Last weekend my husband and I chaperoned a group of junior high/middle school youth to an annual conference called Winter Blast. Two of our own kids were planning to attend so we thought chaperoning would be fine. My selfish, lazy side thought that after registering the group, we’d just need to drive them there and back, monitor their safety and count heads, not too difficult. Shortly after arriving at the camp we saw the other 400 students arriving with all that energy and silliness. At the first session, I realized we’d need to lead break-out sessions with the students and devos (devotions) each morning. I got that sinking feeling of “What have we gotten ourselves into.”
The conference theme was “Young & Wise: Right Choices. Right Now.” The speaker was a youth pastor with a weekend long message about wisdom. He was great at drawing the kids (and me) in with stories, games, and most importantly, God’s Word. He defined wisdom as knowing the consequences of a choice in advance and then acting on that information accordingly. He also emphasized that true wisdom must come from God through His Word. I was learning so much myself from the speaker and desiring to discuss these tough topics with our students during breakouts together. I was praying with them and for them. I got the blessing of seeing God soften them and transforming them and see them weeping in humility as they drew near to their heavenly Father and saw more of Him. What a wonderful weekend it turned out to be!! I was so glad God had softened me, too, and caused me to engage with the kids in this journey.
As I pondered this experience, I think it may in a small way mirror what I have experienced as an adoptive mom. Initially, I thought, “I can do all the mounds of paperwork required to get my kids home I can monitor their safety, give them a home. They’ll join our family so we’re just a bigger, happier family.” All true. But then as we brought them home, the realities and challenges of this new family caused the sinking feeling of “What have we gotten ourselves into.”
As God continued to work in me, I continued to be transformed. I drew near to Him, realizing we couldn’t do this ourselves but He could make us a family, healing and growing each of us in grace. I realized how blessed I was by having the opportunity to work through difficult situations and struggles with my children. I was praying with them and for them and God was answering in beautiful ways.
I was brought into these both situations with my selfish, lazy side making declarations about what I was wanting to do, often from the sidelines. God had, and still has, a much better plan than me. I am grateful I am chaperoning this family adventure, fully engaged by the grace of God!