Jillian Johnsrud-Morrissey: When You Are Called to Do Hard Things

courageRecently, I introduced myself to a new small group member as a mom to five kids. She was taken aback and commented that I don’t look like I have five kids. Which I take as a compliment. Because I haven’t eaten or showered or washed my clothes for a length of time too embarrassing to admit. Yes, I assure you I have five kids, but at least it doesn’t show.

The last decade of my life has been defined by motherhood. It has been the area of my life that has required the most amount of bravery. For some, motherhood comes about by an unplanned pregnancy test or carefully-planned fertility treatments. Mine has been different than some, with one biological child and four coming from foster care.

Based on the dozen responses I’ve heard to that over the years, it’s safe for me to assume there is a 90% chance your response was something like, “It’s great that you do that, but I (or my husband) could never do that because of x,y,z.” Whatever your x,y,z are, you are probably right. It’s too hard. So why did I grow my family in this unreasonably brave way? Simply because I felt called. When I first gave my life to Christ at age 18, I said I would do anything, go anywhere, and trust completely in whatever I was called to. So God called me.

Our culture has a bend toward the easy. We only buy gadgets and appliances that promise to make things easier. We never choose the vacuum that states it will be 50% harder to push and take 100% longer to clean our floors. No, we want life easier. God, however, is different. He presses into the difficult, He brings light to the darkest places, and He brings healing to those that hurt the most. As His hands and feet, I’m called to go there also. To the suffering, hopeless, despised, and abused, God has a good plan. Not a perfect plan or perfect family or perfect mom, but one that is good enough. Good enough with what God has given her. And when she isn’t enough, He shows up.

We adopted our oldest 10 years ago when he was 12. I was 21 and had never been mom. God had to show up a lot those first few years as I struggled to raiser a teenage boy who had spent half his life in foster care. I knew I would outlive him due to an illness he had, but was shocked when he passed away two years ago. God had to show up. I get your x,y,z. More than most, I understand how complicated, messy, hurtful and scary it can be. But I also know God, and His heart for the hurting. Maybe He would call you to show up and just trust that when it is too hard and your x,y,z is breaking you, He will show up too.

JillianAt the ripe old age of 32, I’ve spent 12 years married, been mom to 5 awesome kids, spent 4 years living in Washington DC, 4 years in gorgeous Germany, traveled through 27 countries (to included a haphazard month in the Philippines), been sane, then crazy (bipolar), then felt sane again, know the most amazing friends a girl can have, and spent the last 14 years following Christ in whatever He calls me to.

header photo credit: Karina Hak via photopin cc

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