Too Big and Too Small

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.—Ephesians 3:20-21

When we agreed to adopt Anah, we thought that our experience as homeschooling parents of three kids would be sufficient to get us through. (Why are you laughing?) Little did we know that we were walking into something that was way beyond our capabilities and experience.

So on Sept. 17, 2012, when we heard that first knock on the door of our hotel signaling Anah’s arrival, all the preparation in the world could never have equipped me for what would step into my life.

In marched a little girl with an odd haircut, ill-fitting, mismatched clothing, partially hunched over. She had an odd, stiff gait and a blank look in her eyes. My heart sank. This was not the little girl in the picture. Who was this creature? There must be a mistake. I realized then that through the awkwardly translated English progress reports, I had imagined a girl that was not real. This was the real girl. And the reality was a hard blow. 

Finally asleep...I had to physically hold her down to keep her from thrashing and agitating herself even further. It was not the first time I felt completely helpless in this journey.

Finally asleep...I had to physically hold her down to keep her from thrashing and agitating herself even further. It was not the first time I felt completely helpless in this journey.

Throughout that first morning, as I watched Anah drool, repeatedly comb her hair (and everyone else’s), scribble with a crayon, unintentionally disgust me while eating, and scream when we put her on the toilet, my heart sank more and more. I remember thinking This is not what I signed up for. What have I gotten myself into?  I went to bed feeling very sorry for myself. It was not the first time I regretted adopting her. This is too big for me.

Instead of turning to God, as most faithful, trusting believers would do, I turned my heart against Him. How could He do this to me? Why didn't He tell me the truth about her? Why didn't He stop this from going through? My conclusion was that He was some sadistic deity that was punishing me. I also was very angry at myself and my husband. Why didn’t I listen to my gut instinct that warned me not to do this? 

This blurry image means a lot to me: not only was it the first time that the three of them traveled alone on an airplane, this was the longest trip Anah had taken apart from us. I would never have imagined that she (or we!) could handle a trip like this. To God be the glory!

This blurry image means a lot to me: not only was it the first time that the three of them traveled alone on an airplane, this was the longest trip Anah had taken apart from us. I would never have imagined that she (or we!) could handle a trip like this. To God be the glory!

But despite my unfaithfulness, God is faithful—not because I turned a corner or made a change. What I am realizing now is that while Anah’s needs are great, He is greater still. He has plans and purposes—not only for Anah or for us as a family, but for the church and for those around us—that go beyond our comprehension. This is not too big—I am actually finding that I am not thinking big enough. My understanding of God is actually too small. His plans far exceed mine at so many levels (Isaiah 55:8-11).

1 Cor. 2:9 reminds me that we cannot imagine what God has in store for those who love Him. He is breaking down the barriers I have erected in my mind of who He is and how He works—and all through an utterly dependent, petite, delicate little girl. He is awesome indeed.