He rules the world with truth and grace…

December 29th, 2011

Question:  I worry that I do not have enough faith or a strong enough relationship with God.  I read so many adoption blogs and almost all say that they couldn’t have done it without God.  I worry that it won’t happen for us because I am not as faithful as those families.

Answer:   Guess what?  Our faith wasn’t big enough to make an adoption happen, either.  We’re not sure it ever made it up to the size of a mustard seed.

In fact, it still isn’t big enough.  We’re reminded of that every single day.

But the size of our faith is really not the most important part of Katie’s story.  No matter how big our faith in God will grow, it will never be as great as God is.  We will never be able to give God the faith that His character and person deserve.

He has been working in us and through us in spite of that.  His favor, His help, His grace toward us isn’t something we “buy” with our faith.  We don’t have anything with which to bargain with the true and living God, because anything of value that we have is from Him, anyway.  Including our faith.

So you see, He isn’t needy toward us, we are needy toward Him.

What you are seeing when you read this blog and the blogs of other Jesus-loving families who are adopting children with special needs, is our desire to honor Him for what He does, and for who He is.  None of us would say, with the ancient pagan king, “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom: for I am prudent!”  We don’t welcome credit for what we know God has done, as kindly as it is given.  “Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it?  Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it?”

We have seen glimpses of His glory, through a glass darkly, and it gives us joy when He shines forth and is honored.

But God very often chooses to work His will through people who do not honor Him as God, and are not thankful to Him.  Many, many people adopt.  Some of them don’t acknowledge God at all, let alone honor Him.

In fact, from the beginning of time, most of what God has done has not brought Him greater honor from the people He has made.  This fact does not stop Him from carrying out His will.  He doesn’t need to be acknowledged in order to be the King.

He doesn’t need to be believed in order to be the Truth.


Dear questioner, when I read the wistfulness in your comment, my heart went out to you.  The fact that you are worrying over this is an evidence of God’s working in you, or you wouldn’t give a hoot.

This is what I would say to you if you were talking this over with me in my living room.  Please don’t confuse faith with emotions.  Faith in God is not a matter of having a certain emotion.  And please, don’t look at yourself, don’t look at your dad, don’t look around at other humans.  We are not where ultimate truth is to be found, and I don’t state this on my own authority.  Human beings have an enormous capacity for self-deception.

Jesus is the only one who is not ultimately a dead end, and He is the only one with whom you ultimately have to reckon.  You can be confident that He loves to give more faith to those who ask Him.  Thank Him for the faith that He has already given you, and ask Him to increase it.  Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in all His glory, no matter what may come of it.  I will be asking Him for the same thing.





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21 Responses to “He rules the world with truth and grace…”

  1. Jamie Garcia says:

    I’m SO forwarding this to my husband! Thank you for all the wonderful pictures, I’m just catching up from losing my PC to a virus at the beginning of the month.
    Merry CHRISTmas and God bless you guys!

  2. Rebecca ~asplendidtime says:

    Beautiful and thank you so much.

  3. Rita in Spain says:

    This hits home in a big way. Thank you.

  4. Cole says:

    Truly humble and lovely words- thank you for sharing so very much

  5. Kristina and Family of 4! says:

    This hits home…
    Great post.
    Thank you.

    God bless!

  6. Joleigh says:

    Honestly, if you want your faith to GROW dramatically, adopt.  Seriously.  All of what Susanna says above is true.  But I would add that adoption is an amazing faith builder.  I started the process knowing this was where God was leading me, but with the usual human doubts and failings.  And, as is the case with God, every time a tiny seed of doubt floated by, He showed up in a big way.  My biggest areas of doubt have been financial (an international adoption costs nearly what I make in a year) and yet as SO MANY have said before, if you step out in faith, God provides the resources.  Susanna can attest to this.  It’s absolutely amazing.  I’m not prone to activities where I don’t have a ton of control, and this has been a positively eye opening and faith building journey.  I’m sure that will continue and increase once Clara is home!

  7. Holly says:

    Through my tears, part of me wants to send this to you privately but I want it to help others too and I don’t think I have your private email.

      Your last paragraph is the one that sticks with me the most. 

      I will ask for all of that and also ask for the ability to forgive what was done in God’s name to me and my siblings as children.  We should have been taught God’s love instead of fear of hell.  The issues I still have over it though are ALL mine now.  And I certainly need help to heal.

    I don’t know how to word this:  Your take on it is so vastly different than everything I’ve ever heard.  I was taught that I had to earn favor and blessings by being a faith-filled good girl.  I was not worthy to know God until I could show Him that I had done all the work on my own already.  I should only come to Him when I was clean enough, and until that time, I should have nothing from Him.    And any blessings my family did get was chalked up to how great my father’s faith was. 

    So to imagine asking Jesus to help me serve and love Him better…instead of a constant striving to serve Him perfectly before I’m allowed to have a relationship with Him…feels like such an easier and humbler task.   It is no longer this unattainable goal that we can NEVER reach.   I’m not saying this clearly.  It is taking the call to perfection and guilt out of it.  It is saying:  I know I’m not perfect but this is what I offer You.   I don’t have to be perfect to start from this spot.        And it is allowing Him to help me become better.  

    I hope that what I’m getting at is clear and is what you were trying to tell me Susanna. 

    I will share this with my siblings, one in particular who struggles even harder than I do.  I want us all to let go of that past and see it as you do.  That we can have this relationship without it being born from fear and guilt.  That we don’t have to be 100% clean before approaching God and asking for His help. 

    Thank you Susanna!     Please include me and my siblings in your prayers this weekend.  We will be spending New Year’s with my father and while our relationship has improved with age and the births of his grandchildren, it can still be a painful and anxiety-provoking time for us.

  8. Susanna says:

    Holly, emailing you…


  9. Oh Holly.  (((HUGS)))  I can so relate.  God in my childhood was about fear, guilt, shame and punishment.  He is so much more.  It has taken me MANY years to get to where I am (and I have a long way to go!)  I’ll be praying for you this weekend, as well.

  10. Gail says:

    Susanna – THANK YOU for continuing to communicate with Holly by email!

    God is good – ALL the time. Negative emotions are not from God – like fear, guilt or shame.  God loves you regardles and all you have to do is ‘talk’ to Him. He does NOT keep a record/tally of our past mistakes once you have asked Him to forgive them. They are forgiven and gone from His mind.  At least that’s what I’ve learned and believe.

    P.S. Susanna – feel free to ‘correct’ me if I’ve not expressed myself clearly or correctly – I am always open to learning and growing in Christ.

    Holly I will continue to pray for you and your family.  Blessings  G

    P.S. Susanna – feel free to ‘correct’ me if I’ve not expressed myself clearly or correctly – I am always open to learning and growing in Christ.

  11. Hollie says:

    I am praying for you and your siblings, too, Holly. I pray that God will surround you with peace and security in Him and your hearts while you are around your earthly father.

    Susanna, I appreciate this, too. I have questions for you! I know how you love those and how they make your blogging life easier. Should you find them important or helpful to address, that is. (1) How did you know that He called you to adopt? I get the sense from some of the comments on your posts that folks dont know what it feels like to hear from Him and be open to where He sends them. Can you try to explain to folks what that looked or felt like for you? Was it simply watching the video, feeling moved and horrified, and trusting that He would help you figure out how to bring a child home? I think you see where I’m going? (2) while the joy and the work occupy the same space such that the joy overtakes/overcomes, do you have moments where you lose your patience? Not your faith or trust, of course, but your humanly patience? what does that look like, and how do you handle it in the moment? For me, I pray out loud for help. Sometimes I do lose my patience and holler, but I go back and explain and make amends and pray together with the recipient of my wrath. ;) can you show us what that looks like at your house? What do you do in the moments, small and infrequent as they may be, where you feel overwhelmed by needs? not in a martyr way, of course, but in an “I’m human” way even though the joy and faith outweigh. Does that make sense?

    Thank you, as always, for your humble candor and transparency.

  12. Valerie says:

    Your statement, “Please don’t confuse faith with emotions”…threw me into another crying spell :)  I have always wanted to put that into words and NEVER could (and you did).  Sending thanks…again. I really thought finding Katie was the blessing in finding this blog.  I see now I was in store for SOOO much more.  Susanna, you have to be the world’s most beautiful, intelligent, and loving person I’ve ever run across. 

  13. Tiffiny J says:

    Totally crying. I SO needed to hear that. Lately Ive been feeling like I should be doing something (specific) and I started working towards it and gave up because I didnt feel like I was ‘there’ with my faith, finances, and even marriage yet. I have a hard time telling the difference between Him telling me to do something and me just wanting to. Then I always stop because I figure why would he be telling me, when I’m clearly not ready. Thank you for openening my eyes.

  14. Jane says:

    Thank you for that  dose of amazing wisdom Susanna.  It fortified me today.  As I head into the new year I am humbly trying to look within to see what needs to be sharpened, dulled, enhanced, shrunk and what needs to grow within me.  Faith is a constant area of attention. 

  15. Susanna says:

    Valerie, oh dear me! You are very sweet, but BELIEVE ME, I am very human and have many, many faults!

    [To my friends and relations who may be getting concerned, don’t worry, I don’t come close to believing all the kind things people say about me. Besides that, the unsubscription notifications help keep my feet firmly on the ground, haha! I don’t get notified when someone subscribes, but I do when someone unsubscribes, and it’s staying that way! And I expect to see unsubscription notifications after posting things like this.]

  16. Valerie says:

    Well, then now I’m adding funny to the list above………..  I’m shocked to hear people unsubscribe from your blog!  Geez!! For me, that would be like unsubscribing to the BIBLE! Well, more for us, I guess.

  17. William Brown says:

    I love this blog. Thank you for your posts and sharing your life as you continue your journey with your wonderful family. It is a real joy to read along as Katie develops and opens up to the world around her in the loving family she was born to be a part of.
    I wanted to say something about the mustard seed. Jesus used something so very small to point out the fact we do not need a lot of faith at all. All we need is faith in Him, even just faith the size of something as tiny as a mustard seed. So the size of our faith is irrelevant, it is where we place it that makes all the difference, that is in Christ alone.
    William Brown (Lu’s husband)

  18. Shanna says:

    love your encouragement, hope and faith in God.  thanks for inspiring us all.

  19. Mia says:

    God is so good! May He shine brightly and clearly through your words.

    kisses to Katie and Verity! 

  20. Joy says:

    TY, Susanna, for speaking out this truth!! 

    SO wonderful to see the pics of Katie’s ’roundness’!!! She is a miracle!!!! 

  21. C says:

    Thank you for sharing this!  You write very clearly about things that are often confused.  While this is something I know and believe it is always good to be reminded.  :)  I have a question for you that you may have answered previously but I can’t remember.  What do you think about single women (or men) adopting, particularly adopting children with special needs?  Is it ok for singles to adopt or would it be better to wait until they are married? 

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