As far back as I can remember, I’ve felt special, due in no part to anything about me; instead, that impression has everything to do with my mother and father. My earliest memory of conversation with them goes something like this, “Son, you’re special because we chose you.” I didn’t comprehend at the time, and they may not have fully understood it themselves, but Henry and Lois were establishing a sure foundation from which to embrace the reality of being an adopted child. Being adopted was better, in my undeveloped mind, than having been their natural born son, although I secretly wished that I had inherited my dad’s height, his James Dean good looks, and his deep bass singing voice. It was masterful child psychology coming from a boilermaker and a church librarian, mainly because it was heartfelt and honest. They were unable to have children of their own, so they chose to lavish their love on someone else’s miscalculation, redeeming both child and themselves in the process. They believed adoption to be the will of God for them, and, truth be known, it was for my sister and me as well.

I wish that every child could develop according to the strong impression that she or he is special and chosen for greatness. As Buechner writes: “The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.” The truth is, life is special and you are too. The Father says to each of us, “You’re special, because I chose you.”

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:5, New Living Translation)

“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9, New Living Translation)

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