Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lift it up...

The last five weeks have not been much fun, and even though we are in a sense on the other side...we are still processing a lot. I had the opportunity to share today with some of the ladies that prayed for me through this and it felt so good to share how God has been so good through it, that I wanted to try to share with all of you that read this blog and pray and love us through each step. So hopefully you can hear my heart and it will make sense.

It felt like I went from a happy, fun party and somehow fell into a big, dark hole. I didn't know the way out and I couldn't see anything and I was pretty sure I was alone.  I wasn't very happy with the Lord. I was pretty mad....and I knew that He knew how disappointed I was in Him. I was just so terribly disappointed.

In hindsight that sounds crazy...that I could feel disappointed in Him:)  Thankfully Jesus can handle my reactions and my wrestling. He didn't rescue me from my confusion. He did in His tenderness remind me that He had never left me, and yes, He did indeed lead me to that dark hole, even though He knew I wouldn't like it.

The Lord has a tendency to repeat Himself with me. Does He ever do that with you? So some of my dear friends that were praying for me sent me Scriptures that they were praying over me through my heartache, and Isaiah 45:3 kept being repeated.

I will give you hidden treasures,
    riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

They were asking Him to show me hidden treasures and reveal to me these riches stored in secret places. So in the midst of the pain I started to open my eyes and let my eyes become accustomed to this dark place I found myself in. I realized I could actually see a little bit...and I began to feel around. I would find pebbles or sharp rocks, I was sitting on or found next to me.  After holding them for awhile, feeling the weight of them and rubbing the dirt on them and thinking they were just ugly rocks that caused my skinned knees and cut elbows...I started to lift them up to the Lord and ask Him about them.  He slowly began opening these very things that caused me pain, and inside were beautiful jewels.  I was amazed!  Well, if he could reveal such beauty in that dirty, old rock...what could He do with all these other things I was finding in the darkness around me...and IN me.  I slowly began lifting up the things He allowed my hands to find. And each time I surrendered these pain-givers...He opened my eyes to see magnificent treasures and riches that were all around me, and even in me.

I had been screaming lots of big fat "WHYs" at Jesus.  He wasn't answering those cries.  I wanted to know WHY my circumstances were painful and scary and disappointing and not what I thought He promised.  Once I stopped screaming though and began yielding up everything I found and everything that was hurting me....He began faithfully, tenderly healing my hurts and answering my questions and my neediness with Him. He was the answer I was seeking. And somehow the more I needed Him, the more I was filled.  I was never too much for him. My needs were never too great for Him. It was amazing!

And then He began answering some of my tough questions with Who He is. He reminded me that when things didn't go the way I expected...I began to doubt His heart for me.  He could handle me wrestling with Him but He quickly began to remind me of His promises and that my circumstances don't always reflect His promises....but they aren't supposed to! My security lies in Who He is and who I am in Him....not how well things are going in my life.

I could go on and on sharing treasure He has etched on my heart over the past five weeks. I am so thankful. The journey wasn't fun but it was so worth it.  He is so faithful. His ways are higher than our ways. He will never leave me or forsake me. His mercies are new every morning. He does have plans to prosper us and not to harm us.  He is the God who sees me. He is my provider!

He has brought me back into the light and I do feel like I once again trust His heart and am in a new place of greater yieldedness.  And I don't ever want to go holding my heart back.  But as for that dark hole?  I will go back isn't fun...but I know He is still with me there.  I want to remain in a place of being desperate for Him.  Because that is where I ended up after finally surrendering in that dark hole.  I realized I could trust Him and I needed Him more than anything else.  I want to live and obey in a way that makes me need Him to show up to just make it through the day.

So if you happen to be in that hole.  I feel is hard and lonely. But just rest for a minute and let your eyes adjust.  And then whatever you feel...scoop it up in the palm of your hand and lift it up to His beautiful gaze...hold that palm open and ask Him to show you it for what it is....I promise He'll blow you away:)

I'm praying for you! I would love to hear from you if you are having a dark hole/cave experience.  Remember though, the hole isn't meant for forever, but there is treasure there!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hope deferred...

Dear family and friends,
We love you...and are so thankful for your prayers and support over the last 29 months as we have traveled this windy and often confusing path of adoption.  The last 6 weeks have been very hard but also, because of God's grace and presence, they have been beautiful.  We don't understand why we were only given 5 days to love on Hope Amelia, but they were sweet and precious days.  We will pray for Hope and her momma, Ashley for the rest of our lives.  They are permanently imprinted on our hearts.

When we returned from Kentucky we decided that we wanted to give ourselves at least a month to grieve and process a bit before decided what "next" was going to look like. We weren't sure whether we should pursue another domestic referral or stay on the Uganda waiting list.  However, after being home for only two weeks our agency asked us if we would consider looking at the file of a little girl with some special needs at the babies home.  She is considered paper ready, which means at this point able to be adopted.  There was another family that met her while visiting Uganda on a mission trip and they were also inquiring to look at her file.  They had not even started their homestudy yet though, so their process would be lengthy.  

Initially we both said "no" because she is legally blind and we were not sure we felt like we could be what she needs.  She is 2 1/2 years old but is developmentally at a 4-6 month old level.  We decided to at least look at her file. Early on in our adoption process, I really believe the Lord gave me the name Hope to pray for our  little girl.  We named our domestic referral Hope, and as far as we know her momma decided to keep that name.  The babies home calls this little girl by a different name but when we opened her file we discovered that her name is actually Suubi.  Suubi means Hope in Lugandan.  We were floored by this....and decided to truly consider this as a possible referral.  So we decided to pray together and separately and limit our conversation about it, but rather pray and fast and seek the Lord.

So that is what we did.  We did not speak about it much between our selves or with others for about two weeks.  During that time in His gentle way the Lord confirmed and affirmed to both of us that we should accept the referral for Suubi.  We realize that there are no guarantees regarding her development.  We had our pediatrician look over the medical paperwork that we do have for her.  There is honestly not much other than bloodwork and some documentation of her physical appearance.

Her left side is immobile at this point.  She is reaching for things with her right hand and kicks with her right leg.  When she first came into care last May she would lay stiff as a board and was fairly unresponsive.  However, now, she laughs and sings to herself.  She responds to stimuli and favors certain caregivers.  She wil need extensive therapy for a long time.  We know this will change our family in many ways.  However, we feel the Lord said, yes, and so we say yes.  We are excited to see what all He can and do in her and in us.  We, honestly, are apprehensive and in many ways scared....but sometimes you just have to obey....scared!

Our God always comes through, is always faithful and we know we can trust His heart for us and for Suubi.  We have been praying for this little girl, in reality almost her entire life.  We don't know when we will travel yet.  We hope to receive a court date before July 15th.  The courts in Uganda close between July 15th and August 15th.  They are working on her case and we hope our dossier will be sent to the lawyer within the next three weeks.  We then sign affidavits and our lawyer will file for a court date.  Then we wait!

We accepted her referral about nine days ago.  We didn't share with many people yet for a few reasons.  We wanted family to be able to digest it first and ask questions.  And since it is still likely a long wait we didn't want to rush things.  We love y'all and please pray for us as we prepare our hearts, our home and for travel.  Also as we wait...that we wait with hope and peace, not anxiety.  Things are also honestly still a bit raw.  Our hearts are still healing...I feel like what I imagine couples experience after they have suffered a miscarriage, and then become pregnant again but don't want to announce their pregnancy until at least the second trimester.  We are still processing and wrapping our hearts and minds around all that has happened and is happening. 

So we are excited and so thankful. Please feel free to ask questions. We may not have the answers but we will try!

Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

To Him be all praise and glory!