Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Waiting Room

Its been a while since I have written. Its been a while since I have posted what I have written. Its been over six months since I was faithful to blog and I am not really sure how to explain all that has happened. I scan through the things I have written as if one might fill in the holes to the story. Each time I read and reminisce and think “too raw”, “too vulnerable” or just realize its too long of a story and remember why I haven't blogged.

Its been three years since we first heard God’s call to adopt. We immediately said “yes” and began to pursue an adoption. We quickly learned that there is a season for everything, and the season you are called is not always the same season in which is comes to pass. Or should we say “ever” the season it comes to pass? We hit more than our fair share of hurdles. Maybe we just ran ahead of God and didn't count the cost. Maybe He intended to teach us a few things along the way to prepare us and grow us until we were ready. Maybe both.

So often adoption feels like a visit to the doctors office. You sit forever in the waiting room. Then eventually, when you think you just can’t take it anymore, you see some movement. Someone calls your name and leads you through a door and you are making progress. Then, they sit you in a smaller room: and everyone knows the smaller room takes longer than the big room! Adoption is often like that – with 3424 times more paperwork.

Several times we started a homestudy and each time something prevented us from finishing it. Each time it was hard on us. So when our agency called a few months ago and asked us how we were and if we were ready to pick up the adoption process again, I honestly told the coordinator that I didn't know. We still felt the call, and we still had the desire, but we weren't quite as naive as we were three years ago. We knew the sacrifice it would take. The risk, the emotional investment, and the ups and downs we would no doubt experience. Our agency was fantastic- patient and prayerful.

Yet as the days went on, we knew that we were so sure of God’s call that at this point we didn't need Him to confirm it anymore than He already had. So we began… hesitantly at first… to renew all of those homestudy documents. And you know what? There were no hurdles this time. Everything went smoothly. Each time I would think something would be difficult it wasn't.  Every appoint led to helpful people. Every time money was due God provided. Often Always at the last minute, but He did. I felt Him encouraging me to trust. 

To relax. 

To believe.

I heard a faint whisper of a verse in my ear… “blessed is she who has believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord ”. I never shared it because I was afraid something might come up and it might not work out. And honestly, I felt like it was a little presumptuous. I struggled to believe that this time would be different. And in its context, that had to do with Mary and the plan God had for her and His Son. Yet, somehow I believed God had a plan for us, too. 

I have seen God work with faith that I assure you has often been as small as a mustard seed. Our homestudy is now finished- written for an Ethiopian adoption. As soon as we got that back we sent it, along with an application, to U.S. immigration to get approval to bring a child into the U.S. We have an appointment to be fingerprinted by the FBI in a little over a week.  

Oh my. Now THAT makes everything feel real. :)

After our fingerprints we wait (hopefully only a couple of weeks) for approval. Then we will send it along with about 20 other documents (called a dossier) to our agency and then on to Ethiopia!! We will then be given a number on the waiting list, not because there are not enough children who need homes (there are an estimated 5 million), but because they can only process so many cases per day and there is a backlog. So we are making progress, yet we still have waiting ahead.

And yet.....

I’m so grateful. I am so grateful God chose to take us this route. We had to learn to listen to His voice- and only His voice. We had to learn to step out into the scary unknown based on only that small whisper. We have counted the cost and we know more about the sacrifice and somehow I think that must make our “yes” all the sweeter to His ears. I asked Brian one last time, “what if it doesn’t work out again”? He quickly replied, “if we have learned anything it is that we will be just fine- either way”. And we will. 

But blessed is she who believed. 

And I do. 

I am so glad He chose to take us down the winding path, through the ups and the downs.... through the waiting room. I am glad because He was there with us the whole time. And the journey has always been about Him anyway. 

We are so excited to see what He has in store!! 

"And I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting I will serve You
While I'm waiting I will worship
While I'm waiting I will not faint
I'll be running the race even while I wait"  - John Waller,  "While I'm Waiting"

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Eyes Wide Open

I've been hearing a lot about this blog lately. Not because of what I what I have been writing, but rather because I haven’t been writing. Apparently, inquiring minds want to know! 

It all started when God dropped Isaiah 1 in our laps. Literally- you might remember that from this post. This chapter strikes such a chord with me that I am certain God Himself engraved it on my very soul. We were already on a journey that we knew would include adoption, but there was a bigger lesson He still had to teach me. 

It goes something like this: sometimes my kids fight (shocking, I know). Sometimes the younger ones lash out in anger and push or snatch toys, or wrestling gets out of hand and one gets hurt. When I correct the offender I always say something like “Aiden is mine. And you hurt him. I won’t tolerate you hurting my Aiden”. It is a nifty little piece of parenting advice I got from someone older and wiser and it works like a charm every time! They know that even though they might not have cared in that moment of anger whether or not the other kid got hurt, they do care that I am upset with them. Pick a fight with one of my kids and I will be the one to defend them. Even if you are one of my kids, too. I will correct you in love, but I will correct you.

Enter Isaiah 1.

At first I didn't like the chapter. I didn't like the accusation or the conviction it brought with all it's seriousness and “you have blood on your hands” stuff. I really didn't like the idea that God that didn't want to hear my rambling prayers for comfort, health, and happiness while I closed my eyes to the things He cared about. (Wait. This isn't all about me, you say?)

The past year God has been at work increasing my fear of the Lord, and as He did, it increased my security in Him. Yep, you read that right, because don’t forget: I’m one of His kids, too. He defends me as much as He does anyone. Seek to hurt or harm me and listen for His whisper of warning: “Bridget is mine”.  This means I’m free to stop worrying about my own concerns and worry about someone else’s.

It’s the most beautiful thing. See, the plan laid out in Isaiah 1 benefits us both- the helper and the one helped. I wash my hands, ie: get a clean conscience and free myself up for blessings and more of the Lord, and the one I help receives mercy, love, or even justice. I call like to call that "winning".  

I don’t want to close my eyes to the problems of others- even if I can't fix them. If I close my eyes too long I fall asleep. Ask my husband. History channel documentaries are like my Benadryl. I can only imagine it works the same way with my soul. Close my eyes, choose indifference over compassion too many times, and my soul might fall asleep. I’m not saying I could lose my salvation here – but when I finally get to heaven I want more than a “get out of hell free” card to flash before Jesus. Know what I mean? I’d like some crowns to lay at his feet.

I’d like to say “I loved with everything I had” and more importantly, for Him to reply “I know.”

So, I’m going to share with you the roads God has taken us down. Yes, one of those roads is adoption. I have been a very busy girl while I haven’t been blogging. I’ve been filling out lots of paperwork, running around for appointments, and most recently stalking the mailman. (Don’t worry Mr. Mailman, I know I watch you with the same creepy, intense gaze of a lion about to pounce on prey, but I promise I’m no threat to you. I’m just hanging out, waiting on a miracle. No big.) I’ll share the details of our progress in my next post and it will be short and to the point long and with lots of “feeling words” and references to the good Book. 

Yet, the Lord has been up to much more than just the adoption and I'd like to share that, too. There has been a definite awakening of sorts around here. And I hope you will see and experience the freedom it is bringing for yourself. “Love God, love others” has been a lingering theme we have been exploring, and it’s turned our world upside down. I like to think this is just the beginning. 

There is an abundant life to be had, folks, and it’s ours for the taking. You coming or what?

If He comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.” – Mark 13:36