After sharing Cade and Hannah-Claire’s story last week, a friend reached out to me on Facebook and asked a question that, I suppose, a few people may wonder about as they read the journey God took us on all those years ago.
Why? Why would God give me (or anyone, really) a promise and then put some stipulations on it? Why make me wait to see His promises fulfilled in my life? In my case, The Lord promised me a daughter but then was very clear about us not finding out the sex of our baby after we conceived (trust me…when everything in me wanted to know!). I know, it does seem pretty confusing. You get a promise, but then…wait a sec…you can’t find out what’s going on just quite yet.
Ah, the journey of faith!
So I thought I would share a tiny piece of my heart here. A little about my own personal journey with God and how, over the course of many years, He has taken me down a road of learning what it means to truly lay my life down. If you haven’t read about what was essentially the very beginning stages of our adoption journey, you can read part one here and part two here.
Like many, I have deep hurts from my past. No one is immune to the struggles and the challenges that life so often throws our way. They’re the parts of my heart that God has been so kind and so gracious to heal over the years. They’re the pieces of me that He has so lovingly restored and miraculously put back together. But, as I’m sure many of you understand, deep hurts and wounds leave their mark. They leave us feeling tender and vulnerable. For me, hurts from the past left me with an inability to trust. Anyone!
I came to know the Lord in 1995 after walking through the darkest, most painful time in my life. It was in my desperation that I found Jesus. Or rather, in the miry pit of despair, He rescued me. I grew quickly in my relationship with God and was so hungry to know Him more and more.
It was several years after that glorious May night that I surrendered my heart into His hands that I discovered a truth that was so hard for me to come to terms with. Hard because on the surface everything seemed great. I was married to the man I had prayed for. We had bought our first home. We were planning on starting a family. I had a job that I loved. Picture perfect on the outside, really…
But deep inside of me–in those places that still struggled with wounds from the past…
…I transferred my brokenness onto God.
I didn’t trust Him as FATHER. ABBA.
I struggled to relate to God as a dad.
I wrestled with seeing Him as a father–one who was dependable, constant, faithful, always present, always fighting for me.
A father who was FOR me.
A few years later we were living in Australia, working for a large church and then later serving as missionaries. God had done such a healing work in me. I was a mom to two precious little boys and my family became my whole world. I loved being a mom. Moving out of my home country and leaving behind my extended family and dearest friends took my faith to a whole new level. As a young woman I had traveled the world and seen many, many nations. But nothing could really prepare my heart for raising my boys away from my family, my dearest friends, my church that had been so instrumental in my growth as a Christian, and everyone who I loved. It was ridiculously tough!
But God! He was so gracious and merciful to me in those years. Anthony and I have often looked back on our three years in Australia and wondered, “What in the world was that all about? Why did God take us there?” I don’t know and probably won’t know this side of heaven. God’s ways are so much higher than mine. I do, however, have a sneaky feeling that our journey in Australia had a lot to do with God growing me and maturing my faith. By the time we left Australia and moved to the States, I was in such a different place emotionally and spiritually to when we first arrived there. I was five months pregnant when we landed on U.S. soil.
So why? Why give me a promise for a daughter and then not at least prepare my heart for the child in my womb being a boy, not a girl? Seems confusing and almost even unfair. What if I was bitterly disappointed when my son was born? What if my world came crashing down around me and I questioned the faith that I held onto with everything that I had? And Lord forbid, what if I turned my back on God–blaming Him for leading me down a road that I sure didn’t understand? All of those things could have happened, I guess.
My journey to Hannah-Claire? It was for my good. Just as it happened. Just as the Father ordained.
For my good!
There’s a passage in Jeremiah that God spoke to my heart the day before Anthony and I went to our first ultrasound. “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.” ~Jer. 30:2
And so I did. I started to write my daily journey in a journal. I wrote down everything that I felt God was speaking to my heart. On those pages, I brought my hopes, my dreams, my cares, my concerns, and my fear of just getting the whole darn thing all wrong and waking up one morning and realizing that God never really spoke a single word to my heart. Oh, my fragile, fickle faith! My journal became a place where I shared every part of that season and journey on those pages. When doubt crept in, I would go back to the beginning and remind myself of all that He had said. I would remember the Scriptures, the random moments I felt the Lord whispering to my heart, and the promises which were now so buried in my heart.
I will never forget the night before Cade’s birth. Heavens, Anthony and I walked through what can only be described as what the Bible calls “peace that passes all understanding” in the book of Philippians. We had no way of knowing if the baby I would deliver would be a boy or a girl, yet we just knew that God would be faithful to us.
By giving me one little promise nine months earlier, He had taken me down a road of teaching me to truly–with all that I was—trust!
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” ~Hebrews 11:1
I knew what I was hoping for. But I could not see the outcome.
And in that place…that place where it was all so completely out of my control…that place where my faith would be so tested…
…that was where He called me into a deeper relationship with Him.
That was where He taught me to trust Him as a Father…
…one who was dependable. Trustworthy. Faithful.
That was where He gave me such a deep, deep assurance that I could trust Him. Completely.
Of course, if you have read Hannah-Claire’s and my story then you will know that on that day, August 30th, 2004, I did not deliver the daughter of my heart. Instead, we were blessed with the most precious third son–a son who I just cannot imagine my life without. A son who God knew we needed! And on that day, we didn’t know the outcome of the story. We didn’t know that God would continue to grow our family again…and again…and again…and again. We didn’t know that God would use the journey to our third son to open our hearts to so much more than we ever dreamed possible in our lives.
We didn’t have any idea what He was up to or what the whole journey was about. We knew this one thing.
HE COULD BE TRUSTED.
And that, for me, was enough.
By His amazing grace and through my journey of learning what it meant to be obedient when I did not understand, my faith grew, my dependence on God grew, my love for Him grew, and my desire to give Him my whole life grew. I learned that His plans and purposes for my life are so, so much more magnificent than the small box I placed my dreams in.
Nothing we go through is ever wasted.
EVERYTHING IS FOR HIS GLORY.
AND FOR OUR GOOD.
If you’re in a place of waiting to see a promise fulfilled in your own life, hang onto the words He has given you. He’s in the waiting. Every single minute of it. Be encouraged and know that He will be faithful to you! I am praying for you today. My love to you all.