A cab ride crossed our paths, complete strangers heading to She Speaks 2015. At weekend’s finale, our friendship was in full blossom. I’m honored to call Joanna Teigen friend and fellow race-runner in faith. Her kind and gentle spirit draw folks, and her words are powerhouses for the Kingdom. She is the author of a book I HIGHLY recommend. (See my review for this wonderful prayer book here.) In the meantime, enjoy her testimony today as she brings God the glory.
We sat white-knuckled in family court that Good Friday, listening to the judge making plans for our foster son’s future. “Max” had been with us for over two years. He was knitted as closely into our hearts as if he’d been born to us. The decision that day? Caseworkers were ordered to explore placement with unknown relatives several states away. We died on the inside as we faced the possibility of never seeing Max again.
Later that day my daughters and I stepped into our church’s prayer garden. Crying and devastated, we begged God to keep Max safe and bring peace to our fears. The girls left toy cars at the foot of the wooden cross as a symbol of their prayers. When my husband saw those little cars during his own visit to the prayer garden, he broke down.
God’s answer was not what I expected. He didn’t make Max’s journey simple or smooth—the road held many months of twists and turns before it was over. But what He did say was, Give him to Me. On the day we remembered the Father giving up His only Son, we were asked to lay our precious child down.
Releasing Max to the Lord began a transformation in my walk of faith.
It taught me to pray like never before. In this situation where I was so helpless, I could fall on God’s strength in prayer. I sang songs of blessing over Max as I tucked him into his crib. I’d plead for the Lord to grant him safety, salvation, and security. As I held him in my arms I would beg for strength to give him up. I needed the Spirit to give me a willing heart to obey whatever the Lord required.
It exposed my attitude that our other four children were mine. Holding on so tightly to my kids created anxiety, thinking their well-being and futures rested on my shoulders. The stress kept me frustrated and controlling much of the time. Putting them back in God’s hands set me free to enjoy them more fully and accept them as the unique individuals they are.
It revealed my pride. I was so sure I was the best mother Max could have. Of course I knew what was best for him—he’d been in our home his entire life. I thought I could do a better job of loving him than God could. Placing Max in God’s hands forced me to trust Him completely and take Him at His Word:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 NIV
The judge couldn’t separate Max from God’s perfect love, even if he was separated from ours.
It opened my eyes to see God’s power. Our journey became even more difficult as time moved on. Obstacles to adoption piled one upon another, building a wall only the Lord could break through. Moving through the prayers and efforts of friends, dedicated caseworkers, loved ones, and our church family, God gave Max a permanent place in our home.
We gave Max a new name at his adoption hearing. His middle name is now “Isaac”, since the Lord asked us to lay him down again and again. When I speak his name today I remember that God is faithful. He never asks us to give something up without promising blessings in return. Even if we had needed to say goodbye to Max forever, I received more of the Lord in that season than I knew was possible. He truly is enough to comfort any pain, soothe any worry, and surpass any joy this world may hold.
Meet Joanna ~
Joanna Teigen has been married for over 20 years to her husband, Rob, and is mom to two sons and three daughters. She and Rob are co-authors of 88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates, A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter, and A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son. She enjoys homeschooling, marriage mentoring, and life and laughter with her family in West Michigan. Joanna would love to connect with you at www.facebook.com/JoannaBTeigen.
Come join us for more encouragement here: #intentionalTuesday, Purposeful Faith, #testimonyTuesday, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Holley Gerth, Dance with Jesus, and Counting My Blessings.
For previous #YourStory testimonies, go here. (You won’t be sorry!)