Sometimes I wonder.........

Sometimes I can’t sleep. Sometimes I just toss and turn and then give up. I’ve got this old oak kitchen table that belonged to my momma that’s just perfect for bible studying and cups of hot cocoa at 2 am. So, sometimes that’s what I do. And here’s what I’ve wondered about lately.

Where is my son, Isaiah? Are his feet dusty on the plains of Ethiopia or does he live in the crowded city of Addis? Sometimes when I’m cooking supper I look up expecting to glimpse the top of a head darting across the room behind Luke but I know that is a hopeful expectation. It’s odd how when I tuck my other three children in at night I wonder so much about where he might be. I wonder if he is safe and if he has enough to eat. Is he being rocked to sleep? I wonder if he has even been born yet.

And that leads me to wonder about his birth mother. I wonder if she has had help while carrying this child or whether she is all alone. I wonder whether she will deliver at home or if she will be one of the rare few who will birth in a hospital. And when statistics tell me that 25,000 Ethiopian women die from childbirth every year I wonder if she will survive his birth. I wonder if she’s scared right now and struggling. I wonder if she’s worried about his future and her own. I wonder if she knows the Christ I do and if she’s calling out His name the way I am.

The Ethiopian government will want us to meet so of course I wonder what meeting her will be like. I wonder if she will be angry with me or if she will have found her peace about it. I wonder how I will remember these things to Isaiah. I wonder how I will describe the depth of love it takes to let your baby go when you can no longer care for him. I wonder how I’m going to explain a world so broken that a women’s only option is let her baby move across the globe to survive. These are the things I wonder about at 2 am.

………..........but then there are the things I pray for at 2am

Father, I pray that you cover my Isaiah and his family with your hand. Protect them and keep them safe. Bring them comfort and peace. Lord, I cannot begin to know what their life is like right now, nor do I know everything that I should pray for on their behalf, but I pray that they know you. I pray that if they cannot raise Isaiah in this life, they will know him in the next. Give me the words and the courage to tell them about you and your amazing love for them. And still every day I wait and I pray for Isaiah not knowing the details of his life right now. Lord, I know only that one momma must give him up for another momma to give him a home. And the waiting may seem like torture Father, but the knowledge of what he is losing in order to gain us tortures me more. We may give him many good things Father, but we cannot give him his beginning. And for now I am woefully unprepared for helping him grieve what he is losing! Please God, give me strength, give me humility, give me kindness, give me patience, and give me Godly wisdom to be the momma that all my babies need. I know I cannot do that on my own. In Jesus Name, Amen. (excerpts from my prayer journal)

So friends, what are you wondering about? Let's be honest, what are you worried about?  What is it that's keeping you up at night long after your family is fast asleep.  What are you carrying around with you like a millstone weighing you down? How long have you been carrying it? Isn’t it time to set it down? The One who gave His life for you invites you in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Notice that he doesn’t say only the folks who go to a certain church or only the people who have their lives together! It says all. You don’t have to be perfect to claim His promises for your life. You just have to belong to Him. And I belong to Him. So every day I approach His throne about all my “wonderings”. Sometimes I don’t worry about them again and sometimes I do. But every day, all day long I just keep laying them at His feet. And an amazing thing happens, I find rest. And so can you.

Love One Another

“My command is this:
 Love each other as I have loved you.”
John 15:12
In the seven months since this process began I’ve long since lost track of how many times someone has asked me why we are adopting a child from Ethiopia, much less counted the folks who’ve said things like, Don’t you already have 3 kids, or,  Are you crazy?, or my personal favorite, Keep it up and you’ll be the Duggars!  I understand, really, I do.  People are curious,people are interested, heck, some people are just plain nosy.  Before now, I would have been right there with them wondering the same kind of things.  What kind of people who already had a house full of kids and their hands overflowing would want more?  More laundry?  More dishes?  Well, basically, more work?    Trying to explain the why to people in the cereal aisle in Wal-Mart in 2 minutes or less can be a little overwhelming to say the least.  Then there’s the consideration that this is a family matter, and don’t we have the right to keep some things private?  Isn’t it enough to say that it’s our decision and leave it at that?
After several months of debating with myself over whether or not to share our story God kindly used my husband to bring it to my attention that it's His story not ours and that keeping it to ourselves keeps His glory and power from being seen. So here I am, unworthy, untalented, and definitely unqualified yet God has chosen me to tell this story and I could not be more grateful or more humbled to do so.  I should warn you though, this story starts with a blog, and a sleepless night, and a heart open to what God wanted for our lives. So don't be surprised to hear him calling your name next.
            It started with snoring.  I spent an hour tossing between Steve and Lydia who both happened to be sawing some serious logs.  I know they couldn't help it,but neither could I. Steve has sleep apnea and Lydia was sick and running a fever and of course only sleeping in our bed  would make her feel better.  But still, their snoring was the stuff of legends.  After an hour I bailed out of bed and hit the laundry room, started the washing machine, grabbed the clothes out of the dryer and headed to the living room.  (Any of this sounding familiar?) I popped a movie in the DVD player and started folding clothes, it was 11:30pm. A little while later I grabbed the laptop and meandered over to a blog my friend Jenny had sent me a link to called,  I thought Jenny was a better friend than this. She really should have posted a warning, or a disclaimer, or something that read like this:  DANGER!!!! Reading this blog can cause a change of heart and bring you face to face with your Savior!, something, anything to let me know that my life as I knew it was about to change forever.  You see Katie lives in Uganda.  You know, the Uganda that's in Africa.  She moved from Brentwood, TN at the age of 18 (that's not a typo) and a year later made the decision to follow where God had already led her and stayed.  Today she's the mother to 13 (again, not a typo) little girls and runs a nonprofit called Amazima that assures that  400 children receive schooling each year and that more than 1600 are fed weekly in the area in which she lives.  She is living and breathing Christ's love to the Ugandan people, especially its children.  The more posts I read the more my heart ached. I began to pray, “God how can I help these children?  What is it you want me to do?  Father, show me what you want me to do.”  But, you know in my typical selfish fashion I began to plan things out on my own.  I thought sending money was a good idea. I would write a check.  I'm really good at writing checks. More importantly, I’m very comfortable writing checks.  I even prayed for God to help me find a way to make Katie's ministry a part of our monthly giving.  And, of course, money always helps, but that's not what God was asking from me.  Once I settled on my plan I went back to reading Katie's posts so proud of myself it makes me sick to even remember it much less admit it publicly.  A funny thing happened though, the more I read about these children, the more God worked on my heart.  And I'm not talking about feeling sorry for these people I'm talking about seeing them through His eyes and not my own.  I began to see them as the precious souls he created, and loved, and died on a cross for just as he did mine and the little girl that I could still hear snoring down the hallway.  I'm telling you that there was a complete and total paradigm shift in my life.  And it scared me more than anything else ever has before.  I knew then what he was asking me to do, but I dared not utter the words out loud.  Surely, I was mistaken.  Surely, with all I had to do God wasn't asking this of me.  I began praying questions in such rapid fire succession I was sure He would see how terrified and unqualified I was and find another, better mother who was up to the task.  How could we afford another child? How can I care for another child without neglecting my other three?  How can I raise a child of a different ethnicity?  How will our families react?  What will people say?  Always, always, He answered that He would handle that. In tears I prayed,” How can you ask this of me?”  And He answered, “How can I not ask this of you”?   And so several hours later, exhausted from wrestling with my Savior in prayer, I simply obeyed.   I stopped asking questions, I stopped thinking about myself, and simply said yes.  Yes, to Christ being the Lord of all my life and not just the parts that I was comfortable with.  I prayed with a brokenness I have never known that Christ would take my life and use it in whatever way he saw fit from that moment on.  And although I have been a Christian from the age of 13 it wasn't until then that I understood what it meant to allow Christ to be the Lord of my life.   
The next day I was reeling. I mean how do you tell your husband that you believe God wants you to adopt a child, and oh by the way, we have to fly to another country to get him.  I prayed for the right words and when I explained what had happened he simply said, "I like kids and I trust you.  If you believe that this is what God is asking us to do then I trust you."  Did I mention that he’s one in a million?  Strike that, he's the only one.
 I was still wondering how we would manage another little person in the house.  I prayed, and prayed and then I prayed some more.   I wondered, what we would name another child, and immediately the name Isaiah came to mind.  Later that day I looked up its meaning.  In Hebrew, Isaiah means, the Lord helps me. I felt certain that God meant this name for our child.  But still I wondered, how can you know when you are in prayer or in communion with God what he wants for you to do?   I poured over my Bible for comfort and strength.  God brought me to John 10:27: “ My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  
So I guess that’s it.  I listened to his voice.  I followed it and I haven’t looked back.  It’s really that simple.  I’m sure some of you are thinking no, no it’s not that simple.  Yes, it really is.  Our lives are changing at my house, and not just because we’re adopting a child.  They’re changing because our love for Christ will settle for nothing less than all we have.

“If you love me, you will obey what I command”  John 14:15
Application Day:  July 7, 2011