During my 20’s I struggled with infertility. I remember withdrawing from my friends when I found out they were expecting, feeling
angry because I was unable to conceive, and feeling like my life had no purpose. I had been baptized at the age of 18 but I had very little biblical knowledge as personal Bible study was not encouraged by the minister. I was told by the minister and by members of the congregation that my infertility was God “punishing” me for the worldly life I had lived. I remember constantly praying, begging God to forgive me. After years of, “paying,” for my sins and still feeling like I was not worthy of God’s love, I rebelled against Him, my friends and my family. I had decided that I was meant to be alone, but this was not God’s plan. I believe God was prepared to give me the family I so longed for; I just had to stop long enough to let him guide my decisions.
I met Kent on my Grandfather’s farm. I had just finished mowing the yard and saw him cutting hay in the field close to the house. I hooked up his hay rake to my tractor and started combining the rows for him. Having never met before, he had no idea I had many years’ experience working in the hay field. I looked up and saw this cowboy looking bewildered and scratching his head. I stopped the tractor and he asked me just what I thought I was doing. I looked back at the perfect wind rows I had been making and told him, “I believe I am raking hay,” and then I got back to work. He hollered, “I can’t pay you!” to which I replied, “I don’t want your money!,” and the chase was on! We had so much in common; we were both raised on farms, worked hard and loved to fish. Kent was raised in the church and had an amazing knowledge of the Bible. He helped me see that our God is a loving God, a forgiving God and has already paid for my sins through Christ.
I have always been somewhat stubborn and hard-headed, the kind of person that made my own decisions and if they were bad ones I accepted the responsibility and dealt with the consequences. It took me many years to realize that if we follow the path God has planned for us instead of making our own path the rewards are great, not only here but in Heaven as well. On January 12, 2007 Kent and I adopted a beautiful baby girl. I was finally a Mom, but what did that really mean? I had hoped and prayed for this moment for so long, but was I truly prepared to be a Mother?
I realized that it was my duty as a parent to teach Jeni Lou about God, Mark 10:14 “…Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” (ESV) How could I do this when I didn’t really know God myself? On July 29, 2012 I accepted God as my savior; I was adopted into God’s family through baptism after studying what it really means. Just as we have adopted Jeni Lou into our family, so has God adopted us into his family when we accept Him as our savior. Ephesians 1:5 “he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” (ESV) I’ve heard others explain adoption as them choosing that child but the truth is that God is the one that chose us to be Jeni Lou’s parents. He has entrusted Kent and I to raise His child and teach her His ways, Proverbs 22:6 (ESV).
Being a parent is the most amazing blessing as it has brought both Kent and I closer to God, and THAT was God’s plan.
By Misty Dowell
Misty Dowell and her husband Kent are members of the East Main church of Christ and live on a farm near Holdenville, OK. In addition to his work as a Texas Ranger and her job as an advocate for special needs parents, they are extremely involved with the work of the church and take every opportunity given them to serve. Their daughter, Jeni Lou, will be going into the 1st grade this year and brings joy to all who know her, especially the elderly members in the congregation that she seems to be drawn to.