I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. ~Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

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It was a crisp October day when we stood on the back porch of our brand new house looking out on this near perfect landscape.

We could hardly believe that this was the exact same place we had stood nine months earlier and watched our house burn to the ground.  We were overwhelmed with gratitude at how these ashes had turned to beauty—not just how God has raised up a house, but how He had once again raised  hope in our hearts.  We wanted this house to be a house of blessing.  We prayed that maybe we’d even be able to adopt another child.  We went so far as make an appointment with an attorney because we had always felt this sense that our family wasn’t finished—that we wanted to raise a son together.  I would dream about “him” and in my mind, I knew just where I wanted the nursery.  More than anything else, I wanted the chance to raise a child without the added pressure of working a high stress job.

I already had a name for him.  John Elijah Wadsworth.  We’d call him Jack after C.S. Lewis.

While my dreams for another child were bubbling over in my heart, we kept on living our life.  We homeschooled our girls.  We lived hard in these rooms—cooking, sewing, crafting, reading, learning.  And a few months into enjoying our new place, my husband’s son moved across the country to live with us and get his life back on track.  He moved into our guest room with his oversized backpack, his barrel o’ monkeys mustache, and his heartache.

Those early days were long and hard.  There were so many tears.  There were days we weren’t sure we’d make it.  And we were often unsure if he would.

There was that fight in the garden when he yelled and I cried.  There was that time he ran off and we worried we’d never see him again.  There were those times I should have reached out and didn’t.  All the mistakes, the misunderstandings, the failings.   And then there was that day we made salsa in the kitchen—the first time I thought that maybe, just maybe this was all gonna be okay.  There were those hundreds of meals he and I cooked together.  The food that tastes so good that you know it had to be made by someone who loves you.

And then there was that day.

The one I couldn’t have prepared for in a million years.

The day he left.

I stood outside and watched him load the last of his things.  I promised myself I wouldn’t come apart.  I was so happy for him—that he’d come this far, that he was standing on his own feet so well.   And that’s when I saw the miracle.  God had given me another child to love.   Not one born of my flesh but one so stitched into the fabric of my heart that he will never be anything to me but a son.  I told him how grateful I was for him—how he had so blessed us by being here.   I told him I couldn’t love him anymore if he were my own.  I watched him drive away and cried for two hours straight.

Turns out God answered my prayer.  There was no cute nursery to decorate.  There were no baby blankets to wash.  But the sacredness of this life intertwined in mine is no less a miracle.

And to think I almost missed the  grace of God because it came dressed up like a wayward boy.

Maybe I’m finally learning that grace almost never looks like grace at first glance.

 

96 comments on “Something More Than a Miracle”

  1. One of your best posts. LOVE it.

    Our oldest child, our son Joshua…has Down Syndrome. When we got married and started talking about children, we wanted a son named Joshua. And, oh…in our young hearts, we were convinced he would change the world.

    But he was born and we had to let go of OUR dreams in order to accept what God had planned for us, and it has been a struggle and a joy. I never would’ve wanted to miss it because, like you said, it “didn’t look like what I was looking for.”

    “But the sacredness of this life intertwined in mine is no less a miracle.”

    This son of mine, my 28 year old man-child…he might not change the WORLD, but he changed MY world.

    Thank you so much for this post…it really blessed me today. 🙂

  2. Edie,
    Your post today really touches my heart. I have five children of my own, 1 daughter, 4 sons, and one step-daughter, age 24, the same age as my youngest son.

    My husband and I have been married 11 years. There were so many times it was wild and crazy. A couple of the kids really gave us a run for our money. We wondered more than once if we should have even gotten married or if we even liked each other sometimes. And now all of the kids are gone, just like that.

    The kids are doing well, even the ones that had the hardest time growing up.
    Three of them are married to wonderful people.
    And by faith and the grace of God, we are really close to all the kids and still married. And now have 3 beautiful grandsons.
    Love You,
    Coni

  3. Thank you for the reminder that what you pray for and receive isn’t always how you dreamed it would look. I’ll take this into my marriage today, and treasure it in my heart.

  4. wow, this was an amazing testimony and one that I need to send to a friend. Love has no boundaries and there are no boundaries with God who is Love! I am sure He Thanks you for being obedient and willing to put aside the image you had in your mind to follow HIS heart!!!

  5. So glad I stopped for a moment to read your post. Thank you for sharing your faith, love and wisdom. As soon as I pull myself together, I will carry on with my day! Your words are a blessing to me.

  6. Oh Edie! You’ve got me bawling. HE always answers prayer….but sometimes, rather than giving us what we think we want, He has something better. Hugs.

  7. What a touching post, brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. Couldn’t help but think how the Lord so often answers prayers this way. He came as a defenseless baby when the Jews were expecting a king. Over and over, he turns everything upside down. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Stunningly beautiful. And on this first day of school. The one where I send my own boy off to high school. My tears were brimming and ready. Now they fall effortlessly. For you. For me. For all the mamas. ALL the mamas. Thank you, Edie.

  9. Big ole sob here. We just never know how He will fulfill our heart’s desires. Saying good bye even whem it is time is so heart wrenching! Why would we not shelter our kids to us when they really need it? I miss my sons so much. They both left when it was time for them. I said goodby to my warrior son and by God’s grace he returned safe both times. He stayed with us a year afterwards in the shelter of our home as he reentered the “real” non combat world. It had been so long since our family had been on the same continents much less so close! At one point we were spread out in 3. There is so much more to our story of God’s grace and love; He is our shelter.

  10. This post has nothing to do with the awful situation going on in my life at this moment, but it is an amazing reminder to keep my eyes open for God’s grace. Even in the middle of what seems to be insurmountable, I know He’s there. Thank you for these beautiful thoughts.

  11. This story brings tears to my eyes. I have a very similar story except I was the step child. There is so much pain in divorce and trying to love another parent who has no connection to you other than through marriage or maybe the parent to your half/step siblings can be so hard to overcome. I too know the joy of coming out on the other side though and how God’s grace was at the very center of that healing. I’m so glad to hear that you got the boy you prayed for~ God is so good and His ways are so much higher than ours! Psalms 136:1 and Isaiah 55:8-9

  12. Oh my…I am so touched. To the point that I am sobbing as I read this. What a beautiful story of life laced with grace. It’s amazing how our Lord God surprises us and slips in our deepest longings in where we least expect in. The thing is…if you hadn’t been paying attention, you would have missed the gift right in front of you. Makes me wonder just how many gifts I’ve missed because they didn’t come wrapped up exactly like I wanted or expected them to be. Blessings to you and your famly and always thank you for you vulnerability to open up and speak truth into our lives. so thankful I found your blog!

  13. Our struggles are all so real. This life is hard. But, we know the blessings because of the heartaches. This blessing of yours will bless many. Thank you for being so *raw* and encouraging us by sharing your story.

  14. Wow … my arms were tingling with goosebumps as soon as you started talking about making salsa together. My husband and I adopted our daughter at age 10 after she lived with us for a year, and it has been a crazy 4 years … now she is age 13 and we are slowly seeing the light. It is hard to believe that things are finally getting more comfortable and “easy” now that she is a teenager, however that is truth. We are still holding on for that miracle … and I have a feeling we are truly not going to feel it until she is also walking out the door on her own. 🙂 Thanks for the preview.

  15. Edie, that was a joy to read! sniff sniff!!!! I always wondered who the mustached boy was in your photos…..God is soooooo good!

  16. Oh, Edie, how your story touched me and made me realize that God does indeed give us what we need in unexpected ways. Two years ago a beautiful but broken 13 year old girl walked into my life. In the process of helping her mend her broken heart and find her place in the world again, I now realize just how much she healed my broken heart. In loving her and mothering her, I found the joy of being a mother all over again! Amazing how your story made me realize just how much she healed my heart! I am E-mom (extra mom) to her and she is my 5th daughter. She has my heart and love. Thank you for allowing to share the moments of your life – it means so much!

  17. I was just finishing up my Bible study time reading chapter on “grace” when I read this. “…grace almost never looks like grace at first glance.” Amen. God has been showing me some graces in my life that I could not see before. Thank you for sharing and saying what my heart is learning. :o)

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  19. This post hit home and brought happy tears. I have a son that I too inherited. He was 5 when his Dad and I started dating in 1995. Fast forward 11 years (2006)and he moved in with us to get his feet back on the right footing. There were some great times and boy where their some awfully rough and ugly times….. It is the difficult things that make us stronger. Now, he is married to a young lady who I am honored to call my daughter. They have given the best gift I could ever imagine, a little boy who I provide daycare for and calls me Mamaw. Life is SO good!

  20. We were once introduced as “the people who are raising my kids”. Really? He couldn’t have been more wrong. But his own wounded mess of a life couldn’t really see it. I gave him grace. Your words remind me of this great gift that I’ve been given—this opportunity that I never really wanted—to mother another’s children. We are all living in the overflow of His grace.

  21. thank you for sharing so honestly about your blended family! it is hard to keep going sometimes without knowing where you are heading or if you are on the right path, isn’t it? loving is never wrong, though, so I keep loving in ways that are open to me even when futility appears to frame every effort. God requires faithfulness and perseverance, especially when the way seems darkest and for those times when grace. praying for your family as you continue to live in grace “that almost never looks like grace at first glance.” I am striving to live graciously in my blended life having transitioned from single-parent-of-one to step-parent of two grown “children”, their spouses and seven beautiful grandchildren in nine years of marriage (my first, his second). How to do this well is my daily, at times hourly, prayer. I love the joy in your writing!

  22. Oh, how I love your words! I love when God does this: answers our prayers in the most unexpected way just like He did so long ago in sending our Savior when they were expecting a warrior.

  23. That was wonderful! Thanks for sharing that. God’s grace shows in ways we can never expect to see. We were in a similar boat. Had two children, didn’t feel quite ‘finished’ having babies when I found out I had stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Kids were 3 & 18 mos. God didn’t give me more children, but he gave me a bigger fight and equal blessing. Life. Living. Counting every minute with those I have. Ten years later, and still cancer free, that grace, those blessings are still the greatest things. Life. Love. Time. Thankful for you, sharing God’s grace!

  24. 100% love this — what an amazing lesson and how wonderful to have something so deep written on your heart – grace is an amazing thing!

    so glad you shared this!

    xo

  25. This made me teary-eyed. So sweet, and thanks be to God for the healing and love. I love the quote by Marilynne Robinson you have there. I have a book of her essays next to me that I’ve started, and I keep seeing Gilead popping up on my radar these days so I’d better get that one, too.

  26. I can absolutely relate to your post. After birthing 3 babies, I had a few physical limitations but we felt our family wasn’t yet “complete.” We pursued adoption for awhile, but things just weren’t working out. Finally, a time of unemployment opened my husband and I up to do anything God had in mind. Five years ago we moved away from friends and family in IN to SC to begin our work as houseparents at Boys Farm, a Christian home for kids in need of guidance and family structure. God answered my prayer for one child with more than 30 boys who I’ve helped parent in the last 5 years. It was never what I planned, but turned out to be something I love. He knows best!

  27. Oh so beautiful, this post. Don’t you just adore God’s knack for putting a spin on our lives like this? He who gives us the desires of our hearts, He made you desire a son, love the way it worked out. “Pray and duck!” my mom always says.

  28. Edie- I am SO glad you didn’t miss it! Oh when I think things are “supposed” to look a certain way. All wrapped & tied up just so- Thank goodness for being awake & aware. God is always teaching me- I am so happy for him as he starts over again! What a handsome young fella 🙂 Prayers & Love

  29. Hi Edie!! Thank you for sharing your heart once again. We have 3 bio kids and 3 adopted kids so I get that hole in your heart for another child and then the amazing love for a child that doesn’t share your blood. My heart is full of love for ALL of them!! I have a crazy question….how do you mount the ceramic animal heads that do not come with a back board?? I have a new one and I feel like it is going to fall forward off of the wall. Are there any tips?? Thanks!

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  31. Oh, Edie — how timely your post is. We just returned from visiting my stepson and celebrating one year of very hard won sobriety for him. God gives us unexpected opportunities to love and nurture and mother, doesn’t he? No baby blankets, but baby steps toward whole and healthy living. I’m in awe of this flood of love and pride in a young man that has put our family through the ringer over the past several years. God’s grace covers everything and helps to heal the broken. Over and over again. Praise Him!
    xo Heidi

  32. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story! I can relate: wayward boys, blended family, ideas of motherhood revisited and eventually quenched. God has a way of answering our hearts desires. It’s not ever the picture perfect idea that we initially have. It takes spiritual maturity to understand that it’s not always about OUR desires as it is God using us to help heal those we love.

  33. Loved this story. It made me teary. There is just something about having a boy. They grab your heart like no one else can. What a joyful story. Thank you for sharing.

  34. I needed this exact post today. All these months later. As I pray for my own hurting, broken, wayward son. Thank you for your vulnerability. And for the hope.

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