#Your Story: Joanna Teigen on Prayer, Releasing, and Adoption

Joanna Teigen post
A cab ride crossed our paths, complete strangers heading to She Speaks 2015. At the 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.

Releasing and Receiving: Joanna Teigen on Prayer, Releasing, & Adoption

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.

Joanna Teigen

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.

Bible study on fear cover--light shining on the words Fear What?

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 persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39 WEB

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 ~

Author photo 2

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 (updated 2021) Growing Home Together.


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37 Comments

  1. This very subject has crossed my mind several times here lately. Probably one of my biggest fears, if not the biggest fear, is something happening to one of my children. I think sometimes we worry and become frustrated because it gives us some sense of control, that by worrying, we can in some way come to a conclusion that would bring about a desired outcome in our circumstance. I love your reflections on Abraham laying down his son Issac, and God laying down His only begotten Son, Jesus. Thank you for sharing. #RaRaLinkup

    1. I agree with you about the worrying thing. It gives us something to do in situation where we really can do nothing.
      And, yet, it does no good. Oh, how hopeless we are without Jesus!

    2. Yes, Trina – it’s so tempting to take over for God (as if that’s possible!). Praying for peace for us moms as we lean into God’s strength and good promises for our families. Blessings to you and your precious ones!

  2. Kristi, I am also a friend of Joanna’s. She is truly a blessing!
    Thanks for sharing your space here to share her story. God is good, and her testimony is a shining example.

    1. Hi Karen! You are truly blessed to have Joanna as a friend. (And I imagine she’d say the same about you.) Christ’s aroma in her makes the whole world smell a bit sweeter.

  3. Beautiful testimony, Joanna! Thanks for sharing! Happy to visit with you today, Kristi! It’s been too long, sweet Sister! Peace and many many blessings to the both of you! 🙂

    1. Hi Tai! It’s good to “see” you again, my friend. So glad you came by to enjoy God’s goodness through Joanna. Blessings to you.

  4. Joanna, I needed this today. We adopted our youngest as a baby. Today is her 28th birthday and we haven’t seen her in 10 years. She is and always has been His and I continue to pray that one day I will hold her in my arms and remind her that we never stopped loving her. Thank you from this momma’s heart. God bless you!

    1. Oh Deb, I have tears in my eyes. Big ‘ol Jesus-style hugs to you across the blogosphere. Lord, we lift up Deb’s daughter, Your daughter. Father, Deb’s right…she, this child, is Yours. You see her right now, all 28 years’ worth. So Father, place the words of prayer on Deb’s lips. Guide her in battle through prayer for her daughter. Guide her daughter back into Your arms if she has strayed. I pray for her heart, for it to be mended where needed and for reconciliation to You and even to Deb (and her husband) to become reality. Regardless, we give You the praise for Your creation is always worthy of praise. In Jesus’ name, amen.
      xo

      1. A beautiful prayer, Kristi, and I stand in agreement! Amen!
        Deb, I’m an adoptive Mama, as well. I don’t know your whole story, but from all that I have learned from what we have walked through with our sweet girl, I can only imagine that it was a heartbreaking situation to which you gave every last fiber of your heart and strength to. I am praying for restoration, sweet sister!
        Hugs,
        Lori

    2. Deb, my heart hurts with you today! Your love for your daughter is beautiful like Jesus’ love for her — it goes on and on, always faithful and full of hope. Praying for peace as you place her in His arms each day. I can only imagine the unseen work of God moving through your prayers all these years. Thank you for your words of blessing!

  5. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story Kristi! I definitely need to get this book! I love all the things that she shared and the innermost thoughts she reveals.. What humility and honesty. I hope all is well. Many blessings to you and family. Have a wonderful week!

    1. The book is a keeper, Horace, that is certain. In my opinion, it doesn’t have to be used “just” for sons. It can serve nephews, cousins, “little brothers”, and even daughters well. The powerhouse of prayer can come from all sorts of directions. Praise God. And humility? Joanna, in the short time I’ve known her, displays such a strong reliance on the Lord. It’s all about Him. #goJesus!

    2. Thank you for your kind words! I pray that my story will “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4) Blessings to you and your loved ones.

  6. Joanna, I love having our paths cross again. Of course, again I have to thank Kristi for introducing and sharing your heart and words at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing.

    I love that you gave Max the middle name Isaac as a reminder of your laying him down but also of God’s faithfulness to bring him back to you again. : )

    1. Crystal, every time I think back on meeting you (or I visit your uplifting blog site) it makes me smile! Yes, God is faithful in every way. My little guy is next to me right now eating animal crackers–he’s my special reminder of God’s goodness!

  7. Joanna, your testimony is so powerful and what incredible lessons you gleaned. Your situation is so unique, but the truth is so universal for all us parents. Sometimes we have to willing to let go, even in small subtle ways and believe that Gods ways are higher and His plans are better, even though they don’t look the way we think they should. It’s such a bittersweet truth. Thank you for sharing your story to encourage us.

    1. Thank you, Tiffany! Letting go of our kids can be such a challenge–so thankful for a God who loves them completely. I like how you describe God’s higher ways and better plans. He has more in store for them than I could dream up on my own! Your kids are blessed to have a mother who trusts in God for them.

  8. I remember you introducing me to Joanna at She Speaks, Kristi! Thank you for sharing her journey here. What a heart-wrenching situation, and a true life-lesson about laying what we love the most at His feet. Oh what God can do when we trust in Him! Joanna’s story is a blessing and encouragement!

    1. Kristine–wasn’t She Speaks amazing?! So glad to meet you there. Yes–the Spirit is constantly reminding my heart to keep Him in first place. That season with our son was a long, difficult ordeal. There were days I could only sit with the Lord and pray Psalms to get through each minute. But He is everything He promises to be!

  9. Wow, Joanna. This story brought tears to my eyes. There are areas in my life right now where I have have not fully released control. Your words move me to pray more fervent prayers and let these fears go. Thank you for sharing here today. What a blessing. I’m so glad to hear God brought Max home to you.

    1. Abby, it can go against our instincts to let go. So glad we serve a God whose love creates the one truly safe place for all our loved ones, as we place them in His arms. I am praying for peace for you as you respond to the Spirit encouraging you to trust Him. Thank you for sharing your heart and your kind words!

  10. Joanna, what a powerful testimony. Thank you for sharing these lessons; I went back and read them twice. What a joy to read about your continual trust . . . and to see though God brought you through the refining fire, God had Max as a precious gift for you all along.

    1. Thank you, Lisa! So glad to have met you this summer, and to receive encouragement through your blog all the time. It amazes me that going through such difficulty was God’s precious gift to me, with a beautiful son as a gift as well. His love is deeper than I ever knew–He constantly outdoes Himself in showing it!

    1. So glad you were blessed, Lori. And how neat that you have a similar story! Joanna is a beautiful gal and does indeed have a beautiful story. You too. 🙂

  11. Joanna, I’m so glad to meet you at Kristi’s place. What a powerful testimony. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been, nor how the Lord must have poured His grace on you. Thanks for sharing your story with us. (Kristi, this is a great feature. Thanks.)