Recently our pastor talked about how sometimes the things we think we want are not the things that are best for us.
This message really resonated with me, because that’s a lesson I feel I’ve learned over the past couple years. Two years ago, one year ago, all I wanted was my own biological baby. The thought of not having that was absolutely devastating. I prayed daily for that to happen, except for when I didn’t pray at all because I was mad it wasn’t happening. Slowly, over many months, I shifted my prayers to say that if a biobaby was not in store for me, that the deep desire I had would be taken away and replaced with something else.
I couldn’t imagine that actually happening.
But then it started happening. We started adoption, and I got excited about that. I began imagining my life with two little African toddlers and couldn’t wait to meet them and get to know them.
Then some stuff happened. If this was God’s will, it sure didn’t seem to be going very smoothly. I was frustrated when MOWYCA reduced the number of cases they reviewed. I questioned myself- really questioned myself- if we were supposed to wait forever for toddlers when older kids needed homes now. I made excuses. And again, I started praying that my will would be His will- that my ways would be His ways. I couldn’t imagine parenting older kids at this point in my life, but I wanted to be open to whatever. I didn’t want to miss out on something just because I was afraid or felt incapable.
Look, I don’t speak God language. I’m not saying that this is definitely what God had in store for us or that I do such a good job of listening to Him, because I have thought I’ve listened before and been wrong wrong wrong. I don’t know His plan and don’t think I’ll ever understand it this side of Earth. Sometimes it seems that Christians do what they want to do and then chalk it up to “God’s plan.”
I am saying that this is not something we would be doing if we did not free ourselves from the constraints that tied us down and the desires we thought we had. To get here, we had to check those things at the door and be open to things that sounded completely crazy to us. Maybe it’s God’s plan, maybe it’s just where life has taken us, but it was definitely, without a doubt, not our plan.
And that’s why I’m a little uncomfortable when people say “You guys are so awesome” or “Those kids are the luckiest kids on Earth”, or any other praises sent adoptive parents way (that is, when we’re not being criticized over why we didn’t adopt from the US or why we didn’t do IVF, sarcastic smiley). Do I think adoption is awesome? Yes! Do I think older child adoption is especially awesome? Yes! And I feel so incredibly honored to get to be a part of that story.
But I’m not the author of that story. This is not what I imagined for my life; not where we would be if I had gotten my way. I just handed over the pen of my life story to someone else and opened myself up to whatever adventure they took me on. To give us credit for that is like giving Harry Potter props for a great story rather than J.K. Rowling. The author of our story, be it God or coincidence, is doing incredible things in our lives and we’re just along for the ride.
What about you? Is there something you’ve been praying hard over but you’re just not getting the answer you want? Could it be that whatever it is you’re praying for, however good or right it seems, is not the answer? Rather than praying for something specific, can you free yourself from your desire and open yourself up to whatever comes your way- even if it seems completely crazy?