Thursday, May 1, 2008
"...We left church and headed home. I was chomping at the bit to see if God had hit Scott over the head with a lightning bolt, but as he drove he still did not comment. I bit my tongue and refrained from asking. We went home, had dinner and called it a night. "
When it was over, as expected, he gave me the remote and my kiss goodnight. This time instead of saying goodnight, I said, "Can we talk?" I think he knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time. I'm really surprised and impressed that I held off that long.
He said, "Sure." I asked him if he's been praying about what I had mentioned and he said, "Yes, every day." I then said, "And?" (My husband sometimes has this way of making me feel like I am pulling teeth, but you gotta love him.) He then said, "I've thought about it, about the children in Africa, about how blessed we are and yes, if it is God's will for us to bring home another child, then so be it. You are right. We have so many luxuries and so much, I agree that it's what Jesus would want us to do and I want to be obedient to His calling."
I was so taken back that I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The only words I could utter were (since at that moment fear struck me like a bolt of lightening at the thought that now we may indeed be bringing home another little one) "You know, this doesn't mean that we have to adopt, or that we will. It just means that we are both 150% in agreement that if it is God's will and he provides for us to clear our debts and somehow come up with the money for another adoption, we will bring home a son." He said, "Yes! That's exactly what it means."
WOW!!!!!! Isn't God amazing? I guess that's why he's God. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought that Scott would ever agree to another adoption. Never. Ever. Ever. Yet, here he was. Just weeks after I began praying, right next to me saying, "Lord, may your will be done."
The following day is when I posted THIS PICTURE on the blog. That day we had taken a long walk through the park. We had a great time with the new camera. I distinctly remember coming home and we were viewing all the pictures that I had taken with the new camera. When I got to the picture I mentioned above, I said "Wouldn't an African little boy standing between you and I make this picture perfect?" Scott chuckled at me and said, "Yes, he would!"
So, that's where we stand right now. Both Scott and I are 100% open to another adoption. We would love to bring home a toddler boy from West Africa. Is it written in stone that it's going to happen? No, because we don't know if those are God's plans. But, what we do know is that He has changed both our hearts and opened them wider than either one of us ever expected. Now we just need him to open the doors and provide. We serve a very, mighty God and I know NOTHING is impossible with him. I have to stand firm in my faith that it will happen if it's according to His will.
Scott and I have discussed how the bible tells us about Abraham and Sarah and how they waited so many years for their promised son. And then, God tested Abraham by asking him to give up the very son that was the answer to his prayers. It was what I would believe to be the ultimate test of faith. Abraham had to trust God with every fiber of his being as he was building that altar and laying his son atop of the wood.
I'm not saying we are anywhere close to what Abraham was going to sacrifice. But, we are both as one flesh, uniting in our faith and proclaiming that we will trust our God to the end with that same non-waivering faith. It's very hard to not ever waiver, especially when there are obstacles placed before you such as finances. But, we also know that through our weaknesses and our trials, is when our faith grows the most. When we are weak, we are strong.
"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." - II Corinthians 12:10
He has led us to the path, and now we must follow. His will is our greatest desire and we look forward to seeing where the journey takes us. Actually, both Scott and I are hoping that the journey indeed takes us across the world one more time. This time to Africa.
(For the record: Tonight as I was typing this, I turned to Scott and said, "We're still on track to adopt from Africa if God provides, correct?" He looked at me, sighed, and said, "Yep!" with a smile!)
I also want to thank the reader who took the time to email me and shared her own journey and how God had used us (without our knowledge) to finally put them on the path to adoption! Praise God! He is definitely moving amongst his people. I don't know why, but as always, He amazes me and so do each of you that share so much with our family. It's your words of encouragement, prayers and of course, our Savior, that continuously gives me the strength and desire to keep this blog going to Honor him.
I promise to post Part III (the last and final part) to where we are on this journey hopefully late this afternoon or this evening. Kai had a doctor's appointment yesterday and I had to go with Amanda last evening to pick high school classes ::deep breaths:: so it's been rough making the time to post, and you know me, I have to include just about every detail.
So, stay tuned "for the rest of the story...."
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
(Picking up where I left off.)
.....One particular blog hit me so strongly that I had tears streaming down my face. I tried looking the other way so that Scott wouldn't see me. But he did. He didn't say a word. He knew. I then said, "Look at these children." It was a Liberian blog. Yes, God had put an African adoption in my heart.
A few nights later, I just couldn't sleep. It was a Friday night. I tossed and turned, prayed and finally drifted off. The next morning the kids had awoken and were all in our room bouncing on the bed as I was trying to fold laundry. Scott was putting some clothes away and we had CNN on the TV set.
As I played with the kids, I'd raise my eyes and watch if something caught my attention, but for the most part, I wasn't watching TV at all. A few minutes later, I hear something about a couple who felt ostracized by family and friends because they had chosen to abort their unborn fetus who had recently been diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Not once was the living creation in this woman's womb mentioned.
I can't even tell you the pangs of hurt that hearing them speak brought to my heart. My sweet nephew, Emmanuel, who is now in the arms of Jesus, was born with Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome). Oh, what our family would have given for that little boy to have survived. I have several friends with Down Syndrome babies, some who are now almost adults, and those children are loving, caring and sensitive human beings. God made them perfect, maybe not our idea of perfect, but perfect in His eyes. I, again, had tears streaming down my face. When the broadcast was over, I continued folding clothes without saying anything. I felt such somberness inside. We finished with the clothes and went and had breakfast and our day began.
At about noon, I put the kids down for a nap and asked Scott if he wanted to lay down with me to take a nap. I was emotionally drained. I had now been praying for a while about our adoption, about Scott, about the horrific conditions that surround the orphans in Africa and then to see someone literally destroy a life because of the inconviences it would have been to raise a child with a medical condition was almost more than I could bear. He agreed to come lay down with me.
Since my mind was racing, I couldn't sleep. I then turned over to Scott and did my usual "Are you awake?" Something I repeatedly ask until he could no longer sleep either. :) When he finally said, "Yes". I then asked him to do me one favor. He said, "What?" I said, "Please, don't comment about what I'm going to say. Don't question it. All I want is for you to promise me that you will agree to what I am asking." He said, "Fine, what is it?" I said, "I want to you pray. Pray hard. Pray about us possibly adopting another child. Please don't do this for me. I don't even know if God wants us to adopt another child. I just want you to ask God if that is His will for you. And if it is, will you be obedient to His calling? You don't have to tell me your answer. That's between you and God." He didn't respond. I looked at him and he could see the grief in my eyes and said, "Yes, I'll pray."
I then asked him if he could ever consider a black baby as his own, and love him the way that he loves Anna Grace and Kai and AJ. He looked at me and said, "Of course, my child is my child. I don't see babies for their color. They are babies." I then knew that God was in our midst.
The following day we went to church. Sometimes mass could be really distracting with these 3 little ones fidgeting, whispering, etc. This particular Sunday, they were great. We listened to mass and went up as family to receive the Holy Eucharist as we always do and then came back to our pews. Our normal routine is that we usually have one sit quietly, while we each hold one of the others and kneel down to pray with them standing between our legs, in deathgrip...heh. I knew it would be impossible for Scott to concentrate on prayer while holding AJ and I felt like God could really pass on hearing my blabber yet another time that day, so I told Scott that I'd watch all three and for him to talk to God.
Wow! He must've had a speech prepared because we usually go through 2 hymns while people are going up to receive the Eucharist and return to their seats, and Scott prays for maybe one of those hymns. Well, Scott prayed not only through the two hymns, but through the priest giving His blessing. My sister and her family were sitting behind us and she even noticed Scott deep in prayer, so much so that she glanced at me and shrugged her shoulders as if asking, "Is he ok?" At that point, no one in my family knew we had been praying about adopting another child.
We left church and headed home. I was chomping at the bit to see if God had hit Scott over the head with a lightning bolt, but as he drove he still did not comment. I bit my tongue and refrained from asking. We went home, had dinner and called it a night.
Monday, April 28, 2008
I've been thinking about whether to share this with my readers or not, but since a vast majority of you are faith-filled, God-fearing-persons that would understand, I decided I would share what God has been doing in our lives. But I'm mostly sharing, because this blog is intended to bring glory and honor to our Savior, Jesus Christ. (Since this is quite long, I will be writing about what is transpiring in several parts.)
Do you remember this post I wrote on March 3rd? And you remember I said "...but I when I pray this lately, I come up with the feeling that He wants something BIG..." Oh yeah, I just knew it was going to be something big! Well, God is now finally revealing to me, in bits and pieces, what He wants from us. Oh, His plan is not complete (at least to us it's not) but I think He was waiting to see if we were obedient to His calling.
Lately, He has fed me through His word, through His servants and through prayer and fasting that we are in fact being obedient and He is again leading the way, as it should be.
A couple of months ago when I wrote that post God began to stir my heart. You know, that "God feeling" that you get when you pray intensely and you are finally resting at His feet, in silence. Waiting. The more I prayed and the more I told Him I would be obedient to whatever his will was, the more I felt peace about what He was asking of us.
Going back today and re-reading that post, I chuckled when I read the words, "I feel God wanting more from me. I know it. What I don't know is what exactly it is that He wants. I hope it's not another child! heh!". Well now, I do in fact know that it is exactly what He is calling us to do. Will it happen? I don't know, but was He asking to see if we would be obedient if in fact that is what He wanted? Absolutely. We have learned, at times the hard way, that we must walk by faith and not by sight.
After questioning Him for what seemed like everytime I prayed, it finally hit me that I need to shut up and let God be God and do His work. One afternoon, on my knees, in a flurry of tears, I surrendered it all to Him and told Him that I am here. I am his servant and I will be obedient to whatever His will is. I felt peace surround me and was reassured that noone loves me more than He does. He repeatedly tells us,"Do not be afraid. I go before you always."
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:For the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." Joshua 1:9
But, I also did tell Him (as if He didn't know) that there was NO WAY Scott would go for another adoption. Scott told me with Anna Grace's adoption that "we were done, finished, put a fork in it. Our family is perfect and complete." I even kiddingly said in prayer one day when thinking about my dear husband and another adoption, "Lord, I know you are God, but boy...you've got your work cut out for you when it comes to Scott agreeing to this."
Still, I have continued to pray daily about this. God has put people in my path that have, without knowing, affirmed His decision in my heart. This post was yet another affirmation. Adoption is not something we take lightly, especially with the finances involved and the time you have to dedicate to a child.
At church, during the homily, I would receive affirmation after affirmation. Everywhere I went, God was showing me "signs" that I was on the right track and just to be still and know that He is God. How was I ever going to bring up another adoption to Scott? I couldn't. I knew it would be a reason for an argument. I've also been trying hard to be submissive to my husband and allow him to be our spiritual leader. I wanted God to speak to His heart, not me.
Little did I know that while all of these struggles were going on in my mind, God was whittling away at Scott's heart. One evening after the kids were in bed, Scott went to his computer and was playing his World of Warcraft game while I sat on my computer and was reading blog after blog.
One particular blog hit me so strongly that I had tears streaming down my face. I tried looking the other way so that Scott wouldn't see me. But he did. He didn't say a word. He knew. I then said, "Look at these children." It was a Liberian blog. Yes, God had put an African adoption in my heart.
A couple of weeks ago I began journaling my thoughts, not only to keep track of everything that is so quickly happening around here, but again, to glorify God as we see His hand in the midst of all of this craziness.
Here is my first entry:
"April 16, 2008
I'm not sure exactly where this is going to lead, but I have been moved to write my feelings down and so here I am.
For the past few weeks, I have felt closer to the Lord than I have in a very long time. As he has healed Anna Grace’s heart, and is s-l-o-w-l-y working with me and my patience, he is also moving my heart towards adoption again.
This past week, especially, he has offered confirmations over and over that I should start thinking about another child. Sometimes I think it’s crazy! It totally is….financially and emotionally. With Anna Grace’s coming home, I was convinced we were finished. Our family was complete. I praised and honored him for using us as His hands and feet and for allowing us to raise, not 1, not 2 but 3 precious gifts in His name.
I guess you can’t tell God when you’re finished, huh? I don’t even know if these are His plans. Maybe we won’t be adding another child, but boy…those feelings and questions are becoming awfully familiar now.
Even the fears that I face have been answered in some way or another by Him. Sometimes in prayer and sometimes through others, without them even knowing.
My heart keeps telling me I have a child in Liberia. Ironically, just this past month, Liberian adoptions have been halted for revamping. Is our child not born yet? Is he not in the orphanage yet? Many questions I don’t know the answer to, but He keeps telling me, (as He did with every single one of our other adoptions) “TRUST ME”.
Some of my fears:
First and foremost, I want Scott to be the one to say, “We have another child waiting for us.” He is the head of our household and although on a bit slower walk with Christ than I have been lately, his heart loves Jesus and he truly is a Godly man. I have asked the Lord to either change my heart about this adoption or Scott’s, but we both have to be in it 150% percent.
Liberia. In prayer, I have told God my fears about whether or not a child would be happy being raised by a family of a totally different color (since we are already multi-ethnic here) and have to deal with the prejudices that the secular world seems to embrace. His response was loud and clear one day. “Did I not create EVERY child? Do you think I would love one more than another? They are ALL MY children made in MY image.” And being no coincidence, for the first time in years, I heard the song “Everything is beautiful” being played a few days later while in the car with the kids. “Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world”. Enough said.
Although my family and friends love my children to death, I must admit that I have a fear of sharing what is probably another one of the most joyous moments in my life with these people. I truly do not want to hear, these phrases, “Another one? Isn’t 3 enough? Don’t you already have your hands full? How about finances with only Scott working and ALL those kids? I can’t believe you guys are adopting again! Are you crazy? You guys will never be able to afford any luxuries again. You're adopting a black baby?”
Well, God answered this one also. My new blog friend, Laine, from the Ferrill Bunch (someone whom God just happened to in my path, as if He didn’t plan this out, right?) entered the following in her blog. She was referring to her own experience, but God used her to speak to me. She wrote: “Can you see whose signature is behind all those whispers of excuses in my ear, making me not want to share my testimony? Uh-huh. I'm sorry to say I bought in to those lies too many times. My faith has wavered, I have questioned God again and again, "Are you SURE you want us to adopt again?"
I am so thankful for those words. It truly made me see that God has a HUGE heart for adoption and for His orphans, as if I didn’t already know this.
Mother Theresa once said, “…love means to be willing to give until it hurts.” Those words resonate so deeply in my heart. Most people give, but they give what they can give without it affecting them. Do you think it’s more important for my 3 little ones to go to Disney 4 times a year, or maybe go once every two years, but allow another one of God’s children to have a warm bed, a full tummy and a healthy life knowing Jesus? Is it more important for our little ones to have Nintendos, Wii games, name brand shoes and clothes, their own rooms or is it more important to know the love of Christ and what it is like to belong to a family and know the true meaning of love?
We love our Lord with all of our hearts and want to serve and honor Him for all that he has blessed us with and walking by faith not by sight is definitely a mighty way to show Him our trust. He has never failed us.
While reading the bible today, God took me to one of my favorite parables in scripture:
The Widow's Offering
As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
I know that the Lord wants us to live comfortably. Hec, he even wants us to have some of those luxuries as long as we tithe, but in my heart of hearts, how can we possibly spend money on luxuries, because that’s what they are, when there are millions of children dying yearly worldwide because they don’t have any food to eat. I just can’t do it.
We live in a very selfish society and I feel a moral obligation to not buy into those lies anymore, but instead ask myself, “What would Jesus do?”
As I pray daily about this, my heart is very much at peace that He is in control and will reveal to us His perfect plan.
I ask that you give us wisdom and guidance as Scott and I seek Your will into what lies ahead in our future. May whatever Your will is, be used to glorify and honor You, who is so worthy of praise.
In Your Blessed Name,