Monday, December 29, 2014

Just Like Your Dad

If you have ever met my family, then you know I am the spitting image of my mother. Seriously. We look EXACTLY alike. It's kind of strange. We are often stared at when we are out in public. Once, when I was young, I thought I saw a picture of myself in my grandmother's house, and I asked my mom, "Where was this taken? I don't remember this." It was a picture of her. Yup. That's right. We look so much alike that I couldn't even tell us apart. And you know what? 

I LOVE that. 

I love that I look just like my mom. She is the woman I admire most in the entire world. I love everything about her. She has a fierce faith and a devoted heart. She loves her God and her family. She is honest and wise, reliable and wholly trustworthy. It is an honor for me to bear such a striking resemblance to her. 

I have always wondered what it would be like to one day look into the face of my daughter and see my own self reflected. More than that, though, I have dreamed of the day when I would look at my son and be able to say things like, "You look just like your dad when you do that." 

And then God called us to this life of adoption. A life that ensures our children will NOT look like us. Part of that has been hard. There is something incredibly unique about seeing yourself in your children. Even now, so much of the discussion that swirls around the children of my dearest friends is focused on determining who the child looks like. Mom or dad? That is not a conversation that will be happening in the Knott household. 

Our perfectly beautiful son does not look like us. 

I thought that would be so hard for me. Not the idea of adopting. I LOVE adoption. Love it more than I could ever attempt to explain to you. I thought it would be hard to never look into the face of my son and think, "Goodness, he looks just like Adam." 

But then God gave me a gift. 

A truth. 

It's not about physical appearance. It's ALL about spiritual appearance. 

You see, I am adopted, too. I have been, through the saving blood of Jesus Christ, adopted into God's family. Permanently. Forever. I don't look a THING like Him. Not one bit. But He has covered me with His grace and mercy. He has washed away my sin and made me white as snow. He has made me His daughter. And I like to think that when I am following His will for my life, He looks at the angels around Him and at Jesus, His Son, and says, "Doesn't she look just like us when she does that?" 

That thought alone pulls me close to tears. And then I realized that I will have THAT opportunity with my own son. I might not be able to look at him and think he physically looks just like his dad, but I am praying and hoping for the day when I can watch him follow God's great plan for his life and think to myself, "You look just like your dad when you do that." 

Because that is what I know his earthly father will model for him. A life that lives fully and wholly sold out to Christ. And in looking like his earthly father, my sweet boy will be living a life that follows his heavenly father. And you know what? I can't think of two souls I would rather have my son imitate.

Do we do that enough? Try to emulate Christ? It is our life's calling. Are we answering? When people look at us, are they thinking we look just like our Heavenly Father? If not, we need to shift our focus. We need to point ourselves and our lives toward Him and ask Him what He desires of our lives. We need to be brave enough to follow Him, whatever the path.  

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
Ephesians 5:1-2


Thursday, December 25, 2014

All You Can See

I have spent so much time over the last few days reflecting on how Christmas this year is so different from last year. God has done so much. Last year, we were at the beginning of a six month stretch of no movement. Rumors were flying that Ethiopia was going to close to international adoption within days. Motherhood seemed to be a long, long way off.  My heart was heavy. And I could not see how God was getting any glory from the circumstance in which I found myself.

Fast forward to this year. God has brought us our son. He has written this incredibly beautiful story that I still cannot believe I am a part of. God has not met a single expectation of mine. He has surpassed them. He has brought us this little life to love for all of our days, to raise and minister to, to teach about Jesus.

On Christmas Eve last year, I found myself sitting in church with my husband and my family fighting back sobs  and then turning away when I couldn't, trying so hard to maintain a spirit of thankfulness and trust in God in the midst of the single most difficult thing I have ever endured. I was crying out to God to give us a miracle. This plea was followed by months of silence. Months that tested and refined my faith in God. Months that showed me God is exactly who He says He is.

Last night, I was sitting in the same church, in almost exactly the same seat in tears because of all God has done. And the pastor said something that hit might right where I am. In talking about what God can and will do in our lives, he said:

"All you can imagine is all you can see." 

I love that. It's so true. All I can imagine God doing is what I know is possible. God does not exist within that framework. He is beyond it. And I am so thankful to serve this great God.

This is never more true than on Christmas Day. The day God did something so far beyond our imagination. He willingly sent His only Son to us. To be born, to live and to die in our place. To pay the price our sin deserves so that we could be redeemed unto Him. So today, I have to ask you the most important question there is.

Do you know Jesus?

Not just who He is or what He did. But do you know Him? He knows you and loves you. He chose to give His life for you. There is no greater love. And it all started on this day over 2,000 years ago. With a baby's cry.

I hope and pray that you do. That you are able to bask in the joy of His love and rejoice in the beauty of His sacrifice.

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Place I Will Show You

I have a HUGE writing deficit going on. We have been waist deep in research papers at school, and that has left me little time for anything other than grading and answering questions. But oh so much is swirling around in my head.

First and most importantly, I am so humbled by all that God has done in our lives, not just in matching us with our son, but with EVERY SINGLE DETAIL over the last two and a half years leading up to the moment we saw our son's beautiful face. At so many points along the way, I doubted, questioned and even defied. I just KNEW that my way was better, that if God would just LISTEN to me, everything would work together and end up exactly right.

But I was wrong. So, so wrong.

All of those months of tears and begging and bargaining, and our son was not even born yet. How humbling. How like God to lead us through a valley that, to us, seems impossibly deep, only to bring us to the place He designed for us all along. So much of this journey has been God asking us to trust Him. Much like Abraham, we were asked to go to a place He would show us. Not a place He had showed us, but to a place that He would at some point in the future show us.

So hard.

So unlike anything else I have ever experienced.

I have always known Jesus. I cannot think of a time when I didn't. But my faith had never been tested in this way. I had never had to choose to believe God in spite of my circumstances. God had blessed me beyond measure. And then we began the road to our son. This road that we were so certain would look a certain way.

Only it didn't.

It didn't live up to ANY of our expectations. It seemed like we were hitting brick walls at every turn. All we wanted was to become parents, to adopt this beautiful child. Yet nothing was happening. If anything, we seemed to be getting further and further away from our child(ren). Months and years passed.

And we were SO tempted to pursue something else in the meantime. A concurrent domestic adoption. Another country. Something. We were committed to Ethiopia, but it looked like it would be YEARS longer. I pushed for it. Told Adam that I just couldn't take it anymore.

And he, like the Godly man he is, reminded me of Abraham. Over and over again. God asked Abraham to go to a place He would reveal. God promised Abraham a son. Decades went by with no end in sight. And then Abraham veered off God's course with Hagar. He doubted God's promise. And I did the same. But Adam steered me back, away from the temptation to pursue our own path, away from the shouts of the world, telling us to do what we wanted.

And through God's strength and grace, we managed to stay faithful. Now there is this little life, this sweet and precious life who is ours to love for all our days. God has given us a glimpse of the place He has called us to, and I am so thankful, so humbled and so overwhelmed.

So now we are praying him home. And even in that, I am learning to trust God in a whole new way. Someone else is caring for my son. Someone else is feeding and hugging and comforting my son. Someone else is feeding and loving my son. And I am here. Away from him. Trusting God to intervene and believing in His promise that He wastes nothing and controls everything.

More to come VERY soon.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A New Phase

Monday was December 1. Do you know what I did NOT do on Monday? Stalk my email for a waiting list update. For the first time TWENTY FIVE months! It was a glorious relief. No more numbers. Just his precious face. Amen to that.

I have spent so much time over the last few days tracing back through this incredible journey, and I am amazed over and over again by the evidence of God's goodness and faithfulness. Evidence that is just NOW being made visible. I am overwhelmed and completely humbled. And I'm working on getting it all together to tell you. I promise.

For now though, I want to share just a bit about this new phase we are in. Adam and I are BEYOND thankful for your love, support and constant prayer over the years. You are such an integral part of this journey we are on. Thank you for walking with us. This phase is different. There are a lot of things we cannot share. I want so much to send his precious photo to everyone who has walked this path with us, but I can't. We have to protect his privacy. Believe me...once we are legally his parents, there will be an inundation of photos!

And then there's his life up till now. There is much of our son's story that is not ours to tell, and so we are keeping it for him and not telling it to anyone. While I love to know people and be known by people, this is different. His life leading up to us is his and his alone to share, so we are starting our journey as parents out by trying to respect that and honor his privacy. It's not that we don't want you to be involved, and I am so worried that it will come across that way. It's just that this is his life and his story. He will one day grow up to be a man, and this part of his life is just not ours to share.

So we are asking for your grace and understanding in that.

We want you to be involved in his life from here forward. We want you to meet him and love him and remind him of God's love and goodness.

Much will happen over the coming months. Paperwork. Court hearings. Travel. COMING HOME! And we still need you! We still need your prayers, and we are so thankful for them and for you, for all you have done in our lives and in the life of our son. You are being the hands and feet of Jesus, and it is beyond humbling to be recipient of your love.


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