Our family has experienced loss in the adoption process, and as such, I’d like to piggy back of Heather’s post. When our precious daughter died 3 months after arriving home from India, in addition to heart wrenching grief, I remember feeling lost.
Our dreams are often altered. Sometimes God gives us a gentle nudge in a slightly different direction. Sometime the changes are bigger, our dreams are shattered, and we’re asked to pick up the pieces and put them together in a much different way. But occasionally, God asks us to completely let go of a dream and our specific hopes don’t just waver; they die. When our life’s direction is suddenly scrambled and re-written, we’re left wondering what the next step should be.
More than a year had passed between our initial leap of faith and the arrival of our daughter. Friends and family prayed with us through each step in the process, sharing in our joy and thanksgiving the day we became a family of four. In the days following our daughter’s death, my faith unraveled in the engulfing uncertainty in my heart. I was completely unsure of my life’s direction. Even the next step was in doubt. I felt utterly lost and alone.
Many of my prayers in the following months were little more than, “Lord, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.” I’d like to tell you that I quickly regained my grasp on God’s plan for my life. But, I can’t. I was especially confused about our family’s role in the life of children in need of families. I had been so confident that our family was meant to grow through adoption. Desperately, I wondered if I had been wrong. Did He have a different plan for us? I drifted forward warily, in a dreadful fog of confusion. In frustration, I wondered if anything would ever be clear or if I was destined to wander aimlessly. I wrote in my prayer journal, “God, I have no clue what you want from me. I feel like I’ve guessed wrong so many times and I just cannot guess anymore. Could you provide more specific directions?”
Gradually, I began to see that my life’s purpose had not changed—at all! I wasn’t lost. I didn’t have to guess. Events past, present, or future did not change my ultimate duty—worship, praise, trust, faith. I recently read a devotional which reinforced the call to worship in all situations and circumstances. In Habakkuk 3:17-18, the prophet who began writing in despair over Judah’s condition resolves to praise his God. “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
Our heavenly Father asks us to always trust him, whether we can see miles into our future or one single, tiny step. (That’s easy to say, much harder to do.) There is much I still do not understand, but I do know that God makes no mistakes. I am slowly learning to trust him, to know more certainly that He has a perfect plan for my life, to accept that this perfect plan included our daughter’s death, and to believe that peace and joy follow close on the heels of obedience. Psalm 30:5b, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Our adoptions journeys are often a mix of joy and pain. If your family is at a crossroads, unsure of the next step, I pray God will grace you with unfailing faith and unending praise. God promises to walk with us through every faith-stretching trial. “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13). At times, following God is challenging, difficult, and painful, but the rewards are so great! Trust Him!
"Let not your heart be troubled,"
His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness,
I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth
But one step I may see:
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
(His Eye is on the Sparrow, vs. 2 *~* Civilla Dufree Martin, emphasis mine)