April 15, 2013
You never know when, in one day, in one ordinary moment, your life will be forever changed. You’re going about your daily routine, distracted by busyness, when unexpectedly, love and magic happen.
One day, almost 4 years ago, I answered the ringing phone, an automatic response that I have done thousands of time. The social worker on the other end of the line asked me if I would be willing to care for a special-needs, severely medically-fragile baby boy. Sometimes I have had to decline because of circumstances or due to poor timing or simply from lack of peace. But this one day, after praying for the Lord’s direction and discussing the situation with my husband, I said yes. Yes, I would welcome this frail child into my life, and yes, I would do my best to provide for his needs and to love him as my own as long as he was in my care.
One day turned into another. The days steadily added up to weeks, and in spite of the extreme difficulties of caring for this child, we slowly settled into a routine that felt “normal” for our family. One day looked pretty much like the one preceding it: administering and adjusting medication, charting medical and developmental details, scheduling doctor’s appointments, working with therapists. It was nothing miraculous, nothing extraordinary . . . just waking up each morning and choosing to be faithful to do what the Lord had called me to do.
He was just a baby boy, so tiny and weak. Every breath was a struggle, every movement painful. One day looked pretty much like the one preceding it: fitful naps; frequent choking and vomiting; countless unknown strangers in white coats, touching, poking, pricking, squeezing. Through it all, there was one person who never left his side. She was with him 24/7, always available to comfort him when he needed it. She sang softly into his ears, melodies letting him know that Jesus loves him, and reminding him that God’s grace is amazing. She knew just how to hold him so that it didn’t hurt quite so much. She was his foster mother.
One day, he was awaken in the wee hours of the morning, whisked into his car seat for the brief ride to the hospital, and when he woke up (several weeks later), he noticed instantly that something was different. It didn’t hurt! He could breathe without effort! Not only did he have a new organ to replace the defective one, but he had a whole new life ahead of him, full of hope and possibility. And there, just where she had been the entire time, was his foster mother, still caring for him, still showering him with her affection and love, still singing.*
Occasionally in life there are those magical moments that make me pause, drop my jaw and say, “Wow!” It’s like having a front-row seat to watching God’s providence at work! A young life saved, an organ transplant just in time, a diagnosis changed from “terminally ill” to “healthy and thriving.” All I can do is sit back in awe as He deftly works out the minute details of His good, pleasing, and perfect plan. I’m truly thankful that the Lord has allowed me those opportunities to glimpse His wondrous sovereignty!
But honestly, for every amazing, jaw-dropping moment, there are millions of unremarkable, seemingly insignificant ones. I think of the story of young David in the Bible, a shepherd boy who conquered a giant with just a slingshot and a handful of stones. It was, I’m sure, an extraordinary moment that he, and everyone who witnessed that event, will never forget! But he didn’t just show up one day and fight in a historic battle. His life up to that point had been marked by ordinariness and routine, watching over his family’s sheep with dependability, day after day after day. Playing his harp and singing psalms to God on a lonely, isolated hillside. Collecting smooth stones and practicing his aim. It was his faithfulness in the mundane that prepared him for the miraculous.
Most days my life as a stay-at-home mother looks just like that of any other mother I know, filled with child-rearing, grocery shopping, laundry, school work, and chauffeuring the kids to their various activities. Every morning I wake up and ask the Lord to give me strength, contentment and joy as I carry out my long list of responsibilities.
Each day is a new opportunity to ask, “Will I choose to be obedient and faithful, even in the small, monotonous tasks today?”
“Will I trust the Lord’s sovereignty, knowing that He is at work, even when I can’t see anything happening?”
“Will I choose to sing a song of praise to God today? To collect another stone, and practice my aim?”
Today his family got all dressed up and piled into the car, and drove to the county courthouse, where a straight-backed lady stamped a huge pile of papers and called his adoption “official.” Lots of family pictures were taken, announcements were sent out, and everyone said “Congratulations!” to the newest member of the family. But really, it is difficult to understand. One day he was a foster child, and the next day he had been adopted, but what has really changed? He still has the same mama, the same papa, the same brother and sisters. He still lives in the only home he has ever known. He has the confidence and security that comes from having grown up in a loving family, the same family he will have tomorrow, and the next day, and the one after that.
Today doesn’t really “feel” any different than yesterday. However, for the first time in almost four years, I am allowing myself to consider the future with my son (I love saying that: “my son!”). When can we start violin lessons and soccer teams? Will we homeschool as we have done with our other children, or will we choose another educational option for him? Perhaps one day I will have the privilege of watching him perform at a music recital, graduate from high school, get married, become a father. At last, I can dream about tomorrow!
But for today, finally, I can stop holding my breath. After all these years, I have assurance that this child is not going anywhere. The courts aren’t going to make a sudden, unexpected decision. No long-lost relatives are going to show up and decide that they would like to raise him. He will be staying in my home and will grow up as part of my family. My heart overflows with joy at the thought of it!
So tonight, as I hug and kiss my son (see, I love saying that!), and as I tuck him safely into bed and tell him again how much I love him, I am so thankful that God has allowed me to be his mama! I get to love him for one more day!
*The more fully detailed story of his amazing journey can be found at: