Monday, September 2, 2013

It is Here

Usually, writing is a joy and a life-giving activity for me. Writing helps me to process. To solidify the lessons God has taught me in the past. As well as those He is teaching me in the here and now. The unique ways He is growing and stretching me and opening my eyes to a new perspective. In a very personal way, the lessons I’ve recorded these past two months through the final-difficult-miraculous-battle stage of our adoption journey have been especially helpful to me, as I’ve tried to capture what God is doing in the life of our family, both externally and internally.

The first blog post I wrote about this adoption stage though, on the morning of July 9, was more of an act of obedience than a genuine desire to “record my thoughts on the computer screen.” I felt resistant and it felt like work, but I believed that God wanted me to capture—in my weakness— how I was Wanting to Wait Well. There, in that moment, when waiting felt so awfully hard because there was so-very-much-on-the-line. That same afternoon (after Charly and our kids had left for a 2 day trip to Gaoli village with a group visiting from another city) I wrote in my paper-bound journal:

To want to hope, but afraid to hope.
Closing myself off…
God, help me to see you
To believe you
To experience your lifting me out…

And the next day, hopeful that Charly would send me some word from the woman who was helping us do the final check for two children we could adopt together from Gansu, I got this very disappointing text: “Still no options, but she agreed to final check. Will talk tomorrow.” Let’s just say that, even though I was wanting to, I was not waiting well then. I wrote:

And what if the outcome is different than what I want?
And what if the whole process has looked different than I would have chosen?
And what if I just feel like giving up and checking out and saying I’m tired of this?

Over the next several days I turned to the Psalms for encouragement and recorded the verses that spoke to my heart. Here are several:

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:16-19)

“All my longings lie open before you, O Lord…” (Psalm 38:9)

“I wait for you, O Lord; you will answer, O Lord my God.” (Psalm 38:15)

“But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. (Psalm 71:14)

“Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.” (Psalm 77:19)

God is gracious and faithful to His weak children, and He used those verses to help sustain me. But July 12 turned out to be one of the hardest of all days for me—the date we had said was the longest we could wait for God to miraculously raise up two children from Gansu. Unfortunately there was still no word on the final check by that day. And Charly wanted to keep waiting until be knew for sure that God had finally closed the door. But the reality of going into another weekend still in limbo about did me in.

Thankfully, God worked deeply through my despair and my fear as I walked along the Yellow River that day. He helped me to lay my heart and all of its desires on the altar, my worry that continuing to wait meant that our adoption might truly be over (because of our looming paperwork expiration date). And how thankful I am to God for My Husband, My Hero, whose steadfast faith God rewarded. On July 15 we got the incredible news that there were two boys in Gansu we could adopt together!

Here we are, almost two months later, with a God-given paperwork extension and assurance from Beijing that they will secure the boys’ files for us when they go online (maybe this week!) Looking back, I can better appreciate how God wanted me to be obedient in recording my wanting to wait well. Because it’s hard. And it’s here. In this moment. When we need God most desperately. When it has to be God.

Last week I reread The Path of Loneliness by Elisabeth Elliot. She is one of my all-time favorite authors and I love the way she shares her heart and her life lessons. This quote especially ministered to me:

“We may be earnestly desiring to be obedient and holy. But we may he missing the fact that it is here, where we happen to be at this moment and not in another place or another time, that we may learn to love Him—here where it seems He is not at work, where His will seems obscure or frightening, where He is not doing what we expected Him to do, where He is most absent. Here and nowhere else is the appointed place. If faith does not go to work here, it will not go to work at all.”

This is The Real Life.
It is here. And it is now. In this moment.
When we want to hope, but are afraid to hope.
When we just want to give up and close our hearts off to any future pain.
When we are so weary and life feels so hard.
When it seems that God is absent. In the Unanswered.
God calls us—here— to Trust Deeply in Him.
Because if faith does not go to work here, it will not go to work at all.

(a picture from CJ's backpacking trip)

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