Happy New Year to all of our precious family and friends! We had a very simple, but enjoyable night visiting with family and friends visiting from out-of-town. Elyana had so much fun with her noise makers and sparkly 2015 glasses that she cried and cried when it was time to go to bed. But we will share the smiles.
As this brand new year begins and our journey continues as a family, we find a new red thread has been tied upon our hearts….and it’s already pulling from thousands of miles away! We are both grateful and humbled that once again God has called us to embark on another journey to China.
Just a few days ago, on December 29th, as I walked through the grocery store talking to John on my cell he says out of nowhere “I think we need to start adoption paperwork again.” He always takes me off guard, and quite honestly I think he enjoys surprising me. It’s been this way since I married him. It’s exciting but it takes a few days for the shock to wear off and for the reality of it all to sink in!!
I went from shock, to tears, to doubts, to tears again, then finally excitement & more tears yet again.
The shock, I should be used too. Why am I ever surprised when God answers prayers and does amazing things that blow apart all my expectations!
The tears, well if you know me, there’s just no explanation needed. They flow freely & easily. (thank you Aunt Chris) 🙂
The doubt, is one I felt I must be honest about and get to the root of. I do not doubt we are supposed to adopt. The word of God clearly states as Christ followers we must be pro-active in caring for orphans- however that may look. For our family it may look a little differently than another family. When a heart is open to God’s leading, it won’t be a carbon copy of another family or individual. In fact God has told me many times to let Him write OUR story. When the call to rescue is answered…in the way God chooses, and in His timing… lives will be touched and changed eternally! Through Elyana’s adoption so many individuals with different gifts, talents, experiences and abilities helped us bring her safely home. Each person left fingerprints on our journey and we will always be so very thankful. And time praying is such a precious gift to the orphaned. And those prayers are a treasure before God.
So….I knew the doubt was not relating to “should we?” We knew, without one shadow, our family was to move forward. John was certainly excited and just matter-of-fact…like this is what God’s Word says and let’s step out! He was feeling all this joy, determination and excitement and it was a comfort to me…but I wanted to get to the root of the doubt..so asked God to please reveal the source. So, I began to read and of course the next chapter ahead was Rom. 4. A chapter about a man of faith…Abraham. I’ve often found when I am struggling with something, God immediately leads me to the attribute opposite from my struggle. So faith it was. I camped on Romans 4. And I’ll stay there until my heart really, and truly grasps that faith is not connected to circumstance, but is an invisible strength that keeps us from faltering. I’m realizing this doubt is not in God’s ability. For God has been the one holding everything together and weaving together a masterpiece that I would most certainly make a mess of on my own. He is the ONLY good I’ve ever experience in this life. As I laid out my heart before Him I realized it was a result of a fear in my own abilities/strength, and fear that the fight it will take will be more than what I have in me. And both are correct, but should not be a source of fear. We absolutely don’t have the remedy in our flesh to help an orphan heal, or to live out even one day on this earth. We don’t have the strength to fight through the attacks of our enemy. But, we know the HEALER who will use our surrendered hands and feet, and the COMMANDER that leads us into battle covered with a heavenly strength. It’s only when I take my eyes off of Jesus, and put them on my failures, my weakness and the ugliness this world causes, that I feel the waves begin to choke me. Like Peter I am quick to jump out of the boat, but somehow I forget there IS a constant storm raging all around. I MUST expect the storm as a result of living in a sin-tarnished world, and foresee attacks from the enemy when I take a stance for his opposition. It will grow dark, the winds will howl, and we will feel the extreme effects of it. But we will not sink – IF we keep our eyes fixed upon our Strength and Shield.
As I’ve eaten up HIS truth and allowed it to fill my heart, freeing me from doubt, I’m seeing more clearly the road ahead. And here’s where the joy and excitement comes in. I’m now free to allow Him to do the work. He will do the leading, matching, “working all things together for good for His glory.” It will not be our own strength that trudges through paperwork, teaches our children, bathes, cleans, potty-trains, then welcomes another broken heart,works, goes to Dr. appointments, wakes for many sleepless nights, loves when no physical strength remains. It will be HIM. He will do it all. When we seek Him out daily we will be filled with all of HIM. It’s the beauty of Jesus making a way for us at the cross.
Why? Because HE truly loves us, and desires that not only we can have his strength to endure the storm, but that we can be so freed-up and power-fortified that He can use us to also throw a life-line to others that are drowning.
When I think about it, the joy has been there since God gave me a vision of doing adoption paperwork, but it became clouded by doubt. (isn’t that just like Satan to try to steal our joy since the “The joy of the Lord is our strength.”) But now that the stench and fog has lifted I’m free to feel this amazing tug upon my heart from that little one a world away. Who, like Elyana once was, has no clue the healing, unconditional love of the Father that is coming for him or her! Wow! Am I ever excited!!
Honestly, we know now how VERY challenging the days will be ahead. But if we keep our eyes fixed on HIS promises and not the huge mountain waiting to be scaled, we will have rest amidst it all. Peace, joy, and strength will be ours. He will never fail us.
Thank you so much for praying and following us on our journey to Elyana. Like I mentioned in my last post, we truly felt you were there with us in China. It meant more than you know. And as we embark on this next leg of the journey, it will mean so much to have you there again. Also we received some VERY exciting news, before we made our decision, that a precious and dear family is beginning the process also..and possibly a second family we also love may be beginning the paperwork later this year also. I didn’t want to share names, since I’m not sure the “cat is out of the bag” yet. 🙂 But WOW it’s going to be exciting to see more orphans find loving families who adore them!!!
And just so you know…we are just a regular families… that have days of craziness, tears, meltdowns and get shaken up from time to time by the blows from our enemy. But we will get back up, and seek out His strength promised to us. We will not stagger at His promises, but stand firm in a hope that never fails. We will cover you in prayer, and find comfort knowing you will do the same!
“who against all hope, believed in hope…
…He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God…
…being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, he was able also to perform” Romans 4:18,20-21
“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid… for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Duet 31