Am I strong enough to be her mama?

#livefree story

Today’s guest post lights me up. I love how Lori Schumaker honestly shares her struggle and what she learned through it. I hope you love this as much as I do. ~ Suzie

I distinctly remember the book.

It was filled with the necessary information to prepare an adoptive family.

One section stood out in particular, though. In the quiet of our home, our boys tucked safely in bed, I read aloud pages and pages of scenarios as we discussed our answers.

HIV? Family history of depression? Mental illness? Developmental delay? Autism? Facial abnormalities? Heart defect?

Were we willing to consider a child with special conditions and if so, to what degree?

With each question, I felt the knots mounting in my stomach.

How does one rationalize these kinds of choices? These are the children that need a family most. The counsel of our social workers echoed in my mind.

Be truthful. Recognize your limits. Know what you can handle.

As my husband and I looked into the depths of what life looked like as parents of a child with significant special needs, we chose what we thought was our child.

Our criteria was a girl under the age of 3 with mild special needs. Minor physical health needs and developmental delays due to institutionalization.

We serve a Father who knows all that we do not. He knows the depths of our capabilities, even when we are unaware.

In April of 2011, we walked out of a Bulgarian orphanage with our 4½-year-old daughter. Within hours we realized this little one had needs way beyond our felt abilities. But as we held her in our arms, we knew we were holding onto the child God had gifted us and we already loved her with every beat of our hearts.

We decided to trust God with His gift.

The knots. The guilt. The fear. They were all there in those moments.

But God’s Word stood stronger.

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

~ Philippians 3:13-14

The road has not been easy. But the choice is one I would never change.

I didn’t know I had the strength to parent a child with significant special needs. And honestly, I didn’t have the strength. But God is for me and He is the strength in me.

Today, my little one attends a school for special children and each day as I walk in and out of those doors, I am blessed by the children, families, teachers, and staff that have found themselves receiving this gift. It is a gift chosen by some, but one others try desperately from which to run. In either scenario, God opens our eyes to the beauty of these precious children and to a unique community of people in our world who work passionately every day for the least of these.

Friends, I didn’t believe I would ever have what it takes to be this kind of Mama.

But I was wrong.

God is good. And He is right. I do have what it takes!

And in whatever situation you find yourself, I believe you have what it takes, too.

When God moves our heart in one direction or another. When He opens or closes doors of possibility. Or when He places us in the midst of an unimaginable situation, just hold onto the truth that He knows the depths of your abilities and He will show His strength in you.

Press on, friends. And look forward to what lies ahead.

Lori Shumaker

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I’m so grateful that Lori joined me today. I love her #livefree story. Encouraging others is Lori’s passion. So whether she is in wife, mom, friend, teacher, or writer mode, encouragement is the desire of her heart.

And because there is no better encouragement than the love of Jesus, pointing to Him brings her great joy!

Her blog, Searching for Moments can be found at www.lorischumaker.com.

You can also connect with Lori at:
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Comments

  1. Lori, I found it again. I am so proud of you! I so look forward to a growing friendship.

  2. Lori, I never tire of hearing your story. I remember we had a conversation not that long ago that God gives us our children because we are strong enough, through Him, to raise them. None of this was by chance, it was by God’s choice. If He thinks that I can be strong enough, as long as I lean on Him, that’s good enough for me. That doesn’t mean that some days are hard, I am human, and that makes me challenged in an emotional way. Your children are very lucky to have you and I can see that you know you are blessed to have them. Big hugs.

  3. What a beautiful testimony of God’s love and faithfulness, Lori. Thank you for sharing it. And it gives such hope, too, that God has the power to fill our inadequacy with His all-sufficient grace. Your daughter is so blessed to have you! Have a joy-filled Easter! You, too, Susie! Hugs!

    • Hi Trudy! In our weaknesses He is strong! Such a powerful truth, but often so difficult for our humanness to embrace. Thank you so much for your kind words and a very blessed Easter to you, too!!!!

  4. Lori, I’m so inspired by your ministry and the words of hope you so eloquently write. Your faith, courage, and hope in the midst of challenging circumstances, encourages me so much! I pray for God to continue to give you His power and wisdom to get through each day and every decision ahead.

    • Thank you so much, sweet friend, for your kind words! I am so humbled and thankful God has used these words to encourage you!! I treasure your prayers – thank you -thank you!!!

  5. Thank you for sharing your experience, Lori! I cried tears as I can completely relate. It’s as if we wrote a list of our ideals and every single one was challenged. I’m glad we have our children and we have a greater dependence on our Father. Best to you!

    • Nicole,
      I wish I could reach right through this screen and give you a great big Mama-in-the-trenches-with-you kind of hug! I am so thankful your dependence on God has deepened. I will be praying for you, friend!

  6. Tears and smiles. That’s the result of reading this amazing post from Lori. Just when we think we can’t, God says “yes, you can”! Lori, thank you for being strong in the Lord and sharing your story so bravely. So many need this kind of hope — including me, dear friend! Praying for your continued strength!

  7. Sue Schechtman says:

    Lori you brought such a smile to my face. I am sitting at my oldest sons house with my four grandchildren. Twenty four years ago,we also asked for a child under 3. I’m a psych major. I know these things. We adopted a 7 year old boy and his two and half year old sister. I often tell people my oldest brought us to Jesus. God’s power was the only way we made it thru. We have gone places in our journey Greg and I never 3xpected to go. I would not trade it for the world. I now have six grandchildren. My youngest has a rare brain disorder that will never allow her to fully develop. She brings such joy because you cannot help but fall in love with her. Thank you for sharing your story and encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone.

  8. This brought me to tears…. SO BEAUTIFUL! What a precious story of God’s faithfulness and provision! Your daughter is beyond blessed to call you Momma. God does not make mistakes, and He certainly had a purpose for all of you in this journey. Praying for your family and your ministry, sweet friend!

  9. Kim Stewart says:

    Sweet Lori, what a joy to see you on Suzie’s blog today! “I didn’t believe I would ever have what it takes to be this kind of Mama.” OH MY have I uttered those words myself. Thank you for being so open and honest here and your words encourage me to live free!

    Can’t wait to meet you next month!

    • Thank you, Kim! I am so honored to write here in Suzie’s space – a place that has always been so special to me and has ushered in freedom for so many! Being a Mama is tough. It makes us dig deep and fall on our knees. I’m so thankful God knows me better than I know myself!!! 🙂

      Only a few more weeks! I can’t wait to meet you, too!

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