I was saved when I was 11 and baptized at the same time as my brother. It was probably appropriate that I was saved at a Truth concert at our church because music has always been an important part of my life. Through the years music has remained a constant joy for me, whether performing or teaching or directing. God has done a work in me to change the focus from recognition for myself to glory for Him. I am learning to change the focus from my talent or skills to His mercy and grace. The message is all important.
As I look back on the defining moments in my life, I see God’s hand in the details of everyday life as well as in the big picture. From marrying my spouse to giving birth to two biological children and later homeschooling them, God was molding me in ways I could not see. Through disappointments in church music ministry to the decision to adopt children, God was preparing me for a road of heartache and blessings.
In 2000 God led our family of four to add three siblings. The events and details of this decision were clearly God ordained. Three months after the kids became part of our family my sister died from a sudden heart attack at the age of 53. Through the pain and grief my kids needed me to be present and not dwell on the loss. Little did I know that greater losses and tragedy would come in the near future. We were ignorant of the cost that adopting three children, suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and se*ual abuse, would bring to our family. Educating myself and advocating for them became a fulltime job. Realizing that after four years the oldest was a danger to our family and herself and needed help beyond our abilities was a gut wrenching decision. Through her next four years into adulthood we continued to fight for her as she fought against us. Bringing false accusations of abuse against us ripped my heart to shreds. But God was my ever present help in times of trouble. We have been through heartaches and joys but never has God taught me more about Himself than through the times I’ve spent surrendering my plans and my dreams to His will. It has been a painful process that requires daily discipline and strength.
I have learned about God’s love through my children who struggle daily with questions about their life and reality. Every conversation leads us back to acceptance of who we are to God and what He says about us. The scriptures tell us that we are all adopted children of God. None of us can earn our way to Him. It’s His great sacrifice that allows us to come into His presence. There is so much I don’t understand, but one thing I know (as Steven Curtis Chapman says): God is God and I am not! I may never know the reasons for suffering and pain and struggles, but I do know the One who loves me unconditionally. My constant prayer is that my children will have a relationship with the Lord that allows them to bring their pain and questions before Him, that they will come to a place of acceptance and joy.