth the wait and I would do it all again, to have the privilege of loving her.
To learn more about Rock Church’s Adoption Ministry, click HERE.
- So You're Doing A Liquid Fast? (+ more Daniel Fast ideas)
- Fasting Sugar and Processed Foods?
- Answering the Call
- An Unexpected Christmas Blessing
- Going the Distance
- Toys for Joy Celebration 2016
- An Eternal Makeover
- A Follow Up: The Left, Right, and Great Divide
- It's More Than A Toy
- Light in the Darkness