On Calling, Adoption, Living Life, and Intentionality

Y’all know I’m supposed to be taking a break from writing . . .

And I’m about to officially start that break for real, but before I do . . .

I initially thought I’d hop on Instagram and share this as a quick post, but as the words came, I realized that this needed to be fleshed out a bit more on here. This morning, I opened up Timehop and read the following words, written eight years ago after we lost our first adoption placement and over six months before we would even know our Anna existed. I wrote this during what was one of the hardest, most confusing, and most heartbreaking years of my life. But I also knew, after months of intense prayer and struggle and honestly, wanting to quit, that I was, without a doubt right where God wanted me to be.

The words may be eight years old, but the sentiment and belief have not changed. I could camp out on the words in the beginning, the part about God not creating borders, and on the fact that I vehemently believe that when the Word of God says to “Go into all the world” He means ALL the world . . . that while I have every assurance that God loves Americans, and before anyone comes at me, I certainly love my country of birth, I also know that He loves every one, of every nationality and race, just as much. And, well, God isn’t American. He’s God. Creator of the universe. But enough about that because I’m sure someone is mad and done reading, and I want to address the rest of what I wrote. The “calling” part, if you’ll be so kind as to let me use that word. It’s the end of International Adoption Month, and maybe you’re not called to adoption . . . maybe you are . . . regardless of where you land, I promise you are called to help and participate in some way. There’s an image that has floated around the internet for years that says:

Adopt

If you can’t adopt

Foster

If you can’t foster

Sponsor

If you can’t sponsor

Volunteer

If you can’t volunteer

Donate

If you can’t donate

Educate”

Original Author Unknown

The Word of God doesn’t give us the option of not participating. It’s not an if but a when situation.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

I believe as Christians our lives aren’t just a series of coincidental circumstances. I believe that every step forward should be intertwined with our calling from God. I know there are people that don’t like the word “called” when it comes to adoption, but just as I believe I was called to be a mother to my oldest, I believe I, we, were called to adopt our daughter. I believe I was called to be a mother to both of my children, called to be a wife to my husband, called at one point to teach school, and after a decade in the classroom and a few years working part time, called to serve my family by staying home. It’s not that there is never free will or choice within that calling. I think that’s the amazing thing about the God we serve, that He uniquely calls each of us, my calling is not your calling, and within that, He gives us so much choice and leeway. When I use the word “called” it’s not because these people I love and serve are some sort of project forced upon me. I use the word “called” to define who God created me to be, and I have always found my “calling” to be coupled closely with desire. I believe that when God calls us to something, if we are seeking Him, He places within us both the deep desire and ability, through Him, to do that thing. And while that almost never means it’s going to be easy, it does mean that trying to ignore it, trying to pretend like it doesn’t exist, only leads to deep dissatisfaction within us.

Which leads me back to why I’m here today. As this month wraps up, I feel like I would be remiss in not acknowledging the significance of what God has done in our lives and our family through adoption. It has not been an easy journey. Sometimes, I’d say it has been downright hard and felt impossible. But it has changed and transformed me. It has sharpened and softened me. It has made me bolder and more outspoken than I ever dreamed, and it has created within me a compassion and empathy that I definitely did not have before. It has shown me the rough edges and glaring faults I failed to see in my own life, the beliefs I held so tightly that were not biblical (although I thought they were) and were in so many ways harmful. It’s caused me to see myself and those around me as God sees us, in a way I’m convinced I never would have had we not adopted. It has pointed me to my need for a Savior, my Savior, Jesus, day after day after day. It has not been a journey in which I’ve always felt complete peace. I think there is immense danger in letting the “feeling” of peace be our only guide because feelings, emotions, can lie to us, and there have been times, more than once, when the fear and anxiety have made me want to turn and run the other way. But as I’ve walked this path, I’ve known, in the deepest parts of my spirit, that I am exactly where God wants me to be. None of this is an accident, and in continually turning back to Him, His peace has surrounded me, in the midst of deep concern, anxiety, and even fear going forward.

As I’ve aged, the calling God has placed on my life has grown and shifted, but the One who calls me never does. And so, I try to do everything intentionally and with a purpose. And whatever God calls you to. . . maybe it is adoption or fostering or sponsoring . . . maybe it’s mission work . . . maybe it’s to clean house and cook for your family . . . maybe it’s getting up daily and heading into a job or a career where you’re meant to change the world one small decision and choice at time . . . maybe it’s all of the above . . . maybe it takes you in a totally different direction . . . whatever it, your calling, is at this moment, I encourage to pursue it wholeheartedly knowing that we serve a God who equips us. And as I, for real this time, take the rest of the holiday season off, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

“God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”

Mark Batterson

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