Choosing the See.

One of my sweet friends (who is also in the process of waiting on God to adopt) let me borrow a book that really touched her heart…the story of Mary Beth Chapman, her family, the 3 girls they adopted from China, and the tragic death of one of her daughters at just 5 years old. The book is called “Choosing the See.”

I didn’t read the book with a pen & paper in hand, as I often do when I read really good, truth-applying books. But here’s the general gist of what spoke to me.

~ Mary Beth struggled with perfectionism, and with her need to make a plan…then have everyone and everything follow her plan. {Um…yes.} But over the course of her adult life, God continued to turn her plans upside down. To place her in uncomfortable situations. To ask her to do things that she never imagined she would do. To walk down paths of incredible pain and despair. But He didn’t leave her to face these situations alone. With His plans always came preparation…He always paved the way…He placed praying people of faith around her to support her…He revealed Himself to her in the most incredible, and also the most simple and sweet, ways…and He was always there with her.

I’m in no way comparing our losses with infertility to her loss of a living child, but I was encouraged that her God is my God. That what He did for her He also does for me. To see someone who has walked through the fire and is emerging on the other side…that is so powerful.

Equally encouraging to me was to hear her stories of adoption. Three different girls, three very different stories…but, of course, my favorite part was reading of the absolute, immediate, and overwhelming love that they had for these 3 little babies God had planned for their family through adoption. I love reading that, because it addresses fears that Chris & I have faced/continue to face (though not nearly as often) about loving a baby that is not biologically ours.

~ Somewhere in the book (obviously I’m not quoting this exactly because I don’t remember exactly where it even was) Mary Beth was talking about their family came together after the death of their daughter to rally around her youngest son, who had been the one to accidently run over the little girl. She said something to the effect of “she wouldn’t have ever wished that or written it as a chapter in his story.”

That particular line pierced my heart and really got me thinking…because infertility and the choice against IVF (and ultimately biological children) was never one of the chapters I was planning on for Chris and I. And although adoption might have been a chapter I would have written in {we’d certainly talked about it in the past, and knew of several families who had made that choice whom we admired} I fear that the financial burden it requires would have kept us from pursuing it, had we been able to have children the old-fashioned way.

But, praise God, He can see the bigger picture of our lives…of the plans He has for us. And because His sovereignty , He allows chapters into our lives that give us opportunities to point back at Him, to become more like Him.

I mean, let’s be honest. Given the choice, we wouldn’t choose “hard.” We wouldn’t grow, we wouldn’t glorify God…in fact, we would probably be hard pressed to even see our need for Him.

So although infertility, or Chris’ wreck, or any of the other hardships we’ve faced, wouldn’t have been what I would have chosen for myself, I am learning to be thankful for the way God works good through all of those tough chapters.

Without Him, the story would be pretty hopeless.

{One other thought on this…adoption is born out of loss. I *hate* that my baby(ies) will have such a tragic chapter of loss in their own story. But I choose to believe that God will redeem that chapter, and I am so humbled at the chance to be able to play a part in the bigger story of their lives.}

~ “We can do hard.” Mary Beth spoke several times throughout the story about the realization that she, along with her family, by the grace of Jesus Christ, can “do hard.”

It made me smile to read that, because it reminded me of what my Dad has told me over the years…and what he told me the night of our “big talk.” He told me that it’s okay to cry, to be angry, to have a fit, to eat some marshmallows (ha!)…but just as there’s a time to do those things, there are also times when I need to be tough. To be strong. To bow up and take care of what needs to be done.

In other words, to ‘do hard.’

I think it’s true to say that you don’t know how you could/would handle hardship until you are knee deep in it. But overall, I feel like I can say that Chris & I are coming out stronger on the other side…both as individuals and as a couple. We are doing hard…and instead of crumbling, we are strengthening.

Only God can make that happen.

~ The book is called “Choosing to See,” which is in response to a revelation God gave the Chapman family after the death of their little girl. For them, it means choosing to see the bigger picture, to see God at work, to try and see through their own personal pain and into the truths of God that are at work.

It’s a good reminder.

I pray that as we continue to walk through this season of waiting until our orientation, we would choose to see what God is doing around us and in us.

Blessed am I.

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