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?!)

Here’s Hope

I’m here to tell you that so many people have perpetuated a well-meant lie. God absolutely does give us more than we can handle. Sometimes God chooses to act and rescue. But other times, He chooses to act on us and restore, instead.

Grace To Grow On was created out necessity, my necessity to make sense of my own journey of struggle. My heart had to figure out why a loving God would allow a child to live only to suffer so much. And my head had to get right with a God who would let a mother’s heart break daily as she watched it happen. It’s simultaneously been the puzzle and the prize.

While reading my Bible one day, I was incredibly convicted by one specific verse:

“What I tell you in the dark, say in the light,
and what you hear whispered,
proclaim on the housetops.”

Matthew 10:27 (ESV)

I’m not a theologian. I don’t have a slew of letters to string behind my name. But what I do have is my story, a personal witness that God’s Word (really) is our hope. It truly can be applied to our daily lives, so that we can experience heartfelt, life-changing transformation—even when smack dab in the middle of messy, stressful stuff.

I’ve spent a lot of time stumbling around. But God’s been faithful to communicate a lot to my heart in the midst of it all. He still does. And everything I write is a record of what I’ve heard Him whisper to me in the dark.