Choose Your Own Adventure

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Today is Anah’s thirteenth birthday. She might not look like it, but she is. At this time, she is 54 inches and 56 pounds. When we had her assessments for school entry, the school psychologist said she was functioning at the developmental level of a 2 ½  year old.

This is one of the two points in the year when grief usually hits me hard. I wrote last September around Gotcha Day, the first point when most families celebrate the addition of their adopted child. The second time is her birthday, when I realize she has aged physically, but not proportionately. Every year, the gap widens between her age and her abilities.

There are two main ways to deal with grief: with God or without God. Unfortunately, for the past five years, I have chosen the latter. I have allowed the realities I see swallow up the unseen ones. I have fixed my eyes not on Christ, the author and perfecter of my faith, but on Anah. This has led me down a spiritual spiral to hopelessness and despair on top of my grief.

This year, I don’t want to go down that road.

For the past few summers, I have been taking classes in biblical counseling, as a way to serve the Lord, but right away, I knew the person that needed the most help was me.  I learned Anah didn’t create new problems for me. She only made clear what was already there. My issues may have been dormant, but they were not new. My hidden heart, pridefully concealed, was exposed in its blatant ugliness.

Perhaps Anah then is a gift of His grace, for that heart, if it remained hidden, would have led me down paths that would be far worse later on. In His love for me, He sent Anah to deal with that idolatry of self, pride, and the lack of Christlikeness in my heart, to cleanse and to heal so that I can move forward in a way that honors Him and builds up the body of Christ.

The series in September was a reflection, looking backwards. For this second series, I wanted to focus on what lies ahead, some of the new things that I am learning. It’s one thing to acknowledge the hardship. Now, it’s time to strike out in a new path.

It’s time to choose my new adventure.

Note: The photos in this week's series were taken by my oldest daughter, Janna. She's graduating this year from Biola University, and for her senior thesis project, she created a gallery of photographs featuring her own journey through this adoption. If you'd like to see her work please go to If you are so inclined, she'd love to hear from you so feel free to leave a message via the "Contact" link. 

Posts in this series:

Day 1: Ordered Loves

Day 2: Letting Him Write the Story

Day 3: Incarnating Christ

Day 4: When I Don't Feel Like Loving

Day 5: I Know Spring Will Come

Ordered Loves

This Way Out