“in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6 (NIV)
It was a hot day inside and outside at the orphan village in Liberia. Twelve boys inside, practicing choir music, found their eyes wandering over to the soccer field, where the promise of fun and the cheers of their friends tugged at them.
They were feeling the pull of wanting to go outside and play soccer. But these boys determined the choir was worth the sacrifice.
Years earlier, Liberia had been ravaged by a civil war that left more than 25,000 orphans to be cared for. So to raise money and support, an a cappella boys’ choir was formed to travel throughout the country of Liberia and perform in churches.
Two of the teenage boys in that choir, Jackson and Mark, had been orphaned as babies when their parents and most of their siblings were killed by rebel forces.
Night after night, these boys knelt beside their makeshift beds and poured out prayers of thanksgiving and hope that one day they’d hear six simple yet life-changing words: “You are my child — welcome home.”
God had a perfect design for their prayers to be answered and worked miracle after miracle to bring the boys’ choir to America. But little did I know my family would be part of the answer to Mark and Jackson’s prayers.
Life was already busy and full, as I was a mom to three little girls. So you can imagine my surprise that the night I went to see The Liberian Boys’ Choir concert at our church, I was stirred to consider adoption.
As I sat in the concert, God whispered to my heart that two of those boys singing were mine. No, I thought. Not me.
I felt like sticking my fingers in my ears and singing, La, la, la, la, la … I’m not listening to You, God! But the stirring in my heart wouldn’t stop.
I decided to try a new tactic with Him: Lord, I just came here tonight to bring my girls. I’m not looking for a major life change. Life is already very full with work, speaking, writing and home-schooling. Besides, all my friends would think I was crazy.
But God wasn’t discouraged by my response. His directive in my heart became more intense as the evening went on. After the concert, I asked the coordinator of the event which of the boys still needed homes. He told me eight of the boys still needed to find families and encouraged me to walk into the reception area where they were. If God intended for some of these boys to be part of my family, he was sure I’d know it.
Reluctantly, I walked into the reception area. In a matter of seconds, Jackson and Mark walked up to me, wrapped their arms around me, and called me Mom.
I was moved and terrified at the same time.
What began as a small heart prompting had turned into a very big decision.
I cried out to God, desperate for His guidance and wisdom as I pondered every aspect and wrestled with this decision deep in my spirit.
Still, doubts and questions flooded my mind.
One day, I called a friend and poured out my heart. She patiently listened without much response as I asked, “Why me?”
Then, quietly and prayerfully, she answered: “Because God knew you’d say ‘yes,’ Lysa.”
I was stunned. I think that was the highest compliment I could have ever received. My heart was filled with joy as my mind was filled with memories of the years of small steps God had me take to reach the place where I could be prepared to take this much bigger step.
Now, many, many years later, I think back to sitting in that church pew, just going about my ordinary life when God’s extraordinary invitation burst forth. I could have so easily walked out of that church and ignored God’s stirring. I’ve done that more times than I’d like to admit. But look at everything I would have missed out on had I done that.
Hear my heart: I’m not saying everyone is called to adopt. Honestly, the next big step God wants you to take might actually be small. But we’ll never know what that next step is if we don’t “submit to him” everything we do, as Proverbs 3:6 instructs us.
Each day, we can look for His invitation to leave our plans behind to join Him in His wondrous work through small steps of obedience.
Dear Lord, today I will embrace what You have for me. I will step out in faith because Your ways are higher than mine! Open doors only You can open. Close doors only You can close. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
What if your next step of obedience is joining us at She Speaks Conference this July? She Speaks 2023: A Conference for Christian Communicators is happening July 13-14, 2023, in Charlotte, NC, and online! We want to help women find, own and use their voices to make an eternal impact. Whether you want to launch a podcast or grow your social media account, write a book or craft a message … you need to know how to take the next step. We've got the tools to help you actually do it. In-person spots are limited, so don't wait: Click here to register now!
Find real-life encouragement when you connect with Lysa TerKeurst here on Instagram.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established” (ESV).
What is a small step of obedience the Lord is asking you to take today? How can you commit that to Him fully? We'd love to hear from you in the comments!
© 2023 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
What We Believe
If your life feels too overwhelming, click here for our care and counseling resources.