I’ve been re-reading Tricia’s words describing the first twenty-four hours of life with Madelyn. I’m changed and challenged, as I look back and see how this short segment of time propelled Tricia, Troy, and Madelyn into a new beginning. I’m caught in the memory of the first moment I held Tricia, feeling inadequate and ecstatic all at the same time. I’m humbled by the thought of my daughter loving her daughter. I’m in awe that Tricia and Troy are the ones chosen to help Madelyn find her way, not only from the grief of leaving everything she had known, but through all of life.
It’s one of the greatest tasks a parent has . . . the task to help our children to find their way . . . even when the way seems uncertain and downright difficult.
The thing is . . . we’re often at a loss to know how to help our children find their way . . . when we’re continually discovering our own way. While Tricia and Troy were ready, they could not stop and process the way to begin with Madelyn. They had to trust, even when they weren’t sure how to do to it.
The rest of us needed to cheer them on, believing the details of their new life would come together for good along the way. It’s what we do when faith and family collide.
It’s important to remember finding our way is a process.
In those first few hours and days, baby-Madelyn could not have possibly understood Tricia and Troy were her parents. In her limited perception, they were strangers who did not speak the same language, act, or look like anyone from her place in the world. I’m sure she missed her orphanage family and the way she had lived. Sadness, loneliness, and fear had to have gripped her when life changed. There was no way for her to comprehend the plans God had for her, which included parents and a family with a bunch of love. She would have to be shown the way.
In the hard places of life, when everything seems to be falling apart, when there seems to be no way through any of it, when it all feels hopeless, it’s incomprehensible that God is loving us and has something good planned. Eventually, we will collapse under the pressure of it all, if, we don’t turn towards God. So. My go-to word from God, Jeremiah 29:11, while often misused by many, is a supernatural, powerful, guiding truth:
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (NLT).
The words of Jeremiah need to be sifted and sorted, placed at the center of each day.
I know the plans.
There’s not just a plan and purpose for life, but supernatural God-designed plans. So. When I only see the messiness of life, I need to readjust my view, remembering with God there’s always something more. I’ve reminded my kids and many people: “God’s got this. It’s under divine control.” When I’m worried, anxious, or stressed, I’ve lost the momentum to convince anyone, including myself, that the plans of God supersede the power and pressures of any and all circumstances. When you get down to it, everyone, including our kids, learn more from our response to God than any other format of teaching faith.
Over the course of several years, I’ve learned I need to stop, to take a breath, and step into a place of quietness to recognize God’s presence, to recommit myself to believing God will make a way, and then to intentionally walk in the truth of it. Once I’ve focused on God’s plans rather than on the stuff, I’ve positioned myself to live in the realm of belief that God knows the plans and will make a way to bring it all together. Then, I can whisper in their ear and shout it from the roof tops: “It will be okay.”
Funny, but two-year old Madelyn has already picked up on this life truth and often, when something breaks or doesn’t go the way it’s planned, will say, “It’s okay.” Because in the way she has been shown, it ends up being okay.
The simple words, “it will be okay,” help to turn us away from thinking it’s all going to end up in disaster to the belief God has good plans.
Plans for good and not for disaster.
No one wants disaster, but media thrives on it, the powerful gain more power from it, and history reports on it. There are times when disaster just makes sense. But. God has something more, which is always good. James 1:17 confirms it:
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (NIV).
I’m encouraged that good has come from the sadness of one family in China, letting go of their precious daughter, and an orphanage staff who willingly loved and cared for a little girl, knowing she would not stay. Our faith is strengthened when we tell the story of how God works good out of our pain.
There’s more to come.
. . . To give you a future and a hope.
God produces beginnings and new life. He never leaves us in a dead-end circumstance but moves us forward, filling us with the presence of Life. I like how the Apostle Paul explains the way to go forward:
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14, ESV).
Forgiveness is to be practiced over and over again with our family, asking for power and grace from God to forgive, believing it will be okay because of the supernatural plans for the future. So. Instead of bringing up the wrongs of the past, we cheer one another on for what is ahead. It is a necessary value in any and all healthy relationships.
I’m pretty sure I would have quit except for Madelyn’s repeated two-year-old cheer, “You can do it Nana . . . you can do it!” I kept on blowing air into the pool with all of my strength, wanting to give her the delight of a summer afternoon swim in the back yard.
I never dreamed that part of letting go of Tricia’s childhood, pressing on towards what more God had for us, would bring a beautiful little girl named Madelyn into our lives.
Yes, we are confident God knows the plans and provides a way for all of the details to work out as we find our way together.
Also see: http://kickstartyourdaywithgod.com/
(written by Kerrie Carlisle Palmer © 2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)