Yes, I think I made that word up. Re-routable; a life that’s open to having its course changed at any given point. A life that isn’t striving to control but rather stay surrendered to whatever Jesus desires. Our family changed direction about nine years ago and we never want to go back to the comfortable and controlling christianity we knew at that point.
We had three small sons. We were at a crossroads of belief. I’ll never forget the intense conversations Danny and I had about what it meant to be fully surrendered to Jesus in every area of our lives. What if God wanted us to have like, 10 kids (that sounded like the most psychotic thing on the face of the planet, at that point)? Were we willing or obstinate and okay with gulping down any amount of conviction that hit us in the area of family size and maintain “birth control” ourselves? Or had we surrendered even our expectations of what our family might look like, to Jesus and were we okay with however he might choose to write our story? I’ll never forget one day that I felt extremely conflicted on this subject. I got on the treadmill to do a little run and God began to work on my heart about surrender. I remember very distinctly God giving me a vague picture of nine children (I shared this story here before) and asking me if I was willing to raise up nine children, if he so called me to do that. In a moment of brokenness and complete naivety, of course I said yes. After all, this was probably one of those deals where God asks someone if they’re willing to go to Africa or some other really challenging task, but he might not actually end up expecting them to do it! Right?
Shortly after, God directed us to adopt our daughter Camila. You can read that whole story in my book, Take This Child available on Amazon. The whole theme of that testimony is that God was asking us to give him the pen and allow him to write His perfect plans over our family, even if they looked so very different from what we were expecting ourselves.
We had no idea that in a matter of nine years, five and soon six more children would be added to our family- mostly through adoption. We had no idea what trials and what challenges would come with surrendering to God’s call for us; but mostly, we had no idea what joy awaited us. I mean it with absolute transparency, I cannot imagine our family in any other way. Our kids are the very greatest physical gift we could have ever received. Our family has a blast together. I cannot imagine what our family would look like today if we had maintained the control we were holding onto nine years ago. We would have missed so, so much. Some of our kids would likely still be pining away in orphanages where they were barely clinging to survival. We would probably have a little extra money, or maybe not. God finances everything he calls us to do. Usually when we cling to our comfort out of fear we lose far more than we ever gain in surrender. It makes me weep to think of what we would’ve missed. Every member of our family is in love with the exact way God put these pieces together. With every new addition they’ve all been completely thrilled. They love this journey just as much as we do.
We do not regret, and have not had one instant of regret in what we surrendered to Jesus. We have never thought, “I wonder how much easier our life would’ve been had we not adopted some special needs kids.” Or, “I wonder how much simpler it would’ve been to adopt younger children instead of older, aging out ones.” We have not had a second of regret. Jesus has known exactly what he was doing this entire time and sorrow fills my soul to think of what the alternative might have looked like.
In recent months I was starting to think that perhaps God was closing up the chapter of our lives in regard to growing our family. We hadn’t received any new directions and life has been busy. Everything has been good. We were just a little bit shocked when we found out we were expecting. But as I’ve written about many, many times. Life is always to be celebrated. If a life is formed, it’s because God allowed it to be formed. Who is the giver of life but God himself? We are humbled to have this privilege again and certainly are grateful for prayer to walk the journey with wisdom.
I’m excited. Some of our Reedlings have never witnessed what parenting an infant in love actually looks like. I’m so honored that they will now have the ability to watch that unfold in a new sibling.
I’m pretty sure everyone doesn’t understand our way of life and that’s quite alright. We hear of the buzz from those who are confused by our decisions and seem to find us downright weird. We get a lot of laughs out of that! We are not some perfect, unapproachable family who has the details worked out. If you catch us in Wal-Mart or take a look in our dirty van you’ll see that clearly. A life of surrender doesn’t always look like a package tied up with a shiny, and perfectly curled bow. If I take our crew to the store solo, there will likely be one child running ahead, a couple yo-yoing, one climbing up the dog food bags, and several laughing and singing loudly. It’s messy and chaotic doing this thing that we do. It’s scarcely all lined out and it may look like an all out zoo to those who do not know us well.
That’s okay. We are so deep into this story it doesn’t even seem the slightest bit odd to us anymore. Seriously. When we sit around our dinner table visiting, it doesn’t seem like a crowd in the slightest bit. This vibrant masterpiece of our family that we see laid before us was formed by God. It has been crafted with some painful days, some awe-inspiring miracles, and a lot of hours of work and sweat and tears. We cherish every stroke. We will not forget a single color God used to remind us of His faithfulness and His power at work when we live a life surrendered to him. It may appear all abstract on the outside, but on the inside it is vivid and clear and very, very sweet indeed.
Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for loving our family. <3