Pillar Journal
- A seasonal journal produced by Pillar Church in Holland, MI to guide us through the Christian year.
Pillar Journal

Not What I Want – Bryanna Manning


When I was younger, I remember hearing other people’s testimonies and thinking “how do I get a testimony like that?” I admired them, but, if I was honest, I didn’t want to go through what it would take for my story to look like theirs. It seemed that God only worked in hard places- through mistakes made, radical discipleship or situations out of one’s control- and my life didn’t look like that. My life was safe and easy.

And I was okay with it. It wasn’t until I worked up the courage to pray the one thing that scared me most – “Okay, God, I am ready now. Use me, my life, my family, to serve your kingdom. Show me how.” – that it all changed.

For our family, at that time, the answer was to become foster parents. And, eventually, to adopt our three children through foster care. Gone are the easy and (perceived) safe days of our old life, and in its place are days that are full, hard, and more beautiful than I could have imagined. I struggle to talk about my story, our family’s story, while also making sure I’m honoring our kids’ journey.

What I’ve been through won’t ever been as hard as what they’ve been through. We were able to make this choice, and they were not. And yet, I still believe that God’s will was done in our lives. He joined together two very different stories, stories that are hard, and far from safe or easy. And he made us into one family.

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