Go Back to the Beginning

I have a confession to make. It’s time to take off the mask, as my friend Betsy would say, and get real.

Lately, I’ve been struggling. I’ve been a bit deflated. A bit frustrated. A bit….itchy in my own skin.

Lest you start to worry or think I’m in tears throughout the day, I’m not.

I’m generally an upbeat, resilient person and I have so much to be thankful and grateful for.

But sometimes, in those quiet moments between the to-do’s, when I haven’t quite decided what to tackle next, there’s a yearning that tightens my chest.

You see, we started this adoption journey a year ago. Twelve months. 365 days.

I thought by now we’d have our little one home or at least be somewhere in the vicinity of traveling.

Only that is far away–a pinprick of light at the end of a very long tunnel–and I’m stuck waiting.

While I wait, I find it all too easy to look around at other people, other families. And the more I look, the itchier I become.

Comparison is a tricky, sticky trap. I know this. Yet I still step right into the mud.

That friend is pregnant. That family received a referral. That couple is traveling soon. That family is growing. That boy is playing with his little sister.

Things seemed to be moving for a bit. We were matched with an adorable two year old boy. But that fell through (and praise the Lord, we learned that he is reunited with extended family in the Congo, which is the BEST option) and now we’re in a standstill.

Feeding empty words to our son when he asks, “Are you going to get my brother now?”

Waiting as the country falls into turmoil because of a rebel group called M23.

And as we wait, it’s so easy for the doubts to creep in.

Maybe we chose the wrong agency (we didn’t). Maybe we chose the wrong country (we didn’t). Maybe we should adopt domestically or maybe we should quit altogether. Maybe this will never happen.

Have you ever been there, friend?

Doubting yourself? Second-guessing whatever journey you’ve set your feet upon?

What can we do when this is us?

We can go back to the beginning.

We can get out the prayer journals if we make a habit of keeping them. We can reflect and get on our knees and pray and seek and ask and remember how and why we are here in the first place.

For Ryan and I, it was an undeniable call. A whisper straight to my heart from the words of Esther.

“If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this?” ~Esther 4:14

Only replace the word Jews with orphan and queen with infertile.

It was as if God were saying, “I will rescue these children with or without you. I’m inviting you to be a part of this story. Are you willing?”

Was I willing to risk the potential heartache and the financial strain and the unknown and the frightening work of parenting a child with deep scars to become part of a bigger story than Katie’s little corner of the universe? Was I willing to step past my fear and laziness and selfishness and comfort and let God graft a lonely child into our family?

The questions were directed at me, because, you see, my husband was ready. He has a big heart. A compassionate heart. When people are hurting–especially children–he hurts with them. He is a man, if ever there was a man. He didn’t need convincing or persuading. He was on board.

That can’t be a coincidence. That God would give me this soft-hearted, merciful man for my partner. It couldn’t be a coincidence that for no apparent reason, Africa was seared into my soul or that God would bring people into our lives passionate about the plight of the orphan or that those thousand-year old words meant for a Jewess would fall so freshly on my ears or that a good friend would bring my attention to an obscure pilot program in the DRC or that the more we researched the country, the more we felt pulled toward its people or that some other friends would open our eyes to corruption which led us along a twisty-turny path to the agency we have now. One that might take longer than others, but is determined to avoid the landmines of corruption in a country where corruption runs rampant.

We go back to the beginning.

We remember why we took that first step.

We remember that the hard journeys are the worthwhile ones.

We remember that God does not call us down a path just to leave us stuck in the mud.

He has a plan. He has a purpose. And we are privileged and blessed to be a small, teeny-tiny part of a story much bigger than any we could write for ourselves.

Let’s Talk: What do you find when you go back to the beginning?

*The photo above was taken by Krista Johanson on stock exchange.

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24 thoughts on “Go Back to the Beginning

  1. […] seems I’m not the only one in this place: Go check out Katie Ganshert’s post, “Go Back to the Beginning,” and Jessica Patch’s post, “Christmas Traditions and a Break,” or Beth […]

  2. Hugs, Katie. I look forward to the day you’re announcing the arrival of your new son or daughter. Only the Lord knows when that will be. While the waiting can be sooo tough, anticipation has a way of making a long-awaited event that much more special.

  3. April Gardner

    You have a beautiful heart, Katie. One day your new child will see it that way too, hug your neck, and thank you for waiting.
    Lindsey mentioned one of my favorite songs!
    Thank you for the reminder to go back to the beginning and remember…

  4. Katie,
    I love your post. Praise God we can go back to the beginning, again and again. The platform of truth we stand on needs to be renewed, restored, and refreshed from time to time. I too have been on a journey of waiting for a child…adoption…then a promised son…granted….hoping to put down roots in our many moves…and waiting for this place to be home. Truly our hearts only find rest as we cling to the roots that connect us with Jesus and each other. Thanks for transparancy in your sharing. Makes us remember, we are on this journey together and Jesus walks beside us as our great burden bearer, leading and guiding, and giving strength for the next step. Hang tight with Jesus. He is always working…even when we can’t see the results. One day all will be made known.

  5. Thank you for your honesty and transparency in this post. I am feeling exactly the same way with my writing right now. I have no idea what’s next. I’m discouraged. And truthfully, I don’t want to go back to the beginning! Trusting God with our dreams is hard. But as you and I both know, His plans are far, far better than ours ever could. So I’m waiting, and trusting. Just like you. Life is a journey, no one said it would be easy. But I’m so glad God has put people like you in it for me to travel with. Praying for you today my dear sweet friend. πŸ™‚

  6. Jenny

    Oh sweet girl- I hadn’t realized your match fell through as I rambled on about our wait at church tonight! Man is that tough- even when it is what is best- it is still tough. I am so sorry. Praying for you.

  7. Ganise

    Beautiful…truly. God bless you, Katie and may HE also reward your honesty and patience.

    Sincerely,(and with *hugs*!)


  8. When I read this, I was amazed at God’s timing to love us through others. Your post was exactly what I needed to hear. I needed to be reminded of why God asked me to go on the journey that I’m on–and to not give up. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for being honest. And thank you for letting God use you.

  9. i can’t believe it’s been a year. it’s been a privilege to walk along beside you through this journey. your candidness in the process is helping me better understand and empathize with my brother and sister-in-law, who are in the waiting process of adoption as well. i love you and your heart for the little boy or girl God definitely has for you!

  10. Jessica Lewis

    Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:Philippians 1:6
    God Will, God Word & God Way.

  11. Lovely post, Katie. What a poignant reminder of walking in HIS will.

    You and your family are constantly in my prayers.


  12. Katie Ganshert

    Love all your words, ladies!

  13. Praying for you, Katie. I’m about the same place as Jill, above–five years into this writing journey and I’ve wanted to give up/change course/take shortcuts more times than I can count.

    I have gone “back to the beginning”–childhood– and remembered my love of writing and words even since then. God has consistently brought the right people into my life to support my idea that this is how I’m supposed to be spending my time.

    At the same time, the waiting never gets easier. It just NEVER DOES. But I’ve learned to be thankful for those comforting “crumbs” along the way. Doesn’t mean I don’t complain and pour my heart out to God all the time. It just means I know it’s RIGHT. And I know you do, too. That peace about our path is so important–to know we’re in the place of obedience, no matter how LONG it takes!

    Hugs to you, girl!

  14. Ah, Katie…beautiful, beautiful, girl.

    Have you heard the song “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller? I can’t remember if you’ve said you have, but if not…ooo, you need to listen. Sooooo good.


    Love you.

  15. Wow. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Katie. Standing firm, amidst my ever human frailties (I want our child(ren) now, I’m tired of waiting), knowing that God’s children receive His best in His timing. Feels so much less lonely knowing that I’m not the only one in this struggle. Will pray for your peace & stamina. Xxxooo

  16. Katie, I think a lot of times on blogs I say something like “This is exactly what I needed to hear.” But I’m telling you…this is EXACTLY what I needed to hear. Not just with my ears, but my heart. Thank you.

    I’m praying for you and Ryan as you wait…and thanking God that, just like you said, he never ever leaves us, like you said, stuck in the mud. Praying for your future son or daughter, too. Hugs!

  17. Lots of love on this blog today. πŸ™‚ (I love you, too, Katie.) And I’m always in awe of you. Your faith and strength and love for God is so incredible. Thank you for this beautiful testimony. You remind me that we simply have to trust that He wouldn’t lead us down a path unless He had a plan. And He does!

  18. This post went straight to my heart, Katie. I’ve been in a waiting period for five years. It’s only this year that I’ve softened and recognized God has given me the task to wait. I kept thinking I could do something–work harder, network more, whatever!!–but sometimes we are just called to wait.

    I can’t speak for you, but I know it’s been radical to realize there’s nothing more I can do to speed things up. It’s God’s timing.

    The comfort in this is knowing I have everything I need right now. It doesn’t take the big ache in my heart away, but it brings relief in those desperate moments.

    I’m praying your family is brought together soon, and I’m proud of you for listening to God’s call and continuing on even though you’ve dealt with setbacks.

  19. When we go back to the beginning and start over, we have the enormous gift of seeing exactly where we went wrong, and where we succeeded.
    It’s like doing a massive edit from one’s opening line. Or re-tracing our steps in a labyrinth. We’ve learned what NOT to do. And woe unto us if we do it again.

  20. Beautifully written pouring out of your heart, Katie. I love your practical advice to go back to the beginning. It’s still not easy when the waiting gets long and the doubts spring up. But revisiting the first seed and the journey can bring clarity and renewed trust. Praying for you and your family.

  21. I’m with Beth and Wendy. I so get this. In the middle of it now. Somewhere God called us to be and now it seeming impossible that we’ll ever get there. And getting more and more impossible every day. With God ALL things are possible. And we’re growing into what he needs us to be for the task. (gotta keep telling myself this over and over and over…)

    Hugs to you, friend!! Can’t wait for your little one to be in your arms!!

  22. You guys have a beautiful relationship. There’s a child God will bring to you. Maybe he hasn’t even been born yet…but he’ll need you and you’ll need him. πŸ™‚
    Thank you for your honesty! This is a beautiful post and I’m in awe of you and your husband.

  23. I love you too — lining up right behind Wendy.

    Your post reminds me of a post I wrote a year or so ago titled “Waiting for Vizzini” — and yes, it was “Princess Bride” themed.
    What did Inigo Montoya do when things went so, so wrong?
    He went back to the beginning … and he waited for Vizzini.

    That’s what you’re doing right now, Katie. Going back to the beginning … and waiting on God, who is in charge of all this men-think-they’re-in-control-stuff.

  24. I love you. I love your boldness. I love your message. And I love that God has you here now.

    And yes, I get it. In a different way with different things, but yes. This message is *


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