Choices. We are all constantly making choices – what we do, what we say, where we go. Even coming to this article was a choice you made.
You choose your own path. You choose where you work. You choose whom you spend time with. You choose where you live. You choose what you study. You choose what you do in your free time.
You choose, and those choices strung together become your life.
Often, the choice you make affects other peoples’ lives significantly whether you realize it or not. We had such a choice back in 1993. But let me back up…
The orphanage matrons in our adopted country of Ghana where we were missionaries greeted me warmly as I came on my weekly visit to play with the babies. I had heard that there was a new baby enrolled that I wanted to meet. My teenage kids were home from boarding school and I thought it would be awesome to bring the new baby to our home for a few days to nurture her and help my teens learn how to care for a newborn. The orphanage administrators allowed and encouraged home visits for the orphans.
But when I saw the tiny infant, my heart skipped a beat. She was only 4 lbs at three weeks old. Her tiny perfect body hardly made a bump in her crib. The ladies in charge asked me if I wanted to take her for a home visit, but I quickly declined. I knew she should be in an incubator to help her survive. It would be traumatizing to me if she died while in my care.
With my heart burning within me, I told my husband and three kids about tiny Zenabu. They all enthusiastically wanted to bring her to our home for a visit. After praying about it, we decided to take the risk of having such a tiny baby in our care.
Zenabu stayed with us for a few days and then she stayed with some missionary friends of ours for three more days. It almost seemed like we could see her growing before our eyes because she had a great appetite and took two ounces of formula every two hours. Zenabu was going to make it!
We were seriously considering adopting Zenabu, but I knew this was a huge decision that needed God’s wisdom for making the right choice. I happened to be reading in Deuteronomy 30 for my devotions that day and God made the answer very clear to me. The entire chapter is pretty awesome, but let me share from verses 11, 14, and 19. He said, “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach… But the word is very near you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may observe it… I have set before you life and death… so choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.”
I guess you can’t get a clearer answer than that. “Choose life! You know what to do – it is already in your heart!” It is entirely possible that Zenabu would have died if we hadn’t adopted her — we don’t know.
We adopted Zenabu and added Kinza to her name which means ‘treasure’ in Arabic. When we were deciding whether or not to adopt her, my husband said, “I feel like the man in the parable who found a treasure in a field and then sold all he had to buy the field so he could get the treasure. I believe Zenabu is that treasure.” We actually named her Kinza before we knew that it means treasure!
Let’s get back to choices. This, obviously, is an example of a big choice. Adopting Kinza changed the course of her life, my life, my husband’s life, our three biological kids’ lives, and many others.
But even the small, daily choices you make are important to healthy, emotional living. You make a choice to be cheerful or grumpy. You make a choice to love or not. You make a choice to forgive or hold a grudge. You make a choice to try again after a failure or not. The list goes on. Your choices can determine your success in life.
What kind of choices are you making? Big or small, they are creating your life map.
We chose to adopt Kinza (big choice). Later, when Kinza was 7 years old, we chose to buy a used piano (medium choice). Kinza then chose to faithfully practice the piano when she would rather be playing (small choice). At age 17, she has become an accomplished pianist, even composing pieces of her own — all because of a string of choices made.
Choices are powerful. Make your choices deliberately. Choose well. Don’t forget that the choices you make can impact others significantly too. And all those choices strung together make up your life story.
You can’t control what all happens to you, but you can control your responses. The choices, after all, are up to you.