I am so thankful – for too many things to count. This morning I was particularly thankful that God totally answered one of my desperate prayers, and I didn’t even realize it. When we were struggling through infertility treatments, for years I prayed that God would end it all. I didn’t often pray that God would give us a baby – most of the time I felt pretty clear that it wasn’t Gods plan (that’s a whole other blog post). I would beg God that the process would end. I didn’t want to go to any more doctor visits, no more hopes dashed every 30 days, no more anxious waiting. I just. wanted. it. to. stop. This morning, I realized that it did! It’s OVER. God delivered me through an incredibly difficult valley, with just a few scars to show for it.
This morning I heard on the radio that we should thank God for the prayers he answered in a way that was different from what we asked. At the time, I assumed that God would end the pain by giving us a baby. Instead, God ended the pain by showing us his love for us and by giving us a new vision for our lives. Now, we wait in hope for the day where we will be united with two beautiful children from a faraway land. It will be a fairytale ending from a very real God!
Surrender means to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand.
This weeks has been hard. The reality of the fact that we will soon (Lord willing) be parents of children across an ocean for an indefinite amount of time is weighing heavily on our hearts. Once we get through this "court" phase, the children will be legally ours. But, we won’t yet be able to go to them and bring them home. We have to wait months (and months…) until they have all the proper immigration clearances before our agency will allow us to travel. We’ve daydreamed about and pressed our agency to allow us to go over early, but it’s not going to happen. Who knows why these rules exist? It seems really silly to us, but no one is asking us…
So, we will be parents. The children will have parents. And yet, an ocean will separate us. They will spend their days and nights in an orphanage in an orphanage. That’s the reality.
This morning the Lord gave me comfort. He showed me that my desire to get them home is not pure love (because my love is always tainted with sin). The Lord showed me that I, am once again, desiring to wrestle control from Him. He asked me, "Am I not their Father? Is my care not good enough for them? Haven’t I been caring for them since birth? Did I not create them? Are you a better parent than I AM?" (Seriously, I heard "I AM") So, I am humbled, and I surrender – waiving the white flag high.
Exodus 20:1-6 (ESV)
And God spoke all these words, saying,
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
I’ve been reading Yancey’s book: Prayer: Does it make a difference? along with a few other ladies from church. I highly recommend it as a way to openly examine your prayer life. It has definitely asked more questions than answered, but it has also given me great comfort that everyone struggles with prayer. Prayer can be so rewarding and so hard. There’s truly not many things better than talking to God. In no other relationship in life can I be completely uncensored and myself. God knows my thoughts before I have them. There’s nothing too difficult, harsh or boring for God. What freedom! On the other hand, there are few things more challenging than praying to God and feeling like all you hear is silence. It can be deafening.
I’ve recently come through one of these "dry spells." I felt like I was "doing" everything I could to make myself available to God, but he was absent. I would pray and beg God to help me. Crying out to him to respond and show himself. And then…nothing. Was I blind? Was my sin in the way? Certainly possible, but that’s not how it felt. I sought the counsel of godly friends, and they had great wisdom – keep praying and listening. I wonder if this is how Mary and Martha felt as Lazarus was dying. They called out to God and to Jesus himself. Jesus responded by saying “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” (John 11:4). Then he waited two more days before he went to them, knowing full well that Lazarus was already dead. Jesus told his disciples “Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” (John 11:14-15).
Why did Jesus wait? Is it because he lacked compassion for Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Certainly not, as he wept with (and for) them. He waited because there was a greater purpose to the miracle than just raising Lazarus from the dead. There is a purpose to the silence, and it’s always for God’s glory (see John 11:4). God’s glory is always the purpose for God’s work. I may never see the purpose. I may never see the miracle. It will hurt. But, I can trust that God will never violate his glory. His glory will be full. And truthfully, that’s all that should matter to me as well.
Since I ran out of time to blog on Sunday, this is my Orphan Tuesday post. What a beautiful and tragic day! Service was lovely with a testimony from a family who adopted a son at the age of 10. Each family member gave his or her testimony. Praise God for people like them.
After service, we attended a luncheon. The guest speaker was one of my adoption heros – Carolyn Tweitmeyer
(http://www.projecthopeful.org/). Carolyn and her husband have adopted seven children, two of whom are HIV positive (one with AIDS). She advocates for adoption of children with special needs, especially HIV/AIDS. She’s funny and candid, and I got to meet her! For an adoption junkie, this is like a football junkie meeting Payton Manning or someone like that.
I was seriously psyched up for adoption after this, but then I came crashing down. I am so excited and ready to be an adoptive parent and yet, I just had to come home to an empty house with an undetermined length of time to continue waiting. It was very overwhelming. We went to Toys R Us to buy gifts for our nephews, and I was so sad to be shopping once more for other people’s kids.
I have daily crises of faith. Believing God is so much different from actually believing God. Of course I believe that God exists, that he created the world, that he sent his son to die for me. But I rarely believe his promises – that he will never leave or forsake me, that he will answer my prayers and wipe away every tear. Ann Voskamp says that a failure to trust in the promises of God is the equivalent of practical atheism. Bold, but so true. Faith involves trust, and the Enemy loves to make me doubt.
Praise the Lord that his love and protection of me is unrelated to the strength of my faith!