The Story of Our Wounds

The Story of Our Wounds

“And God, please take care of daddy AS HE GOES to get Alethia on the airplane.”

Those simple words have ushered heavenward from the mouths of our kids for the last month, before we ever knew whether or not the government was going to allow us the visa for our sweet little girl. And those words have carried us through the past month of highs and lows. It’s as if our children have had some kind of direct line to God that Tasha and I didn’t have. Or maybe it’s just simple faith in the nature and character of God that we sometimes forget as we grow older and more “sophisticated.” Either way, the prayers of faith have been heard.

Tomorrow, I jump on a plane and head back to Uganda to pick up our 3-year-old Alethia Grace, retrieve her visa from the US Embassy in Kampala, and then head home, Lord-willing, Tuesday afternoon. The journey to finally get here has been simply unbelievable. (If for some reason you are clueless, head over to to get the full scoop.)

From September 26, the date of our original departure, until now, the Lord has taught us lesson upon lesson, precept upon precept about resting in His presence, relying on His provision, and trusting in His sovereignty. The way has been wrought with joy and pain. And I’m more convinced now that you can’t experience real joy without pain. You can’t grow without difficulty. And you can’t become stronger until you’re first broken.

Tasha and I are reading several books right now that have helped us process the recent events of our lives. Sifted, a book by Rick Lawrence, has helped tremendously. I’ll save the review for another time, but one illustration is worth the time here. Toward the end of the book, the author expounds on the metaphor of grafting (Romans 11, John 15) and what it means for us, the branches, to be grafted into the vine–Jesus. Rick and his wife went to a local nursery and discovered that the process of grafting is an incredibly violent but necessary event for dying plants. Here’s what he says:

To graft, you must first clip a branch from a weak and poorly producing tree and shear off its leaves. Then you use a sharp knife to create a point on the end of the graft before splitting the root stalk of a healthy plant right down the middle. Finally, into the open wound of the root stalk, you shove the pointed end of the graft stalk and wrap the whole thing with thick tape to keep it in place. Months later you can unwrap the graft–the ugly wound still readily apparent–to reveal a death-sentence branch that is now alive because of the life flowing into it from the root.

That one phrase has impacted me more than any other–“the ugly wound still readily apparent.” Our family will, without question, carry the wounds of our grafting the rest of our lives. They will be readily apparent. These wounds are now a part of our story–our legacy–our journey. And I can honestly say, now that we’re just about on the other side of this, I wouldn’t change a thing. No, I wouldn’t have asked for the trial that we’ve experienced. But, no, I wouldn’t take it back either. See, these wounds tell our story. They tell of the faithfulness of God in the midst of circumstances completely beyond our control. They tell of tears. They tell of one heartbreak after another. They tell of setbacks and roadblocks, misunderstandings and miscommunications. Of relationships tested. Of character forged under the fire of trial. They tell our story.

Abiding in the vine is violent. It’s painful. And it’s wrought with difficulty. But it’s necessary for life to flow into death-sentence branches.

Before I left Uganda on December 2, I wrote a letter to Alethia on the blog. In it I said,

Oh, sweet girl, we are working as hard as we can to bring you home. Please know that we haven’t deserted you. We just have to go away for a little while. We will not leave you as an orphan, but we will come again to you. We’re going away to prepare a place for you—to get the house ready. We have to go so that we can return and get you very soon. I know it doesn’t make sense to any of us now. But one day it will.

Through tears and brokenness as I wrote those words preparing to leave my girl behind, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the consummation of the glorious Gospel story–that Christ, the Father of orphans, WILL RETURN for His kids. And on Sunday, when I return to the orphanage to get my sweet girl, I get to, in some small way, embody the great resolution of the Gospel story. I am returning for my daughter, just as Christ will one day return for us.

My prayer for Alethia, and for all of my kids, is that the glorious truth of the Gospel will be forever written on the tablets of their hearts because of the adventure we have lived. And that the memories and stories we relive over and over–these tiny seeds of Gospel truth–will eventually sprout and grow into new life, bearing scars and wounds, but forever grafted into the life-giving vine.


6 Responses

  1. Trudy Rundle says:


    So glad to hear you are finally going to get your little girl. I and many at Journey have been praying for this. Your story is truly a witness to what it means to walk by faith. God bless you! Trudy

  2. Melissa Richardson says:

    This was SO good, and SO true.
    Love you, and your family, very much.
    Praying, even now, for your trip, and for its completion.

  3. Janet Via says:

    Josh, the truth in this post is beyond my understanding and comprehension. I read the entire blog in tears. Tears of thankfulness and gratitude to a God who loves us still. May our whole family be forever grafted into this life-giving vine. Dad and I are so very proud of you and love you with all our hearts.
    Our prayers are going with you as you travel tomorrow and next week. You are her HERO-go rescue your little girl and bring her home.

  4. Josh and Tasha, when I come to visit Ed and Katie, I look forward to meeting this precious child! She is God’s miracle! Her adoption is an amazing backdrop for what God is going to do in her and through her.


  5. Claire says:

    I just want to let you and Tasha know that we, the Encounter group at Spotswood, are praying for you this morning. I can’t wait for Alethia to be home with your family. I pray that she will know the Lord through your love for her and grow strong in Him.

  6. Kelly Via says:

    Josh – wow, great blog. Thanks once again for sharing your heart. It brought tears to my eyes once again as I think of these past few months. God is so good; it is so awesome to see His power bringing this chapter to a close as Alethia, Lord willing, will be coming home this coming week!! We are so excited for you guys, and have prayed for you every step of the way. Counting down to the party at the airport!

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