Today I will continue my story concerning Mother’s Day and my personal tragedies, triumphs, and legacies (if you missed Part 1, see here). My husband Chris and I had been married for five years when we decided to have children. We tried for a year and no baby. We had the “tests” done, and I’ll never forget the doctor calling me one evening to tell me that Chris and I would never be able to have biological children. I was devastated. Those dreams of brown-haired, blue-eyed children faded. Those dreams of being pregnant faded. I distinctly remember standing in the grocery store checkout line watching a 16-year-old girl in front of with a baby paying for her groceries with food stamps and thinking, “That’s not fair. We could provide a baby with so much more, and yet God gave her a baby and not us.”
But those thoughts and feeling didn’t last for long because I now had a biblical perspective on death and suffering in this world. The reason Chris and I weren’t able to have biological children wasn’t God’s fault but man’s. I also knew of God’s grace, love, compassion, and mercy in sending His Son to die and resurrect to redeem us and give us eternal life. God is a God of promises made and promises kept! I clung to Hannah’s praise to God for Samuel, “For this child I prayed and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him” (1 Samuel 1:27).
Chris and I prayed and knew that God wanted us to adopt. We never viewed adoption as a back-up plan or a second choice but simply God’s best choice for our family. We began the long and tedious process to adopt our daughter from China, and a little over a year later on January 9, 2005, Elizabeth was placed in our arms. There’s something very special about the date we adopted her because it was on that same date nine years prior that my mother had died. It was so amazing to see God take a day that normally was very sad for me and turn it into a day that brings me so much happiness. I lost my mother on that day, and then I became a mother on that day!
I was vividly reminded of God’s grace. He takes us—the wretched sinners that we are—and when we receive Christ, God sees us as righteous, as if we have never sinned! These events were a real-life analogy of God’s grace of taking something bad and making it into something good.
It has been such a joy being Elizabeth’s mom and watching her grow and growing along with her. She’s eight years old now, and the most important ministry I have as a Christian mother is to leave a godly legacy—to raise a child that will love and serve God and bring glory to Him. Just as my mother did and my mother-in-law did with her sons. I desire to be like the sons of Issachar in David’s time, “who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). It is my responsibility as a mother along with fathers (the spiritual leaders of the home) and Sunday school teachers, pastors, and others to intentionally and purposefully equip and train the next generation and to rebuild and stand on the truthfulness and authority of God’s Word from the very first verse! (Be sure to check out our website and online store for great resources that can help you accomplish this.)
I want to conclude by saying that even though I know the biblical answer to why there is death and suffering in the world and ultimately why I’ve had to go through these various trials, there is always that question of “Why me?” One of my favorite verses is Romans 8:28, which states, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose.” I know some people have come to view this verse as a cliché, but it’s not. It’s the Word of God!
We know God is good, and believing in that goodness leads us to conclude that God has a morally justifiable reason for everything He does. Nothing is a surprise to Him. He is sovereign and nothing happens outside His will or plan or purpose! Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” We have to let God be God and trust that He is good and His plan is for our good.
The Christian artist Laura Story crystallizes these biblical concepts well in her song Blessings:
‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
I can readily answer yes to those questions—blessings come through raindrops, and trials are mercies in disguise. My experiences and my family are living proof of that.
Thanks for letting me share what was on my heart and mind this past Mother’s Day. When I sat down to write, the words just kept flowing out of me and it was hard to stop!
Keep fighting the good fight of the faith!