As we journey through each day of the Advent season, we’ve gathered special stories from Lifeline families, staff, and friends to share with you, testifying to how the hand of the Lord and the Character of Christ have been magnified through their children and in their families…
16 Indeed, we have all received grace after grace
from His fullness,
17 for the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has ever seen God.[a]
The One and Only Son[b]—
the One who is at the Father’s side[c]—
He has revealed Him.
Each of our 3 adoptions has been very different from the others, but in each we have been able to see the grace of God in undeniable ways. It’s also a great part of the story that two of our kids were adopted over the holiday season. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just a little more special with the memories we have from those special trips.
Adoption has taught me much. I remember on a particularly tough day in the waiting during our first adoption, The Lord used my friend Russ Moore speak truth into my life that has proven accurate over and over. He reminded me that through adoption I would “learn things about God that [I] would have no other way of ever knowing.“ In the hard and the easy and in the best and the worst, God has used building our family through adoption to help us see Him and His gospel more clearly.
A couple of days after Thanksgiving in 2003, we began something that felt like “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.” Improbably, Denise and I found ourselves in Ternopil, Ukraine staying in a 4 room hotel above an auto mechanic’s shop. Although for months we had an indescribable peace that we would travel at Thanksgiving, all the outward signs pointed to our wait being months longer. God had different plans. Six days before Thanksgiving, we received the call that we had an appointment and needed to be in Ukraine in just FOUR short days.
The next week was pretty much a blur. In that span, we saw God provide airfare that was absurdly cheaper than anything I had ever seen to that part of the world, a wrongly cancelled government appointment be rescheduled in less than a day, and the craziest train trip we could imagine. Through it all, God protected and provided, and we had a front row seat to these and many more amazing things.
Still, I was restless. In my heart of hearts, I was frustrated. I was used to a world in which a confident spirit and an ability to make relationships meant that nearly every problem had a easy resolution. You just had to ask the right person the right way. Now, I was halfway around the world in a place where I had no legal standing and no ability to communicate on my own and no relationships with anyone. I felt like I was totally at the mercy of many other people, but truly I might just have been seeing who I was before God for the first time in my life.
I was helpless. I was totally dependent, but I realized my dependence was not on other people. That was an illusion. My true dependence was on God. While I talked a good game, I wrestled for a little bit of control in almost every moment of life. I came face-to-face with the reality that my need to control things was rooted in my pride, but I also found in amazing ways just how patient and caring a Savior I had.
While I was as helpless as the little boy we were there to adopt, I had the privilege to see God move mountains. I learned to really meet with The Lord in prayer, and I learned to trust His provision. Glorious helplessness helped me to dive deeper into Christ.
As we come to the close of Advent, it’s not hard to see how much we need God’s provision. Lost in our sin, God did not leave us. He humbled Himself and came for us, and I am thankful that God uses adoption as a wonderful lesson of His provision. I hope that this Christmas will be a time of seeing the extent of God’s desire for you to rest in His provision through Christ.