Saturday, November 22, 2014

Grace, According to the Measure of the Gift of God (Part 1)

There's a verse that I love tucked away in the pages of my bible.  Unlike Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11, John 3:16 and a host of other scripture verses that most Christians, and maybe even some non-Christians, can quote instantly, I find that very few know this verse. For those of us raised in Christian families or in weekly Sunday school classes, this verse probably didn't make the memorization list.  

 For unto everyone of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of God.  
Ephesians 4:7

 I think of this verse, written by the apostle Paul, as "my life verse."  It's almost as if God whispered it to me one day and said "This is your verse, you'll need for it for the rest of your life."  It brings peace and contentment and calm assurance to my heart.  Even though I know it well, I go to it often in my Bible. It's not enough just to recite it. I need to read it, to see it written on the pages of God's word. The word that gives me the strength to face each new day.

This verse rooted itself deep into my heart many years ago, on the day that Moise was placed in our arms.  Jim and I were so young, so unsuspecting, so oblivious to the fact our life was about to be irrevocably altered.  That day, before heading to the airport to meet the private jet that would bring Moise to us, there was a sense of nervous anticipation.  I searched randomly through my bible for anything that would calm my spirit.  That's when I found it, though I openly admit that I didn't fully comprehend the verse at that time.  I understood the grace part but the rest eluded me.  Understanding would come in due time.

 As we stood at the airport waiting for the plane, the verse rolled around in my head.  My arms and legs quaked as the pilot placed the tiny bundle in my arms and I knew, in an instant, that this baby was critically ill.  Suddenly I wanted out.  I didn't want to take this baby, with his rashes and filth and ashen lips to my home.  I had known the baby would be sick, but this was much more than sick.  I didn't think we could do it.

But then Moise's radiant smile pierced my heart and grace stepped in.  I knew then that we would take him home.  We would care for him in the best way we could.  We would do whatever it took to get him back, safe and healthy, to the mother whose heart ached for him.  As I buckled him into his car seat I asked Jim, "why do I have a feeling our life is never going to be the same?" Jim answered simply, "because it's not." We didn't know how or to what extent, but we knew that this child would change our life.

Grace became a mainstay as we struggled through months of hospital stays and surgeries.  It whispered to me through countless hours of rubbing his tiny head and singing to him, not knowing if he could hear me or not.  It became our hands and feet when weariness and exhaustion threatened to overtake us.

 That same grace held us up when we feared that we would give him back to his creator rather than his birth mother.

Grace held me that awful afternoon when through a fog, I heard the devastating CT results.  "The entire frontal lobe is calcified, the myelination pattern is grossly abnormal. He has severe brain damage.  Moise will likely never walk, or feed himself or hold his own head. He will be an eternal child."   Grace lay there on the bedroom floor with me as I was immobilized by disbelief and pain and fear for this child's future, his life.

Grace steadied us as the doctors voice crackled through the line of a telephone call from Haiti. "I have Moise's mother here with me," he said.  "She doesn't want him to come back to Haiti.  She knows he'll die here."  And then the words that took my breath away, "She wants you to keep him.  She wants you to be his mother."  I couldn't have spoken a word if I tried. Then a woman's voice came softly on the line.  Moise's mother. She said three words, "Merci, Merci, Merci."  (Thank You, Thank You, Thank You) They were words that felt like a punch to my soul.  This woman just assumed we would keep her baby, that I would be his new mother.  We never said "Yes" Why was she thanking me?

Grace was there as Jim and I agonized over the impossible decision that lay before us.  We could start the adoption process for a child whose future seemed so dismal or we could send him back to Haiti, where he would undoubtedly die. To adopt meant that our family would never have what the world views as a normal life, a lifetime of challenges and fears.  To not adopt meant the death of a child.  Grace stayed with us as we prayed and cried and explained it all to our children. Grace spoke through the mouths of our children, (who knew one thing above all, that we loved our little baby) when they said they wanted him to be their brother.

And Grace gave Jim the courage to speak the words that we both knew were true.  "There's not really a decision to make.  God made this decision when he placed our little boy in our hearts."  

Grace has promised never to leave us and it hasn't.  It has traveled this journey through all the bumps and twists and turns. Through all of the sunshine and the many, many storms, grace has carried us.

For unto everyone of us is given grace.  Grace!  It's for you and for me and it meets us right were we are.  Grace is the strength and the courage and the ability to do that which we cannot do.... according to the measure of the gift of God. be continued

God is good, all the time. 


  1. Karol, stop making me cry!!! ;)

    But seriously, oh wow...I had NO idea this is the story of Moise! Thank you for sharing. I'll be brutally honest, when we were looking at adoption about 3 years ago, a lot of the children were special needs. We said no, we can't do that. But you are right, Grace says that we can. God did make that decision for y'all regardless of what you thought you could handle. I'm amazed! Completely amazed! Thank you again for sharing. :)

  2. Such an awe inspiring story Karol. I can't even begin to imagine but as I read your words of grace and love I'm reminded that's God's grace is sufficient for us in whatever things we face.