Every parent has heard these whiny words: But I don’t want to.
The phrase usually flies out of my kids’ mouths when I’m asking them to do things like eat their vegetables, take a bath, or brush their teeth. I don’t ask them to do these things because I take great pleasure is seeing them uncomfortable, but rather because I love them and want them to be healthy.
The last time my four year old whined how much he didn’t want to eat his green beans, he added that mommies never have to do anything they don’t want to do. I tried not to laugh and reminded him about all the loads of laundry I wash, the dishes I scrub, and the toilets I clean. But I also couldn’t help but wonder how many times I’ve told God I didn’t want to do something because it took me too far out of my comfort zone.
I’ll be the first to admit it: I like to be comfortable. I don’t really like unexpected changes or challenges. When we traveled to China to adopt our daughter in August of 2009, I knew I was taking the biggest leap of faith in my life. While I was prepared for Evie to have cleft lip and palate and a repaired congenital heart disease, I was not ready for my new two year old daughter to be so delayed that she was more like a three month old baby.
While I loved Evie from the minute I saw her picture, and the love grew even more when I held her for the first time, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely devastated to learn that she didn’t know how to walk, how to play with toys, or even how to turn the page of a book. As I watched other parents receive their children, I couldn’t help but notice that their kids could all walk, would smile, and laugh. I found myself asking God why me? Why was my beautiful daughter completely shutdown? Why didn’t she look at us? Why couldn’t she walk? Why did she only weigh 15 pounds?
As I wallowed in my own self-pity, my husband told me something that I already knew: God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. Let him work. Give him control. Then he gently reminded me that we prayed for God to lead us to our daughter. It was no mistake that we were Evie’s parents. So we took our daughter home and settled into our new, sometimes uncomfortable, normal as a family of five.
Seven months, and many, many developmental therapy and speech seasons later, Evie is catching up to her peers. She is smart, spunky, and full of energy. It hasn’t always been easy, but stepping out of my comfort zone has allowed me to experience a new joy. I’m no longer going through the motions of my faith, but I get to experience and see God in a deep and profound way.
I don’t want to think about what I would have missed if I had simply said, “ I don’t want to do this. Adoption is too hard.”
Are you listening to God? Is he asking you to do something? What would happen if you simply trusted him and stepped out in faith?