People often ask me, “How do you handle all you do?”
Depending on the situation, I can answer in a variety of ways:
1) I’m wired this way. And that’s partly true. I have a God-wired ability to stay focused in the midst of chaos … most of the time. My husband says I’m more left-brained than him and he’s an engineer.
2) I stay organized. Most of the time. Having a fundamental structure of my life that’s organized save me time and frustration. Usually, I can find what I need when I need it. Usually, I have dinner planned. Usually, I prepare in advance.
3) My kids are older. We still have issues, but they are different. And three of my kids drive so that is a huge help.
But when people ask me that question, it’s usually when I’ve shared something that has changed my life more than anything else. It’s pushed me to the edge of myself, made me question who I am, made me question God about what He saw in me that made Him choose me for this assignment, and it’s made me cling to Him with more desperation than I ever have. And that’s adopting two little girls from Africa.
I haven’t written much about the challenges due to respecting my family’s privacy. And also there’s this part of me that doesn’t ever want to discourage an adoptive parent with how hard our journey has been. But it’s been the most costly thing I’ve ever done. But also possibly the most important thing as well.
In 2005 we adopted two girls, ages 8 and 10, from war-torn Liberia. We knew nothing about their background, other than it contained deprivation of the kind even other poor countries hadn’t experienced. No running water, no electricity, no school, no exposure to books or even television. Just basic existence for 8 and 10 years.
Welcoming these little girls into our family of five at first seemed easy. They responded well to our love. They started to thrive with good food and education. But very soon we realized challenges. And then very sad truths about what happened in Africa started being uncovered.
With one girl we realized cognitive challenges. With the other behavioral. Significant behavioral issues based on neglect and abuse. And here’s where my story stops, as we are still living every day with those challenges. And there are privacy issues. But these challenges have affected me and my husband. They have affected our three biological children.
And here’s what I discovered, all my God-wired ability to think through chaos, all my attempts at organization and having older kids didn’t prepare me for this.
But God’s strength did.
How do I manage all I do? Every day I turn to God and tell Him … I don’t have it in me to do this one more day, I need Your strength.
I don’t have the patience in me for this … I need Your patience.
I can’t think straight right now … I need Your clarity.
I’m not even sure I have love in me right now … I need Your love.
And every day I get my portion for that day. I get just enough strength to get through today. Just enough patience. Just enough clarity. And a new definition of love that’s stronger and tougher and more determined than I have ever experienced.
I wish I would write more about my experience, and maybe someday I will. But for now it’s brought me to my knees, it’s made me more humble, it’s made me less judgmental and it’s made me depend on God more than ever.
God’s strength is enough. But I had to get to the end of mine to learn that.
Are you going through a hard situation today? Do you need God’s strength in a desperate way? I’d love to pray for you.
Leave a comment and I’ll commit to praying for you by name over the coming days. If you are reading this in an email, click here to be taken to my blog.
I love you, dear sisters. God is enough for all of us.