As the undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood continues to unfold, people are coming to new realizations on the humanity of the unborn. It’s a significant moment for the pro-life movement.
For years, I’ve prayed outside abortion centers – being a public witness as we seek God’s heart and strategies to end the bloodshed of innocents. I even walked 250 miles in pro-life prayer as a part of the Back to Life Movement in 2012.
I’ll continue to pray. Yet I also cannot discount the value of putting action to one’s prayers. In recent years, my husband and I have chosen to live out our prayers by adopting three children (some with special needs)… because we saw in God’s Word a mandate that was there all along.
Photo Courtesy of Maranda Gomes
I’m not saying it is easy. My daily reality is a bit more challenging than that of most people. When others come upon this realization, I often hear comments such as, ”I don’t know how you do it. God must give you a special grace.” And while I’m sure that’s true of some people, I feel compelled to iterate that it’s not true of me – at least not in the way most people think.
The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 4:10 that there are various expressions of God’s grace. However, I’m quite certain that God hasn’t bestowed any special grace upon me that He wouldn’t give to anyone else in my situation.
You see, God never “called” me to adopt, and He certainly didn’t “call” me to adopt older kids with special needs. God has been so beautifully gracious to me in life. He took my broken and shattered life – that I broke and messed up – and redeemed it into a thing of beauty.
I forsook God. I turned my back and walked out on Him, but He never left me. He followed me right into my mess and stayed there until I once again recognized my need for Him. Then He picked me up and loved me as if it never happened.
Photo Courtesy of Maranda Gomes
Jesus is the singular most beautiful person that has ever existed, and I love Him with a passion deeper than anything I could ever express. More than anything, I want to become like Him. He said, ”If anyone loves me, he will obey my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and take up residence with him (John 14:23).” I want that!
He also said, ”Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me (Mark 9:37).” I want that too!
Even mainstream media is beginning to report the chilling reality: for every one adoption referral given at Planned Parenthood clinics, they perform 174 abortions.
Today, more than 100,000 children in the U.S. alone are waiting to be welcomed into permanent adoptive homes. Think of how much this could increase if more women reject Planned Parenthood and its “services.” There already exists a great need; when our prayers are answered, that need will only get bigger.
Fortunately, God has an answer for this need. James 1:27 tells us that, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Photo: Brittany Randolph / Flickr
Basically, I saw a need – and a biblical command – and desired to fulfill it. I told God that I wanted to meet the needs of orphans. He told me He thought it was a pretty good idea. I was crazy enough to believe that if I stepped out on a limb and did what the Bible told me to do, God would back me up by giving me whatever grace or provision I needed. And He has!
In fact, let’s look at Isaiah 58:9b-12:
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
Then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations;
You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”
Photo Courtesy of The Radiance Foundation
Maybe there is a “special sort of grace,” but He promised it to anyone who fights injustice and spends themselves on behalf of the oppressed.
Now I realize He’s talking to Israel here, but I believe these promises are extended to those who are grafted in as well – us! He essentially says, “If you do this… I will do this.” It’s a promise! There’s nothing special about me!
God didn’t tell me to adopt children. I chose to do it. And He didn’t ask me to adopt the ones no one wanted either. I decided a long time ago that I wanted to “waste my life” (in the world’s eyes) by serving God and others. I really can’t think of anything more significant to do with my daily life than to spend it serving others.
I decided to follow Jesus’ lead and “spend myself” on behalf of others. I figured that adopting older children with special needs was a great way to serve the least of these, the ones who were oppressed and forsaken by society. And once I came to that conclusion, God brought Greg to me and said, “Will you take this one?” And Kasey, saying, “Surely you will help this one?”
Photo Courtesy of Maranda Gomes
Yes, God asked me to adopt them, but only after I had made the decision to serve Him in this way. My point is not to sing my own praises, but to point out that if I can do this, anyone can. I’m not a special person. I’m just an ordinary person who is in awe of a beautiful Savior.
Maybe adopting older children or children with disabilities isn’t something you’d choose. Maybe you don’t want to adopt at all. Maybe you want to fulfill the biblical command to care for orphans and widows in some other way. That’s ok. Really. It is not only totally fine, but totally legitimate. Life is full of choices and we are free to make them!
But please, don’t make that choice because you think that you can’t do it. Don’t assume that you do not have what it takes. None of us do. I don’t have it now, and I certainly didn’t have it before we adopted – but God promised to give it to me in His word and I believed Him.
Please don’t cling to your comforts because you’re afraid that God is not a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Don’t be afraid to inconvenience yourself now because you don’t fully believe there will be treasures in Heaven. Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith.
Photo Courtesy of Shelley Paulson
Now, hear me. I’m not saying my reward will be greater than anyone else’s because of what I’ve chosen to do with my life. Hardly! I feel like picking a fight with Paul when he calls himself the chief of sinners, because surely that title belongs to me.
But what if my reward for giving up a few comforts is seeing my children come to know the saving grace of beautiful Jesus? Surely that is worth a hobby or nice vacation, or even a lifelong dream?
I know without a doubt that Jesus would have been faithful to my children, even if I never chose to make them mine; but this way, I get to be a part of it! I get to see their restoration firsthand. I get to see more of God’s work in my home… and that is reward enough for anyone.
Maranda Gomes is a mother of five beautiful children, including three by adoption. Having served in the past as a Bound4LIFE chapter leader, she now writes about the joys and experiences of parenting at her blog, God’s Crazy Zoo. (Within this article, names of her children have been changed to protect privacy.) Maranda and her husband Ed raise their children in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.