I’ve lived through a lot of numbers in my life. I celebrated turning sixteen at Cherry’s soda fountain with my closest friends. I married my dear friend at nineteen, he was twenty-one in the First Baptist Church on Main Street in my hometown. I waited five long weeks, that’s thirty-five tortuous days for Annabeth’s heartbeat to show up on ultrasound after our doctor told us the pregnancy didn’t “take”. I survived seven years of college and graduated with a doctorate without losing my mind or my family. I have three children ages nine, five and two. But I can honestly say I’ve never been number 108. We knew we were on the bottom of the list. We expected to be at the bottom of the list. We just didn’t know the list was so long. I’m not sure who I felt sorrier for, me or the adoption consultant who had to inform me. It wouldn’t seem so large if there were more referrals, but for the last 90 days not a single child has been matched with a family within our agency. So with odds like that a family could be waiting for a long time. Initially, I took the news in stride. I joked, I laughed, I made statements like, “you can’t get to the top if you don’t start at the bottom”, but secretly in the bottom of my heart I was disappointed. For a few days I just let the number marinate. I just let it hang around our house and get to know us. And I prayed about it, but mostly my prayers were short because as Lydia says, “God can hear you from your heart, you don’t have to say everything.” Oh, how I love that kid! And I read his word. And just like he always does my friend Jesus directed me to the words I needed to hear,
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
He reminded me that Isaiah is not a project! In fact, none of my children are! They are members of our family and that the entire process of raising each of my children is a marathon not a 20 yard dash. Our family story doesn’t begin when Isaiah arrives; it’s just a new chapter. He also brought to my attention that a lot of folks are watching our actions, i.e. the witnesses. And the longer this process takes the more closely people will be watching. Are we who we say we are? Absolutely! But, the proof is in our actions. Can we live it? Yes, we say we love Christ and that we’ve committed our entire lives to his service, but if we have no race to run then how will others see that and come to know him for themselves. As my daddy says, “love is just a word, unless you back it up.” And oh, how my Savior backed it up! He waited thirty-three years on this earth, that’s 11, 748 days, to walk the hill to Calvary for me, for you. He knew we could never make that walk. We just don’t have it in us to pardon our own sins. He ignored the shame. He bore the unspeakable pain of that day for my daughter, for my son, for your son so that they would never have to. So that they would never know what it means to die in such a way. He fixed his eyes on his father and the home he once knew. He knew his course. It was already marked. Just like mine is. Only mine is so much easier. I have only to wait and work. I have only to tell his story. That is all he has asked me to do. It seems such a small thing really. In perspective the number 108 seems like what it is, just a number. So here’s what I’ve decided to do. I’m going to choose to be joyful every single day for however long we have to wait. And I’m going to work as hard as I can. I’m going to embrace every opportunity to tell others about the love Christ has for me and for them because I don’t want them to miss the chance to know the greatest guy that ever lived. I’m going to grab on to my best friend Jesus and run this race for however long he says to, and I’m not talking about waiting for my son anymore. He marked my course himself and he’s waiting for me at the finish line, so I can’t lose. Neither can you. If you’ve got some numbers in your life that you’re dealing with maybe it’s time you gave them to him. Third divorce? Second miscarriage? Tenth time in Rehab? He can handle whatever you’re carrying around. But you have to let him. Verse one tells us that these things can hinder and entangle us. Don’t let them. Don’t let them hold you back from the race he has designed for you. Let him use you for his glory. It’s what we were made to do. There’s no number in your life he can’t help you through. There’s no number in your life that he can’t forgive. He tells us so in John 6:37, “…whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”
715,040. That’s approximately how many days it’s been since he finished his race. He’s doing his own waiting now; on the right hand of God. Waiting for the moment he can collect his children. Waiting for the moment he can finally bring them home. Watching them suffer and knowing that he must wait until God’s perfect timing says he can bring them home. I can understand a little bit of what he must be feeling. 715,040…suddenly 108 doesn’t seem so big after all.
We are often asked if there is anything someone can do to help us so below you will find a prayer list. Please consider praying for us on a regular basis. We would greatly appreciate it.
1. Pray for our son’s family. Pray that he & his family come to know Christ and his love for them. This is the most important thing to us!
2. Pray for our children to grow in their understanding of God’s love and grace for them. Pray that God will knit their hearts to their brother’s before he ever comes home.
3. Pray for God’s timing and will for our adoption. We do not want things to proceed any other way.
4. Pray for our son to love us as much as we already love him. Adjustment & attachment can be very difficult for some babies.
5. Pray for the other families waiting on children. For some families the wait is nothing short of brutal.