I haven’t always been a writer. I stumbled into it quite accidentally. In fact, I could say that about much of my life. I’m where I never expected to be, but I also know I’m right where God intends. That’s because I would never choose this. No one would choose to watch their child suffer. No one would choose a life riddled with unknowns. No one would choose a life of frustration, exhaustion and pain.

This beautiful mess could only be divinely designed.

And because of this, I take Jesus at His word when He said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24 ESV) And so every day, I put one step in front of the other, choosing to do what I know is right, even when it may not feel good. It’s not an easy place to be.

In the Beginning…

Long story short, my husband and I had started the process of adopting a little boy. But halfway through the process some anomalies popped up, potentially life-threatening and—absolutely life-altering—anomalies.

On a brisk November afternoon, as I watched my husband play with Nate, our biological son, I took a call from our adoption attorney. Given the anomalies that had come to light, we were given a choice: Walk away or proceed. We were given 24 hours to decide.

It was one of those moments when your thoughts and feelings start to overwhelm you. I knew that no matter what we decided, it would have lifelong consequences for everyone. If we chose to proceed, we had absolutely no idea what kinds of crazy and rare challenges the future would hold. If we chose to walk away, we would quite literally be abandoning a child, a child for whom we were literally the last hope.

The Next Right Thing

But that’s not to say the choice has been easy.

Over ten years have passed since our son, Mark, has joined our family. And the realities we’ve faced—and continue to face—have by far surpassed what I ever could have imagined.

But so have the blessings—just not in ways you might expect.

There’s been no sudden healings or dramatic miracles. Mark still suffers from excruciating pain. He’s still slowly slipping away as his memory and cognition fail him. And I still struggle to find medical professionals who are willing to walk through the murky unknown alongside us. But there have been blessings. And ironically enough, they’ve often come as the direct result of frustration. (I know, crazy, right?!)

But that truly is the puzzle and the prize, isn’t it? God’s grace is enough. His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). So, we can truly let go and let Him. All we need to do is do exactly what I tell Mark to do upteen times each day: “Don’t think. Don’t wonder. Just hear my words and obey them.”

If you feel broken or simply wish you could find more concrete ways to grow in God’s grace, welcome! You’re not alone. I’m Shannon and I’m a broken person, too. But I’m learning daily that that’s okay because we are all still a work in progress (Philippians 1:6). And I personally invite you to join me on a journey explore different ways to grow in God’s grace.