“A Beautiful Exchange”

I’m honored and proud to introduce you to my friend, author Megan Nilsen. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I am passionate about adoption. Adopting two of my children from Kenya forever changed me and my art. To quote artist Makoto Fujimura, “We often think of great artists, musicians, and writers – those who have demonstrated the ability to express beauty – as great souls. Most or all of them faced, and many overcame, great disorder…” (Culture Care, page 29). In her new book, A Beautiful Exchange, Megan writes with transparency and more than a sparkle of humor about her journey through “great disorder” and straight into the heart of God.

Let her guest post, below, snag your curiosity; then pick up her book and read the rest of the story…


“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’
Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’”
— Isaiah 6:8, ESV

Nearly four years ago our family of four morphed into a family of six when we completed the adoption of our youngest two children from Ethiopia. Since then, lots of people have asked me if I “always dreamed of having a big family?” And I can tell you the answer to that would be a big fat — “Nope. Pretty much never!”

In fact, for a long time I was squarely of the two kids, replace yourself variety.

That is, until my husband Scott and I sat nestled on a picnic blanket in Napa Valley while celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. In that moment, God’s Spirit knocked on the door of our hearts and beckoned us to utter the “A” word.


Our hearts were open to the idea of adding to our family through adoption, but the unknowns seemed scary and the risks felt great. Could it be that God was sending us? Two type-A, in-the-box, 2.2 kids kinds of souls?

The invitation to grow our family in this way painted a picture of a story bigger than the four of us, one that bore the signature markings of risk and adventure and heart palpitations.

There are some Bible verses that get a lot of mileage in Christian circles. Certainly John 3:16 and Jeremiah 29:11 take the cake. And why wouldn’t they?! “For God so loved the world…” and “plans to prosper and not to harm…” That’s good stuff!

However, there are other verses that don’t transport us to such a cozy place. And I believe Isaiah 6:8 is one of them.

I came upon this well-known passage at the inception of our adoption process. I was eager to understand God’s heart more clearly and this seemed just the ticket. Who cares if I was scared out of my mind, I reasoned. Didn’t God want us in the game? His will and all that?

In words too raw to share in righteous Christian circles, we wondered, “Really, God? Are you sure you have the right people? We know you’re good and you want to take care of each and every sheep in your flock, but how do we know you’re gonna pull through on this one? If we take a step off the cliff with you, Jesus, will we free fall or will we fly?”

Not to mention, whether we said ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to this invitation would have a direct impact on the trajectory of the future of some unsuspecting child (or children as it turns out) living a vastly different life somewhere in this great big world.

Maybe we meant what we said and maybe we didn’t, but we felt compelled to walk in the Lord’s direction nevertheless. The joy set before us gleamed brilliantly in our mind’s eye.

We wanted to know Him more deeply, to experience Him more intimately. After all, God had always proved faithful in the past. Who were we to question it now?

We believed God was “sending us” in this way, at this time. So, with fear and trembling we decided to follow His call. What started with a prayer of surrender ultimately led to the adoption of two beautiful children.

Lest you be deceived into thinking this story had a fairy-tale ending, I can assure you the transition home was nothing short of “other-worldly” for the lot of us. Grief loomed large over our home for quite a while, manifesting in all sorts of tantrums and tears. And not only from the kids! I must confess, my own heart wrestled to embrace the new family dynamics as well.

In the months that followed, I began a journey of my own — a journey that rearranged everything I thought I knew about life and love. Over the course of time, it has brought me to the end of myself, but it has also ushered me to the foot of the cross.

That is a gift for which I am forever grateful. And yes, I really do mean that!

To view and purchase Megan’s book on Amazon, please click A Beautiful Exchange or on Zulon, click A Beautiful Exchange.

megan with bookAuthor Bio:  Megan Nilsen is the mother of four children — two biological, two adopted, and by all accounts the most beautiful kids in the world (at least according to their unbiased mother). She is married to her college sweetheart. Together, they believe the local church is the hope of the world. When she’s not coordinating crazy carpool schedules, she rejuvenates as part of the teaching team for her church’s weekly Bible study. Megan passionately pursues writing as a way to  process God’s ever-active work in the world. She gets the biggest rush out of connecting with people and swapping stories of the heart. She and her family live in Colorado.  You can find her blogging about it all with two of her dearest friends at www.writinginpencil.com.

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