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Published on December 5th, 2017 | by Isabelle Ingalls

God Calls Us to the Unknown

Do you know the land most people avoid, the realm that many fear? We whisper its name with hushed breath, we build tall walls around our homes to keep it away.

The Unknown. That strange land, of which we’ve heard rumors of great mountains and valleys, bustling cities and quiet streams, but such mist lies over it that we doubt their existence.

Because we fear change. We fear difference. We fear the unknown. Because we can’t see precisely where our road may lead us. We can’t hold our fates in our hands. We feel helpless, out of our own control— and we hate it.

How little we realize we hold no power even here.

But every now and then, either stepping willingly or shoved, we enter this realm.

And when we do, glorious adventures can unfold.

I’ve written before on my family’s adoption story. But what amazes me is how normal it now looks. Before, I was worried about how I would manage my time with a little one and how on earth we could even handle another pair of feet running about and paperwork and goodness gracious China is far away and what if he’s too different and what if I’m too old to connect and what if — never stopping to consider that what if none of those would matter?

Because here I sit, in the dawn of unknown. I now see what it all looks like. I type at my computer, hearing the singing OOOOOOOH’S of a three year old pretending he’s a whale. In a moment I’ll go help make lunch, cutting off the crusts of his sandwich without a second thought. I’ll receive a goodnight kiss as he heads off to nap and I head off to work. I’ll come back to a black-haired head bobbing up at the window, grinning delightedly and exclaiming, “Bell-wup!” (He speaks so well, yet my name still keeps its babyish suffix).

I’ll swing him up on my hip, though with his growing weight and height that won’t last long, and listen to his stories, already full of adventure. All of it seems so normal, so natural, as if this is the way it has always been.

And I could have missed all of this. I could have missed it, if we didn’t step out into the land of the unknown.

Those terrifying struggles? Where are they now? Those great fears? They’ve faded away. What felt like it would be a giant leap, a giant sacrifice — is now precisely how things are always supposed to be.

And that is a testimony to His faithfulness, to the reality of His truth. So often we want to tell God, “No, I can’t do this, it’s scary, not me!” But He tells us, “No, this is what you were made for.” He never tells us to go somewhere He hasn’t gone already.

He goes before us, He is ever with us, and His way is always best.

The unknown seems terrifying. But, you see, once you step into it — it’s no longer the unknown. Once you climb it, the unsurmountable mountain is no longer that.

The unimaginable simply becomes reality.

And that’s where our story is at right now. I can’t imagine life without Xan-man, and I can hardly remember how we lived without him. He’s ours, through and through. His laughter, his stubbornness, his cuteness, his story-telling— yes, he’s certainly an Ingalls. (Not that I’m at all biased).

We’re dancing in the dawn of the unknown, because it’s His light that illuminates it. He promised “I’ll never leave or forsake you.” And we know with certainty that His way is the best way. He’s proven it again and again.

So now the unknown has become the familiar. The mist has faded away. All is normal once again. But that’s no reason to get comfortable. He hasn’t called us to live complacent lives in the familiar. So perhaps, it’s time to move further up and further in along this path again. Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t let uncertainty of the future. He hasn’t called you to sit in a comfortable, easy life in the midst of the comfortable, easy familiarity.

He’s called us to Do. He’s called us to Go. So that’s what we’re doing. Our family is starting the adoption process again, to weave one more story, one more thread into our lives.

We’re stepping into the Unknown again, yes. But we’re following Him who already knows it.

Will you do the same?

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About the Author

is a 20-year old writer seeking to see the reminder and reflection of Christ’s glorious Gospel in all of life. When not writing, you can find her working with children, singing and dancing around the house, and discussing theology with friends over hot chocolate. You can find more of her writing on singleness, adoption, Narnia, thunderstorms, stories, and Christian living at Seeing Everything Else.

  • Excellent post, Isabelle! Beautifully written and a message many of so desperately need.
    My family and I adopted from Haiti (my youngest two siblings came home 5 years ago this month). The process of welcoming a child into your family is definitely stepping into the unknown and a tremendous act of faith. Now the daily process of becoming a family is equally as scary and a daily act of faith.
    Adoption is definitely a hard, though beautiful, love.
    Congratulations to your family and you on adopting again! That’s great!

    • Thank you, and thank you to you and your family for walking this road! It is hard, but it’s also full of laughter; exhausting, but filled with great joys. Keep running after Him in all that you do!

  • Princess-in-training

    Beautiful article, Isabelle! I loved your adoption story. Fourteen years ago my aunt and uncle decided to adopt a baby girl from Haiti. It cost them many years of failure, tears, and triumph, but five years after, they brought home my little cousin. To tell you the truth, I didn’t like her and she didn’t like me. I was afraid that my “Auntie” wouldn’t like me as much now that she had her own little girl – afraid of the unknown. But we adjusted and now are the best friends ever!!
    I hate change and always have–but your article calmed many fears that I have for changes that I know are coming this year.. Thank you!!

    • That’s such an amazing story! Adoption is hard and uncertain, but so very worth it. And most changes are the same way. I’m glad this could be an encouragement to you!

  • Savannah A

    Beautiful article, Isabelle! Thank you so much for sharing….this article was really applicable, and a great reminder. Blessings!

  • Kyle Golden

    Thanks Isabelle for the reminder! The path towards the unknown can be frightening but well worth it in the long run.

  • ToHimWhoOvercomes

    Hi Isabelle! I looove your adoption stories!!! Assuming you were speaking to someone whose parents were about to adopt, what would be your biggest piece(s) of advice for her? Thanks for the article! <3

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