Life is funny. Things can change on a dime. Things can change that you never would have predicted could change. I have been highly allergic to cats and dogs for well over twenty years. My kids have begged for a pet regardless of that pertinent fact and I have stood strong with a firm “no” each and every time it came up. I wasn’t trying to be mean, I just knew my life would be miserable if we had a pet living in our home. If you had told me yesterday morning that by the end of the day today I would be a cat owner, I would’ve thought you were crazy. But things can change and life is funny that way. Because I found myself driving home with the cutest little kitten sitting right there on my lap. My husband wanted a “farm cat” to help keep the mouse population down at our new home now that we have some extra land. And I actually said yes. What I said yes to and what we got were two very different things, though. But isn’t that just like life, too? I said yes to a grown-up outdoor uncute cat. Not a sweet, defenseless, how-could-I-ever-let-it-sleep-outside just-too-cute-for-words kitten. Things change. Opinions can change.

A month ago, I intentionally began the process of softening my heart towards someone. I invested into this person in a way that I hadn’t in a long time. I was deliberate. I was kinder. And I went into it with the thought that the other person may not change at all in response to me, may not even notice the changes I was trying to make, and that would be okay. Had you told me one month before that I would be kicking down the self-imposed boundaries I had erected over the years, I would have thought you were crazy. But things can change and life is funny that way. What I started out trying to accomplish and what has come out of it are two different things. Because what has been happening in me is not only a softening, but a strengthening as well. A new (somehow) ability to not need to be in control, to not know what someone is going to do with the emotional freedom I give them. Things change. Hearts can change.

About a year ago, I met with two friends a day apart and we had two separate yet mysteriously similar conversations. A fire had started in me regarding AIDS and Africa that led to my husband and me seriously considering adopting internationally. We spent a few months praying about it, with me reading everything I could get my hands on. One night while reading, I put down the book, and said out loud to God, “If there’s a little girl over there {in Africa} that you want me to go get, I will.” I shared this with these two friends for prayer support and wisdom, and they both told me that they and their husbands were also considering international adoption. God was doing something in us together, separately, and we were blown away. Fast-forward one year. One friend is not adopting, but she has become fully entrenched in the life of a refugee family from Burundi, Africa as she helps them with all the daily and monumental tasks of adjusting to life in North America; and she loves it, telling me just the other day that she has found her “thing” in this. My other friend and her husband have adopted a little girl from Ethiopia, a beautiful little girl. And we are anxiously awaited her arrival and welcomed her with open arms when she came. My husband and I are not adopting, but we have the privilege and great blessing of contributing financially to our friends’ adoption. Along with that, I spent a few days in Haiti last summer, went to Sierra Leone nine months later, and have new plans to go to Liberia in the summer all because of this new passion in me. Had you told us a year ago that my friend would be driving Burundis to doctors’ appointments and taking them grocery shopping, and my other friend would be adopting a little girl from the heart of Africa, and that I’d be a key part in an African girl’s adoption as well as visiting third-world countries (more than one!) sometime over the next year or two, well, we all would have thought you were crazy. But things can change and life is funny that way.