By Jana Atkinson
I was raised as the middle child in a big group of daughters. Needless to say, sisterhood is one of the very first thingsthat I ever understood, and something I have always loved. Due to differing circumstances, a few of my sisters are adopted. My parents, out of abundant love, adjusted their lives and made sacrifices in order to address the needs of others. Although my sisters and I do not all have the same DNA, our shared experiences and conditions have forged a bond that is really important to me, and I believe has the potential to make an impact in the world. Our sisterhood is the first place in which I saw the Lord’s hands at work in my life. I have always held a very deep admiration for adoption. The adoption of my sisters is by far the most meaningful moments of my life. To me these amazing moments serve as the greatest examples of the gospel.
As awesome as our sisterhood may be, we have not always been a picture-perfect group of siblings. The good Lord has indeed made the Atkinson sisters to be individuals who are all completely different. The differences found between the members of our group have brought forward many misunderstandings and arguments. At times, barriers have been present causing painful distance in our relationships. However, the goodness of our loving God has always overshadowed the hard times we face. I will never forget the most awe-inspiring time that the Lord’s faithfulness proved true. The Holy Spirit carried us through the toughest situation we have ever faced.
There was at time we found ourselves in a place where one of my sisters, due to unfortunate circumstances, was not speaking to any of us. During this time, something happened to her which changed her life forever. Without hesitation or any second thoughts within one day all six of us were together picking up the pieces and embracing one another with unconditional love. It was during this season of my life that I was in the process of fully surrendering my life to the Lord. Seeing God’s faithfulness in this unbelievable situation, brought me to my knees in full surrender. This is where I began to live every day of my life living completely submitted to Him, and it was also when I fully acknowledged my calling to ministry.
I must admit the Lord has created quite an interesting group between us. The bond my sisters and I have reminds me of a biblical truth. The dynamic of our sisterhood is an example of how God loves our differences equally. The love that God has for each of us is personal and incredibly beautiful. The diversity among my sisters and I compels me to praise the Lord because of the beauty of it all. While we are not the picture-perfect group of siblings, I can say we are a great representation of the body of Christ.
We have very different gifts and roles, yet we still have one goal in mind, and that is to be the representatives of the Atkinson name and the very parents who raised all of us. It is in the same way that the different members of the body of Christ have different roles and gifts and all work to glorify the name of Jesus and represent the very God who brought us redemption (I Corinthians 12). This is a beautiful biblical truth: no matter the circumstances surrounding our lives, because of Jesus’ sacrificial, unconditional, and undeserved love, we are all, without any doubt, members of the family of God. It was this very unexplainable love that drew the God of the universe to come and pay the heaviest of prices so that we may be redeemed and adopted into God’s family.
It would have been easy for my parents to offer their prayers, provide money, or help make arrangements to improve the lives of my sisters. Instead, my mother and father chose to take on the heaviest of burdens and raise my sisters as their children. No matter the circumstances surrounding our lives, because of sacrificial and unconditional love, we have all been adopted into the family of God. So, it is my prayer for all of us to take this truth and share it with the world through the lives we live and the love we share.
During my first semester at Baptist University of the Americas, my favorite professor, Dr. Nora Lozano, invited me to be a part of the Christian Latina Leadership Institute. I have to admit that this surprised me, because I am not a Latina. However, out of deep respect for Dr. Lozano, I attended the CLLI training and took the course the following semester. I was adopted into the CLLI family with great love and support as a Latina at heart. I have grown immensely being a part of this amazing Christ-centered community. It is with confidence that I can say, that the women who have taken me in will encourage me and push me to wholeheartedly chase after the Lord and his calling in my life. I am proud to represent my sweet savior Jesus as a Latina at heart.
Jana Atkinson is a third year CLLI student, and a senior at Baptist University of the Américas, majoring in Biblical and Theological studies. Upon graduation, she will pursue a Masters of Divinity at Logsdon Seminary.