Choosing Faith Over Fear
**This was a post I wrote for 28 Days of Hearts last month to raise awareness for CHD.**
“We don’t make decisions based on fear.”
For the twelve years that my husband Daniel and I have been married, that has been our motto. In the beginning, we would remind each other of this when making much less meaningful decisions about life—where we should work or whether we should move into a different house. We really put this principle into practice when we decided to adopt our first daughter, Jian from China. As first time parents, we jumped in head-first and brought home our sweet 8 year old girl.
Three years later, I realized that the scary things God had helped us to overcome with Jian’s orthopedic needs was just practice for what was to come. In March 2016 I met another little girl. I heard about a Kids’ Camp that would be held just miles from our home, sponsored by Lifeline adoption agency. I had a free day in my schedule and innocently decided to volunteer. Little did I know what I was actually volunteering for!
Over the next several months, it became abundantly clear that this little girl was to be our daughter. Through much discussion, thought, prayer, scripture reading, and truly searching our hearts, we knew it. This should have been an extremely exciting time, except that this was not at all in our plans. It certainly came at the worst possible time from our perspectives. We were preparing to leave our home in Alabama and travel to Baltimore for 2 months to allow Jian, now 11 years old, to have extensive orthopedic surgeries. All of our time, money and energy was dedicated to this. We had just turned a corner with her physical needs, and I didn’t know if I had it in me to start all over again.
But just like the Israelites who had walked through the Red Sea, we of all people had seen what God’s mighty hand could accomplish through our experiences with Jian. Yes, this little girl was to be a part of our family as well, and God was going to have to provide to make it happen. About a month after the camp, we learned about her complex congenital heart defect. It had never been treated during her 8 years of life, and now surgical repair would no longer be an option. This mama who likes to be in control and fix things learned that there would be no fixing this time. Everything is completely out of our control. The number of days/years/decades that we are all together on this earth is completely in God’s hands.
As I spent months looking ahead and replaying devastating endings to our story in my mind, my faith was really put to the test. Did I truly trust God as I had been proclaiming? What if this sweet girl was born to us biologically? There would be no debating. So that was our answer. Yes, we were more scared than we’d ever been in our entire lives. No, we had zero control over the situation (as if we ever do anyway.) Yes, we had to entirely depend on God to walk us through this.
One day as I was paraphrasing Jeremiah 29:11 in my mind…I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you…it dawned on me. I have always thought of that verse as it applies to our girls, but suddenly I understood that it also applied to me. Our loving Father did not want to harm me; He wanted to bless us with this gift of another daughter!
Four months after I met her, we started the paperwork to adopt Faith. We agreed that this would be the perfect name for her. God confirmed our decision by providing every dollar we needed to pay for the adoption. From the time we began the home study process until the time we traveled to bring her home was a record 4 ½ months! She has been home a little over a month now and is settling in so much easier than we had expected.
For my whole life, I have been trying to learn on my own to slow down and enjoy each day, but have never really been able to accomplish that goal until now. Every single day that our family of 4 is together and healthy is a gift, and we treat it as such. I have completely changed my life goals and busy schedule in order to soak up all of the time that we have together. Faith is currently thriving, and the cardiologist told me this week that as long as her symptoms are managed well there is no need to even start her on any medications right now. So we are backing off of the medical appointments and spending our time doing more important things.
Like having our first Christmas together.
And going to the park.
And cooking Chinese food.
Faith truly is our gift from above. We know that God has preserved her life for a reason, and she has touched the lives of so many others already. None of our doctors have really ever seen a child who has lived untreated for 8 years and who is still thriving like she is.
Will her heart ever be “fixed” on this side of eternity? Not unless she gets a new one someday (with a new pair of lungs as well.) But my spiritual heart is well on its way to being mended.
Fear or faith—those were our two options.
To us, it was a no-brainer.
We chose Faith!