I spent a recent evening sharing part of my story with a group of women whose hearts keep a beat similar to my own. We were at an adoption conference, so I talked about each of my four children, some of whom sailed into our family from across oceans, some who skipped across the St. Joe River like a smooth stone made just for our hands.

But of course, nothing about the blending of families and cultures and forever can be described as sailing. And fractured beginnings don’t inspire anyone to skip.

For weeks I prayed about what these women (myself included) needed to hear from the Lord. Over and over, He spoke one word to me, “Chosen.”

I began to dig around and see what the word really meant, and I walked away grinning.


Merriam Webster, defines it as, “One who is the object of choice or of divine favor.” (emphasis mine)

Though God’s sovereignty undoubtedly led our decision to adopt each of our children, we did choose them. The sheer amount of paperwork, meetings, and even cash required ensures no one would ever accidentally “fall into” a mini van full of kids bearing their last name and someone else’s DNA.

What else does it mean to be chosen?

I kept digging.

A thesaurus said my children are “selected”, “marked for favor”, “hand picked.” I nodded along knowing if I could comb the world, I would never choose differently. Our kids are forever, indelibly marked for our favor.

Adopted, biological, or otherwise, I’m sure you would say the same. We all choose our kids. For life.

I thought of the times ours have disappointed us, made stunningly poor choices, intentionally tried to hurt our feelings. The details always pale in the light of our limitless love for them.

I glanced back at the dark nights, those long days wearing thick scars of loss. We’ve had therapists, interventions, sticker charts out the wazoo, tear-soaked pillows (ours and theirs). Still, I’m sure none of our efforts matter as much as choosing our children over and over again; day after day.

Being chosen changes things.


What on earth might it mean if we were chosen in the very same way, flaws, wounds and all?

What would life look like if we could walk daily in our chosen-ness? Would the ground feel more steady underfoot? Our pillow fluffier at the end of the day?

Would we stop trying so fervently, failing so hard? Would we simply rest in being hand-picked?

You and I, we’re rebels in the desert, stubborn and picky and wishing for an easier route. He waits for us.

We’re frustrated, slack-jawed fishermen with empty nets. He invites us to exchange them for hope and unending promise.

You are marked for God’s holy favor. Don’t bother trying to run Him off. He’s not leaving your side. Not for a second.

He’s running hard to you when you’re alone and scared; He’s plucking you up and pulling you near when you’ve worn your heartbreak like a weapon. He’s holding your face in His hands, looking you straight in the eye, and telling you again, “I love you. I won’t ever leave you. You will always be My chosen one.”

That’s what it means to be chosen, friends. That’s why it matters.

“For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God.
Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you
to be his own special treasure.”
– Deuteronomy 7:6

  • heather m.

    Beautiful thoughts this morning on how God loves us and how we in turn love our children. I ♥ you Shannon! I didn’t technically adopt but I did marry a man with sole custody of his 13 year old son and became insta-mom…. 5 years later, I can’t quit that boy. I could have chosen to walk away because back then at 29 I thought what do I know about parenting a kid??? But I’m so glad I went all in.

    • Shannan Martin

      Yes!! I have friends who are blessed to be on the receiving end of insta-kiddos. I love your spirit and heart here. So thankful you went all in, and I appreciate this perspective this morning.

  • Jeanne Takenaka

    Shannon, I needed this post this morning. As the mother of two adopted pre-teen boys we are having our struggles. And yet, you’re right. Our boys are chosen—by God for us—and by us by virtue of the desire to adopt. We love them with all of who we are.

    And what a beautiful reminder that God chose me. Yes, walking in this truth is something I need to do more consistently. I can rest in the fact that He chose me. He’ll never give me up. He loves me (and each of us) perfectly, passionately and completely. He will never leave or forsake me/us.

    I needed this today. Thank you!

    • Shannan Martin

      So glad this was a blessing to you!
      I just prayed this morning (in the shower, haha) that I would walk in MY chosen-ness today, too. We all need this reminder!
      Stay strong with those boys. This is not for the faint of heart, but God knows exactly what each of us needs.

  • Ina

    Rock solid truth said so beautifully. Thanks for the encouragement this morning :)

    • Shannan Martin

      You’re welcome, Ina!
      (And I love your name!)

  • Paulette

    Your encouraging words really blessed me this morning after an attack on my mind, soul and body from someone used by Satan to make me feel unworthy. God has chosen me and he loves me and for that I am eternally grateful. Thank you.

    • Shannan Martin

      Humbled that God used these words to remind you of His wild love for you.
      Walk in truth today, sister!

  • Melissa Lebling

    I read the title of this and said to myself, I wasn’t chosen. I had been struggling with my 3 foster children all week and was feeling discouraged. I had to smile as I began to read the article and knew it was a message from God. I was chosen to be with these kids no matter how short or how long and they were chosen to be with me for stability and unconditional love. Thanks so much for your encouraging words!!

    • Shannan Martin

      Oh man, your words have me covered in goose bumps.
      Kicking the enemy in the teeth along with you today.
      Thank you for loving those kiddos!

  • Marty

    Great encouragement this morning. Thank you for sharing. :)

  • Lisa Spidle

    I love this post Shannon. What a beautiful picture you’ve painted of being chosen. We have two adopted children (all grown up now) but they are so much of who we are. God’s beautiful design for our family.

    To look each day as we were chosen would silence the lies we tell ourselves that we are not enough. To look each day as we were chosen would be living in gratitude every single moment. That is a beautiful way of looking at today.

    Thank you for your words.

    • Shannan Martin

      I love imaging what life will look like when all our little people are big.
      Thanks for the sweet comment!

  • Carol Mccarthy

    My heart is sad for those who are children who are not. We have foster children in the U.S. who are not chosen. Families choose to adopt from other countries and we refuse those children right here in the U.S. I read in our local newspaper that 780 children in this city of Springfield, MO are homeless. I plan to make, hats, scarves, mittens, legwarmers this year for these children.

    • Shannan Martin

      I’m thankful you’re willing to do what you can for them, Carol.
      And it’s encouraging to know there are foster parents (like the ones on this thread!) who are taking up the mantle and choosing these kids while they have them!

  • Betsy

    Thank you for this. The word “chosen” has been on my heart and in my healing these last several years. My marriage of 17 years ended when my husband, torn between me (and our 5 children) and another woman he had recently met off a “have an affair” website, declared to me that he knew he had to choose between us, and “I Dont. Choose. You.” The reverberations of NOT being chosen by him re-opened never healed wounds from my own parents’ divorce when my father chose not to father, my brother chose to move away, and my mother chose another relationship over me. God has been miraculous in the journey since those ugly words from my former husband, but I still struggle with believing I AM chosen. I am loved. I am His beloved. He is woo-ing me daily and i rejoice in how it is changing me and my heart. Thank you for your sharing!

    • Shannan Martin

      I’m so sorry to hear of your pain, friend.
      Praying right now that you will continue to walk in the truth that you’re SO VERY chosen.

      • Charlene

        Why has he chosen me over someone else? This is what I struggle with.

  • Robin

    Beautifully said, Shannan. Thank you for that reminder.

  • Joan

    So what I needed to hear as I struggle to rise today. I can’t save my son, but he is mine and I love him. No matter what. I will share this post with him. He needs to know he is chosen by me and God. Thank you.

    • Shannan Martin

      Praying God shows your son how loved and chosen he is.

  • beth lehman

    we have a hymn in church that’s relatively new… it moves me to tears every single time.

    Do not be afraid, I am with you
    I have called you each by name
    Come and follow Me
    I will bring you home
    I love you and you are mine

    knowing he has called me… has chosen me. it’s the most amazing gift. i spend the better part of most days forgetting that!! beautifully written.

    • Shannan Martin

      What a life-breathing, beautiful hymn!
      Thanks for sharing.

  • Sandy.

    Thank You So Very Much for these Words Today.
    God's Perfect Timing.
    It is Between Him & Me as to Why these Words are So Very Special.
    <3 S
    Psalm 25:14-15 (NIV)
    The LORD confides in those who fear him;
    he makes his covenant known to them.
    My eyes are ever on the LORD,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.

  • Marla

    What a blessing to be reminded that I have been adopted into God’s family, right into His loving arms, with all of my failings. Thank you.

  • Nancy Ruegg

    What an uplifting post! Thank you, Shannan for reminding us that we are God’s chosen–marked for divine favor (LOVE that!). He provides for us and protects, he guides and prods, he encourages and trains–all because of his unfailing love for us. AMAZING!

  • Mindy

    Beautiful and encouraging words Shannan. I will be chewing on your words for a while…

  • Lovelle

    This really touched my heart today. I needed to be reminded that I am chosen. Thank you… <3

  • jennie

    Interesting sharing . jennie

  • Rebekah

    I love this beautiful truth! We are chosen! I am writing a series about identity and I recently wrote about the topic of being chosen. I enjoy reading your perspective on this topic. I love “being chosen changes things.” Thanks for sharing!

  • Peg

    Shannan, thank you…our amazing Abba has been reverberating this same message to me, but I esp appreciate the “changes things” perspective. It struck me today as I read your post, He has also chosen those who have hurt us…it gives me courage to pray for them, that they, too, will realize they have been deeply loved, favored…chosen.

  • Beth Williams


    Thanks for sharing that we are all Chosen by God. No matter what we do, don’t do or how we act He will always love us and want us!!

    Blessings :)

  • Sian

    This hits all the happy spots in my soul. We live in South Africa and we gave our (adopted) daughter a Zulu middle name, Khethiwe, which translates as “chosen”. AND her Nana calls her “little treasure” which was written in the scripture you quoted. Wow! Gotta love God-incidents.

  • Janet

    Thanks! For this beautiful message on being chosen by God! Right now, Because of all the rejection and hurt, it’s sometimes hard to understand, the what!

  • Kathy

    Dear Shannon
    I am chosen… Those words are resonating at a very deep level for me at this moment. I am thinking of all the people with physical and intellectual disabilities that I HAVE BEEN CHOSEN to raise money for so they can continue living in community in L’Arche with the dignity and respect God says they deserve. And they do deserve to be welcomed like every member of a family. So even though I have never adopted as a parent, I adopt every day and share respect and love and dignity for those who are marginalized.
    God bless you in your work and your words

  • Nzinga Julson

    God bless you all,
    God has chosen us, what a beautiful blessing to receive. I have been hearing chosen this week and needed to hear God’s voice. God is amazing and I’m so thankful that He chose us. We are his treasure and He is our King. I will focus and thank Him all the days of my life. I pray that we all bow at His feet and bless His holy name. Hallelujah! Amen

  • http://dayspringdevotions Kimberly L

    This message today has been a lift for me in my spirit and my heart. I had been struggling my entire life and made choices in men and/relationships based on past childhood hurts for not being chosen and accepted by my paternal side of the family and it led to more brokenness, heartache and pain. But for God himself to use you so mightily today to speak to my broken aread is nothing short of beautiful and amazing! I thank
    you for walking in your purpose!

    God bless!

  • Maria

    This is wonderful to read. I am getting married in the summer and will become insta-mom to three school age kids. I never wanted to be a mom but I wonder why I love them so much. Even though they have their mom, they bring out in me such a love and desire to protect them from the world. I always wonder why. And I realize it’s because just as God chose me to be His daughter, he has chosen me to be these kids stepmom. This is something I have to remind me myself when the crisi and problems come. Thank you for this beautifully written devotional today.

  • Donna

    Thank you! I needed to hear these words. I also have four young children who came to me through adoption. And now I am walking through the fire of divorce. I need to remember that I also am still chosen. No matter what.

  • AndiW

    Thank you. An especially timely message as this is my birthday. With life that sometimes feels like it’s in the blender and other times smooth as silk, it’s important to be reminded that we are specifically CHOSEN by the KING. An assuring thought and one that makes it worth it to continue to rise and be and do. Thank you.

  • Laura C.

    This brought tears to my eyes. Recently, I have felt beyond the grasp of Christ, because of one particular sin. I wake in the morning and am already defeated. “I won’t overcome this today.” “I will never win this battle.” Thoughts similar to those sit inside my heart and mind, just simmering. As I was reading this though, a thought came to my mind. God does not just choose me once and that’s that. He chooses me every single day. There will not be a morning where I wake up and He has left. So grateful for what The Holy Spirit as whispered to me through this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • WL

    Thank you. I needed to read this today.
    God bless you.

  • Bobbie

    Dear Shannon,
    I still have goosebumps, the struggles I have been through, after reading this I understood my PEACE i have today, yes I am the chosen on with all my chosen friends. God Bless you all!!

  • Nancy Cho

    Amen !!! Thank you for the reassuring and encouragement. Truly. we are the chosen one and He will never forsake us!! With His strength and power, we can overcome all things along our path. Have an awesome day.

  • Marisa

    Shannon , thank you. Lately I have been feeling greatly discouraged…God, do you hear me? Are you really there? I have two adult biological sons, two gorgeous grandchildren, and one beauty of a daughter-in-law. My older son is a skilled worship leader who suffers greatly from Crohn’s disease . My younger son no longer calls himself a believer – I know God knows how lonely he is. Yesterday I went to bed even shutting off my desires…I felt that I could no longer pray. When I awoke in the night with nightmares, I cried out to Him…to Whom else would I go? And now I read your blog with keening in my body and spirit! I will ever love my sons, and The Lord will ever love us! We are the chosen, Oh Lord, sustain our faith when we are exhausted, bouy us up when we need You encouragement !

  • Pamela Kelly

    Beautiful words! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Rose Sherly G. Medard

    Shannan, may the Lord keep blessing you and give you more encouragement words for us. Words which reminds us always that we are chosen for God’s will.

  • Ann Vogel

    That ministered to me. We are all God’s chosen people, according to Paul in his ltter to the Romans. Every who is covered in His blood, those who where baptized belong to Him. He will not let them go.

  • catharina

    Its a hard time in my life, I can’t believe someome choses me, because I dont want to choose myself!!! But this day I’ll try to say to myself GOD LOVES YOU He Loves me just as I am

  • Becky Merrifield

    This unique message came @ the Lord Fathers perfect usual timing !!! This has blown me away, I am his “chosen” one out of millions of people !! I have been in a very long seasonal poverty time with the Lord fighting my corner after losing a job in 2012 & major surgery in 2013 which was a hugh success, because the Lord carried me though it !! Becky xx

  • Sharon E Danziger

    Thanks for reminding me that I’m chosen! I can easily forget that I am chosen!

  • Susan

    Shannan, Isn’t chosen a beautiful thing?!?!! I was chosen by my parents 56 years ago and they helped me realize I needed to chose our Lord and Savior while still a little one. Bless you all!!!

  • Ema

    Thank u for this

  • Paula Card

    This is wonderful. As an adopted child myself, I love adoption verses and verses that tell me that I am chosen by God. I always have known I am adopted. I was told when I was old enough to understand. My mother fondly remembers me being 4 years old or so and my wrapping my arms around her legs and telling her, “I’m glad you chose me.” I still am. But most importantly, I am grateful that God chose to allow His son to die on a cross in a pain-filled matter that I don’t even want to imagine for my worthless human self. Someday I hope to wrap my arms around the Savior and say the same words – I am glad you chose me.

  • Chris

    great words of encouragement indeed. Brethren, God is really showing His great power, signs and wonders in the lives of the CHOSEN ones. No doubt it is evident in the lives of the members of the LORD’S CHOSEN CHARISMATIC REVIVAL MOVEMENT. They are like the Israelites in the Bible days that God was so protective of. Get connected and get into that real covenant with God today.

  • Emily Wierenga

    Shannan! YES. LOVE LOVE LOVE this.