Katie Ganshert knows the brokenness in this weary world, yet lives in the hope of Jesus. Following Jesus often means not knowing what the road ahead of us might hold. It is in those unexpected turns and exits we find the deepest meaning in our marriages, in our families, in our adoption stories, and in our faith. Through her own experiences with each of these, Katie infuses grace, mercy and love into her stories. Her novels bring these stories to life, reminding us that life is indeed a journey. It’s messy and hard, full of valleys and peaks, yet it is incredible and full of breathtaking beauty. The kind of beauty that makes everything worthwhile. Her stories remind my heart of the answer to my deepest longing – Jesus. It’s a grace to welcome Katie to the farm’s front porch today…
“I’m angry and I don’t know how to be angry.
I don’t even know who I’m angry at, or what I’m angry about.
I just want to stop getting so stressed over things I can’t control. I want to surrender.
But it’s like there’s this wall, made up of my own sin and confusion and misunderstanding. And God’s on one side and I’m on the other.”
Five years ago, my husband and I started the adoption process, and when asked if we were open to adopting a child with special needs, we checked the box that said no.
It felt like such a selfish choice. But we knew ourselves. We knew what we were capable of undertaking. And we didn’t feel like special needs was it.
Our daughter has been home for two years, and in that time, she’s been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which affects the right side of her body, and speech apraxia, a disorder that turns talking into a hard fought battle of marathon proportions.
One that leaves all of us exhausted at the end of the day, because trying to be understood, and trying to understand what someone is saying every time they speak is a mentally taxing thing.
Watching your daughter struggle to string together sounds, to give words to all the thoughts, all the questions, racing through her head? It’s not easy.
Our life turned into a string of doctor appointments and therapy appointments.
Progress came by the drop and we worked hard for every ounce. Celebrated every ounce. Prayed for every ounce.
And then one day? That progress disappeared.
Eating, swallowing, sounds she’d been able to make just one week before … gone. Taken away. Like smoke in the wind.
Enter those words up above—a text message I sent to my friend as I walked in the dark, beneath rain-soaked clouds, a storm all its own swirling in my soul.
I didn’t understand. Why was this happening?
It felt cruel. The opposite of answered prayers. And my heart was raging.
In my anger, in my frustration, in my confusion and fear, I was grappling for why. Consumed with why.
It’s an insatiable question—why. The kind you can ask and ask and ask without ever getting your fill.
And in all of that struggling—in all of that grappling—I lost sight of who.
We may never know why something happens—why this circumstance, why this outcome, why this dratted, discouraging setback. Those aren’t answers easily found.
But who? Who is all around.
In every breathtaking sunset, in every star-strewn sky. In rain drops that fall on thirsty land. In the sun that rises, chasing away the coldest, longest of winters. In the pages of the well-worn Bible I hold in my lap every morning.
This God—His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? The God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. Psalm 18:30-32
My sinful, selfish, ugly way — made blameless.
That is who.
No matter the circumstances of the moment …
He is peace in the storm.
The lifter of my head.
A God who sings over us.
And raises the dead.
Maybe someday, my daughter will be a speaker or a singer, and I’ll look back at all this hard, and stand in awe.
Maybe someday, the woman struggling in secret, heart rent every time she sees another pregnancy announcement on Facebook, will have a house brimming with children.
Maybe someday, the marriage that finds itself in tattered shards will be restored, stronger than it ever was to begin with.
Or maybe not.
Oh, maybe not.
Those are kinda terrifying words.
And yet, we don’t need hindsight to know God is good. We already have hindsight. On that cross. In that empty tomb.
You are good and you do only good; teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:68
This God is no stranger to the hard road. This God walked the hardest road for us.
And whatever road we’re walking one now—then somehow, someway—that road is good. There’s not just breadcrumbs of good for you on it; the road itself is good.
It is for your benefit. My benefit. Her benefit.
In this hard, He is doing something holy. He is doing something transformative. Even as our hearts rage. Even as they break.
This upside down road, where His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), where troubles are an opportunity for great joy (James 1:2) because troubles usher us into His presence, and in His presence, there is fullness of joy. (Psalm 16:11)
This is who.
A God who does not forsake. A God who is not cruel. A God who is not stingy with grace.
Not a sparrow falls outside of His care.
When we find ourselves walking through a dry and weary land where there is no water, shaking our fists at why …
Fix the eyes on this God.
Remember and rest in who.
Maybe comfort isn’t found so much when we ask “Why is this all unfolding here and now?” — maybe comfort is found more when we rest in Who is enfolding us all here and now.
Katie Ganshert is an award-winning author of several novels and works of short fiction, including the Christy Award-winning A Broken Kind of Beautiful and Carol Award-winner, The Art of Losing Yourself.
Life After is Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet. A fiery explosion claims the lives of passengers on Chicago’s transit system. As the sole survivor, Autumn Manning is haunted by the lives of the victims. When forces come together to bring her face-to-face with reminders of devastating loss, she must decide what path to take forward.
The stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale. A powerful summer fictional read that may be kinda perfect for the searching heart.
[ Our humble thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah for their partnership in today’s devotion ]