Chris and I watched a few minutes of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” last night. I laughed out loud at the “dude’s group.” The movie captures a lot of what I experienced while expecting. This time around I definitely appreciated the paranoia of the home study visit…I plan to watch the rest tonight but I will cry (as I did the last time) during the Ethiopian adoption ceremony.
The movie reminded me: We all have so many ways we plan out or (even try to follow His plan)–but as our stories unfold, the narratives are never how we fully envisioned them to read!
Having shared this–it absolutely feels like we are “expecting” only now our proverbial water has broken and we are headed to a hospital that is across the ocean and we are packing way too many bags to get there.
We had a Danish foreign exchange student who lived with our family when I was in high school and she loved to sing and play the piano. One of my favorite memories is that together we would harmonize: “I’m leavin’ on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again.” I cannot tell you how many times I have sung those words out loud over the past 48 hours. And I TRULY don’t know when I’ll be back again? That is such a bizarre place to live!
I have had many wonderful conversations with folks as they have prayed for us throughout the entire process and have come alongside of us when our first court date was canceled. One well meaning friend asked, “what do think is really going on?” Another offered, “You know maybe God is protecting you from something.” Another said, “maybe God is trying to teach you patience.” We certainly have learned loads about patience and trust over the past few weeks. That very well could have been the actual lesson that God was trying to teach us–or it could have been a by-product that came from a unexpected wait. The only thing I know is: that I will never know the mind of God. So to guess can totally stress a person out–and cause undo amounts of guilt or shame. I certainly believe (because it happened in the Bible) that God uses circumstances to get our attention, to teach us, and to draw us back to himself. But not always do delays or unfortunate outcomes have to do with us–and more often than not–they have nothing to do with us. They have to do with broken humanity. Over the past 9 months a dear family friend has been through the “ringer” with visits to the doctor, hospital, multiple surgeries and unexpected health complications for several members of their immediate family. The lessons that they have learned and the ways that they have had to lean on God (and others) have been both humbling and inspiring. Do I believe that God is trying to get their families’ attention? You know, I don’t know? Because I simply don’t begin to know the mind of God. Our bodies are broken, far from perfect, and no one is exempt from physical (or emotional) pain or suffering. Simply put…it could have been a tough year medically for their family.
Here’s the thing…the “what is God doing?” Or “why is God doing” questions can consume a ton of exhausting mental energy. I remember having distinct thoughts while waiting for our court date of my great disdain for pity parties. I knew I didn’t want to wallow in the wait. Of course it was unexpected and not how I wanted it to go down. Of course it was disappointing. In this life we are all totally allowed to grieve. We are allowed to be angry or disappointed. We are allowed to question God. I have been there many times in my lifetime. I have struggled with doubt, fear anxiety. God in my life has felt very far away. But what I have learned from those experiences is that in times of deep pain and suffering I may not begin to know the mind of God but I am gonna have to trust His heart. Are things happening for my protection? Maybe. Am I experiencing suffering to produce character? Likely. Is he allowing–or creating discomfort? Ugh. I cannot in those moments of pain delve in to deep spiritual theology or begin to know all of the answers. All I know is His heart and His heart is good. In those moments that I all I have to cling to.
In devastating times I often ask, “to whom shall I go Lord?” The answer besides Him is always hollow. Deafening silence. So I continue to trust God’s heart. Because I cannot fathom or grasp His mind. I know what He says of me and my family in His word. I know that He is crazy about His children–that He loves them with a reckless abandon. I cling to the verses that He has written on our hearts over the past few months that have detailed and confirmed His call on our lives to adopt. And when I have been discouraged He has provided verses that have spoken specifically to my doubt. When my soul has been sad I have shared it and moved on. I was shocked at how healing several songs have been–saying things I believe or want to believe but have had a hard time formulating. One song was from Kylee’s kidcity exalt song list. We were playing them in the car and I immediately felt strengthened in my soul–knowing that I believed the words and wanted to claim them as my own.
We were pulling in to the driveway–but I reversed and I then opened my sunroof and rolled down the windows and cranked this song and said, “y’all this is mommy’s jam.” (Quite the image I know–I don’t pretend to be cool any more!)
I Will Not Be Afraid
“When my greatest fears are in front of me, I will never turn and run away. My Deliverer and Defender he is mighty and strong to save.
I will not be afraid no matter what comes my way. I’ll stand strong on your promises cause I will not be afraid.
No matter where I go you are with me. You will never leave me on my own. And even in the dark, you will see me through, cause you’re the light that always shines.
And when I’m weak you’re always strong, my shelter in the raging storm, through every night and every day–this will be my song.
I will not be afraid…”
I heard that worship drives out fear and anxiety. My “jam” and the crazy neighborhood drive did wonders for me that day.
(Couldn’t find the song online so hoping it is okay with Mitch and Deanna that I share this…)
We anticipate many more unexpected twists and turns along our journey…certainly while in UG but then even once we are home. There is really no end to the wonderful madness that awaits us. Having said this, we are certain of the call that has been placed on our hearts and we await with joyfully anticipation all that is to come. Glad I can trust His heart and I don’t have to figure out His mind.
May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,