June 16, 2010
Chosen and Loved
John 3:16 (NLT) "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."
Friend To Friend
"You will never be able to have biological children," the doctor said. After years of painful tests, expensive treatments, frustrating procedures and desperate pleas and prayers, our hopes of having children were shattered by his harsh diagnosis. "Then we will adopt," my husband immediately replied. I wasn't so sure. Could I love another woman's baby as much as a child I would give birth to? I just didn't know.
Months later, God called Dan to be the Youth Pastor of a church where we met Ron Gossett, a Christian attorney. "We'd like to talk with you about adoption," Dan told Ron. Ron's response wasn't encouraging. "I rarely do adoptions but come by my office and fill out the papers - just in case." The following week, Ron called. "This is the stork," he said. I laughed. "I have a baby for you," he continued. I stopped laughing. "A young woman came into my office today. She's seven months pregnant and wants to give her baby up for adoption," he explained. I knew! Every doubt disappeared. Every fear faded into the certainty that this was God's plan for us. Six weeks later, our son, Jered Daniel Southerland, was born and three years later, his beautiful sister, Danna Marie, completed our family. Life was unbelievably sweet. We daily celebrated the fact that Jered and Danna were our chosen babies and wanted them to understand just how special they were. I knew the day would come when both children would have questions about their birth and adoption. I just thought I had a little more time.
One night, our young son climbed into my arms for our daily "snuggle and prayer" time before bed. His question ripped through the darkness and my heart. "Why didn't she want me?" Jered softly asked. I cried out to God for just the right words - for Jered - and for me. Instantly, it came. Bruno!
When Jered was four-years-old, we were given a chocolate Labrador puppy that quickly outgrew our small yard, our not-so-understanding neighbors and our apprehensive children. We named this gentle giant Bruno. But it soon became clear to all of us that we were not the right family for Bruno. After an intensive search, we discovered "Adopt a Pet," a remarkable organization that finds homes for animals whose owners, for one reason or another, cannot keep them. We were promised that Bruno would be placed in a home where he would be loved and well cared for. We talked and explained, struggling our way to the difficult decision that it was time to put Bruno up for adoption. Still, when they came to pick up Bruno, we all cried. We knew it was the best plan for Bruno - for us - and for a very excited family that wanted and had the room for a Labrador. But it still hurt. Sometimes, doing the right thing - the best thing - the highest thing - is also the most painful thing.
As I looked into the beautiful, blue eyes of the little boy I loved more than life itself, I prayed for wisdom. "Jered, do you remember Bruno?" At the memory of the dog, Jered smiled and sadly whispered, "I still miss him." I nodded in agreement, "I know, son. I know you loved Bruno and are sad that we had to give him away but do you remember why we gave Bruno away?" Jered thought for a moment, "Because we loved him so much and we knew we couldn't take care of him right ... and because he wasn't very happy ‘cause he was so big here ... and because we wanted the best home in the whole wide world for him."
I paused for a moment, basking in the simple wisdom of my Father, spoken through the heart of my only son. "She did want you, honey. And she did love you ... so much, in fact, that she was willing to give you away, just like we gave Bruno away. Just like we wanted what was best for Bruno, your birth mother wanted what she thought was best for you." I fully recognize that it was an extremely simple illustration for a profoundly complex life circumstance - but it was enough.
As Jered drifted off to sleep, tears of gratitude spilled down my face, and I thanked God for two courageous young birth mothers and for His extraordinary plan of adoption that linked our four chosen lives and hearts in love.
Father, I am amazed by the truth that You love and chose me to be Your very own. I don't understand such love, but I embrace it as the precious gift that it is. Help me to remember that in Your eyes, I am planned, wanted, loved and chosen.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Do you battle feelings of insecurity? Read Psalm 139 once each day for a month and see how God changes your perspective.
Is your mind often filled with negative thoughts about who you are and what you do? Read and memorize 2 Corinthians 10:5. When those negative thoughts come, reject them with this truth
Do you find it hard to believe that God has a special plan and purpose for your life?
Read and memorize Ephesians 2:10. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."
More From The Girlfriends
For years, I battled insecurity and fear. God loved me through it all until the day came when I really could believe I am special because God made me in response to His plan for my life and not as an afterthought. The same is true for you, my friend. God is crazy about you! And Sharon, Gwen and I love you, too! Blessings!
Do you have a hard time believing God really loves you? Check out Mary's CD, Love that Never Fails, a life-changing message that will lead you to experience and walk in God's love.
Looking for friendship? Mary's new CD, I Need a Friend, offers practical steps to experiencing true friendship.
Join women from across the world in a practical and powerful Bible Study, How to Avoid the Pits in Life.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Wednesday, 16 June 2010.