It started with a yes.
We were at Next Level church and this was long before Next Level was our church. We were there only because one of our absolute favorites was there too, speaking and meeting people. Even us!
Jen had come to speak and we had come to hear. It was a holy moment because at the end, Jen said, “Just put your yes on the table. Give Him your yes.” And we did.
And it didn’t seem like such a big deal.
But it was. Because a very short time later, we saw this photo.
And we heard a whisper. “This is your daughter.” and we began the process.
19 months later and we thought the hard part was over. She was home, she was safe, we had our seventh child in our midst.
But we didn’t know what hard was then.
We didn’t know that when we put our yes on the table and we said yes to Him, the One that holds all things together, that he was going to do more than just bring a little girl home.
He brought a little girl home but he also changed us.
And it kind of makes me want to say to God, “I see what you did there.” because I thought the whole point was bringing Sisi home. And for sure that was one of the whole points. The Bible says it clearly. “Care for the widows and orphans in their distress.” and “He sets the lonely in families.” and “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God.” and “the Lord sustains the fatherless.” and “defend the weak and the fatherless” and “love one another as I have loved you” and that was all very clear. Bringing Sisi home was the work of God.
But there was more to unpack in this “yes”.
Parenting a child from trauma meant that all of our ugliness was forced to the surface. The stress of working our daughter through her grief and through her stress has changed us. Because adoption is so beautiful, yes, but it is born of loss. And Sisi has faced the loss of her birth family and then the loss of her foster family.
And as our characters were being refined, we found that what was being pushed to the surface was stuff we didn’t like. Stuff we were ashamed of.
And that is where the YES that we gave comes in all over again.
We were also saying yes to refinement.
God has never promised easy. He has promised presence, He has promised endurance, He has promised faithfulness. He has never promised that if we name it we can claim it but he has promised that all things work together for our good. He has never promised that this was an easy road, in fact he promised that in this world there will be trouble.
He promised us His peace. Peace that is not like the world gives. There is a peace, even in the midst of trouble, that comes from knowing you are where he wants you to be. His presence in my struggles, in my selfishness, it is the healing gift that I need most.
He has promised us love and I have learned much about love in my 45 years. What some people call love is not love at all because it is conditional, it is fleeting. The love of God is permanent and nothing can take it from me. It is not based on my performance but based on the one who is Love. It is a love that lasts, that endures, that shapes and that transforms.
And he is transforming us.
Our yes is still on the table and we don’t know where it will lead us next.
But we know the One who does. And we start with this.
Do small things with great love.
We go from here, with our yes on the table ready to go wherever that takes us.