Nothing is wasted – even soul-splitting loss

Our son, Luke, has a special book that we’ve made. It’s sorta his baby book. We improvised with drawings rather than pictures of his early life, although he is very fortunate to have a few pictures of his mom and grandparents from Ukraine. Every so often, we get it out and update with new pictures and Luke draws on the pages and write captions. He’s had quite a lot to overcome in just a few years. Tonight, he wanted to look through his book and the first thing out of his mouth was, “I wish I could see my mom.” I told him I wished that he could too, but if it were possible to see her, then I wouldn’t be his mom. He agreed and got busy looking at the pictures from the orphanage – he’s able to do that now and even recall some “happy” moments there.

In adoption, there is always loss first. We are tempted to pretty it up, make it all warm and fuzzy, but the harsh reality of adoption is that soul-splitting loss has occurred. Luke has benefited from a forever family. Not only does he know love, discipline and way better health, he has opportunities. My husband and I agree in that we don’t believe Luke would have survived much longer given the state of his health and environment. Luke’s been given life, but first came incredible fear and trauma.  I love the picture below, it was taken in an old taxi as we made our journey from a village to see Luke’s grandparents back to his orphanage. He didn’t know what was coming in his life – he’d known so much pain, but he was willing to trust a man he didn’t know very well. He was willing to reach out and place his life in his care…what else did he have and where else did he have to go?0620000706a

I was overcome with sadness, my cousin’s wife had just died – she was healthy and  pregnant with healthy, full-term twins when a mistake by the hospital staff cost her life – as well as her beautiful babies. My marriage was stressed. I was overrun with grief for so many reasons. Though I’d known Christ, I hadn’t made him Lord of my life. I remedied that one day on my living room floor, pregnant with my second child. I had no where else to go…all else had failed me. In the loss, the sorrow, the grief, I found life.

My husband, held in bondage to alcohol had just been given a strict warning from a judge. He knew he couldn’t quit on his own. He’d lost his family, his friends, his health…he was at the end of himself. None of his fixes and none of his running away could get him far for very long from the reality of the pain in his soul. Through years of wading through the muck and mire of his own sin, he found life when he surrendered it all that day to God.

In earthly adoptions, there is an incredible loss. In our spiritual adoption into the family of God there was also a soul-splitting loss…when God turned his back on His son. The vileness of my sins held him on that cross, the bondage of addictions, the plight of the fatherless…it was all on his back that day. Pain was deeply felt so that Luke could experience redemption into a forever family. Pain was deeply felt by me as I desperately cried out to God and pain was the reason my husband finally stopped running and finally surrendered.

Pain. Sorrow. Trials. Tribulation. The Bible speaks of it, we read of it, we experience it. But not very often are we viewing it in the moment as something good, or wonderful, or even worth going through. If I look back over my life and think about when real growth occurred – I will be peering into a season of sorrow. I might remember how I questioned, doubted and fretted, but most always, my perseverance was tested, my faith increased.

Luke can see in his book who he was, what he looked like. He sees a frail, thin, and dirty boy in those “before” pictures. As he turns the pages, he finds the one when he finally sets foot in our household, a son of Mark McClain and he proudly says, “This is when life got good.” Trials will continue to come and go in his life – and we mark those in his book, after all, its a story and it is all part of developing him into the person God created him to be. Likewise, my husband and I look back on who we once were…so dirty, lost, frail and weak…we’ve been washed by the blood of Christ, we’ve been set free from the bondage of our sins and addictions. It doesn’t mean we don’t still have trials, temptations and testing – we absolutely do, but we can stand firm as our confidence is in Christ.

God is using the loss in your life, the soul-splitting sorrows to bring you into a wanting relationship with Him. Nothing is wasted…there’s purpose to your pain. Your endurance will be tested as you learn to place your hope in Christ. Your faith will be strengthened as you place your dependence upon Him…cutting ties with the many things you’ve looked to all these years to bring you fleeting comfort. Your hope will increase as you heart grows content.

Do not grow weary in your sorrow – joy will come again.

“So with you; Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22

Now faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. Hebrews 11:1



May friendship, encouragement and grace abound!