My Facebook feed is getting more and more difficult to read. Being in groups with other adoptive parents, I see posts about the challenges they’re having with their children, their extended families, the schools, the doctors, and the “system.” They’re real. They’re raw. They’re painful to read.
Sometimes they hit close to home.
It’s no secret. Parenting adopted teens, especially in a trans-racial family, can be really, really hard.
And then there’s this young mother, 7,494 miles away in Uganda, who adopted 13 girls when she herself was 25 and single. And she teaches me a thing or two about trusting God and turning my own daughters and their futures over to Him.
Katie Davis Major’s new book, Daring to Hope, picks up where Kisses from Katie left off, offering the us a front row seat to her life as an adoptive mom living with her family in Uganda, peeling carrots and stirring pots of spaghetti in between ministering to the lonely, the lost, and the dying.
It’s a book that will challenge your outlook on life and change your faith. It did mine. Her honesty is evident, her words heartfelt, her story remarkable, her insight divinely inspired. God is working in her, through her, to reach out to us, to me.
I think the beauty of Katie’s story is that it finds the reader wherever they are in life and meets them there and speaks truth to them in their situation. As a fellow adoptive mom, Katie’s words brought me hope, encouragement, and gratitude. Let me share some of her words and the lessons she offers:
Parenting people from broken places makes our own brokenness all the more evident.
God knit our family together from many different places, and our hurts are on display quite often, surfacing at different times in different circumstances. I wonder routinely if He chose the right person to tend to all these precious hearts while He is still so clearly working on my own.
As I’m tempted to wallow in guilt over all that I am not for my children, gently he reminds me that I was never meant to meet all their needs anyway. It isn’t me who can make up for all their losses and hurts. He reminds me that I cannot be what they need Him to be – Savior.
I’ve never raised teenage girls before and barely remember being one myself. This awkward dance my daughters and I are doing is exhausting and our toes and feelings get crushed. We struggle to lead. We’re dancing to different music. When they were younger, I was everything to them. But now that they’re teenagers I can’t be enough, I don’t measure up, and I can never be enough. Only God can fill the void in their hearts as they search out their identity, their purpose, their future.
God sees you and me in our pain and our brokenness. He sees you walking a difficult path when the sun goes down and your life is a far cry from that which you expected or dreamed up. He sees you when the ending of the story is not the one that you yearned for and your prayers seem unanswered and it all just feels like a bit of a mess. He wants to name these places The Lord Will Provide. When we thought life might be easier, when we thought things might be different, when we thought we might be better, be more, God provides His Son, who meets us and provides grace for our gaps and light in our darkness.
Grace for our gaps and light in our darkness. As my daughters struggle with adolescence and searching for their identity when the first years of their life is a dark mystery, daily I say the wrong thing, give the wrong look, cause them more pain. I don’t mean to, I just seem to do it. But Katie reminds me that despite this, He is with me each and every moment, and He’ll give me the right words, the right look, the right touch. This journey is hard, but He sees me trying and He will provide.
But my knowledge is limited and His is not. God kept reminding me that I wasn’t the writer of this story, and that when I tried to write all the endings, wrapping them up in a neat little package, I was diminishing who He was and all He could do. He was asking me to trust Him, to believe that He would bring about His own glory even when I couldn’t see it.
A faith that trusts Him regardless of the outcome is real.
He redefined redemption and beauty for me, not as a happy ending, but as His presence with me regardless of the ending.
Daughter #1 loves a happy ending and gets offended when books or movies disappoint on the last page, the last scene. And while I know happy endings don’t always come the way we want, like any mother, I want them for my daughters. I want their smiling faces on my Facebook feed, their awards, their achievements, their friendships posted for all to see and say, wow, those girls are great. And they are great, and they will continue to be great because God is with them always, even when the days aren’t so great and the season of life is hard.
In the dark season He doesn’t leave. In fact, He draws near. He whispers that loving people is not in vain, because in loving people I know more of Him, regardless of the end result. God is love and as we love in His name, He is glorified. And this is where I find hope; in knowing that He will be glorified.
Maybe God called us to adoption-you and me-not just to love and care for one of His children, not just to fill a whole in our own heart’s desire, but to learn to love Him more, to trust Him more, to find our hope in Him. Maybe this adoption journey is about us, as much as it is about them.
And so, I join Katie in this prayer for my own daughters and for other people going through life with struggles that I don’t understand, can’t understand.
“Father give me your eyes for them. Give me your eyes for his man, this woman, this child. Show me how you see them.” And without a doubt, though not always immediately, God will answer a prayer such as this.