Adoption, Children in Foster Care, Forgotten Fridays, Foster ParentingMay. 12, 2017

Forgotten Friday | Beauty from Ashes

I never thought I would make it to a Mother’s Day that my heart didn’t ache for my momma. Honestly, I thought it would always be a bittersweet reminder…a day to praise God for what I had but at the same time a day to mourn what was taken.

This year is different for me.

I had hope that one day I would understand, but I thought it might be 10,000 years from now.

Instead, it’s today.

This year is the year I KNOW that God is always good, always sovereign. He sometimes allows terrible things to happen, because He knows how they can be used. God can work out anything for the good of those who love Him.

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3

Today, I know how beauty came from ashes.

A broken, hurt, little girl came to us 18 months ago. A beautiful, sweet baby whose suffering brought terrible anxiety into her heart. Rages, tantrums, control, impulsiveness had taken over. I’ve not fooled anyone by painting a beautiful picture of adoption…although it has been beautiful at times. I’ve been honest about how hard it’s been too, because, for one, we haven’t been able to do this alone. We’ve desperately needed your prayers. I have some wonderful sisters in Christ who have held us up before the throne when we were too exhausted to lift our own arms. And I thank you, my friends.

The second reason we’ve laid it all out there is I want everyone to see adoption the way I see it. It has been more clear a picture of the gospel than anything else I’ve seen on this earth. It is a constant reminder that this is what Jesus did for me. In my ugliest, awful moments, at my worst, God watched his Son die on the cross for me. I continue to sin and disobey. I’ve had a dissapointing performance since my salvation…and He knew I would fail Him…and He chose me to be His daughter anyway. It’s His beautiful, free grace that saves.

We came into our baby girl’s story at her worst. And I wondered if we could be the kind of people who could do this. And then I realized we weren’t, and we considered saying no. But where would that leave my girl? Would she continue to bounce from home to home? Would she grow more and more anxious and angry? Could I do this in my own strength?  The decision came down to my comfort or my baby having a momma.  And I knew what it was like to be without your mom.

I also knew what it was like to have someone on this planet love you with that crazy, unconditional, always, forever mother’s love. I knew my girl had never experienced it, and I wanted her to feel it. We were not the family patient enough, long-suffering enough, good enough to adopt her, but with the Spirit leading us we said yes to adopting her anyway. That’s when God sent us on journey into a spiritual growth where we began to really, truly understand the gospel, what following Jesus means, and how powerful the Holy Spirit is. I wouldn’t have chosen that journey had I not experienced the devastation of living on earth without my momma.

And now…I can be thankful for that suffering.

Because of it, I have a new daughter and I have been in the presence of God like never before.

Because of it, that little girl is safe, happy, being renewed, and learning about how much she is loved by her Abba Father. Her bedtime routine used to be hours of intense fear and screaming. I tucked her into bed a few nights ago and told her I loved her, and she said, “But God loves me even more than you, Momma! He sings over me while I’m sleeping, and I pray to hHim if I have a scary dream. He hears me.”

The situations satan would have loved to use for my harm and for my girl’s harm, God used for good. He didn’t let either of us suffer for nothing, but instead created a joyous blessing instead of mourning. A crown of beauty from ashes…

May is Foster Care Awareness Month—find out how you can help the foster care community in your area through The Forgotten Initiative!

Mandy Snider

Mandy Snider is a Christian, wife, mom, and teacher. She and her husband Mike have 3 biological children ages 17, 16, and 14. They adopted their 5 year old daughter diagnosed with RAD in 2015 and currently foster an infant boy. They set out to be a blessing to their community by becoming a foster family, but quickly realized how much they were blessed by foster care. Their family has experienced God in a mighty way through the ministry of foster care over the past 4 years. They are flawed, sinful, and selfish. Yet, God is at work to use them anyway and is changing them along the way. You can follow their story on their blog, Foster Care: The End of Me.

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