Friday, September 21, 2012

Waiting for the Wind

Our longer-than-expected adoption journey has given me a much greater empathy for my friends who have been trying for years to get pregnant. And for my single friends who wonder if God's plans for them include marriage. It can be hard to live in the midst of community where almost everyone else is getting married and having babies. And completing adoptions. The unfulfilled dream can seem even more like a barren wasteland of waiting.

And the ever-present question whispers: Is my turn coming?

After His resurrection, Jesus had a private conversation with Peter to reconfirm Peter’s love for him, and to restate His purpose for Peter’s life. Jesus concluded by saying, “’The truth is, when you were young, you were able to go wherever you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will direct you and take you where you don’t want to go.’ Jesus said this to let him know what kind of death he would die to glorify God. Then Jesus told him, ‘Follow me.’ Peter turned around and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them... (and he) asked Jesus, ‘What about him, Lord?’ Jesus replied, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow me.’” (John 21:18-22)

God’s plans for each of us are unique—the purpose in life, the kind of death, the type of pain, the sources of joy, the lessons in waiting. And the life messages He imprints on our hearts in order to share with others...

God has not forgotten any one of us. He does not waste pain. He does not make mistakes. And he is able to redeem what seems to be lost, broken, or impossible. Like dreams.

Driving across the long, flat state of Kansas several times this summer, we noticed windmill farms on either side of the highway. There were those that caught the direction of the wind just right and were spinning effortlessly, doing what they were made to do. But then there were those that stood motionless. Seemingly useless. Maybe the angle of their blades was not quite right to catch the wind. So they stood. Still. Waiting.

(I know this may sound silly but) my heart ached for those windmills that didn’t catch the wind. I didn’t want to look at them because they reminded me of myself.. They were designed to spin, but nothing was happening. In contrast to their fellow windmills spinning purposefully on the other side of the highway, the still ones seemed to be questioning, “Why them and not me?” “Is my turn coming?

Just as windmills cannot control the presence of, or the direction of, the wind, so also, many circumstances in our lives are out of our control. But God is in control even in the times of interminable waiting. Even on those windless days. And on the days when the wind is blowing in the wrong direction. Especially then.

When we were in Tianjin this spring, I had regular acupuncture treatments to try to reduce my migraine pain. Riding bus 845 was the most direct and cheapest option for transportation to and from the clinic, and time spent on the bus itself was only 20 minutes. But waiting for the bus to come was torturous! Usually between 30 and 45 minutes—the time for 2 or 3 buses of other numbers to roll through the bus stop. I wished that I could have been waiting instead for one of those buses that came more often. And I confess that sometimes I gave up and took a taxi.

I became aware that a raw part of my heart had been touched that went deeper than just waiting for a bus.

“Is my turn coming, God?”

When Charly and I had our 2nd honeymoon in the Colorado mountains in June, we had a chance to reflect on our adoption journey. We reviewed the passages that had seemed like promises and gave us hope. We prayed that God would bring our adoption to completion. And we asked Him to show us what He wants us to do and to learn as we continue to trust Him in this journey.

2 Samuel 9:11 “Mephibosheth ate at the king's table like one of his sons.”

Isaiah 45:2 “I will go before you and will level the mountains. I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.”

Isaiah 45:19 “I did not tell the people of Israel to ask me for something I did not plan to give. I, the LORD, speak only what is true and right.”

Romans 4:17-22 God “calls into existence that things that do not exist” and “in hope (Abraham) believed against hope, no unbelief made him waver, but he grew strong in his faith, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”

Habakkuk 2:3 “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”

In June of 2007, we completed our paperwork for a Chinese adoption. Our original request was for a baby girl, and we were told that the estimated wait was about 1 year. (That seemed long to us at the time!) About 9 months later, as our family was praying one Sabbath about our adoption, I felt compelled (in a way that I have never felt before) to ask God for two siblings from Gansu province. Charly strongly affirmed this request, and we all believed that this was a new direction God was leading our family—to step out in faith and to ask Him for what seemed impossible (for our delight and for His glory).

We already knew that sibling sets are uncommon in China because most orphans are abandoned. But we also discovered that twins typically go to families with no current children. So, because we already had three biological children, we were told that it would not be possible for us to adopt two siblings.

After over a year of what seemed to be only closed doors toward our specific request, our dossier came to the front of the foreign adoption line in the summer of 2009. At that point we were given the incredibly painful decision of adopting “one or none.” Then, after writing a letter explaining our situation to the new CCAA director, we were (miraculously) given permission to adopt two siblings from Gansu!

We have the permission. And we have renewed our adoption paperwork multiple times. But for the past three years, there have not been two siblings from Gansu available for international adoption. So we are continuing to wait. And hope. And doubt. And wrestle with God. Did we hear Him right then? How is He leading us now? Is our turn coming?

I don’t know how our adoption journey will end. But I do believe that Jesus is speaking to me the words that He spoke to Peter after His resurrection, “You follow me.” Don’t compare or be distracted by the way My plans unfold for anyone else. My plan for you is hand-selected. For your good. And for My glory.

Trust me. Even when it doesn’t make sense.


  1. So poignant, Jodie. And so applicable to all of us.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Kim. Excited that Marilla has finally joined your family! God bless you in this time of transition with all of its blessings and challenges.



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